Eberron: Scales of War
Once, Cyre shone more brightly than any of its sibling nations in the kingdom of Galifar. The Last War took a toll on the nation and its citizens, slowly toppling its many achievements as it became the battleground on which the armies of Karrnath and Thrane and Breland clashed. Finally, disaster struck. No one knows if the catastrophe was caused by a weapon from an enemy nation or a doomsday device of Cyre’s own design. The cataclysm may have been deliberate; it may have been an accident. In the end, the result was the same. Beautiful Cyre, jewel of Galifar’s vast holdings, exploded in a blast of arcane power the likes of which hadn’t been seen since the ruin of Xen’drik forty thousand years before. On the Day of Mourning in 994 YK, Cyre disappeared. Now the region that was once Cyre goes by a different, darker name. Now it is simply the Mournland. A dead-gray mist hugs the borders of the Mournland, creating a barrier that only occasionally offers a glimpse of the desolation and devastation inside. Beyond the mist, this battle-scarred region remains a grim memory of the Last War, cloaked in perpetual twilight. Like a wound that will not heal, the land is broken and blasted. In some places the ground has fused into jagged glass. In others, it is cracked and burned and gouged. Broken bodies of soldiers from various sides litter the landscape—soldiers whose dead bodies refuse to decompose. The Mournland is, quite literally, a vast open grave. In the Mournland, the wounds of war never heal, vile magical effects linger, and monsters mutate into even more foul and horrible creatures. Arcane effects continue to rain upon the land like magical storms that never dissipate. Misshapened by the unnatural forces present across the region, monsters rage and hunt as they struggle to survive. Sometimes even some of the dead, animated by strange powers radiating from the blasted ground, rise up to continue fighting the war that has long since ended for the living. In this land of disaster and mutation, a charismatic warforged gathers followers to his side and seeks to build an empire of his own.
The borders of the Mournland are easily distinguished by the dead gray mist that lingers across what were once the political borders of the nation. Why the mists hold in such a defined area is unknown. To the north the Mournland touches against the Cyre River coming off of Scions Sound and emptying into Lake Cyre on the Mournland’s eastern border. The Brey River marks part of it’s northwest boundary while its border with Breland is only marked by the hanging mist. Similarly in the goblin nation of Darguun the dead gray mist is a constant reminder of the border of the Mournland. To the south lies Kraken Bay and to the east the Blade Desert of Valenar.
Once upon a time, Cyre was known for its fine manufactured goods and its remarkable arts and crafts. The wealthy throughout the Five Nations took pride in having one or more pieces from the master artists of Cyre in their collections. House Phiarlan made its headquarters in Cyre, where its Entertainers and Artisans Guild was a driving force in the creative spirit of the nation. (Rumors abound that House Phiarlan somehow knew that disaster was imminent, since all its leading family members were off on business when the Day of Mourning occurred.) Today, nothing comes out of the Mournland except for grief, terror, and the occasional scavenged artifact left over from better days.
The Cyrans who weren’t killed in the disaster that mutated the region fled to safer locales and now live as exiles in other lands. Few sentient beings live within the borders of the dead-gray mists, and no survivors of the old order can be found in this shattered realm. The arcane force that destroyed the nation killed most living things, so survival itself is a near-impossible struggle. Now mutated monsters roam the land, preying on each other and grazing on the stubborn thornweeds that alone seem to thrive in the blasted land.
Scavenger bands brave the Mournland, looking for art objects and artifacts to sell. Though Thrane and Breland attempt to keep such outlaws from operating out of their environs, Karrnath encourages this kind of activity and offers tempting bounties to those who recover items of worth or power. In this regard, Karrnath and New Cyre (in Breland) are in competition, for both groups want to discover what happened on the Day of Mourning and recover whatever can be saved from the wreckage. Independent scavenger bands also approach the Mournland from the Talenta Plains, Darguun, and Kraken Bay, while raiding parties of Valenar elves venture into the region in search of worthy challenges.
If the rumors are true, a society of sorts has claimed the Mournland as its own. This society of warforged has grown up around a charismatic and powerful warforged leader—the Lord of Blades. Somewhere within the border of dead-gray mist, the enclave of the Lord of Blades rises above the broken land as a beacon that gathers warforged who have dedicated themselves more to their construct heritage than to their living heritage. Every month or so, another warforged enters the Mournland in search of this supposed haven for living constructs. Some tales speak of the Lord of Blades as a great philosopher and teacher. Others paint him as a warlord and power-mad prophet seeking to establish a warforged nation from which to challenge the weaker, fleshbound races for supremacy of Khorvaire.
Government and Politics
The laws of the Mournland are deceptively harsh and relatively simple: Those who enter the Mournland probably won’t survive. Those who do survive will be changed—physically, spiritually, and mentally. Nature doesn’t work here the way it does outside the dead-gray mists. In the Mournland the dead don’t decompose, or necessarily even stop moving. Some force or forces unleashed on the Day of Mourning continue to mutate the land and the things that live (and die) there, creating monstrosities the likes of which have never before been seen on the continent of Khorvaire. (Natural healing does not occur in the Mournland, and spells and spell-like effects of the healing subschool do not work.) The wretched creatures of the Mournland live by being smarter, stronger, luckier, or more cunning than those around them. Some laws of nature have been bent or broken here, but the ultimate law remains in effect—the fit and strong survive while the weak, slow, stupid, and unlucky die. Of course, even death might not be the end in this place. The Lord of Blades maintains a lean government that resembles a cross between a theocracy and a military dictatorship. This warforged visionary sees himself as both a religious and military leader. In his camp, the word of the Lord of Blades is law and canon. The warforged that flock to his side accept his rule, or they are destroyed— the Lord of Blades allows no one to leave his movement.