Port Keyne and Keyne Island
The island of Surt was of no importance throughout most of the history of Thrael. The seas around it were plentiful, but the forbidding climate made the growing season short, and the soil was poor and stony. Although the island is within sight of the mainland, a direct crossing was made nearly impossible by the Strait of Worgurun. Powerful crosscurrents and jagged stone outcrops made the Strait of Worgurun a death sentence for those foolish enough to try and navigate it. A few dozen people lived on the island in an isolated, unnamed hamlet, earning a subsistence living from fishing and raising small herds of hardy goats.
By the year 215 AoD, Kaezar was experiencing a renaissance of art, magic, and knowledge. However, the borders of Kaezar were different than they are in the present day; there were still a lot of remote territory which was not under any government's control, or else was claimed in name only and in practice was under the rule of local thugs. The island of Surt and the mainland near it was just such a territory. It stretched from Fishbourne in the north all the way to the Fens of the Dead. Hundreds of miles of wilderness separated these lands from the Kaezar Monarchy.
II. The Warlord
Into this power vaccuum stepped Morgus Denaur. The exact details of his rise to power remain unclear, for there is no historic record beyond local myth. However, by 215 AoD Morgus Denaur had claimed the eastern coastline of Kaezar as his own, and he appropriated Surt for his base of operations. Using prisoners (rivals, rebellious villagers, or anyone else who crossed Morgus) as slave labor, he turned the entire island into a mighty fortress, and constructed a harbor on the southern coastline.
Morgus by all accounts was both a genius and a madman. The island fortress on Surt was of his own design, and most of his victories upon land and sea were due to his brilliant strategy. However, he ruled with a ruthlessness and complete disregard for his subjects. They were simply a resource to be used up. All who defied him ended the rest of their brief days mining stone, digging tunnels, andbuilding their own dungeon.
Using the island fortress to strategic advantage, Morgus deployed his fleet of war galleys and terrorized the coastline, regularly sacking villages and taking prisoners with impunity. After a few years of this Morgus turned his eye towards Kaezar. He sent his ships and mercenaries to pirate Kaezar's shipping lanes, seizing cargo-laden trading vessels by the dozen. King Tybin attempted to halt this, of course. He built warships of his own, and while they were able to protect some of the traders, all other attempts to stop Morgus failed. An attempted blockade in 227 AoD was foiled by a powerful storm, and a costly seige and attack on the fortress in 229 AoD was utterly unsuccessful.
The fortress itself was made from daunstone, the unique variety of sandstone native to the island. It's formed largely from petrified shells; brittleand easy to quarry, yet immensely strong and particularly effective against cannonballs and seige weapons such as catapults. Where typical stone would crack under such artillery, daunstone will simply shatter at the point of impact, leaving the remaining stone whole and in place.
Morgus also had an undersea tunnel built between the island and the mainland. This took nearly 10 years and countless numbers of slaves to achieve. It connects with a massive cave system which eventually leads all the way to the Imperial City of Kaezar itself.
Less direct means of stopping the Warlord Morgus were tried, both by Kaezar and traitors in his own ranks. All such attempts were thwarted — assasins, poison, ambush, all were tried and stopped. This phenomenal success was due to the Sorceress Dionila Denaur.
III. The Sorceress
Dionila Denaur was Morgus' older sister, and his only living relative. According to local legend, the rest of his family was rounded up and executed by Morgus himself shortly after he came to power, but this cannot be substantiated. At any rate, Dionila was a powerful sorceress, and was allied with her brother. She was equally as brilliant, and using both her intellect and her magical abilities, protected Morgus from numerous attempts on his life.
Dionila was obsessed with her magic. She had little interest in ruling or war, and left such pursuits in the capable hands of her brother. She concentrated on learning more powerful spells, and in particular, she was obsessed with keeping her youthful, beautiful appearance. She sacrificed hundreds of Morgus' prisoners in her magical experiments, which usually ended in painful, hideous death for the unfortunate subject.
Dionila's death was quite fitting, for she died using a magical device she had experimented with. Some of Morgus' slaves had unearthed a magical device from the First Age, a strange construct of metal and glass. Dionila spent years of obsessed study on the find, translating the kenzian inscriptions and divining its purpose. Apparently it was used to instantaneously travel for hundreds of miles in any direction, according to Dionila's work notes. After sacrificing dozens of slaves in horrible ways, she successfully sent a few to locations hundreds of miles away!
The final test was to be on herself. Dionila's work notes stop at this point, and all that is known for certain is that she disappeared in 242 AoD and was not heard from again. However, there is a legend which claims her "accident" was caused by her own assistant, a mute by the name of Cugol who had done Dionila's evil bidding unquestioningly for nearly 20 years.
IV. Morgus' Death
Without his sister to advise him or guard him from harm, Morgus died of a wasting disease the following year, 243 AoD. Desperate for an heir to his "throne," Morgus had ordered that the most beautiful lass in all the land be brought to him to produce a son. Such a woman was found and abducted from Fishbourne. This young woman, although comely indeed, carried the Pox and passed it on to Morgus. All of his wealth and power could not cure him, and he died cursing the Gods in between fits of insanity.
An internal power struggle quickly ensued, and Vraen Kranaur came out on top. He was the Warlord's lieutenant in charge of the vast treasury amassed over the past two decades. Vraen used this wealth to hire more mercenaries, and was planning a direct assault on Kaezar itself, perhaps dreaming of a true throne for himself.
Vraen was not an especially gifted leader. Spies had informed the King of Kaezar of Morgus' death and the impending attack. In a bold move, Tybin sent an entire army overland to Surt in a preemptive strike, and most of his Navy to smash the harbor. Vraen's troop ships were burned in the harbor despite stiff resistance, thwarting the attack. However, this left Vraen's troops on land, a formidable force consisting of mostly mercenaries.
Kaezar's general, Jandor Keyne, used an exceptionally clever ruse to defeat Vraen. He offered the mercenaries a large sum of Sovereigns in addition to the amount payed by Vraen, in exchange for leaving the fortress gates open and heading elsewhere. The mercenaries agreed, recognizing Vraen for a fool and the fortress as offensively worthless without a navy. Vraen quickly fell, the island was taken, and any slaves left alive were freed.
Recognizing the island's vital importance to Kaezar's defense, as well as the superior fortifications already in place, a permanent military base was established there. The island was named after Jandor Keyne, and the harbor Port Keyne, after the brilliant general who captured it with practically no losses. Port Keyne is now used as a training facility, the key strategic center for the eastern coast, and for the production of warships and weaponry.