Monday, February 27, 2017

Lux Tenebris: Darkwater

Known as the Pearl of the North, Darkwater is one of the largest, most influential cities on the continent of Nur. Founded centuries ago by wandering humans, the city earned its name from its unusually deep harbor.  Eventually, the original settlement was overrun and conquered by a tribe of wandering barbarians led by a powerful warlord.  The Warlords of Darkwater ruled the area for almost a century before they were overthrown, in turn, by the being known as the Masked King.
The Masked King
The Masked King built his tower stronghold at the heart of the small city. His edicts and decrees were carried out by his agents, individuals known as the Marked Men because of their elaborate facial tattoos.  Under the Masked King’s rule, Darkwater’s power and influence grew.
Two hundred years after establishing his rule, a group of ambitious merchants sought to seize control of Darkwater from the Masked King. The so-called Merchants Revolt failed spectacularly. The conspirators and their families were rounded up and executed by the Marked Men. Some of the executed returned as vengeful undead, bound to their place of death, an area that became known as the Gravemound.
A hundred years later, the Masked King’s rule was again challenged. This time by followers of Abasha, goddess of justice.  Known as the Temple War, the Abashites sought to free Darkwater from the rule of the Masked King, suspecting he was some form of evil undead. Their actions drew other temples and gods into the conflict. Most of Darkwater was laid waste, the populace rallying around the Masked King and the Marked Men against the temples. The Temple War ended with the execution of the Abashite high priestess and the expulsion of all the temples who took part in the war.  It also lead to the creation of the Unseen, a secret police force answering only to the Masked King, operating within and beyond Darkwater.
Darkwater’s influence was so great that when the Draconic Empire began its invasion of Western
Nur, the conquest of Darkwater was considered essential. The empire laid siege to the city, but was unable to overcome its defenses.  This led them to devote resources to conquering Darkwater that might have been better deployed elsewhere. Eventually, the Draconic invasion collapsed and the Siege of Darkwater came to an end.

Today, Darkwater is the most influential and powerful city in northwestern Nur. The city has seen an influx of new residents – refugees from Mountgate and Swordhold, dwarves from Fallen Baramir, elves from Goldsun – that have brought new life and energy to the Pearl of the North, and new problems as well.  Criminal organizations like the Veil and the Black Glove have established enclaves within Darkwater, Abashite zealots infiltrate the city seeking to destroy the Masked King, the Gravemound’s undead stir themselves to new levels of action, pirates harry the coast and bandits raid caravans.
Nevertheless, Darkwater endures and thrives, often making a profit off of its troubles.

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