After the Shadows

This is a dark age, a bloody age, an age of daemons and of sorcery.

After the Shadows

Postby Ghurlag » Sat Feb 23, 2013 12:09 am

Preface

This thread is an attempt by me to set out some of the history of Albion and my much-invented evolution of it, so that someone aside from me can understand why elements are the way they are in any stories I set there in the future. A lot of this is relevant backstory for my (on hold) The Land of Two Kings, but I'll remain removed enough from the details that nothing should be spoiled.

Where appropriate, I'll note items that are conventional (or at least pre-existing) parts of the Albion lore in WHF. I'll also try to explain my deviations and extensions with regard to Celtic and Anglo-Saxon history, though you should expect hefty doses of artistic licence.
Last edited by Ghurlag on Sat Feb 23, 2013 1:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

As the misty veil of Albion is cast aside, we turn our gaze to the war-torn island of Albany, where the Red King vies with his former master for the control of a realm in dire threat.
User avatar
Ghurlag
 
Posts: 697
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:57 pm


Re: After the Shadows

Postby Ghurlag » Sat Feb 23, 2013 1:57 am

Before the Shadows[1]

Albion was a single island located in the Great Ocean, northwest of Bretonnia. It and the smaller Isle of Wights to the south are home to the Ogham stones, which were set up by giants working under instruction from human servants of the Old Ones, known as Truthsayers, during the First War against Chaos[2].

The Ogham stones serve as a locus for the Winds of Magic, much as the Isle of the Dead in Uthulan does - indeed, the two are complementary defences against the spread of Chaos. The Truthsayers, knowing that they could not hope to defend the islands by force alone, used the Ogham stones' control over the Winds of Magic to weave powerful defences over the islands[3]. The most visible effect of this to those living there is that the weather in Albion is dreadful. From the outside, however, the mist-shrouded islands are almost impenetrable. Strong storms seize any vessels which approach, and usually sink them if they do not turn back.

The isolation of Albion, combined with the influence of the Winds of Magic and the authority of the Truthsayers, resulted in its human population remaining mostly technologically stagnant between the times of the First and Second Wars against Chaos. They remained tribal in nature well after the peoples of the Old World had evolved more sophisticated governmental systems, led by kings which were no more than petty warlords. However, they were not quite so backward as they appeared to Old World observers in later times. They were masters of iron-craft, skilled poets and artists, and knowledgeable about the dangers of Chaos like no man in the Old World. They possessed a common religion and tongue, though with heavy dialectic variances in the latter. Their Truthsayers were powerful and skilled magic-wielders as well as sage and impartial counsellors to those in power. Notably, they were capable of controlling the elements, summoning Fen Beasts from the deep bogs, and in rare cases commanding Giants into battle[4].

The men of Albion were also powerful warriors, by necessity. The island, with its many marshes and fens, is home to a large Fimir population[5]. The Fimir are cyclopean, amphibious monsters the size of men with barbed tails and beak-like snouts, capable of generating a mist to cloak them. They once had the favour of the Chaos Gods, but were cast aside in favour of Man. This has made them bitter towards all Men. They have a strict caste system, headed by a female known as a Meargh - a witch-hag - who is the only female Meargh in the settlement, and a powerful magic-user. Below the Meargh are the Dirach, a caste of Fimir wizards which worship daemons. Next are the Fimm, the warrior caste, headed by the nobles and the elite Fianna Fimm. These lead raids and take defend Fimir settlements in battle. Finally there are the Shearls, slaves which exist only to work and die, and are not necessarily of the Fimir race. The Fimir build rough rock fortresses deep in swampy regions, from which they raid the lands of Men - as the Meargh are always sterile, the Fimir require healthy human women to procreate, so they capture the wives of men as breeding stock, and the men as slaves.

