Editor’s Note: This entry is part of a series exploring the history and lore of A Knight Adrift in greater detail.
The land of legend. The crucible of man. The island continent of Valerius, isolated among a vast, seemingly infinite ocean, is home to all humanity. It is said that the ancient gods created the first humans and gave them this land to test their worthiness. In Valerius, a myriad of dangers lurk at every turn and as such, resilience is the most respected quality among the people, regardless of age, sex, or heritage.
The weather and environment vary drastically from one domain to the next, sometimes beautiful and oftentimes cruel. The brightest, clear sky can in a moment transform into a harbinger of nightmarish squalls. Enormous beasts stalk their prey in boundless forests, filled to bursting with giant, thousand-year-old trees that block out the sun with their tangled canopies. Cunning creatures prowl the unforgiving wastes and endless deserts in the sea of fire. Below the brilliant, blue waves, leviathans wait with mouths agape for unfortunate sailors foolish enough to think themselves lucky.
Many of the people, harried by relentless suffering and loss, whiled away their lives in constant fear of death. Some of the most cowardly forsook familiar shores in search of other lands, never to be heard from again. But a brave few refused such fates and took up arms to stand defiantly against the encroaching darkness.
Devoting their lives to the cause, strong warriors from every tribe united to establish the Kingdom of Valerius: a protected sanctuary in which all citizens cooperated according to the law of strength and honor. Weapons were sharpened and walls were built high. Anyone willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good was welcomed to the warriors’ ranks. The noble houses were established by those most venerable heroes of legend who daily risked everything to pit steel and courage against claw and shadow, all to defend the Kingdom’s walls and people. Even the most unseasoned pikemen were praised for their bravery.
Common folk and nobles alike held fast to the singular, guiding maxim: Survive together or die alone. In this age of innocence and discovery, threats against their haven arose daily. Those who lived through the great building learned well that a sword is only as effective as the person that wields it, and that person only as effective as fellowship enables him to be. Thus humanity was bound in common cause and the wheel of fate turned by their strength of unity.
Having carved out its place with blood and extricated itself for a time from ceaseless predation, the little Kingdom of Valerius thrived and prospered. For several centuries, peace reigned.
And as youthful humanity grew more confident, the most bold among its number ventured forth into uncharted country to establish new outposts to the east and west. These evolved over time into magnificent fortress cities, surrounded by thick walls and guarded by vigilant protectors. Commerce expanded, culture flourished. Names became banners and footpaths became roads. Humanity, convinced of its supremacy, turned its attention from the dark places, the dangerous places and reveled in its hard-won victory.
But alas, the peace could not last. For a new enemy stirred in the abyss beyond the veil...