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This page contains every turn made so far for Realms of Orbis V2. If you want to see the original turns, click here.

Turn 13: 1 to 500 TAM

De Luscinia 'Aurea Personaet Lyra' (early 11th century)06:58

De Luscinia 'Aurea Personaet Lyra' (early 11th century)

Turn music

RealmsofOrbisTurn13PoliticalMap

Political map of Turn 13

RealmsofOrbisTurn13OrganizedReligionMap

Organized religion map of Turn 13

RealmsofOrbisTurn13InfoMap

Info map of Turn 13

Post link: https://facepunch.com/showthread.php?t=1530432&p=50869121&viewfull=1#post50869121


Turn quote: Heraclius: "Is this how you have ruled, wretch?"
Phocas: "And will you rule better?"

Events of the years 1 to 500 Third Age of Man (TAM):

-Nobody cried when the old world died. As civilization rotted away, the cost of keeping it alive outweighed the benefit of its continued existence. People fled the cities and adopted new lives and names as togas fell off their backs and their hands onto crude ploughshares. Slowly, the great palaces fell into ruin and their masonry crumbled away as ivy pried it apart and peasants took the rocks to build their homes. Many thought this was the beginning of the end of the world, and in many places the world continued to decay and die. Then, in the year 84, something remarkable happened. In the quarreling kingdoms that resulted from the breakup of the Gan Empire, a small rump led by the Zuida dynasty reconquered the whole empire, and drove out the hordes of the Kagans. They restored order, rebuilt the ruins, brought justice to the commoners, and even more impressively, expanded the borders of their empire into lands that have never before seen the light of Gan. Humma monks spread into the Empire and brought with them a new philosophy that eventually became the dominant one of one of the biggest powers in history (leading to its adoption by neighbors and ambitious chieftains alike). The grand “Bronze Bell Navy” was built and, with the support of new instruments of war (including the allegiance of a terrifying dragon), they crushed their neighbors. Throughout their history, new feats in engineering and culture were achieved. From the void above, the world appeared to grow ever darker. But in the land ruled by the Zuida dynasty, one light still shone, brighter than any that came before it. Even after her collapse in the mid fifth century, a dynasty just as capable, the Bīng yǔ huǒ, took it upon themselves to carry forth the torch twenty years later.

-In Oycumen, dwarven tribes that appeared in the mountains north of Gor'lan spread throughout the continent where they ended up settling primarily in the lands north and east of Irminonia (Ostrovia Magna). They founded the Kingdoms of Amboise, Cravant, and Tharingia, among others. Ultimately, many of those in the west were conquered by the Visivir tribes (later the Kingdom of the Vesivirs) and, afterwards, those in the east by the Palamecian Empire, although many of them retained their distinct identities. After the division of the Empire into two in the year 336, and despite having been assimilated by humans in Vesivir, they still comprised the majority of the inhabitants east in the Kingdom of Ostrovir. This was however nothing compared to the rapid expansion of the Savonic goblins of the eastern part of the continent. Originally descended from Gor'lan goblins who fled Gor'lan, they became mercenaries under the Kiratain Kagan. But when the Kaganate collapsed, they quickly took advantage of the power vacuum to spread until they had filled up most of the continent between Ostovir and further east than the former lands of Nuu'ta. By the end of the fifth century, the western Savonic goblins had formed the Duchy of Bórsce (which is slowly accepting Na'zyr missionaries), while their eastern cousins had formed the Ruotsi Federation, ruled over by a dynasty of elves who had migrated there and founded Uusikaupunki in 384 as the capital, followed by the city of Tikku. The growing Na'zyr church may find fertile grounds here, like they did in the west of Oycumen and in Cytannia.

-In the Midnight Islands came changes wrought by the dreaded Italaiset from Dolben. Elves that had eventually adopted the technologies of men found themselves facing problems they had never even considered before. Unlike other elven tribes, Dolben was slightly open – enough to permit the occasional introduction of humans into the gene pool and some of their ideas as well. Eventually, this left Dolben full of elves that began to grow in numbers as they abandoned population control and began to digest foods produced from agriculture. Freed from the bounds of hunting, they exploded over much of the northern peninsula once occupied primarily by hunter-gathering elves and the growing number of humans in Lanun. Eventually, they created a number of overpopulated petty kingdoms that began to send out raiding parties to harass the continent. They were particularly interested in the Midnight Islands, where they established themselves in Iverju before establishing kingdoms throughout Cytannia. They eventually took over most of the island, relegating the original inhabitants to the margins. But for the invaders, they did not have much luck with retaining their original tongue and culture. They adopted the Na'zyr faith of the natives, and eventually the language of the Scadutians before even their distinctive Elven traits dissolved away to leave little distinguishing the invaders and the subjugated.

-The world population is 295 million.

-In Oycumen, we are currently in the postclassical period, while in Jiuan, we are currently in the time of the Bīng yǔ huǒ dynasty.

VerenicDvergfitFlag
Damian0358 - Dvergfit
Capital: Miklagard (de jure), Diplómstaðr (de facto)
Culture: Dvegr
State Religion: Verenism
Race: Dwarf

-Although much of the world around them fell into barbarism and shitting in the streets, this kingdom bucked the trend. King Vinnáðr inherited a fairly substantial and wealthy demesne. Unfortunately, he also inherited his father’s drooping chin and unpopularity. Immediately upon his accession to the throne, many nobles declared independence and petitioned for assistance from the warlords of the Herrean Junta. Following this was a bloody and badly handled war between Herrey and Dvergfit, killing many hundreds of nobles and causing harm to their livestock and peasantry. The noble faction raised an army and demanded that the king accept their demands for greater feudal rights. He responded by calling in assistance from the matriarchs of Mizukan and blockading the major ports in addition to raiding undefended coastal towns. After some time was taken to raise enough levies, Dvergfit invaded outright and broke the back of the noble coalition at the site of some abandoned fishing village.

-To celebrate the victory, Vinnáðr started work on a brand new capital city, wealthier and more majestic than any that came before it. Named Diplómstaðr, it was founded near where the climactic battle between Dvergfit and Herrey took place. It was the only such city ever founded in his reign, and it became the site of a new palace and much of the new functions of government (such as tax offices), becoming the kingdom's seat of government. With the prospect of royal patronage and support, many merchants and nobles moved to the city and began work on making it a truly splendid site. Unfortunately, as half of the kingdom was ruined by war, it took years for people to move back into their abandoned lands or the other towns. In addition, the destruction of old and illegal fortifications built by the nobility went slowly – many of them argue that their house with three-meter thick walls and arrow slits was actually a fine manor or simple loft extension. While the king normally dismissed these complaints, these very same nobles are the ones he relied on heavily to keep his massive kingdom together. Administrative machinery has been steadily growing, but the inconsistent and weak application of law in addition to many nobles owning private armies checked royal authority.

-By the 2nd century, there was no doubt that things were looking up. Vinnáðr’s grandson, Gildeiðr, was not much stronger than his predecessors, but he did have most factions in check and has restored something that many of the peasantry are grateful for – peace. With no wars to decimate them, not to mention the recovery in trade (aided by growing ties with Mizukan), there has been a population boom. Colonists resettled some of the older settlements on the mainland which were abandoned centuries ago, and pushed into Járn and Pelagonia. Miklagard itself has grown into a rich trading city (thanks to the removal of most tariffs on gods), which funds regular trading expedition as far west as the wealthy cities of Nuu’ta, prompting the establishment of a trading post in Skagosa that later became a dependency of the crown. Chou appeared around this time, becoming an instant hit among the nobility. Over cups of chou, nobles and merchants told elves that their religion was wrong and stupid and that they should convert to Verenism. Unsurprisingly they agreed, and the elves invited missionaries to help them with rooting out their native faith.

-But success can generate its own failures. Although the power of the nobles was slowly diminished, new problems came to emerge as time went on. The old aristocracy lost ground and were eventually reduced to little more than following the whims of the centralizing kingdom. Politics moved to the courtrooms and parties of the new capital where, under the watchful eyes of disinterested bureaucrats, one of the biggest cities in the world emerged. The private armies were soon disbanded, as too were their courts and traditional powers, leaving the lords with little else to do. They often went overseas to Járn to assist in the numerous wars, and in the establishment of cities. But their sons often went elsewhere – into running profitable estates or trading. They took their skills overseas to Járn. Unfortunately, a large Empire is difficult to maintain. After sending expeditions to much of the world and seizing lands from as far west as Nuu'ta and as far east as the borders of the Zuida dynasty, they were involved in a great many conflicts. The imperial treasury bore the brunt of these, and in addition to this, their allies in Sakasu and in Skrall declined. After the Gan peoples were reunited, they launched many wars against the dwarves, most of which they won. These eventually resulted in Járn declaring independence and becoming a loyal ally to the Zuida dynasty, and in Dvergfit being forced to pay tribute to the Zuida Emperors. Since the collapse and replacement of the Zuida by the Bīng yǔ huǒ dynasty during the war in Skrall, it has been thought that a new period was upon them. Instead, as they prepared for war with Járn, the reunified Gan Empire returned to thrash the Dvegr and reaffirm their suzerainty with Járn before forcing the weak rulers of Dvergfit to pay tribute to keep away the Bronze Bell Navy – but this may not be for forever.

ImperialSkrallFlag
Pezgod1 - Empire of Skrall and Denna
Capital: New Krellgr
Culture: Skagosi
State Religion: Verenism
Race: Dwarf

-The Skagosi have come a long way over thousands of years, having largely abandoned the mountains of their ancestors. This age began with the changes set in motion by the humble chou plant and the elves of Mizukan. Trade has been consistently on the rise, aided by support from the central government. The piracy that became more common after the collapse of Gan and the abandonment of the south in the previous centuries led to the creation of a professional navy, which in the first century expanded (due in part to assistance from professional shipbuilders in Mizukan) and was ultimately able to drive out the pirates for good. Peace treaties were signed with the Qivdenna tribes, while new forts were constructed in addition to many cities having walls built around them (predominantly in the south and along the border with Gan) at great expenses. Ostensibly to protect the inhabitants from invasion, the decline in cross-border raids by the Qivdenna tribes later led the peasantry to assume that these fortification projects were attempts to impose control on them. Due to the shape of the forts, they are nicknamed “nail-houses”. Near the end of the period, a number of them began to store various tools which would be rented out to locals, while their height and sturdy construction meant they were well-placed to use the latest technological innovation – windmills, employed to drive oil presses and querns inside the towers. Watermills and other irrigation systems soon followed and began to make the southern lands nearly as productive as the northern ones.

-Frosts and floods continue to spark outbreaks of famine, the third age being not much different from the ones that preceded it. Massive investments on part of the central government are made in the hopes of controlling the elements, but by the end of the century, most of the budget allocated towards the maintenance of dykes is being used up primarily on repairing existing infrastructure rather than expanding it. Around twenty million taels were spent in the year 102 on all projects combined, which was equal to the taxes raised from farming. That same year, a famine killed over 800,000 dwarves throughout the empire. The starving turned to boiling bark, prostitution, and murder. One civil servant complained bitterly about the lack of taxes, for many householders had switched to growing vegetables and keeping pigs rather than rice (the latter is taxed). The chou planting in addition to the profit promised by it led to the rapid expansion of the cultivated land during good years, but during famine years, hungry people ransacked chou warehouses angry at the lack of food. Subsidies were later employed to encourage them to grow rice while taxes were raised on chou. Eventually however, trade went into decline and became the source of a constant deficit for the treasury. The Mizukan increasingly dominating trade had been the source of this problem, as they now possess their own mainland ports and employ more effective trading techniques than the Skagosi merchants, who now suffer heavily as the elves out-compete them. The government found itself unable to collect as many tolls as it used to, undermining the national budget.

-A quiet and unassuming dwarf known to history as Hujui Jakensin was born around this time. A time of increasing religious tensions and turmoil, he had the misfortune to waste his time on the study of theology. Descended from nobility, he was given a generous stipend by his parents to pursue both his studies and chou, the latter of which he heavily imbibed until he came to denounce his older ways after studying a great many books. He reasoned out a new faith based on ideas taken from Verenism and from common traits he noticed in dwarven cultures (such as the old traditions of the Deep Ones). He preached to the nobility and, later, the people of New Krellgr, who took to his ideas with such vigour that a massive and dangerous following grew around him and his nationalist ideas. He, of course, had help from magic, for he could procure flames from his fingers. Around the year 80, he apparently devised an alchemical method whereby he could somehow give powers to gemstones. Amassing a great pile of gemstones, he showed that even commoners could somehow draw a fire out from one of these stones before throwing it at a target. Jakensin armed his close followers with these rubies and, when the Emperor Lodumi V heard of this, he grew enraged and arranged to meet the upstart heretic. In the central plaza of New Krellgr, he ordered Jakensin and his followers to remove themselves from the city and the Empire. But in a move that surprised even the Emperor, Jakensin agreed to his demands, on the condition that he was given free leave to found a nation of his own in the mountains to the north. So many left to join him that it was remembered as the “Great Northern Migration” and the consequence was that large parts of the north were left devoid of people.

-Unfortunately, this event embarrassed the church, especially as it was perceived to be unable to do anything about the declining public morals and the lack of connection with God. In an age of reoccurring famine and the uptake of chou (named “Devil's cabbage” by the faithful), the religious grew convinced that God was pissed and had to please him before he destroyed the empire. Unfortunately, this new religious movement also had the same radical spirit as the old “Pink Caps” who rose in rebellion centuries ago. They spread out in all directions, working eagerly to convert people in the former Gan (later Zuida) Empire and Mizukan. It backfired as when they spoke to the people about taking direct action (interpreted as killing the local taxman), it causes rebellion not only in Skrall, but in Zuida too (their Emperor banned trade with Skrall as a consequence). These preachers are also opposed to chou, since it was discovered that in high enough doses it is an effective abortifacient, which many women take in order to terminate pregnancies. They blame the slow haemorrhaging of people from all parts of the empire on it, although the pressures of hunger and taxes are also to blame. Rice and chou cultivation continued to decline as people switch to crops better suited for the new climate or find that they aren’t being paid subsidies for chou anymore. With tax collection becoming harder, the government borrows heavily as a consequence, often from Mizukan merchants. The borderlands with Qivdenna slowly grow, but the northern parts of the empire near the border with the former Gan empire slowly depopulate and develop thick forests. Attempts to develop timber stands for the navy in the south consequently are shifted to the north.

-With the Empire growing poorer and the center of population slowly shifting southwards, her enemies became confident. The Zuida dynasty reunited the Gan peoples into a powerful empire, rebuilding not only a vast army, but the fearsome Bronze Bell Navy. Making matters worse was that the Empire had managed to convince a dragon to join them after a shepherd boy had gotten close to one and befriended it. It learned to follow human commands in return for a generous quantity of food and for some gold and silver, which it wore in the form of jewellery. In the year 418, the Zuida Emperor Zhui Hui sent an emissary to New Krellgr demanding that he pay tributes and put a stop to the missionaries and reel in the dwarves to the north who had established a powerful nation in the mountains there. Emperor Dasoug refused and this resulted in a war whereby half a million Zuida soldiers invaded along with their feared dragon and reduced much of the outer parts of the country to ruin. This led to a peace treaty that recognized Skrall as a tributary state of the Zuida and downgraded it to a mere ”kingdom” in 422. Another rebellion in 431 led to the dragon burning down the imperial palace in New Krellgr and the division of the kingdom into two parts (the eastern part being the Kingdom of Khelgaer). Following this, Mizukan, Skrall, and Dvergfit banded together along with the descendants of Jakensin's exodus and the Qivdenna tribes, and they managed to successfully destroy the armies of Zuida in 434. Their dragon was driven mad after a number of the mountain dwarves came down with strange weapons made from thick rods of bamboo. They would touch their thumb to a ruby mounted in the fat end of the rod and out would shoot a large flaming bolt or rock. They pierced it so that it fled and, at the sight of this, the Zuida forces lost hope and fled. The Emperor was deemed to have lost divine favor and shortly afterwards lost his throne in 443.

