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Three hundred years ago: Wyldemere is a thriving seaport, a haven for sailors on their way to and from the southern isles. It is said that coin changes hands faster in Wyldemere than women change their minds. In part because of the amenities which spring up during economic booms, and in part because of Wyldemere’s unique, and perhaps even singular, geographic location, it is also quite the hotspot for tourists. Wyldemere is within a day’s ride of virtually every type of terrain imaginable. There are the Cragstone Mountains and Iron Caves to the South, the Dreaming Desert to the East, Deeperdelve Wood to the West, the Bogslump Swamps to the Southwest, the Gildoren Grasslands to the Southeast, and, of course, the Deedlebrine Sea and islands to the North. It is said that if a person can’t find what they seek in Wyldemere, they can’t find it anywhere. Two hundred years ago: Nothing, as most people know, lasts forever. Least of all good fortune. Dark days of blood and tears are here. The beating drums of war have come to the peaceful kingdom of Lariella. Trenches are dug. Armor is donned. Bunkers are built. And new seaports with high walls topped by cannon are raised—the blue and gold flags snapping in the salty breeze of a new age. Shortly after the dark and bloody days of war reach their dark and bloody conclusion, Lariella falls into economic collapse. And understandably so. Countless lives were lost. Entire towns were all but leveled (including Wyldemere), and the royal coffers are empty. Few know how close the kingdom came to total annihilation at the hands of the Malkynie invaders—their barbarian neighbors to the east. Some say it will take five generations to recover. Others say they never will. Present day: What once was the thriving seaport of Wyldemere, is now a dingy, fading shadow of its former self, a sprawling, disorganized confusion of slouching buildings and twisting streets, a hodgepodge of new, old, and in-between construction. It has become one of those forgotten places, little more than a name on a map that most folks haven’t even heard of, a place for cutthroats and card sharks, for conmen and drunkards, a place where one is either very rich or gutter poor, very lucky, very ruthless, or very dead. Not to suggest that Wyldemere is without its charms. No, indeed. The ruins beneath town, for instance, are said to be a marvel, a shifting labyrinth whose unplumbed depths call to young men such as Devon, to those born on the wrong side of the divide (down by the docks), promising them, in sweet, singsong voices, that they’re special, that they’ll be the exception to prove the rule, that they’ll find the fabled halls of gold before the denizens of Lost Town find them. Needless to say, most who go down there never come back out. And the ones who do, rarely return with more than a few baubles, some bumps and bruises, and an empty stomach. We can only pray that Devon, Sara, and Fang will be the exceptions to prove the rule. For you see, as chance would have it, that’s where they’re headed this very moment, straight into the gaping maw of high adventure, into a heady amalgam of sword and sorcery from which only the nimblest of mind and stoutest of heart shall return. If you hurry, you just might catch them!
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