A land ruled by monsters where the only protection lies either in religion or in the claws of a dragon.
|Population||~400 000 people (~189 000 in South Teneren, ~211 000 in North Teneren)|
|Racial breakdown||69% humans, 14% dwarves, 4% half-orcs, 4% elves, 9% other races,|
|Capital||Navalac (Vanneiroth’s capital); Fanros (capital of North Teneren),|
|Emblem||A black dragon on top of a castle (South Teneren); A red sword on blue with three golden stars – symbol of the Haneiron dynasty (North Teneren)|
|Ruler||Vanneiroth the Obsidian Wind (South Teneren), The Invoker Council and Crown Prince Andran Haneiron (North Teneren),|
|Religion||Highly atheistic with remains of the faith in the Order of the New Dawn (South Teneren), Cult of the Sentinel (North Teneren),|
|Ties||Aristar (tentative peace and trading agreements), Skyria (enemy), The Forest of Bloody Leaves (enemy),|
|Imports||Iron, weapons, gems, wine,|
|Exports||Silver, salt, fish, herbs, grain, meat, wood,|
|Military power||4000 soldiers (South Teneren), 3600 soldiers (North Teneren),|
Teneren came a long way from a proud kingdom, to a land ravaged by monsters and finally to a nation united under a rule of a dragon overlord. The dragon’s protection seemed to be the only salvation for the people of Teneren, before a new force appeared – the Cult of the Sentinel. Now the land itself is divided, with South Teneren serving Vanneiroth and the North Teneren standing as a loose coalition of towns protected by the Sentinel. There is no civil war yet, but it is clear for everyone that only one of those forces can rule this land.
Internal strife is not the only thing that threatens this nation – it is located between two Voragos, bordering the terrains of Skyrians and the White Bridge. Furthermore, it borders the nation of Aristar and while those two are not at war, their religions are completely incompatible and sooner or later they may clash.
Teneren once was a part of Aristar, the southernmost province of the Kirigan Empire. Since the First Tearing and a bitter religious civil war it became an independent kingdom, surrounded by enemies and locked in a war for supremacy in the south with Aristar. However being locked between two Voragos was too much for that nation to handle. Invaded by legions of monsters and undead, with their king slain the nation faced annihilation from an army approaching their capital. Rescue came from the most unusual side – a black dragon that came upon the invading army and burned them to cinders. Then he flew to Navalac, landed on top of the Navisi Castle and proclaimed himself the new king. After a show of force there wasn’t anyone left who was ready to oppose him. Furthermore, after few years of his rule most of them believed that catering to the needs of the dragon was a small price to pay for the relative safety he provided – especially as they looked at their countryside being overrun by monsters.
More and more of people journeyed towards the capital and hid under Vanneiroth’s wings as the remnants of their nation fought a losing battle against the monsters. That was until some of the villages started utilizing new wards that held the creatures at bay. These new ways for protection were given to them by refugees escaping the Death Shroud that worshipped and were protected by a mysterious creature known as the Sentinel. As the cult of the Sentinel attracted more and more members, power began sliding out of the dragon’s claw.
South Teneren is ruled by a black dragon named Vanneiroth. After he destroyed much of the king’s castle he took the ruins as his lair. Vanneiroth’s is a tyrant who does not tolerate any resistance but he usually does not interfere with matters of the state, allowing a group of his supporters known as the Secret Scales to pass and enforce laws. However when he does take interest, his orders supersede those of everyone else. While some of the dragon’s decisions, such as a need for a female (preferably virgin) sacrifice each month are not very popular with the people, most believe that the protection granted by the creature is worth the price.
North Teneren in turn was a loose coalition of towns, which only recently began to unite in their faith in the Sentinel. While there is no clear ruler of these lands, it is usually assumed that the council of the highest ranking Invokers is leading them. While they provide spiritual leadership, the rag-tag military of the north was until recently led by a brilliant general Godric. Not long ago however he defected to serve Vanneiroth. Branded as a traitor by his kinsmen, he believes that by using the dragon’s resources he can do more good to his people than by serving them.
There is one other person important to the fate of Teneren. Prince Andran Haneiron, the last descendant of Teneren’s last king serves as a banner for most of those who wish to depose the dragon. However, as supporting him would risk drawing the wrath of Vanneiroth, and considering he is a staunch enemy of the Cult of Sentinel, his support in North Teneren has been continuously decreasing. Now his sphere of influence is limited almost exclusively to the city of Fanros, but he is said also to be a frequent guest in Aristar, trying to win them to his cause. Only time will tell if Aristar will help in trying to depose the dragon and, if so, what place will they charge.
Religion has always been an important part in Teneren. The nation itself became independent from Aristar following a long civil war between the followers of the Church of the Tribunal and the Order of New Dawn. However, while religion has always been important, its significance has been waning since Vanneiroth took over. While not outlawed, religious activities are strongly discouraged in South Teneren. Especially those who want to stay in the dragon’s good graces, tend to distance themselves from any kind of worship, with the once-great Cathedral of Sunrise attracting less and less followers every year.