-As Zuida collapsed into ruin, the Kings of Skrall found the opportunity to declare themselves emperors once more. But the rise of the Bīng yǔ huǒ dynasty meant their gains were short lived. In 472, their armies (having reunified Gan) marched to Járn and made them a client state in addition to reaffirming Dvergfit's tributary status. The Bronze Bell Navy was rebuilt into a terrifying force once more and this time the Gan managed to secure for themselves several more dragons, which they kept in a fortress by their capital. Insulted at the indignity of their enemies and their arrogance to declare themselves equals, the Emperor of Gan ordered a fresh war. Unlike last time, he merely opted to send the navy to Mizukan with some dragons and burned their ports and towns in addition to the navies, before heading to Skrall and setting ablaze their navy and attempting an invasion via Qivdenna. Unfortunately for him, the local tribes were hostile and formed a confederation to repulse him, while others joined the Skrall upon seeing the fearsome dragons. The Skrall Emperor then agreed to a peace treaty, although he ceded several of the depopulated provinces in the north to the Gan (who then built a giant hedge there) followed by offering a regular annual tribute. In return, the Gan would allow him to call himself Emperor with the exception of official envoys to the Gan Empire. With peace restored, the Empire and Skrall and Denna was thus formed from a combination of many of the old lands of Qivdenna in addition to the western parts of Skrall. It remains to be seen how he will restore the prestige of a nation battered by religious turmoil, war, division, and reducement to a nominal vassal of Gan.

NigasandFlag
Satansick - Despotate of Nigasand
Capital: Citadel
Culture: Immortish
State Religion: Sadara (Rage)
Race: Orc

-After the religious wars and persecutions in Nigasand, numerous refugees fled to Aclary where they petitioned King Zemenfes II to hear their pleas and to avenge those killed unjustly. Until this point in time, Zemenfes had been unwilling to engage in warfare, but after Nigasand exhausted itself in numerous conflicts and had been impoverished over the years, he saw it as a good opportunity to strike and expand his empire. In 101, he declared war on Nigasand with the casus belli of a religious war. Immediately upon this, the remaining Sayites in Nigasand rose in rebellion and seized several areas, but they were defeated and not only were they savagely killed, but even their towns were burned to the ground and the houses cast down. In anger, Zemenfes orders his new and expanded navy to raid the coastlines and to burn everything they can get their hands on. When the main invasion force arrived, the scholar Eratocantes wrote that “the vast fields of the nation were pounded flat under the stampede of beasts and men alike, little distinguishing their footprints”. King Zemenfes not only brought perhaps the largest army on the continent, but in addition numerous deinotherium, camels, a large mercenary host from the Kiratain Kagan, and savages recruited from the jungle tribes – men said to eat the flesh of their defeated enemies and who sharpen their teeth to a point so that they may kill even without sword or axe. Numerous campaigns saw much of the Flovis heartlands seized and many of the cities were sacked and their inhabitants forced to flee. Men, women, and children died and were cast out into the harsh wilderness as the climate grew colder and drier. Droughts caused many more to perish, and as the war progressed, the damage to irrigation led eventually to famine. The cities were reduced to rubble by horrible new machines that looked like giant slings, throwing pots of red hot sand that shattered and fell between the gaps in the clothing of the defenders.

-Hekatos, the despot of Nigasand, was forced by desperation to move the capital to one of their overseas colonies while he reorganized what was left. Taxes were levied on everything, wages collapsed, every single orc and even human and goblin peasants were drafted with the promise of land in return for service. As the enemy hordes rampaged about, Hekatos took it upon himself to assemble a vast army which was divided into two. One led by Hekatos went to draw out the Alacerians and to induce them to follow them south into upper Flovis, while the other led by Triktos went on a brutal march west through the one gap in the desert now used regularly by camel trains. Using simple compasses to help navigate and bribing scouts, the Orcs managed to reach the Aclary heartland in 124. Even though King Zemenfes heard of this news and immediately ordered his own armies to turn back to save his kingdom, it was too late. The Nigasand armies ran rampant among the defenseless tribes and unwalled towns, putting many of them to ruin. The main ports on the southern coast were ruined and several cities were besieged. As Demenfes marched home, he called upon the great commander Dil Amlak (who had made a name for himself, capturing most of the cities of Nigasand and being unbeaten in battle) to meet the orcs in battle. Amlak refused and returned home, leaving Demenfes to battle the orcs by himself. He won, but at the cost of half his empire reduced to cinders. Hekatos used the time to slowly cut off the besieging armies of Aclary on the river and used large catapults among the banks of the Flovis river to destroy supply shipping. The Kiratain mercenaries rebelled and marched to Aclary after their supplies and payments were delayed by this action, before joining Hekatos to invade Aclary.

-Barely winning in the war, Nigasand was victorious but broken. Her armies had broken Aclary for good and killed their king, leading to the new puppet monarch and generous conditions. But most of the towns and cities had been devastated and the population had collapsed for good, with many sites once inhabited since the days of the first cities now pummeled into the dust. Returning home in 129, he spent a few years trying to desperately reform the broken administration. He granted large tracts of abandoned land to the soldiery and broke up the ancient administrative divisions by instead redrawing the borders to center on locations of military encampments during the campaigns of the war. Orcs who had proven their worth would hold lands in these “Tems” in return for military service from themselves and their children. But in 136, King Yemane of Aclary asked for help from Hekatos, as he could not put down the growing rebellion which had seized much of the southwest of the nation. The oldest and grizzliest of the greatest orcs to walk the earth then came out of retirement one final time to bring his army to stop these rebels who had also caused his vassals in Upper Flovis much grief. At the Battle of the Hitimokes River, Hekatos was soundly defeated by the desert tribesmen and their allies, forced to flee back home to Old Nigasand where he hastily prepared the defenses. But Amlak had spent years in the last war campaigning here and had broken many cities and learned of their weaknesses. In 137, Amlak seized Lower Flovis and, over the next two years, used his knowledge of the land and people to bring many cities to surrender before his unstoppable might. Unable to break through into the Nigasand peninsula, he decided to return home to focus on religious affairs and matters of succession. Hekatos had become a nervous wreck in the meanwhile, trying everything possible (to the point that he sent petitions to Palamecia and Gor'lan begging for help) and even sending assassins and agitators to Aclary to target their leaders. A brutal civil war broke out in Aclary, but a great general known as Damaht managed to unite much of the new empire around himself and led it on Nigasand. Hekatos again tried to fight them but was hemmed in at the Citadel, whereupon he bitterly cursed his predecessor for his corruption that had ruined the army and nation he had spent so long to save. He developed painful kidney stones that later killed him, and the city whose walls had repelled so many invaders eventually fell to the invaders in 156. The war, Nigasand, and the classical world, was over.

-The Sadarans soon incorporated the Rage-filled orcs into their ranks, sending them overseas to invade Palamecia and to conduct heavy raids and invasions of much of Oycumen, before they were ultimately halted by the successor kingdoms of Irminonia after a century of unopposed expansion. Civil wars broke out at times (as is common amongst the Sadarans after a succession crisis), but all the while the Orcs remained under such domination that they were compelled to worship Rosaya in the manner of the Sadarans. But a religious split soon developed amongst the Sadarans who refused to recognise Damaht and his book as the ultimate successor to the religion. They instead proclaimed that the descendants of Dil Amlak were to be considered his successors (most of who just so happened to be people who syncretized Rage and Sadara). They remained on the fringes and mostly organized themselves in Nigasand proper, before they eventually declared independence in 424. This new Nigasand was ruled by Orcs once more, although with a heavy religious influence from the Amlak family. Many of the old republican institutions had decayed since the days of Hekatos, so that by now the despots were often the heads of their own prestigious dynasties. Numerous wars against the heathens in Oycumen had contributed to the recovery of a heavily martial spirit and warrior culture, which meshed well with the commands of Dil Amlak to conquer other nations. The advent of the sixth century would see whenever or not they would manage this goal.

PalameciaFlag
iAmaNewb - Palamecian Empire
Capital: Ezatinsr
Culture: Irminian
State Religion: Na’zyr (Orthodox)
Race: Human

-Irminonia was finally extinguished in year 1 of the third age. General Novissi had saved the Empire once before, but he was unable to keep her safe once he slipped into the eternal sleep. The Emperor he protected was but a young boy, and when barbarian Ostrovir dwarves stormed into Ezatinsr, they deposed him. Rather than take up the seat of Emperor, Thundobad I the Great instead declared himself Kuningaz of all Liguriensis (the lands covered by the heartlands of the old Empire where the people still spoke the same tongue as in the capital). Thundobad then made efforts to integrate his tribe with the existing nobility so that he could become the founder of a brand new civilization. He reopened the schools, repaired irrigation, and tried to build more public monuments. Unable to, of course, maintain the old professional standards or even raise the monies necessary to supply the administration or army, conditions mostly degenerated. By the time he had been on the throne for twenty years, he could only muster up fellow Ostrovirs and whatever militias he could afford to pluck from shriveled towns and cities. He initially restored a period of prosperity and relative peace, even though he had to battle off numerous incursions by the Savonic tribes and other dwarves. He eventually died, leaving a stable kingdom when he died in the year 36. A century passed, during which point the last lights of classical civilization died. His successor kings found it easier to travel around the country to have feasts than to rule. The wars in Aclary ruined what little was left of trade. The cities shriveled away to nothing. But the Na'zyr church held strong, converting the barbarian kingdoms to the true faith. The new kingdoms of Oycumen were settling down and a new order was taking shape – until it was smashed in 162.

-Andokos was on the southwestern end of the continent, formerly a part of the Empire but now overrun and ruled by the Subaric dwarves. Always dysfunctional, the sophisticated urban culture had broken down to leave a nation full of millions of superstitious and impoverished peasants along with a bickering nobility of dwarves that secretly did not accept the Na'zyr faith of their subjects. When the Malikdom of Notos invaded in 162, they were quickly overwhelmed by armies of orcs, humans, goblins, and even occasional dwarven mercenaries that had thrown in their lot with this new empire. After their armies were smashed, most of the nobles either fled to the Kingdom of the Vesivirs or even joined the invaders. A coalition of barbarian kingdoms were thus joined together at the behest of the church to drive these invaders back to the seas whence they came after the war came to their borders in 179. Liguriensis decided to send a massive expedition to help the Vesivirs, but they were defeated at the Battle of the Andokos foothills in 182 after it became clear that the undisciplined infantry could not hold their own in a fight against the invaders. Raids continued on Liguriensis for years. A descendant of Novissi, who was still a nobleman and had some training in classical warfare, realized that the cavalry of Notos could be halted by proper training and use of combined arms. After convincing others of his ideas, Mateus ran an experiment in his estates where he kept a large part-time army (in times of emergency) with a small professional force he lavished attention on rather than trying to raise all of his men at once. In 253, he marched on Andokos and, to the surprise of the invaders, he managed to hold the line despite repeated attempts to hammer the formation. Such was the victory that he was granted a great feast in his name.

-But Mateus had bigger ambitions. He dreamed of the old days of the empire, and when he came to a disagreement with one of the major dwarven families, he marched on Ezatinsr. His enemies were unable to work together on a cohesive warplan, allowing Mateus to isolate and smash each rival using his core group of professional warriors. After securing the patronage of the Patriarch of the city, Kuningaz Thundobad IV “The Unsteady” was eventually forced out of his palace when an angry mob attacked it and he was driven out of his kingdom by Mateus. Having restored the dignity of Irminonia, he sought to declare a new empire, albeit modeled on the last one. On the winter solstice of 268, he was crowned Emperor Mateus of Palamecia, King of the Irminonians and Ostrovirs, Protector of Oycumen and Defender of the Faith. Even though it was initially thought to be distasteful that he minted coins in his name, built a palace, and ordered books to be copied and written, it is of no doubt that he would go on to truly earn his title. In 277, he came to the Kingdom of the Vesivirs where he asked the Kungingaz Klovik to pledge his fealty as a subject of the Empire after defeating the invaders of Andokos once more and establishing a borderland there. He went on to Ostrovir Magna with his ally Klovik to conquer the Kingdoms of the Ostrovirs, such as Amboise, Cravant, and Tharingia. He had to spend years putting down rebellion after rebellion as the dwarves protested the imposition of alien taxes, political rule, and the encroaching church. A different branch of Na'zyr had also formed in Cytannia and had become popular in Aquilos and Ostrovir, which was spreading through monasteries in northern Oycumen and were considered somewhat heretical by the church in Ezatinsr. This, in turn, would be the most pressing concern if it wasn't for the constant raids by the Italaiset on the northern coasts of the empire.

-As a reward for their service, Mateus granted his loyal soldiers large estates from which to raise taxes and men for their Emperor. And although he toyed with the idea of invading Cytannia, Mateus deemed it too expensive and time-consuming to bother with (instead, he carefully arranged to marry into the Kloviks family, which led to the Empire inheriting the kingdom). A new order was taking shape, and even after Mateus died, his sons continued ruling an undivided empire until 336, when due to the bizarre combination of contrasting families and legal systems, the Kingdom of the Vesivirs (later the Kingdom of Vesivir) became independent after two brothers were to inherit the throne. Much later, another Emperor gave another sibling branch control of Burgosia in 463. While still a powerful and large Empire, it has already started to encounter problems as the divided north (Ostrovir) and south (Liguriensis) are difficult to administer, especially as they are kept in a delicate balance considering the north is full of dwarves (who practice according to Insular Na'zyr) and the south full of humans (who follow Orthodox Na'zyr). The beginning of a population expansion and economic growth in the Kingdom of Ostrovir (a title held by the Emperor that covers all Ostrovir dwarves) threatens to upend this balance. The growing (and divided) church with an internationalist outlook and an uppity nobility makes this all the worse. At least peace holds with the unfriendly Kingdom of Kiradai.

SayiteFlag
Native Hunter - The Most Serene Republic of Gor'lan
Capital: Gilgamesh
Culture: Sayite
State Religion: Saya
Race: Goblin

-At the onset of the third age, the position of the Gor'lan is exceedingly grim. With their once great empire reduced to cinders and broken up, it would have taken a miracle to bring about a change. But in 101, that miracle happened when Aclary invaded Nigasand in the largest war in recorded history. Vast numbers of mercenaries from Gor'lan were hired during the war to fight on both sides and, when they returned, they had brought much valuable experience with them. The revival began after a grizzled veteran warned the goblins of the ambitious general Dil Amlak who he had seen in action and who was reputed to have never lost a single battle. This veteran was Olkuig, who had personally commanded a portion of the navy and had been engaged in numerous raids on coastal towns and in sieges throughout the Flovis valley. Speaking strongly, he convinced the merchants, major families, and the landed to travel to Gilgamesh where they convened a council in 122 and agreed to finance the construction of a new navy and army that would bring about their former glory and restore the old trade routes. With trade at its lowest level due to the Nigasand-Aclary wars, the time was ripe to seize the seas.

-This great council also changed the basic nature of their society too. Gone were the old laws, and now came in an entirely novel system of government. A constitution was written for the first time, explicitly stating the basic principles that would govern the whole nation. Two separate bodies were formed, with the Council of Princes acting as an executive and ultimate legal authority that is elected from the Yur'kal of citizens, acting broadly as a legislative body. At various times, the Council of Princes is allowed to directly appoint random individuals into their ranks (often giving them semi-hereditary posts), a tactic used to help reel in some of the disinterested landowners and merchants from further afield. With a genuine stake in the future of the country, they began by giving Olkuig considerable power to enact his reforms and military campaigns. He started by immediately pardoning a large number of pirates in return for them agreeing to become privateers, acting under a license. Next he not only rebuilt the navy, but bought a considerable number of old boats, and then declared that the first goal of his was to restore control over the warlords who had refused the call to come to Gilgamesh.

