can boast the same as he--that man what rose from the blackest
deep--the legend of Cortes.
The first true pirate. Captain of the Sovereign Dark, and conqueror of these seven seas. Was he who opened the jaws of Hell and released the monsters of the ocean into our world. In his final days...as the empires of man began to rise in the world...he became a target for all who claimed Order over chaos. The rulers of Men sent a fleet of their greatest ships to purge the world of his unholy essence. But the power of Cortes was unmatched. With black arts unknown he tore a hole in the earth beneath the ocean. A hole what swallowed every mothers son what called himself soldier that night. To this day they call it 'Hades' Maw,' for it still sits there in the ocean, devouring ships and spitting out beasts of terrible fright.
The Sovereign Dark vanished that day. Some say she were swallowed up with the rest of them--a final act of defiance by the Pirate Lord. Others say that Cortes vanished in a haze of fog and still drifts out there on the ocean...plunderin' and pillagin' like an ethereal phantom. But for all the stories that be told they all share one thing--that Cortes didn't leave this world without a legacy. His own soul placed and divided up into nine evil relics--Nine Pieces of Eight--each with their own great and terrible power. Every Pirate what sails the seas searches for those cursed treasures. None have ever been found. Be they myth or true I couldn't tell.
The setting is an ocean world with four main continents; three large and one rather small. The general era for civilization is Classical. Extremely limited technology and the beginnings of research into steam-powered concepts. Gunpowder is among the deadliest of weapons in the world. One of the continents is primarily dominated by Man--Leinstar. The second continent is dominated by Elves who were once Men--the Empire of Orlais. Each with their own Monarch and their own civilization. The general climate of the world is tropical, with a few exceptions. Countless smaller islands are littered throughout the world.
The third continent is dominated by Graug ((this is where we come to races)). Graug are deformed creatures somewhere between reptile and goblin. They are carnivorous and primarily hostile, though a small number of their kind are domesticated and even made slaves by humans. Then of course there is mankind, the primary race of the world. From humanity was born a new kind of race--Elves. These are mortals who have somehow against impossible odds tasted the flesh of one of the many Leviathans that lurk deep within the ocean. These mortals are imbued with amazing physical prowess and incredible life spans. It is even rumored that those responsible for delivering the killing blow to one of these great monsters is gifted with a special power--but no records of such an idea exist in the world.
The fourth and final continent is known as Hades Maw. A giant ring of mountainous land encircles a maelstrom the size of a small country--deep in the frozen north of the world. It's said that vessels that stray too close to these waters are pulled into the inescapable currents and smashed up against the rocks that surround the unholy whirpool. Against centuries of research and investigation there are no true explanations for this terrifying phenemenon. The only thing the world knows for certain is that every hundred years it spits free a new Leviathan--and the world is given a new nightmare to fear in the deep. Thus far there are believed to be thirteen Leviathan known in the world--information on each is scarce.
Now, for some history.
The first and most popular of the Leviathan is Kraytin--though this particular beast is hailed as a myth as much as a monster. They say he was the first to emerge when Cortes ripped open Hades Maw. A monster that was great enough to swallow small islands and ravage entire Empires simply by walking through them. But no sailor has claimed to have seen him since that fateful day--yet there are some who press he is as real as night and day.
The second most infamous creature is the Great Mer--the first Leviathan to ever be slain by mortal men. Off the coast of the Orlesian Empire this monster emerged from blackness. It was during the turmoil of the Orlesian guard defending their shores from a small fleet of slavers. The monster rose from the ocean like a waterspout tearing across the sea. It resembled a man with a long fish tail. Mottled green skin scales and eyes as black as tar--it stretched hundreds of feet high from the waist up. They peppered the creature with cannonade and mortar fire. It lashed out with long claws like fingers and tore apart galleons with every swing. Imagine it...a colossus tearing through the armada like a hurricane given flesh and mind.
With a handful of ships remaining the Orlesians fought to the end. They were victorious when the great creature fell to their arms. They say its corpse stretched a portion of their borders--shaking the earth when it collapsed onto the beach. The Orlesians took to ground but dare not approach the monster for fear of what it might do. The Empress of Orlais called upon her greatest scholars and her greatest scientists. She then took to Great Mer Bay--as it's called today--and investigated the monster. Being the daring young monarch of a culturally sophisticated hunting Empire, the Empress demanded she be the first to taste of the creatures flesh.
So it was that the first Elf came to being.
The Empress found her newfound strength and vitality not only shattered her mortal limits; but that the changes were permanent. The sailors of Orlais deemed that the flesh of these great monsters endowed the human body with the essence of Cortes himself--giving him a portion of his strength, power, and longevity. Left with more than a mile of this great monsters corpse the Empress decreed that every living soul in her Empire be given this untold power. So it was that Orlais came to be the Kingdom of Elves, and all the more dangerous and beautiful for it. They say the Great Mer was devoured entirely--and others whisper that the Orlesian Empress hoards the remaining flesh for herself and those she deems worthy. But none have been fit enough to be granted her audience in over forty years.
Despite having the obvious advantage over Man the Empress did not make war on her former race. She barters and aids the mortal Empire in the times of greatest strife. The country of Man what we call Leinstar. Perhaps it was just a show of power or a true gesture of kindness but--when their ranks were replenished from their losses at Great Mer Bay--the Empress of Orlais sent a fleet of her finest craftsmen to Leinstar. King Ailech was all too pleased by their uncanny ability to increase their production and teach them unfound knowledge of crafts they would have taken decades to master otherwise. So it came to be that the Kingdom of Leinstar rose to power. Their relationship with their fellow Orlesians being of a fragile but friendly manner.
Little is known of the land of Graug--which their kind call Bae'Lokk. No man or Elf what has walked onto its shores has ever returned in one piece to tell us what they know. They said that King Ailech once sent a force to overtake that land in order to take it for his own. But there is no record of such an endeavor nor is any sailor alive to say he's done it--least none that are known today.