History of Ainsleigh
A History of Ainsleigh
Ainsleigh is a port town of 1,000 inhabitants occupying the far western demesne of the Valaruine Kingdoms. It is a rough, wild frontier area, with a history of semi-independence, and self reliance. Once, the entire Isles of Albys were part of a much larger archipelago, which was part of the Selphorim Empire, though the Selphorim never maintained a presence in the area beyond the lost colony site of Mathys. Mathys was wiped out during the Man Wars, and Midia took control of the area, dominating the Dalbryn and Ruthani tribes in the area from several citadel-cities. Despite their claims, the Midians never dominated the country side, and seemed only interested in keeping their citadels there to keep guard against the Selphorim and wood elves, and later as staging area for attacks on these two races.
After Midia’s fall, the Amaar Empire controlled the area for three centuries, but when itself was sacked by the demi-humans, it passed to the control of Zhuvan. Zhuvan used it as a vital area to supply metals to their depleted archipelago to the south, and remains of their extensive tin, iron, and copper mines can be found. They also heavily recruited the Dalbryn tribes into their armies to war against the Selphorim, wood elves, and Xushaan and Khorzhar. They also didn’t dominate the hinter land, instead colonizing the coastal areas. As a result, all were wiped out when Xushaan unleashed the Devastation of Black Rain, drowning the coastal citadel-cities and ending Zhuvan’s existence, along with the Zhuvani in the area, though rumors persist that in the back areas of Albys, one can find isolated villages full of dark skinned folk who speak an unintelligible tongue unrelated to any other language in the area.
Zhuvan’s fall also devastated the Dalbryn who had extensively mingled with their overlords, and as a result, the area was mostly depopulated. After a few centuries, the Cymracht and the Cymbrians drifted in from the continent, with the Cymracht moving on to the abandoned elven isles of Ban Talislyr, while the Cymbrian settled in. From the north, savage Ice Orcs moved in, and the Cymbrian and orcs warred incessantly until the rising tide of the Syralian Empire rolled over the area and subjugated the islands for almost 500 years. When the Empire receded under the assault from the Talon and the Northron and Gothi barbarians, it left behind dozens of small Cymbrian and Syralian kingdoms struggling to pick up the pieces. It also left behind a wealth of cultural influence, notably the Syralian language and legal system, as well as the remnants of its extensive road and mining network, the religions of many of the deities who would later form the Pantheon, as well as the concept of a universal ruler of the entire island chain.
Following Syralia’s collapse, it was only a brief period of decades before the land hungry barbarians invaded the isle of Albys. First were the Saxons, an offshoot of the Gothi, who drove back the Cymbrians to seize control of the eastern part of the central island. Later came Northmen, who carved out a jarldom in the northern part of the main island. These cultures warred constantly with the orcs and the Cymbrians, while the elves of Sael Dynathyr moved in to guard against a invasion of the Ice Orcs, setting up a hegemony over much of the south and west of Albys, leaving a cultural legacy of half elves and the elven religion.
Elven dominance lasted for a few centuries, until Hugh Valaruine, the illegitimate son of King Feranc of Arles, led his legendary invasion of Albys by the lesser sons of Arlesian nobles and returning Crusaders. Swept off of Albys back to Thal itself, Sael Dynathyr was saved by Sea Elf intervention, when the Sea Knights defeated Hugh I, who died in battle at Brytys. Hugh’s most powerful followers decided to follow the format of the Crusaders in the East, and set up along the southern coast of Albys the Valaruine Kingdoms, a collection of petty kingdoms united under the banner of the House of Valaruine, which held the mantle of Lord King over the lesser kings and nobles. Ainsleigh, and the nearby town of Porttown, became the Frontier Barony of Ainsleigh, under the rule of Lord Baron Darien de Galan. It was the westernmost border of the Valaruine Kingdoms, a wild, savage frontier threatened by goblins and orcs, and populated by small farms and petty nobles.
