History of Reim

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History of Reim is an Official GemStone IV Document, and it is protected from editing.

There were few observers on the day that the Kingdom of Reim broke free from the clutches of Mount Barmtik, as the mountain was known to local inhabitants of the frozen wastes. It was a mountain, among the highest of the Olbin range, which had defied exploration and cartography in large part because most assumed the path to its icy peak lead directly through the Ebon Gate. A few eternally snow-blanketed valleys and other significant mountains appeared to be the only means to reach Mount Barmtik, and most agreed that trudging through the wastes of the North to simply gain a sight of the peak was worth the trek to enjoy its far off silhouette on the skyline.

Even when the annual winter storms ceased and the eye of the massive blizzards offered a still, snowy moment of reflection, there were not many who happened to turn their gaze toward Barmtik. Instead, most only realized days later that the peak, which had become the signature element of a popular phrase, "Might as well go climb Barmtik!" was much reduced. In fact, it was completely missing. Those who witnessed its disappearance have since been shrugged off as opportunistic fame seekers. Their stories were simply too incredible to be believed.

What made Mount Barmtik special was not the mountain itself, but the city which had once rested on the south facing side of its peak. Barmtik's peak, one would realize if they could have seen it in its original state, was not a complete peak. Imagine a cone and then one quarter of that cone magically sliced away, leaving a flat surface surrounded by two walls which intersect at a right angle. Barmtik was not nearly as uniform, but its peak was best described in this manner. From afar, it appeared home to a particularly boring glacier and perhaps the frozen remains of a few too-curious beasts. This was originally the case, but by the year 4000, it no longer held true. It especially was not the case the day the mountain's peak disappeared, leaving a featureless plateau on which a glacier might someday rest. For by the year 4000, in the place where the previously featureless glacier had rested, there was a city and it was magnificent.

The city was known as Reim, a name it shared with the extremely small kingdom ruled over by a half-elf named Torello. Torello was not the founder of Reim the city, or Reim the kingdom, but was the son of the empress who had founded it. Her name was Naran and she was human and had certainly not been raised with the idea of wandering into the far north and founding a kingdom. In fact, she had not been raised with many expectations at all. She was the seventh daughter of a minor noble who had been famous for two things: one, owning the largest private library in the Highman Kingdom of Dunemire's trade city, Kedshold; and two, establishing the Society of Universal Friendship. The Society, as it was known within Kedshold, heralded the philosophy that all races should and could live together in harmony and through that harmony, a better world could be created. It was not a very popular organization, except for every other month when a free meal was offered to accompany lectures on racial tolerance. Most people in Kedshold were there to make money, not friends.

Despite the lack of universal appeal, there were true adherents and supporters of the Society. One such supporter was an elf by the name of Truell. Truell was a recent arrival from Ta'Illistim, one of a number of elves who had family living yet in the dying days of the Kannalan Empire. He was in the process of helping them relocate to the safer lands of the Elven Nations It was at one Society function, the non-free meal type, that Truell encountered Naran and under the approving eye of her father, began a romance. In recent elven memory there were still some who recalled the "good old days". This was when they actually owned humans, from which spawned a somewhat popular series of novels detailing the past incredible adventures of an elf and his human and was the sort of reading material that was avidly consumed in private, but referred to indifferently amongst guests and in public. This made it not surprising that Truell's family looked distastefully upon the coupling.

Their disapproval heightened when Truell elected to remain in Kedshold rather than return with the rest of the family to Ta'Illistim. He remained for marriage and so he and Naran were bonded for life. It was not long after that the couple had their first child, a daughter, who was followed by a son. That son was Torello, who was named after Truell's grandfather, an elf renowned for his incredible propensity to sit and stare at objects. And so, as the Kannalan Empire was overrun by barbarians and transitioned from a once viable political entity to a mere footnote in history, Naran and Truell lived as happily as a human and elf could live. The pair became something of a living symbol of the optimistic beliefs of the Society. Under their influence the Society began to dedicate itself, not just to the promotion of universal race relations, but to accomplishments which represented the benefit of cooperation; including notable achievements in science, art, and magic.

