Sarlona

Map of Sarlona

The history of Sarlona — of which Lhazaar’s expedition is the most well-known part to the humans of Khorvaire — is a patchwork of legends and truth, with as many pieces missing as are present. Years of war saw a great deal of Sarlonan lore lost for all time—histories of the conquered erased by the conquerors, who were themselves conquered in time. In the end, however, nearly fifteen hundred years of Inspired rule in Riedra have reshaped Sarlona’s sense of itself. For Riedrans of today, the past is not a point of pride but a warning, and one does not seek the darkness that preceded the supposed light of Sarlona’s modern age. The ancient prehistory of Sarlona remains as much an unknown as it does in any part of Eberron. The Age of Demons, the giant explorers of Xen’drik said to have visited this land, the interest of the dragons of Argonnessen in Sarlona and their relationship to the Storm Guardians of Adar—every piece of critical research has a dozen legends that contradict it, and every legend investigated uncovers a dozen more.

Sarlona does have one unique claim to the history of this lost age. It is thought to be the birthplace of the celestial draconic race of feathered serpents known as the couatl. Certainly, this continent was a stronghold for that race during the Age of Demons; couatl and shulassakar ruins can still be found there today. Such structures are common in the Riedran province of Khalesh, but the Inspired go out of their way to prevent their exploration. In Syrkarn, the ruins were taken over by the feathered yuan-ti on a grand scale, and it remains uncertain how much of the original race’s lore and history might have been corrupted or rewritten before the yuan-ti were put down. Scholars sifting the legends of the Age of Demons believe that three fiendish Overlords are bound in Sarlona — one within the heart of the mountain of Korrandar in Adar, one beneath the yuan-ti ruins of Syrkarn, and a third in the Krertok Peninsula of the Tashana Tundra. Of the nonhuman races, four appear to have an extended history on Sarlona: the kalashtar, the shifters, the Dorann dwarves of the present day Tundra, and the yuan-ti of the Twelve Kingdoms age. The Dorann dwarves in turn gave rise to a progressive coalition of dwarf and duergar, the Akiak, who split from their kin to migrate south across the Tundra.

Precariously balanced among the planes in an area of Eberron where the planar barriers are unusually thin, Sarlona has many planar wild zones and reality storms. These phenomena produce creatures and effects unseen elsewhere in the world. A few veins of Khyber dragonshards exist on the continent, largely in the hands of the dromites. Defying any logic, however, Eberron dragonshards simply do not form on Sarlona. Similarly, Siberys shards are not found in equatorial Sarlona at all.

Tied to this phenomenon is the utter absence of dragonmarks. Sarlona was the birthplace of humanity, and today humans make up the vast majority of the dragonmarked population, but no dragonmarks have ever appeared on the people of Sarlona. Early signs indicate that the children of dragonmarked parents do not develop dragonmarks if they are conceived in Sarlona. The Twelve has no explanation for this phenomenon, but many believe that it is one of the keys to the ultimate mystery of the dragonmarks and their purpose in the world.

The lack of dragonmarks mirrors Sarlona’s absence from the draconic Prophecy and Prophecy marks never form on Sarlonan geography. The few human scholars and cataclysm mages who have been able to discuss the Prophecy with the scaled lords of Argonnessen have found the dragons to be utterly unwilling to speak of Sarlona. Some believe that this is because the dragons know of an inescapable catastrophe destined to originate from the continent. But others have a more disturbing theory. They claim that the dragons do not speak of Sarlona because the continent and the events that transpire there are completely invisible to the Prophecy, and this terrifies the dragons. Whatever the cause, the dragons clearly shun this land. Beyond the fabled Storm Guardians of Adar, the only dragons encountered in Sarlona are rogues. The Chamber has its agents in the land of the Inspired, but something — whether it is fear of the Inspired or fear of the Prophecy — keeps the dragons from coming to Sarlona.

