Rael Kingdom: History and Rumors

In existence since 1404, the Lord of Rael marked the boundaries of this realm and named it, and it is in this Deep dwarf's mindset that the history of Rael is understood. Before the failed defense of Prantz, Rael was a mishmash of towns run independently, all ostensibly under the banner of the Emperor of Dregar. In truth, by the time of the Waylend Kings, only token control was exerted in most areas; the mainstay of power was centered in Prantz. After the fall of the Dregarian realm with the unexpected death of the last King Waylend, a few former kingdoms scurried to reassert their independence and a new one came into being, Liwich.

During this time, a power vacuum existed and it was in that chaos and desperation of the free people of Dregar that the Deep Lord struck. Rising up from the depths during the final stages of the war between Sinthar Bloodstone and the Dragon Called, Lord Rael staged a military action of such unfathomable size and consequence that the world rocked on its heels. Upon orders given by his now dead master, he took Prantz with troops numbering over 25,000. The city was overrun despite an incredibly brave attempt by the city guards and a large band of adventuring heroes to prevent it. The Deep Lord planted his flag atop the thousand-year-old stone walls, and the citizens settled back to wait in fear of their future for it was now in the hands of a gray-skinned, white-haired dwarf.

Lord Rael made changes ever so slowly. He crept over the city after the swift and massive attack that had handed it to him. He posted numerous Deep dwarf guards and enforced registration of all surface dwarves in and out of the city. It seemed that half his army was walking the streets at one point. The people went unmolested with the exception of nearly hourly fights between the guards and the surface dwarves. The Deep dwarf guards were less alert and less happy in the daytime and more likely to detain and arrest, but they were more numerous at night, a coveted slot for the light-sensitive patrolmen. As a result, the city became remarkably safe at all hours; briefly, a hope was entertained that maybe, perhaps, things were not going to be so bad.

Then, within a month, the new Lord of the city forbade magic within his walls. Citing the Al'Noth as a conduit to chaos, the Deep Lord required registration of all those with abilities in the arcane coming, staying, or going. Businesses that dealt with magic were to register as well and patrols near those establishments became oppressive. While it was not possible to regulate magic in the home, arrests for public magic were frequent, and those who did register were the target of repeated visits from the town guard. To compliment this decision, a new breed of guard was stationed around the castle and all sensitive areas called the All'ra. A race that seemed slightly different from their Deep dwarf cousins but with no history that anyone could find, the All'ra became a fixture anywhere that Lord Rael wanted a second layer of security.

One mage, furious, decided to go out with the biggest bang she could manage rather than submit to searches and regulations. She attacked a group of All'ra guards intent on leaving only greasy stains where they stood. Onlookers watched on a hot autumn day in 1404 as the mage cast spell after spell in their midst, while the granite-hued guards merely stood there and watched as they became rapidly engulfed in an inferno of Al'Noth-powered fire, storms, and missiles. When the smoke cleared, they remained. Their clothing was in smoldering shreds but the All'ra themselves were completely unharmed. The mage was rapidly subdued and brought to the courthouse near the castle, never to be seen again.

Since then, other reports have surfaced of the guards stunning capacity to resist the Al'Noth. Those planning larger actions against the All'ra felt a cold prickle of sweat along their collective collars and abandoned their efforts. The people of Prantz swallowed dryly and carried on. Mages joined the surface-dwelling dwarves that were leaving in droves for greener pastures.

Following that, was the banishment of public displays of religion and the calling of gods' powers. The Lord of Rael declared that the sheer number of gods invited chaos. The dogmas were contradicting and the lands must be freed from the madness of such disparate beliefs. So, for the first year, no public worship was allowed although private home shrines were not prohibited with the exception of Vorax. Worship of the War Father was banned and any display of his symbol or mention of his name was made punishable by death. This brought unrest and dark mutterings from the people.

The magnificent edifice to Toran was gone; that spot stood empty for a decade. Daily, the Deep dwarf guards would come around and perform a strange ritual over the spot involving metal dust and mushroom powder, but beyond that, the area was left exposed to the packed earth beneath the brick. All other known shrines (except, it's said, the hidden one to Branderback) were removed.

It was during this time that the courts of the Deep Lord were in session. They sent a handful of people daily to the marble prison. It became obvious after several years that even with the slowing of the arrests as the citizenry adapted to the new laws that the prison could not possibly hold all the convicts sent there. Visitation rights were banned from the beginning'once a person entered through the iron-reinforced doors of the jail, they would not be seen again until their sentence was up. A good number were never seen again. The explanation given was that they had perished in their cells or in fights with other inmates. But still, how could a finite space house so many people? And where were the bodies? It was later that the public was told that convicts could be sent to prisons elsewhere at the Lord's pleasure; however, elsewhere was never defined and remains a mystery still. Public sentiment nose-dived and small riots resulted. The atmosphere around Prantz remains gloomy.

The citadel of Rofirein carried on as best it could aiding those in trouble, but it was set to be dismantled in 1415 when Barvath Hiramun III, the Golden Voice of Rofirein, was given the sudden opportunity to strike a deal with the Deep Lord. After intense negotiations, an announcement was made in Oclar 1416 that the Rofireinites, while not acknowledged as a church or as a religion, were being recognized as a lawful entity and therefore being placed in charge of the court system as an independent part of Lord Rael's government. This marked the first change in public opinion toward pro-Rael sentiment; however, it has been widely touted as a purely political move as the Rofireinites still have no control over what happens to a person once they have been legally convicted, sentenced, and marched through the gates of the prison.

