IV A Broken Land
Astoria was torn asunder, first by the invasion of a demonic army, then by a sickening blight caused by their presence. When mankind was redeemed for their past sins, the long abandoned Pantheon favored mercy, but in their judgment burned the land and tore it apart with their great power. To add to the destruction of the realm, the great dragonflights waged war upon each other after being awakened from centuries of sleep.
The empire was turned into a mass of shattered wilderness. Where mountains once stood, now great lakes fill the gaps; where vast plains stretched as far as the eye can see, towering volcanoes erupt and belch forth clouds of ash and lava.
Civilization is broken. There are very few small, organized institutions, guilds or kingdoms: It is a land in healing, but that process will be long, with no end in sight. For the infernal Gates have not all been sealed. Some have escaped the severing of the Nexus and remain open, hiding in secret dark places that have been lost in the Sundering. Slowly, the taint of Tartaros leaks outward, attempting to poison the land once again.
Ruins litter the landscape, and monsters roam the wilderness, physically and mentally corrupted by the evil taint lingering in their blood. But the Pantheon no longer directly intervenes, for their work is done. They have charged mankind with the responsibility of repairing their broken world on their own.
Although trade has once again begun to revive, and new towns are finding root, anarchy and fear fills the hearts and minds of common folk. Hordes of barbarians plunder new settlements for food, supplies, and women. Pirates have claimed the open seas, waylaying trade ships. Bandits and brigands terrorize the countryside, preying on the weak and defenseless. Those who are not strong enough to elect their own leaders soon fall under cruel reign by still-possessed madmen or power hungry warlords. Mankind, it seems, never seems to embrace humility.
But not all people cling to selfish ends for survival. There are folk who fight for justice and honor, and those who have regained their faith in the divine Pantheon. They fight to secure Astoria and return it to a more stable and habitable empire. And among the shattered lands, one bastion of hope stands in the midst of Astoria: The Shining City of Rithlanna. But the journey to reach its holy walls is a quest in its own right.