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The Late Bronze Age was an era of powerful kingdoms and city states, centred around fortified walled palaces. Commerce was based on a complex gift exchange system between the different political states. The trade system was mainly controlled by the kings and evidence referring to private merchants is very rare. These kingdoms exchanged not only silks and spices, but also gold, silver, copper, grain, craftsmanship and slaves. The Hittites were an ancient Anatolian people whose empire was centred in north and central Anatolia from around BC.

The Hittite empire, at its high point, included modern Lebanon, Syria and Turkey.

The birth of Alexander

The city of Troy was part of a small independent confederation named Assuwa that tried to resist the Hittite expansion but which eventually yielded and became a sort of vassal state to the Hittite empire. And archaeologists working in Troy have discovered skeletons, arrowheads and traces of destruction which point to us a violent end for Troy Level VII — as the late Bronze Age city has been designated by archaeologists so far levels I to IX have been excavated.

At that stage, the political and economic system in the Mediterranean was disintegrating. Because of new technology being adopted by the powers of the time, this has become known as the Iron Age. The beginning of this new era witnessed destruction throughout the Mediterranean basin. Wealthy cities such as Troy as well as Mycenae and Tiryns in Greece were destroyed and abandoned.

These events were so significant that the memory lasted for centuries. In Greek mythology, the tale of the fall of Troy was recorded in two epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, traditionally attributed to Homer and written about years after these events. More than a century of archaeological and historical research in the eastern Mediterranean basin appears to confirm that there was a war on Troy when Homer says there was. This island contains all that is needed to gather the fame and honor that will echo through the ages.

For the players and game masters who choose to set their stories in Ealand, you must understand this is a harsh world, a dark world, but one that can contain beauty and triumph as well. The major themes are conflict between the human races, and conflict with nature.

What history tells us

The goal was to create a world that supported complex motivations, difficult situations and enormous fields of moral grey area for players to navigate. I wanted a world that was different. That embraced tales centered on violence between humans but also allowed for plenty of stories about the party against the land itself. A group of adventures can immerse themselves in very real anger between men, or ignore that entirely and adventure against the great beasts and monsters of the wild.

This setting is system-neutral, which means it can be used with your favorite fantasy roleplaying ruleset, whatever that happens to be. Simply put, I wanted this world to be accessible to anyone who wants to explore it, regardless of their preferred game. Using this book is easy. You can set an adventure or campaign on the Isle of Ealand taking the setting, characters, and monsters utilizing them to tell engaging tales of danger and menace. Characters would be insiders to this world.

Well steeped in the islands history, traditions and people. Ealand is their home either by birth or adoption, and it encompasses much of their world, as islands often do to their people. Another option is to take Ealand and place it in an existing game world. This can be a published setting or an original creation, Ealand can slot into either quite easily.

See a Problem?

As an island, with its own unique beliefs, geography and cultures, it can just exist in a larger world, somewhere Northwest from a continent, in a cold and unforgiving sea. Adventurers can happen upon its mist-covered shores by accident or assignment. Finally, and probably most simply, you can just read the book and pluck whatever ideas you want from it to sprinkle into your own game. There is no law saying the bog-dwelling FennHulm or the Storm Dancers of Ealand cannot live somewhere else. Imagine the book as a thickly wooded path to be wandered down, stopping and admiring what you find interesting.

However you intend to use the book, I welcome you to this world and its people. May you participate in epic tales with great friends wherever you gather. First mentioned in as Villa Bistiche, the name was later changed to Civitas Bysterce. Today, the old town's quaint 15th and 16th century merchants' houses, the remains of the 13th century fortress walls and a generally unhurried pace have preserved some of Bistrita's medieval atmosphere find out more about Bistrita. Access by car only Borgo Pass Bargau in Romanian , made famous in the opening chapter of Bram Stoker's Dracula, is an oft-trod passageway through the Carpathian Mountains in northern Transylvania.

Ruin: Birth of a Legend

Located near the small township of Tihuta, the pass peaks at 3, feet. The Bargau Valley encompasses some of the most beautiful unspoiled mountain scenery in the Carpathians with picturesque traditional villages located in valleys and on hillsides, ideal bases for hiking, riding or discovering their vivid tapestry of old customs, handicrafts and folklore.

