Return of Xoriat
Cyre was the future. At the height of the Kingdom of Galifar, Cyre was a land of arcane dreams made manifest. It came to be known as Beautiful Cyre, the Purple Jewel in Galifar’s Crown, and Wondrous Cyre. To some, it was considered a land of decadence and arrogance,but to the rest of the kingdom, it was paradise.
When Jarot attained the throne of Galifar, none of his children were yet of an age to take over the administration of the Five Nations. Regents and the existing governor-princes ( Jarot’s younger brothers and sisters) continued to govern and served as mentors and teachers for Jarot’s scions. Mishann, the oldest of Jarot’s children, was sent to Cyre to learn at the knee of her uncle and prepare for her role as governor-prince and, eventually, monarch of Galifar. Just as it was since Galifar united the kingdom, just as it would be forever.
However, Mishann and the rest of the kingdom would discover that nothing remains the same forever.
When King Jarot died, Mishann prepared for the journey to Thronehold to attend her father’s funeral and to take the crown that was her birthright as the eldest scion. Her siblings each brought armed troops to the funeral, and before Mishann could be coronated, Thalin challenged the right of eldest succession. With loyal knights of the Silver Flame at his side, Thalin asserted that he was the better choice to be king of Galifar. Kaius and Wroann supported Thalin, in so far as they wanted a different method of selection to be put in place. “Why should the oldest and weakest automatically gain the crown?” Wroann asked. Wrogar supported Mishann’s claim, but the other three rejected her. Wrogar was able to stop the scions from spilling royal blood at Thronehold, but the five siblings and their followers departed the island without reaching any resolution to the question of succession. Before the year was out, the first battles of the Last War erupted, and each sibling eventually declared his or her own ambition to take the crown.
As the kingdom collapsed and the Five Nations became five distinct and separate countries, war spread throughout the land. Beautiful Cyre, of all the nations, wound up as the battleground on which much of the Last War was fought. In addition to the troops from Karrnath, Thrane, and Breland clashing with each other and Cyran forces in this region, Cyre also became the place where Darguun, Valenar, Talenta tribes, and Lhazaar pirates came to loot, plunder, or seek land to expand into.
And so it went, with the great wonders of Cyre falling bit by bit with every battle, until the terrible cataclysm of the Day of Mourning finished the sad destruction of the once-shining nation in one fell swoop. No one has claimed credit for the release of arcane energy that obliterated the nation, and no one seems to know exactly what happened on the Day of Mourning. What is known is that something terrible occurred in or around the city of Making, located at about the center of what is now the Glass Plateau, and slowly spread out to destroy the whole nation. Those living closer to the borders, as well as those outside the nation on this fateful day, were able to survive the disaster.
Today, Cyre is no more. In its place is the Mournland, a blasted, mutated land surrounded by a dense wall of dead-gray mist. Cyran refugees have migrated to New Cyre and Sharn in Breland, Dragonroost and Zolanberg in Zilargo, and, in smaller numbers, to communities in Thrane, Karrnath, and Q’barra. Many Cyrans, still reeling from the terrible destruction, find it hard to forgive the Five Nations that have refused to provide them with help. Worse, the Valenar elves slaughtered Cyran refugees fleeing from southeastern Cyre by the thousands as they tried to escape the spreading mist.
A second injustice heaped upon the survivors of Cyre occurred during the Thronehold negotiations. Though the Day of Mourning was crucial in getting the Five Nations together to end the Last War, no Cyran representation was permitted. “Cyre no longer exists,” Queen Aurala argued. “The refugees have no voice in these proceedings,” High King Vadallia of Valenar agreed. And so Cyre did not participate in the accords that redefined the continent and ended the Last War.
Devastated by the Day of Mourning, Cyre has become a ghastly reminder of the costs of war. Cyre’s borders, now marked by a wall of dead-gray mist, shrank tremendously during the latter half of the Last War, but still encompass an area over 1,500 miles long and often over 500 miles wide. Within the mists, desolate vistas and twisted ruins abound. The land lies in perpetual twilight, for the sun never quite breaks through the mist, and the mist never quite stops glowing even in the dead of night.The blasted land has the characteristics of a wound that never heals, with cracked and burnt ground, shattered rock, and mutated vegetation. Since so many foreign troops occupied Cyre on the Day of Mourning, the bodies of people from all of the Five Nations and beyond litter the devastated countryside. The Mournland has become a vast, open grave, filled with the bodies of the dead that have not yet begun to decompose—even four years after the terrible disaster. In some ways, the Mournland seems to be unchanging, but this is just an illusion. The vile magics that created the place continue to play across the land, mutating the living and the dead, warping the environment, and releasing torrents of deadly spells as storm clouds release rain. This is a land of scavengers and predators where warforged gather around a charismatic (and possibly insane) leader and seek to create a nation of their own.
Plants have become twisted and poisonous. Animals are few and far between and generally vicious. Water glows with a strange, sickly light. Adventurers must bring all of their food and water with them, or risk being poisoned.
Maps of Cyre before the Day of Mourning are of only limited use now. The land has shifted and warped, and distances seem to alter even as one treks across the wastes.
Natural healing and spells of the healing subschool do not work within the confi nes of the Mournland. Adventurers have found several ways to sidestep this restriction, however. The druid spell goodberry continues to function normally in the Mournland, though keeping berries fresh can be a challenge. A paladin’s ability to lay on hands also retains its potency, making such characters key members of many expeditions. A monk’s wholeness of body ability provides benefit to herself, though it does not allow her to aid her party. Adventurers can also heal themselves by momentarily exiting the Mournland. Hanging close to the border provides the opportunity for a quick retreat, and spells such as rope trick and magnificent mansion allow characters to momentarily step outside the limits of the Mournland from anywhere within the interiorfor rest or magical healing.
Magic is distorted in some regions of Cyre, as if even the laws of nature were cracked and broken. One constant is that no magic yet employed has revealed anything about the origins of the Day of Mourning. In particular, the spell legend lore fails to function when focusing on any place or creature currently in the Mournland.