Introduction to Avernum II
The surface world is ruled by the Empire. That's what its called. The Empire. Not the Empire of Something, or the Something Empire. Just the Empire. It's understandable. There's no need for elaborate names when there's only one game in town.
For many year, the Empire, in its arrogance, banished everyone it felt didn't fit in. Eccentrics, petty criminals, malcontents, they were all regarded as undesirable by the Empire. And, for many years, these unwanted citizens were send into Exile.
Exile was not just a status, however. It was (and is) an actual place. Exile is a network of hundreds of miles of caves and tunnels, forming an enormous, weblike labyrinth of warrens under the surface of the world. Kept lit my magic, fed by fungus, and populated by the unending stream of humans (and humanoids) from the surface, the people of Exile struggled by as best they could for many years.
When Exile was established, however, the Empire, complacent and arrogant, made its greatest mistake. It send down several mages, powerful mages, who were on the wrong side of a political struggle. The winners, Emperor Hawthorne and the archmage Garzahd, were confidant that sending down these archmagi would not be a problem. They even thought that maybe their skills could later be harnessed, once they were beaten down by several years rotting in the sunless lands.
They could not have been more wrong.
Some of the exiled wizards, like Rone, and Solberg, and Patrick, were content simply building a better life for the Exiles. One of them, however, was named Erika Redmark. A harsh and vindictive incantatrix, she enlisted a band of adventurers, made tough by their years below, in a wild, dangerous, and eventually successful scheme. She wanted to assassinate Hawthorne, brilliant Emperor of the surface world.
Five years later, Hawthorne was killed in his own throne room.
The response was immediate, and vicious. First, the portal into Exile was closed. Nobody was to be sent through. Second, other portals were created, to remote areas of Exile. Soldiers were sent there, the finest soldiers in the Empire's army. They was one mission: Vengeance. Not one citizen in this subterranean den of vipers was to escape alive.
Teleporting people into Exile is a difficult and draining task, and so Exile was not flooded with enemy troops. Still, the soldiers that did come down have already taken a quarter of Exile, and are moving steadily inward, taking cave after cave and city after city. If nothing is done, Exile will be doomed, and you with it.
Your job now is not to fight the Empire, however. You have just arrived at Fort Ganrick, a tiny fort in the farthest outskirts of your nation. Your job - help fight a den of sinister Nephilim (savage, feline humanoids). Thankless and dangerous work, and far from dealing with the great threat you all face. However, it is possible that circumstances will change. It is possible that chance will seize you and pull you into the center of the story you are all living. Perhaps something is about to happen that will shake everything apart, and you will have to put it back together again.
Perhaps that could happen. You're about to find out