-Starting in 126, Olkuig hired a number of elven spies and assassins to target the main leaders of Jar'val, Sen'les, and Gil'esh. Sen'les was formerly under protection of Nigasand, but as a result of the war had lost this protection. Their weak navy was incapable of preventing any intrusion, and so the warlord surrendered in return for a palace and a permanent position on the Council of Princes once he realised that Nigasand would be unable to help him. Over the next decade, Olkuig then exerted much effort on bringing back Jar'val through a series of brutal naval skirmishes and a siege of the island fortress of Inchkappie that controlled one of the major straits. It refused to give in, for it had gardens and collected enough water by rain that it could hold out for years. A total blockade (and thus a siege) was impossible, and so in 128, Olkuig found a way to force them to surrender by locating an underwater bank nearby. Upon this, he built an artillery platform for catapults and other fearsome machines of war, which he used to rain buckets of flammable oils, later known as Goblin fire, and heavy boulders onto the fort. Eventually, the inhabitants surrendered and, without the protection of the fortress, the merchants of Jar'val gave support to an assassin who murdered the warlord. The next one in power quickly surrendered and was brought into the fold of the republic.

-By 148, all of the warlords had been subdued, allowing for the Gor'lan to make one final assault on the Kingdom of Robbliya. Unfortunately, this would happen when a mighty warlord to their south had unified all of Notos under his banner and, within a few years, brought even Nigasand to its knees. Olkuig didn't live to see these wars, many of which went poorly for the goblins as fleet after fleet battered the Republic and eventually led to the loss of the whole of Sen'les and Jar'val. After the collapse of the Kiratain and their replacement by the Kaganate of Kiratania, the Kiratan Kagans later conquered much of former Gil'esh and conducted regular raids on Gor'lan until they were paid tribute to go away. Eventually, in 218, even Gilgamesh was besieged by the armies of the unstoppable Malikdom of Notos. The invaders originally intended to scale the walls using long ladders on their ships, but upon reaching the walls, they were set ablaze by “Goblin fire”, while a vast chain was pulled up around the mouth of the bay where they had entered. Trapped and in a panic, the fleet was destroyed while the besieging force was left without regular supply lines. Despite looting much of the countryside around Gilgamesh, they took heavy losses from disease and cold during the winter and were forced to leave after a large contingent of gnomish and orcish auxiliaries rebelled and left to go home.

-In 245, the time was ripe for one last final series of wars by the capable Vasiel of Gil'esh. Although wars with Robbliya had dominated much of their military efforts, the Gor'lan had never really been able to oust the gnomes from their homes for good. Seeking to rectify this, Vasiel began by signing formal peace treaties with the Malikdom of Notos for the first time, in which he accepted their claims to Sen'les and Jar'val in return for respecting goblin control north of here. Sadarans and Sayites were to be treated with some degree of freedom in both nations too, as it became increasingly apparent that annihilation of the other was impossible. Vasiel rose a great army and invaded Robbliya, but he took a very different approach compared to the older generals. Unlike a general campaign, he instead opted to annex the country piece by piece in a slow and methodical style while also capturing gnomes and turning them against the Kingdom. The eventual result was that the desperate King of Robbliya gambled everything on a single battle which he lost, especially after Vasiel made many offers to the nobility of retaining their lands if they switched sides. Those who refused were treated brutally by being put to work as slaves in mines or as galley slaves after they had been castrated. Numerous goblins were then sent to the country to recolonize the area, and by the end of the fifth century, the gnomes were slowly on the decline as their names, language, and culture assimilated into the Republic. To celebrate the victory, grand public works were undertaken in Gilgamesh, using the wealth that had been looted in the campaign. Among these was an academy where the magically adept could hone their skills and study the arcane arts. The science of magic was being born, and they discovered that gemstones are somehow connected with it all.

AclaryFlag
Mr. Face - Kingdom of Aclary
Capital: Cayerus
Culture: Aclerian
State Religion: Saya
Race: Human

-As the world got a little cooler, it also got a little drier. First it was irrigation, and then when the rains were shorter and less frequent, the peasantry began switching to pasturage and stopped repairing the dykes. To the east, the formerly poor lands became much better suited to agriculture. The inevitable result was migration as tens of thousands of hapless peasants trekked east to find a new home. In the heartland of the empire came a new crisis as towns shrivelled up and died. Peasant rebellions became common, as did uprisings of militant Sayites, led by the odd priest who proclaimed some new form of heresy. Trade declined, and the administration found itself incapable of ruling over it all. Other migrants went west to settle the coastline and near to the arid areas where they could scratch some kind of living from the soil. Unfortunately for the crown, these calamities proved its undoing. The last pagan communities vanished around this time, but not without leaving one final mark upon history. The leader of the Mairari tribe (nominally a vassal in the western plains) was forced to either give up before the authorities and accept the faith, or be considered to be an enemy of the crown. With a heavy heart, Dil Amlak agreed to allow missionaries. Upon arrival, they began to preach the word of Saya and convinced many of the people to give up their old barbaric customs. Dil travelled to Damot (a religious port town on the northern coasts) to find a way to reconcile his old beliefs with that of the new faith. He was told by the priests how best to follow the faith, and how to serve his king as well. Dil Amlak returned home spouting the decrees of the encroaching civilization.

-Demenfes II invaded Nigasand in a religious war in 101, while Dil Amlak was forced to work on gathering up men for the war. Already unpopular, he had to employ the full extent of his knowledge and strength to unite the tribes and bring a suitable levy for his king. Arriving in the nick of time, he joined the main war host that went west to Nigasand. He soon gained a reputation as a fearsomely intelligent general who was unfortunately mismatched with his peers. The other generals delighted in cruelties upon the inhabitants of Nigasand, by burning their crops, and after capturing people, they tortured them until they revealed where their valuables were hidden. Their harems swelled in size, filled with women now made slaves and raped. Dil Amlak grew so disillusioned that, in the cold winter of 110, he went on a pilgrimage to a monastery in the mountains by himself. On the way, he fainted during the cold night and had a dream with Rosaya, who revealed many religious truths and told him that his people had a special destiny, before showing the Nigasand army in the desert and marching on his homeland. Upon rewaking, he went back to his men and commanded them to follow him back to Aclary against official orders. Zemenfes was about to order him a traitor when news came of the invasion. As all sides rushed back to Aclary, Dil Amlak chose to ignore the orcs when he discovered that many of the Mairari had been captured in the war and ransomed by Triktos. Zemenfes refused to pay the ransom as he cited having not enough money, leading to their deaths and to Amlak heading back home with his men. Triktos had laid siege to Cayerus, but shortly afterwards, the forces of Demenfes arrived and forced them to leave. In the brutal week-long Battle of Mastaba (127), Zemenfes deployed the Kiratain mercenaries to pick at the flanks and to drive Triktos away from fresh water supplies while diverting rivers using military engineers. Finally, Zemenfes moved his men down onto the plains and forced Nigasand to a final clash atop an old burial mound. But during the battle, a large part of the Aclerian left flank peeled away and Triktos ordered his camels to chase them down while the rest of his men surrounded the Aclerians on the burial mound. But it was a ruse, for Zemenfes ordered not only for the left flank to feign a retreat, but to also break the dams nearby. The waters burst forth and drowned many of the Orcs, who panicked once they realised the Alcerians were on high ground. Triktos himself was forced to remove his armour and fled naked, bitterly complaining about the loss of his harem. The Kiratain mercenaries finished off the remaining forces sent after the feigned rout, before they came to Zemenfes and demanded payment.

-Zemenfes paid up as promised, but as news returned from Flovis that not only had Hekatos raised an army and retaken most of the cities by 125, he had also caused the other Kiratain mercenaries enough grief that they mutinied and were heading back to demand payment. Meeting with them on the northern route from Flovis at the fork of a river, Zemenfes was unable to bring up enough payment for all of the mercenaries, as it had transpired that Hekatos had made a deal with them shortly after the new year of 127. Realising he had been tricked once more, Zemenfes ordered his men to disarm the remaining Kiratain mercenaries on his side, which led to a mutiny and the beginning of the Battle of the Fork. Hekatos struck with his allied Kiratain mercenaries and, in the confusion, he met with Zemenfes on the field. Spotting his golden crown embedded with a massive Garnet gem with smaller rubies and sapphires along their sides, Hekatos used a hammer to smash the crown and the skull of Zemenfes, the last Great King of the old world. Upon seeing their King die, the remaining forces fled. Unable to pay the Kiratain mercenaries, Hekatos let them to ransack Cayerus and other major cities before they returned back to the Kaganate upon news of the Kagan dying. Hekatos went home and signed a peace treaty with the son of Zemenfes, Yemane IV, who he installed as a puppet king in 129. It would be all over, save for Dil Amlak – who had risen in open rebellion and declared independence.

-Dil Amlak had become the centre of a new religion in his time back home. With influence from Saya, Rage, and Kiratain soldiers he had met on his travels, a new faith had formed and grown strong by 132. Calling themselves Sadarans, they had seized numerous trade caravans and extended their rebellion over a wide area. After another dream, he was told by Rosaya to go forth and conquer in his name, to bring all nations under his benevolent light. Dil Amlak moved upon the Aclary homeland once more, merely content to occupy rather than to burn and destroy as his predecessors had. The common people rejoiced at his arrival as he brought peace and stability once more. Yemane sent a pitiful force to meet him outside of Cayerus but much of it deserted and fell apart after just one battle. He sent a letter to Hekatos begging for help and so, in 136, he arrived with his army by the Hitimokes river. Amlak utilized tactics and stratagems even the greatest living warrior among all orcs could not have seen. Pinned down by the river, he was prevented from a full engagement as the mobile horseguard of Dil Amlak was said to have been guided by divine inspiration when they rode to one part of the lines to hammer their opponents and shower arrows on their enemies before pulling back. Keeping the numerically superior force at bay, Amlak spent a week letting his foes grow exhausted while each night he ordered more and more fires put out. On the last day, Amlak then hid his cavalry and had the centre of the line pull back. Hekatos was desperate for a victory and so fell into the trap, pushing the centre before realising that Amlak had sent his cavalry around to attack the right flank of the Nigasand army. Folding in on itself, the Nigasand army broke and fled the field of battle. The result was a complete victory for Amlak, who declared himself Malik of all Notos and proceeded to march on Nigasand proper. There, he conquered much of the nation and created the largest empire ever seen. Yemane went into permanent exile.

-But it would not last for long. After giving a speech on the steps of the palace in Cayerus, he retired from politics to give religious sermons throughout his domains while his closest followers ruled over the empire. He died peacefully in his sleep in 140, leading to the outbreak of yet another civil war amongst his followers over a succession crisis. His main disciple Damaht became the next Malik after winning the war, and finished the conquest of Nigasand. He however thought himself unworthy to hold the title of Malik and so decreed that a book would be collected up of his predecessor's sayings and sermons to serve as a guide for the Sadarans. The book was declared the official Malik while the ruler was to take a secondary role as an “advisor” to the book which was deemed the absolute authority, becoming the orthodox text for the Malikdom of Notos in 176. Damaht ordered an invasion of Andokos in the southwest of Oycumen and brought it under his rule, and later wars with Palamecia, Gor'lan and successor states of Irminonia led to major initial gains throughout the 2nd century before being ultimately repulsed in the mid 3rd century. Several more dynasties followed before the empire broke down into three separate empires – of which Aclary was one. In a major uprising in 473, a native dynasty of Aclerian Sayites reclaimed their independence after exploiting protests from the nobility generated from heavy taxes and feudal levies. The restored Kingdom of Aclary is nothing compared to its height centuries ago, with the balance of power shifted significantly against her favour and many of her inhabitants having become Sadarans. However, much of Jar'val came under Aclary administration and during the fight for independence ownership of these lands passed over – some of them wealthy. It remains to be seen how her new kings will utilise them.

AquilosFlag
Killbane - Kingdom of Aquilos
Capital: Halingar
Culture: Cytanni
State Religion: Na'zyr (Insular/Ingarinism)
Race: Human

-With the birth of a new era came a new religion from the south. The Na'zyr faith found fertile ground among people who watched all that they held dear become slowly undone. The promise of an eternal afterlife with all its associated rewards was alluring to many. Although missionaries appeared sporadically beforehand, in the first century they really came into their own where they set up monasteries and began converting the people. But, as international travel and trade disintegrated and geographical isolation came into play, the Na'zyr church in Cytannia began to diverge significantly from that of the mainland. Borrowing heavily from ancient Cytanni mythology, the two central figures of Ohm Cytae (represented by the sun) and Gihr (represented by the earth) were incorporated into the new faith. God was composed of both these figures, who were both distinct but were the same “substance” of God. Ohm was considered to have created the skies and races of the world in addition to the numerous heroes of ancient mythology. Heroes are regarded in a similar manner to the holy men of Irminonia, who passed on to become one of the stars in the heavens (each hero is represented by a ball of flame behind the head). Most of the orthodox features of Na'zyr, such as the religious laws and administrative structure, was retained, although this is not enough to prevent the mainlanders accusing the insular Na'zyr of heresy.

-During the first century, these missionaries were successful in not only converting the Cytanni, but additionally all of the kings and chieftains (big or small) throughout the island. Conversion wasn't complete until the the mid third century, but by that point, a major monastic network had grown and entrenched itself within the fabric of most people's lives. They were successful in convincing people that High King Ingar was chosen by Ohm to lead the Cytanni to a new homeland before he died and became the North Star, an act which eventually granted the position of religious advisor to the High Council of the King. They also made efforts to incorporate traditional imagery (such as lions, dragons, and wolves) into the religion in addition to promoting many stories of brave missionaries (some of them also being warriors). As the climate cooled and the raids from across the seas intensified, people and their faith came under strain (even with heroic stories to give them inspiration). Without guidance from the continent, their faith evolved to suit the needs of conversion and of the brutal and harsh world that was created in the wake of the collapse of the powerful kingdoms. Waves of famine, cool summers, and freezing winters drove ideal growing conditions to the south. Eventually, the invading Italaiset elves began to establish footholds from which they slowly picked away at the decaying hulk that was once Cytannia.

-By the second century, tribes from the north of Cytannia, and from the eastern island of Iverju picked away at the edges while elves set up powerful bases in Iverju from where they conducted ever more aggressive raids. By the middle of the second century, they were establishing fortified towns on the locations of old hillforts along with powerful regional kingdoms. Eventually, Cytannia failed to be a kingdom of any worth as central authority collapsed after the failure of High King Anntor to beat the Italaiset in the critical Battle of Bondberry Hill in 236. Had he succeeded it would have been likely they'd have repelled the invaders for good, but with the loss they were emboldened further and a trickle turned into a flood. Faced with such calamities and unable to push back the invading Italaiset elves, High King Karaedr III ordered his people to pack up and to invade the mainland where they would set up colonies and a new home for his fellow haplotype-sharing subjects. Organizing a grand host of 30,000, an invasion force went to Aquilos in 251 and seized control of several major towns before Karaedr called it a day and put his feet up in a hillfort he named Halingar. He never finished the job and kept putting it off, but he set in motion an irreversible tide. Over the years, many thousands of Cytanni migrated to Aquilos where they established a number of heavily fortified towns. Due in part to the successful evangelical activities of the missionaries of the Na'zyr faith, the region was wholly saturated with monasteries within a century of Karaedr founding Halingar.

