The Age of Empires
Since the most correct and faithful calendar was conveyed to Eolus, first King of Vingaard, by the elves of Murthrid, it is Vingaard's calendar that has set the standard for Leng. The old calendars, filled with the confusion and chaos of the old times, have gradually fallen out of use over the years. So it came to pass that everything before King Eolus' ascension to power is "BE" (Before Eolus) and everything after is "AE".
The period of 500 years that preceded the formation of Vingaard is now known as the Age of Empires. It was a time when the rise of mankind and civilisation was clearest, a time when great civilisations rose and fell. The tumult and chaos of the Age of Spears was a distant memory by the end of the Age of Empires, old histories poorly preserved by oral tradition. It was only in the Age of Empires that truly reliable histories came to be recorded in the east, though history runs as far back as the Age of Spears on the western coast of Leng.
The Age of Empires saw the rise, zenith, and descent of the Arelonian Empire into what it is today - a formidable naval force, but no longer an insurmountable force. It saw the city-states of Lorknir rise and vie for power until the end of the age, when the Lorknir Pact was signed. It saw Kharolis and Nevermoor united under a single good king - and it also saw the king die, and the two nations split by civil war. It was a time of great conflict and ambition.
500 - 400 BE
- The Building of Caragoth (450 BE)
- The Karpathi Wars (450-445 BE)
- Formation of the Arelonian Empire (420-410 BE)
400 - 300 BE
300 - 200 BE
200 - 100 BE
100 - 0 BE
- Signing of the Lorknir Pact (20 BE)
- The War of Accession (15-0 BE)
- The Apotheosis of St. Cuthbert (10 BE)
The Building of Caragoth450 BE
Near the beginning of the Age of Empires - far west of Vingaard, in what would eventually be known as Arelon - there were peoples far more developed than the tribes of the Vintas. They were comparable to the early city-kingdoms of Lorknir in their advancement; on the hills of Arelon, windswept but sunny and fertile, a people thrived. Tribes grew in wealth and power, and eventually squabbled over land or banded together for protection.
One such people were the Methlum, a civilisation of exceptional size and strength, bolstered by ingenuity of engineering both civil and military, and by the organisation of their society. With these advantages, they spread across much of the Arelonian Coast, annexing the smaller tribes and chiefdoms in the towns and villages of Arelon. So it came to pass that the people of the Carath Valley were annexed by the Methlum.
The subjugation of the Carath tribes was a perfect storm that would eventually result in the formation of the Arelonian Empire; for the Methlum brought their knowledge to Carath, and began to build a great city on the commanding hill that dominated the valley: Caragoth was to be its name. Methlum architects and engineers delved great sewers and raised massive towers in the glory of their kingdom, but their work was to be interrupted before it was half done by the Karpathi Wars.
The Karpathi Wars450-445 BE
The Methlum kingdom of Arelon was to be an ill-fated one, not long for Morus. In their rapid and jubilant expansion, they had conquered much of Arelon - but power begets greed, and their king was not satisfied. Looking east into the barren stone of the Plains of Qolor, the king's sorcerors told of great riches of gold and silver hidden in the wastes. Only 500 years earlier their ancestors had fled in thirst and fear from Qolor, but now the Methlum would return for the sake of legendary treasures.
Thrice the Methlum entered the wastes, and thrice the Karpathi plainsmen drove them back with vicious losses. Each time, the Methlum king became more certain that the Karpathi had something to hide - something to protect. He grew obsessed with their hidden hoards of gold, magnified to mountains in his mind. On the third and final incursion, the barbarians of the east were provoked - for the king of the Methlum, his name now lost to time, had stolen the sacred ivory statues from a Karpathi hold. So the Karpathi Wars began; an army of barbarians pouring into Arelon to demand the return of what was rightfully theirs.
The wars could have been ended with much less loss of blood, it is said - the Karpathi only demanded the return of the idols and the blood of their taker. But the king would not sacrifice himself to the mercy of their spears, and a bloody war ensued that would destroy the budding Methlum kingdom. In the aftermath, much of what the Methlum had built was commandeered by their former vassals. The half-finished city of Caragoth was retaken by the rebellious tribes of the Carath Valley; and so Caragoth, the City That Came Before, came to be.
Formation of the Arelonian Empire420-410 BE
Between 420 and 410 BE, the Arelonian Empire formed on the west coast of Leng. In these early days, the land known as Arelon was home to many warring city-states. The aftermath of the Karpathi Wars, 25 years earlier, had reduced the former vassals of the Methlum kingdom to fractious warlords, all vying for a piece of the incredible wealth that the Methlum had accumulated. It was a time when wars were fought on the barest of pretenses and cities were burned and sacked.
Over the past 25 years, the people of Caragoth had taken advantage of the legacy left behind by the Methlum; from their high-walled city, they commanded a kingdom that conquered the neighbouring tribes. Caragoth had grown so that new walls were needed, and the Carath opened their doors to the wandering scholars and engineers left landless by the fall of Methlum.