To defend his people from Fimir raids, an Albion man needed to be cunning and strong, knowing when to disappear into the woods or grass, and when to stand strong and cast his spear. The most deadly and ferocious warriors would be tattooed as Ogham Guardians, given fine broadswords and magical golden torcs to protect them from the spells of the Fimir. They were sworn to obey the Truthsayers and defend the Ogham stones against all foes.[6]

One of the rare moments where the outside world breached the defences of Albion prior to the Shadows was when the Tilean explorer and conquerer Courious Gesar, a triumvir of Remas, sailed to the islands with the intent of bringing Tilean culture to them. How he managed to navigate the storms is unknown, but his overall attempt was unsuccessful, and the expedition was repulsed by the natives. He returned to Remas in the company of a Truthsayer known as Hengas the Druid, and a pair of Giants. Courious was assassinated upon reaching land, and the secret of his approach to the misty islands was lost. Hengas and the Giants became mercenaries, travelling the Old World. While the Giants may have been stranded, it could certainly be possible for Hengas to have returned through the island's defences, suggesting some ulterior motive behind his departure[7].


[1] I know, but it's probably best to begin at the beginning.
[2] All this, and indeed much of this section, is general Albion background from the Shadows over Albion campaign, not altered much from what you'd find on Lexicanum.
[3] This isn't explicitly stated in the Shadows background, but it's a good explanation for both the terrible weather (which would otherwise just be a joke) and the reason why Albion has avoided interaction with the rest of the Warhammer world.
[4] Bits of this are somewhat observable from the lore, bits are extrapolation, bits are cultural ties to the Celts, which seem to be the main inspiration behind GW's image of Albion.
[5] This is some early lore, arguably deprecated. Newer readers of WHF might not know what the Fimir are(/were), so I include what should be a generally acceptable description of them.
[6] The Ogham Guardians are purely my invention, inspired by various tales of Celtic warrior culture.
[7] Courious is not my invention, most of this tale is straight background on Albion, beyond a little elaboration on Hengas.

As the misty veil of Albion is cast aside, we turn our gaze to the war-torn island of Albany, where the Red King vies with his former master for the control of a realm in dire threat.
User avatar
Ghurlag
 
Posts: 697
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:57 pm


Re: After the Shadows

Postby Ghurlag » Sat Feb 23, 2013 3:40 am

Shadows over Albion

Following the Second Great War against Chaos, the Daemon Prince Be'lakor, having escaped his earlier torment, decided to attempt to gain material form through use of the energies which were trapped by the Ogham Stones of Albion, a plan which would incidentally destabilise the Winds of Magic, causing untold damage across the Old World[1].

The Daemon Prince began his scheme by remotely securing the worship of many of the Fimir Dirach caste, leading them into usurping the rule of some of the Meargh in his favour. Be'lakor then began working on corrupting the Truthsayers of Albion, meeting them in their dreams as a 'Dark Master' to offer great power and make dire threats. While many Truthsayers resisted, some were won over, and surrendered their knowledge of the secrets of Albion to him. Meanwhile, Be'lakor's Fimir servants built him a Citadel of Lead in the northerly regions of Albion, ready for his materialisation.

As Be'lakor grew to understand Albion's intricate defences, he realised that to master the energies and fully materialise, he would have to first destroy the Ogham Stones. He began this process with his Fimir servants and the Truthsayers under his sway, but the uncorrupted Truthsayers quickly organised strong resistance from the tribes of Albion. The damage was sufficient, however, to allow Be'lakor to drop the island's defences and send his Truthsayers out as Dark Emissaries to draw destructive forces to Albion. His plan was to use the surge of invaders to scatter the defences of the Ogham Stones so his servants could destroy them and allow him to complete his materialisation.

The Truthsayers divined his intention, and sent forth their own emissaries to call for aid from whatever quarter they could gather it, including Uthulan and the Old World, as well as stranger lands. The combined effect was that as Be'lakor's influence began to show itself in dark clouds over the island, fleets of all races and states began to appear along the shores of Albion.

Orks and Goblins landed on the southernmost point of the island, claimed it as 'Trogland' and began a rampage north, devastating all that fell before them. A huge Imperial army landed in the east and claimed a vast 'Neuland' in the Emperor's name, with only a few magician-led forces bothering to seek out and defend the Ogham stones of the tribes they were displacing. In the northwest, two Black Arks were beached by the Dark Elves to create a Black City, Nagronath, and the men of Albion began to see the cruelties of that race for the first time[2] .