-Even this wasn't enough to escape the elves. They kept on raiding throughout the centuries (as did pirates and slavers from Notos who paid visits), and even after they died down in the fifth century, there were still occasional attacks by smaller groups of elves long afterwards. As a consequence, most people lived in heavily fortified towns, as much a consequence of these elves as was the incursions by the Visivirs and later attempts by the Palamecian Empire to incorporate the Kingdom. Eventually, Palamecia gave up and allowed the Cytanni to live in peace (in return for a few tributes), although the movements of the near-heretical monks into the Empire where they established new monasteries was considered to be intensely grating and only barely accepted due to the fact that more pressing concerns (such as the wars in Ostrovir with dwarves and elves) were taking up their attention. In the meanwhile, the Kingdom of Aquilos (or Lesser Cytannia as some have taken to calling it) settles down. The migrants eventually stop moving after the new Kingdoms of the Midnight Isles eventually stabilize (with it stopping entirely after the elves were converted to the Na'zyr faith). Removed from their homeland, the Cytanni begin the long process of creating a new home for themselves on the continent. They intermarry with the local nobles, build up new houses, and clear lands for their own benefit (or kill the previous occupants). After several centuries they have firmly established themselves here, although distressingly a concurrent process went on in their old home whereby the Cytanni were slowly displaced at first by the Italaiset. But the ultimate victory would go not to them, but to the descendants of the Scadutians who would make up the majority of the population, assimilating both elves and Cytanni in equal measure.

MizukanFlag
Deltasquid - Mizukan
Capital: Sakasu
Culture: Sakasunese
State Religion: Fey-Verenism
Race: Elf

-Around the first century, Mizukan began to shift yet again into a new kind of society, largely under the influence of the little coins minted by dwarves. This was a society driven by money and the relentless search for profit as above all the desire to create wealth became core to those who were in power. Starting with the acknowledgement that the country could not have its economy directly administered from Sakasu, a new code of laws was written up that decentralized the administration and introduced a standard legal system throughout the archipelago. Anybody was now free to make money, but now taxes had to be paid, and all major financial accounts had to be recorded no matter how small the merchant was. The obvious result of this was the explosion in the demand for paper, ink, and literacy to the extent that massive areas of land were cleared for cotton farms while papermakers became an established sight in every town. Chou prices declined steadily over this time as the markets became saturated, but this did not deter the merchants whatsoever. They began to fund ambitious overseas voyages to Qivdenna where they established a number of trading posts. Unfortunately, their plans for colonization backfired as over the years many Qivdenna chieftains began to organise their lands to turn a profit so that they could secure valuable goods. They soon kept standing armies, which blocked out the Sakasu for good.

-Seeking another way to turn a profit and expand, the Sakasu began by taking over the markets in Skrall and then in the Gan Empire, before they sailed west to Dvergfit and then as far west as the Mandarabad Kingdom next to Skagosa. Along the way, they invented a number of novel means of navigation or otherwise improved on them. Shops were soon selling accurate maps while any sailor worth his salt would always carry a Kamal with him for navigation (a piece of wood on a string). Other merchants, being unable to burden the risk, came about with an exceedingly amazing way of getting in on the craze. A company was hired out to chart a ship full of goods to some distant port, while any interested party was free to buy shares in the enterprise at a fraction of the cost of outfitting the expedition itself. The model was so successful that Mizukan quickly grew into a powerful commercial behemoth by the third century, effectively dominating all seaborne trade in Jiuan. Following behind them were soldiers and naval ships that helped the monarchs of Dvegr reunify their shattered kingdom. The wealth poured into the nation and soon large and efficient estates were established on rational, profitable principles. The population doubled, and then doubled again, with the treasury estimating (based on tax receipts) that around 7 million elves now lived under the benevolent rule of the city of Sakasu. Of course numerous farmsteads had by this point turned into large villages, while what were once villages were now cities in their own right, competing for trade with the capital and collecting their own taxes. To bring back control to the capital, anybody who paid a certain amount of monies in taxes was granted the right to vote for a senate in the city which held the power to present laws to the Queen, who could accept or reject them. When this system was introduced only a few merchants and nobles could vote, but by now at least a hundred thousand ratepayers were eligible for the franchise.

-The feyfolk (along with some peasants) were among those who were so thoroughly disgusted by this that they chose to rebel. Simple fields and hunting grounds quickly gave way to palatial estates and vast plantations which intruded on the formerly wild lands. Attempts to appease them with festivals celebrating traditional culture along with more goodwill gifts fell on deaf ears. Barns were set afire, farm animals killed, merchants were attacked, and the feyfolk brought forth floods and rockfalls on the roadbuilders in the area as they felt their dominion over nature threatened. The forests receded rapidly as the navy swallowed up existing timber stands, while the advent of Verenism conflicted badly with the peasantry. Travelling Humma monks inflamed tensions further, and as the nobility grew more concerned with profit, they began to throw their former followers off the land to make way for farms and hunting grounds. Those that remained flocked to the cities which began breeding grounds for disease and fire risks. Fires were common as were outbreaks of illness which devastated the population. Although by the fifth century the Verenist faith was victorious, the town militias and personal guards of the merchant princes were unable to maintain peaceful conditions, especially when droughts or floods ruined the fields and forced up food prices. Eventually, to control the situation, the merchant-nobility (who were merging into a single class) began to hire professional soldiers to put down the uprisings and to protect their assets in the countryside as feyfolk attacks increased. Back at home, the civil administration grew so large and complex that the Queen found herself increasingly incapable of controlling the beast she had created. Wild and risky, anything could happen as the merchants began planning expeditions east of Qivdenna into the unknown.

-The early fifth century was a time of brutal warfare between two of the major powers of the east: the Zuida Dynasty and the Skrall Empire. But the advent of dragons proved to be most terrifying, for some of them had allied with the Gan people and now fought on their side. As a result in the wars between the Zuida and Skrall, the latter came out poorly even accounting for the efforts of their allies. Mizukan sent numerous fleets, many of which were burned by the dragon or captured by the Bronze Bell Navy. A second war in 434 proved to be more in the favour of the allied coalition after the mountain dwarves found a way to kill the dragon. Not only was a terrifying weapon destroyed, but so too was the morale of the Gan forces. The Zuida dynasty was eventually defeated and destroyed, with their emperor committing suicide as rebels came for his head. Mizukan was once again unchallenged on the seas until 472, when a new dynasty reunified Gan and brought their most terrifying armies to bear upon the allied coalition once more. This time they had somehow acquired more dragons which were wisely sent away from Skrall to Mizukan instead. There, they burned the whole fleet and terrorized the archipelago while the Bronze Bell Navy blockaded the main ports. Even after a peace treaty was signed, the prestige of Mizukan was reduced and her Queen was forced to send tribute to the Emperor of Gan. Her armies were shattered and the confidence of the public was ruined as they blamed foreign religions and ideas for their misery. Many merchants lost most of their monies in the wars and, with the rise of the Bronze Bell Navy, it was getting hard to maintain control over the trade routes. Erosion and flooding caused much damage to agriculture, while feyfolk continued to encourage peasant rebellions that forced the construction of fortified manors in the countryside. By the opening of the sixth century, the Queen was losing control over the countryside.

UruthiFlag
Zillamaster55 - Uruthi Confederation
Capital: Gül-Kab'an
Culture: Uruthi
State Religion: Eternal Plains
Race: Demigiant

-After the upheavals at the end of the second age, the third age began in much the same miserable way. Despite frequent cold snaps, the Uruthi had figured out how to produce enough food and to preserve it for the future. They also managed to adapt to the local environment, as they grew rye and oats, along with turnips. Pigs began to be kept (usually in pens adjacent to houses), agreeing to become future food in return for being given anything the Uruthi themselves do not wish to eat in the meanwhile. Recovery is slow, but their diets begin to improve once more, and soon this triggers other changes in the Uruthi. At certain time of the year there is enough surplus that an authority figure (typically an elder) often becomes responsible for distributing these bounties (taking a bigger share for himself and his family) while also deciding on what is done with the leftover. They order pits dug to store food and they begin to avoid working in the fields as there is enough food from everybodies collective work to feed the “chieftain”. Three centuries later, and they have become commonplace.

-The birth of the fifth century saw some new problems emerge among the Uruthi. They have grown in numbers, and because they like to stay in one place and farm, this has led to disputes over land. Many Uruthi families have started to treat land as a personal possession, have they not lived upon it and used it for their own families for years? Is it not essential to their lives? Others disagree, and the quarrelling over who owns what led to many villages asking the chieftains to arbitrate these disputes. As competition rises, some of these chiefs have been forced to bring together ad hoc warrior groups under their authority. They largely protect villages from each other, and also tend to help lead raids. As the centuries slowly slid by, the Uruthi slowly grew into a patchwork of simple chiefdoms. They raised warriors to fight, built fortified villages, and began working with stone. However, some of the chieftains have now started to extract tribute from villages instead of constantly raiding them. These in turn are divided up and shared among the chieftains supporters. It is a new era, and as the weather warms, the Uruthi begin to stir.

KiradaiFlag
ThePinkPanzer - Kingdom of Kiradai
Capital: Kiratanan
Culture: Delshor
State Religion: Kirata
Race: Human

-The Kaganate was not meant to last forever. Even before Kiratain stopped breathing, his empire was slowly coming to pieces. It shattered like a pane of glass with shards that flew outwards in all directions to lacerate the last standing nations of the world. Savonic goblins and Ostrovir dwarves were among the lucky ones who would go on to later dominate large parts of the world after they stopped fighting for the Kagan. But the fate of the Delshor was not as rosy. The most loyal generals of Kiratain split up their forces and went west to batter at the last lands before settling down to form a multitude of robber-bandit kingdoms that profited by plunder. Ironically, it wasn't the powerful Irminonia that brought them down, but it was temporary coalitions of barbarian kinglets that eventually forced them out of the west and back to the plains whence they came. Only in the fertile plains of Bannon did a sliver of the horde settle down while the rest returned to the steppe. Unlike the other generals, Krekak the Kiratan was clever enough to play off his enemies against one another and knew when to back down when he felt he had played the wrong card. Collecting tribute and occasionally engaging in minor wars with his neighbors, he set a precedent for the future leaders of the horde. Stability arrived, but the horde was divided and weak, united only in name and with real power held by regional clans.

-Although Kiratain was dead, his legacy would live on. Inspired by his greatness, the numerous elders of the steppe tribes began to elevate him into godhood. He was claimed at first to slaughter dozens of men single-handedly, before he was eventually reputed to have been capable of fighting oxen and bears. He ascended into godhood within two centuries of his passing, and so became the central figure in a new religion. Viewed as a direct physical incarnation of the spirits, prayers were now said in the name of the greatest masked man in history. Children were told tales of him, and along with religious commandments, these found their way into a codified text that became integral to the new faith. Among them was a command not to represent him without his mask, or to have his name defiled. The punishment was death, and although the Kagans were willing to tolerate many different races and nations under their control, they were not willing to allow a transgression such as blasphemy ever stand untouched. An interesting oddity of the religion was that those who did not worship Kiratain had to pay a much larger tribute than those who did. Consequently, the effect was that many of the maskless nobles and chieftains who lived under the Kagans converted to the faith after undergoing the trials of becoming a masked man. They had to submit to various other forms of submission considered humiliating as well, but considering that a nominal peace held, they were happy enough to accept as they would be left alone to administer their own affairs.

-Eventually, another threat came from the east when a new horde came into conflict with the old. The Kandars were steppe horsemen who, in the third century, had begun fighting with the eastern Delshor tribes. Unfortunately, the children of Kiratain were too divided to oppose and, by the end of that century, had lost everything save for Bannon. In the meantime, their bored soldiers had largely become mercenaries who travelled all over the world to serve lords who offered handsome sums. In the years 101 through 128, they played a major role in the Nigasand-Aclary wars before they returned home with such wealth that each soldier carried enough gold to last him a lifetime. Spent generously and frivolously, it leaked out like a sponge into Bannon where it helped preserve some vestiges of the old monetary system. A century later, the Kagans were still minting coins in their name as Kagans of the Kiratain Kaganate, but this changed after the Kandar invasions. The Kandars usurped the title to become the next Kaganate of their own (adopting most of the language, culture, and religion in the process), virtually adopting all the important parts of their predecessors so that they could manage a smooth transition of power as one overfed family of parasites was replaced by another. The years dragged on and soon the Delshor on the Bannon plains began to change. They still worshipped Kiratain and spoke their ancestral language, but they now farmed in addition to rearing livestock. The great horde eventually broke down into a system of local warlords who gave horses and men to their overlords, before finally the title of Kagan was dropped and they became Kings. Although they are now Kings of Kiradai (the new name for Bannon), they still boast extensive ties to their ancestral origins and the steppe nations. Most prominently of all the horse is still central to their nation as are the masks, and now their unstoppable cavalry is even more fearsome. Decked in scalemail and a metal masked helmet, with heavy lances in addition to their bows, they are among the most powerful cavalrymen in the world. A new century was dawning, and with it came the Age of the Knights.

Notes: This turn was an eclectic mess and was written at different points in time and had to be revised a lot and may appear to be messy at times. Work is being done to fix any issues on this version of the turn. Turns after this should be more consistent and work better.

Turn 14: 500 to 625 TAM

Cantigas de Santiago de Compostela01:14:27

Cantigas de Santiago de Compostela

Turn music

RealmsofOrbisTurn14PoliticalMap

Political map of Turn 14

RealmsofOrbisTurn14OrganizedReligionMap

Organized religion map of Turn 14

RealmsofOrbisTurn14InfoMap

Info map of Turn 14

Post link: https://facepunch.com/showthread.php?t=1530432&p=51288679&viewfull=1#post51288679


Turn quote: Do there exist many worlds, or is there but a single world? This is one of the most noble and exalted questions in the study of Nature. - Albertus Magnus

Events of the years 500 to 625 Third Age of Man (TAM):

-Every day the memories of the past slip away. Where once vast cities stood in much of Oycumen stood, there are but large towns made not from marble – but from timber and clay. Dark clouds shrouded much of civilization, a world doomed to the cycle of the rise and fall of nations. But this time – something was different. High stone towers of churches began to pierce through these clouds. A new civilization was gestating underneath, a vast behemoth of over a hundred million souls that lumbered onwards like a leviathan. Numerous wars, internal conflicts, and the invasion of the masked men did little but dent the intricate exteriors of this massive clockwork machine. Slowly but surely it lumbered onwards, dragging the rest of the world with it. The simple act of procreation was fuel enough for this machine, a fuel that compounded upon itself until it unleashed a tidal wave that swept all before it away. More people now live in Oycumen than in at the peak of Old Irminonia. They know of a vast world, their knowledge imperfect but there nonetheless. Cones of sugar and bags of chou are now in the west. The techniques of winemaking spread east. It took six thousand years since the discovery of how to make wine for it to spread, and a thousand years since the advent of sugar for both antipodes to have their sweetcakes. Within a century of the discovery of the basic principles of magic – everybody knows. Already the clouds are fading, and from atop the towers of the churches one can see further than the ancients ever could – something few have yet to realize.

-This century saw Oycumen torn apart by religious conflict that was ultimately resolve in favor of the reforming Na'zyr Grand Patriarch who expanded his remit eastwards and established rule over the north. But as this period closed, there came invaders from Nigasand and Notos who threaten all of Oycumen with conquest. The plains ruled by the fearsome Kagan and the lands of Rob'lan lay witness to a titanic struggle, while nestled amongst all this was the King of Kiradai seeking a way to distinguish his nation and expand its influence. In the south Notos was subject to a lethargy only interrupted by Insain Bagu who inspired all of Notos to go forth and conquer, while even further south – there lay primitive despots and exiles seeking to make themselves the masters of a forgotten corner of the world. The great ocean of the east and the Empires clustering throughout and around it had multiplied their wealth a thousand times over and become truly majestic. They invented, discovered, innovated, and brought together a whole world. These superpowers struggled for control while an archipelago of conflicted elves struggled to keep pace. All around this world in this century, people came to know of the names of the great nations and their struggles. The next century would determine which of them would ultimately prevail.