Something incredible and beautiful might have very well taken hold in Kedshold had the Society continued in the trade city, but as the viability of the Kannalan Empire dissolved. The fears of Naran's father revealed that everything the Society had managed to do, along with the safety of his library, were in jeopardy. He resolved that the family should remove itself from Kedshold to a safer city, such as River's Rest. Once established, the members of the Society left in Kedshold would be invited to join them in the city on the Tempest River, where surely, it was thought, the cultural jewel of the Kannalan Empire would persist for centuries to come.

Swelled by increasing numbers of mixed races, many unable to contemplate lives without a free meal from time to time, the Society organized a miniature migration with all directions pointing toward the Tempest River to the west. Some Kedshold inhabitants, who had no plans to abandon their city, called the members of the Society rats, as in, rats living on a sinking ship, baffling anyone who contemplated why anyone else would want to identify themselves with a sinking ship. Given that the Tempest River was the Society's destination, the term 'River Rat' was conceived and thrown about as a nouveau insult, but ultimately fell into disuse when many of the more known detractors of the Society agreed that such a nickname would never gain lasting popularity.

The Society, for its part, tried to market the mass abandonment of Kedshold, which they believed the Manor Lords of the High Men would be quite unable to protect. As simply a pleasant excursion to the beach, an excursion in which all participants gather along with the entirety of their earthly belongings and bid farewell to friends and enemies alike, albeit with less love or endearment for the latter.

At the vanguard of the Society's departure was Naran's father, who by this point was not quite old enough to lie extremely still in a coffin under several feet of earth, but was getting there. Situated in a chair strapped to the back of a wagon lead by a number of well-trained roltons, the minor noble set off with his least precious collection of books to rendezvous with a band of mercenaries who had promised for good pay to accompany and protect the Society on its relocation. Remaining behind were Truell and Naran, both engaged in the process of herding the last members of the Society into place and position for a much larger caravan. Both the Founder of the Society and the Mercenaries arrived on time at the agreed upon meeting place, which in many business ventures one would expect to lead to a successful partnership. Tragically, this would not end up being the case.

As the Kannalan Empire had entered its death throes, the various races which had composed it had withdrawn from their mutual obligation to aid each other. It was in this time period, unsurprisingly, that 'One must look after one's own' became a very popular slogan for needlepoint projects and very faded examples can still be found in use as patches for everyday items such as cloaks, socks, and the occasional eyepatch. Nonetheless, when the Founder arrived, he discovered their lack of racial diversity nearly matched to a 'T' the prominent racial diversity of his small vanguard. Grudges being what grudges are, another popular slogan of the time, the human mercenaries turned upon the vanguard as traitors to their race, and in an odd extension of racial enmity, decided to be outraged on behalf of the other races as well, and slaughtered the lot of them. All, that is, but one young elven girl who leapt astride one of the very well-trained roltons and rode posthaste back to Kedshold with news of the tragedy.

Naran accepted the information of her father's death, flinging his body bravely upon the sharp ends of the mercenaries' swords, itself an awkward attempt by the elven girl to provide Naran with a much grander end to the Founder's life, remarkably well. It was not until the people of Kedshold forced the remainder of the Society out the city's main gate, many of the Kedsholdians still actively embracing the idea of their home being a sinking ship by wearing crooked miniature figureheads on their hats. It was an inelegant send off and a direct slap in the face to the Society's philosophy of racial equality and working together to solve the worse problems. It was also a final insult to Naran's father's legacy, which was further tarnished by a surprisingly well-produced ad hoc mocking puppet show held just over the precipice of the city's wall. This had such catchy songs that the Society members couldn't help but hum pieces of it for weeks to come. Left with only the dangers of the roads away from Kedshold before them, the Society was homeless and in danger of disintegrating in the face of uncharitableness and an uncertain future.

It was at this point that Truell recalled a place where the Society might be able to travel to, where they would most definitely find safety and security from the world which did not want them. It was a peak in a distant mountain range that he had uncovered in his travels back and forth from Ta'Illistim, and it should be noted that Truell was a terrible follower of directions and had dramatically miscalculated his path westward from his home in the Elven Nations. It was only after the kindly intervention of Paradis halflings, themselves lost, but less lost, that Truell ultimately was able to make his way southward to find his family in the Kannalan Empire. Regardless of his ability to follow directions, Truell had an excellent memory and recalled precisely how to find this peak in the wintry north. Truell also recalled precisely where he was when the baker down the street invented a new type of blackberry tart which revolutionized the tart business in Kedshold several years earlier.

