Duskwood (Firmament)

From Bestiary of the Hypogriph


A land of immortal nobles who drink wine and blood both. A land where the sun shines not, replaced by an eternal night. A land where the dead rise from their graves to serve the will of their vampire masters. Duskwood... is not a land as much as it is the corpse of one. One that still twitches.
โ€” Perceval Baillet, Aynachian Knight

Duskwood, formerly Natchland, is a Human nation located in the western coast of Dryadala. A land corrupted by evil, it fell to the control of numerous bloodlines of vampires following the ascendancy of Count Varelos von Aschenbrener into undeath through a pact made with the demon lord Analuhati. Now shrouded in eternal night and inhabited by all sorts of terrifying monsters, Duskwood slowly creeps into the borders of its neighbours, with the ultimate goal of engulfing the entire world in vampiric corruption.

History[edit | edit source]

The Blood Pact[edit | edit source]

Before the rise of the vampire clans, the region which would become Duskwood was known as Natchland; descended from the hardy Natch tribe, it was one of the great members of the Confederation of Lechner who united under the leadership of the great Emperor Wolfram Lechner. The noble man by the name of Varelos Aschenbrener, noted for his ambition, sweet-talked his way into the courts of Natchland alongside his wife Anian Meidner, seeking to usurp the local Duke by any means necessary. His desire for power led him to seek dark means to achieve his goal, an evil road which led him to commune with demons and eventually earned him an audience with the terrible Analuhati, the demon lord of forbidden knowledge. Making a deal with the demon, Varelos and his bride Anian made what is called the Blood Pact with Analuhati, gaining immense power in exchange of being transformed into the first bloodline of Analuhatean vampires.

Now naming themselves the von Aschenbrener bloodline, Varelos and Anian passed the vampire curse to the rest of their families and, soon enough vampirism, was spreading across the land like a plague, causing humanoids of the region to become creatures of the night under the service of the self-proclaimed Count von Aschenbrener. Survivors were either subjugated or fled the region, and Varelos proceeded to unleash his final demonstration of power by casting a ritual which plunged the region into a state of perpetual night; so was Duskwood born. With his power consolidated, Varelos ordered the construction of Castle Oldenberg, a residence fit for a lord like him, and split up the land into provinces for his trusted vampires to rule over, leading to the creation of the vampire count orders.

Due to being infested with the undead, the Confederation of Lechner shunned Duskwood from their pact, seeing them as monsters and heretics. The vampires have, in response, attempted to conquer the rest of the Lechnerlands by building armies of monsters and infiltrating their enemies.

Geography[edit | edit source]

Duskwood receives its name for being predominantly made up of forests. Much of the region is encroached in mountain ranges which serve as natural barriers against the northern and southern borders. The region also encompasses a pair of islands located in the western shore, where port cities and the fortress of Castle Oldenberg, the capital of the nation, is located. The largest lake in the western border of the continent, Lake Ashwe, is located in Duskwood, with many towns being settled around it.

Government[edit | edit source]

Duskwood is separated into a number of counties, each holding a province and led by a noble house of vampires, which answers to Duke Varelos von Aschenbrener in his fortress of Castle Oldenberg. The manner which these vampire nobles are chosen is largely left to their own choice, as Varelos is only concerned with the loyalty of whoever holds the position of baron as opposed to how they reach the rank, unless he sees fit to depose a family and gift the position to another. Towns made up of living peasants are ruled by mayors who report to the local vampire baron, serving as the link between the living and the dead. The vampires of Duskwood are a treacherous lot, with counts often planning against one another while others plan against their own superiors due to vying for power, though few would dare speak against the Duke of von Aschenbrener, much less attempt to challenge him.

Religion[edit | edit source]

The dominant religion of Duskwood is that of Analuhati, the demon lord responsible for the vampires of the region. The nobles of the von Aschenbrener annually pay tribute to the Father of Vampires in the festival known as the Night of Blood, where a cleric of the demon lord recites the legend of the Blood Pact between Analuhati and Count Varelos, before the vampires have a grand feast. As they regularly partake in hedonism and debauchery, the demoness Hamoilles is also popular with the vampire barons, while ??? is venerated by necromancers and scholars of undead lore who have come to serve the nobles. The living peasantry are obliged to follow Analuhati's teachings, which they do in public, but many hold hidden shrines to the Lechner Pantheon, praying for protection against the dark forces who rule over them.

Inhabitants[edit | edit source]

Beyond the vampires and other undead who rule over the land, a number of living populations also call Duskwood home. Usually villages who submit to vampire rule, these peasants are generally the native Dusklander Humans, who possess pale white skin and sharper facial features, as well as Wood Elves, Dwarves and Gnomes. Varelos treats his peasants with a certain amount of care, allowing them to keep most of their crop production but demanding regular taxes, both in money and blood; the vampire clans will occasionally take one or more individuals into the night, never to be seen again. In the woodlands, a breed of Goblin known as Grim Goblin is a common threat to travellers, as they are sadistic, cannibalistic and utterly fearless. The woods are also home to all manners of werebeast, who are attracted to the eternal moonlight which shines upon the realm. Duskwood is believed to have the world's largest population of Dhampirs, for obvious reasons, though they remain a rarity even then.

Relations[edit | edit source]

Duskwood is largely considered an enemy of the living world; their fellow Men are the biggest preys of the vampires, and Varelos von Aschenbrener often expresses his desire to dominate their lands. While not in a state of open war, it is often considered suicide for anyone to enter Duskwood, as they will no doubt be hunted down by either the vampires or their monsters.

  • Positive relations
    • N/A
  • Ambivalent relations
    • N/A
  • Negative relations
    • Aynach - The vampires occasionally have to deal with pesky Aynachian knights seeking glory by slaying them.
    • Confederation of Lechner - Varelos claims to be the next Emperor of the Lechnerlands, and will not rest until he has conquered it all.
    • Eondrassana - The Wood Elves see the undead as abominations to the World Tree, and destroy the minions of Duskwood whenever they appear.
    • Eryliana - Many vampires voice their desire to take Eryliana, and the Ashen Elves consider them an affront to nature.
    • Khargrimnir - The dwarves have threatened war against Duskwood many times, but the vampires are not afraid of their, in their words, "stunted kind".
    • Merovaren - The merchants of the lizardfolk shun the undead, and likewise, they shun their caravans.
    • Skitterfall - The ratfolk have attempted to wrestle control over the underground from the vampires for centuries.

Notable Dusklanders[edit | edit source]

  • The von Dragan bloodline
    • Tereza von Dragan - Baroness of the province of Bloodroot

See also[edit | edit source]