Delain

Delain

The Conclave that once ruled mortals lives became unbalanced by the departure of the different races. The Dwarves left the Conclave first due to disagreements between Dwarven and Human leaders about intercity coordination against the Goblin threat. The Elves soon followed suit. As the Humans turned the goal of the Goblin Wars from eradication to enslavement, the Orcs left the Conclave to continue the war’s original purpose. In time the Orcs saw value in preserving the Goblin way of life and in fact protected the Goblins from Human invasion. The Halflings were the last to leave the Conclave after the end of the Goblin Wars. They felt the organization had served it’s purpose and that it was time to start fresh.

The adversarial nature of the Humans that remained within the Conclave incited wars with the other races as they left. These wars drained the Conclave’s dwindling resources and soon scarcity led to internal strife. The Human cities cut ties with each other and after that factions formed within the cities. Fights broke out in the streets for rights to food and the few properly maintained wells. Threats outside of the city grew in number and in size.

Size in some cases was quite literal. A wolf pack attacked the estates of merchants outside of Phoenix. Leading the pack was a wolf the size of a water mill. The wolf gained the name Baelund’s Wolf for Baelund was one of the first nobles killed in the attacks. Baelund’s Wolf moved through the countryside, devouring everything and everyone it came across. Citizens fled behind the city’s walls which exacerbated the existing problems within Phoenix. A cry went up for deliverance from the evil of the Wolf.

A man named Delain answered the call. A humble shepherd, he claimed to be the son of Ares. Delain stayed in the fields with his flocks rather than bring them within the city and he had successfully defended them from numerous attacks by the smaller wolves that followed Baelund’s. He strode into the town center with a flail given to him by his supposed father and swore to slay the monstrous wolf and sacrifice it before the altars of the Olympian gods. A crowd of onlookers followed him to the city’s edge, but when they realized his intent was genuine, many chose to stay in the safe confines of the city rather than risk the Wolf’s savage nature. Delain went against Baelund’s Wolf with only a dozen followers and half of those only coming along to watch instead of help.

Delain tracked the Wolf to where it currently laired. He tied one end of a chain to a sheep and the other end to an enormous boulder he had brought that would take ten normal men to lift. Delain gathered the scattered sheepskin and guts that littered the ground around Baelund’s Wolf’s lair. He tied the leavings to the boulder, dressing it up in a crude fascimile of a fat juicy sheep. With everything in place, Delain hid behind a tree with his wicked flail and whistled.

Baelund’s Wolf came charging out and flew upon the sheep. It gobbled down the sheep, sucking the thong into its gullet afterwards. The boulder followed the thong into the Wolf’s throat and it lodged itself betwixt the Wolf’s tongue and esophagus. Baelund’s Wolf could swallow no more! Enfuriated at whomever had tricked it, the Wolf turned around, sniffing for its new prey.

Delain jumped out and confronted the beast, “I am Delain Areides and I have come to kill you!”

Baelund’s Wolf lunged upon Delain with teeth as long as his entire body. The man spun away and flicked his flail at the beast, knocking out its teeth. The ground boiled where the fangs fell. The Wolf howled and lunged upon Delain once more. He whirled his flail and bludgeoned the side of the monster’s head. Delain leapt over its ears and grasped it’s neck. Slowly he pressed harder, feeling the rock in its gullet while Baelund’s Wolf kicked and struggled. After an entire day, the Wolf lay still.

One of the stunned onlookers gave Delain a sword and he cut off the beast’s head. Blood flowed from the stump, mixing with Delain’s sweat and fertilizing the ground. This blood soon birthed the first Lycanthropes. Delain offered the wolf’s head to the gods as a sacrifice and the wolf’s body to the dragons to appease their hunger as was custom during the Age of Monsters.

Delain returned to Phoenix as a hero. The people raised him up on their shoulders and proclaimed him their king. Delain used his power to quell the internal strife of Phoenix. He saw that the fights were often between different neighborhoods of the city and that the neighborhoods were split along lines of what profession was practiced in a particular area of the city. The blacksmith gang would fight with the whitesmith gang while the wainwrights argued with the coopers. Delain organized each of the gangs into trade guilds. He encouraged the guilds to draw up contracts with each other instead of fighting. The Lumber Guild made a deal with the Carpenters Guild, the Farmers Guild made a deal with the Merchants Guild, and so on.

Delain felt that individual contracts between the guilds might not be enough. Conflicts within a guild were adjudicated according to that guild’s laws. Delain enlisted the Clerics Guild to act as judges in cases involving people from more than one guild. As King he appointed himself the final arbiter in any major conflicts between the guilds.

Phoenix required a police force as well, but the political climate of the Age of Monsters prevented anything resembling an official militia. The dragons outlawed armies and militia and to disobey the dragons was to sign one’s own death warrant. Instead of forming a police force with regimented ranks, Delain made common cause with the Thieves Guild. Why not abandon the high risk of theft and turn to the official racketeering of government taxation and protection? Citizens returned to law-abiding behavior or they risked home invasion, burglary, and in the worst cases, unexplained disappearences.

King Delain ruled his city well and pressure was put on him to produce an heir. He married Stasia, the daughter of the Fighters Guildmaster, to secure their political aid at the start of his reign, but he did not love her. Delain’s true love was his Halfling mistress, Stofara. Delain often attended guild functions with Stofara on his arm instead of his wife. The Queen gave birth to a daughter, but rumors openly circulated that the child had an illegitimate sire. King Delain succumbed to senility before he clarified the succession. After his death the Phoenix River was renamed in his honor, but his monarchy quickly collapsed.

Fortunately, while the monarchy may have left Phoenix, many of Delain’s reforms stayed in the city. The Clerics Guild remained judges of inter-guild conflicts and the Thieves Guild remained as the unique and strange police force of Phoenix. Some battles between the guilds escalated beyond the Clerics’ ability to arbitrate, but such speedbumps were rare and often swiftly solved through intervention of the Thieves Guild or other interested guilds.

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