It has been a very cold winter in Captivenia, for Chancellor Arwyndel has disappeared.
Early in the month of February, Princess Leisaura was called away to the Great Council in Arcatheos, leaving the Chancellor to act in her stead. All was restful until, one evening; a cloaked messenger arrived at the castle with a letter to give directly to the Chancellor. Within the hour, the villagers saw the Chancellor departing on horseback, accompanied by two guards. Later, the guards were discovered dead in the forest—and the Chancellor nowhere to be found. Many a scout has been sent out to find her, but none have returned successful.
Leisaura has returned from the Great Council and begun forming alliances with the surrounding territories, hoping that together we may discover Zothaniel’s dark plan. But while she is working to bind the people, the enemy is working to shatter confidence and sow doubt. Many villagers are afraid to fight back as they watch neighboring villages burn to the ground and the homeless starve. Fear and desperation have begun to turn good people into thieves and liars.
While Arcatheos is immersed in heavy warfare, fewer people are passing through the Gate into Captivenia, thus the economy has begun to crumple. Many Captivenians have been forced to pack up their few possessions into carts and abandon their homes. But at night, in the camps of the travelers, music can often be heard. Hope is a flickering flame.
Hope also approaches from afar, like a wildfire sweeping across the plains: Leisaura has sent word to the bounds of Lumenorus, calling for reinforcements. Young Duxarium have been summoned to begin their training, and the Messengers continue in their study of combat and strategy. The Princess herself often gathers small ones around her to stir their courage and hearten their trust in the King.
Known throughout Captivenia as a wise counselor, Lady Sapientia has been meeting with Leisaura, rumored to have unburied an ancient legend. Long ago, the women and children of Caelor were left vulnerable when their men withdrew to defend Arcatheos. Many a mother rose up against the enemy, but they were overpowered and their villages sacked. Victorious in Arcatheos, the men returned not to celebration but to desolation—and to lay their loved ones to rest. Downcast by sorrow, those mothers who survived began to meet in the forest of Guarelle, praying to find a way to defend themselves in the future.
One day, as the golden dawn was pouring through the trees, a woman appeared to them, seemingly from nowhere, as if she had come from the light itself. She called herself the Mother of the King. Each mother was entrusted with a gift—a stone. When the stones were arranged in a circle, she told them, those who stood within the circle could claim sanctuary, preventing danger from penetrating. Only those mothers who consecrated themselves to the Mother and to the King would be able to wield this power. Caelor knew many years of peace from then on, and as time passed, few continued to believe that the stones were the cause. They are now more legend than memory, for no mother has claimed sanctuary in centuries. But along with Sapientia, some believe that the stones still exist and that the promise of sanctuary holds true.
With the evil shroud of the Phantor destroyed and Lady Raegan restored to unity with the King, it would seem that Captivenia may at last see a time of peace. And none too soon, as we will will be celebrating a special event at the next Festival of Maidens—the millennial birthday of Lady Genevé. Dignitaries from the far reaches Arcãtheos and Captivenia will be arriving to give her gifts. Indeed, there are rumours that even Lord Valerian himself will be attending, and that he bears a secret of incredible value to bestow upon Genevé…
Time has passed in a dreamlike blur since Captivenia closed it's gate almost eight years ago.
After the last Festival of Maidens, the Phantor began launching sporadic attacks on Cassador itself, the heart of Captivenia. Never knowing when an enemy might next appear, Princess Leisaura announced that the Festival of Maidens would be suspended until the realm was more secure.
Two years have passed since the Phantor's last attempt to overcome Cassador. She has not been seen since. With confidence, Leisaura has announced the next Festival of Maidens, long awaited by many, which is to take place this year.
At the King's bidding, Lady Ronwyn and the Duxarium are journeying east to strengthen the people's trust in the King. Until He deems their work complete, they shall not return. Leisaura has discovered extraordinary strength of character in Messenger Honora, as well as a gift in communication, and so has elevated her to Ambassador. For her faithfulness, Lady Veronica has been elevated to Chancellor.
