Prologue

Nearly 200 days at sea, sailing the tempestuous waters, René finally heard the call, marking the end of his tiresome labor. "Land ho!"

 Soon, the long voyage will be over.

  Past Pirates' Chain, Green Ocean Gap, and the Underdeep Drain Post, the great cliff wall of Arvandor Shield was in sight. Named Qltu'ern Pa Red'doq by the "natives", mispronounced and simplified to "Call to Paradise" by foreigners. Some even say "Cult of Paradise", as a most severe gold fever has stricken the Human empire from border to border.

  The Elven councils themselves gripped by grandiose fantasies. They believe this place belongs to them, to claim and defend. Rights granted by a seafarer's legend. A legend of a great shield wall in the "Waves of the Lost", protecting the bridge to Arvandor from the ambitions of Man. Indeed the masts and hulls of dozens of ships can be seen, wrecked along the many crags jutting from the wild black deep.

Explorers say typhoons wracked this area, the Sea of Sashelas, for over five thousand years. Well, until about a hundred years ago, the storms calmed. Today, colonization is moving forward in full force. All manner of beings are seeking their dreams in the land contentiously called Arvandor Shield. 

  Moving below to grab his equipment, René stretches his sore muscles. Learning the ropes was easy enough, but working off a journey that lasted more than half a year, he thinks the aches may last a lifetime. The calls of the Boatswain he may actually miss though.

  "Reef the mainsail!" the command bellowed from above.

 Elves, Men, all were surprised to hear that the land beyond the shipwreck ridge, was not only much larger than ever imagined but was populated with a plethora of "primitive" civilizations. Giths, Kreen, Arakocra, and Puq'hem'ta Gnomes, an exciting array of various intelligences and societies. 

  Beyond the coastal territories, lies a place natively considered forbidden or "Tuck" in the dominant language here, Giths' Jat. Forbidden to them but filled with a rich bounty in flora to many others. Primarily the dense and exotic Courtwood Tree, so important has it been to the livelihood of the colony there, the valley has been named the Land of Courtwood.

  Great dangers certainly lie ahead of him. Besides the races claiming sovereignty and threats posed by natural elements, evil forces in the form of trolls and even slaadi lurk among the dark jungles and ancient ruins. 

  Returning to the top deck, many other anchored ships still afloat could now be seen about. René knew not why they would remain out in this graveyard of ships and cared not. The Captain of this vessel was bringing them all the way in, to the city of Red Dock. Buildings taking shape ashore, the sheen of red tiled roofs reflect a glint in his eye. "Let the adventure begin."

Prologue

Arvandor Shield Shorin_Hermit