We’ve had a few people asking about the history of Tirneach and recent events, so here’s the first part of a brief overview. What follows is the generally accepted version of the history of the Tirneach peninsula.
Creation of the world
The Shaper created the world and all the species that walk upon the world’s surface. Their great act of Shaping the world out of the Void attracted the attention of the Gwyllt, terrible creatures from beyond space and time whose domain preys upon the domain of the world. The Shaper fought with the Gwyllt to keep them from devouring the world altogether. Unfortunately while this titanic cosmic battle was being waged, the Gwyllt’s lesser servants were able to infiltrate the Shaper’s creation.
The Gwyllt hate the Shaper, Their creation and Their children. Everywhere the Gwyllt spread upon the surface of the world they corrupted and twisted the Shaper’s work. The children of the Shaper are strong-willed, and most of them did not fall for the lies of the Gwyllt, but those that did were granted the corrupting powers of the Gwyllt and used them to oppress and hurt their kin. Nowhere was this more pronounced than on the peninsula of Tirneach.
In Tirneach, the kingdom of Siabhal maintained a heroic tradition of great warriors that defended the people against the Gwyllt, but their society was constantly on the brink of being torn apart by traitors that would bargain with the Gwyllt to keep themselves or those they loved safe for another year. The Saoi of Draíod kept to their caverns, lending their wisdom to Siabhal but never willing to help them to fully defeat the Gwyllt in case they were left weakened and fell to the Gwyllt themselves. In Baol, the lord and lady of the Amber Hall made fell bargains to protect their people, for a cost that came due in the end. The tribes of Uasa were driven into the badlands and swamps by the Gwyllt. There, they harnessed the powers of the water spirits – elemental forces remaining from the Shaping of the world – and recited the prophecies of the Réig to keep the darkness away. Beyond the Ring Mountains to the south no mortal dared trespass; the Great Forest was dark and impenetrable to all but the Gwyllt and their servants.
The advent of the Réig
The Gwyllt were not unknown beyond Tirneach. Across what is now called the Shaper’s Sea but was then called the Howling Sea, mortal people had long gathered together to protect themselves and others, and these had grown into the disparate nation states and fiefdoms of the Eastern Reaches. The strong and warlike among these nations grew rich and powerful, and began to demand more and more from those they were supposed to protect. The weak who could not or would not serve the strong were condemned as being in league with the Gwyllt, and war or false judgements were brought against them as penalty, and their children taken from them as hostages not to secure peace but to reinforce punishment, in a cruel twist on age-old tradition. There were those in the Eastern Reaches that spoke of the Shaper, and the higher purpose They intended for all mortal kind, but they were drowned out by the cacophony of warfare and oppression.
In this time, approximately eight centuries before the present day, a child was born into a household that held to the ways of the Shaper, and tried to honour Them in word and deed. This meant they did not relentlessly hoard wealth or military power at the expense of all else like their rivals, and they fell foul of the machinations of an enemy household before the child could finish their schooling. As had become custom, many of the children of the household, nobles and servants alike, were taken as hostages. Ostensibly this would answer for the imagined insult offered by their house, but truly it would just enrich and embolden their rivals.
The victors were soon troubled however by the presence of one of the children in their house. Where they would have expected a cowed and defeated youngster, instead their halls rang with talk of the Shaper. The servants and the other children of the house hung on the child’s every word, and wondered whether there was a better way. The house elders were furious, and summoned the child to their great hall, but soon even they were swayed by the child’s wise words.
The child grew towards adulthood, and word of both them and the Shaper spread throughout the Eastern Reaches. Other warlords scoffed at this, and said that the child’s foster household had grown soft. But they could not defeat them in the battlefield or in the baronial halls. The foster household became even more influential, but it was a more measured and sustainable progression, not the rampant greed of years before.
The child became an adult, and announced that the Shaper had spoken to them in their dreams. This was nothing new, but now instead of simply imparting the Shaper’s teachings, the Shaper had a new mission for them. They would travel across the Howling Sea, and take up the name foretold in prophecy: Réig.
Word of the Réig’s mission spread throughout the Eastern Reaches, and soon they had a flock of warriors young and old looking to join up, thinking of plunder and personal advancement mainly. The Réig, along with their trusted foster siblings, stood before them and had this great host commit to the first swearing of the Five Oaths, with words that came from the Shaper Themself. This disorganised rabble were bound together in that moment into the gallóglaigh bands, bound to each other and bound to the Réig.
Together they looked across the Howling Sea towards Tirneach, a land held firm in the Gwyllt’s grasp.
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