Also absent is the child Justin. On his fifth birthday, Leisaura presented him with the three gems which are prophesied to have the power to vanquish the Phantor. That same day, Arch-Lord Valerian escorted him into Arcãtheos to begin his training. No word on his progress has reached Captivenia.
Though some worry that the Phantor may reappear in Justin's absence, excitement over an upcoming wedding has pushed these fears aside. At the end of the Festival of Maidens, the second marriage in history betwen a Duxarium and a mortal will be celebrated. All look forward with eager anticiption to the announcement of Commander Aurelius' bethrothed.
Yes, new beginnings seem to be on Captivenia's horizon. But if experience has taught the Captivenian's anything, it's to never let their guard down...
After the Phantor’s minion failed in her attempt to create more dark creatures on Captivenian soil, the breeding grounds were torched and the Castle was moved to encompass the Gate. Secure in the knowledge that Captivenia’s fortifications are now stronger, Princess Leisaura and the Duxarium passed into Arcātheos to learn more of the enemy’s activities. In their absence, the Messengers established watch posts across the land. Summer settled over the people and seemed to promise peace.
Such peace never lasts long in the battle between good and evil.
At the wake of winter, a village in the north was burned to smoldering ruins without apparent reason, renewing fear among the people. All but one offender was seized and chained by the Messengers—a fallen Duxarium, known as a Valgray. The Captivenians now wait on edge, wondering what phantom-like danger haunts the land, unnamed and unexplained. While none of the villagers were harmed, none will speak of what occurred.
Captivenia’s Ambassadors have summoned the presence of several consecrated women of the Lauravita to aid the refugees. It is hoped they will revive trust in the King as whispers of the Phantor’s hidden conspiracies and Arcātheos’ instability mounts. Never before have the Lauravita crossed into Captivenia, thus the Ambassadors are certain the coming Festival of Maidens will be memorable as never before. With the Child Justin in safekeeping, hope is kept alive as a small flame in feeble hearts. It is said vendors have been flocking to Cassador, filling the marketplace with diverse goods, that they might catch a glimpse of Justin as he grows from baby to boy. The old and young alike anticipate the day when he will fulfill his destiny and shatter the Phantor’s power.
Yet even as the Ambassadors rejoice in what is to come, they also fear that Princess Leisaura and the Duxarium shall return bearing ill tidings . . .
After the Phantor threatened Princess Leisaura's life, she fled from Lord Valerian and has not been seen since.
Realizing that the secrecy of Captivenia's whereabouts is compromised as long as the Phantor roams free, Princess Leisaura held council with her ambassadors and Lord Valerian, and resolved to move her people south, closer to the gate of Arcãtheos. Lord Valerian commissioned a division of his soldiers to guard the Captivenians and help establish peace once more. In case of attack, the new location has strategic advantage.
Outside Captivenia, the lands have erupted in turmoil, burning under the wrath of Maloch's dark armies. Countless villages have been razed to the ground, and hundreds of good men have sacrificed their lives in the name of all that is good.
It is rumoured that the Phantor is assembling troups of grotesque creatures. Upon hearing of this, Princess Leisaura has traveled deep into the forest of Guarelle to begin skill training with her Duxarium. Ambassador Veronica has also left in secret, and none have heard from her for months—though some have whispered she is assembling an ancient order of gifted women, known as the Messengers, to counterattack the Phantor.
Long ago they served the King in a great war, but when the tide of battle turned against them, they were forced to flee into hiding, and await the day they would be recalled into service. Centuries have passed, and it is hoped that a remnant of the first order still remains. If so, the Messengers will again serve the King, and train Captivenia's maidens to serve alongside them.
Despite the threat of fire and war on the horizon, Captivenia is once again preparing to celebrate the annual Festival of Maidens. Invitations are even now being sent out to all corners of Lumenorus, calling women to attend a week of strengthening in the King.
May His light flood Lumenorus!