Askagard, the Thunder City, the Bastion of Final Refuge
It is a cold that burns; this winter's chill that bites the flesh and numbs my weary legs. The mountains gleam white, forbidding like bared teeth through a feral growl- this wind the breath of the bite that is yet to come. The tussok grass raises like hackles on the tundra's frozen haunches, crunching under foot as my breath crystallizes and falls heavy to the ground- Oh, that I might, as well. Though, there, striking skyward like a sword held in victory is the beacon of my destination -and my misery- for it is always there, just out of reach. Yet, this cold and this wind do not relent. I will tread on. I will soon stand in its shadow and I will kiss the ground of the great city of Askagard as I bend on broken knees and blackened toes for it -the spire- has guided me home.
Journal excerpt of the dwarf armorer Yousef Tralidor, (345BU) on his travels through northern Mitralon in search of King Blorthoi's tomb.
Built over one thousand years ago during a period of peace and prosperity between the rugged humans, proud trullocs, and enterprising dwarves that shared the mountains and the valley, Askagard serves as a symbol of unity, artistic cooperation, and culture. Constructed of pale marble, white granite, and limestone the city stands in stark contrast to the dark granite and trullstone that make up the Askakedja Mountains. Upon its inception, the human tribes carefully chose the site of the city and placed it between two towering twin cliffs. The dwarves built the foundation of the city, securing it deep within the mountains with construction technologies long lost. The trullocs then called forth stone and sang it into the shape of a beautiful fortress, a gift that they, too, no longer have. Lastly, the humans decorated the walls of the city with depictions of the harmony in which Askagard was built. As a final symbol of beauty the idealistic founders erected a towering spire built entirely of glistening white marble as a symbol of purity in a brutal world right in the heart of the city.
"Dwarves build with gleaming stone While people walked on trulloc bones." - Old trulloc nursery rhyme
For nearly two hundred years the races lived in harmony and shared in the fruits of Askagard as the city itself served as a fortress against the many bandits, Void minions, and goblins that inhabited the area with the civilized species. The fertile valleys and rivers surrounding the city provided for the people and made provisioning for the harsh winters a simple effort. Yet, the brutality of the mountainous region would not be ignored. After constant assaults from bandits, vols, and starving wildlife, the people of Askagard came together once more and transformed the spire, the once great symbol of unity and peace, into a War College. Its different levels served to train and hone the art of combat and war. With the legions of warriors and great military minds the War College produced Askagard was once again fortified within the Askakedja wilderness.
Unfortunately, the period of prosperity allowed for too much idle time among the populace and they began to delve into politics that degenerated into mudslinging and racial tension. Each of the three races had influential leaders that believed their faction had done more for the city than any of the others. Riots and street fights became a daily occurrence in Askagard, and the period of prosperity and unity soon came to an end. The humans, due to their plentiful numbers and ingenuity, drove out the dwarves and the trullocs who retreated into the mountains. For nearly 400 years humans ruled the city of Askagard in an isolated and insular manner, rarely venturing beyond the farmlands around the city for their enemies were many and varied. The once great city fell into disrepair and many of its quadrants fell vacant and abandoned as disease, famine, and casualties of war dwindled its once thriving population.
Their city dying in brutality's bared fangs, humans were left with no alternative but to desert the crumbling symbol of hope. For nearly five hundred years Askagard was left to the brutality of nature that claimed it. Its beautiful buildings became covered in dirt, dust, and mountainous debris. Gardens grew wild, and the wilderness reclaimed much of the stone. Great forests overtook the fertile farmland that grew around its once gleaming walls and as other cities grew to prominence, Askagard became nothing more than myth and legend for the ancestors of those who once lived there.
"The essence of the city of Askagard is found not in the gleaming marble spire of its war college nor in the white granite foundation of its buildings, but in the price paid for ignoring the brutality of the continent of Mitralon." -Unknown Author
In 355 BU a small dwarven and trulloc mining expedition unearthed the great city of Askagard in their quest for ore deposits in the Askakedja mountain range. Humans, trullocs and dwarves came together again to discuss trade agreements and reinhabiting the city. The inherent distrust between the three races set a cautious tone in the beginning. Brutality, though often ignored was this time not forgotten as the price for doing so had been steep in the past. In 347 BU, envisioning unity and peace once again, the three races set out to rebuild what once had been, this time with history's lessons firmly in tow.
The city quickly prospered and saw the birth of dynastic reign in its first sovereign Queen Maia. Generations passed, the throne passing through her bloodline to the child-king Rand Bromin whose coronation took place during a six year siege of the city by bandits which ended abruptly as a band of trullocs came seemingly from nowhere to aid Askagard. After naming the leader of the trulloc freedom band to his list of advisors King Rand set out to bring Askagard out of the darkness of its brutality. He set to the cities his scholars had told him of on far away continents, eventually setting up trade routes between Askagard, Chemer, and Troj. Under his rule, Askagard is set as a world power and once again established as a bastion of peace and unity in a world of brutality.
Shortly before King Rand's death a plague known vaguely as the Void Taint spread unprejudicially through Askagard. Before it came under control the Taint took two thirds of those who had called Askagard their home, including King Rand himself. The city, once again thrown into turmoil as various warlords in the three cities vied for control, sought to entrench the efforts for unification established by King Rand. Council members, under constant threat of assassination sought the help of group of Ferami, mercenery slaves, owned by one of the great catfolk families of Askagard. Over the next two years the Ferami decimated the warlords and their ranks until control was retained firmly in the grasp of the council, the ruling body of Askagard today.
Modern Askagard is a city abuzz with life, culture, and trade. Some of the world's finest craftsmen have come to call this city in the mountains their home. Truly beginning in the days of King Rand, the city has under-gone extensive renovation and rehabilitation to restore it to its natural beauty. Foresight played a big key in the redevelopment of Askagard. Its newest founders saw its potential as a valuable outpost and bastion for the arts and developed the new city accordingly. It is layed out in four quadrants, each relegated to a specific purpose for government, a vast and ecclectic market, residential, or for worship. Connecting all of the quadrants is a wide thoroughfare named after King Rand himself.
The city rises in steps as it climbs the cliffs it is built into and is protected from the outside world by thick, reinforced walls rebuilt since the time of their inception. The gentle climb of Rand's Ascent is supplemented with bridges, a feat of engineering designed to span the chasms between the cliffs and connect each quandrant to the next as they rise to higher altitudes. Wonderous to behold, these bridges are often a spot for gathering tourists as they take in the wonders of the spire and the gleaming city.
Still in use today, the War College is located in the spire. Some of the world's greatest military minds come to learn or train and hone the skills already learned. It is a privelege to attend, for those who understand the necessity and inevitability of war, and is esteemed the world over. Any adventurer or layman fortunate enough to be allowed into its hallowed halls leaves knowing they have gained the knowledge and the skills necessary to survive in this brutal world.
At the top of Rand's Ascent and the city's peak is a cloisture of temples to Primordiax's revered Deities. It is said that these buildings often touch the clouds the Gods and Goddesses themselves lay their heads upon to rest. The vistas from this apex are definitely awe inspiring as one stands at the height of the city looking out upon the world and the reverence these great temples invoke inspires a closeness to the deities that rivals any place on Primiordiax.