-The world population is 320 million.

-In Oycumen, we are currently in the high postclassical period, while in Jiuan, we are currently in the time of the Bīng yǔ huǒ dynasty.

VerenicDvergfitFlag
Damian0358 - Dvergfit
Capital: Miklagard (de jure), Diplómstaðr (de facto)
Culture: Dvegr
State Religion: Verenism
Race: Dwarf

-The world was growing, and so too were the minds of those who lived under King Siglafráð. Much like his recent predecessors, he was a rather weak fellow. Brought into power in 496 at the age of 6 when his father died in a hunting accident, Siglafráð was made king partly because he was approved by the Gan emissary and partly because his mother considered him more pliant than his mentally ill elder brother (who later choked to death on a nosebleed after getting drunk on wine at a wedding). He spent much of his early reign reading books and playing with cats, but in the year 502 something happened that would change his life and the rest of recorded history for all time. A merchant who was contracted to supply food to the royal household brought the King a small treat. Sugar was grown in Mandarabad and was used like a kind of spice there, but somebody had invented a food made entirely from it, known as toffee. Siglafráð loved the toffees so much that he ordered regular deliveries. But his mother disapproved and forbade him from indulging so much. It took until 507 for the little king to throw off his mother and everybody who supported her, much to the horror of the Gan emissary and the other courtiers who considered him weak. Immediately after coming into true power, Siglafráð allied himself with the merchants and ordered the sugar canes to be brought to his Kingdom so that it may be grown and dwarves could enjoy sweets of their own.

-Over the next few years, a few experimental farms were established here and there. It was discovered that the land was good for sugarcane in the hotter tropical climates, and hence farms began to sprout up in those locations. Soon sugar cones were being carted and shipped down the roads and on the backs of mules over the kingdom. It was starting to become popular among everyone too. Unlike in Mandarabad where the sugar had been used as carefully as one would use saffron, the dwarves cared not a whit for delicate cooking. As soon as one could buy sugar from a marketplace, dwarves began pouring, stirring, spooning, and mixing it into everything. The culinary world exploded and in the cities a whole craze of experimentalism took root. Some strange fellows even began mixing it in cups of chou with milk, which made the drink actually quite tasty and palatable to even children. The sugar craze spread so rapidly that toasts were drank to the good health of the sweet toothed king, and black teeth became fashionable. Those who could not afford or liked sugar made efforts to color their teeth black. By the time this king was in his thirties he had already become immensely popular and wealth, for his estates had been geared towards growing it and the profits of trade were immense. He still paid the tribute regardless, and although the physical burden was slight (especially with the healthy profits), it was still a sore spot for him and the patriots of the realm. One of the other problems was the fact that because his sweet tooth had driven him to be proactive in trade, it had caused him to begin directly meddling in the affairs of the state. Against considerable opposition he forced through the creation of a unitary legal code for the whole nation – largely abolishing the old legal systems that held on the individual islands. The relatives of merchants began appearing in the court and to hold offices. These were dwarves with a hard nose for numbers and accounting, and they began to organize their duties as they did a business. The Kingdom thus prospered under their careful eyes and inkstained fingers.

-Due to his tastes, the King demanded more expeditions be sent out to find new lands that may hold new culinary delights. Spice was becoming ever more important to trade, as was the extracts of many plants considered wholesome in their flavors. Notos was known as an unexplored land, one to the far east that traders from Aclary had travelled to in the past. Most of their stories concerned a land populated by near-savages who hunted animals and dug roots for their food – little good for trade. Some of the less violent ones had settled near the coasts and grew some crops or fished, and built huts from mud and rocks while engaging in minor skirmishes with other tribes to capture livestock and slaves. Known as “Sutteabad” by the merchants, this was rendered in the Dvegr language as "Sutbjǫð" by those from Dvergfit who began to explore the land for themselves. Although warned about the difficulty of establishing themselves here, the dwarves did not heed these warnings. A trading post was established near to one of the tribes and it became hopelessly impoverished and was often the target of raids. In other areas they encountered disease, and the local tribes were either unwilling to trade or had little to offer in return. Some areas were good for cultivation with fine soils, but the lack of labor meant it was hard to establish farms. The vast majority of merchants instead focused on more profitable runs such as those with the goblins of Gor'lan. New to both sugar and chou, they quickly became fond of both and began buying it up for resale. Of course most of Oycumen has yet to experience these delights, and many difficulties exist in making and moving it. Although the able administrators of the Kingdom have improved the roads, allocated funds for the renovation and expansion of dockyards, invested in lighthouses, and adopted the trading practices of the Sakasu elves there is still only so much land that can be worked. Either one can find land without workers or workers without land to work.

-Siglafráð was a good king, remembered by all children alike as the king who enjoyed sweets – but the shadow of the Gan Empire still hung over his realm long after his death. Tribute payments continued, and the merchants who filled the administration preferred to keep the peace instead of rocking the boat. Some committees discussed reforming the military and navy – but nothing came of it as they had no idea of what to do. Ship design did improve however, mostly due to the fresh interchange of ideas between east and west. Even as Mizukan slid into chaos the dwarves were more than capable of assuming the role (Vimme of Skrall managed to help negotiate compensation for all merchants after Sakasu peasants ransacked merchant shipping). Strong ships with a lot of room and requiring only minimal crews were popular and developed at this time – allowing them an edge over the Sakasu elves. Most people generally shared in the wealth, with market towns popping up like mushrooms throughout the century. All manner of coins were minted that peasants and townsmen could use, and by the 620s it was rare to find a village that was more than half a days walk from a marketplace. Travelling fairs popped up, musicians and storytellers roamed the roads, inns sprouted up along the byways, and eventually people in the countryside began learning how to read road and shop signs. It became a tradition to stamp the name Siglafráð onto sugar cones, and as a result he was the first King of the Dvegr who everybody on all the known continents had heard of. It was known he had a sweet tooth.

ImperialSkrallFlag
Pezgod1 - Empire of Skrall and Denna
Capital: New Krellgr
Culture: Skagosi
State Religion: Verenism
Race: Dwarf

-Thousands of years ago, the ancestors of the dwarves of this empire discovered a way to make use of strange gemstones buried deep within the earth. Since then, a confused myriad of quacks, priests, and other assorted weirdos had a monopoly on them. The followers of Jakensin at some later point in time made a breakthrough that until recently had eluded the most esteemed magicians of the Empire. It was known that a particular variety of gemstones had magical abilities locked within them – ones that when activated could confer power on the object or the person using them. In the year 542, a secretive meeting was held between the Runeforgers (what the followers now called themselves) and representatives of the Emperor Thorak, including the distinguished young clerk Vimme. As was usual for the learned, they began by drinking and enjoying themselves rather leisurely before getting down to matters of state. A deal was struck, and a box with five immaculate gemstones were brought forth. Separate runes were carved into each by the Runeforgers, each indicating the speciality of the gem along with a name. These were apparently all the gemstones known to have powers. Rubies, sapphires, amethysts, peridots, and ambers are known to possess powers that can be activated by the holder. The terms of the deal set forth that Runeforgers would hold the monopoly on their production and manufacture, to be sold in return for agricultural products they could not easily grow in the mountains.

-The court magician known by the name of Soltan Skaggs was made responsible for the task of incorporating the new knowledge and gemstones. Overseeing the first delivery he was able to secure a few dozen of these stones, with which he practiced their basic features. Apparently the Runeforgers had figured out how to avoid the malady of the madness by fixing it into a metal frame which (with proper handling) proved to be a useful tool. Rubies were known for their ability to light fires, while sapphires seemed to produce the opposite effect of cooling. But the most interesting curiosity was the peridot gemstone, which (when used to draw a triangle with hand movements) caused somebody nearby to become dazed for a minute. Another magician was messing with a sapphire one day when it caused a powerful wave of cold air to blast outwards, knocking over everyone and smashing a perfectly good bottle of cherry cordial. After several months of this nonsense, Thorak demanded results – he was trying to find a military edge that would prove useful in a war against the Gan Empire. His attempts to expand the navy had been thwarted when the Gan emissaries noticed and demanded the additional ships to be dismantled. Something new was needed, and his court magicians gave a most splendid demonstration of their abilities. Each one held five stones and demonstrated the casting of fire, invisible shields, mind control of a kind, and numerous other tricks which amused him greatly. The order was given to devote vast sums of money to both acquiring more gems and developing their capabilities.

-Unfortunately it turned out that the Empire was hemorrhaging money, and rapidly. The Imperial treasury was effectively bankrupt and in debt to numerous merchants, nobles, and even monarchs. More money was needed, and in a country without money this was difficult – the currency was largely abandoned outside of the cities. To begin fixing this problem, Thorak started with the currency. He appointed the noted clerk Vimme (a former tolls collector and shopkeeper) to fix the problem. People didn't trust the money, and those that did couldn't find small change that they could deal with. To fix this Vimme introduced bronze coins of many different denominations in 545, which he did by personally travelling to markets to watch how people traded and asking them searching questions about how they conducted transactions. The smallest coins were made to match the value of the smallest goods that were bought daily, and denominations were made to match the value of common purchases. Finally, he built new mints and ordered regular shipments of bronze. Within a decade money was back in use, and unlike his predecessors he kept reliable accounts and tracked the production and flows of coinage. It turned out that salt was a big commodity, and so he introduced a small levy on it to raise much needed funds for the state (often being the one to introduce policies, Vimme prepared in advance to take advantage first). Then with the aid of the Emperor he reformed the land tax so that it was a flat tax which cared only for the area of land you owned. While this made the burden (relatively) light on the peasantry, it increased massively on the nobility. Unfortunately this had its own problems. The owners of mines, the traders, and those who kept small but profitable farms won out. Those who owned vast (and unprofitable) lands protested bitterly and lodged complaints or otherwise tried to sell off the worthless lands (such as swamps, wild forest, mountains, poor cropland, etc) to anybody willing to buy (some peasants were given free land so the noble could avoid the taxes). Despite the establishment of many new villages and farmsteads, most of the peasants gave up and abandoned their plots. Consequently large areas of land appeared to lack any legal owners.

-With massive areas now having no legal owners, the state is forced to take them in and administer what amounts to wasteland for its own purposes. But timber is always in demand, and during these years some efforts were made to exploit the wild forests and plant some new ones. The crown established hunting grounds and logging camps, before making deals with merchants for the purchase of timber. As it turned out, the Sakasu elves needed plenty of timber to build their fleets of ships, fuel their forges, and a whole host of other things – but far inland the cost of travel made it prohibitively expensive to exploit. Sensing an ample business opportunity, Vimme convinced the Emperor Thorak to sell him the numerous and unprofitable royal estates in 568. Most of these forests were luckily in the Skellar river basin. With the aid of many peasants he managed to build a dam and create an artificial river which flowed to the west coast (rather than following the natural rivers course up north to the eastern sea). The logging camps were then ordered to make many more small ponds upriver and to fell trees which would be dumped into them. Using careful water management, the logs were then carried by the rivers down to a port he had established (imaginatively named Timberwater) where a sawmill processed them. This ingenious system eliminated the cost of hiring barges and wagons, allowing him to earn stupendously high profit margins in the process as he monopolized the timber industry and undercut all his rivals. He easily paid the taxes and used the money to build himself a massive mansion complete with fine wood furniture, glass windows, bronze sculptures, and luxuries from all over the world. The numerous debts of the Empire held by the Sakasu and other individuals were also renegotiated by this brilliant little fellow (who used the attacks against merchants as a bargaining chip in cancelling the debts), and such was his fame and fortune that when he died in 598 he was the richest dwarf (or indeed any creature) to have ever lived. Not only did his money pay for his ascension into the nobility and numerous fine mansions, but it also allowed him to establish his own zoo and several libraries. With a strong economy once more, the Gan tribute could be easily repaid a hundred times over – even after accounting for the ruin of Sakasu (for the Gan market replaced them). With peace now reigning, trade between Skrall and Gan has flourished and with it so has the wealth of both nations. The question of course, is would this continue?

NigasandFlag
Satansick - Kingdom of Nigasand
Capital: Citadel
Culture: Immortish
State Religion: Sadara (Rage)
Race: Orc

-The new century opened up with problems for the Orcs of Nigasand. Although their independence was begrudgingly accepted by Notos and several provinces were retained on Oycumen, not much else was looking good. The economy was thoroughly agrarian with most orcs ekeing out a living amongst the ruins of the great irrigation works and cities. Various dynasties of minor despots lorded over the nation and ruled former imperial provinces as their own fiefs under whoever happened to be the most powerful orc at that time. As the world slowly climbed out of the gloom and the fields filled once again with life, Nigasand sank slowly deeper into it. The lords continued to bicker and divided up the carcass of a long dead civilization – even the great defensive works were pulled down to make houses and sheep pens. Nearly an entire century passed until something rather remarkable happened. In 588 an orc by the name Insain (of the Bagu dynasty) was born, and was noted for his unusually strong constitution and agility as he grew up. He also excelled in education as well, becoming well-versed in Sadara and the great classics of literature in addition to geometry. But this was a world kind towards the meek bookworms, and Insain fought ferciously in the petty skirmishes between nobles and in duels. But in 607 an event changed him forever when he was in Andokos. One of the local lords (Roderick) of Lutetia had anticipated his arrival and laid an ambush in one of the marches and attempted to kill the young prince – but he was unsuccessful. Insain grabbed Roderick and squeezed his head with such force that he fractured the mans skull and bent his steel helmet in so much that it could not be removed before his retinue dragged Insain away from the fight. But Roderick had put out one of his eyes in the process and survived the encounter – something which Insain never got over even when he became the leading despot of Nigasand in 611. This was a slight that could never go unreturned – and so he began preparations.

-This plan began with the creation of an religious order, dubbed “The Conquerors”. They were to be an elite force of zealous orcs who channeled the old ways and were fiercely loyal to their ruler. In order to secure his powerbase, Insain demanded every single lord and town in Nigasand pledge an oath of fealty to him or face repercussions. Several refused to do so – something that Insain would not tolerate under any circumstances. He sent in a levied force to pillage the countryside of the rival lords, and when the were forced to come out to meet him – he brought forth the Conquerors to attack the personal retinues of the lords and slaughter them. In such a manner he managed to subjugate them and had the leading opponents of the new regime executed and their lands redistributed to his growing number of children. In 614 he finished solidifying his powerbase and set to work on building a massive army with which to conduct the Holy Struggle that he had planned. The damaged eyehole was filled with visions that slowly drove him into a state of rage – one that led him to become convinced that he was being led on a mission by God to purge the world of heresy and conquer all in his name. Heretics and any remaining “non-Sadarans” were to be immolated in great public bonfires unless they publicly renounced their faith, while the clergy was purged and their numbers filled with zealots devoted to the true message. Travelling out into the countryside they promoted the Sadara faith with vigour, winning over clans and villages with a mixture of threats and impressive works. One of the key reasons for their success was a vigorous push towards literacy on the part of these priests, who took the effort to establish a brand new (and newly blooded) administration. Temples were established along with schools that trained new priests to fill the new religious hierarchy. Nigasand had a fire in it once more, a raw and primal energy that propelled the throne of Insain Bagu atop a hundred thousand spearpoints.

