Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Cora and the Knights of St. Invictus

click map for full size

The island of Cora lies far south of the Erian continent, across the Straits of Ahriman, a mere day's sailing from the Dark Continent. Ever since the tribes of man left these ravaged lands, the island has been a watchtower against the dangers of the South.

It is a lush and idyllic island, with a rich fauna and an agriculture that is able to support not only its own demands, but also a healthy export. While there are many smaller coves and shallow bays, most of the coastline is steep cliffs, and the only harbour capable of landing a ship is the  Grand Harbour of the island's capital, Borgen.

For more than fifteen centuries, this tower has been manned by the Knights of St. Invictus. Founded in the early years of the old Skythian Empire, the order has weathered the winds of time, adapting to the changes in history, while retaining their creed; the island of Cora must be defended to the last man.

The origin of the order is traced to St. Invictus himself, who, according to legend fought a demon on the summit of Mt. Revelation, the highest point on the island. Before the fiend died, it told the saint that when Cora fell, the northern lands would burn.

The Knights joined the Temple of Man Supreme in the years of the Last Great War, but retained autonomy over all internal matters. This, combined with the devout veneration of their patron saint, has led to many conflicts over the years.

The city of Borgen with Castel Vigilius
in the foreground

Over the last millennium, the Knights have become prosperous, some even say fat, on the trade between Eria and the Old Colonies on the Dark Continent. As the only port between the two continents, almost every ship docked in the Grand Harbour before crossing the Straits. This led to a steady flow of coin into the coffers of the order, and eventually to the founding of banking houses in several cities in Eria.

As the end of the Third Age drew near, many of the order's knights served in these offices, or they administered the many estates now owned by the Knights. And so, when Captain Armand and the Kraken attacked the island in 1021 YE, the defenses were breached. Still, the Knights managed to rally around their Grand Master and drive the enemy into the sea.

Aramatheus Gathan, the Grand Master at the time, has been criticised for allowing the walls of Borgen to be breached. Only the fact that the old man gave his life in the charge that broke Armand's attack, saved his name from being struck from the rolls of honour.

The new Grand Master, Orthellion de Martellus, is of a different cut than his predecessor. His entire career has been spent fighting the Dark Horde, first in defence of the Old Colonies when the orcs overran them. Later he served on one of the Knights' galleys, raiding the shores of the occupied territories.

He eventually rose to the rank of Knight Admiral, and was a natural choice when a new Grand Master had to be elected. Martellus is also an Awakened, and the election of a magician as the head of the order led to open condemnation from the Temple of Man Supreme.

This condemnation culminated with the Arcane Congress, when the Arch Primarch of the Temple declared a War of Enlightenment on all who practiced magic. In response to this, the Grand Master had called in outstanding depts in the lands controlled by the Temple, and summoned every knight to the banner of St. Invictus.

The conflict reached a boiling point when the Black Hand sent Sensors to investigate the order. Martellus ordered them seized on the docks, clapped in irons, and shipped of the island. This act led to the Arch Primarch declaring the Knights of St. Invictus Enemies of Man.

Knight in full armour

Since he received his office, Martellus has been relentless in his work to improve the defenses of Cora. He has constantly been overseeing the construction of new fortifications, the weaving and strengthening of powerful wards, and diplomatic relationships with new allies.

As a result of this work, not only is the fortresses and around Borgen now among the greatest on Argos. There are also thousands of troops from Draccia and the Caliphate garrisoned on the island - both the Wolf Lords and the Awakened Viziers have invested greatly in the defence of Cora. There are also a large number of refugees from the Old Colonies living on the island, in addition to several scholars and Awakened adventurers who has fled the Erian pogroms.

Cora's perhaps the biggest asset is the ancient hallow, located in Castello de St. Invictus in the city of Borgen. Even if the island lies close to the Dark Continent, the hallow draws upon a ley-line connected to the Erian continent. As such, it cannot be corrupted as long as Eria remains outside the control of the Deep.

This hallow was recently enhanced by the Pius Cabal, making the island totally self sufficient in its demand for Mana. Another factor of the island's defense is the many artifacts and relics the order possesses. It is also believed that the Knights can call upon a large number of angels to stand against the inevitable attack.

As it stands today, the city of Borgen has become a vibrant mythopolis, with knights rubbing shoulders with magicians and shape-shifters. Angels stand watch on the towers, vast wards are being constructed, the faithful worship in temples to the New Gods, and the Grand Harbour is teeming with ships. There are people from a dozen tribes and creeds working, plying their trade, and preparing for the Enemy's next move.


  1. Thanks, mate. I was trying for a somewhat lighter text than my usual heavies. Hopefully this one read a little easier.