The Tyrant of Kepala
The Esperanzan Pirates
The Esperanzan Monks were a peaceful order that lived in harmony with nature, letting the wonders of the world flow through them. They were considered widely to be the sole keepers of the Old Wisdom in Kepala, and all lands beyond. Inside their monasteries, always tucked away into remote locations in far flung corners of the world, they amassed vast libraries of knowledge. Wizards, alchemists, and sages from far and wide would seek them out for an opportunity to dive into these rich wells of secrets.
Often the monks would make pilgrimages across the land to share their knowledge with the people of Kepala. Their coming was always greeted with happiness and open arms. The coming of the Esperanzans would usually mean an end to a drought, an early end to winter, or a bounty of game for the hunters. They brought healing and tales of legend to village wise men who in turn gave these boons to their people. They were loved by all.
After the coming of The Tyrant, the monks ceased wandering the lands. One by one, regiments of The Hollow Men and the craven men who served the Empty One began to prey upon the Esperanzan caravans. Overnight, the wisdom that flowed out of them into the world dried up like an ancient riverbed.
In the third Year of The Tyrant, Verower Villalar Kotu set his sights on the head Esperanzan monastery on the northern end of The Hook. He saw the Esperanzans as a threat to his control over the people, and a possible challenge to his authority as a living god that walked the earth. His attack came swiftly and without mercy, setting fire to the monastery and putting to the sword the valiant monks that defended the others who escaped with as much knowledge as they could take with them. The ones who remained escaped to the sea, and were thought gone forever.
But then one day in the fifth year of The Tyrant, rumors began to circulate of a new kind of pirate emerging on the northern fjords of Kepala. Such pirates would manipulate fire and water, attacking convoys of Old Ash’s ships carrying military supplies and troops, but leaving civilian merchants and transports unharmed. In the northern village of Arrain, supplies of The Tyrant’s grain would mysteriously appear in the larders of local innkeepers who would give it away to the starving poor. In Sira Zelaad, there were rumors of small boats of refugees coming up the Tilian River, bearing books by night through secret entrances in the city walls.
Now The Tyrant seeks to stamp out this challenge to his rule forever, as the mark of Esperanza becomes a brand of outlaw. Pirate hunting fleets and regiments of soldiers scour the realm. He will stop at nothing to hunt them down.