Though the draconic Conclave of Argonessen’s official stance is that dragons should steer clear of Sarlona at all times, in reality many rogue dragons take up residence in Sarlona all the time, for reasons of their own or because they have rejected the influence of the Conclave. These dragons are generally left in peace by Riedra’s Harmonious Shield military forces, though certain pieces of information have begun to reach the Conclave of Argonessen from rogue dragons and agents of the Chamber operating in Sarlona that the Inspired lords of Riedra have actually been conducting breeding experiments on captured dragons for several centuries. The Inspired have sought to create a new, psionically-active family of dragon known as gem dragons that can serve as draconic hosts for quori spirits much as the human Chosen have been bred by the quori over the centuries to serve as hosts for new Inspired.

Since arcane magic suffuses the very essence of all dragons, those rare few wyrms who try and master psychic disciplines are usually driven insane as their mental powers clash with their natural arcane strength. As a result, were the dragons of Argonessen to unearth hard information that the Inspired have been breeding psionic draconic hosts, it is likely that Argonessen’s military forces, the Eyes of Chronepsis and the Light of Siberys, would descend on Sarlona in a mass whirlwind of pure destruction not seen since the fall of the giant civilizations on Xen’drik.

However, Sarlona is home to one group of dragons who have completely cut themselves off from their brethren on Argonessen — the Storm Guardians of Adar, a clan of blue dragons that calls the tallest peak in the mountainous land of Adar home. Many Adarans believe these majestic wyrms are responsible for the constant storms that plague and defend Adar’s borders from the Inspired of Riedra. Adarans imagine that a draconic heart beats at the center of every thunderhead that blows over the land of refuge. Those Adarans are close to correct. The Storm Guardians might be mythic figures, but they are real. They, however, have not been corrupted by their time in Adar or on Korrandar, the great, storm-shrouded volcanic mountain that is the tallest peak in Adar and the Storm Guardians’ home. Concerned with the protection of a realm shaped long ago by dragon and couatl magic, the Storm Guardians watch from above and below. They count among their number dragon turtles and sea drakes that stalk the oceans around Adar. Such sea dragons often attack any flotilla that contains more than a few ships.

Most of these dragons are aloof from mortal concerns, but their hold in Korrandar contains what could be considered the soul of Adar — the Teeth of the Three. An awe-inspiring and majestic piece of dragon artifice, the Teeth of the Three could be the hope of Adar, and perhaps for all of Eberron, in resisting the machinations of the Dreaming Dark. The Teeth of the Three is a breathtaking conglomerate crystal made up of three dragonshards of a size never seen in modern Eberron. In the center is a Khyber shard. An Eberron shard and a Siberys shard join the Khyber shard at the base and emerge from that point at 45-degree angles. Each shard is easily double the height of a full-grown human and as wide as that person is tall. Motes of golden, violet, and crimson light seem to materialize near and flow into the crystals, and a diaphanous shaft of silver radiance surges from the center of each upward. This flow forms a wavering flame that dissipates at about 5 feet above the artifact.

The Teeth of the Three rests above the head of a creature of legend — a slumbering rakshasa Overlord named Ran Iishiv — and if destroyed, it could spell doom for Adar, Sarlona, and the whole world. This incredible item is a magical focus that might be responsible for Adar’s odd mixture of planar energy and the physical manifestations of it as the storms that constantly lash the mountainous kingdom. It could have been why the kalashtar’s rebel quori founders were able to cross the barrier between the Plane of Dreams and the world into Adar. The Teeth of the Three is a joining of three dragonshards, each amplifying the others’ power. It is a nexus that vents the fiendish Overlord’s wrath into Adar’s storms, at the same time focusing eldritch power to keep Adar as the dragons want it. The Teeth of the Three is a major component of the draconic Prophecy and the dragons who chose to live in Sarlona created it based on their auguries. The artifact seems to pull certain creatures near (such as those who value freedom, life and balance) and push others (like evil and unaligned immortals) away. It is also a massive psychic and magical focus.