The prospect of marching into a land where exposure to sunshine was considered a bit of a condition, like frostbite in warmer climes, did not immediately arouse strong support from the members of the Society, particularly those who were now regretting their loyalty to free meals. It was Naran who managed to sell the idea through a display of impressive magics, one of the few areas that the Society's cross-racial endeavors had surprisingly succeeded upon. To this day in Reim, on a pedestal in the old library, one can find the crystal globe with a small burning sun within it, warming the entire building, and a construct of the Founder's daughter. With not so high spirits, but spirits motivated by at least the desire to not catch the popular pastime of being killed, enslaved, or eaten which was spreading across the Kannalan Empire, the Society set off for the north.

It was a treacherous journey that had the benefit of crossing through lands where humanoids had already scoured and scavenged. The living survivors of these raids were offered sanctuary within the bizarre collection of various races who marched together and spoke of a better life for everyone. Through the eternal snows of the north they marched, and over frozen rivers, and a few frozen adventurers as well, the Society's members continued against all odds to make their way to an oddly shaped mountain peak. It's not an exaggeration to say that it was the shared resolve for not just their own lives, but for the ideas of the Society, motivated the members through hardship after hardship. The worse, perhaps, were the occasional attempts at humor in the form of repeated requests asking if 'they were there yet?' or 'is it summer yet?'

Over these harsh barriers the Society finally made it to the peak, later known as Barmtik, and settled upon a quarter of it which was surprisingly flat. In this flattened area, the Society did what they did best, magic. A magical dome was cast above the area, infused with elemental magics to prevent the chilling wind from penetrating the new settlement, and self-contained balls of light and fire that heated everything to a temperature comfortable enough for picnics and the poorly thought out streaking, because streaking is always poorly thought out. Additional magical skill resulted in the cultivation of plants and other goods needed to build at first a town and then a city, and eventually a kingdom to be ruled over by an emperor and empress. In this case, Truell and Naran.

For the first decade or so, the town of Reim, as it was called, because one doesn't establish a city in the frozen north and call it Sunnydale, it's simply not done, thrived. Under the guidance of Truell and Naran, the city openly invited and welcomed the refugees of the Kannalan Empire, regardless of race or belief. The dream of the Society, it seemed, was on the straight road of success until the night of Snowball Ball. Cleverly named with pun in mind, then not so cleverly understood and so the back half of the name of the ball unduly repeated, the Snowball Ball was organized to celebrate the arts of music and dance. It was on the night of this ball that Naran was asked to grant entry to refugees at the city's gates, which were closed, because that's just the smart thing to do at night. Naturally, the Empress gave permission, an act which she would regret for the rest of her life.

The policy of Reim had always been one of open arms to all races, for it was a city and kingdom founded on the principles of the Society of Universal Friendship. No one ever recorded what race the refugees were who were admitted entry that night, but only because many of those who were able to get a good look at them were promptly slaughtered. The plight of the homeless had been a deception of brigands, who had heard of the wealth and luxury that had been accumulating in a magical kingdom in the north. What they had not heard, or heard and discounted, was the magical might of its empress and many of its citizens. The small magical schools of Reim had believed in the necessity of a rounded magical education, in part because one form of magic flows naturally into another, and because it mirrored a dietary emphasis to provide three square meals a day, a legacy of the free meal lectures of Kedshold.

It was this very magical education, which had resulted in a paradise in the midst of frozen mountains and valleys that was spectacularly leveled against the intruders. It goes without saying that the racial identification of the attackers was made impossible because there simply was not enough left to provide a viable means of identification. One ear was recovered, or so some claimed, there was much debate on whether it was an ear or simply part of a nostril or at worse, two-fifths of an ankle, but nothing conclusive to the attackers' identities. The anonymous attackers had one privilege, however, and that was gaining admission to the city of Reim. Among their victims was the Emperor Truell, who had developed a custom of waiting by the gates to offer a warm tankard of ale or cider. As a result, he was among the first to fall to their predations.

Consumed with grief and bitterness for a world which had repeatedly shown itself unwilling to embrace the idea of universal friendship, Empress Naran summoned the might of her powers and tore Reim away from the mountain top and set the city afloat in the skies above Elanith. And so, Reim drifted with the winds, over ocean and sea, over forest and desert, never one place for long and never again open to those who might have held a kindred spirit for the beliefs of her father. One would think there to be a certain majesty to living in a floating city, but it actually leads to a number of nuisances, such as timing the rise and fall of the sun, panicked flocks of migrating birds dispensing with digested meals upon the people, streets, and buildings below upon encountering said floating city, and perhaps worse, an odd sensation of falling while trying to fall asleep, and only truly cured by rolling one's self out of bed and falling to the floor, ergo, establishing what true descent feels like. There was also the pressing need for resources.

