The Early Days of Freedom
Roughly 500 years ago, a ship filled with slaves was sailing across the Sea of Meros, bound for the eastern empire known as Shara-Kesh. It was there the crew hoped to sell their cargo of special slaves for a tidy sum in the flesh markets that Shara-Kesh was famous for. These slaves were considered special because they each had a magical ability, or Gift, that made them stand out from all others. Among these slaves was a female, her name and race lost from recorded history due to the Great Cataclysm of 102 F.R. This female was destined to become the Free Lady, the goddess we all have come to worship and admire, who built and guided the city of Freehaven until her disappearance and rise to the Heavens.
The female was unlike the other slaves, her Gifts were many and powerful, but untested. Her words were her most powerful Gift however. She proved to be a natural leader and gathered the slaves together to strike down their captors and gain their freedom. One night as an oncoming storm distracted the crew, the female’s slave army sprang into action, swiftly overtaking the ship’s crew with minimal casualties. The plan was not fool-proof however, as there were none among them who could pilot the massive slave ship through the ever increasing storm. Slave and captor alike were left to the mercy of the angry sea as it destroyed the ship. All seemed lost.
The female and a handful of others,former slave and former captor alike, washed up on the shore of what is now known as Liberty Bay. The in-fighting began almost immediately but the female once again used the power of her words to calm the situation and unite the two groups so they could survive together. This group of survivors has become known as the First, and modern scholars theorize that many of the city’s more prominent and powerful citizens are in some way descended from these people.
Under the direction of the female, a makeshift village was started, which the First named “Freehaven”. The First also dubbed the female as the “Free Lady”. She showed the villagers how to hunt for food, by land and sea, and how to grow their own from the earth. She led the first group of explorers into the unknown lands beyond their tiny village walls, searching for other civilizations to ally and trade with. In the span of one year the Free Lady and her explorers found and began treaties with tribes of hill folk, dwarven holds, elven cities high in the trees, nomadic clans of orcs and more. They returned to Freehaven with a veritable army of new citizens of many races, all eager to have a fresh start and to help shape Freehaven into something great. When those who wished to do the village harm attempted to march on Freehaven, The Free Lady met them with at the gate with words of peace. When those words failed, she unleashed her terrible fury on her enemies, her skill in battle unmatched by man or beast. She taught the citizens the art of war, how to defend themselves and protect the helpless. The Free Lady became revered by the citizens of Freehaven and her shining example drew thousands upon thousands to the shores of Liberty Bay over the years. The village became a town, the town became a city, the city in turn became a hub of trade and commerce for that corner of the world. After 102 years, during which time the Free Lady barely aged, the city of Freehaven had become a
major power in the area, a place where anyone, regardless of race or belief, could come to live and prosper, safe from the dangers of the outside world.
Unfortunately, in the year 102 F.R., disaster struck the city. Where raiders, pirates and rival countries could not bring down Freehaven, nature proved that it could. A massive earthquake, the likes of which the world had never encountered, rocked the area around Freehaven, sending buildings tumbling down, replacing city streets with fissures, and causing widespread damage. As the tremors died down, a massive wave was sent crashing over the city, as if the very sea itself was trying to wash away all traces of civilization from the land. The death toll climbed into the thousands by the time it was all over. This day became known as the Great Cataclysm. It had claimed so many lives and much of the city’s recorded history but the greatest loss was that of the Free Lady. She never emerged to save the city as many thought she might. It was assumed she had perished in the Great Cataclysm, although strangely a body was never recovered. The survivors were devastated by the loss of their leader but found hope when a new belief started to spread around what was left of the city. It was believed that the Free Lady sacrificed herself to stop any further devastation and in performing this last selfless act was transformed into a God and she now sits in the Heavens to watch over the city and guide it spiritually. The wreckage of Freehaven became a holy site and drew in thousands of people determined to rebuild the city in the Free Lady’s name.
Over the years a new Freehaven was built over top of the old city. This new Freehaven was bigger, brighter and full of renewed hope. The city was split into five districts, and a representative from each district sat on the City Council. The council was in charge of keeping the Mayor in check and form the laws that would make the city a success. Worship of The Free Lady became the popular religion, although laws were set up ensuring that the citizens could worship any God they wished provided no harm came to the city or its people because of it. The city grew in leaps and bounds over the next few centuries thanks to the innovation of its citizens, some using their Gifts to aid construction and create new energy sources such as Magelights. Others came to perfect mundane steam power to make fantastic machines. One hundred years ago, a company began using the local ogre tribes as a source of natural energy. They trained the savages to become useful, non violent members of society, in return for the use of the ogres’ great strength to power a variety of things, such as the Under-Rail. This company is now known as Ogre Power Inc.
As fast as the city grew in innovation, it also grew in corruption. The Church of the Free Lady split into five separate religions, as its members could not agree on which aspect of Her life represented her best. It came to the point where members could not agree on her race either. Political corruption escalated as well. Laws were designed with loopholes, favored the wealthy, and more. A trade agreement was started with the Wild Isles, a loose association of islands that harbored more than its share of pirates and worse. With this trade agreement came an influx of new citizens from the Isles along with increased organized crime, gangs, smuggling and drugs. It seemed that without the direct influence of the Free Lady, darkness was able to find a foothold in this once great city.
Today, Freehaven is still a massive metropolis, a shining jewel on the coastline, but is being eaten away from the inside out by its own citizens. Its over-worked and underpaid Guard force are trying everything they can to make the city safe again. That’s where you come in………