The King's Justice
The people of Arvum had just grown accustomed to a decade of relative calm, as the five great houses of the Compact focused on beating back the Abandoned and keeping a tense peace despite their longstanding rivalries. King Alaric Grayson IV married Princess Genevieve Thrax to bring an end to the centuries old animosity between House Grayson and House Thrax but those hopes were dashed after the Queen died from a tragic fall in the palace after but a few short months of marriage. Prince Donrai Thrax, the high lord of House Thrax and uncle to fallen queen traveled to Arx to demand answers from King Alaric IV only to find his majesty had departed the city on a secretive, unannounced retreat with a few advisers, delaying the impending confrontation.
Alaric's return to the city hardly restored order. On one misty morning, chaos spread through the city as unmoving, unresponsive king is found outside the gates of Arx sitting among the massacred bodies of his retinue, including the high lords of House Redrain and House Velenosa. As the great houses of the realm search desperately for any answers that explain who is responsible for the massacre, the Compact is left with a king in a coma who shows no signs of improvement and multiple houses mourning lost leaders, with none certain who will emerge to rule.
Chapter 2. The King's Peace
King Alaric Grayson IV, Sovereign of the Compact remains asleep, laid low by a curse that even the most skeptical of his subjects now accept as unnatural. His illegitimate sister, the Lady Dawn, has been made by the Assembly of Peers as acting regent and Defender of the Crown, seeking the answers to her brother's condition as the highlords of the great houses unanimously support her... even as some question whether it is better to seek to restore the monarch or to usurp him.
Ancient foes the Compact thought long dead and the stuff of legends have begun to stir, as great nobles and bold commoners alike claim that the King was cursed with a magical sleep by an ancient race of dark elves known as the Nox'alfar, a chaotic and violent group that even now may not be the true enemy. Magic, the commons of the Compact have long felt, is the stuff of stories and myth, and has little relevance to them and are foolish explanations.
But even as the common people of the Compact remain skeptical, it is a skepticism some claim is reinforced by dark forces at play. Forces that beat the drums of war, and look to destroy the King's Peace.
Chapter 1. The King's Rest
The softhearted, affable and charismatic King Alaric Grayson IV was much beloved, but it came as little surprise to many Peers of the Realm when the conflict-averse king was mysteriously missing from the city as the much-feared Prince Donrai Thrax came to call upon his monarch to investigate the death of Queen Genevieve Thrax. Nor did it surprise many of the same in-the-know nobles that Prince Sherrod Redrain and Archduchess Carlotta Velenosa might have accompanied Alaric on his secretive retreat, as the experienced leaders of two great houses would surely be counseling the young king on how to deal with an impending crisis. None of those nobles predicted what followed, however.
On one misty morning, shock spread through the city as the King had returned, but not as expected. The king sat alone among the corpses of his entire retinue, unseeing eyes gazing into the distance as he remained unmoving and unresponsive to all. Sherrod and Carlotta were dead, as were all that had accompanied the king, and not a hint was found who might have been responsible. The king was alive, and he ate and drank when such were placed in front of him, but he never spoke and never left his waking dream, lost in a coma. As the realm mourned the losses of the rulers of house Redrain and the Lyceum, and their heirs rose to command their great houses, no answers were forthcoming on who would rule the Compact.