The Free Cities of northern Alastari know they need to unite to resist the
expansion of the Andorian League and the Delarquan Federation, but no city is
willing to yield its independence or allow its policies to be decided by any
other. This is not a new situation in the northern lands. In the past, the
scattered and independent Harkenic tribes, acknowledging that only by uniting
could they resist the advance of Karnhorn, refused to join together under one
banner--for each tribe insisted that they would join only to lead.
More than two centuries ago, the Donnegil came among them--a tall people,
tawny of hair and skin, descended of an ancient royal line of Fratsfa but exiled
by the new rulers of that empire. At first they sought to rule, but their ways
were too different from the ways of the Harkenic people, and though
well-meaning, they were not accepted. The Donnegil settled into the role of
advisors and mages to the tribes, keeping themselves separate. Even now, their
descendants are quite distinct and recognizable.
Soon enough, the tribes in the areas of Willaf and Jurine were
consolidated--by the armies of Karnhorn.
Meeting yet again, at the well of Trillarin in the heart of the Shewish
Forest, the tribes still free sought an answer to their problem that would be
acceptable to all. It is said (in the epic "Quest of Kinshar") that it was the
Donnegil sage Garloys who found the answer and suggested that a delegation from
all the tribes should go to High Kinshar and request the Lady of Kinshar to give
them a lord that all could follow.
Long and difficult was that trip for none knew where that city might be
found--indeed, Kinshar lies beyond the fields of Ghea entirely, and touches our
world but seldom through the mists of time and space. At length the tribesmen
found that city, walked among its ebon-haired and dusky-skinned people, and
explained to the Lady their need. She gave them a son of her own blood, Lord
Malcorn, fair of face, courtly, strong, skilled in war, wise and merciful in
judgment, and he came to the Forest of Shew with a right good will, for he was
then young and craved the doing of great deeds, and in High Kinshar was only
peace. And the tribesmen also were glad, for Lord Malcorn was noble to look on
and noble in speech and deed, yet he did not scorn their ways.
So Lord Malcorn came to the Shewish Forest, and the tribes joined together
under his banner, calling themselves--not this tribe, or that tribe--Lord
Malcorn's men. And the armies of Karnhorn were thrown back in disorder on the
The Lord Malcorn ordered built a citadel on the Shining River, to which each
tribe should send fighting men, that the freedom gained would not be lost, and
around this citadel grew the city, which was called many things, but finally
Malcorn's City, or simply Malcorn. And the Lord Malcorn took to wife a woman of
the tribes, Glynnevere by name, and raised tall sons.
In time, Lord Malcorn was seen not to age, but to remain ever young after the
way of elves and their kind, (though indeed he was no elf) but Lady Glynnevere
showed unmistakably the weight of her years. Then Lord Malcorn called a council
of the elders of the city and the tribes. And he said to them, "I have been
fifty years of the world among you, and I have done what you wished and what you
needed. Now I will take my Lady Wife to the House of my mother. I leave with you
my tall sons, who are skilled in the arts of governance and of war; and I leave
you my promise that should there be need, you have only to send for me, and if I
am at that time within the circle of the world, I will surely come." And in the
morning, he and his Lady were gone from the citadel, though none had seen them
But his sons, and the sons of his sons, each taking their sire's name as he
came to his power, ruled with strength and wisdom, and there has been no need to
send for the first Lord Malcorn. Only, each of the lords of Malcorn, when he
reached his seventieth year, did hand over the sword and keys of the citadel to
his son, and depart alone into the forest, never to be seen again in the lands
It was the third Lord Malcorn who reached an agreement with the Giants, that
they should work together in the tending and harvesting of the great bluewood
trees, by which the city came to its present wealth, for there is no wood so
excellent for the building of ships as the bluewood of Shew. The seventh lord
negotiated the contract between the Giants and the Gladiatorial Commission,
whereby the Giants would take service in arenas all over Alastari, for the
elimination of the unfit.
The eighth and present lord, on the recent occasion of his advancement to
rule, yielded to the petitions of the young men of the city and the tribes and
founded the arena in Malcorn, so that they might compete as equals with the
young men of the other great cities of the land.
Now this arena is bearing added fruit, for the Karnhorn overlords of Zuwayza
have become dissatisfied with their narrow lands and again raid into the Forest.
Perhaps they judge the blood of the first Lord Malcorn to have run so thin that
the time is at last ripe for expansion--it has long been known that the
Oligarchs of Karnhorn regard themselves as the natural rulers of all Alastari.
But in the narrow ways of the forest, where at times scarcely two men can come
together to fight, the arena's training in single combat is invaluable. If war
comes, the warriors of Malcorn stand ready to defend the freedom of Alastari.
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