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Introduction

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-~ Tormentosa: The Ever-end of the World ~-

Life is a series of rude awakenings. -- R.V. Winkle

Once Upon a Time, a time of dreams, despair and discovery late in the Seventh Age of n, a chain of mysterious islands at the Ever-end of the World is witness to events that will overthrow the Order of the Age.

The Wise have many Great Tales from the lands of the Lost Cold Nordh and the battles that raged there between the Light and the Dark. But there are also tales to be told of the wide and treacherous tracts of the Hitherlands: tales of terrible strife and lost hopes; histories of violent wars and clashing empires; masterful lays written in tribute to deeds of might and valour thrice-renowned. Many, if not most, of these oft-fragmentary tales are those of toil and dangerous endeavour, but a few there are that offer us a glimpse and echo of lost mirth and peace; a time before The Wrath, when the abhorrent works of the ancient Wizard Lords were finally avenged by our Ancestors, by Wild Nature and by the Gods. These, the last remnants of the History of the Children of Aarde, are recounted still by the bards of the Hermes Trail beside the Fire of Tale-telling, when the cold winds blow from the sea.

The fortunes of the Austfolk, the five races of Cafrria known collectively as the Gawra, have waxed and waned over The Ages. These hardy peoples have witnessed the slow cycles of the seasons and the rapid change of conquest and war. Collectively the ragged remains of the great societies of Men and Elves have weathered catastrophes of untold scale and devastation; and have emerged vital and strong, yet few.

Generations not-yet forgotten have faithfully recorded the rude histories of hamlets growing into villages, and villages into bustling little towns. Trade caravans have begun to wind their way up and down the steep passes of the Westfold. Adventurers set out to seek fame and fortune, and the Kings and the Rule of Law once again preside over the land.

Yet this world remains a place of peril...

A few miles off the stormy coast of mainland Hithervard lies a closely-knit chain of mountainous islands, perpetually shrouded in mist.

These foreboding land-masses (usually discussed in hushed murmurs) can be seen with the naked eye from the friendly coastal towns of Pearl and Stl, but strangely enough, due to a complete historical unwillingness (and perhaps wisdom) of the free peoples of the land to set out in boats or watercraft of any kind, they have not been visited in living memory. Or at least, if anyone has visited them, they have not returned to tell the tale of their journeys.

We open our story looking upon the beautiful, vineyard-skirted coastal mountains of the Westfold Sovereignty, the last known bastion of human civilization in the Aust of the World.

It is the year 844 AW, and you have been summoned to play a part in these deeds...

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