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Qurizas timelineby LoZompatore
I'd like to add a little contribution to the region, maybe it could be useful to better link Platea and Y'hog events. I'd add the ruin of an ancient halfling city in Geoff's map; in the following I drafted a timeline for this settlement, where I tried also to include a few adventure hooks. Of course any detail can be changed or dropped as you like, anyway I hope you enjoy the entry
I tried to stay true to both settings, the assumptions I made are as follows:
- Klath-T'Zarth is the main civilized settlement of the area at present time
- Halfling migration from Platea and Kenaron valley was a long process lasting over 1500 years and showing many different migratory events;
- Elves were friend of the halflings, at least by the end of their stay among them in BC 2600;
- Varellya built a large empire across central Davania
The buried port of Qurizas (swampy terrain about 120 miles west of Klath-T'Zarth, more than 10 miles away from the coastline): This once thriving coastal city has been used for over a millennium (approx between 2600 and 1600 BC) by halflings from the Kenaron/Shakkor river as a major stop in their migrations across the Addakian Sound. Sedimentation and modifications in local sea currents slowly buried the harbor, then moved the coastline many miles away from the settlement and, finally, buried the city itself. The city was abandoned, the last halfling migrations took different paths, and Qurizas was long forgotten when the first Varellyan explorers settled the region.
Qurizas was established by halflings above the Farewell Bank, a long, crescent-like, sand peninsula where Ilsundal and his followers made their last camp before abandoning forever the halfling lands (BC 2600). Legends told the elves planted there the Aidaria, a kind of living wood glyph (a wood sculpture, without leaves) resembling two different-colored, intertwined, trees who represented the common fates of halflings' and elves' kin. The wood glyph would grow in the sandbar, strengthening it as it would have strengthened elvish and halfling friendship ties.
The place soon became a halfling pilgrimage site and, soon later, a good fishing port. Inland development in the northern Bogs of Greth was always very limited due to difficult terrain, but Qurizas placement was fair: cutting through the bogs from the Shakkor river enabled to avoid a long, winding, river route to the sea. Bronze-age halflings who were forced to abandon their settlements in the Kenaron valley soon started using Qurizas as a base for their migrations in the Addakian Sound. Some of them returned to the city as traders and merchants, so Qurizas became a thriving city-state.
After half a millennium of continuous growth, the roots of the Aidaria below Qurizas' foundations became so thick that they impaired navigation in the harbor and the construction of new buildings: the most economic-oriented halfling faction (colonists among them) started cutting the more pervasive branches and roots, while the most traditionalist group (long-time dwellers and ancient families) opposed them. An outbreak of violence almost escalated to a civil war in BC 2080: when the fights around the Aidaria became fiercest, the wood glyph - badly damaged by fire and cuts - sprouted a single bud on a branch protruding over the sea. The branch detached from the tree and was soon taken away by strong currents into the Addakian Sound. Days later, when the chaos settled down, it became clear that the Aidaria was withering: it died a few months later.
Horrified, the more traditionalist halflings founded the nearly-mystical order of the Seekers, devoted to explore the seas in search for the landing place of the bud. Incidentally, they became more active seafarers than the trading faction, and contributed a lot in spreading the halfling diaspora across the Addakian Sound and beyond. The Seekers always brought with them branches of what could have been salvaged from Aidaria's log, using it as an identification tag and hoping it would help in finding the lost tree. When no more Aidaria's branches were left in Qurizas (around BC 1850) the Seekers' Order left the (already dwindling) city and dispersed in their other outposts across the Sound.
Qurizas survived for a couple of more centuries, but the inescapable silting up of the whole area and competition from younger coastal settlements doomed the city to an economic death. The impoverished, early iron-age, traders' faction definitively moved to more promising markets in BC 1600 and brought with them most of the city's wealth. Shifting bogs, sandbars and rivers accumulated more sediment on the city and deleted most of the landmarks used by halflings to reach the city. In a few generations the exact location to Qurizas was lost and the city became but a legend in halflings' lore.
Almost 1500 years later (BC 98), the buried city was accidentally discovered by a party of evil Varellyan outcasts, fleeing persecution from Milenian invaders approaching Priallus. After more than a year of digging and scavenging in the ancient ruins, their leader, a powerful cleric named Denoel, perceived the "unrest" in the ancient burial ground of the Aidaria Struggle of BC 2080. After further analyses she thought she could arrange a mass resurrection of souls to be used as undead soldiers against the Milenians. The summoning spell interfered with latent powers going up to the Aidaria Struggle which were intended to punish the offenders of the relic. The result was that a massive number of halflings souls were raised from the dead, their spirits once again started battling each other and lastly turned against the Varellyans - which both factions saw as an enemy. Denoel and a group of survivors of her retinue, cornered and facing imminent death, attempted a last desperate move to survive - by selling their souls to Thanatos and turning themselves into powerful undead. As undead they could now face, control and subdue the halflings spirits, but they also found themselves bound to the place, never able to venture too far from the ruins. Denoel’s willpower is the only force strong enough to induce the halfling spirits of both factions working together without turning against each other.
Singe then, the ruins of Qurizas were inhabited by undead. Denoel's minions unburied part of the old bronze-age city, in order to establish a proper seat for their new queen. The undead are not able to exit outside the (pretty large) area once covered by the Aidaria's extensive roots network: Denoel and her followers are still searching for a (magic) way to bypass such a limit.
Part of Denoel's story was brought back to Priallus in BC 91 by a small group of followers who managed to escape the ruins of Qurizas before being cornered by the undead. The survivors saw the rest of their group surrounded by the halflings' spirits; while they were attempting a desperate rescue of their comrades, they heard the beginning of Denoel's chant to Thanatos: horrified, they fled away, without waiting for the spell to show its results. As the survivors were former Priallus' outcasts they were not believed by most people; however, a survivor named Jasgill manged to wrote down his memories and pass them to his descendants, one of them became a distinguished priest of Paarkum (patron of virtue) by the end of the first century AC. She sculpted a summary of Jasgill's account in a marble plaque in the basament of Paarkum's temple in Priallus, as a standing model of evil's powers rejection. The vault still exists today, buried somewhere below the now alien city of Klath-T'Zarth.