Though Be'lakor succeeded in throwing the tribes of Albion into disarray, and many Ogham Stones were destroyed in the upheaval, some adversaries proved troublesome. The High Elves sent a substantial delegation, including sorcerers which aided the Truthsayers in wrestling control of the island's energies from Be'lakor. The most surprisingly effective intervention, however, was that of the Lizardmen. The Slann opened the paths of the Old Ones to cross the seas with a huge host. They seized an Ogham Stone close to Be'lakor's Lead Citadel and used it to distort the local weather, creating a tropical jungle environment which favoured them and greatly disadvantaged all others.

While the Lizardmen tore apart Be'lakor's support base and began building a new city, Konquata, a delegation of adventurers lead by Truthsayer guides infiltrated the Lead Citadel and destroyed Be'lakor's partial materialisation. As Be'lakor was discorporated, the energies he had gathered were unleashed. Violent storms and earthquakes shook Albion, and invaders and natives alike thought the island might be utterly destroyed[3].


[1] The story of the Shadows I've seen in official sources is a less detailed version of what I outline here. The motives and exact movements of Be'lakor beyond the creation of the Dark Emissaries are not specified, so I fill them out with what I consider plausible inferences. I provided a Lexicanum link for Be'lakor in case he's not been encountered by the reader.
[2] These faction snippets are from the Shadows setting background. The Lizardmen background has been altered to tie into the end of Be'lakor and what follows. The creation of Neuland in the east by Empire forces is handily already a parallel to the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain. Indeed, even the circumstances of that invasion (invited to fight against an enemy in the north) are nice tie-ins to real-world history (though we are lacking the Romans).
[3] This event is completely invented. I couldn't find anything detailed on the defeat of Be'lakor, so I made up something that tied into what comes later.
Last edited by Ghurlag on Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

As the misty veil of Albion is cast aside, we turn our gaze to the war-torn island of Albany, where the Red King vies with his former master for the control of a realm in dire threat.
User avatar
Ghurlag
 
Posts: 697
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:57 pm


Re: After the Shadows

Postby Ghurlag » Sat Feb 23, 2013 4:35 am

Flight from Albion

With Be'lakor defeated, the land itself was tearing apart. Floods washed the valleys, storms raged on the hills, and everywhere the earth trembled. Towns and cities crumbled. Some, thinking the world itself was ending, flung themselves down in despair. Others ran to their ships, suddenly less eager for the spoils of the Misty Island than they were for a return home. By their sides were the Dark Emissaries.

With their Master gone, the Dark Emissaries had seen the hopelessness of their situation, and decided to flee rather than face the remaining Truthsayers. As the various races returned to their ships, the Dark Emissaries bartered, threatened or snook onboard vessels headed for all the corners of the world. Yet they were not alone. The Dark Emissaries knew the secret to breaching the defences which were once again settling over Albion, and the Truthsayers could not allow such a danger to exist. If the Dark Emissaries were to return, the Ogham Stones might fall, and the world would be doomed. Fully half of the remaining Truthsayers, then, set out in pursuit of those which had once been their comrades, taking only those forces which still answered their calls[1].

Thus began one of the longest hunts in history. Dark Emissaries scattered to the edges of the world, selling their services to any who would take them. After them, inexorably, the Truthsayers came, binding themselves temporarily to local powers as the need arose, but always hunting, searching, for the Dark Emissaries whose very existence threatened their homeland.

Meanwhile, the settling defences meant that not all those who wished to leave the island were able to. Much of Neuland remained unevacuated by the time the ships stopped making it through, leaving large numbers of Imperial Citizens stranded in a strange land. Trogland was deserted, but Orc warbands still roamed the land. A High Elf force was left trapped on the western shore - not even the seaworthy Dark Elves could ride the storms out. The Slann alone managed a graceful withdrawal, their portals allowing them to abandon Konquata with few left behind.