-In 616 Insain managed to secure the loyalty of the clans of Brarg – who by this point in time had lost any degree of cohesion and had broken up into petty squabbles between those who followed Old Rage and the new Sadaran faith. But all of them were impressed above all by strength and impressive demonstrations of it as well. Travelling down to meet the great chieftains, Insain declared he would grant them the right to Jus primae noctis – the right of the first night. In addition he would seize the lands of the weak and redistribute them amongst the most powerful. As a consequence many of the chieftains rallied to his side and over the course of two years they subdued the clans clinging onto the old ways and destroyed their fortified towns that once served as bases. Now styling themselves as petty kings, they pledged their support to Insain and his religious war. News of this war also spread to the court of the Grand Malik of Notos, Nizam II. Much unlike the founders of the dynasty, Nizam was rather unfond of war and preferred to spend his time pretending to be a minor civil official (he liked to be present at the construction of monuments and invested into every single project big or small he could find) as he went around the country in a leisurely manner. But the rise of Insain disturbed all this, forcing Nizam to once again begin spending monies on the army as some of his more restless subjects grew angry at his inaction in the face of an opportunity to spread the wings of the faith. Of course in the intervening centuries Notos had become much calmer and more tolerant – with a healthy agrarian economy boosted by considerable wealth generated by trading activities. Eventually Nizam was forced to offer some support and inevitably became tied up in the enterprise – something that escalated further when he discovered that uprisings Jar'val was being instigated by the Gor'lan republic.

-618 was when the true religious war began in earnest. That year around an army of eighty thousand strong (primarily composed of orcs and smaller numbers of human mercenaries and converts and some goblins) arrived in Andokos and marched north to conquer the shattered remains of Cravant – formerly a part of Vesivir which by this point had collapsed due to the machinations of Aquilos in their invasion and conquest of Vesivir and parts of Amboise. What was left had formed itself into a petty kingdom of orcs and humans broadly following Na'zyr under the rule of none other than Roderick of Lutetia. He had recovered from his injuries, but was forced to wear a metal brace for his jaw and a special helmet designed due to the deformed shape of his skull. Roderick had taken the opportunity to design the helmet to have a most fearsome design – complete with a Kiradai mask that he embellished with gold and silver. In spite of his injuries he was still regarded as charming (for he cultivated a Cravant accent and made sure to patronize numerous troubadours and poets). He had also been a brutal man, who murdered many in his quest for power and had brought ruin to many of those he had subjugated. Now it was 619, and Insain Bagu had commanded his army to sweep forth into Cravant where numerous numerous wooden castles and stone keeps were taken in sieges, although pains were made to ensure that the peasantry were not mistreated (for many of them were Sadarans or had been forcibly converted from it). Roderick split up his forces to attack the warbands, making use of light cavalry and skirmishers to harass the heavy infantry and cavalry so favoured by the orcs. After three years of campaigning he had finally arrived at the gates of Mahasti, a city in the midst of a major wine-producing region and the capital of Cravant. There he demanded Roderick to come out and duel him, for he had lost the war and would be remembered as a despicable tyrant that no other lord of Oycumen was willing to help. Roderick then took efforts to ensure the safety of the denizens of the city was secured (mainly by stuffing all of the Sadarans into one area and threatening to kill them all if the city was assaulted) and that his men would be allowed to leave unmolested. It was under such terms that a duel was agreed to, and it was one that Insain Bagu ultimately won using the force of strength and courage against the cunningness and speed of his opponent. The city duly surrendered and the Na'zyr inside left while the lives of the Sadarans were spared. Thus all of Cravant was brought under the control of Nigasand, many of the lives of Sadarans were saved, and a springboard for an invasion of Palamecia or Aquilos was made possible. Not only that, but Notos was now finally mobilizing for war against Gor'lan and to support Nigasand. With the continent weak and divided by religious squabbles and dynastic disputes, Oycumen was ripe for the conquest.

PalameciaFlag
iAmaNewb - Palamecian Empire
Capital: Pandaemonium
Culture: Irminian
State Religion: Na’zyr (Orthodox)
Race: Human

-The Empire suffers from all sorts of problems, such as a divided church, divided subjects, and enemies pressing upon all the borders. The goblins of Venda are one such group – Savonic tribes who love to raid the marches of Ostrovir while carrying back slaves. The unfriendly King of Kiradai is partly responsible for this, as he encouraged them to convert to his heathen faith while supplying numerous gifts (ranging from catamites to scholars) to the leading chieftains of the area. Emperor Henricus was rather troubled by these activities, for they were damaging his rule and credibility in Ostrovir at a time when he needed a unified Kingdom to stand together in the face of the great evils of the world. But while leading a counter-raid against Venda in 548 he was humiliatingly captured by a raiding warband. The nobles of the Empire loathed him regardless as did the Grand Patriarch, and so they refused to raise the ransom monies. By the time the Emperors personal estates had raised the necessary incomes he had been badly tortured and lost both his eyes as a result. This left him understandably vengeful. But the clergyman Jeff saw the humbled Emperor and took pity on him for he had done so much to defend fellow Na'zyr while the corrupt church had refused to help him, and Jeff had recently returned from missionary work in Kiradai where he had banished after converting a courtier and the Patriarch had appointed an official replacement. He worked his way up the hierarchy and in 554 he became the Grand Patriarch. While he was a dwarf from Ostrovir, he actually had experience in both the insular and orthodox churches, realizing that the key to the survival of the faith was the elimination of the widening breach between them. As such he declared that the church would be its own independent institution, and that no lord nor king could appoint religious officials as they once had in the past. He introduced a rigorous series of reforms that stressed the need for chastity and the moral correctness of the clergymen. As a consequence he wholly eliminated dynastic control and greatly reduced corruption within the church – but at the cost of alienating many nobles and some of the old senior clergy. He needed the help of a blind man.

-In 561, Jeff appealed to Henricus for help in defending the position of the church. Aquilos and Bórsce were both rather wayward and needed to be brought back in. The Emperor began with a political marriage to Aquilos (his daughter was married to the heir of that kingdom) and a promise that the Emperor would not control the church. It was to be its own independent institution with internal administration and revenue collection – revenues that made it wealthy indeed. He had gathered a lot of church tithes and used it to outfit an expedition of a thousand knights to the Kingdom of Bórsce, a small nation which was tottering on the point of falling to the heathens of the Bannonian plains. Leading this expedition was the Emperor himself, who was to take several relics to the Duke of that nation. Upon arrival he gave the skull of St Ankas to Duke Chrabry who graciously accepted the gift and pledged his loyalty and that of his church to the Emperor and to the Patriarch respectively. In 563 something else happened that completely changed the game, for the King of Aquilos had acquired a most fearsome beast for himself – a dragon. With the dragon he not only crushed his rivals and opponents to his rule, but in 580 he invaded Vesivir itself and the result was the collapse of the Kingdom into numerous smaller entities. Henricus had died in 571, and his ineffective son Cornelius was unable to intervene in Vesivir. In that time, the centralizing and growing church administration slowly pieced together the disparate units of the Na'zyr faith, with their final victory in 589 when the King of Maalattumaa pledged his loyalty to the Grand Patriarch.

-Although Jeff and Henricus were both long dead, the groundwork they established would go on to fundamentally reshape the whole empire. In 559 Henricus began to expand his royal hunting lodge at Pandaemonium and granted it city rights in 562. He also established the Imperial Senate, a body of 150 to 200 appointed electors who were given numerous benefits and influence in return for their support. Using this institution Henricus was able to pick and choose his key supporters and to build up a loyal body that he could rely on. What's more, as the city grew it eventually grew to become the capital of the Empire and as such it also ended up the heart of a growing network of roads and postal stations. His work was vindicated by his useless nephew Udo who (in spite of his incapability) was made redundant by the Imperial senate and the Na'zyr church which just barely held the Empire together. In turn, his son Henricus II would prove to be just the man they were looking for when he came to power in April 589. He expelled the corrupt chancellors and raised an army to deal with the incursions of the Venda goblins once more, who were raiding in Ostrovir and had laid siege to Rankburg. After defeating them he marched on their homeland and ransacked it with the help of the King of Bórsce before forcing them to adopt Na'zyr and splitting up their lands between nobles and bishops. He continued to strengthen the Imperial administration and strengthened rule in the east and north. In these years, stone castles rose up into the skies to replace wooden halls, and the first great cathedrals with stained glass windows appeared. A glassworks soon appeared in every city, stretching out thin sheets of the most wonderous substance into a myriad of new forms. He died in 618, leaving his weak and ill son to inherit the throne at the age of 7. Internal disputes flared up again when the nobles pressed for their rights and fought with churchmen. These problems could of course be managed, but in 619 Cravant was invaded by the Orcs of Nigasand, and what remained of Vesivir was swallowed up by the heathens. In the year 625 matters were made worse when Notos began to attack merchant shipping, before it was revealed that they too, were massing for invasion. The Grand Patriarch issued a call out for the nobles of the Empire to end their quarrels and to raise arms in defence of the faith. It would remain to see if they would listen.

SayiteFlag
Native Hunter - The Most Serene Republic of Gor'lan
Capital: Gilgamesh
Culture: Sayite
State Religion: Saya
Race: Goblin

-On the first day of the festival of the house, 578 TAM, a thick sheathe of papers made its way to a copier in the middling town of Hir'yur. The copier dutifully carried out his work as he took down small wooden blocks, arranged them accordingly, and produced over 30 small books. They were the first edition print of the “Guide of the special properties of the gemstones”. Inside it contained all known information on the current knowledge of gemstones and their magical properties. Unlike any that came before, it was the first to systematically set out a study of the gems and divorce them from their semi-mythological origins when they were first discovered by priests in mines and quarries in the far eastern nation of Skrall. The author (Cohard) proposed that none of these stones were ever imbued with their magical powers – but instead already had them present beforehand as nobody has ever been seen utilizing magic without a stone. Additionally, each stone was limited in the powers it had, for the two stones with existing known properties (Rubies and Sapphires) were unable to replicate the powers of each other. Finally he reported that he had discovered the means by which they could have their powers activated. He recorded that invisible particles called midichlorians which were present in high numbers in some individuals were used to achieve this, but a subsequent investigation by the academy revealed he had made it up and had refused to divulge the true secret as to how gemstones were activated. It was only in 612 that a student realized that certain actions such as applying pressure, heat, or (more elaborately and with some more control) by rubbing a metal such as gold, silver, brass, or copper with the fingers while touching the gem. Originally the powers seem to come almost at random, but slowly the academics are figuring out how best to use them. While rubies can cast flames, it seems as though a more delicate approach allows the gemstone to selectively heat up objects. Much later, investigations into sapphires yielded similar results, with the difference being that sapphires can cool down objects instead. Unable to think of any real practical uses for them, and due to their relative scarcity, the students in the academy used the gemstones to light fires, heat up their food, and make chilled drinks.

-Outside of the academies thick walls lay a thread to the goblins of the republic. Upon the plains to their north are the dreaded hordes, men who can be rapidly mobilized into a fearsome fighting force come the call of their strongman. The answer to these fears comes when a populist politician in Gilgamesh rouses the common folk of the city with cries about the evils of the horsemen from beyond. Having risen from humble origins as a loan shark and a landlord he is a political outsider. Do'lan Dómf managed to win the elections and immediately set to work on constructing a wall that was seventeen cubits high and in two sections (the western and eastern walls). Construction was fraught with difficulty for the Kagan Gneng grew angry and declared war on the Republic in 554 for it threatened the annual tributes and his control. Dómf then simply declared war back, claiming that he declared war first. Unfortunately the first skirmishes (554 to 557) saw the mercenaries and local levies utterly crushed. The council grew angry and held a vote of no confidence, one that Dómf lost. Unfortunately his successor (Briegkol) was unable to placate the lords - he had to win the war, something made difficult by the fact that the Kagan marched into Rob'lan and bullied most of the towns and major estates into paying him tribute. To start off, Breigkol began with a complete reorganization of the army and navy in 558. Mercenaries and levies were to be abolished and were combined into a single role – professional soldiers. Men would work as fulltime soldiers under employ of the state. Thus the Republican Guard was created, and they were now garrisoned in barracks and fortifications throughout the borderlands. Briegkol also recognized the importance of navies, and as such overhauled it as well, making it perhaps one of the largest in recorded history. With this came expanded dockworks and supply chains – in turn a ruthlessly efficient logistical system. A new road network was also part of these reforms (one the Kiradai assisted with since it went to Bannon) and slowly the blockhouse system came to be.

-As to how Breigkol and Dómf came about and were able to push through these reforms – it all began in small port where a strange foreign ship had arrived in 503. While not entirely alien, and although the dwarves on board were known to be from the east rather than the north – they carried something new with them. Sugar. Imploring the people there to try it, the commodity was an instant hit. Such was the popularity that the sugar trade boomed, and some noblemen began converting their estates so as to produce this most profitable crop. This unfortunately required land usage to be rationalized – and the peasantry didn't fit into this scheme enough to justify keeping them around. Fens were drained, forests were cut back, dykes constructed, and common pasturage enclosed. Although the manorial economy was never strong here, it was entrenched enough that as it began to fray at the edges it caused considerable upset to all those who lost out. Lands were enclosed to make way for profitable (and tasty) sugarcane, while the landless farmers were forced to move on. Many of them went to the towns and cities where they gave support to Dómf and other populists who promised all sorts of bold new policies such as free land or wealth redistribution (on account of the numerous merchants who had grown richer than even kings and emperors). By the 540s a new economy was coming into being as the number of banks multiplied as did the creditors and new businesses. Unfortunately this had also led to runaway deflation as silver and gold shortages came about and most poorer people found themselves unable to use money – some switched to smaller and smaller lumps of precious metals that they traded. Inevitably many of them were cheated by goldsmiths and other money changers, something that Dómf exploited when he needed the power of the mob. The Republican government slowly ground to a halt as tax payments became unreliable and it was forced to rely on the patronage of merchants, many of them whose political power came under suspicion by the commoners.

-In the year 561, Breigkol had finally completed his military reforms – he now had a navy and an army filled to the brim with men who had little to lose and much to gain from military conflict, something that would prove useful in the war with the Kagan. He began by marching his army into Rob'lan and putting the soldiers to work on completing the wall and the road network there – which immediately drew the ire of Kagan Gneng (who did not even wait for his emissary to finish reading out the message, but actually ran to his horse and set out to organise the horde). In the 550s, much of Rob'lan had come under nominal rule of the Kagan as he drew “squeeze” from the numerous lords and towns there. Any interruptions to these payments meant a lot of trouble for the Kagan. But Briegkol was prepared indeed, for he had given orders to build numerous forts throughout the mountains and hills that were connected by a road network. When the advance guard arrived, the garrisons would take the opportunity to run out and murder smaller groups and destroying post offices which had fresh horses for messengers. The angry Kagan then ordered his horde to the western wall (having heard it was not yet finished) and with the aid of local mercenaries he easily punctured the brittle defenses and moved onto the city of Robbliya where some of the last Tollirians lived on. Breigkol was unable to move in time to save the city, which was thoroughly sacked in 563 and many of the inhabitants were either enslaved or killed.

-Seeking revenge, Briegkol ordered the navy to move vast numbers of troops north to the wall while sending raiding parties into the steppe. The Kagans army – overburdened with loot – marched north to meet Briegkols army. But instead of finding it they simply found a string of hastily built forts blocking the road north to the wall. Settling down into camps, sieges were prepared before it was discovered that Breigkol had marched into the mountains and hid there until the Kagan had dispersed his forces. Choosing to raid the camps only when this was achieved, Briegkol also made sure to have his men in the forts sally out at the same time to divide their attention. Making matters worse for the Kagan was the routine murder of messengers (bandits and peasants were paid handsomely or threatened to ensure they did this), often achieved by digging traps in roads or simply murdering the men when they happened to appear. Communications fell into disarray and in the chaos Gneng was captured along with 15,000 of his finest soldiers. To ensure that the Kagan would never dare to raise his fist in anger against the Republic again, Breigkol ordered all prisoners to be castrated and sent back on foot with the Kagan leading them. Their masks were also all confiscated and thrown into great pile in the central plaza of Gilgamesh where they were to be smashed to pieces and sold off to the merchants of the city. The monies raised by this war were small, and the war (not to mention the reforms) were so costly that it effectively bankrupted the richest country in the world. The wall was eventually finished, and garrisoned, but it relied heavily on the lands nearby being cultivated and the tolls as well. Many of the soldiers (former landless farmers) were given land as payment, but they were still holding out for more that the penniless government simply could not provide. Attempts were made to encourage the unemployed to take up work in minor industries, but the constant deflation and coin shortages made this a nearly impossible task. The century came and went – a rich republic hanging on the edge as a two-speed society lurched forwards. The merchant princes still funded the army and navy, it was necessary to keep the sugar flowing – but they also continued to dabble in intrigue. In 624 it was discovered that rebellions in Jar'val and Sen'les had broken out – and the excellent spies of Notos weren't blind as to the causes. Merchants had been funneling supplies to the rebels via proxies, a good casus belli as any. But ultimately it didn't matter to the Grand Malik Nizam, for it had riches he could use and he knew of its internal divisions. Recently he had also been inspired by Insain Bagu of Nigasand and his religious wars in Oycumen, and as such was put under pressure to replicate his example in the name of his almighty god. Early in the spring of 625 an emissary arrived in Gilgamash with a letter from the Malik Nizam. It was a declaration of war.

