Skyria

An island nation of necromancers and raiders.

Region Deathlands
Population ~100 000 people (on Skyrian Islands)
Racial breakdown 70% humans, 10% half-orcs, 6% orcs, 6% dwarves, 2% elves, 6% other races,
Capital Heglir
Emblem A grey skull over a black drakkar on dark-blue field
Ruler Lich Lords
Religion Cult of Ghadith, highly atheistic, followers of the Lich Lords, Cult of the Masks (Warkahr Pirates),
Ties Aristar (enemy), Teneren (enemy), Cannaran (enemy), The Ice Fangs (occupied province),
Imports Precious metals, gems, wood, grain, wine,
Exports Fish, iron, slaves, weapons,
Military power ~12 000 Skyrian warriors (50% on the Skyrian Islands, 50% in the Ice Fangs), ~500 Sabbeni thrall-warriors, ~600 Warkahr pirates, ~5 000 undead standing army (~3 000 of which in the Ice Fangs),

The island nation of Skyria is located on the islands of the cold Hynyran Sea in the southern part of Erhliss in the region known as the Deathlands. A mixture of bloodthirsty raiders and pirates, combined with a group of necromancers and dark mages, long they have held the entire South under their control. Even now their ships threaten trading vessels of any other nation and their armies are preparing to launch another invasion against their hated enemy – Aristar.

Now the Skyrian society is mainly divided between warriors and adepts of dark arts, with both commoners and slaves catering to fishery, mining and what little agriculture is done in the lands occupied by the Skyrians. Skyria is primarily a human nation, with the obvious exception of slaves taken from many different areas and the ranks of the necromancers which are filled by beings from different races, with talent being the only criterion. However, the sight of orcs and gnolls among the soldiers or mercenaries is increasingly common, which may suggest some changes in this area – and while often treated as second class citizen, half-orcs also form a significant percentage of population.

Historical overview

Skyria started as a mere coalition of pirate lords and raiders, but since they conquered the Sarkath the history of Skyria has been tightly tied to the history of necromancy on Serlon. It is said that from the Sarkath tribes the Skyrians did learn the dark arts, which were finally learned by Khegar the Black King on his path to lichdom. Since that time, the necromancers of Skyria were a constant threat to the safety of the southern Erhliss nations. The Black King’s first crusade has almost brought an end to the goblin Empire of Erhliss but after he was stopped, the necromancers have lost their position in Skyria which returned under the rule of shiplords.

Only after several lost wars, when there were not enough soldiers to stop the wrath of enemies of Skyria, were the dark mages asked to return and supplement Skyrian military power with their undead. Since that time they continuously rose in power and prestige, only going to the shadows when their existence would be enough for the Kirigan Empire to launch a full-scale invasion of Skyria. Still they did rule from the shadows, their plots determining the course of shiplords’ policies, their magic assisting them in wars.

Waves after waves of undead marched North only to be stopped by the valiant knights of Aristar. The recent appearance of the Death Shroud brought much needed powers to the necromancers and finally they did manage to pierce the walls Aristion before being driven off. Although the subsequent secession of Cannaran, loss of the City of Catacombs and the emergence of the nation of Teneren has cost the Skyrians much of their land and power, they still remain dangerous.

Government

Not long before, any Skyrian asked about the ruler of his nation would point either to the Supreme Shiplord or would say that most of the major fleet captains are lords unto themselves. Still, the policy of this country was subtly guided from the shadows by a coven of undead mages called the Lich Lords. Since the emergence of the Death Shroud and the last failed assault on Aristar, the Lich Lords have revealed themselves again. While it cannot be said that every fisherman or raider knows of their existence or role, the fleet captains are well aware who in the end is giving the orders.

That does not mean that the dark mages are giving every order to the various fleets, they create a general direction of their policy, while most of the actual leadership is still in the hands of the shiplords. The Skyrian army can be divided into two very different branches – a very disciplined infantry and bloodthirsty raiders and pirates from the fleet. While the command structure for the infantry is very rigid, most of the major shiplords view themselves as equal to each other and there is not much command structure. That is why the position of Supreme Shiplord is still held, with that person being the highest admiral, under the direct authority of the Lich Lords.

Religion

Skyrians have never placed much faith in the gods. While in the early days of the nation some of them were worshipping Seneshess or Tarun, this was usually just paying lip service. That changed when one of the more powerful captains – Helgur the Windking made a deal with a powerful fiend named Ghadith, the Lord of the Depths. This water demon offered safe travel for Helgur’s ships and used storms to destroy his opponents, in return when Helgur founded House Knagha and became the first king of Skyria, he made the cult the state religion of the islands.

While most Skyrians remained skeptic to the idea of worshipping another being, this religion seemed attractive to them. Still, when Khegar came and deposed the House Knagha and abolished the religion, most shiplords did not resist much. The Black King and his Lich Lords demanded servitude and obedience but not worship, which also was fine with the Skyrians. Even when he was defeated the path of necromancy remained attractive to the Skyrians, with various adepts taking the mantle of Lich Lords and ruling their nation in secret. However, as the various shiplords officially held the power – with House Knagha among them – the cult of the Lord of the Depths was also restored.