On the first day of the year 1418, a large number of Deep dwarves came to begin building on the spot the Toranite church had occupied. Bedrock was laid down and thick walls were stacked. The stone used appears to be from a Deep earth source, a dark obsidian with no weathering or exposure on any of its highly polished surfaces. Adamantium was used to reinforce the new two-story building, and the double doors were made of foot-deep thick slabs of iron banded with the dark precious metal. The building took a year to complete. Most of the Prantz natives watched with growing apprehension, especially as the guard patrols were increased dramatically during this time.

Religion returned to the realm on 1 Janar, 1419. An hour before dawn, Lord of Rael left the castle and walked in a measured pace alongside a contingent of his guards toward the new structure. Behind the hooded, cloaked ruler was a wagon covered by a black cloth. The strange procession was witnessed by few. One woman out preparing to go to market saw the procession, and she had this to say:

They weren't hiding anything, just walking right down the street. They pulled the wagon up to the steps, and Lord Rael took a big hammer thing from it, one of those with two hammer heads. It was dark, the hammer I mean. Dark metal. They opened up the doors and he took it inside. And that was it.

The next morning the Church of Sulterio opened to any who would come. It was revealed that the Deep dwarf who ruled the city also followed the ways of the Adamantium Brotherhood in the Order of Wisdom. From the solid adamantium altar, Lord Rael said that his god was misunderstood and a scapegoat for the failures of other gods. He spoke of Sulterio's respect for law and pointed to the orderly way the city was being run. He spoke of his god's respect for creation, noting several smiths around town whose work he admired (none being surface dwarves) and the upswing in merchants and businesses. And he told of the Church of Sulterio, which was the first many ears in that crowd had ever heard of it.

The people of Prantz found a message that many could relate to. While much that would upset the masses was conveniently left out, the mellow, rolling tenor of Lord Rael drew nods from a number of heads. Quoted from his speech:

"Long it has been said that we are such a different people, and our god is callous and cruel. But listen to what he dictates, listen to what he says, and you, and you, and you, you might all find something of worth.

Protect your family. Honor your clan and your people. Are these the words of an uncaring god? Do you not do this already?

Be self-sufficient as even praying to Sulterio could be dependency. Don't ask Sulterio to fix a problem that you can fix yourself. Your faith is strength, not a way to blame your troubles on something else.

Worship is in deed not in words. Another way to think of this is do, don't say. Sulterio will feel your admiration when you hammer out the perfect weapon, turn in a lawbreaking mage, or uphold his words. You don't need to kneel daily for him to see your faith.

Work for your riches for nothing good comes easy. Nothing was handed to you. You work and work hard. You do not depend on rich relatives, luck, or the generosity of others; you build, you sew, you tend, you grow. What respect can a man have for himself when his wealth came on another's back?

Faith is a forge to temper the soul. Sulterio teaches that weakness must be driven out, that a man must be the master of himself. When it comes to trying times, this city has known many. Hard decisions had to be made to put Prantz back on the path to law, to a time that has not been seen since the emperors sat here. You have weathered those trying times and those that stand here today have driven out the weakness that comes from the chaos of tolerance'the weakness that is indecision and uncertainty masquerading as choice. To remove weakness from the body, a man must be sure. Sure of who he is, what he is expected to do, and what he believes in. Are you sure? Or are you weak?"

With this speech, the Deep Lord began his campaign to remedy the reputation of the Adamantium One. The temple opening was merely the beginning. Bowing of heads is now required at specified times during the day and is dedicated to the Deep dwarf god. Grandmaster Rokru Ironbender has been seen in the castle, and the mushroom motif has popped up on buildings all over Prantz.

Still, his laws, while strict, are administered without prejudice (with the exception of those involving wormskin dwarves: what the Deep dwarves privately call those born to the outside of the world rather than the inside). The bulk of the citizenry, as well, has very slowly come to appreciate their safety in the hands of the Lord of Rael. Crime is almost non-existent as guards patrol every street, and no more do ladies clutch their purses nervously in crowds or merchants fear to turn their backs on their displays. The ability to go about their business and the quiet security of Prantz have gone a long way toward helping the townsfolk accept their new leader.

He also aggressively supported trade, farming, and small merchants, to the point of setting up new markets around Prantz to encourage commerce. Although his tax is heavy, those who would be shut out by larger trading companies have come to speak in glowing terms of the rules from the Trade Board that give them the opportunity to compete.

The Lord of Rael is now spreading slowly north and south, having replaced the governments of Sierra, Rangley, Anvil, Fort Rael, Blackwind, Fort Hold, Fort Love, Heather's Glade, and Seawatch Fort. Haft Lake, being somewhat more independent, is beholden to his laws and taxes, but he has kept a light hand there for reasons he does not disclose. Clover is currently being negotiated with to join the growing number of towns that house Rael guards and follow Rael laws, and Golden is said to be next in the Lord's sights. The wooded cities, which include Vale, Oakhurst, and Orc's Watch, are currently outside his influence, being mostly comprised of rangers, druids, and outcasts. Castle Mask, Golden, and Dektis are under the local control of Lor, which remains an independent city. Certain council members in Lor have recently switched to praising the new regime however, and the tides are shifting in favor of an alliance at the very least. Raylynn is well-hidden on the west coast and answers to no one.

Of the Deep Lord himself, most believe that he was the fifth general of Bloodstone, and his origins remain mysterious. Stories circulate of a sister city to Prantz, which is miles below the surface, and that Rael is merely an extension of the Deep Lord's other realm. Whispers from those with imprisoned loved ones say they are being used as slaves, sacrifices, or disposable troops in some Deep war. Regardless, Lord Rael now rules the city and its people utterly and completely, backed by an army as large as ever gathered in the world. His true motives may swim under the surface of his pious public facade, but his position is anchored securely in the center of Layonara.

The flag of Rael is split lengthwise by color, the top white and the bottom black. Centered in the top is a black tower, which is connected by a red line to a tower of white centered near the bottom.