Mining was right out, as too much mining would result in their home simply falling apart without any foundation, and under the reign of Empress Naran's son, Torello, a hunger among the populace to cure the floating aspect of the city grew greater and greater. In the time span that Naran had severed her city and people from the earth, the people had grown to want to build more and more upon their accomplishments, something that could not be done while dealing with all the limitations of being literally unattached from one's earthly surroundings. Thus, a decision was to reattach the floating city of Reim to Elanith and observers were placed along the rim of the city to look for the perfect berth for their home.

It was not a quick process, as the desired location must have access to resources, but also be secure from those who might be interested in the city. There was also the problem that no one truly understood how one goes about precisely reattaching one's floating city. How Empress Naran had broken Reim free years ago had remained a mystery that had died with the Empress, another mystery never to be solved with the Empress' passing had to do with being able to always quickly identify the shape of passing clouds. And so, as the city looked for the new home of Reim and researched how to make the floatable sink permanently, the Empreor Torello ordered the manufacturing of vast magic-infused chains by which to anchor the city to the ground. Not long after these chains were completed, a home was spotted.

It was a vast crater, not far from the mountain home of dwarves, albeit, a home that none of the people of Reim knew about because, well, they're dwarves and dwarves tend to do things out of the sight of most. The crater, located in the midst of a mountain range, promised easy access to many of the resources the people of Reim longed to draw upon in order to further their city's greatness and glory. Something akin to anchors were dropped and via mechanisms built upon the edges and underneath the city, Reim was pulled down from the sky, from the clouds, and out of the sight of any might have been looking upwards at the time, and who, if they had been looking upwards, would have undoubtedly checked their footing and immediately seated themselves, because one simply does not see floating cities and it's always proper procedure to take a seat when one see's things they normally do not see. And so, Reim was chained to the ground, a temporary solution to a permanent problem.

Being attached to the ground only made the populace more nervous, as many suffered from attachment issues, fearful the chains might give way, and the city would once again slip into the sky above to wander again with the prevailing winds. Thankfully, after only a few stress-filled years, a number of scholars, along with the good king Torreloe came to the conclusion that they believed they had rediscovered the magical means by which his mother had torn the city away from old Mount Barmtik. It was the magical shield or dome that had protected the city from its founding in the cold of the north and later, from the cold of the skies. The greatest magicians of the city believed that they could use the dome to focus the collection of their magical energies and essentially, pull the city and the ground together. One overly eager scholar attempted to demonstrate the technique with a hot glass jar and oversized toad, but this succeeded in only angering the toad, which blinded the scholar with a particularly devastating webbed toe attack.

Preparations were put in place as quickly as possible, as Reims was rife with excitement at the prospect of once again being attached to Elanith and all the marvels that awaited creation from that future hence. At first, it seemed as if the magical attempt was a success, with mana flowing from nearly every magic user in Reim, which accounted for a good number of the population, into the shield. Had things gone as planned, the magical power of the spell would have drained to the center of the bottom of the floating city and then like a great weight, pulled the city downward until city met earth and the two were bonded together. Instead, the magic slid upwards, as some might describe it, like a fried egg might slide up the side of a pan, and to the apex of the dome, where suddenly magnified, began arching downward like ten thousand different bolts of terrifying lightning. The city and the people were blasted with the concentrated magic, which instead of bonding the city to the earth, tore into their life forces and bound them to reality itself. They were dead, but not dead, no longer living, but not deceased. They were not unliving, they were instead unlife.

The same disaster which had bound the people of Reim to an existence of perpetual haunting hardened the magical dome into an almost impenetrable barrier, allowing virtually nothing in and virtually nothing out. Reim became a mausoleum, populated by a people whose quest for greatness had ended only in an unending fate worse than death, forced to exist within the confines of their disastrous failure. The chains, however, held, keeping the city in the same state of neither coming nor going, the same as its people. It was as the not so great and not so famous elven poet Iunel put it, "Well, that's no good."