The desolate fortress and town of Alvang (once "All'valán", Styrásh for "Above the Dream") built upon an island in the north of the Ancythrian Sea has been the bane of most races for many long years. This dark monstrosity was created back in 110 b.S. during the Age of the Blood by the minions of the dark elven witchking, the Móch'rónn Saban Blackcloak. Since then it has been known to be the center for all dark elven activities. Now it has become deserted and run down after the alleged death of Blackcloak in the third century a.S. The dark fortress and town have begun to crumble after years of being abandoned as a result of the untamed forces of the powerful winds that blow across the island. Most think Alvang was the name of just the fortress, but since it has been abandoned and all other names were lost in the past, it has become a common habit among the people to call the fortress and, also, the town, Alvang.
Picture description. A destroyed fortress of Alvang on the enclave in midst of the supposedly cursed Ancythrian Sea. Image drawn by Seeker.
The enclave of Alvang has also become known as "Sorcerer's Isle" throughout the land since it housed many dark mages and the Móch'rónn himself for a time. People of both Elsreth and Cavthan, the nearest ports in the Ancythrian Sea, believe that the closer one sails to Alvang the more perilous the journey will be. This might partly be because of the dangerous reefs that exist around the enclave and the storms that rage in this region. But many claim that the troubles in the sea are mainly due to dark magic that is still coming from the isle. Even noted historians believe that the magical trap that was activated on the notorious Witchking's Night millenia ago is still the reason for the dangerous seas and the evil that is said to emanate from the abandoned isle. At any rate ships that travel too close to Alvang rarely come back in good condition. Alvang has been supposedly uninhabited for many years and ghost stories swarm to the place like flies to honey.
Name. The island was unoccupied long before Saban Blackcloak, the rocky and hazardous environment keeping people away from the vast landmass in the Ancythrian Sea. No one knows or remembers how, that information seems lost in the past. Some say that Blackcloak was drawn to the island by some magical essence, where that essence came from is not known and possibly never existed. After Saban took over the island he named the fort that he built "All'valán" (Styrásh for "Above the Dream"). This symbolized his desire to become godlike, or even rise higher than the creation itself. The island retained that name of the witchking's hubris as long as Saban lived, but after his death the Styrásh name disappeared from the records of the people living close to the Ancythrian Sea. The Caltharians living in that region began to refer to the fortress and town as "Alvang", altering the original name by adding a Caltharian ending that meant "settlement".
the vast island in the middle of the
which was shunned by many for its inhospitable rocky environment, the dark elf,
had his minions build a large, intimidating fortress. The huge fortress and
town build around it take up less than a fourth of the island, thought the rest
is unsettled due to the harsh, rocky environment. From the ocean there seems to
be a small mountain chain on the eastern side, and cliffs and hills make up the
rest of the island. The area on which Alvang was built is rocky as well but
less than the rest of the island. The main building,
Saban's enormous castle-like
structure, was created more than a century before the unification of the tribes
to form Santharia and was supposedly accomplished
by foul magic and is said to have housed the
vilest things in the world from the moment of its creation and, possibly, until
now. The dark grey stone that was used to create this terror is said to still
run red with the blood of many. People say that until this very day the stone
is stained crimson after the Battle at Alvang which is also called "The
Witchking's Night" in the Santharian annals. This
castle of evil used to house Saban
and his minions, who believed in him to be the son of the reincarnation of
Coór, Coór'melór, and thus he was named the
Móch'rónn ("Dark Lord"). Few that have claimed to have seen the inside of this
terrible monument are still alive today. Most consider those men that claim to
have set foot on Alvang to be mad and don't believe them. But despite of that
many stories are told of the dark acts that were conducted within those
blood-soaked stone walls - and of things that probably still happen there.
