Lore of a Lost World #1: The Fairisle Dynasty

The Fairisle?

Control damn near every trading post from Varlance to Pilgrim’s Passage. Them tribals, they know to steer well clear and only handle for scraps when their huntin’ comes up scant.

The Dynasty owns everything ’round here. It’s not just the water. They own the food, the traders, the caravans, the soldiers, the guns. Nobody gets in their way. Not anymore. Safer to put vendettas to bed. Not a damn thing ’round here they don’t lay claim to, my people included. Sure, there were those who resisted.


And you want to know what happened to them? They fell. Every last one. Not to war, not on the battlefield. Poor souls at the mercy of a ticking clock. All the Fairisle had to do was turn off the taps. A tear to salt the dust, as they say, but I have people to watch over. The Fairisle do as takes their fancy and there ain’t nobody left who’s stupid enough to tell them differentBut they’re a big fish in a dry lake. Long as we pay our dues, we don’t get trouble from them. Some tribute here, free room and board there. The odd troublemakin’ ratel to man the ramparts on Sha’lin Spring.

You want to run off, join the Rebels, be a big damn hero?

Leave us out of it.

– Unknown village elder

Water isn’t always scarce across the wasteland.

But clean water is.

Powerful and respected across the continent, the Fairisle Dynasty are the sole survivors of the Water Wars. In the wake of a devastating conflict, their hegemony in the northern biosphere solidified through a combination of ruthless diplomacy and tactical warfare – by the end of it, the Dynasty’s enemies were routed, destroyed, or subsumed.

Now, they rule over their quasi-subjects with an iron fist. Both independent settlements and those firmly under their purview rely on the Dynasty for the most valuable resource in an arid wasteland, and the Dynasty knows it. Every samurai in the Dynasty’s standing army is trained and equipped to the highest of standards.

On paper, their armies are without equal.

Empress Daisumi

Ruling from the near-impenetrable fortress of Sha’lin Spring, the ever-paranoid Empress Daisumi is rarely seen by her lessers without a company of elite Yodoka at her side. Daisumi is so distrusting of others, in fact, that few among even the ruling noble class have ever consulted with her directly, yet alone laid eyes on her in person.

Built around one of the last remaining viable springs in the wasteland, her star fortress is manned by an army of hand-picked samurai and stocked well enough to outlast a siege for months, if not years on end.

It is a shining beacon of the Dynasty’s power, and a stark juxtaposition of the wealth disparity plaguing the nation.

For no paranoid and impulsive autarch can secure the longevity of their rule.

Unlike her level-headed and beloved father, Daisumi came into power at a very young age following a dispute with older siblings and cousins. A spat of summary executions took place behind closed doors, a host of prominent field officers were “promoted” to the ranks of the nobility, and Daisumi’s power was absolute.

Yet it did not take long for dissent among the peasantry to gain traction.

[…] Once upon a black moon there were none who opposed our might. But the sands of time never rest. I cannot abide another war council that is nothing more than a thinly veiled drinking contest. The Empress and her cronies would bury their heads in the sand and toast to another “successful” harvest while the fields that grow the wheat in their bellies burn in the fires of war.

A dynasty of fools.

To the south, the Bazaar Masters wait, and trade, and sign treatises, and smile, and bide their time and build up their armies. The crumbling Western Wall barely contains the bloodthirsty hordes of the Third Dominion. Those barbaric Moonrend fanatics enroach on our frontier from the east. Even the Dunelords grow bold and strong. There was a time I wouldn’t lose a man in a pissing contest over the Weranga, yet now it would take two hundred to meet those miscreants in the field.

Once upon a black moon, the Tribal savages feared the mere silhouette of a Fairisle patrol on the horizon. Now they do not so much as blink at a dozen tenfolds of men or the thunder of their guns. And here I find myself, again forced to send another generation to dye the sands.

I grow weary.

– Shogun Odaa

Under the Empress’ reign, rebellion has sprung up on the frontiers between the “civilised” and “uncivilised” world. That drought and crop failure are common from sea to barren sea is the way of the world – yet maintaining open trade and keeping the populace in bread and water has proven near impossible thanks to constant raiding and pillaging.

And around a waning power structure, the vultures circle patiently.

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