The Forgotten Ones Campaign
Consecrated Island in Constant Change
Notable Settlements: Kannae (650) (Abydos), Antioch (1,000) (Cyrene)
Colony of: Abydos/Cyrene
Governor: Arch-Captain Tychos (Abydos), Lord Governor (Cyrene)
Languages: Common, Cyrenean, Druidic, Sylvan
Religion: Apollo, Artemis, Ares, The Fates, Gaia, Hephaestus, Khaos, Pan, Poseidon
There is perhaps no wilder, or more impossible, place in all of Tarsus than the island of Xanthi. The island undergoes dramatic change decade after decade, growing larger with each eruption from Mount Dione. The Dionian Wildwood that encompasses the entirety of the island, destroyed and reborn with each eruption, grows larger every year. Abydos and Cyrene have attempted many times to conquer the island, for legend has it that Mount Dione holds the Forges of Hephaestus, where a metal is bound into weapons and armor to rival the power of the gods themselves! However, each attempt has failed, not by warring with each other, but by the Wildwood itself. Unfathomable numbers of fey creatures inhabit the Wildwood, and they do not allow for trespasses in their territory. The coastal bases of Cyrene and Abydos are on constant guard, for the Wildwood itself seems an entity hostile to mortal kind.
Five centuries ago, at the time of the great Earthquake of 476, there was no island—just a single volcano, which came to be known as Mount Dione, rising up from the sea. Dione violently erupted during the Earthquake, clouding the entire Western Hemisphere in ash. Land rose where none had been before; the island built itself up over decades of eruptions from Dione. After two centuries, a wild forest began to grow. Year after year, Dione would erupt and the forest would be destroyed, only to grow back with astonishing speed and to grow larger and denser. Today, the forest extends across the island, leaving only the beaches clear. Mount Dione has been dormant for ten years, leading many to expect that the island is due for a large eruptions at any moment.
The island remained uninhabited by humankind for centuries—until the 2nd Exploration of the early 9th century OR. Cyrenean explorers, drawn by the riches of Abydos and seeking a trade route, found the island after trying to steer clear of an enormous whirlpool that blocked their heading. Landing on the shores of Xanthi they found an land unlike any they had ever seen. The crew were worshipers of Artemis, and the wilderness they saw they deemed sacred. They established an outpost and shrine to Artemis. In years to come, the outpost grew into the town of Antioch, dedicated to Artemis worship.
The island and town were forgotten as the Tarsian war sparked, and most able-bodied warriors traveled to Cyrene to defend their homeland. A sparse few remained to live in peace, to the chagrin of those that left. To this day, Xanthins are seen as spineless backwoodsmen by Cyreneans. This suits Xanthins just fine, as few regard themselves as true Cyreneans, and talk remains of revolution from their mother country.
As the Tarsian War raged, another Cyrenean group reached the island in 912 OR. The Lernaean Huntsmen, concerned for the safety of their holy relics, traveled to Xanthi to build a new reliquary. They ventured farther into the Wildwood than any ever had, whether by divine acceptance or famed fighting skill. Legend says that they found a reliquary already built, possibly by Artemis herself. It is known as the Temple of the demigoddess Lernaea, the namesake of the Huntsmen and a defender of humanity during the 476 OR catastrophe, and tales tell of priceless treasures within. The Huntsmen left as quickly as they had come, leaving the island and their treasures in the care of the Wildwood.
The final and more recent development of the history of Xanthi was the arrival of the Abydosians in 969 OR. For reasons unknown, a military colony was built on the opposite shore from Anitoch, and since its founding, the majority of Abydos’ military has come to settle there. Questions abound to this startling move by Arch-Captain Tychos, but the tight-lipped military commander has described the move as nothing more than a strategic placement of troops.
The island of Xanthi has no government. The relatively small colonies of Antioch and Kannae are the only form of organization of peoples on the island, as it is unclear whether any fey besides oreads and nereids can live in anything resembling a society. Centaur tribes roam the Eastern Wildwood, while congregations of fauns and satyrs frequent the West. Naiads live in the Arteman River, while dryads can be found throughout the Wildwood. Outposts of nereids can be found on the coast, and the Dionian Mountain range boasts more than a few oreads, more as one heads south to the more temperate and arboreal forests. Many other undocumented species of fey live on the island as well.
Kannae remains a military outpost, and is overseen by Arch-Captain Tychos. Tychos’ strained relationship with Abyos’ Central Regent Archaeus may have given him cause to move his base or operations to a more remote location, although what he plans to do with his seclusion is unknown. The military of Abydos is not under direct rule from the Senatorial Council, and the recent death of King Arcturus has allowed for near-complete autonomy for Tychos, leaving Tychos’ plans a mystery.