Blood and Thunder
Ekul, the southern part of former Zandor, is mainly a desert. The industrious population always fights to farm the scarce good soil, and great resources are spent in reclamation and irrigation. Thanks to this enlightened policy, Ekul is now a fairly pleasant place to live and enjoys good trading relations with Kyros, Syranthia and Jalizar.
In truth, Ekul it is a very young nation. This land suffered the first, tremendous impact of the Valk invasion; many of its cities were destroyed and the population killed. Then, luckily, the Valk moved north, toward the richest lands. After the death of Dhaar, leader of the Valk, his third son Eku, with a large number of clans went south and invaded this land once again. Rather than facing another war, the locals willingly submitted. They opened to Eku the doors of their main city, which was renamed Ekul, and offered him the hand of Yasmine, daughter of the former Imperial Governor.
Eku was still young, and a very curious and attentive person. He took up his residence in the ex Imperial Palace. He was truly fascinated by the way of life in the southern lands and soon became a civilized man.
Not all his followers were pleased with his behavior, so he was forced to crush a good part of them. His remaining followers adapted to a semi stantial life. Ekul is a vast territory, but only a small part of it, the coastal region, is farmed. The rest can only be used as pastures, and these were the lands assigned to Valk. After the disaster of Collana (see below), Eku abandoned the traditional Valk religion. All the Valkyrie were forced to leave the kingdom or face execution, which caused great anger among Eku’s followers and attacks from the Valk of the north. Yet, Eku’s supporters were ready to face them and came out victorious. Ekul enjoys very friendly relationships with Lhoban, and the king himself has embraced the strange philosophy of the Jademen.
But all good things come to an end, and Ekul’s age of enlightenment does not seem to be destined to last. King Eku is ninety years old now and his only heir is his granddaughter. When he dies, a civil war will certainly break out: several Valk clan chiefs as well as many noble families of imperial origin are ready to claim the throne. At the same time, both Kyros and the still uncivilized Valk hordes of the north mean to attack the country even before Eku’s body grows cold.
The Cursed City of Collana
Collana, the gem of the kingdom, was the center of trade between the western reigns and the Far East. It was also the first city to face the might of the Valk hordes. They not only crushed, burned and razed it, but the Valkyrie did something there — an unholy rite of tremendous power that summoned a legion of demons. Yet, when such a terrible force is awakened, it cannot be controlled, so the Valk were forced to leave Collana in the hands of demons. Some years ago, when Eku was already king, several Lhoban monks, experts in battling these evil abominations, asked permission to try and stop the demons from expanding further. King Eku gave his permission gladly, and now the monks are doing their best to control Collana, but they are losing their battle. Year after year, the evil things dwelling in the city multiply and grow stronger and, at night, strange terrors infest the roads and the grasslands of the reign.
Umberto Pignatelli. (2011). Beasts & Barbarians, pp. 24-25. Studio 2 Publishing.ISBN 978-8393179657