Aquoria: The Edge of the Knife
Background: Race the Remnant
While love is now said to have turned back darkness and death, it is not love that keeps the fragile community of the Swordbinder’s Enclave together- it is fear. The hundred or so campfires that dot the night around the great fortress stay where they are to avoid the wrath of the Flantonian Remnant.
The city of Flanton covered the northern tip of the Great Spire peninsula and half of the four Godseekers came from there. It was a city that believed its citizens were exceptional and exploited every opportunity and person for their citizens’ benefit. Everyone in the camps remembers how the armies of Flanton would raid their cities and villages and farms for supplies and slaves. There are a thousand stories of smiling Flantonian bureaucrats, flanked by a half dozen soldiers, smiling and explaining, “The Lords of Flanton thank you for your tribute.”
None were ever welcome.
Flanton’s ruthlessness made them as powerful as they were hated, so when Ceryn and Ranzig’s party killed the entire population of the city center in a single night, many in the rest of the continent rejoiced. Loquellis the loquacious tells the story around a different fire every night in a ballad called “Three Swords, Three Souls, Three Hours.”
More than half the party had been captured as they attempted to sneak into Flanton to steel the three swords of the Binder which the city had taken as trophies over the centuries. Ceryn, Ranzig, and the fremlin summoner Digit could only watch as a ship bearing the forces of the Godseekers arrived to take possession of the swords and the four other members of their company. It was in this moment, when their quest was on the cusp of failure for the whole of Aquoria that an impossible bargain was struck with the universe at large.
Digit had been given a rope with four knots tied into it, untie a knot, make a wish, and your hearts desire will be provided. Exactly how it happened is unclear, but Digit used a wish and every citizen inside the walls of Flanton died in an evening. The slaves and strangers were unharmed as the Flanton Citizens died in droves. In the confusion, the captives were freed and the Swordbinder’s company escaped with all but one of the three swords in Flanton.
The city of Flanton was burning by morning. The party watched from the elaborate outer gate of the now dying city. They scratched “Flanton” off the large sign by the gate. In place of the name the party wrote “ZQPS.” No one is exactly sure what it means, but that is the name that has stuck.
Later, when the Godseekers were turned away and it became clear that the Ceryn the Swordbinder and her love Ranzig were going to be looked to for leadership, Digit was named regent of the northern Great Spine. The Fremlin immediately took up residence in ZQPS and opened it to refugees of the war from the Fey races. There is all manner of tale told about what goes on in ZQPS now; some fanciful, some frightening, but none scare the people of the Swordbinder’s Enclave like the tales of the survivors of the fall of Flanton, now called the Flantonian Remnant.
Three legions of Flanton’s army and two of their naval fleets were in the field the night Flanton burned. These forces quickly unified and set about rounding up every last surviving Flantonian citizen. About the time the Swordbinder and her company had lured the Godseekers to the fortress that now bears her name, the Flantonian Remnant fell upon a small fishing village along the western rim of the great bay, within a day they had subjugated the population and the city of New Flanton was born.
The best anyone can tell, the people of New Flanton aren’t doing much better than the encampments around the Swordbinder’s Enclave. As the night gets hard around the hundred campfires, there will often be people who have drank or smoked too much, talking about how the Enclave and New Flanton are in a race. A race to see which can become civilized enough to destroy the other first. Everyone will huddle closer to the fire then, and when the morning comes they will look for ways to survive within the Enclave rather than ways to leave.
This keeps the community together, but the stress of fear and uncertainty is a shadow on every face. A shadow that grows darker as a new generation of adventurers set forth into an uncertain world.