Lost Houses Resurface

Even as the dark clouds of war gathered on the horizon, fortune it would seem gave the Queen and the Khan one last chance at peace. As the houses prepared for the coming conflict, some began constructing fleets of ships to defend their coastlines and launch surprise attacks deep into enemy territory. Taking to the seas once more, for the first time since landing in Everland almost 20 years ago, several surprise discoveries were made.

In the South, ships bearing the banner of House Limrip discovered a large island in the Sothersun Sea. Eager to claim new land for their house they landed but were immediately greeted by armed soldiers ready to defend the island. Before the two sides could come to blows however, several veterans in the Limrip landing party recognized the banner carried by the island soldiers as belonging to House Brightmane, thought to be lost in the great storm during the Crossing. However, the ships carrying House Brightmane across the Exodus Sea were simply blown off course, around Cape Sothersun, only to eventually make land fall upon this island. Like so many other Houses they salvaged the timber from their vessels to rebuild a new home here on the island they named Prydane. For two decades they struggled to survive and rebuild, unable to spend valuable resources to build ships large enough to sail out in search of the other Houses. Up until this day they thought they were the only survivors. Now having rediscovered their long-lost allies from the days of the Throne Wars in Old Freehart, alive and well on the mainland, House Brightmane was quick to pledge its allegiance to the Eastern Empire. Many years ago, they had all fought together in a mighty alliance known as the Beasts of Freehart, and now reunited again House Brightman brings renewed strength to the Eastern Empire.

A similar tale was told in the West, where ships from the Iron Republic and Westwind Warriors sailed outside of the Bay of Remembrance for the first time. However here they found not a single island, but a small archipelago of islands. As they sailed closer to investigate they stumbled upon a naval battle between several small vessels. One side flying the banner of another House thought to have been lost in the great storm during the crossing, the fearsome warrior women of House Nightsbane. Stranger still was the fact that the ships fighting against them flew the banner of House Westwind. The larger Westwind ships from the mainland immediately came to the aid of their brethren and would have quickly destroyed the Nightsbane fleet, if not for the arrival of the ships of the Iron Republic. House Nightsbane had been a long-time ally of House Spartan and had strongly supported their claim to the throne during the Throne Wars. Bolstered by the arrival of Iron Republic Fleet, the battle began to turn and the Westwind fleet decided to retreat to a solitary island on the northern edge of the archipelago.

This island was larger than most of the others and was well fortified. Atop its walls and towers flew the proud banner of House Westwind. During the storm a single Westwind ship had been lost, one carrying the entombed remains of the ancient line of Westwind Kings. Having been severely damaged, when the storm broke they had limped their way towards this island, which had appeared out of nowhere, as if by divine providence. They claimed it in the name of House Westwind and laid the remains of their kings to rest beneath the island, calling it the Isle of the Old Kings. The ship wrecked crew was made up of the elite Westwind honor guard, sworn to protect the royal bloodline. Among them was a courageous young prince named Joshua, said to be the direct descendant of the Westwind Kings and rightful ruler of the Westwind Warriors.

Meanwhile the Iron Republic Fleet sailed with the ships form House Nightsbane and discovered that their old ally had conquered most of the archipelago, which they called the Shattered Islands. During the great Storm, their vessels had run a ground upon a large volcanic island on the western edge of the Shattered Islands. Though many were lost when their ships broke apart on the rocks, the island was still their salvation, for their ships would otherwise have sunk beneath the waves out in the open ocean. With no choice but to make this island their new home, they called it Stormbreaker Island. Though they struggled to survive at first, eventually they began to thrive and expand. In doing so they discovered their neighbours on the Isle of Kings, and quickly fell to fighting over the Shattered Isles. For over a decade they fought, slowly pushing House Westwind out of the Shattered Isles. Had it not been for this chance encounter with the vessels from the mainland, some believe the Isle of the Old Kings would have fallen.

Far in the north yet another lost House has resurfaced. Wandering down the eastern river valley they first appeared in the Raging Hills, looking the part of primitive nomads. However, when confronted it was discovered that they were the descendants of House Equinox. They told a harrowing tale of survival in the rugged frozen wastelands north of the Winterswall Mountains. Their ships, sails shredded, and hulls barely holding together, had been blown far of course from the main fleet of Old Freehart. Caught in a strong artic current their ships drifted ever northward until they became locked in ice. With no choice but to leave their ships behind, they travelled east along the ice until they found the main land. Many perished from starvation or succumbed to the icy cold, however the remnant survived and found meager game in frozen north. They travelled ever eastward, in search of a gap in the impenetrable wall of mountains. After nearly 20 years of wandering, they finally stumbled upon the eastern river valley and began following its watercourse southwards into warmer lands. At last reunited with the other Houses of Old Freehart here in their new home of Everland, House Equinox has gone before the Queen to request lands to call their own and rebuild the former glory of their House. Seeing a chance to regain lands lost to the Eastern Empire, the Westwind Warriors have rallied to the cause of House Equinox and support their claim to the hilled territories where they first emerged into Everland, even going so far as to force House Leoness back across the river.

The return of these lost Houses has forced many new challenges upon Queen Jordan of Everland, but also provided her with an opportunity to create lasting peace. She was quick to respond, and has begun drafting a new map of Everland, one where every nation is granted equal land and resources. Very soon her reimagined Everland will become a reality, but whether the four nations abide her bold plan remains to be seen.

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