History is recorded of those periods of time the victors want remembered. But sometimes it’s best to forget.
In the many ages of man, there have been peaks and valleys. One of those valleys took place in the City States of the Bloodlords in the far West. During that time, powerful vampire lords ruled with an iron fist from their well fortified tombs. Their “Leeches” or liege-lords ruled from the shadows in their stead, taking orders and finding lambs for the slaughter. And there were other powers at work in the light, which made escape impossible.
Originally, the city states of Zhilin, Modion, and Fiohan were ruled by men simply wanting a better way of life. Elder councils ruled sagely over the people who came seeking a better life away from the villages. In return, they prospered. And for decades the triumvirate of city states were the model for how to run a country for the betterment of its people. Rulers and citizens alike operated at peak, happy efficiency turning out fine foods, treasures, and engineering marvels to the rest of the world.
But as the old guard aged and perished, a new force began to creep in relatively unnoticed. The vampire lords were drawn to the city-states as beacons of hope, life, and light, in the hopes that they might corrupt them a day at a time from within. And so they did. Their minions did their bidding during the day and at night the harvest began in earnest.
Unlike other corrupting influences, the new lords did not seek to imprison those who discovered their secrets or began to oppose them openly. Those individuals simply disappeared. Some were consumed, body and soul by the lords and their followers. The unlucky would return to their duties, shells of their former selves. And loyalists would be moved into place to tell a story about how they sought their fortunes elsewhere or had to leave to take care of sick family members wherever they came from initially if they disappeared — or explain away their sudden and mysterious change in appearance.
Doubt and darkness moved hand in hand to slowly spoil the joy and light in each of the three city states until only those loyal to their vampiric masters were left.
Sure, there were uprisings. But they were swiftly put down. And the lords employed an unlikely ally to do their dirty work when someone would attempt escape. The Jiangshi were a different threat entirely, but allowed other types of undead to gain entrance to the mortal realms once again. These evil disembodied spirits would seek hosts – willing or unwilling – and use their skills to track down all manner of dissidents and spies for their masters.
Hero after hero went after these villains, seeking to root them out and release the victims under their sway. And hero after hero fell to their wiles. That is until Sir Garret Thom waded into their midst and made them pay for every soul they took with them into the darkness. But Garret was not alone…
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