Prelude to Fire

As a noteworthy historian and academic, and also the author of this volume, I cannot express my excitement vigorously enough to be standing here at the edges of history. The Athalan Era - those years marking the rise of Athala I and the birth of her Empire - has come to a close.

Tabo’s Ascent

After the precipitous fall of the World Gates leading to-and-from Dawnhome, a great panic overtook Bastion, exposing cracks in the Empire’s foundation. In a violent coup, General Tabo ended Athala’s bloodline and seated himself upon the throne.

While the Empire yet endures, it does so under strife. Varied factions vie for Tabo’s favor, and the Emperor himself strives to remake the Empire in his own image. Hoping to make his mark where Athala and her heirs could not, Tabo has set sight upon Nillin.

The Heart of Nillin

As the heart of Greater Nillin’s shipping and trade routes, Ocrary, a confederacy of cities and townships comprising Central Nillin, holds strategic significance. Control the ports, control the continent.

The citizens of this region - known collectively as the Ocry - maintain a fierce streak of independence, though they rely nonetheless on each other to stay connected and supplied.

Unfortunately, this independent streak comes with a cost. The whole of Ocrary bears no shortage of trained soldiers and Ocry mercenary groups, but there is no allied army and they are generally ill-prepared to muster forces on a large scale.

This military disadvantage, coupled with the region’s strategic significance made Tabo’s invasion a certitude.

Invasion of Ocrary

Intent on obliterating Ocrary’s loosely allied defenders, Tabo’s marines landed in the North Bay and formed a pincer with the Empire’s First Army, which descended unseen from an unmapped World Gate in a nearby mountain range.

The North Coast fell within weeks, sending scores of wounded warriors and refugees deeper into Central Ocrary. Finally gathering their footing under the united leadership of generals pulled from the still-standing Great Cities - Durvia, Euri, Flotsam, Lakeside, Polum, and Set’s Watch - the remaining Ocry managed to slow the Imperial advances and eventually stalled the line but a few miles from Durvia, the last remaining great port of Ocrary.

Peering Over the Edge

And so we stand on history’s precipice, awaiting the gentle push of a God’s breath to define the next age of this world. Will the Empire continue its inexorable crawl across the face of Bastion? Will Durvia stand resolute against the oncoming tide, and introduce an aging Empire to its entropic fate?

Should Durvia fall, the whole of Ocrary will be exposed to indefensible attack from the Athalan Empire, which would then set its gaze on Evenfell, the crown jewel of Bastion and a shining symbol of progress and innovation.

The winter-readied Ocry need only hold onto the port for a few weeks longer, till the snows begin to fall. Then, they they can press the attack and reclaim their land.

Meanwhile, in Durvia proper, five assassins, exposed and under attack, come face-to-face with a sinister Athalan plot.

The world sits on a razor’s edge. Who will bleed first?