One land. One people. One Emperor.
The fiery region of Volcor is a land in constant battle and war. As a volcano erupts and lies dormant in a cycle of rage and rest, so too do the inhabitants of the volatile kingdom.
Uprising, the latest release for Flesh & Blood, gave us a closer look at the region than we have ever seen before; and with Dynasty just a few months away, tensions within the region are reaching a boiling point- a volcano ready to burst and wash away everything in its path of destruction.
How did we get to this point? Why are the people of Volcor rebelling? Who is the Emperor, and what is he hiding from the rest of Volcor?
In this article, I will explain all the lore that you need to know leading up to Dynasty, what to expect in the next set, and where the story can lead to from there.
Welcome to the Volcor Primer.
To the far south of the continent lies a land ravaged by natural disasters and extreme weather. At the heart of the region is a large active volcano named Mt. Volcor. Its lava flows in what the Volcai call the Phoenix Cycle: periodic times where a tide of magma sweeps through the land. Every territory within Volcor is at the mercy of Mt. Volcor, and every household must live with the knowledge that the destruction of their home is a constant gamble.
The origin of Mt. Volcor is one of myth and fable. It is believed that long before humans settled on Rathe, a mighty beast gave birth to Volcor’s landscapes. Its claws turned ground to stone; its gaze creating rivers of fire; its breath heating the air of the land. Over time, the beast began to grow weary, finally nesting underground and creating what is now known as Mt. Volcor.
Some of the other territories within Volcor include:
-Sandikai, a yellow desert encompassing the south, acts as a crossroads between many of the other desert regions, and is home to more independent settlements outside of the Imperial Court’s direct influence and control. Being the crossroads between territories has made it popular for various large merchant settlements. This area is referenced on the card Invoke Azvolai, and is the most likely candidate for the location seen in the card Trade In.
-The Ash Plains, lying to the east, is a barren plain of white sand and ash. Whilst we don’t know much of this area, it is known to be home to illusionists similar to Dromai who can use the environment to their advantage in battle. This area can be seen on cards like Sweeping Blow, Skittering Sands, and Sand Cover.
-The Red Desert is on the border of Volcor and the Savage Lands, and is the most well-known desert to us so far. This territory is traveled by nomads and merchants alike, and is also roamed by dangerous beasts straying from the borders of the Savage Lands. Most notably, this area is where Kassai and her Cintari band are currently located. Art of this area is depicted on cards such as Kassai, Cintari Sellsword, Ready To Roll, Mauvrion Skies, and Invoke Vynserakai.
-The last territory is the Forest of Flames. Whilst we currently do not know of the exact location of the forest, we do know of two characters that come from the village of Taoking located within it: Fai and Dromai. The adopted siblings both played games of chase through the glowing trees- the standout feature of the area. We can see glimpses of the forest in both Fai and Dromai’s young hero cards.
On the side of Mt. Volcor is the Royal Palace of Ashvahan, governed and ruled by a dynasty, a line of hereditary rulers. This dynasty- and the royals beneath it- are part of the royal bloodline, descendants of the first Emperor of Volcor. Within the court, various familial houses, generals, and wizards vye for the attention and favor of the Emperor- a battle almost as fierce as the battles fought all over the region.
According to myth, before the mighty beast of Volcor slumbered, it bestowed a group of humans the power of fireblood in return for watching over the land. This fireblood is what gives descendants of the royal bloodline the power of the fires of Volcor.
But with royalty and power comes societal prejudices and privilege. Those with royal blood are named Dracai, free to give themselves whatever name they desire and bestowed with positions in the Royal Court of Ashvahan. Those unfortunate to be born outside of royal bloodline are the Volcai: lower class folk cursed with a life of poverty, slavery, and suffering. Best case scenario: become a servant of the Royal Court. Worst case scenario: become a disposable asset of a tyrannical general.
Those living in areas further from Ashvahan are somewhat more fortunate, earning their living as farmers, small goods merchants, and other mundane professions. Whilst not entirely out of the reach of the Imperials, life is much less miserable.
For those wishing for true freedom, a nomadic lifestyle living within the many desert territories is the best option. Nomads either roam on their own, or form rag-tag clans that hide in the furthest reaches of Volcor, scavenging old battlegrounds for weapons and equipment to help them survive the harsh landscape. The most notable of these groups are the Cintari, the nomadic tribe of warriors that the hero Kassai is a part of.
However, with oppression of people comes revolution, and the land of Volcor is no stranger to this.
During the story of Uprising, we were first introduced to the conflict that Volcor is facing: an uprising of the lower class Volcai against the Imperial Dracai. The main characters of this storyline are Fai and Dromai, two adoptive siblings who each find themselves on either side of the rebellion.
But we also see appearances of other important characters that are also crucial to the story: Iyslander, an amnesiac magic wielder on a journey of self-discovery; Shiyana, an operative of Solana’s secretive Gemini organization tasked with appealing to the Emperor of Volcor for aid in the War of the Monarchs; and the Emperor himself, a draconian ruler at the literal and figurative heart of Volcor during the uprising.
To properly understand the current storyline unfolding, we need to start from the events that took place during Monarch - The War of the Monarchs.
Solana’s history is not exactly as clean and pure as one may initially think. Built by some of the first human settlers on Rathe, Solana was built under the guidance of Sol, an unknown entity of light that is worshiped by Solanians.
During the creation of the city, a powerful scholar began to dive into the history of humanity, and from his research discovered a secret which unraveled the deepest of Rathe’s many mysteries. His newfound knowledge drove him to turn against Sol and all that he believed in, and seek out new power.
His fellow scholars condemned his actions, worried of the unknown dangers his pursuit for knowledge could bring to Solana. And so, the scholar was driven out of the city, eventually building a large mansion on an island hidden in the sea mists off the coast of Rathe: The Demonastery.
The scholars of Solana and their knights began to seek out the Demonastery on a mission to destroy what they considered heretical. Thus began a long-lasting hatred between Solana and the Demonastery.
In recent times, denizens of the Demonastery known as the Disciples of Pain dedicated themselves to find a way to free Rathe from their perceived oppression of Solana. The Disciples succeeded in creating a portal to íArathael, a dimensional shadowed reflection of Rathe. One of these disciples, Chane, headed into the realm to seek the powers needed to destroy Solana, and would come to make a pact with a powerful entity known as Ursur. This entity is known as an Embra, ancient creatures with massive amounts of power at their disposal. With a new pact made, the Disciples of Pain could now begin the plan they had waited so long to enact: an all-out war against Solana and the Light.
Solana is now under siege from the forces of the Demonastery and the Shadow. To help the city with this fight and the potential consequences the outcome could have on all of Rathe, the Gemini operative Shiyana made her way to Volcor to ask for the Emperor's aid in the war...
During these events, a lone woman begins to see mysterious visions, her memory slowly returning after many long years. This woman is Iyslander, an amnesiac living in the Bleak Expanse of Aria. Finding herself drawn to discover the hidden memories of her past, she makes her way towards Volcor.
Upon her arrival, she encounters a mysterious figure capable of disguising her face and features: Shiyana. She bestows Iyslander with a gift- a mask capable of disguising her features as well. When asked why she is helping her, Shiyana responds:
“A favor from such as you would be a powerful boon. I’ll remind you of that when the time comes…”
With a new disguise, Iyslander continues to search through Volcor for answers as to her past.
Eventually, Iyslander comes to a large library, with a familiar robed man exiting and flanked by guards on either side. She remembers this man as Kova, a lord who bought her from her mother when she was young. As the memories come flooding back to Iyslander, she remembers her true name: Lyra.
Lyra was once a slave within Kova’s household. During her time there, she took solace in the lord’s library, stealing books and learning of aether, slowly gaining the ability to manipulate it to her will. However, these fledgling powers became noticed by Kova, who wished to possess this power for himself. Through torture, Kova attempted to steal Lyra’s power for himself. But as she endured the pain, Lyra dreamed of another land- a land free from oppression and greed. This intense struggle of will manifested in an explosion of power, transporting Lyra to the Bleak Expanse and away from Volcor. When she awoke, she realized she had lost her memories of the past.
With her memory jolted awake, she vowed to grow her powers and make Kova pay for his crimes in due time, and quietly slipped into the library.
With the War of the Monarchs, Shiyana, and Iyslander now explained, we can look at the events that took place during Uprising: a story of rebellion, betrayal, and familial bonds.
Dromai was born to a Dracai father and a Sandfolk mother, but they were both murdered before she ever knew them. A woman known as Min of the Forest of Flames found young Dromai, and adopted her into her family and the village of Taoking. Dromai’s new adoptive sibling was Fai, and they would spend their childhood together, a rivalry growing between the pair.
But on a fateful day, a Dracai known as Xathari came to their village along with his soldiers and burned everything the pair had ever known to the ground. Xathari took the half-blooded Dromai with him, sowing seeds of deception into the girl’s mind. Dromai believed the lies, that lifelong belief that she never truly belonged with her adoptive family vindicating her decision.
And whilst his sister was snatched by the dragon, Fai pledged that he would rise up alongside the other Volcai and make the Dracai pay for what they had done to his family.
This was the beginning of the rising rebellion that would culminate in the events of Uprising. So far, the rebellion has made waves through the society of Volcor. With the death of a rebel, two more Volcai take up arms in their place.
During a trap set by Fai with the hope of capturing Xathari, he came face-to-face with his sister. With this tense standoff, Dromai learned of the truth that was hidden from her for many years: Eun, Fai’s accomplice, revealed that she was the one sent to kill Dromai’s parents, and was directed to their whereabouts by Xathari himself. As an act of revenge and rebellion against the Imperials, Dromai summoned a mighty illusory dragon to kill both Eun and Xathari.
With this, Dromai flew off to an oasis to take stock of her current situation. Thinking back on the lies she was fed by the Imperials, she began to plot her future. She did not truly respect the power of the Volcai. She did not want to be ruled by the people. She would find her own way, and make Ashvahan bow down to her instead.
But unbeknownst to the rest of Rathe, the Emperor of Volcor has discovered a secret deep within the depths of Mt. Volcor. The mighty beast of legend that was said to have roamed the lands of Volcor long ago is anything but a myth. Revealed to us to be one of the Aesir, the Emperor has communed with the being since the beginning of his reign. Drinking from its molten fissure filled him with searing aether, and to this day it continues to sing its seething song and call to him to return.
This revelation of the Emperor communing with an Aesir has massive repercussions within the lore. This confirms that the beast slumbering beneath Mt. Volcor is indeed an Aesir, specifically referred to as the Draconic Aesir.
As I also explained earlier in the article, the Disciples of Pain were on a mission to destroy Solana, and the reason for this is explained on Chane’s hero page on the official website:
“Having become an apostle of the order, Chane is burdened with duty, unified with his brothers in their noble quest to protect humanity from the return of the Aesir, whose vast, arcane power would quickly overwhelm the land of Rathe.”
So, what exactly is an Aesir? This is still a very difficult question to answer. As far as we are aware, Aesir are extremely powerful beings that roamed Rathe during the times before humans arrived on the continent.
Previously, I had thought of Aesir, the Old Ones, and the Ancients as one and the same, but it seems like this isn’t entirely true, and that there is a more complex relationship between the Aesir, the Old Ones, and the Ancients than we are aware of.
With this new information, my theory is that the Aesir are manifestations of pure aether - magical energy that permeates throughout the world of Rathe. Elemental beings of sorts; one Aesir for each region of Rathe, serving as that region’s “heartbeat”, and also lining up with each of the region’s talents. It would appear that the deity of Solana known as Sol is most likely the Aesir of Light, and Fyendal as the Aesir of Elements.
These Aesir appear to be at odds with the Old Ones, and my belief is that the Ancients are manifestations of the Aesir’s powers designed to fight off the invading Old Ones entering Rathe from the shadowed reflection of Rathe - íArathael.
But where does that leave us? Here are my theories for where Dynasty may take us:
- As the story stands, I believe that the Emperor of Volcor is making the decision on whether or not to unleash the slumbering Draconic Aesir. Its untold power can secure the dynasty he wishes to uphold, but at what cost?
- The uprising is surely to reach a boiling point as Fai’s rebellion clashes with the Imperials, with the possibility of either Fai or the Emperor being killed in the fray.
- Dromai’s schemes to reach the top of the food chain may indeed get her there, with her being a potential candidate for a new Empress, as she holds both Dracai and Volcai blood within her, and could see the cycle of rebellions breaking for the first time in Volcor’s history.
- Shiyana’s pleas for help in the War of the Monarchs may fall on deaf ears, but this is dependent on whether or not the Emperor deems the threat of the Old Ones more important than the rebellion at his doorstep. I believe the most likely situation to evolve from this is some sort of large grand-scale consequence of the War of the Monarchs which will affect the current situation in Volcor.
- And as for what will become of Iyslander’s story? This is probably the hardest to answer. Many theories have been speculated, such as some believing Iyslander to be the long-lost daughter of the Emperor and potential heir to the throne, but I think she may learn more about the War of the Monarchs, the Aesir, and the Old Ones, and discover the greatest overall threat to the world at large.
There are many ways forward the story can take, and many predictions can be made, but until further lore is released, all we can really do is make the most educated guesses we can, and have fun with the wild ride the story is surely to take!
The story of Uprising and the upcoming release of Dynasty proves just how deep and nuanced each region of Rathe and its heroes can truly be. It is very easy from the outside to think of each region and character as one dimensional, but Legend Story Studios has shown us just how far forward they have planned for the world’s lore. It shows their commitment and passion for making the greatest trading card game on the market, and not just through gameplay, but by also telling amazing stories along the way.
What do you think of Volcor? Did its many intricacies surprise you? What are you most excited for in Dynasty, and do you think any of my predictions are correct? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
If you are craving more Flesh & Blood lore content, check out my Youtube channel DeadSummer Art, where I create high quality videos that dive deep into Rathe and its many intricate parts.
And to join a community dedicated to all things lore, check out the Eternal Oracles Discord server. We would love to see you there!
Until next time, stay curious!
Kale, alias DeadSummer, is a lore fanatic from the south-west of Western Australia. Growing up on video games, and developing his identity through many forms of nerd culture such as MtG and DnD, he eventually branched out to expressing his creative itch through video creation, specifically revolving around the lore for Flesh & Blood. He prides himself on creating high quality video content to spread the story of Rathe to as many fans as possible.
I think one of your last statements really encapsulates why I love Flesh and Blood and LSS, in that we are three years, seven sets, into the games history and only just touching on the lore that is the world of Rathe. Beautifully written.
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