©Isle Of Dee
There was once an island, small but very beautiful.
Upon one side of that isle there was a mountain rich in minerals and wealth. From the foothills of that mountain mighty springs arose and poured fresh water upon the land, and a river split the isle in two from south to north. The mountain with the mineral wealth was on one side of the river, and the most fertile land was on the other. And across the southern end of the isle, from the mountain all the way to the opposite coast, was a dense, dark forest.
Many kinds of people lived on the isle,
drawn by the presence of elemental magic that flowed through the land: for it was situated in a place where the barrier that separates the magic dimension from the ordinary world is thin. But in the ancient days it was a land filled with conflict as the elves tried to protect it, the humans sought to cultivate it, the goblins grubbed out its minerals for their trade and inventions, and Dark Fae attempted to reap its magic for their own ends. Then, many many generations ago, while the land was dominated by Dark Elves, Paladins came and rallied the people to fight behind them. Together they set the Isle free from the sway of an evil Dark witch.
From among those victorious paladins a knight called Evander
was chosen and anointed King of Dee. He married a woman of the isle: a fair maid called Melicent, thus bonding himself to the land; the people settled under his rule, and the dynasty of the Kings of Dee began.
King Evander and Queen Melicent
made their home in the castle where the Dark Elven queen had dwelt before them, though it was a dark and forbidding place surrounded by forest. Indeed it seemed not like a home at all, for that Dark woman had lived not in it but in caves beneath, the castle being only to make a show of grandiosity and power to the lesser races. But they decorated it richly with tapestries and sumptuous furniture, and even built a chapel within it, thinking to exorcise any remnant of evil that the Dark Elf had left behind. In time they grew comfortable there, though darkness still clung in corners and chill draughts stirred the air in echoing and windowless corridors.
With their queen gone,
the remaining dark elves departed from the Isle, declaring that its magic was impenetrable and useless to them. Only one remained at that time. His name was Kel’yraen, and his skill in magic was greater than the rest. Believing that he was close to mastering the magic that ran through the land, he came to the king and asked that he be allowed to stay and continue his work in peace. In return he promised allegiance, claiming that he would use his magic only for the good of the land, and in time he became an adviser to the king.
With the dark elves
gone from the caves and dark places, a rise began in the goblin race who were now free to mine the mountain as they pleased. Under dark elven oppression they had kept their heads down and labored on quietly in corners, but now that they found themselves in a land ruled by humans they were not so restrained. Anarchy broke out as they worked their mischief, until eventually King Evander mustered the people to begin work on a mighty wall to keep the goblins from their side of the isle. Then the goblins named for themselves a king, and they began to build a castle of their own on an islet in the bay, and started parading about as if training armies. When the humans saw that, they built their city walls still thicker and higher, and, in order that the king’s castle should be protected, a great part of the forest had to be enclosed within the walls. Many trees were cut down, and the elves and fae of the Isle grew angry.
A time of segregation followed.
The elves and fae clung to the remains of the forest. The goblins mined and factored, and traded with other lands. The humans grew what they could, and plundered the forest for wood. They built a fortified dock so that ships could come and go on their side of the isle without suffering assault from the goblins.
The only one who came
and went in freedom was Kel’yraen. He worked at his magic in a tower on the mountain, and so had to cross the goblin lands to reach the town, yet he was never assailed by those mischievous ones as he came to give advice to the Kings of Dee. Some wondered about this, thinking that either he was in league with the goblins, or that he had some secret way to move about the Isle in freedom.
and the enmity and unrest between goblins and humans grew. Raids and skirmishes were commonplace, and piracy abounded.
Then came the time of the last king.
Alberic was his name. He married a woman of good family, called Mathilde. In due course they had a daughter, whom they named Sofia. But for all their prayers Mathilde did not bear a son to continue the kingly line.
Perhaps it was the lack of an heir
that made the goblins begin to arm themselves more heavily. Perhaps it was this that made the elves and fae decide that the time for action had come. Or perhaps it was this that brought Kel’yraen to a decision about how the government of Dee should continue. If anyone knew what exactly happened and why, they did not confess it. But one day, by a mix of magic and minerals, a great explosion occurred in the mines within the mountain, splitting it open and carving a great chasm into the earth. Many goblins died that day, for they were in the tunnels in force, digging metals for weaponry.
heard the shrieks and cries of the injured and bereaved goblins, and his heart went out to them, for he was a good man, noble and full of love for his people and for the land.