In North Teneren the situation is completely different. While this part of the nation remained loyal to the Order, they quickly found out that without Vanneiroth’s protection they are forced to fight a losing war against monsters invading their lands. Help came from a most unexpected side – from a group of refuggees escaping the Heart of the True Wild. These people – calling themselves the Savari – were coming also from a world that was overrun by monsters. They were protected by a mysterious being known as the Sentinel. As their wards were able to protect the citizens from North Teneren as well, people began forsaking the path of the New Dawn in favour of worshipping the Sentinel. While this may have saved the nation, it also not only angered Vanneiroth but also caused the enmity of the pious nation of Aristar.
Important individuals and factions
- Vanneiroth the Obsidian Wind: the dragon that rules South Teneren from his lair in Navalac.
- Misella: the High Invoker of the Cult of the Sentinel and the most influential person in the Council of Invokers.
- Seerla Nakana: a protegee of Godric and a rising star among the North Teneren military.
- Godric of Teneren: a brilliant general from North Teneren that defected to serve Vanneiroth.
- Andran Haneiron: a deposed descendant of the last king of Teneren, gathering allies against Vanneiroth.
- The Invoker Council: the highest clergy of the cult of the Sentinel.
- The Secret Scales: a circle of advisors to Vanneiroth, their identities kept hidden.
- The Dragon’s Teeth: the army and secret police of South Teneren, serving the Secret Scales and Vanneiroth.
- The Conciliators: a secret brotherhood, trying to unite the ghosts of the Field of Ash and use their help to kill Vanneiroth.
Teneren is at the moment divided into two parts. While officially North and South Teneren still form a one country, everyone expects a full civil war to break up eventually. The Karini River forms a natural border between North Teneren and Aristar, the waters of river clear before it goes into the Death Shroud.
South Teneren is the safer half of the nation, having traded freedom for the protection of the great dragon. Still, it has its share of problems – as it borders the Ice Fangs it is forced to defend against Skyrian rides, as well as occasional attacks coming from the White Bridge.
Navalac (~78 000 people): this was the former capital of the entire nation of Teneren and still it remains the centre of power in South Teneren. It remains one of the biggest cities in the Deathlands and in the south of Erhliss. It was steadily falling into decline in the years since the Second Tearing but that process was stopped if not reversed after Vanneiroth’s arrival. The dragon did save the city from the coming invasion but also killed their king and burned a large part of the royal castle. Much of the city has also suffered from the dragon fire as people turned against him, but after the uprising was quelled he spared the rest and began rebuilding the city. Since under the dragon’s protection Navalac became one of the safest cities in the entire south, people started moving into it. The city flourished since then, though still obedience is ruthlessly enforced by the agents of the Secret Scales. Among the more important sites in the city there are:
- The Wyrm’s Keep: formerly known as the Navisi Castle, this grand majestic fortress dominated the face of the city. Unfortunately the walls were no match against the power of a dragon. A major portion of the center of the castle collapsed, leaving a hole used by Vanneiroth as his landing pad. The dragon tore down most of the interior walls, living large open spaces where he can move.
- The Cathedral of Sunrise: this great temple was first build to worship the Tribunal. However, after the First Tearing, most of the population of Teneren converted to the Order of the New Dawn. The cathedral was one of the few buildings that were left relatively undamaged during Vanneiroth’s rampage through the city but now, since the dragon is discouraging religious devotion in his subjects it is slowly falling into disrepair with less and less people present on the celebrations.
Ravenjo: this old castle stands on a hill not far from the border of the Death Shroud and the Fortress of the Nightshade. It stood here even before the goblins came to this regions, ruled by a powerful vampire lord, maybe even one of the Eldest. Some say the creature was destroyed, others that it was merely driven away – whatever the truth, the Ravenjo castle served as a garrison for the Knights of the Silent Grave, who kept an eye on the strange things happening in the Fortress of the Nightshade. As even Vanneiroth was unable to conquer that fortress, he keeps a contingent of his Dragon’s Teeth in Ravenjo as well, protecting his lands against incursions from the Vorago.
Southport (~30 000 people): this city has the honor of being probably the only major port in the Deathlands not controlled by the Skyrians. This naturally has been a source of wealth and trade for its people, with groups of people coming to stay and work here being quite common. Vanneiroth also does recognize the importance of Southport and of trade and keeps a large garrison of his troops to protect it from any Skyrian raids. As the dragons wants the trade to flourish, the dragon’s grip over the city is not as tight as in other cases. Still the mayor of Southport is appointed by Vanneiroth himself, it is also said that at least one of the Secret Scales lives here. There is a small but growing movement of merchants who are not content with the dragon’s rule – or his taxes. While they are gaining popularity, more reasonable citizens shy away from them, fearful that one day they may attract the wrath of the dragon.
- The Grey Fang: an evidence of Vanneiroth’s mastery in the realm of magic, the Grey Fang is a rocky island that was lifted from the bottom – or created by dragon’s magic. With a fortress built on it, it guards the entrance to the port and serves as both a lighthouse and a look-up warning of Skyrian ships.