Now, after the Lich Lords openly took power yet again the Skyrians are divided – with the majority of the captains still worshipping Ghadith, commoners not interested in any religion and those who want to be on the dark mages’ good graces remaining atheistic and following the Lich Lords. The one exception to this are the pirates from the Warkahr Islands, who were under the influence of the Xyzaa Empire and are still worshipping the Masks.

Important individuals

Gazetteer

Skyrian archipelago

Skyria is situated on three main islands and countless smaller ones. Although Skyria encompassed other areas of the South in its heyday, now only this archipelago is considered to be true Skyria, with its only terrains outside it being the occupied province of Ice Fangs.

Great Skyria (~20 000 people): the largest of Skyrian islands. Once it held the capital city, but it was razed almost to the ground by invading forces when Skyria lost the war.

  • Ghavir (~14 000 people): the former capital of Skyria. Destroyed by the invading Kirigan forces, now it is but a ghost town, shadow of its former glory. After the Lich Lords resumed their rule, this town is slowly populating but mainly with dark adepts as it serves as a staging point for undead forces.
  • Bonekeep: a great, though ruined, stronghold overlooking the city of Ghavir. Once the main defense of the old Skyrian capital, now a haunted ruin – one that is slowly repopulating with the forces of Lich Lords.
  • Graveyard of Wood: the mouth of the Bay of Great Skyria is where the main strike of the Kirigan invasion fleet fell. The Empire lost many ships to the dark spells of necromancers and the entire bay was basically blocked by derelicts. The souls of Kirigan soldiers continued to guard this area, but the Lich Lords were eventually able to subdue them and now are using them to recreate a fleet of haunted ships.

Helegra (~50 000 people): the second island in size, currently containing the new capital of Skyria. For long it has been the richest island, thanks to reach deposits of iron ore – very rare on the islands. Home to the ambitious House Knagha, it is from here where this family had tried to take over Skyria, only to be stopped by the Lich Lords.

  • Heglir (~37 000 people): the current capital of Skyria, a bustling and cosmopolitan city – at least for Skyrian standards. Among many others, two places deserve particular interest: Greyseat Keep – a small stronghold, which now serves as a power center for the deposed House Knagha and The Raiders’ Bazaar – a unique marketplace where almost only looted objects are sold.
  • Castle Knagha: once the headquarters of House Knagha, now the barracks and training grounds for the Skyrian army.
  • Isle of Obelisks: a tiny island next to Helegra, rumored to be the location of a monastery in which Skyrian necromancers are trained.

Old Skyria (~4000 people), also called Small Skyria: the last of the larger islands, since forever shrouded in mystery. It is said that on this island the Black King started his studies of the dark arts and this was his primary seat of power.

  • Saraghus Citadel: this was the castle built by the Black King and the place where the art of necromancy was taught. That made it the primary target for the Kirigan Empire. The castle itself was razed to the ground but it is rumoured that the extensive dungeon network below it was left untouched. Now it is said that at least one of the Lich Lords lives there.
Other islands of Skyria

Darshaek Island (~1000 people): once this place held a temple of the Tribunal. After the First Tearing it would quickly fell into neglect if not for its new inhabitants – the Way of the Blood Hand or rather renegade followers of that cult, exiled from the sect from perverting it ideals. The small cult quickly turned into a cult of strength that became quite popular with the Skyrians. In an surprise twist it was the Lich Lords who discouraged the spread of the religion, fearing for their own position.

Warkahr Islands (~4000 people): a small archipelago north-east from the main Skyrian islands, was the home to fearsome pirates even before Skyrians themselves became raiders. When faced with Skyrian invasion they fought valiantly against them before finally being conquered. However they quickly adapted to the Skyrian way of life and while they took little part in the invasions of the continent, their ships were the scourge of their opponents’ fleets. Bloodthirsty even for Skyrians, the Warkahr pirates are said to worship strange being dwelling in the sea, requiring human sacrifices performed by drowning the unfortunate victims. Currently the pirates are one of the largest threats to the merchant fleets and the Task’shamt ships.

Sabbeni Island (~10 000 people): a relatively big island in the Bay of the Ice Wyrm. The Sabbeni people have been fishers and whalers for generations. Being sturdy and hard folk they resisted the Skyrians quite long but were finally conquered. Still, they’ve managed to accept their new occupation and while they are by no means happy to be supplying their men as soldiers to the Skyrians, thanks to this and the tribute they are pay the Skyrians mostly leave them be in peace and even protect from occasional raiders from the White Bridge.

Darana Island (~1000 people): an island relatively near the Border Wall mountains. Home to some ancient ruins related to the past of dragons were captured by the Folk of the Black Scale for the same reason. After the Skyrians recaptured it, the reptilions launched a massive counterstrike, led by one of their dragons. The Skyrian fleet was destroyed along with most of their armies, one of the Lich Lords and the ruins themselves but the other Lich Lords managed to kill the dragon. Now the island, although controlled by Skyria again is almost empty – but for the massive dragon skeleton.

Skyria

Project: Vorago Denadareth