For those that remained, hope was scarce. What the hordes had not destroyed, the energies of the ongoing storm did. Only with the aid of the Giants did the remaining Truthsayers preserve the now-precious Ogham Stones through that dark period, as the earth buckled and tore, and the sea found new channels. When at last calm came, Albion was no longer one island[2].


[1] That this pursuit happens is in the official history (and explains Albion troops in the Dogs of War catalogue), but the explanation for the pursuit given here is mine.
[2] This transformation is my means of resolving two conflicting maps. The first one is Albion before and during the Shadows. The second one is Albion afterwards. The GW stance is that the second map (from the 1991 novel Storm Warriors) is deprecated, but I think it makes for more interesting possibilities, and so I consider it authoritative for the following history (where it really starts to stray from the GW material) and for almost any point I'm likely to set a story.
Last edited by Ghurlag on Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

As the misty veil of Albion is cast aside, we turn our gaze to the war-torn island of Albany, where the Red King vies with his former master for the control of a realm in dire threat.
User avatar
Ghurlag
 
Posts: 697
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:57 pm


Re: After the Shadows

Postby Ghurlag » Sat Feb 23, 2013 7:11 pm

The Floating of Nagronath

The Dark Elves came to Albion in two Black Arks, the Terror of Man and the Island of Damnation. The Arks were beached together to create a vast new city of darkness, christened Nagronath. From here, the Dark Elves began to raid deep into Albion, taking men as their slaves and sacrifices to Khaine[1].

When the island was sundered following Be'lakor's defeat, the area around Nagronath was one of the worst affected, and as the sea roared over the land many Druchii lives were lost. Yet Nagronath itself was not wholly destroyed, for the Black Arks became vessels once again, and as the sea rose up they were borne up with it.

The Island of Damnation attempted to escape from the turmoil into the west, but even the vast Ark could not master the defences which were drawing tight around Albion once again. The Island of Damnation foundered, the few survivors cast back on the shore of the land which would become the island of Aeryn.

The Terror of Man sought not to escape, but merely to ride out the sundering of Albion on the high waves. When the island had settled once more, the Black Ark returned to land, raising a new Nagronath on an unnamed island right at the center of the new isles[2].

From their new island citadel, the Druchii became masters of the Inner Seas of Albion, raiding along the coasts of all four new lands. Their reputation for cruelty and trickery became swiftly established amongst the islands' inhabitants, inspiring a deep distrust of all elves[3]. The Druchii particularly favoured raiding the exposed east coast of Aeryn.


[1] GW provide that Nagronath was created by two Black Arks, but does not name them.
[2] This Nagronath is visible on my labelled map of Greater Albion following the Shadows. It's roughly where the Isle of Man should be (hence the name of the refounding Ark).
[3] This can still be seen in the events of William King's Giantslayer, which I aim for rough compatibility with.

As the misty veil of Albion is cast aside, we turn our gaze to the war-torn island of Albany, where the Red King vies with his former master for the control of a realm in dire threat.
User avatar
Ghurlag
 
Posts: 697
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:57 pm


Re: After the Shadows

Postby Ghurlag » Sat Feb 23, 2013 9:06 pm

Yrric Bloodaxe

When Be'lakor sent his Dark Emissaries to bring doom to Albion, they did not neglect the Chaos Wastes in their search. A Norscan warlord named Harald the Blue-Fanged answered their call, leading a fleet of the war-hungry across the Sea of Chaos to take part in the slaughter.

The Chaos warbands under Harald proved effective at tearing down many Ogham Circles, but they were at best uneasy allies with Be'lakor, more interested in looting the sacred places of the local tribes. When Be'lakor was defeated, the Chaos fleet began to depart. Harald himself either reached the Sea of Chaos or died in the attempt, but many of his people were left behind[1].

Yrric Bloodaxe[2], the eldest son of Harald, became a natural leader for those Norse left behind in Albion. He gathered his people into an army, and waged a war of conquest on the Umbrian tribes, named for the River Umber where they dwelt. He captured a vast area which became known as Norse Umbria[3], and built a citadel called Yrric's City to be its capital, and a center of worship for the Chaos Gods in Albion.

