The Kingdom of Gavstor
"We will remake the world into our domain, a land of cinder-ash and the blackened bones of our enemies, until only we remain and those broken bodies that cower at our feet." - The Scarred King
Malign, dark-souled and merciless, the Gavstorians, as they are known in legend to the other peoples of the world, are a nation of butchers, barbarians and craftsmen, slavers and brutal killers that dominate great expanses of the north and have done so for hundreds of years. Their history is an ancient and terrible one, a saga of great and hardy peoples whose nobility would become warped into utter malice, and whose stubborn refusal to die would lead them down a dark and bitter path to damnation.
The story of the Gavstorians begins many hundreds of years ago, during the great expansion of the Dwarf race northwards, along with the rise of Man. The Dwarfs, cleaving to those lands where metal and gems could be found, and firm rock could be delved, principally followed the track of what is now known as the Dragons Fang Mountains. Here they excavated and expanded an underground realm of mighty subterranean fortress-cities linked by countless miles of mine workings and passageways. Eventually this slow but steady expansion led one group of Dwarfs to the uplands in the far north of the Dragons Fang Mountains range, which they came to know as "Zorn Uzkul" or the "Great Skull Land". It was a vast and inhospitable plateau where the air was frigid and thin, and the dusty ground littered with the wind-scoured bones of the ancient dead here terrible tribes of human barbarians preyed upon each other and the dwarves managed to ally themselves with the most powerful tribe and thus the eventual empire was born in fire and blood as they exterminated or enslaved every other tribe. The mineral wealth was rich here, but the earth and stone to some seemed tainted and unclean.
Many Dwarfs called the place accursed and condemned the brutal actions and turned aside from it, either retreating to the most established holds or, if of more adventurous character, choosing to strike out further afield or undertake the journey first east and then south to the rich lodes. Some however, refusing to be baulked, chose to remain in the Great Skull Land come what may.
It is impossible to say with any certainty exactly when the Dwarfs of the East became the malevolent entities now known as the Scarred King and his heirs, as the changes wrought to their bodies and spirits were slow and inexorable. Not even they themselves know the full saga of the dark times of their origins, save for that they were almost utterly destroyed, and it was only by their stubborn refusal to surrender in the face of unspeakable horror and death that they endured - endured and came to know a new unnamed patron. Slowly they began to increase again in number and restore themselves in power and dark majesty, now barely recognisable from what they had been before.
The dwarves and humans that make up Gavstorian do in an strange alliance with the dwarves being considered superior and the humans serving them as attack dogs but humans can outrank the dwarves bar the king and his heirs. As they grew in number they look at envy towards the Astimov empire of dragons. Some say it was jealousy but most blame simple greed. Dragons had treasure and the desire to possess and enslave the dragonborn empire grew and grew and war was inevitable. They waged a dreadful war and in victory enslaved the survivors and turned the capital Havilsor into the Black City with 7 huge walls spreading outward for miles ending in towers for each of the Scarred Kings Heirs.
An empire of smoke, blood, and ash
The Black Hammer.
Gavstorians are evil, bitter and self-centered creatures, caring nothing for the life of others and directing all their labours to the construction and the slow expansion of their power and influence in the world. To this end the Gavstorians armies scour the land and the deadly realms beyond for slaves to fill their city and labour deep beneath the earth in pits that surround it.
Their empire has come to encompass the fire-scorched volcanic Plain of Zharrduk at the heart of which The Black Hammer sits, and like a black iceberg, its true extent lies not above with its armoured ziggurats and fire-lanced temples, but below the surface in countless miles of magma-lit cavernous chambers and vaulted mines which resound to the cries of tortured slaves and the ringing of hammers in an untold number of diabolic forges. For many miles around it, the land has succumbed to the hand of the Gavstorians. It is littered with the scars of vast open mines, fiery rivers of magma, ash dunes and stagnant pools of foaming yellow and blood red - noxious with toxic spoil and fortified workings and watch posts which line the great machine-crushed roads upon which countless slaves haul ore and plunder to feed the ever hungry city of the Gavstorians
Beyond their heartland in the Plain of Zharrduk, they have risen great fortress-citadels and towers to establish their dominion throughout the far flung and perilous empire they call home, although no force, even one as brutal as the Gavstorians can lay claim to true sovereignty over this vast realm of accursed, monster-filled, shifting ash-deserts. At the edges of the empire, the outposts and black-iron watch-towers of the Gavstorians extend as far as the coastline of the Sea of Dread to the south and the High Pass to the north.
The plans of the Gavstorians are the result of the intricate workings of the malign intelligence, deep paranoia and cold cruelty of the Scarred King and his spawn. They see no need to ravage the world in fury in a desperate bid to crush all before them, only to fall overextended and spent, as so many throngs of failed empires have done in the past. Instead they hoard their might slowly and rip from the lands the mineral wealth they contain in abundance. They venture forth foremost to harvest slaves but also to punish those that would oppose them directly, and sunder any creature or force that might wax powerful in the land before it can become a threat. More rarely do they travel further afield, mounting expeditions into distant lands in search of strange plunder whose worth they have seen in the fires of strange altars, avenging some slight or merely for callously testing their weapons against the powers of the world. As a result of this policy, to many the Gavstorians are a dreadful force of evil in the world.
