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Located within the Segmentim Obscurus, Asteria Sub-sector, the Penitent Knights' homeworld of Lor'dra is a large planet with its native human population still in its Feudal stages. The most concentrated populace once was in a massive city surrounding the sprawling obsidian and silver clad Fortress Monastery of Galadhor, before humanity spread across the world. The majority of the populace of Lor'dra has grown distant from their Astartes Lords, forming many different religions that all find their origins in the Aegimian Cult, the faith of the Penitent Knights Chapter. Lor'dra is at most times a harsh planet, with only the continent upon which Galadhor was built being the area of reliable conditions for edible flora to grow, save a few choice islands. After the burning of the city of Stormguard in 999.M41, refugees wandered the lands of Kainan and eventually settled down and formed kingdoms across the continent and the nearby Skellis Islands, where they have remained since the beginning of the Forty Second Millennium.
During the Dark Age of Technology humanity settled the large planet that would one day become Lor'dra, though the name it was given back then is long forgotten. Inhabited primarily by farmers and miners, the world also held a dark secret. Far away from prying eyes, a scientific conclave harbored experiments on numerous life-forms, twisting and molding creatures into beasts that could be described as either nightmarish or reminiscent of monsters from children's stories. But whence the Age of Strife began and Warp Storms engulfed the galaxy, the beasts held captive by man broke free of their cages and spread across the vast surface of Lor'dra.
But the degradation to normal society began to take hold among the people of Lor'dra- they were alone in the galaxy for all they knew, and they faced an alien threat they could have only saw in nightmares. To form protection against the beasts, leaders of newly arisen fortress-cities named themselves "Kings" harkening to rulers of ancient Terra to create an illusion of power, that they were a match for the evil monsters they struggled against, resulting in much of culture degrading into even medieval stages. But slowly and surely, each City fell one by one to the hordes of bloodthirsty animals, with only one remaining: Aelm. But, as the helpless humans prayed for absolution, they were to be given salvation in a much different manner than expected.
Liberation of Lor'dra (062.M32)
Shortly after the Penitent Knights had amassed a sizable force of Astartes, Highlord Lithandros led the newly Founded Chapter on a patrol through Imperial space in the Segmentum Obscurus. Eventually, the Chapter encountered a planet that was lost during the Age of Strife, and from their scans, still held human life. Descending onto the world to save the native humans of the planet of Lor’dra from an imminent doom at the hands of indigenous wildlife. These beasts were highly specialized and deadly, challenging opponents even for the Astartes of the Penitent Knights.
Lithandros pondered the fate of the humans he had saved, deciding to instead of bringing them into the Imperium as a civilized world, would make the planet the homeworld of the Penitent Knights, and to spare the populace from the rigors of Imperial life. Soon after, the nigh-impenetrable Fortress-Monastery of Galadhor was constructed and a massive city of the feudal humans shortly after surrounding the new home of the Knights. As to acquire the best source of recruits for the Chapter, Lithandros ordered groups of the humans to venture across the harsh and often desolate lands of Lor’dra and endure hardships likely to produce strong and promising candidates to become Astartes.
After the grim devastation caused by the awakening of an entire Necron Tomb World beneath the ground of Lor'dra, much of the land has been ruined or stained permanently with the scars of the Red Dawn. Most of the warrior-clans were scattered and endangered, and Stormguard laid in ruins after the attack of the Crow's Children. Lor'dra suffered dearly during the opening years of the Forty Second Millennium. As such, the Penitent Knights decreed that after the devastating siege of their Fortress Monastery they could no longer shelter their people. Thus, the Lor'dranians obeyed and migrated across the land and began new lives.
Lor'dra contains three large continents in terms of large geological bodies, with only one being capable of supporting human life. There is no land in the planet's southern hemisphere.
Kainan is home to both dense boreal forests and towering mountain ranges, as well as a total of five Feudal kingdoms that have sprouted from the redistribution of human life across the continent's surface. These now disparate realms have carved their own marks upon Lor'dra's scarred surface, their names being the following; Aelm, Ganodar, Nalfgarne, Rodnor, and Tamarum. One territory upon the continent remains untouched by the vast kingdoms of Kainan; the wretched Northlands, home to fanatical heathens that worship "the Ladies of the North".
