Surrounded by perilous ocean, the vast continent of Valerius is home to all manner of man and beast. Some say the gods of Dawn and Dusk created Valerius to test mankind’s worth; others claim it to be the sun god’s lonely prison, forged of dead stars and the ancient remains of giants. No matter the tale, Valerius is a cruel and violent place, filled to brimming with ravenous, brutish creatures.
Dark magics, forgotten to time and ruin, suffuse the land and sea and air. The weather and environment vary drastically from one realm to the next. And though a handful of fortress cities are animated by commerce, culture, and politics, in the wilderness, beasts and demons rule from the treacherous shadows. Still, those who stand against the darkness are ever hailed as heroes…
The Kingdom of Armatus
Established millennia ago at the edge of the ocean in the northern region of Valerius, the Kingdom of Armatus was humanity’s bastion of hope. Hunted by demon-possessed beasts, mankind was pushed to the brink of extinction until a mysterious leader emerged to unite the tribes. Surrounded by high walls and guarded by wary protectors, the sanctuary still bears his name.
Though for ages the Kingdom’s rulers proved their worth through a series of heroic trials, following the first defeat of Tyrannus, the King discarded the ancient tradition and asserted divine right. For two hundred years the King's dynasty has persisted, leading to bloody rebellions and the Kingdom’s fracture. Open war has come to Valerius and with it, portents of dark times and death…
In the beginning the world was formless and empty. It was not until light pierced the gloom that all things came to be. When the first human was given life, her shadow was cast beyond the veil that separates precious earth from boundless abyss. And as humankind became more numerous, more shadows were cast, populating the void with ethereal, lonely beings.
After millennia spent watching from the shadows, the voidborn grew ever more envious of their human counterparts. Consumed by jealousy and desperate for light, the shades corrupted the souls of Valerian beasts, transforming them into twisted monsters the humans called “demons.” But the first shade thirsted for true freedom of humanity and in time sought another way to escape its abyssal prison…
The Order of the Forge
"The heart is a forge. The soul is a sword."
The Order of the Forge is an ancient martial organization founded on a strict system of ethics, training, and behavior. It has evolved over centuries to become the Kingdom of Armatus’s primary military force. Dedicated to humanity’s defense, the Order’s ranks are filled with those from all walks of life willing to stake their lives in combat against the beasts, shadows, and human threats to the Kingdom.
Forge members believe in an individual’s spiritual realization through disciplined education, martial prowess, and honorable conduct and are encouraged to always strive toward excellence. These beliefs were born from the earliest humans’ self-reliance and determination in surviving the dangerous wilds of Valerius. The few able to become “knights” have served as guardians, advisors, and even kings in times long past.
“Part the veil. Embrace the dark. Bind the void and earth.”
Unbeknownst to many, the realm of Valerius is suffused with supernatural energies born of the dark world beyond the mortal plane. And though earth and void exist apart, a few rare individuals have learned to transcend the divide and weave threads of light and shadow into fantastic feats of arcane sorcery. These individuals were called Sages: oft-feared wielders of mysterious power far stronger than any blade.
In time the Sages found each other and became known as “Wayfinder Sages,” wandering the wilds of Valerius in search of enlightenment, power, or peace. When Tyrannus attacked Valerius, the Sages were instrumental in combating a foe immune to steel with magic. And though most were sacrificed in the demon’s defeat, the Kings of Armatus honored the Sages as honorary advisors for years to come.
The Three Divines
“We rise or fall by the grace of the three. May their gentle hands shepherd us through light and dark.”
In the wake of the Primordial Demon’s attack on Valerius, the devastated people lost faith in the Church of Ignis, believing the sun god of old had forsaken his loyal worshippers. Though many were confounded by the revelation of Tyrannus’s wrath, a new belief spread throughout the realm; one that bound light, earth, and void as three pillars of humanity’s faith.
Aurora, the god of dawn, is the bringer of light and patron of victory and courage. She is most beloved by warriors. Nox, the god of dusk, holds dominion over prosperity and knowledge. She is worshiped by farmers, scholars, and the like as the arbiter of light and dark. Umbra, the god of darkness, is feared as the harbinger of death, ill omens, and the void. To wish her fury upon another is a grave and terrible act indeed.
Born to the abyss in the shadow of humans, these formless creatures are consumed by envy and rage. Demons long to inhabit the darkness within each human soul and in pursuit of freedom possess man and beast alike. The voidborn are beings of vast supernatural power and inevitably destroy any they control, the victims' flesh and mind consumed by shadow and terror. It is said the most potent demons prey upon those whose will has broken and all hope faded; a too common occurrence across Valerius.
Mysterious creatures, luminous and white, seen over centuries in the forms of great Valerian beasts. Solitary and elusive, eidolons are regarded as benevolent spirits by those few who have witnessed them firsthand, but dismissed as childish flights of fancy by those most fearful of the dark. Perhaps the eidolons are too distrusting of man to reveal themselves except in the most dire of circumstance. Perhaps they wait only for those with whom they feel a kindred gallantry.
An extremely rare, stony material born from the crystalline remains of creatures known as "eidolons." Surprisingly light despite its density, lumite absorbs starlight and has the power to cleave shadow. Blades forged with lumite–such as Aveline's sword, Durendal–are regarded as sacred treasures and often wielded by the most remarkable individuals of an age. Some believe a remnant of an eidolon’s sympathetic nature remains within the luminous material and can lend uncanny strength in times of great need.