Yrric named himself King of Norse Umbria, raising powerful warriors to be his Jarls, naming a Jarl of the North Coast, a Jarl of the Lead Citadel, Jarl of the East Farthing and a Jarl of the Drumlands as his earliest subordinates, awarding the title Jarl of the Umber to whichever southward-raiding warrior gained the most valour in battle. Yrric went on to marry a witch named Gunnhilda, and together they sired a royal line of rulers touched by the favour of the gods.

Yrric was eventually killed in a battle against one of the native tribes inhabiting The Backbones. Betrayed by a trusted retainer, he was cut down by a warrior named Maccus.


[1] This corresponds very broadly with the earliest of the multi-staged Viking raids and invasions of Britain, except that they were not contemporary with the Anglo-Saxon invasion. Harald is a reference to Harald Bluetooth.
[2] Eric Bloodaxe was a real Norse ruler of northern Britain, except he was the last rather than the first. His marriage to Gunnhilda and death are loosely factual.
[3] A twist on Northumbria, a real northern kingdom centered on York. Norsumbria is labelled on my map of this period.

As the misty veil of Albion is cast aside, we turn our gaze to the war-torn island of Albany, where the Red King vies with his former master for the control of a realm in dire threat.
User avatar
Ghurlag
 
Posts: 697
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:57 pm


Re: After the Shadows

Postby Ghurlag » Sat Feb 23, 2013 10:19 pm

The Canter Bye

The Bretonnian delegation to the events of the Shadows over Albion was primarily formed of Questing Knights eager to gain the favour of the Lady of the Lake. Though it was a Truthsayer which brought word to them of Albion's plight, the Viscount William whom led the delegation made no particular effort to protect the Ogham Stones, and indeed the Knights even attacked some tribes defending the sacred circles, their main focus being to gain glory in battle. During one encounter, a Bretonnian archer is reported to have put out the eye of Harald the Blue-Fanged[1].

When the Knights were trapped by the relapse of Albion's defences, they began to enserf the local tribes, who had no experience of facing cavalry in battle. William's aim was to entirely recreate the feudal structure of Bretonnia in Albion, to the degree that the new peasantry were instructed never to speak their old language in front of their new masters[2].

While the Knights managed to gain some authority, they found it difficult to turn the men of Albion into properly subservient peasantry. They faced violent resistance over intrusions into the faith of their subjects, and the burden of protection they assumed was heavy, with Fimir, Orcs, Beastmen and savage unconquered tribes on all sides.

As each Knight gained a personal retinue of peasantry, a series of tiny baronies sprung up along the Dark River[3]. Throughout the period of settlement, William persisted in his belief that the Lady of the Lake would allow the Bretonnian settlers to reconnect with their homeland, and so he named the claimed territory the Marcha d'Albion, and titled himself Marquess. The locals, however, named it the 'Canter Bye', after their chief method of observation of their new horseriding rulers[4].



[1] In case these hints aren't heavy enough, William is a Warhammerfication of William the Conquerer.
[2] A reference to the evolution of the English language.
[3] This is what 'Thames' means (probably).
[4] The Canter Bye is labelled on my map of this period.

As the misty veil of Albion is cast aside, we turn our gaze to the war-torn island of Albany, where the Red King vies with his former master for the control of a realm in dire threat.
User avatar
Ghurlag
 
Posts: 697
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:57 pm


Re: After the Shadows

Postby Ghurlag » Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:27 am

Fomoringas[1]

It was not only the native tribes of men which were left distraught by the events of the Shadows. The reclusive Fimir had their society overturned by Be'lakor's pursuit of material power, and their lands torn apart by his defeat.

In the lands of Morien, Albany and Aeryn, they at least were able to resume their old way of life, living in the fens and swamps and raiding the tribes of men for breeding-women and for slaves, even if at times stranger folk were to be seen abroad. Not so on Greater Albion. Here they were exposed to the worst of the influx of invaders. Orcs stormed their craggy forts, Goblins snuck into their fens and new Men came to meet them on the field of battle.