- Aelm is home to a vast taiga that is almost perpetually covered in snow. The nation itself rarely ever experiences temperatures above freezing, even during the summer. This is due to its very high elevation, being 58,000 feet. Many rivers run through Aelm, which freeze during the subzero temperatures of the winter. The average high of Aelm in the summer is 21°F and -37°F in the winter. The northwest of Aelm is mountainous, with peaks that reach up to 67,000 feet. In these peaks, known as the Eversilver Mountains, is located the Penitent Knights' Fortress Monastery of Galadhor.
- Tamarum is a land of rolling hills covered in frosty forests. It is the only region (other than the Northlands) of Kainan in which the majority of trees are not pines. In the summer, Tamarum loses most of its snow cover, but the days of green are short. Temperatures in Tamarum are always cool, but above freezing in the summer. The average high of Tamarum in the summer is 42.4°F in the summer and -9°F in the winter. It is densely forested, with a thick layer of permafrost in its soil. Mountains in the area typically stand alone.
- Nalfgarne is known as the land of the sun. The land is home to wide valleys, high mountains and long flowing rivers. It is a more temperate taiga than that of Aelm, being far warmer. It is, in fact, the warmest nation upon Kainan. The short, brightly-colored pines grow in an orderly fashion, making the area picturesque. Temperatures in Nalfgarne, compared to temperatures on Terra, are still rather cold. Winters are still well below freezing, however it is rare that Nalfgarne achieves temperatures below zero. In the summer, it is the only region of the continent that achieves temperate warmth. Nalfgarne's average highs are 66°F in the summer and 14°F in the winter.
- Rodnor is filled with rocky outcrops, tall hills and warmly green pines. Summers in Rodnor almost always result in a short period without snow, revealing the landscape. Winters in Rodnor, like Aelm, are far harsher than the climates on the continent. Rodnor experiences the most harsh temperature differences between the summer and winter solstices, i.e. averaging 49°F in the summer and -24°F in the winter.
- Ganodar has earned the reputation of being the most visually appealing region of Kainan amongst the residents of the continent. Deep green pines with dark orange grasses, clear blue waters, tall snow-covered mountains. Being in the south of Kainan, like Nalfgarne, Ganodar is subject to warmer temperatures, however not quite as warm as its neighbor. Unlike Nalfgarne, Ganodite summers are short. The average summer high in Ganodar is 57°F and the average winter high is -3°F.
- The Northlands are the most unpleasant of regions upon Kainan. Large murky swamps that reek of bile, dense, leafless trees decorate this land of heathens. The swamps of the Northlands are cold and unforgiving, complete with aggressive fauna. Most bogs are clouded in a thick mist of ice. The region is almost seasonless, being strangely unaffected by the planets axial tilt. The average summer high is 30°F and the average winter high is 28°F.
The Skellis Islands are group of large islands due northwest of Kainan. They are known for temperatures the fall below those of Aelm year-round. They are the only other habitable landmasses on Lor'dra.
Atmosphere and Climate
Lor'dra's atmosphere is perfect for harboring life. It is composed of 75% Nitrogen, 22% Oxygen, 1% Argon, and 3% other gasses. Due to being in the cooler section of the Habitable Zone of the Aegimius System, the planet is known to bear extremely cold temperatures in most parts, save the continent of Kainan; the only continent on the planet suitable for human habitability. The average summer planetary surface temperature averages around 1.4°F, however the average surface temperature of Kainan during the summer solstice is a much warmer 44.2°F. During the winter solstice, the average planetary surface temperature drops to -54.3°F and the surface of Kainan drops to -5.2°F. The planet is also known for its large blizzards. Plenty of snow falls from Lor'dra's sky during both the summer and the winter. Nalfgarne is the warmest of the nations on Kainan.
The continent of Kainan is home to a variety of societies and cultures. The western kingdoms have grown distant from devotion to the Penitent Knights, and new religions all based off of the original faith have sprouted. While the reestablished Aelm and its neighbor Ganodar have remained firm in their faith and debt to the Penitent Knights, the peoples of the other realms have slowly drifted away from their Astartes saviors and embraced more earthly worries and wants, such as conquest in the case of the expansionist Nalfgarne Empire, which was recently at war with Tamarum and Rodnor.