Here, you will step into a realm that the fictional Mina Harker described in her diary as "a lovely county; full of beauties of all imaginable kinds, and the people are brave, and strong, and simple, and seem full of nice qualities. Vlad Tepes was born in in the fortress city of Sighisoara. His father, Vlad Dacul, was the military governor of Transylvania and had become a member of the Order of the Dragon a year before. The Order, similar to the Order of the Teutonic Knights, was a semi-military and religious organization established in in Rome in order to promote Catholic interests and crusades.

For his deeds, the Order of the Dragon was bestowed upon him, hence the title Dracul the Latin word for dragon is draco. While in medieval lure dragons served as symbols of independence, leadership, strength and wisdom, the biblical association of the devil with the serpent that tempted Adam and Eve gave the snake-like dragon connotations of evil.

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Thus, the Romanian word Dracul stands in English for both dragon and devil. Moreover, the ceremonial uniform of the Order — black cloak over red accouterment — was Bram Stocker' source of inspiration for Count Dracula's look. But how did Bram Stoker's story turn into a myth? A partial explanation is provided by the circumstances under which the book was written and received. A genuine epidemic of "vampirism" had hit Eastern Europe at the end of the 17th century and continued throughout the 18th century.

The number of reported cases soared dramatically, especially in the Balkans. Travelers returning from the East would tell stories about the undead, which helped keep the interest in vampires alive.

Count Dracula's Legend and the history of Vlad the Impaler

Western philosophers and artists tackled the issue ever more often. Bram Stoker's novel came as the pinnacle of a long series of works based on tales coming from the East. Back then, most readers were certain that the novel had been inspired by real facts and that its story was perhaps just a bit romanticized. Dracula is more than years old and still alive! Of course, almost everybody has heard about this Nosferatu: We all have an idea of who or what the Count is. However, on the other hand, Vlad Tepes Dracula , the historical figure who inspired Bram Stoker's novel, is definitely less well-known.

Vlad Tepes was born in December in the fortress of Sighisoara, Romania.

Ruin: Birth of a Legend Audiobook by Samsun Lobe

Vlad's father, governor of Transylvania, had been inducted into the Order of the Dragon about one year before. The order — which could be compared to the Knights of the Hospital of St. John or even to the Teutonic Order of Knights — was a semi-military and religious society, originally created in by the Holy Roman Emperor and his second wife, Barbara Cilli. The main goal of such a secret fraternal order of knights was to protect the interests of Christianity and to crusade against the Turks. The boyars of Romania associated the dragon with the Devil and decided to call Vlad's father "Dracul," which in the Romanian language means "Devil;" "Dracula" is a diminutive, meaning "the son of the Devil.

Vlad followed his father and lived six years at the princely court. Vlad was held there until This Turkish captivity surely played an important role in Dracula's upbringing; it must be at this period that he adopted a very pessimistic view of life and learned the Turkish method of impalement on stakes. The Turks set Vlad free after informing him of his father's assassination in He also learned about his older brother's death and how he had been tortured and buried alive by the boyars of Targoviste.

Bronze Age politics

When he was 17 years old, Vlad Tepes Dracula , supported by a force of Turkish cavalry and a contingent of troops lent to him by Pasha Mustafa Hassan, made his first major move toward seizing the Walachian throne. Vlad became the ruler of Walachia in July of During his six-year reign, he committed many cruelties, hence establishing his controversial reputation. His first major act of revenge was aimed at the boyars of Targoviste for not being loyal to his father. On Easter Sunday of what we believe to be , he arrested all the boyar families who had participated at the princely feast.

He impaled the older ones on stakes while forcing the others to march from the capital to the town of Poenari. This fifty-mile trek was quite grueling and no one was permitted to rest until they reached their destination. Dracula then ordered the boyars to build him a fortress on the ruins of an older outpost overlooking the Arges River. Many died in the process. Dracula, therefore, succeeded in creating a new nobility and obtaining a fortress for future emergencies.