AquilosFlag
Killbane - Kingdom of Aquilos
Capital: Halingar
Culture: Cytanni
State Religion: Na'zyr (Orthodox)
Race: Human

-Until this point in time, contemporary sources regarded Aquilos as somewhat of a backwater in Oycumen. A tiny kingdom backed into the corner of the continent and surrounded by powerful neighbors, it was no wonder that it was frequently glossed over by writers. But King Mateo managed to put him into the books for the first time in 581, largely because he forced somebody to write them. Unlike the previous kings he was able to do this because there now existed a sizeable and healthy number of literate scholars within his kingdom that could do this, largely because of the church. The sixth century opened up with nothing much for these historians to record, besides a few notes here and there about projects to rebuild the defensive works of towns and the opening up of mines to exploit natural resources. Agriculture began to improve steadily as well when the old two-field system of crop rotation was abandoned in favor of the three-field system. Peasants grew beans and barley while raising pigs as well. The impact of this was perhaps an extra bushel of grain or so per acre depending of course on the land and other conditions – but generally there was improvement. The population grew, some new villages sprouted up, and the Kings were soon wealthy enough that when Mateo came to power in 559 he upgraded his iron crown for a gold one. One day a dragon suddenly showed up in the Kingdom in 563, an event that caused the peasantry to “become much afeared” and resulted in a general panic. But it arrived at the court of Mateo and told him in no uncertain terms that he had come to repay a favor, one that he felt he could do now for the other dragons had apparently broken some kind of pact about involvement in political affairs. Pledging his loyalty to the Kingdom, the dragon asked only for an annual income of gold and silver. King Mateo was then written as having wisely took this offer up, and then went to his rival Duke Juvad Tilly who had insulted him through numerous wicked slanders and scandals. Upon arrival at the castle of Juvad Tilly, Mateo had it burned down and his rival burned alive to the cheers of the oppressed peasantry who took the opportunity to mention how awful Juvad was and how much they preferred Mateo.

-The Kingdom began to change a lot after that event. In 564 the Emperor of Palamecia suddenly offered up his daughter and wrote a lot of letters to him in a really flattering tone. Then the local churches of Aquilos suddenly decided to fall in line with the Grand Patriarch after King Mateo promised to follow the mainstream faith. He reorganised the administration and began to introduce some deep and far-reaching changes. Blacksmiths sprouted up in every village while the peasantry were expected to keep weaponry as well as tool in case they needed to be conscripted into an army to bulk out the numbers. A system of beacon towers were constructed for basic communication purposes, while a large number of castles were constructed around the Kingdom to help stamp the authority of Mateo into the land. And then feeling rather confident at having improved the Kingdoms strength, he raised an army, hired numerous mercenaries, and got his dragon to get up as well. In 580 he invaded Vesivir, a prosperous kingdom that had recently fallen into disarray after the death of King Karl. While they were busy trying to elect a new leader, Mateo arrived in such force that he caused some of the regional lords to suddenly “forget” their vows of allegiance and to swear for the new invader. The rest of the Vesivir nobility raised an army and at the Battle of the Rowden River the bulk of the cavalry contingent was incinerated or torn to shreds by the fearsome dragon. The rest of the army (composed largely of levied troops) then broke and fled, and so in 583 Mateo marched unopposed into Lutetia where he declared himself King of Vesivir and Amboise. The difficulty of administering such a large land filled with a population that is rather upset by this rude intrusion was made evident by the numerous revolts and acts of passive resistance throughout the country. Poor tax returns and conflict with clergymen (not to mention internal wars between nobles) made controlling these lands difficult to say the least, especially due to differing legal systems. For the most part, Vesivir remained a semi-autonomous fief of Mateo while the bulk of Cravant broke away to form a new polity which was eventually controlled by a lord known as “Roderick”.

-The remainder of the century saw unprecedented flows of wealth into Aquilos and an improving standing upon the world stage. The Grand Patriarch made sure to crown Mateo as King of Vesivir in 585 while the Emperor of Palamecia confirmed this status (despite his displeasure at being unable to take advantage of the collapse of Vesivir himself) in 587. Mateo would go on to rule until 597 when he died from diarrhoea. As was the custom, his children were given fiefs of their own to rule, and quarrelled over the riches that this enlarged Kingdom had to offer them. The dragon, being unwilling to take sides in this conflict, retired to the mountains where he lived in a cave admiring his jewellery. The decades continued to slide by. The countryside grew a little richer, the churches more beautiful, the castles sturdier, and the armies bigger. Schools proliferated while troubadours wandered the countryside. But in 619 this would change when from the sands of Notos came the Orc Insain Bagu. Consolidating his position in Andokos, he went on to smash the armies of Roderick and conquered all of Cravant before expelling numerous churchmen and nobles from the region in 624. Unfortunately for Aquilos the Kingdom was contested between two cousins (King Kadec of Aquilos and Duke Kemo of Amboise) who held an intense rivalry and had allowed parts of Vesivir to descend into conflict where proxy wars between noble factions supporting Kadec or Kemo had formed. While Kemo had naturalized himself in Amboise and was opposed by the lords of Aquilos proper, Kadec retained the old culture and refused to work with the native nobility of Vesivir. The church was often dragged into these squabbles and often elevated or excommunicated various nobles, while Palamecia stood by in a state of lethargy. With the Kingdom divided and the dragon refusing to intervene, news came of Notos mobilizing her fleets and attacking Palamecia. The Grand Patriarch issued a plea for the nations of Oycumen to come together and reclaim the conquered lands from their enemies.

MizukanFlag
Deltasquid - Mizukan
Capital: Sakasu
Culture: Sakasunese
State Religion: Fey-Verenism
Race: Elf

-The sixth century began as a time of great unrest and upheaval. Caught between external forces pushing forth the growing merchants and cities, the Fey and the peasants losing out, and the growing religious and cultural tensions, was the Queen of Mizukan. In such difficult circumstances as those it would be obvious to anyone that elven society was being pulled and twisted in every direction to the point it was tearing apart at the seams. The seamstress who promised to sew it back together was Llamyrl who (on account of her age) was one of the last elves around to speak the old elven tongue. Well-versed in classical literature, she realised that the old culture could not be allowed to perish. Despite having haemorrhaged a great deal of power to the bureaucrats and merchants over time, she sought to heal the divisions between the Fey and the new elves by making an official visit to one of the major shrines in 541. On a bumpy stagecoach ride to the shrine she could see just how much of the countryside had changed from her childhood. Where were once untamed forests and small villages of squat half-dug huts connected by winding paths and open fields with sacred groves and shrines – there were now stone walls and hedges enclosing them, tall and solid buildings with temples staffed by Verenist priests. Arriving at one of the last groves (protected by a nobleman who enjoyed folk music) she offered a traditional sacrifice and conducted the rites as overseen by the kulavanem. Soon after a number of Fey appeared, and the Queen pledged her submission to them and a desire to revive the old faith. They then asked her to return their land to the state it was once in, and to restore the old groves and shrines – to which she conceded, and then some.

-Returning to the capital, Llamyrl declared a divine mandate and that she was supported by the Fey and common people against the forces which threatened to tear the nation asunder. Her first move was to issue an edict in 543 allowing for the removal of all Verenist temples in Fey groves – the result of which was peasant mobs going on a rampage throughout the countryside as they ransacked Verenist temples and chased the priests out of their villages. In areas where Fey worship was weaker such as the market towns, the mobs were met by the devout Verenists who refused to give way to the mob. In such circumstances the violence often exploded into riots where shops were ransacked and dwarves were chased out of their homes. In the more prosperous areas such as the big cities and ports there was little trouble save for the occasional beating or robbery. But it became clear to all within Mizukan that the nation was splitting right down the middle between the rural folks and the Fey, and the urban dwellers with their Verenist deities. The merchant princes grew infuriated after land reform measures blocked new developments in Fey land and requisitions took back many areas for the old groves. The peasantry (often having grown disgusted with the wealth of the princes) began to ransack manors and redistributing the lands themselves, and when the Queen tried to restore order she was constantly caught inbetween having to please the peasants desire to redress complaints and compensating the nobles losses. During these troubling times investment in the navy grew, requiring the importation of massive quantities of timber from Skrall which initially existed to cover shortfalls, before soon the nation became dependent on the shipments. Attempts to find new resources to exploit ended badly when traders who went south and east found a land populated by savages who had little to trade. The merchants grew angry at seeing their former contracts go towards enriching the dwarf Vimme of Skrall, and began to turn against the government. The bureaucracy slowly ground down to a halt as complaints and legislative bills flooded in and never got anywhere, and the cost of maintaining the peace grew ever more burdensome. The nobles (fearing for their safety) began to outright outfit privately maintained armies on their estates and in the towns while mercenary companies popped up like mushrooms. By 560, the country was sliding into chaos.

-Every day that passed saw new troubles and opportunities. Many of the Mizukan elite and even had taken the opportunity to intermarry with the Gan, and in the process they brought over the cultural innovations of the mainland. Cultivating the Gan lifestyle and culture, the elite had grown into a sophisticated class of their own quite unlike those who they professed to rule over. The peasantry reserved most of their attacks for those deemed “Gan” which could mean anything from a Gan trader to a dwarf barber. It was when in 563 that Llamyrl arranged a marriage between her daughter and the heir to the Gan Empire that things finally boiled over. The Gan Emperor demanded that the marriage follow Gan law and custom, and as such the heir to the whole Kingdom was made subservient to the future Emperor of Gan. This was the last straw for the peasantry, who feared that the Gan were taking over by means of plot and subterfuge. In one instance, a peasant named Iorveth lead a mob to assault a shady-looking fellow in a pub and to kill him. On him were discovered papers detailing a “Society of Messengers” that apparently listed the ongoing details of a conspiracy between the elite of Mizukan, Skrall, and Dvergfit. Quickly assuming that the takeover was imminent he went to the Fey folk and declared that the Queen was corrupted and that the foreign barbarians had to be expelled before the Gan invasion manifested itself. The rebellion quickly spread, with dwarves and nobles being slaughtered in pogroms on a scale exceeding that of any that came before. The royal treasurer was captured and she was impaled and carried forth at the head of a mob to the capital with chants of “stab her in the cunt!” They broke into the ports and ransacked Gan ships, stealing or dumping the cargo overboard and killing the merchants. The army was paralysed as the Queen and the administration along with the noble families bickered about how to fix the problem. Inaction led to an outsider coming to force a decision.

-The Gan Emperor was not happy about this, bringing the Bronze Bell navy and several dragons along with him in 567. Arriving in force, he imposed a fine on the Queen and set fire to one of the Fey groves for good measure before he fucked off back home. The princes of Mizukan had finally grown tired of the monarchy and opted to take matters into their own hands. Combining local militias, mercenary companies, and disloyal army units they set out to put down the rebellion with brutal efficiency. Iorveth was captured in 568 and had his skin flayed off before being cut up into several parts to be distributed to the major towns for display. Following this the other ringleaders were executed and the peasants were forced to disarm and return to their fields. Shortly after putting down the rebellion however, many of the nobles came to realise that they could depose the monarch and opted to march on the capital. There they broke into the defences and chased off the defenders with vases that spat smoke and cast bronze bolts. Most of the royal family fled overseas to Kitanai (a new colony west of Alchon) including the Queen where a rump state was established. In the absence of a legitimate monarch, the nobles began a great council to decide on who should be the next queen. Their bickering was answered by the Emperor – who declared that his daughter in law should be Queen (albeit virtually powerless). With dragons and a fleet at his back, nobody dared question his judgement. And so it was in 571 that the reign of Queen Imryll began – a virtual puppet of the nobles and responsible for funnelling regular tributes to the Emperor. In the absence of a strong centralized government the nation fell to the bickering nobles who divided up the country into fiefs and city states. With trade and commerce no longer an option of advancement for the nobles – thus began the Age of Civil War.

KiradaiFlag
ThePinkPanzer - Kingdom of Kiradai
Capital: Baidala
Culture: Delshor
State Religion: Kirata
Race: Human

-The Kingdom of Kiradai existed at the opening of the sixth century as little more than a cluster of clans and towns cobbled together into an entity ruled by a man who boasted of himself as their “King” and their ruler. Nothing could be further from the truth, for he lacked even a castle to call his seat. He lived mostly on the move and would stay at one town or another for a while to eat all of their food before trotting off to another place where he would shout at one of his constables to issue some new decree. A true king needed to be much more than that, and Kovac II of Kiradai was quite possibly that man. He came to power in 534 and certainly caused a stir when he declared that he would settle down and build for himself a capital city at the site of a fishing village at the mouth of the Istros river where it bordered Palamecia and Gor'lan. Despite the concern with establishing such a city on the border, Kovac ignored these worries and laid the foundation stone of Baidala in 536. In order to ensure all trade was conducted here, he revoked the trading rights of nearby towns and lavished attention on giving Baidala autonomy in addition to numerous rights and privileges that established it as a “Free city”. Over the years it grew quickly over the eastern banks of the Istros and onto several islands in the estuary while several fortified towers were also constructed to defend the city and the river. Unfortunately this river was also shared with Palamecia, and the baron of the town of Sulata who managed to get various rights from his lord to make his town a major trading port as well with reduced duties on the sorts of goods that were taxed in Baidala. As a consequence merchants and smugglers alike flocked to the area to shift monies and goods (legal or not) between the two nations. Both settlements grew rapidly, although the prestige and economic strength of Baidala clearly outclassed that of its competitor in the west. No bridges were built here however, for the lords of Palamecia and of Kiradai could not agree on where to construct such a bridge and who was to profit by it and its tolls. Kovac had better luck in the east where he established good relations with the Kagan by giving him a lot of nice gifts. Except Gor'lan went and ruined it by building a wall which angered the Kagan and the attempts of the King to mediate ended in failure. His grand projects for building highways in the east came to nought, and attempts to negotiate a treaty with Gor'lan to acquire a port city failed as the other party refused to budge. Kovac was forced to turn his attention elsewhere.