The Empire of Nalfgarne is home to 7.5 million citizens and is the second largest country on Lor'dra. Its capital of the same name is the second largest city on Lor'dra, housing 1 million people. The city is sprawling with commerce, filled with merchants and wealth. It has been given the nickname "the City of Gold" by Lor'dranians, since it is the wealthiest city upon Kainan. The city of Nalfgarne is also the highest source of education within all of Kainan, and rightfully so. No slums are to be found within the city. The people of Nalfgarne favor elegance, perfumes, fine cloths, gold, and other such high-class condiments. The language spoken in Nalfgarne is not that of High or Low Gothic, but rather deemed "Nalfish", a once High Gothic dialect that has evolved into its very own language. The people of Nalfgarne place their faith in the "Golden Suns of the Dawn", a pantheon of gods who created Lor'dra and protected it from evils. The Emperor, Imhir vahrr Dundeiis, is known to be a stern and apathetic ruler, favoring only Nalfgarnians above all others; even residents of Aelm. The Empire is expansionist and incredibly imperialist, desiring greatly to expand its borders in order to house more resources. Nalfgarne was and technically still is at war with the kingdoms of Rodnor and Tamarum, and held the upper-hand against both kingdoms for the entirety of the war. However, both have established armstice treaties with Nalfgarne.
Tamarum is the third largest kingdom on Lor'dra, being home to 6.3 million people. The kingdom's capital, Vasama, is home to 855,000 people. It is a major trade hub built upon four rivers, giving it the nickname "the City of Rivers." The streets are bustling, filled with humble market districts and fair peoples. It is also the most social city on Kainan, being the home of many schools and social organizations. The nation is not particularly wealthy, but most residents live rather comfortably. The people of Tamarum are a righteous breed full of humility, patience, strength and intelligence. The social doctrines of Tamarum are amongst the most righteous on all of Lor'dra. Residents are talkative, typically intelligent, outgoing and devoted. Low Gothic is the primary language spoken amongst Tamarians. Tamarians hold faith in a religion known as "The Church of the Ones", a heavily organized Church that upholds Holy Law, in which a trinity of gods known as the Ones reclaimed Lor'dra and bless its people. The King of Tamarum, King Falteth II, is a calm and generous ruler, if not promiscuous. Tamarian relations with Rodnor had been distant and rocky until the invasion of the Empire of Nalfgarne, which has brought the two nations close. Tamarum has suffered much from its recent conflict with Nalfgarne, having lost an incredible amount of land and soldiers. A 100-year armstice agreement was signed between Nalfgarne and Tamarum.
Rodnor is the second smallest kingdom of Lor'dra and home to 4.5 million people. The state's capital is Novigran, a city of fired bricks and ever-blazing braziers which houses upwards of 720,000 souls. Novigran has been since its founding the "Free City," in which anyone from any background may come and begin a new life in any one of the many growing trades in Rodnor, such as working the kingdom's rich iron mines or its relatively bountiful harvests. While the prospect itself is appealing to many far and wide, the natives of Rodnor are distrustful or suspicious of any foreigners since the expansion of Nalfgarne, which has taken their southern borders. While living relatively auspicious lives, some Rodnorians are discontent and argumentative, not afraid to act extremely crass to anyone they deem that has wronged them or anyone else. This dual identity that Rodnor has developed has left its people uninterested in the wisdom or knowledge of outsiders, only in the coin or manpower they can provide. The religion of Rodnor is that of the Cleansing Fire, a faith that the primal element will bathe Lor'dra in flames and burn away all that is wicked. This church, as it would seem, was founded and is maintained by the kingdom's nobility and elite. The Church of Cleansing Fire has drawn much popularity with its endorsement by King Ralavar V, and has since then preached of Rodnor being the one truly righteous and dutiful kingdom. The language of Rodnor is Low Gothic, maintained with new local words. The Kingdom of Rodnor currently has established a ceasefire with the Empire of Nalfgarne after losing some of their southern land very rapidly.
