Everyone on the Grandiel Continent thought their way of life would continue forever. And that the nine kingdoms that had battled and waged wars and carved the continent, the kingdoms that had existed for hundreds of years, would survive for thousands to come.
Which is why when the news that the Alvian Kingdom had fallen by the hands of unknown forces, many treated it as a hoax. Most assumed it was a ploy to invade one of the three neighboring countries that shared their borders with the Alvian Kingdom.
Not even the scours of refugee fleeing the Alvian Kingdom bringing with them stories of mysterious monsters pouring out of the Khazun mountain range could elevate the suspicion from these skeptical minds. To the unbelievers, nothing could survive or originate from the wasteland that is the Khazun mountain range.
It was a known fact that in her early years the Alvian Kingdom had sent many expeditions into the Khazun mountain range looking for new lands to claim. Every expedition ended in failure. Many brave and determined explorers went forth into the unknown searching for fertile lands for their King and country but found only death and despair.
A person could walk for hundreds of miles into that place and see no signs of plants or wildlife, which was not surprising. Protruding rocks that are sharp enough to cut through Armour, chasms so deep you could not see the light from the torches you had dropped to gauge their depth. Winds so biting it would chill you to the bones, and the nights that are so freezing you’d be tempted to jump into the campfire in order to get smidgen of warmth, or to end your life, or both.
There is a known saying among the explorers in the Grandiel Continent; “it’s better to commit suicide and spend an eternity in Hell than spend the night in Khazun’s embrace”. At least Hell is warmer, the explorers would joke, and unlike the Khazun’s mountain range, you would have better luck finding ice in Hell.
Which brings up one of the oddities of the Khazun mountain range; you could not find any ice or water here. It is quite common to hear stories of Alvian explorers dying of thirst because they did not bring enough water supply or they made the mistake of walking too close to the razor sharp rocks and got their water pouches pierced in the process.
Rain rarely falls here, and when they finally do, the liquid sweeps through the porous ground with little chance for desperate and thirsty travelers finding pockets of water to drink from. There is a story not many people know about an explorer who had accidentally sliced his tongue off when he was greedily drinking water sliding down a cliff wall during a rare rainstorm. And other more common stories about explorers resorting to drinking their own urine in order to survive.
In the early years of the Alvian Kingdom, the Khazun mountain range would serve as both a curse and a blessing to her people. A curse because many tales of the Alvian explorers became jokes to the rest of the kingdoms in the Grandiel Continent. To the Alvian people, her explorers were noble patriots and heroic adventurers who put their lives on the line for the sake of their country. But to the rest of the folks outside the Alvian Kingdom, these explorers were ridiculed as piss-drinking weaklings who commit suicide at the first sign of conflict.
Maybe it was the Khazun mountain range that made the Alvian Kingdom turned her gaze towards her neighbors. Or maybe it was the anger of how her explorers were viewed in the eyes of the rest of the people in the Grandiel Continent. No matter, if one path is blocked, might as well turn around and go the other way.
Since the Khazun mountain range lies on her back, the Alvian Kingdom began expanding east towards the Kingdom of Trev, the Kingdom of Marak and the Kingdom of Khultan… without reserve or holding back… at the same time. It’s amazing how a person could fight when their back is against the wall. The Alvian Kingdom could focus on her offensive attacks outwards without worrying about a sneak attack from behind.
No country would or could take the risk of smuggling an army around the Khazun mountain range to launch a surprise attack from the rear. Going through the Khazun mountain range is equivalent to suicide, they should know. After all, they’ve made fun of Alvian explorers during all those dinner parties and evening drinks at the taverns.
The Alvian Kingdom army waged war and expanded into her neighboring countries with the fury of a thousand suns. It seems speaking ill about their national heroes made every man in the Alvian Royal Army have a chip on their shoulder, a sword in their hand, and a mission to prove how wrong their opponents were. And indeed the Alvian Royal Army showed them the error of their ways. During their short military conquest, the Alvian Kingdom won almost all major battles and captured hundreds of miles of lands from the Kingdom of Trev, the Kingdom of Marak and the Kingdom of Khultan.
It took the combined efforts of these three kingdoms to put a halt to the Alvian Kingdom’s conquest. Which was a rare and admirable effort in itself since these three kingdoms hated each other just as much and would have pointed their swords in the other direction if they weren’t too busy fighting the Alvian Kingdom.
They managed to push the Alvian Kingdom back until the Grand River of Kartank which originally belong and flowed through all the three kingdoms. The Kingdom of Trev, the Kingdom of Marak and the Kingdom of Khultan debated, argued and came to blows deciding on whether or not they should cross the great river and reclaim the rest of their land from the Alvian Kingdom. But the fatigue of constant warfare and the threat from other kingdoms that might take advantage and attack from behind had forced these three kingdoms into a stalemate with the Alvian Kingdom.
And so, the Grand River of Kartank became the new border that separated the Alvian Kingdom from the rest of the Grandiel Continent. And the Kingdom of Trev, the Kingdom of Marak and the Kingdom of Khultan fell into an uneasy truce to guard alongside the great river for any future threats from their neighbor who had gotten bigger.
That was 120 years ago, and the Alvian Kingdom grew prosperous from the lands she had conquered, while her neighbours look on with envy and contempt. Sure, there were a few attempts by the Kingdom of Trev, the Kingdom of Marak and the Kingdom of Khultan to retake the lands they had lost during the Second Great War of the Grandiel Continent, but none produce much result. The Alvian Kingdom had dug her claws too deeply into the lands she had fought so hard to acquire.
For 120 years, the Alvian Kingdom made no other military conquest into the rest of the Grandiel Continent. It seems she was content with the lands that she now has in her possession and was satisfied with proving that Alvian people aren’t pushovers (the rumours that explorers from the Alvian Kingdom are piss-drinking weaklings who commit suicide at the first sign of conflict are still heavily circulated among the Grandiel Continent, particularly by a certain three kingdoms which may or may not have a grudge against the Alvian Kingdom).
And for 120 years the Kingdom of Trev, the Kingdom of Marak and the Kingdom of Khultan didn’t have a go at each other throats (not too much anyway) and continued keeping watch over the Grand River of Kartank, waiting for an invasion by the Alvian Kingdom which they know would probably never come. Which is why on one fateful Sunday morning, the guards from each respective kingdom who were patrolling their own area couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw what seems like hundreds of refugee boats fleeing from the Alvian Kingdom… or the Hell that were chasing after them.