The dominion of the Gavstorians is a slowly expanding power, which has with grinding, calculated savagery carved itself a realm form its masters' dreams of conquest which is a thing of brooding hatred and bitter perseverance. They are content to see their plans unfold over the course of years, perhaps even longer until one day all of the world lies a blasted plain in which the Gavstorians stand unopposed and alone, save for their cowering slaves and the ashen bones of the dead.
Allies of the Scarred King
Obiquis the Obscene Eye
Obiquis the Obscene Eye is a terrible creature, an experiment to cross beholders and demons and this horror is the result. Obiquis the Obscene Eye is the Scarred Kings adviser as he can foretell the future with one eye and see the past with another. A sycophant and a coward he is gregarious in the extreme but most avoid him as he emits a constant flatulence and smells of dead rotting tissue. He is however a cunning and treacherous creature with the power to cause madness and violence in others for his amusement. He only respects the king and finds starting quarrels between the heirs amusing.
The Pale Queen
A pale white mostly naked human female who wears the mantle of death itself. The Pale Queen is an iconic figure to the vicious and disturbed humans who follow the Scarred King. Her word is law and her presence on the battlefield assures victory. She can break the minds and hearts of mortals with her ear piercing cries and her scythe is so sharp even the scales of dragons offer no protection. Violent and lacking mercy or even basic human empathy, many say she is the will of a dark god made manifest.
The Seven Heirs and their respective towers
Malachi the Demon-Spawn
Tower of Torment
Malachi the lowest of the Scarred Kings heirs and he knows it, an unwanted loved child from a succubus, mocked and scorned by his siblings from day one he carries a grudge against them however he has turned his isolation into power and rather then fight against such treatment he embraces it fully. He has become a servant to the Patient One. Waiting in the darkness, the Patient One—also known as the Dark Watcher—is a strange and alien creature. Always whispering secrets to itself, the Patient One waits until its time comes, and then it strikes, destroying or consuming everything in its path.
Although never actually pictured in its entirety, this god is known to have many eyes, many mouths, and many clawed arms around its bulbous body. The Patient One’s symbol is a mouth surrounded by eyes, always done in dark colors. The domains it is associated with are Evil, Darkness, and Corruption. Malachi has gained its attention and he employs slaves to build a massive idol as a beacon to the dark entity, intending to sacrifice the slaves once done to summon down a starspawn, an avatar of the Patient One. With its power he intends to forge an empire of his own and enslave or kill his own father and siblings.
Vestroya, Breaker of Men.
Tower of Flesh
Vestroya is the only female heir and all know her as a beautiful,well-mannered, and sophisticated woman, however, she is also a sadist and a debauched monster and totally pitiless. She has a secret set of chambers in the dungeons below her tower where she keeps her personal victims. Vestroya is in charge of the inquisitors, the Scarred King's secret police and thus she rounds anyone suspected of harbouring ideas of rebellion.
She is in fact a higher functioning sociopath who enjoys pushing the boundaries of torture, she plays physiological games with her victims and most end up quite mad, broken shells of themselves with new identities given to them by Vestroya. Even her own siblings are unnerved by her gentle calm outward demeanour. She is a skilled warlock and Cleric of a diety known by all as the Mistress of Exquisite Pain, Scahrossar and has only female attendants, those who have survived a "game" with her are chosen.
Greedfist the Gluttonous.
Tower of Gold.
In all of the Gavstorian empire one who be hard pressed to find a creature, living nor dead, more greedy, more vile than Greedfist. He as never meant to be an heir and is not related to his family by blood, born as a twin to a lady of the court, he was born deformed and mutilated, missing his right limbs and genitalia, considered a misbirth and a freak but his mother loved him anyway and employed an artificer to keep her son alive and thus Greedfist was kept alive by machines and dark magic but always treated like a freak.
He grew jealous of his family and craved for love and attention and power. Power to make those who laughed at him pay and one night in a fit of rage he murdered his father, his tin brother and finally his mother crushing the life from her while she pleaded with the son she had tried to save. He was taken before the scarred king to explain his actions and the Scarred King saw in him greed and ambition and a way to keep his blood heir's on their toes. He proclaimed him to be his fostered son and the evil twisted part machine beardless eunuch rose in power and so far he has proven to be a devious and malicious ruler who has the respect and fear of some of his siblings. He is master of taxes and coin and its said he craves every piece of treasure, and spares no thought to shed blood for the glittering gold.
Graveltooth the Ravager.
Tower of Steel
Feared by his enemies, reviled by his father, adored by his sister Vestroya, and worshipped by his warriors, Graveltooth a smiling killer is the master of the 4th Tower, the Tower of Steel. Graveltooth is not loved by the people. He represents everything they fear and despise: war, strife, chaos, and murder. It’s said that the sky darkens when Graveltooth takes the field. That he rides to battle on a chariot drawn by fire-breathing goat steeds and delights only in the clash of battle and smell of bloodshed.