The Field of Ash: the location of the last battle between the nation of Teneren and the invading force from the Heart of the Wild. It is here that the king was killed and Vanneiroth’s intervention burned both armies into charcoal. Those killed by the dragon’s fire do not rest peacefully, with their ghosts fighting with each other on some of the nights. As it is said that the spirits hate each other only slightly more than they hate Vanneiroth, someone who would be able to calm the spirits, forge a truce and unite them against the dragon, would have a chance of killing the beast – which is something the Conciliatiors are trying to achieve.
- Karnassu Keep: a fortress on the border of the Field of Ash and the Forest of Bloody Leaves. Constructed during the reign of the last king of Teneren, improved during Vanneiroth’s rule, this grim fortress guards the western border of the country. This is also a seat of power of count Vysar Marl, a mage interested in studying both the spirits of the Field of Ash and the beasts from the True Wild.
Danerro (~20 000 people): this city stands exactly on what is thought to be the border between South and North Teneren. Nominally under Vanneiroth’s rule and housing a strong contingent of his soldiers, the city lies in the centre of very fertile lands. As majority of farmsteads lie beyond the city walls, many farmers became forced to employ the wards of the Sentinel to keep the monsters at bay – as a result more and more people are converting to this cult, with the city slowly slipping out of Vanneiroth’s claws.
When comparing it to its southern counterpart, North Teneren seems to be much less safe for its citizens. Until recently monsters used to roam the lands with ghosts and other undead haunting the countryside. People were only safe in their fortified villages and often not even then. This has begun to change with the coming of the Cult of the Sentinel. The monsters became more rare, attacking mainly during the night when people hid behind the wards of the clerics. As the monsters withdrew, the isolated hamlets began to unite in their faith of the Sentinel. Still, they don’t pose a serious threat to Vanneiroth’s rule and being located between a dragon, the Death Shroud, monster-infested forest and the nation of Aristar which is not very tolerant of the new religion of North Teneren.
Fanros (~45 000 people): Fanros once belonged to one of lords of Aristar, but following the War of the Faithful it became a major city in the independent nation of Teneren. Forced to repel waves of counterstrikes launched by Aristar, it soon began to lose its status in favour of a safer place – Navalac. Fanros is the seat of power of Crown Prince Andran Haneiron as well as the last place where the faith of the New Dawn is still dominant over the Cult of the Sentinel.
- The Hall of Glory: this once was a building dedicated to the line of princes that rules Fanros in the days of Aristar. After the civil war it became a monument to Teneren and to the victory over Aristar. This place is valued by all in Teneren, followers of New Dawn and Sentinel alike as well as even some of those from South Teneren. As such, its very existence alleviates some of the tensions in North Teneren. However while this is a major help for prince Handran, he is under constant pressure from Aristar to raze it down – which is one of the conditions for their help in deposing Vanneiroth.
- The Towers of Daybreak: a relatively new building, created, after Teneren split into two, as a main place of worship for the Order of New Dawn. A semi-circle of six interconnected towers, each with stained glass windows that provide beautiful light shows as the sun rises. Still this building may go the same path as the Cathedral of Sunrise with more and more people in North Teneren abandoning the Order of the New Dawn in favour of the Cult of the Sentinel.
- The Grace of Nakani: the first and for the time being only temple of the Sentinel in Fanros. Named after an event from Nelsior it isn’t even as much of a temple – the faith of the Sentinel encourages services to be held in homes. The Grace of Nakani serves as a meeting ground for Invokers from this area, but mainly it is a symbol that the influence of the Sentinel is growing in Fanros.
Mandrau (~12 000 people): a city at the feet of the Border Wall Mountains. The rich silver and salt deposits here have been the source of wealth for Aristar, Teneren and now serve North Teneren. Conquered after a lengthy siege during the War of the Faithful and retaken several times it found much of its population slaughtered. Those who live here now have a grim view of all religions and basically try to distance themselves from it. It is said that Vanneiroth would love to take this place and has planted more than one spy here, in preparation for an assault that eventually is bound to happen. This place also has a relatively large population of dwarves. As this city lies at the banks of the Karini River, they are using its waters to drift goods southwards.
Georis (~25 000 people): it is said that it is near Georis that the refugees from Nelsior first appeared in Teneren, just in time to save the town from a wave of monsters from the Death Shroud. It was the first place to encountered the Cult of the Sentinel and since then it has become the seat of Invoker Council and the – for more than one Sentinel believer – the true capital of North Teneren.
The Warded Line: a line of small (1.3m tall) columns with Sentinel wards on them, forming a barrier protecting North Teneren from the majority of incursions from the Death Shroud. Despite all of his attempts, Vanneiroth was unable to recreate such effect and the Line serves as a clear reminder of superiority – at least in some areas – of the Sentinel over the dragon.
Andara Plains: a strip of fertile land in the central part of North Teneren, location of many farmsteads and townships. For long time these areas were ravaged by monsters from the True Wild and Death Shroud but since the appearance of the Cult of Sentinel and thanks to their wards they remain relatively secure now. Vast majority of those living here worship the Sentinel.
- New Aeglor (~1 200 people): once called Ballaman, this township was among the first to accept the faith of the Sentinel. The converts renamed this place in memory of Aeglor, a major city in Nelsior.