Gateway to Khitai
"For thousands of years she has been our protector, the shield which keeps back the darkness. When the men of Hyrkania come with their curved blades and wicked bows, they are broken against her like the tide against the shore. She is our strength, our protector, our pride."
Gateway to Khitai is the first location in the Rise of the Godslayer expansion that players will encounter. This area, filled with level 20 to 40 content, is also the first area that newly created Khitan characters will go to after leaving behind the Island of Tortage.
A Long Journey Ends
When travelers first arrive in the region known as the Gateway to Khitai their first feeling is of relief. The journey is almost over.Technically, they are still within Hyrkania – with its broad barren plains and the lean horseman who roam them – but civilization is at hand after so many months of wearying travel. But the last leg of a journey is often the most dangerous and the road to Khitai is no exception. Hyrkanian raiders watch the trade routes – ambushing the silk-laden wagons bound for the west, or the caravans who come with rare western goods to trade for jade, silk and lotus. Merchant guards, weary after months of travel through hostile territory, offer little real resistance to the Hyrkanians who sweep down on their prey loosing barbed arrows from their double-curved bows.There was a time, not long ago, when the Imperial Legions maintained this last stretch of the road and regular patrols rode out from the Great Wall. But those patrols have long since ceased and this, perhaps, is the very first sign that something is amiss in the land beyond the Great Wall.
The Hyrkanians are not the only threat in the area – the local wildlife is as savage as the landscape. Huge saber-toothed cats and fur-covered rhinos defend their territory aggressively against human incursion, while more sinister creatures gather in the ancient ruins that dot the landscape…
Players who travel in the Gateway to Khitai will soon discover that not all Hyrkanians are the bloodthirsty devils that they are painted in the lands of the west. The nomads have built a semi-permanent settlement on the edge of one of their ancestral burial grounds – known to them as the kakaba or City of Mounds.For Hyrkanians, the kakaba is a sacred place where the members of a clan are laid to rest. It is forbidden to ride horses or fire arrows in the kakaba, as a sign of respect for the dead. Unfortunately for the Hyrkanian clan, their ancestors have begun rising from their graves as the sun sets each night, and they are bound by honor to prevent their undead ancestors from causing any harm. Every night, the ancestors rise, and every night the living Hyrkanians must send their kind back to repose.
This sinister cycle began almost two decades ago, and the Hyrkanians are certain that the Khitan people know the cause. But the Khitan remain silent in the face of such accusations, and so the Hyrkanians raid the caravans on the trade routes with renewed vigor.
The Ruins and the Zang Xin
Both in the far north and south of the Gateway to Khitai are the tumbled down ruins of an ancient civilization. There are none who remember who once dwelt in those cities and all record of who they once were was lost with the people of this strange civilization.The ruins themselves have a sinister air, but this does not stop treasure hunters from digging in the hope of finding forgotten treasures and ancient trinkets. Though treasure hunters should be wary because dark secrets lie hidden beneath the frozen earth…
Near the ruins, in the foothills of the Mountains of Night, dwell the Zang Xin. These semi-intelligent humanoids live in the shadow of the Great Wall and build primitive structures to house their family groups. They are extremely territorial and will defend their domain against any incursion. They fashion primitive weapons from wood and stone – but rumor has it that a far more advanced tribe of Zang Xin make their home in the lands beyond the wall.
The Great Wall
The Great Wall is manned by soldiers of the Last Legion, and more recently, sorcerers of the Scarlet Circle. There is little love lost between the two groups – the Scarlet Circle are arrogant by virtue of their power and the Last Legion see the Scarlet Circle as more interested in their own experiments than in protecting the empire.The Scarlet Circle are led by a young and ambitious sorceress named Wei-li. Wei-li is interested in pursuing an advanced form of necromancy which involves fusing multiple creatures into a single entity know as Kang Zai, or Wall Guardians. She sees it as a viable way to defend the empire without the cost of training all those soldiers – she is irritated by Taichu’s refusal to see her point of view. Taichu is the Wall-captain of the Last Legion, responsible for the defense and maintenance of the wall. His frustration grows daily as he watches the Scarlet Circle squander resources that would be better spent restocking supplies and paying his men. He watches powerless as his men desert, fleeing towards the center of the empire in search of the wives and children that they have not seen in years.