-The petty kings and tribes to the north were tempting indeed. The Venda goblins had made a name for themselves by raiding Palamecia and killing priests that had the audacity to visit them. Consequently Kovac II sent emissaries there bearing gifts and a Karda as well in a bid to convert them to the true faith. Thankfully for Kovac he was successful, and the chieftains of Venda banded together to conduct even bigger raids on Ostrovir which they looted thoroughly – the proceeds of these adventures going back home. In 543 they finally agreed to convert to Kirata and to construct temples. An upset Na'zyr missionary by the name of Jeff went to Baidala after having been kicked out by the last friendly chieftain in Venda, intent on continuing his missionary work. He made friends with the steward of Kiradai and converted him to Na'zyr, which pissed off Kovac and in response he threatened the priest murdered for his actions. Jeff then went home humiliated and vowed revenge on the heatens. Unfortunately the Empire took this threat seriously, and in 548 they conducted a disastrous invasion which led to the capture of the Emperor Henricus and his blinding by his captors before the ransom was paid. The Venda grew into a powerful kingdom and cultivated good relations with Kiradai, which give Kovac the courage to go further and to attempt a conversion of the Duke of Bórsce. While nominally Na'zyr, Duke Chrabry did not take the religion too seriously and began to warm up to the Karda of Kiradai until 561 when it turned out that Jeff had become Grand Patriarch and friends of the Palamecian Emperor. To spite Kovac, the Patriarch outfitted an expedition to Bórsce and brought it firmly into an alliance with the Empire and introduced canonical law there likewise. Kovac died in 563 with his foreign policy in tatters, and even Venda would not remain in his sphere for long. The King of Venda grew the balls to attempt a direct invasion of Ostrovir in 589 and gambled everything on his campaign. He and his subjects paid for it dearly, for not only did they lose the war, but also their independence. The Venda were conquered by the Empire and forcibly converted in the 590s, although even in the 620s they continued to rebel and cause trouble – especially when central authority was weak or distracted. Bórsce expanded in that time and proved to be a powerful counterbalance to Kiradai, but in 612 some welcome news came to the court of Lakatos when it was reported that a King of Letti had risen up and publicly announced he was searching for a new faith and had invited missionaries to his lands. Perhaps this could be the chance Lakatos was looking for.

-Despite the setbacks, the Kingdom profited well due to the city of Baidala and the trade routes that had been established. A centralized administration grew up, crammed full of scholars, rentseekers, landlords, warriors, and tax farmers. Together they helped to create, fund, and expand a retinue of professional mounted warriors known as the “Order of Kiradai” (founded in 582). All heavy lancers, they number easily a thousand and wear the traditional masks. Considered to be blood of the king himself, they are treated like royalty when in service and their prestige is considered unmatched. In cases such as rebellions or skirmishes they would lock their lances under their armpits atop steeds clad in metal, before smashing through even well-prepared lines of infantry. On the plains of Bannon this meant that they were always at an advantage, for they could move quickly and fought in favourable terrain. Their horses were specially bred from a royal stock that was well-guarded and supplemented by the occasional foreign horse of Notos or Jiuan. But it was not only these fearsome warriors who received funding. A group of scholars had established themselves in the capital in 579 and had made a name for themselves by refusing to consider any field as beyond their remit. Subjects from all of philosophy, agriculture, alchemy, and even the occult and magical studies in addition to astrology were all considered worthy topics of discussion. They built up a fine library of great works, and sent out expeditions to look for new plants and animals to record along with discoveries and inventions wherever they were found. With generous funding and extensive freedom they went wild, with numerous scholars debating the merits of producing saltpetre to lay in dishes to ward off disease to the astrologers that developed a mathematical theory they named calculus as a means of better aiding their astrological enquiries. Another group went out to search for information on magic, and returned from Jiuan to the academy bearing a mysterious sapphire that became the object of their studies.

RuneForgeFlag
Emperor Scorpious II - Realm of the Rune Forge
Capital: Moradin
Culture: Skagosi
State Religion: Hujuism
Race: Dwarf

-The Skagrosan plateau is not one well-suited to civilized life. Freezing cold and with little vegetation it was once the homeland of the dwarves that would go on to create some of the worlds mightiest empires. In the late first century, a religious figure known to history as Hujui led his followers into these mountains with the goal of building a new society based upon his religious ideals. This was largely spurred by his desire to find a “true” homeland for the dwarves, which he assumed to be the cold and desolate wastes that his ancestors had abandoned long ago. In a rocky outcrop that was once a fortified village during the age of bronze swords, Hujui founded his capital of Moradin – a squalid cluster of huts hidden amongst the rocks and snowfall. While he froze his rear off there, he busied himself with writing a religious text to serve as the basis of his new religion. Three main commandments exist: Loyalty to kin, Bravery in Battle, Honour in Diplomacy. Following on from this was a story that told of the earth being a god who was killed by the sun. The dwarves were made from the bedrock of this god while his blood became valued gemstones that contained fragments of his power within. The dragons were reviled in this new faith, and were written about in a very negative tone, for they flew and breathed fire much like the sun. Instead of copying the imagery of dragons that other nations were keen to do, the dwarves preferred to use pictures of the moon on their flags and banners for they considered the moon to be the brother of the fallen earth god. This strange religion helped to create the bedrock for their society, one that in spite of the odds managed to cling on like the mosses and lichens they shared the plateau with.

-Centuries later these dwarves have made quite a name for themselves as the result of a chance discovery made in an old cave soon after Hujui had died of old age. A group of miners were following an old copper seam before breaking through a partition into an old complex where the wall was covered in paintings depicting crazed figures that cast balls of fire and were covered in tattoos. Whats more they found a lot of broken pottery and animal bones with scratchings on them, and even more disturbingly an entire preserved dragon skeleton that appeared to be made of stone rather than bone. After finding some scholars from New Krellgr that they brought to interpret these primitive scratchings they determined it was the remains of the first dwarven civilization. They spoke of a King named Dvegr and that the priests could use powers from magical gemstones. While this was well-known in the old legends, they were not prepared when they discovered vast stores of these gemstones underground. These gemstones were taken above ground to the learned priests and scholars who managed to get their leader (Thirfad) to construct a vast building for where the gemstones could be studied and their properties exploited,. Named the “Runeforge”, it easily became the centerpiece of the town of Moradin. Over the next few centuries, more would be discovered within its walls about the nature of magic than outside of them, with the biggest advancement arguably by Hujui himself, who had created a metal cage for the gem that made it much safer to handle and reduced the risk of madness

-Even other dwarves were perplexed as to what went on inside – but it was clearly of importance. Inside however, were dozens of students having an absolutely wild time pushing the boundaries of knowledge in just about every way imaginable. They used the gems to cause items to levitate, cooked their food using “mind powers”, and even manipulated water in such a way that they could have “waterball fights” like children had with snow. The most common gemstones were rubies, and they discovered that gemstones could be split down into smaller fragments that had a weaker form of their powers within. Consequently the runeforge sold or gave away thousands of ruby shards that were the byproduct of experiments to the commoners – most of whom would go on to use these shards to light fires, make a small stove, or as a light in a lantern. The more serious scholars were understandably annoyed and attempted to find “real” uses for them, before at some point in the 320s a woodsman came along having claimed to have turned a ruby “into a weapon”. A hollow bamboo rod with the ruby at one end, it would cast out anything inside it at a terrific speed – so much so that he accidentally killed a wolf with it. The idea took a long time to catch on, but they had the luxury of time to spare. In spite of the difficulties of high altitude living, the dwarves prospered in some fashion by making use of their gemstones and by trade. A few trading towns sprouted up throughout the plateau along with forts in the passes and valleys. The movement of outsiders was strictly controlled for fear that they would gain access to the gemstones, but their money was appreciated all the same. The mint in New Krellgr provided most coinage, although the Gan Empire later came to start trading with the dwarves for their precious metals and (wherever it could be smuggled) the gemstones as well. At some point in the sixth century a permanent standing army of “Paladins” armed with gemstones and gemstone weaponry (the latter produced in the art of “Artificing”) appeared to protect the nation and to fight on its behalf. Despite the wealth that flowed in, even in the early seventh century they were still considered an isolated backwater of barbarians in the mountains (no doubt aided by their isolationism) that only had a tangential influence in the affairs of the wider world. Perhaps this would change.

GraugdumFlag
robinkooli - Graugdúm
Capital: Burzdául
Culture: Dramendán
State Religion: Kúrkodárzgúl
Race: Demi-Elf

-When civilization broke down in Oycumen in the early Third Age, it did not only affect Palamecia. Kingdoms of Elves that had grown rich off exporting amber and animal furs while constructing fine fortresses and sizable armies also suffered. The collapse of their markets led to petty kings fighting over scraps. With few opportunities, strongmen gathered up bands of warriors and their dependents to strike out west where many ultimatey established kingdoms in the Midnight islands. Gráunor was one of these warlords who struck out from Dolben in the year 473 to Ruohomma to the town of Ainonperse. Unfortunately for him, even there he was treated as an eccentric who reputedly tortured captives from raids in what he termed ”experiments”. Not only was he loathed by his tortured captives, but the other warlords feared Gráunor and thus collectively decided to banish him in 487 with all of his followers (many of them religious fanatics) from the island. He thus sailed west from port to port, and in every one he was denied the right to stay and thus he had to sail further and further. He crawled down the coast of Oycumen southwards following the main routes of the traders until he reached Gilgamesh in 495 where he met a travelling mystic from Skrall who gave him a book and a red ruby after several conversations. Nobody knew why he gave away two such valued possessions, but the mystic did mysteriously vanish afterwards. Even in a city like Gilgamesh, the elves were not able to stay (especially after one of them was murdered in a street brawl) and thus they left on the winter solstice of 496 to head south to Notos where they hoped to find a new home for themselves. Many more years passed and the original group was thinned out, with numbers supplemented by the addition of human women (seduced or captured) and a few human eccentrics as well. Even in Aclary they found no respite and were forced to go even further south into blisteringly hot lands where they fought with tribes and occasionally captured slaves to sell to traders from Sim'la. Malaria and yellow fever made their lives yet more miserable and by this point their exiled leader had become a fullblown fanatic despot. Hope was fading.

-In the year 503, this migrating band of a few hundred elves, humans, their offspring, plus their slaves all finally arrived in a land so utterly bereft of civilization it lacked even the most primitive farmers. With the seas too rough to sail, they abandoned their boats and marched inland where there lived only hunters and foragers that ate seeds and lived in the thickets and caves. This far south it got colder, so much colder that it reminded some of the older elves of their home all the way back in Dolben. The ground got rougher and poorer, and as they ascended into the icy plains even the tribal bands thinned out and became so savage they were barely even capable of speech or thought. But Gráunor had finally found the promised land. Weakened by disease and thin from hunger, he declared that they would settle at the volcano which he named Burzdául. Luckily for them, they found a readily available source of labour in the form of several hundred orcs living in bands nearby to the volcano. They used tools of bone and stone, and lacked even the ability to sew clothes together. Using simple magic tricks he learned from the ruby, Gráunor tricked them into believing he was a deity of some sort and all declared their alligiance to him as their oral tales foretold of a being that had taken fire from the gods and would give them knowledge. They were taught how to light fires with a steel and flint, to grow rye, to keep goats, and to sew clothes together with the new invention of needles. They also began construction of a crude fort hewn from the freshly cooled lava that was considered impossible to attack. In such a poor and frigid land the elves struggled to find enough food to eat, but they constructed sledges pulled by dogs and kept flocks of hardy goats on the thin tundra and with the help of the orcs they managed to hang on, if just barely.

-Gráunor founded the House of Drognier that would rule over this petty chiefdom in the deep south of the continent. Over the next century a few other houses would eventually rise from the remaining powerful families that survived long enough to arrive here. But ultimately he was the despot of this frozen land, and he constructed a strict hierarchy to serve him and him alone. His new religion took root, especially among the children and the orcs – the latter of which were made to build a grand altar for the benefit of the seven priests tasked with guarding the faith and disseminating the message of Gráunor to the rest of society. It evolved into a complex faith built around dragon worship and magic, with elaborate rituals designed for communication with the dragons and on improving their ability to manipulate the elements. Other aspects of the faith involved communication with the dead (much of it influenced by the primitive animism of the orcs) and the violent subjugation of other tribes. Given that the orcs living under Gráunor believed themselves to be especially chosen (despite their already low status) by the spirits they learned the skills of their masters and set out to do their bidding. Iron replaced bone, and padded leather jackets covered up their shame. Wearing fur caps and carrying wooden shields these orcs became fulltime warbands that raided the neighbouring tribes and forced them to submit tribute in the form of labour, food, or natural resources to Gráunor who in turn used them to enrich himself and his followers. But even somebody with abilities such as his was doomed to die one day, which he did in 611 from tonsillitis. His son took up his rule and struggled to maintain control over this thinly stretched and poor chiefdom, for despite their skills the land was still poor and it lacked both subjects to exploit or wealthy land. Technology is so primitive as to render these elves savages compared to their older brethren back in Oycumen, but at least they live in splendid isolation. Here they hunt frequently, fish in the rivers, and visit saunas. Such are the popularity of these saunas that the orcs too copy the habit and create a god of saunas that they worship and thank for his most wondrous gift.

DryadsFlag
Dr. Ethan Asia - Kingdom of the Dryads
Capital: Calliope
Culture: Nympic
State Religion: Alpheiusanism
Race: Nymph

-Some corners of the world have lain untouched for a long time indeed. Notos is largely unexplored south of the vast deserts, and much of these lands are unfit for habitation. But south of the hot jungles and amongst the lakes and rivers of the south were a race of ancient Nymphs who time had seemed to have forgotten. For thousands of years they lived violently, with small tribes that constantly quarrelled and murdered one another constantly. At some point in time these primitive beings experienced an invasion or migration of some kind involving elves or creatures similar to them that soon established a position at the top of this society. They named themselves Dryads and brought new stoneworking technologies and customs. A religion based around the worship of forests was enforced and displaced the old ancestor worship of the nymphs. These events took place throughout the first age, and although the ageless appearance of the old forests and foggy lakes would imply little changed this would be but an illusion. Languages morphed and changed, new clothing appeared as did tools. Fish were caught in elaborate weirs and ponds before eventually a kind of fish-farming took root amongst the nymphs. Livestock in the form of goats and cattle arrived about a thousand years ago, although they were only kept for their meat, hides, and hair. Some nymphs would drink milk and eat cheese if they had no other recompense, but lactose intolerance made this a difficult task indeed. Chiefdoms formed, and much like their ancestors they continued to fight and quarrel. It was in the year 612 that they entered the historical records when a Dvegr from Sutteabad named Hakgrat wrote a report about them while in the area.

-”In the mild lands south of the jungles and north of the icy wastes lays Khospe, a savage land filled with nymphs, cannibal tribes, and men with eyes on their chests reside. There are additional rumours of an elven witch who fled to a volcano in the south. In Khospe are a number of petty chiefdoms with self-styled kings and queens following a heathen faith of tree worship. These knife-eared creatures resemble the elves of Mizukan but are much more diminutive and unintelligent. Unfit for the plough they instead make a living by herding goats, whose blood they drink, and the fish that they consume the eggs and flesh of. Recently the grand chief of Calliope was overthrown by a “Queen” of the Dryads – creatures that are the stronger and more intelligent variants of their primitive cultures and make efforts to ape the superior kingdoms of the north. Their Queen Phoebe is reputed to have slaughtered all her enemies in cold blood after buying many iron weapons from the merchants of Simla who she supplied captured human slaves and tributes from the nymphs. These events took place perhaps 60 years ago, and today she still rules but is much advanced in age. She successfully subdued the Meliae and Anthousai, nymphs who eschewed outside contact to their detriment after the Dryads who did much the opposite secured their means to victory by foreign arms. After these victories she disbanded her army for fear of damage to the forests and began construction on a network of canals and a number of temples, shrines, and other religious sites throughout the central regions of her newly unified kingdom. She is also responsible for the establishment of workshops to produce potions and other elixrs and toxins for use at home or for sale abroad, and we would do well to profit by their purchase and export. I recommend the establishment of a factory here, which I estimate shall cost in the region of twenty thousand strings of cash. The profits of this endeavor will pay for itself in perhaps four to six years. They are however few in number, and lack the use of money or writing which means our task will be much that much harder.”

Notes: This turn has been heavily criticized for what is perceived as a complete misunderstanding of what one player had intended to do, which has been acknowledged by Sobot. This turn may receive modifications to fix these perceived errors.

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