He brings slaves to his sister and the two are said to have an unhealthy possibly incestuous relationship. He is a creature of disorder and thus the defence of the kingdom is given to his more level-headed heirs. He is the attack dog barely held on a chain. He doesn't worry about diplomacy, dead men don't need to be bargained with. He is a devotee of Erythnul who teaches life is pain and inflicted pain and the cruelest cuts leave the enemy aware, helpless and screaming for death.
Deadgrim the Unending.
Tower of the Dead
Gavstoria has forgotten him.
Deadgrim the Unending, took no time to build statues or gather worshippers. He favoured only those for whom war is life; for that is where he thrives - not on the steps of hallowed basilicas or in whispered meetings, but in the blood-soaked mud, among the breathless armoured troops, in the roar of victory. The oldest and first of the heirs once upon at time. His fall is not well documented.
When Gavstoria was young, Deadgrim the Unending ran with his armies, conquered its enemies, making it strong. As Gavstoria aged and began to crumble, he fought only with its strongest and most cunning of warriors, the Pale Queen
The Pale Queen rose through the ranks by accomplishing impossible deeds of heroism and ruthless prowess. Her enemies feared her, her soldiers loved her, and everywhere she went, Deadgrim the Unending a rode with her. Together they quelled the orcish hordes, they broke the Giant War, they sacked Havilsor. The duo were utterly undefeatable, and it was the Pale Queen that made him so.
But then his brother, Prince Moltanius moved to displace him and end his rise to glory.
"March on The Tower of Fire," The Pale Queen quietly urged, "and you shall rise as no other."
Emboldened, Deadgrim commanded his legions and took the city streets, he lead at the fore, slaughtering the hell-slaves that stood against them. However he fell at the final hurdle struck down by his brother Prince Moltanius, left dying, his lover the Pale Queen escaped with his body however.
Time of heirs begun and for Deadgrim, his wars were over. The Pale Queen moved on, and Gavstoria forgot.
But the forgotten are not gone. Deadgrim passed into the afterlife but refused to leave, he became a vengeful spirit one who has not forgotten the past. He will never be king but he now rules the Tower of the dead. Necromancers and undead monsters patrol the area and vampire knights serve this dark king. He waits in his tower brooding, seeking revenge upon the living in particular his brother.
Normandrick the Slayer of Foes.
Tower of Skulls.
In war, there are two kinds of soldiers: those that fight for blood, and those that fight for honour. The first crave the clash of steel and smell of slaughter, the latter know the wisdom of justice, the kindness of mercy, and that life should never be taken wantonly. These different warriors seek different leaders. Graveltooth the Ravager revels in the bloodletting, but his brother Normandrick the Slayer of Foes, is patron to those who fight with dignity, and only when there is no other alternative.
Normandrick the Slayer of Foes despite his name is no mere monster unlike his siblings. A rugged surly dwarf, he fights to defend his country and does so with honour. He does not share the hatred of other races like his father but that makes him all the more dangerous. He is quiet but cunning and has a deep understanding of war and tactics. He is ruthless however but only as ruthless as is necessary. The tower of Skulls is a huge barracks with the elite warriors of the empire training there. He doesn't mistreat prisoners nor slaves much to the amusement of his siblings but none have the audacity to challenge him such is his ability. His position is secure and that suits his father well. As long as Normandrick lives Gavstoria will never fall.
Many wish for him to be the King but he does not comment on such things, his duty and station suit and the others keep their worst aspects of themselves contained all except Malachi that is. He has a good relationship with Deadgrim. His relationship with Prince Moltanius is one of unease. The prince won't move against him and as long as the King lives it unlikely Normandrick will challenge for the throne.
At least for now.
Prince Moltanius, Keeper of Hell, Hand of the King.
Tower of Fire.
Buried beneath the crust of the world under the Tower of Fire of which the topmost of which are realms of torture and vile inhumanities, home to denizens of darkness and malice. Yet, further into the black below, at the inkiest recesses can be found Here dwells a being of true evil, gloating over each burned corpse he’s claimed with macabre glee, and relishing the moment more of these lesser souls are his. Prince Moltanius, Keeper of Hell, Hand of the King.
When night falls, his servants roam the land, crowned by a wreath of human eyes, and a gruesome flame skull face bared for all to witness, accompanied by the shriek of burning wraiths. All that live are his for the taking. If they find a mortal in the night, the unfortunate are dragged into endless oblivion. Only those already wracked by his servants, those caught in gut-wrenching wailing, moans of agony, and fits of mania are safe from his touch.
Hide now, all men and dragons, for the age of eternal night has come and only the fires of hell provide any light. Prince Moltanius will reap anything that lives. He is the drinker of souls and master of devils and the trusted son of the Scarred King, the only being he bows too.