It should be possible to tie Adar’s magical Shroud to the Teeth of the Three, greatly reducing the maintenance the Shroud requires and strengthening its properties. Perhaps such a network is what the dragons sought to build all along. When Ran Iishiv and its fiendish minions were trapped beneath Adar at the end of the great Dragon-Fiend War, the Overlord’s rage was so great that the land around its prison boiled, hurling up the great volcano Korrandar. The Teeth of the Three was put in place, and the dragons focused their most puissant magic through it to bring the plane of Lamannia, the Twilight Forest, closer to Eberron, though Ran Iishiv’s chaotic mind also attracted Kythri, the Churning Chaos’ influence. With access to elemental forces drawn from the planes, the dragons pushed the land of Adar higher and a surviving couatl joined with the crystal to channel Ran Iishiv’s fury.

The plan worked, as did the idea to channel Ran Iishiv’s violent passion into supernatural and natural storms that rage in Adar. The dragons foresaw they would need these storms to protect their hold in Korrandar. Strangely, this has an affect in Adar—whenever more than a few score persons act in anger or violence in the land of refuge, a magical trigger causes a terrible storm (a hurricane on the coast or a tornado-spawning thunderstorm inland) to manifest in the area of the battle. Such a storm is worse for those without shelter in the mountains—a Riedran siege force, for example. The artifact, if it could be freed from its current role of enhancing Adar’s defensive weather patterns, could also be transformed into a powerful weapon against the Inspired, since the artifact can trap the soul of any fiend or evil immortal (like the quori spirit of an Inspired) that touches it. The ancestors of the Storm Guardians came to Sarlona long ago, after the end of the Dragon-Fiend War, largely out of a sense of guilt that the dragons had left their couatl allies to make the final sacrifice to imprison the fiendish Overlords alone. The Storm Guardians still look after the couatl ruins that cover Sarlona but view the creation and protection of the Teeth of the Three as their most important task—and perhaps the source of their eventual redemption.

Of Sarlona’s early human history, almost nothing is conclusively known. Several legendary human kingdoms and empires are said to have risen and fallen here, but only two of those — Aventus and Uoraala — have any general acceptance as having actually existed among Khorvarien scholars of ancient history. Aventus is the common name for a land thought to be called “Aventuu’siana,” though debate ensues as to whether this name refers to the nation or its legendary sorcerer-kings. Aventus is known today primarily through an aquatic race of the Sea of Rage called the aventi. Thought to be the descendants of Aventus, the aventi have an oral history that tells the story of a kingdom brought down by unnatural devastation, then swallowed by the sea. The Aventus Islands now carry the name of the kingdom that reportedly once stood there. Those isles belonged to the Kingdom of Khunan prior to that land’s destruction and rebirth as Syrkarn; now, they are counted as part of the Riedran province of Rhiavhaar.

The Empire of Uoraala presents a tale at odds with much of Sarlona’s endless history of increasingly advanced kingdoms razing each other and their neighbors. A race of barbarian nomads having no capital city and no fixed borders, the Uoraala are nonetheless thought to have forged an alliance of northern city-states that in time came to dominate Sarlona down to the Andnemun Desert. The Uoraala were mercenary tribes of the steppes, their archers and cavalry in high demand among the northern city-states around what is now Rhialuun. But when those powers’ insatiable demand for troops to throw against each other’s walls ultimately resulted in each having more Uoraala mercenaries in their ranks than native soldiers, the war chief Uor (possibly so named after the fact) called on his people to turn against their lords. In a brutally short campaign, a simultaneous three-part military coup saw the creation of the new kingdom that bore its founder’s name. The Empire of Uoraala is said to have stood for nearly four hundred years before dissolving in violent political infighting.

Of all the ancient human history of Sarlona, one critical piece is known not because the Sarlonans kept a record of it, but because of its lasting repercussions beyond that land, and this is the expedition of Lhazaar to Khorvaire.

COUNTRIES OF SARLONA

Sarlona

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