A hundred and twenty years prior, the Lord King Villam II began attempting to organize the area to stop the goblin and orc attacks that had steadily increased over the years, leading to the death of the Lord Baron Dalan de Galan at the Battle of Red Crow Fields. The Lord King himself led an army that defeated the humanoid confederation at Battleford, and appointed Kiernan de Kerrin as the new Lord Baron of Ainsleigh. De Kerrin’s family ruled for thirty years, before his grandson died in his own halls, murdered by a construct he had discovered in an old Midian mine. His surviving son moved north and constructed a castle and declared himself ruler of the Blackwood and the Highdales, defying the Lord King Braedon the White for years as the Woodland King. Meanwhile, the Fell family, under Robryn de Fell became Lord Barons, and under their reign they oppressed the peasants and petty nobles alike, claiming that the heavy taxation was necessary to contain the threat of the goblins and of the de Kerrins. At this time, the wizard known as Greensleeves constructed a tower near Ainsleigh and began to comb the ruins near there for Midian and Zhuvani relics and magic items, becoming virtual ruler of the western area. Another arrival was the wizard Zarathos, who constructed a tower near Ainsleigh and dominated the town until his death at the hands of unknown forces released from the dungeon underneath his tower.
This anarchic activity came to a stop fifty years ago when the adventuring company Mayhem Incorporated came to the area. These bold adventurers, who’s names are still chronicled in legend and song in the area, were Orbe Orlane the elven wizard, Femyr the Bonecrusher the Northern fighter, the warrior Prince Bravenhurst of the Saxon Reaches, the fighter Dakian Delation Master of the Blade, Lakad Bowmaster the Ranger, Fu Lau Tze the Monk, the Pantheist cleric Lawrence of Achea, and the elven rogue Catarnm ite-ic. In ten years of adventuring they cleared out the local ruins, killed Varian de Kerrin the Woodland King, cleared Lord Kerrin’s Halls, defeated the wizard Greensleeves and the robber baron Lord Richard of Blackmoore, slew Baron Fell and his murderous offspring, drove back the orcs and goblins, and generally slaughtered enough evil creatures that the area knew peace for the first time in years. Only the dread red dragon known as Bloodwing survived their assaults, but it in turn has not been heard from since then.
After Mayhem Incorporated left the area, Lord King Anselem the Wise decided to try and keep the area pacified. He appointed a new Lord Baron, Achille de Lisle. Also at this time, the Childs family moved from eastern Valaruine to the Ainsleigh area, becoming prominent nobles. This heralded the development of the eastern part of the demesne, attracting more minor nobles, so that the demesne began to have a decent noble administration. The Order of the Circle also arrived, taking over what was once the old de Kerrin family castle and renaming it Circle Keep. They began a campaign against the goblins, who had occupied Greensleeves’s old tower, now renamed the Goblin Tower, and through tolls and levies, they have managed to support their effort to keep the goblins at bay.
In the 228th year of the Valaruine Kingdoms, this is where Ainsleigh stands now; again it is a distant outpost of civilization in a frontier land. The constant raids from the goblins have increased, now backed by a wider federation of the orcs of the Bloody Hand tribe, as well as ogres from Zha’hash Azrak to the north. The northern villages of Battleford, Cambryn, Riverford, and Greenwood have been abandoned due to goblinoid raids, forcing refugees to stream south. The northern town of Highdale is wrecked, occupied by besieged survivors under pressure from Adrian de Kerrin, a survivor of the de Kerrin family who claims again the title of Woodland King, ruling from a rebuilt Blackwood Keep. The flood of peasant refugees has increased the bandit problem on the Long Road, which connects Ainsleigh back to the eastern portion of the Valaruine Kingdoms. Castle Fell is now haunted by a powerful necromancer named the Deathmage that controls many hungry undead. Northern berserkers and raiders under Jarl Cruelwulf plague the coastal communities. Baron de Lisle seeks heroes again, heroes who will drive back the forces that plague Ainsleigh and restore peace and order.