“I do not know if the Grimoire made the world, but I do not doubt it will unmake it.”
– Pyceus Sarus, High Wizard
Futhark has always been a land of extremes and opposites. It was forged of fire and ice, conquered by savage and sophisticate, and led by magic and man. To tell the story of Futhark is to tell the story of intertwined opposition often at odds. To tell the story of Futhark is to tell of a republic that grasped heaven only to plunge into hell.
There was once stability, and even peace. Houses Magnus and Validus were wizards but more importantly, they were statesmen. All their conjured flame and forged lightning paled in comparison to the might of the electorate. Magic gave them skills but it was the people who gave them power. The Houses vied for votes and so it was under their rivalry that the masses of Futhark reached headier and headier heights. Magnus engineers mastered the ley-lines as to fertilize fields and feed the bellies of a thankful citizenry. Validus geologists plumbed quarries that birthed diamonds and which in turn birthed wealth for a prosperous people. Towers rose and walls stretched as did reputations, with the Houses ebbing and flowing along with the fortunes of the age.
It seemed that prosperity would never end.
Yet all things do. Calamity did not come first to Futhark. The end instead started just below, in Gokthurk. A harsh sun strode over the south, turning soil to sand and rivers to steam. The land withered and the people baked as they had with the turn of every new millennium. It was that terrible bit of clockwork that led those water-starved masses north, into Futhark. They took what they could and destroyed what they couldn’t in a mad grab at survival. The land seethed and the situation demanded unity.
The Houses were not up to the occasion. They had for so long argued ideas that they were not so much associates as enemies. For one to gain was for the other to lose and before such a terrible opportunity, each House could not afford to lose an inch. They began to argue without a willingness to agree.
It was House Validus that called for the use of the Grimoire, an ancient and awful artifact long contained by the Houses but never quite controlled. It had spawned ages with its power and it could end them as well, Validus argued. House Magnus quaked before the proposal. To save Furthark they would be risking the world, Magnus claimed, a gamble too great for the return. The families could reach no accord.
So the Houses debated day and night with Futhark burning in the interim. Every hour another mile was lost, every day another village burned, the slow death of their land. With no end in sight the Houses moved for a quick end rather than a slow one, and the wizards traded in their speeches for spells. Statesmen and citizens took to the streets to fight, not against invaders but their own countrymen instead.
And the Grimoire watched. It lay sealed below floors and locked behind doors, but it still could watch as the world burned. It could even add a little fuel to the flame. The Grimoire’s pages flew open and the Mana Storm soon raged. The invisible tempest swept across the landscape and inundated the battling Houses with powers never before seen. Cascading pillars of flame fell from heaven, swirling mountains of frost rose from hell, and death stopped having its hold on earth. Dead wizards rose as soon as they fell with the sanctity of life losing its luster. Meaningless murder turned intellectuals into executioners and the Houses marched toward their goals without seeing their consequences. They fought their brothers but it was their republic that they killed.
Futhark is a land of extremes and opposites. It was forged of fire and ice, conquered by savage and sophisticate, and led by magic and man. It is a place where the living cannot escape the dead and the dead cannot stop living. Its war is fought for peace and its leaders are slaves to a book. The Grimoire centuries before ushered in the Dawn of Magic and called forth mythical beasts into being. Yet even it is at odds with itself for the Grimoire now heralds something far more sinister: