In 1699 the Foundless Fort was discovered. This apparently recently abandoned fort was discovered in North Carolina. No records have ever been found which indicate who built the fort, or why. It was noted for its odd, gothic architecture and for the high level of unusual occurrences in its vicinity. It was left abandoned due to fear and superstition.
In 1708 Andrew Wright, an English colonist decided to utilize the keep for its advantageous location and excellent construction. He rallied others to help him settle the keep and the area surrounding it.
For the next 70 years, the colony at the Foundless Fort fared well. Better than the any of the surrounding colonies. Though they suffered many of the same things as their neighbors, nothing seemed to be as severe- though many died of starvation during a tough winter, for example, it would be proportionally less than the surrounding communities. There was one exception to this rule. Not a single Foundless Fort colonist ever died at the hands of the natives. The natives refused to come close to the Fort. Many speculate that this is because the Fort itself may have been built on some sort of burial ground or other site sacred to them which they would not violate. These speculations have never been proven, however.
In 1794 the first deposits of Silver were discovered beneath the fort, which was soon renamed Sterling Keep. Population boomed as miners and craftsmen alike moved to the keep, which quickly became renowned for its high quality silver.
In 1809 Lighthouse University was founded.
In 1840 the silver mine ran out and was shut down, all the exits sealed.
During the civil war, Sterling City was a curious microcosm of the nation as a whole. Though it was technically in the south, it straddled the border and had a higher population of craftsmen and merchants than plantation owners. It was also interesting to note that the division generally fell along racial heritage, with Germans and Irish siding with the north, and the English siding with the south. Then, on September 22, 1863, violence broke out. The fighting started mid-day and extended all through the night. By sunrise on September 23, over 2,000 had died. The north was the clear victor and those who allied themselves with the south were driven out. This meant that most of the English population left, leaving the Germans and the Irish.
In 1900, two great disasters struck the city. First came the Century Fire, a great fire that burned quickly and easily along the streets overcrowded with wooden buildings. By the time the fire was out, an estimated 60% of the city was in ashes.
Three months later the worst flood in state history occurred. It was wet year, and a monsoon was the technical cause of the flood, but speculation runs rampant about what might’ve really caused the flood to be so unusually severe. These run the gamut from water welling up from the tunnels that riddled the ground underneath the city, to ancient Native American curses. Regardless, the flood washed away much of what the Century Fire left, including the Sterling Keep. Some say the Keep didn’t wash away, but instead sank. Regardless, no one has managed to find it since.
One year after the Year of Fire and Flood, Feliz Lazlo moved to Sterling City, claiming it was the site of a great “spiritual nexus”. One of the most renowned occultists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Lazlo was regularly consulted by by Rasputin. Aliester Crowley gave Lazlo credit for the direction his life took after he met the Russian spiritualist in St. Petersburg. Lazlo founded the Enlightenment movement and when he moved to Sterling City, several hundred of his followers came with him.
Over the next several decades, thousands of Russians flocked to what was rapidly becoming a predominantly-Russian city. Along with all the culture and heritage the Russians brought with them came organized crime. Though the city had been known for the vices it offered, only the Irish had anything approaching a crime family. Their position was strengthened considerably during the prohibition. The Vlast (Russian term meaning power, or rule, and term for the organized crime) had most of the city officials and justice systems in their pockets.
During WWII the city’s economy boomed as it opened several large shipyards.
During the Red Scare the city had a high Russian-American population. This made it a natural target for the proponents of the scare. This led to a “us vs them” mentality in much of the Russian population, cementing what had been happening for several decades- Those of Russian heritage tended to congregate into the same neighborhoods, creating several ethnic ghettos. This kick-started the white flight in Sterling, which created the Harrows as they are known today.