All across Great Albion, the Fimir fought to survive, and lost. Except in one place. Across the River Ooze from the holdings of the men of Neuland, straddling the eastern coast, lies a vast swampland which never fully recovered from its inundation during the sundering[2]. For most it is a place of death and despair, but for the Fimir it was a refuge. Fimir settlements sprung up throughout the swamp, and pacts were made of mutual defence. For the first time, something like a Fimir nation had emerged.


[1] 'Ingas' means something like 'the people of' in Old English, so Fomoringas is 'The Fimir People'.
[2] These are broadly the same thing as the East Anglian fens, except on the wrong side of the Ooze (the Great Ouse).

As the misty veil of Albion is cast aside, we turn our gaze to the war-torn island of Albany, where the Red King vies with his former master for the control of a realm in dire threat.
User avatar
Ghurlag
 
Posts: 697
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:57 pm


Re: After the Shadows

Postby Ghurlag » Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:43 am

Neuland

When the fleets of the Empire responded to the calls of the Truthsayers, they came not as liberators but as conquerors and settlers. Streams of prospectors flocked the Empire's northern ports to make the hazardous journey across the Sea of Chaos to this new land[1].

While some agents of the Colleges of Magic worked to help defend the Ogham Stones, the majority of the Imperial troops were engaged in displacing the local tribes and fending off the marauding forces of Chaos, the Greenskin hordes and the raids of the Druchii. The Steam Tank Deliverance was employed in some engagements on Albion, but was shipped back to Nuln after it kept getting stuck in the mud.

The settlers carved out a slice of territory along the eastern seabord, naming it Neuland, a new province of the Empire under the rule of the Elector Count of Nordland, its capital the town of Inseldorf. The colony was founded by a Lord Ravenbrandt, but he and Leopold von Stronheim fought over it, resulting in a brief internal conflict with von Stronheim the victor, though he fled the islands during the tumult following Be'lakor's defeat, dying as a mercenary in Miragliano[2].

When Be'lakor was defeated, the mists came down and the settlers were cut off from the Empire. Inseldorf was all but levelled by the sundering of Albion, and had to be rebuilt further inland. Neuland's early borders were defined by the River Tyne and the River Ooze[3].

After its isolation Neuland was reorganised in imitation of the Empire. Towns, headed by aldermen, were principle powers in a number of Shires which extended across Neuland. When Neuland needed to act as a whole, the aldermen would elect a leader, usually the alderman of Inseldorf. The first Shires were Osshire, centered on Osslington; Tynshire centred on Tymouth; Bundshire centred on Inseldorf; Hammingshire centered on Hamsbridge and Wolvingshire centered on Wolvingheim. Additionally, Margaves were appointed to defend the four Marches: Tynmark, Wismark, Sumark and Umbermark.

The Neulanders had a technological edge over their competitors during the Shadows, but when the mists returned their gunpowder reserves were exhausted, rendering their guns useless, and their other technology began to rust and fail. As time moved on, their battle-style regressed to the practice of levied pikemen, shield-walls and heavily-armoured hearth warriors, employing natives as skirmishers and scouts.

As Neuland was principally settled by followers of Ulric, the worship of Sigmar was all but forgotten by the Neulanders. The local religion of Albion venerates Taal over the other gods, but Ulric is known to them as a spirit of winter.


[1] I've recently unearthed that the Shadows over Albion event is meant to be contemporaneous with the Storm of Chaos, which might explain this eagerness. This factoid does however mean that much of my 'history' stretches into the Warhammer world's future.
[2] I've scavenged this account from various references online.
[3] Neuland is marked on my map of Great Albion from this period.

As the misty veil of Albion is cast aside, we turn our gaze to the war-torn island of Albany, where the Red King vies with his former master for the control of a realm in dire threat.
User avatar
Ghurlag
 
Posts: 697
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:57 pm


Return to Board index

Return to Warhammer Fantasy

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests