THE FORTRESS AND ENCLAVE OF ALVANG ("ALL'VALÁN")

NAME - DESCRIPTION - LOCATION - PEOPLE - COAT OF ARMS
CLIMATE -
FLORA - FAUNA - MYTH/LORE - HISTORY

The desolate fortress and town of Alvang (once "All'valán", Styrásh for "Above the Dream") built upon an island in the north of the Ancythrian Sea has been the bane of most races for many long years. This dark monstrosity was created back in 110 b.S. during the Age of the Blood by the minions of the dark elven witchking, the Móch'rónn Saban Blackcloak. Since then it has been known to be the center for all dark elven activities. Now it has become deserted and run down after the alleged death of Blackcloak in the third century a.S. The dark fortress and town have begun to crumble after years of being abandoned as a result of the untamed forces of the powerful winds that blow across the island. Most think Alvang was the name of just the fortress, but since it has been abandoned and all other names were lost in the past, it has become a common habit among the people to call the fortress and, also, the town, Alvang.

The Enclave of Alvang

View picture in full size Picture description. A destroyed fortress of Alvang on the enclave in midst of the supposedly cursed Ancythrian Sea. Image drawn by Seeker.

The enclave of Alvang has also become known as "Sorcerer's Isle" throughout the land since it housed many dark mages and the Móch'rónn himself for a time. People of both Elsreth and Cavthan, the nearest ports in the Ancythrian Sea, believe that the closer one sails to Alvang the more perilous the journey will be. This might partly be because of the dangerous reefs that exist around the enclave and the storms that rage in this region. But many claim that the troubles in the sea are mainly due to dark magic that is still coming from the isle. Even noted historians believe that the magical trap that was activated on the notorious Witchking's Night millenia ago is still the reason for the dangerous seas and the evil that is said to emanate from the abandoned isle. At any rate ships that travel too close to Alvang rarely come back in good condition. Alvang has been supposedly uninhabited for many years and ghost stories swarm to the place like flies to honey.

Name. The island was unoccupied long before Saban Blackcloak, the rocky and hazardous environment keeping people away from the vast landmass in the Ancythrian Sea. No one knows or remembers how, that information seems lost in the past. Some say that Blackcloak was drawn to the island by some magical essence, where that essence came from is not known and possibly never existed. After Saban took over the island he named the fort that he built "All'valán" (Styrásh for "Above the Dream"). This symbolized his desire to become godlike, or even rise higher than the creation itself. The island retained that name of the witchking's hubris as long as Saban lived, but after his death the Styrásh name disappeared from the records of the people living close to the Ancythrian Sea. The Caltharians living in that region began to refer to the fortress and town as "Alvang", altering the original name by adding a Caltharian ending that meant "settlement". Return to the top

Description. Upon the vast island in the middle of the Ancythrian Sea, which was shunned by many for its inhospitable rocky environment, the dark elf, Saban Blackcloak had his minions build a large, intimidating fortress. The huge fortress and town build around it take up less than a fourth of the island, thought the rest is unsettled due to the harsh, rocky environment. From the ocean there seems to be a small mountain chain on the eastern side, and cliffs and hills make up the rest of the island. The area on which Alvang was built is rocky as well but less than the rest of the island. The main building, Saban's enormous castle-like structure, was created more than a century before the unification of the tribes to form Santharia and was supposedly accomplished by foul magic and is said to have housed the vilest things in the world from the moment of its creation and, possibly, until now. The dark grey stone that was used to create this terror is said to still run red with the blood of many. People say that until this very day the stone is stained crimson after the Battle at Alvang which is also called "The Witchking's Night" in the Santharian annals. This castle of evil used to house Saban and his minions, who believed in him to be the son of the reincarnation of Coór, Coór'melór, and thus he was named the Móch'rónn ("Dark Lord"). Few that have claimed to have seen the inside of this terrible monument are still alive today. Most consider those men that claim to have set foot on Alvang to be mad and don't believe them. But despite of that many stories are told of the dark acts that were conducted within those blood-soaked stone walls - and of things that probably still happen there.

At the base of the castle was a town, lying in ruins now, built during the time of
Saban Blackcloak to house the dark mages loyal to him. The town was built to the north of the great fortress, the ramshackle huts barely enough to survive the storms that swept across the island, but they survived them nevertheless, as they probably were strengthened by magical means. That was in days past though. Few ships have ventured close to the isle and survived in recent days. Some believe that the magic trap that was triggered on Witchking's Night and caused the demise of so many foes of Saban is still somewhat active and is the source of evil that still hangs over the island and the sea around it. Others say that the bladeserpents act as wardens to keep people away from the fell island. Though some still find themselves near the island and come back alive to tell of what they saw. There have been reports of small huts gone to pieces with time, collapsed upon themselves by the trials of age. The castle is said to begin to give way under the pressure of time and constant storms. Sailors have said to see the tall foreboding towers swaying eeriely in the winds during great storms. On the few days, when there are calm waters around the little island, ships that drift close enough tell of crumbling walls and a worn mountain of stone where a masterpiece of evil once stood. It is very rare that too curious adventurers survive a close encounter with Sorcerer's Isle and live. Sailors shun the island and deem it cursed, and they consider everyone cursed as well who deliberately sets a foot on Alvang. The few ships that do come back bring back interesting tales of the crumbling monument and lots of ghost stories. Many an adventurer is said to have sailed into the heart of the sea to discover its secrets, and has not returned.

Some adventurous sailors have attempted to sail to the island, yet they turned back, due to bladeserpent attacks and dangerous storms that seem to come out of nowhere. One ship has actually set sail to the island and returned with two survivors that were driven blind and mute, and most said they were insane. The owner of the shop "Dark City" in Cavthan, Meercos, claims to have also traveled to Alvang just recently and that he managed to return with treasure from the deserted town. Merrcos said that he convinced a man and his ship to take them there, on the way encountering a bladeserpent but getting away. When asked why he went he just shrugs and says it was for the treasure. The owner is a macanti and many do not believe his tale, but there are others that do. He tells of the ruined city of Alvang, shabby huts blown apart by the wind long ago. Other accounts tell us that frequently water covers most of the island but the pieces of the huts stay, the memory of darkness a stain on the land. Merrcos speaks of shadows that followed him when he ventured on the enclave, always watching his every movement. He says that the fortress was the most fearsome thing he had ever seen, the towering mountain of stone swaying in the wind - a sight that made him doubt whether he could still trust his senses. The large gatehouse and blood-soaked wall were gone to pieces, Meercos recounted, piles of crumbled stones showing nothing of the high gates former glory, the fortress bending to the will of time.

The fool (well, people on the streets of Cavthan prefer it to call Meercos that way by now) claims he actually entered the fading fortress. He described what he had seen to a researcher for the Santharian Compendium as follows:

"In the entrance hall there sat a large oak table, split down the middle, old blood has stained the surface and the water that frequently rose took its toll on the hard wood. The remains of wooden chairs were scattered about. Remnants of the once living littered the floor. The thing that caught my eye was a rusted steel sword that had been driven straight through the wood of the table, and the barest remains of someone or something.

I searched the upper rooms, finding no sign of the battle that seemed to have taken place in the great hall. I went through taking artifacts and the like. Little amulets, trinkets and anything I could find. I couldn't open one of the doors, a strange metal door at the top of the fortress. I put my hand to the door to push it open and the metal burned red hot and scorched my hand!"

This our researcher could confirm, as he saw proof of it, Merrcos' right hand was indeed showing the signs of having been severely burned. Though, undoubtedly, the injury could have been caused by something else as well. Merrcos continues:

"I left after that, going back to the great hall. I assure you, I heard cries of anguish and pain coming from a door on the left side of the hall but I didn't stay long enough to see what it was. I have returned to the ship with my treasures, and survived the return trip - and I should leave it at that, as I don't plan to go to this eerie place that soon again."


-- Merrcos' Hartnan on his adventure at Alvang

Unfortunately, there is no one else to prove the story true. The sailors and the captain of the ship that supposedly took Merrcos to the island were reported dead no less than a week after the alleged visit to Alvang, their ship was lost at sea. The owner of the "Dark City" shop in Cavthan has been proclaimed mad by the people of the town, saying that he believes that he actually went to Alvang and the ghosts now follow him in the form of shadows, sneaking up on him in the dark. An Eyashene mindsoother was called to help him, but was unable to do so, despite the fact that she witnessed several feverish attacks on him, which erupted seemingly without reason.

That story is the closest thing to a description of the haunted island, some believe it, and others think that the man's story is just the ravings of a mad man. Only the ghosts said to haunt the island will probably know the truth.
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Location. The dark fortress of Alvang is built upon a an isle in the northern Ancythrian Sea, called "Sorcerer's Isle" by many, others refer to it by the name of the fortress itself. The sea is located in the northern half of the Southern Sarvonian Continent, and the fortress as well as the town of Alvang resides on this island which is officially part of the Enthronian Province of the United Kingdom of Santharia. To the west of the sea are the High Fores that feed into this large body of water. There are two cities on the coast of the sea Elsreth and Cavthan. There are two reefs located near this isle, the Blood Reef on the southeast and the other, the Twilight Reef directly to the south. Both reefs are rather odd in referring to the colour of the coral which is red for one and deep blue for the other. Return to the top

Saban Blackcloak

View picture in full size Picture description: The dark elven lord, the Móh'rónn Saban Blackcloak. Drawn by Enayla.

People. In times long past dark elves, orcs, and dark mages populated the island, filling the isle with every ounce of evil they possessed. The many different tribes that had been enlisted by the Móch'rónn are mostly lost in history. The isle was populated by a mix of dark elves, orcs, mages, and other creatures that flocked to the fortress for one reason, power. Now the only thing that could be living on the island are ghosts or zombies, and you can't exactly call that "living". Sailors that get caught in a storm around Alvang have reported mysterious phenomenons in that area. Such as hundreds of ghost faces being reflected in the rain several peds above sea level. Others tell of ghost sailors fighting against drowning or ghost ships crossing in the distance. More tales can be heard of watchers looking at passing ships from the enclave of Alvang and shrieks being heard from out of nowhere. Sailors believe that the spirits of all those that were killed on the Witchking's Night still haunt the island. These are just the tellings of sailors but none dare to challenge their words. Return to the top

Coat of Arms/Sign. As of now the island is uninhabited and there is no coat of arms. None remember the time of
Saban Blackcloak and his terrible reign upon the island and there is no known evidence of the small town and fortress having a coat of arms. If there once was one then that information has been lost in time. Return to the top

Climate. Throughout the year there are storms in the Ancythrian Sea. The summer is the harshest time of year for storms. When these storms hit they become extremely violent with high winds and thunderstorms that can capsize a ship. During these few floods water will cover a lot of the island, leaving the bloodied battlements of the forgotten fortress and dangerous jagged peaks as a beacon of warning. When the waters recede the ancient ruins of a long deserted town still remain. The shattered homes that once housed dark mages seem to be forever cursed to haunt the place. The storms might wash away some of the taint upon the land little by little but always sailors come back to port with the stories of a haunted fortress and a ghost town. This strange and aggressive climate doesn't seem explainable for man a scholar, and because of that people think that the storms are generated by dark magic that still lingers in Alvang, and the seas around it. Return to the top

Flora. Nothing is known for sure about the plants that can be found on his isolated island or if any can be found. Return to the top

Fauna. The sea is home to the notorious bladeserpent, a beautiful yet deadly creature that has caused misery to many a sailor and their families. Encounters with the bladeserpent have only happened at night, and in the northern part of the sea, close to the Enclave of Alvang. Some say the serpents are guardians for ghosts against intruders into their island, but that's just one of many sailors' tales. What seems to be sure is that there are dark secrets buried in the depths of the sea, and while this all seems to make a good tale for travellers listening to such accounts, one might rethink if one plans to cross the sea for some reason. Return to the top

Myth/Lore. An old tale is told about the town of Alvang, which usually scares sailors from going far north on the sea. Its origins are lost in time but there isn't a soul that lives on the Ancythrian Sea that hasn't heard of it, or at least a part of the true story. The people tend to believe this story and stay clear of Alvang because of that. What happened on Alvang that day is a mystery to all yet that doesn't stop people from spreading stories about ghosts putting a curse on them, and the spirit of Blackcloak cutting out the hearts of the other members of the crew that went to the island. If you can peal away the layers of sailor tales you might actually get the original story for once. Here's the closest thing to the original tale to be found, the tale as it was written down in "Master Tribell's Miraculous Narrations":

The Undiscovered Sea. There was once a boy who thought he could do anything. Ever since he was little, anything that he was told was impossible, or forbidden, he’d try his best to try it anyway. He was the kind of child who, if given a pair of wings, he might also have been able to fly with them. His spirit was stronger than the spirit of an entire army. He had more energy than all of the other children in the world. But it did not last forever.

Now this young man decided that he wanted to be a sailor. So, when he was old enough, he left Cavthan, his hometown, and sailed the world for thirteen years. When he returned, he was even more headstrong and confident than before. Once he had seen the world, and had come home to settle down again, he thought for a bit. “Now, I’ve sailed all of the seas in the world - I've been to the hot waters of Aeruillin, and I've seen the dangerous reefs of Nybelmar, and even have been on Akdor's shores, but one sea I still haven't mastered...” He only just realized that he had never sailed the entire Ancythrian Sea. He had traversed the sea to the west before, but he had never ventured to the mysterious north. At first, he was not really interested in the trip and preferred to enjoy a fisherman's life instead - but the temptation didn't die down. One day finally, he overheard a man talking about the evil town in the northern part of the sea that was guarded by ghosts of the vengeful dead. This piqued his interest even more, and fired up his curiosity. So, he formed a crew and set sail for Alvang, despite the warnings of the townspeople.

Twenty was the number of men that set sail that day, yet only two returned. One week after the ship left, a few broken pieces of plank with two ragged, old men on top, floated to the Cavthan shore. One of them, the captain of the vessel, could not talk. The other was blind. They both were scratched up very badly, and their skin seemed to be a yellow color. Now though the blind man was not also mute, the townspeople could get some words out of him, but not much of a logical sentence. “Lights,” he would say, “Pretty Blue Lights.” The captain, who was mute, stayed to himself from then on, jumping at every noise he heard, and cowering at every whisper. He never looked at the stars again, they seemed to scare him. He would always sleep alone, in the dark, with his head covered. No one ever was able to find out what happened on that ship so long ago. And no one ever had the courage to find out. Some think the daring youth became the daring captain, though none can prove it. The mute captian could not give them an answer and his now jumpy nature keep people away. Only a few people ever knew the truth. His old relitives, though they kept it quiet from most of the town, the humilation too much to bear if anyone they knew found out. Soon everyone gave up on the mute and the blind, and they faded into the background.

- "Master Tribell's Miraculous Narrations", p. 79 Return to the top

 

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THE AGE OF THE BLOOD
(YEARS 822 B.S. - 50 B.S.)
110 b.S. Foundation of the Enclave Alvang
The fortress at the isle in the center of the Ancythrian Sea is built by the Móch'rónns minions and is going to become the center for all dark elven activities. Alvang from this day on is also known as the "Sorcerer's Isle",
  

ca. 100 b.S. Death of the Ylfferhim Leias Anthioullsn
The Ylfferhim elf Anthioullsn, one of the greatest Ylfferhim, who - according to the prophecy of the Ionmis Globe - manages to capture the Móh'rónn's heir in a final confrontation at the Thaelon. However, he loses his own son as well as his life in the dungeons of Alvang. His deeds will ever be remembered among the Ylfferhim elves.
  

70 b.S. Desecration of the Aurora Fields
Renegade dark elves of Alvang ambush dwarves of the Nerterean fratra of Milkengrad clan at the Aurora fields near Salsaír in order to capture their dead bodies for experiments with dark magic. The terrible bloodshed cumulates at the Battle of the Fores where the joint forces of the Milkengrad and Helcrah dwarves trie to take revenge for the assault, but are defeated in the valley between the High and the Low Fores, which should later on be called "Bone Valley" according to this incidents.
Battle at the Fores
At the Battle at the Fores the joint forces of the Milkengrad and Helcrah dwarves try to take revenge for an assault of the dark elves of Alvang, but are defeated in the valley between the High and the Low Fores, which should later on be called "Bone Valley" according to these incidents.
  

62 b.S. The Battle at Alvang: Witchking's Night
The heir to the Móch'rónn, the elf and Ac'rónn Serveran guides an enormous army to the enclave of Alvang to put an end to the Móch'rónn's dark ambitions. He commands the elven archers and is joined by the human Helcrani leader Corvas with his army and the renegade dwarf Gonthrol and hundreds of dwarves.

The assault takes place at the so-called "Witchking's Night" (as it was named later on). A traitor out of the midst of the elven army has warned Saban so that the gigantic magical trap set out on the isle destroys nearly all fighters and only few of the dark elves still residing on the isle. The Móch'rónn already has left Alvang in order to descend to the Earthen Titan at the Hèckranian volcano.
  

55 b.S. The Death of Corvas
Corvas, one of the few human heroes, who managed to survive the Battle at Alvang, is killed at one of the dangerous assaults of the alliance to destroy the Móch'rónn in the depths of the dungeon of Hegedorn.

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 Date of last edit 11th Dead Tree 1667 a.S.

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