At the base of the castle was a town, lying in ruins now, built during the time of Saban Blackcloak to house the dark mages loyal to him. The town was built to the north of the great fortress, the ramshackle huts barely enough to survive the storms that swept across the island, but they survived them nevertheless, as they probably were strengthened by magical means. That was in days past though. Few ships have ventured close to the isle and survived in recent days. Some believe that the magic trap that was triggered on Witchking's Night and caused the demise of so many foes of Saban is still somewhat active and is the source of evil that still hangs over the island and the sea around it. Others say that the bladeserpents act as wardens to keep people away from the fell island. Though some still find themselves near the island and come back alive to tell of what they saw. There have been reports of small huts gone to pieces with time, collapsed upon themselves by the trials of age. The castle is said to begin to give way under the pressure of time and constant storms. Sailors have said to see the tall foreboding towers swaying eeriely in the winds during great storms. On the few days, when there are calm waters around the little island, ships that drift close enough tell of crumbling walls and a worn mountain of stone where a masterpiece of evil once stood. It is very rare that too curious adventurers survive a close encounter with Sorcerer's Isle and live. Sailors shun the island and deem it cursed, and they consider everyone cursed as well who deliberately sets a foot on Alvang. The few ships that do come back bring back interesting tales of the crumbling monument and lots of ghost stories. Many an adventurer is said to have sailed into the heart of the sea to discover its secrets, and has not returned.
Some adventurous sailors have attempted to sail to the island, yet they turned back, due to bladeserpent attacks and dangerous storms that seem to come out of nowhere. One ship has actually set sail to the island and returned with two survivors that were driven blind and mute, and most said they were insane. The owner of the shop "Dark City" in Cavthan, Meercos, claims to have also traveled to Alvang just recently and that he managed to return with treasure from the deserted town. Merrcos said that he convinced a man and his ship to take them there, on the way encountering a bladeserpent but getting away. When asked why he went he just shrugs and says it was for the treasure. The owner is a macanti and many do not believe his tale, but there are others that do. He tells of the ruined city of Alvang, shabby huts blown apart by the wind long ago. Other accounts tell us that frequently water covers most of the island but the pieces of the huts stay, the memory of darkness a stain on the land. Merrcos speaks of shadows that followed him when he ventured on the enclave, always watching his every movement. He says that the fortress was the most fearsome thing he had ever seen, the towering mountain of stone swaying in the wind - a sight that made him doubt whether he could still trust his senses. The large gatehouse and blood-soaked wall were gone to pieces, Meercos recounted, piles of crumbled stones showing nothing of the high gates former glory, the fortress bending to the will of time.
The fool (well, people on the streets of Cavthan prefer it to call Meercos that way by now) claims he actually entered the fading fortress. He described what he had seen to a researcher for the Santharian Compendium as follows:
"In the entrance hall
there sat a large oak table, split down
the middle, old blood has stained the surface and the
water that frequently rose took its
toll on the hard wood. The remains of wooden chairs were scattered about.
Remnants of the once living littered the floor. The thing that caught my
eye was a rusted steel sword that had
been driven straight through the wood of the table, and the barest remains
of someone or something.
Unfortunately, there is no one else to prove
the story true. The sailors and the captain of the ship that supposedly took
Merrcos to the island were reported dead no less than a week after the alleged
visit to Alvang, their ship was lost at sea. The owner of the "Dark City" shop
in Cavthan has been proclaimed mad by the people of
the town, saying that he believes that he actually went to Alvang and the
ghosts now follow him in the form of shadows, sneaking up on him in the dark.
An Eyashene mindsoother was called to help
him, but was unable to do so, despite the fact that she witnessed several
feverish attacks on him, which erupted seemingly without reason.
That story is the closest thing to a description of the haunted island, some believe it, and others think that the man's story is just the ravings of a mad man. Only the ghosts said to haunt the island will probably know the truth.
