The Fall of Nerath
Northeast of Ayland lies the homeland of a proud, cruel, and warlike race: the humans of Karkoth. It is rumored that the Karkothi nobles combine fierce martial skill with mastery of the dark arts, but not much beyond this is known. Karkothi legions menace the fair realms of Vailin, the valiant Seldurian tribes that remain loyal to Nerath, and the great island of Kelarnil from their foothold in the Dread Marches.
Karkoth had always been a disunified empire, but now a strange new religious power has arisen among this warlike people. Although no single king of Karkoth’s tribes could ever force obedience from his peers, it appears as if the practicers of this new faith, called The Bound, have brought the Karkothi together with a unifying purpose: sweep away the encroaching elves from Tarsembor in the south and the hated Nerathi from the west.
The Seven Kings
Karkoth is not a monolithic empire. Instead, it is a fractious and quarrelsome union of the Karkothi people consisting of seven small kingdoms and a dozen or so lesser fiefs and domains. Each domain of Karkoth is ruled by a noble house commanding the loyalty of scores of thanes, or minor lords sworn to serve their king and battle his enemies.
By tradition, the kings of Karkoth are considered equals, and they frequently meet at the neutral city of Marhad in the Chamber of Thrones to take counsel. In practice, the kings are rivals and occasional enemies, rarely cooperating in any endeavor likely to result in one of them gaining an advantage at the expense of the others. Before the rise of The Bound, it was not unusual for two or three of the Karkothi kingdoms to be at war with each other at any given time. But now, under a unifying purpose, they are focused on external conquest.
Seven monarchs sit in the Chamber of Thrones:
- King Grom of Dolthkarin
- King Dhurn of Gormad
- King Haldrist of Gray March
- King Brusev of the Groaning Tower
- King Sarkomov of Kharsk
- King Vasil of Surthgard
- Queen Irina of Tyarmur
The Land of Karkoth
The Karkothi Throneholds lie in a wide vale between the high crags of the Mistcrown Mountains to the west and the low, barren range of the Gray Shields to the east. The region’s climate is cooled by its modest elevation and the Gulf of Kar. The land east of the Nhamur River, which links Lake Surth and the gulf, is high rolling plains and moorlands, broken by occasional wild forests in more remote spots. West of the Nhamur, the land is somewhat lower and more fertile with heavier forests, at least until one reaches the rugged foothills of the Mistcrowns.
The Throneholds are not densely populated; the Karkothi are not numerous. Their power lies in their newfound dark pact, and their ability to subjugate the tribes, savages, and monsters in the surrounding lands. The higher, drier eastern portions of the country are used as pastureland for flocks of sheep and goats; towns are few and far between, and most people live in lonely but well-defended clanholds shared by large, extended families. The western lowlands are more settled, with small villages and towns scattered across the land, dominated by the gloomy castles and strongholds of Karkothi nobles.