Aniera was a small country situated in a beautiful valley; it was renowned for its peaceful relations with all peoples from any country, both near and far. Aniera did not go to war when there was a disagreement, they negotiated peacefully; their culture valued life far more than anything material. In fact, they did not even sport a standing army. The country was relatively wealthy and mostly self-sufficient as a result of their valuable technological advances; because of this, it was relatively simple to maintain peace with neighboring countries.
Gihlak, on the other hand, rose from the ashes following a brutal civil war with a dramatically different cultural ideology. No longer a simple mining country, they transformed to have a more expansionist attitude with secret military bases scattered throughout their mountains. Their takeover began slowly; the government bought up a few hundred thousand acres of territory from neighboring countries that were struggling financially. Then they began a hostile invasion of the biggest neighboring country, Lanhar, beginning on the East side, then completing with the surrender of its highest government officials in the Capital City. Lanhar and Gihlak had strained relations going back several decades, so the attack was not entirely unexpected, but when they invade Aniera, the entire world was shocked.
As the only true heir to the throne, you must flee, Harrt," King Hal screamed at the fifteen year old boy staring at him with wide, terrified eyes. "It is impossible for us to win this, son
The Gihlakians were just mere hours away from completely decimating Aniera's forces and taking the kingdom from the peaceful people. Despite being a kind king and a peaceful man, King Hal was no fool; he knew that Aniera was lost; there inexperienced young soldiers they sported were nothing compared the Gihlak's powerful standing army. He refused to give up hope for the future of his country; though he knew his life was over, he could still save his son and, with any luck, the future of Aniera.
Upon hearing the desperation in his father's voice, Prince Harr pried open the hidden door with shaking hands and descended into the tunnels below the castle. As Har ran through the tunnels, numerous emotions threatened to envelope him; he fought back feelings of helplessness for ten days until he finally found the exit he was looking for.
A thousand years ago, Har's ancestor built Aniera's castle and the underground tunnels below that led to a village protected by powerful enchantments. The spells cloaked the villiage to all but villiage residents and Aneria's royal family- to everyone else it would appear no different than the surrounding woodlands. When Har arrived in Royra, he was taken in by the village leader and her husband, both of whom raise the boy as if he were their own. Not long after the invasion, King Hal was disposed of by the Gihlakian Government on the orders of Emperor Karik and with that, Aneria was absorbed into Gihlak.
The fall of Aniera occurred ten long and tumultuous years ago. Har grew up receiving the same education he would have gotten as Prince before the fall and he trained every single day following his lessons. As the rightful King of Aneira, Har now believes himself ready to return to his kingdom and defeat Gihlak and the ruthless emperor.
Normally when Har woke in the morning, he would loaf in bed for just a few minutes to allow himself time to wake up. Today was no typically morning, though; today was the morning Har spent ten years preparing for, ever since the ruthless Gihlakians took over his peaceful country. Today he will set out on his journey to win his country back; Gihlak has an ancient tradition that if an individual with a claim to the throne challenges the sitting king and subsequently defeats him in combat, the winner is the rightful king by the divine law. King Aleksandr ascended to the throne by defeating his insane father through this process a few years before the Aniera takeover, and this is precisely how Har intends on freeing Aniera.
Jumping out of bed, Har quickly dressed, grabbed the packed satchel hanging on his bedroom door, and power-walked into the kitchen in order to say his goodbyes to the couple who cared for him all these years.
I will never forget the kindness you two have shown me these last ten years," Har expressed as he looked at Liana and Larek Grey's anxious faces, "Once I win Aniera back, I will finally be able to repay you for everything you've done for me and, by extension, all of Aniera."
Grabbing his hand, Liana Grey embraced Har while Larek spoke. "It was never about what we might get in return, you came to us as a frightened teenager, forced out of his home and hunted for no reason other than his birthright. You have been a son to us Har, and we've been privileged to watch you grow into a man. My wife was so right to volunteer to take you in." And with that last bit of encouragement from the Greys, Har left their home and began his journey towards Isyle, the capital of Gihlak.
Seven days into the journey, Harrt stopped to rest and snack on a large rock. As he was unpacking his bread and cheese, he heard a rustling in a bush ten feet to his left. Unsheathing his sword, Har cautiously rose to investigate the noise; to his surprise, as his approached the bush, a small white weewoo lay in the bushes, nursing a broken foot.
Poor little fella, thought Har, as he proceeded to lay the injured creature on the rock. After laying the weewoo down, Har ripped fabric from his cloak and retrieved a nearby twig in order to stabilize the foot. Larek had been a healer in the villiage, so Har had picked up a few tricks from his adoptive father and knew most of the basics of first aid. After fashioning a makeshift cast, Har looked down at the weewoo, who was also eyeing Har with much interest.
A wave of realization washed over Har, "I guess I just adopted you huh, little guy?
With a happy chirp, the weewoo hopped into Har's outstretched hands
The Anierians believed that, at critical points in one's life (most commonly while one quests) the spirits of loved ones may return in the form of animal companions that provide guidance and support. Most of Aniera believed in this lore, and because Prince Har was no exception, he named his new and unexpected friend Hal, after is late father.(to be continued...)