Aelm is the oldest and largest of all the kingdoms of Kainan, resurrected by the first settlers from the burned city of Stormguard to honor the Penitent Knights and their sacrifices, with a population that is estimated to be 10 million people. The great capital of Aelm is Helmthal, home to 3 million people. It is a city of towering cathedrals and castles, decorated with statues of their Astartes lords in every place of importance. Within its glittering streets Helmthal's citizenry are respectful and deeply religious in the Aegimian Cult, the faith of the Penitent Knights Chapter itself, which exalts the God-Emperor of Mankind and humanity as His sacred people. While other kingdoms may forget their allegiance to the Emperor's Angels, the folk of Helmthal and all of Aelm hold them in utmost reverence and gladly offer their youths to the Astartes so that they might join the Knights in their celestial quests. While riddled with faith, Aelm is a peaceful land, but its people relish arduous trials, as they are the key to produce fitting recruits for the Knights. Aelm rarely has any disputes or quarrels with other kingdoms, other than the abandonment of the Aegimian Cult, but the eyes of its king, the Lord Crusader of the Penitent Knights, have been watching the actions of Nalfgarne closely, along with his numerous other duties. Missionaries of the Aegimian Cult, accompanied by hardened and knightly guardians, will venture forth from the land of snow and faith to spread the word of the Astartes overlords to all corners of Kainan, perhaps futilely. The people of Aelm speak fluent High Gothic, as well as Low Gothic, to other nations.
Ganodar, known to the other kingdoms as "The Land of Plate" is the smallest kingdom on Kainan, housing a total of only 1.5 million residents. It is very isolationist, rarely trading outside of its borders. The kingdom's capital of Miras has no recorded pict-files within the Imperial Archives, the only resources regarding the city being those of Lor'dranian travelers. It is said to be a city clad entirely in silver plates and marble towers that touch the sky. Its official population is unknown, but is estimated to be around 500,000 people. It has been described as quiet, with very few markets and social centers. The people who hail from Ganodar are typically respectful, humble, silent and proud, however it is unknown how the people act within the kingdom's actual borders. Ganodar is the only other kingdom besides Aelm that has maintained its faith in the Aegimian Cult, the faith of the Penitent Knights Space Marine Chapter, which exalts the God-Emperor of Mankind and believes humanity to be His sacred people. The King, Eonar, is said to have been the ruler of Ganodar since its establishment in 077.M42, however these are only rumors. The language of Ganodites is neither that of High or Low Gothic, but similarly to Nalfgarnians, its own. Ganodeighish is a variation of Low Gothic that is reminiscent to that of "Old English", the ancient lingual root of Low Gothic that was spoken several millennia ago. In terms of diplomatic relations, Ganodar is at peace and maintains most communication with the Kingdom of Aelm.
The Northlands are an ungoverned, unorganized land that is hated and feared by all residents of Kainan, regardless of their nationality and religion. The Penitent Knights Chapter has officially deemed it "The Land for No Man," and proclaims it a dangerous area; a "home of heathens." The 200,000 people that are found within its wretched borders are humble, quiet and friendly on the surface, but hold a deep, dark secret. They worship a coven of malevolent witches known as the "Ladies of the North." The Ladies are known to hide themselves supernaturally, even managing to avoid investigation from the Penitent Knights themselves. It is believed that they are Chaos Witches of Nurgle, but most believe that they simply do not exist. The people of the Northlands perform ritualistic child sacrifices and offer their ears in service to the Ladies for an exchange of protection. The Empire of Nalfgarne attempted to claim the wretched lands during its expansion campaign, yet failed due to a mysterious occurrence in which their soldiers suddenly vanished.
The Skellis Islands
Skellis is home to stout warrior peoples that resemble barbarian clans in many facets. These clans live either humble lives of fishing, or brutally short ones of war with each other or great predators. The lands of Wuudlan, Fjaerland and Gregge are constantly embroiled in conflict, over disputes of honor or land, while the people of Farthaar are content to take to the seas and catch their fill of life.
Gomorrag - A beast so terrifying to behold that the sight of it causes even Astartes to step back, Gomorrag has been given many different titles by the kingdoms of Lor'dra. These names include "Sky Guardian, World-King, Shadow-Wing," and more. Gomorrag is a single Titan-sized Draconian like animal, known to only feast on herds of migrating Taurafaurs in between periods of hibernation lasting either hundreds or thousands of years. It is speculated that Gomorrag was the pinnacle creation of the Dark-Age humans before it presumably began the outbreak of its lesser kin.
Taurafaur - Ranging in size to nine to sixteen meters tall, Taurafaurs are migratory herbivores bearing mighty horns protruding from their foreheads. Taurafaurs feast on the plant-life of northern Kainan during the planet's summer and move southward for the its deadly winters.