Location. The dark fortress of Alvang is built upon a an isle in the northern Ancythrian Sea, called "Sorcerer's Isle" by many, others refer to it by the name of the fortress itself. The sea is located in the northern half of the Southern Sarvonian Continent, and the fortress as well as the town of Alvang resides on this island which is officially part of the Enthronian Province of the United Kingdom of Santharia. To the west of the sea are the High Fores that feed into this large body of water. There are two cities on the coast of the sea Elsreth and Cavthan. There are two reefs located near this isle, the Blood Reef on the southeast and the other, the Twilight Reef directly to the south. Both reefs are rather odd in referring to the colour of the coral which is red for one and deep blue for the other.
People. In times long
past dark elves, orcs, and dark mages populated
the island, filling the isle with every ounce of evil they possessed. The many
different tribes that had been enlisted by the
Móch'rónn are mostly lost in
history. The isle was populated by a mix of dark elves,
orcs, mages, and other creatures that flocked to
the fortress for one reason, power. Now the only thing that could be living on
the island are ghosts or zombies, and you
can't exactly call that "living". Sailors that get caught in a storm around
Alvang have reported mysterious phenomenons in that area. Such as hundreds of
ghost faces being reflected in the rain several
peds above sea level. Others
tell of ghost sailors fighting against drowning or ghost ships crossing in the
distance. More tales can be heard of watchers
looking at passing ships from the enclave of Alvang and shrieks being heard from
out of nowhere. Sailors believe that the spirits of all those that were killed
on the Witchking's Night still haunt the island. These are just the tellings of
sailors but none dare to challenge their words.
Coat of Arms/Sign. As of now the island is uninhabited and there is no coat of arms. None remember the time of Saban Blackcloak and his terrible reign upon the island and there is no known evidence of the small town and fortress having a coat of arms. If there once was one then that information has been lost in time.
Climate. Throughout the year there are storms in the Ancythrian Sea. The summer is the harshest time of year for storms. When these storms hit they become extremely violent with high winds and thunderstorms that can capsize a ship. During these few floods water will cover a lot of the island, leaving the bloodied battlements of the forgotten fortress and dangerous jagged peaks as a beacon of warning. When the waters recede the ancient ruins of a long deserted town still remain. The shattered homes that once housed dark mages seem to be forever cursed to haunt the place. The storms might wash away some of the taint upon the land little by little but always sailors come back to port with the stories of a haunted fortress and a ghost town. This strange and aggressive climate doesn't seem explainable for man a scholar, and because of that people think that the storms are generated by dark magic that still lingers in Alvang, and the seas around it.
Flora. Nothing is known for sure about the plants that can be found on his isolated island or if any can be found.
Fauna. The sea is home to the notorious bladeserpent, a beautiful yet deadly creature that has caused misery to many a sailor and their families. Encounters with the bladeserpent have only happened at night, and in the northern part of the sea, close to the Enclave of Alvang. Some say the serpents are guardians for ghosts against intruders into their island, but that's just one of many sailors' tales. What seems to be sure is that there are dark secrets buried in the depths of the sea, and while this all seems to make a good tale for travellers listening to such accounts, one might rethink if one plans to cross the sea for some reason.
Myth/Lore. An old tale is told about the town of Alvang, which usually scares sailors from going far north on the sea. Its origins are lost in time but there isn't a soul that lives on the Ancythrian Sea that hasn't heard of it, or at least a part of the true story. The people tend to believe this story and stay clear of Alvang because of that. What happened on Alvang that day is a mystery to all yet that doesn't stop people from spreading stories about ghosts putting a curse on them, and the spirit of Blackcloak cutting out the hearts of the other members of the crew that went to the island. If you can peal away the layers of sailor tales you might actually get the original story for once. Here's the closest thing to the original tale to be found, the tale as it was written down in "Master Tribell's Miraculous Narrations":
There was once a boy who thought he could do anything. Ever since he was
little, anything that he was told was impossible, or forbidden, he’d try
his best to try it anyway. He was the kind of child who, if given a pair
of wings, he might also have been able to fly with them. His spirit was
stronger than the spirit of an entire army. He had more energy than all of
the other children in the world. But it did not last forever.