“We must make peace,”
he said to his knights and advisors. And the knights protested, for they thought that there could be no allegiance with goblins. But Kel’yraen agreed, and went to make arrangements with the goblin king.
Peace talks were planned.
It was decided that the first day of talks would take place in Alberic’s castle, followed by a dinner there at which all would sit at table together. Then on the second day the talks would be in the goblin king’s castle, with a feast afterwards to seal the truce between them.
The date was set and the talks began,
the two kings and their knights and advisors around a table together; and as the evening came they were joined by their queens and the rest of their courts for the dinner to show their accord. But during the after-dinner entertainment a strange thing happened: the goblin king’s daughter got up to dance, and it seemed that as she danced she place a bewitchment upon King Alberic, for he could not take his eyes from her.
That night as Alberic lay beside his queen,
sleep would not come to him. In the dead of night he rose from bed, telling Mathilde he was seeking warm milk to help him sleep. He was never seen again.
When morning came and the king was nowhere to be found, Kel’yraen spoke up, unfazed, perhaps too knowing.
“It may be that he has just gone ahead, taking advantage of this fine morning,” he said. “We must go and join him quickly.”
And so the knights and advisors left the castle
and walked to the city gates. When the gates opened they were met with an eerie silence. The goblin village was empty, not a soul was about; no ships were left in the bay; the gates of the goblin castle stood open, the castle undefended. Not a single goblin was left on the Isle, and no trace of Alberic was to be found. In horror the knights turned to Kel’yraen, but he was calm and aloof.
“You have your peace,” he told them. “Was this not what you wanted?”
Of course they protested that the cost was too high – that they did not expect to lose their king in the process, but he merely replied:
“Do you not think that Alberic would be prepared to sacrifice himself to bring peace to his people?”
At first Mathilde
did her best to rule in his place. She ordered that the goblin castle and village be razed to the ground, and so they were. But within the castle courtyard there stood a statue of the goblin king, and it was bound there by some magic power, and stood in firm defiance though the castle was laid to waste all around it. Then Mathilde spoke to Kel’yraen, and begged him to use his magic to break the spell and allow the effigy to be removed.
But the Wizard
merely smiled in a secretive way, and said: “Never will one race, one people, have mastery over the magic of this Isle. The magic will not be ruled. Remember that, My Lady, when you are tempted to wield power. The Isle will not tolerate it.”
Then he took up the ruby crown
that Alberic had worn, and broke it in two. One piece he threw at the queen’s feet, and the other he carried away, back to his tower. And the Wizard then immersed himself in his secrets and his studies, and was little seen again in Mathilde’s time.
The land continued,
but the people remained filled with sadness. They moved out to occupy the land that had belonged to the goblins. The city walls began to crumble, and the forest began to grow back into its rightful place. Mathilde built the Abbey of St Vitus, the patron of dancing and comedy, on what was left of the mountain where the goblin mine had been, perhaps to try to revive the joy of the people.
In time, Princess Sofia married a worthy knight.
They had children, first a daughter, and then a son, and there was great rejoicing, for now there was an heir to Alberic’s throne. The boy grew and thrived, and the hopes of the people grew with him. A king would give them strength, they thought, and make them great, and no goblins or drow would be able to rival him.
But the pride of the people was to take a great fall,
and the words of the drow were shown to be true, for one night, from under the care of his nanny, the boy was stolen away by the fae. The fury of his parents, of all the people, was terrible, for they lost their great hope that dark night; and that nanny was executed for her negligence. It is said that her ghost haunts the place still, searching for that lost prince. But Mathilde remembered the words of Kel’yraen, and great sorrow came over her.
“If I had not attempted to rule as queen,”
she said, “and if we had not rejoiced at the birth of an heir, then this isle would not have taken my grandson.” One night, in inconsolable despair, she took herself up to the highest part of the castle and threw herself down upon the rocks.
Then Sofia, rather than call herself ‘Queen’,
took the title of Countess, and moved from the castle to a house in the town. She chose elders from among the common people to advise her, and as time went on she withdrew and let the elders continue the work. And her sons and daughters went their own ways, moving from the Isle to seek other lives, until the royal line of Dee was scattered, as perhaps the goblins, the dark elves and the fae always intended it should be.
For the more recent history, go here