The finishing of Caragoth heralded a period of conquest by the Carath Kingdom; one in which much of Arelon was brought under their sway. With the lands of Arelon conquered; the Carath Kingdom turned its attention to the seas, conquering the shipwright peoples of the island of Dalmar, under the auspices of King Numa - the first king in all of Leng whose name is recorded. With the power of Myrkul the fire-god at his back, Numa razed the ships of the Dalmari and wrested control of their ports and shipbuilders for himself.
With Dalmar conquered and under Arelonian command, King Numa gave himself a foothold into the Sea of Pearls, laying the groundwork for a navy that would cow all of Leng in the years to come. As others looked to Arelon with growing wariness, Numa was crowned Emperor Numa I. The compact between him and the priests of Myrkul was complete; legends spread over the coast of Arelon of the god-emperor who calls fire from the heavens, and the practice of deifying Arelon's emperors also came into being.
The Conquest of Astinus & Agatea380-370 BE
After thirty years of the Arelonian Empire's ruthless expansion, the region of Astinus became part of Arelon. Astinus was different from the other regions conquered by the empire in that it was a strong, unified kingdom. It presented a strong, united front against the unity of Arelon as was allied with the forces of Agatea, in the south. The Astinians attacked Arelon pre-emptively, while the second emperor, Numa II, was still occupied with building the navy that would become Arelon's crowning glory.
The Arelonian conquest of Astinus was eventually successful, thanks in most part to their domination of the coasts. It was a hard-won victory, however - Numa II had not planned to move on Astinus for years yet. The kingdom of Astinus had been a free and just kingdom, and Arelon inherited a rebellious kingdom. This would cause them problems in the future, but in the short term it left Ageatea to the south undefended and ripe for the taking. It fell not long after.
The Great Rebellion300-250 BE
With the conquest of Astinus and Agatea in 370 BE, the next 70 years were an interesting time - known to historians as the Time of Troubles. Although Numa II had unified the western coast of Leng in name, it was anything but unified in deed. The people of Astinus remembered well what they had before Arelonian rule, and defiance - both passive and violent - were not uncommon. The Agateans were more pliable, but the natural wealth of the coast made for dangerous merchant princes with aims of their own.
It was the fifth Arelonian emperor, Titus I, who created the conditions that led to what is now called "The Great Rebellion". His life's work was to conquer the Sea of Pearls - a task which, 70 years later, was proving itself much more difficult than the first emperors had foreseen. So far westward were his attentions turned, in fact, that he did not react adequately to the seeds of dissent in his own empire. The Great Rebellion did not start in Astinus or Agatea - revolts had sprung up many times, and been quelled each time - but in the capitol city of Caragoth.
Dissent and rebellion had wormed their way into the heart of the empire itself from Astinus, causing the people to question by what right the Emperor ruled. Arelon was still a young empire by this point, and one that had taken its new-made provinces for granted. It is possible, as well, that the revolution was fomented by agents within the Imperial Court - for it has always been a bed of vipers. Whatever the cause, the Emperor was hard-pressed to maintain order in his own lands, let alone foreign provinces.
By the end of the five-year period known as the Great Rebellion, the Empire was sorely weakened. Agatea - the Empire's most treasured province - found itself an influx of mercenaries from the Sea of Pearls, paid for with the coin of merchant princes. It seceded, and became a free nation supported by a standing army - which it has been to this day. Astinus was restored to the Empire, but was more rebellious than ever, and would later break away and form the Astinian Republic in 250 BE.
Perhaps most damaging of all, however, was the unrest that came to the Sea of Pearls as the Imperial Legion was recalled to the mainland and mercenaries swept across the oceans on galleons. When the Great Rebellion was over, Agatean mercenaries found themselves roaming the sea with no one to call master - the beginning of a "piracy problem" that persists in the Sea of Pearls to this day.
The aftermath of the Great Rebellion forged the politics that persist in the west today - Astinus and Agatea are uncertain allies against Arelon, whom they despise. Arelon is a shadow of the empire that thrived in its golden age, but its dominion of the Sea of Pearl and its awe-inspiring navy brings in enough wealth to keep the Empire alive and well. Swords are rarely openly drawn between the three great human civilisations of the west, but intrigue and maneuvering is endless.
Signing of the Lorknir Pact20 BE
For nearly 500 years since Antiras was founded at the end of the Age of Spears, the region known as Lorknir - the "Cradle of Civilisation" - was a hotbed of petty kings and warlords. Even as the great empires and kingdoms of the west rose and fell, the east - from Lorknir all the way to the Vintas - was a great borderlands. Closer to the heartland of Leng and further from the coasts, these lands were being reclaimed from the wilderness each day, and they were still full of wildness.
This time of frontier states finally came to an end in 20 BE. The east, including Vintas, Warden, Nevermoor and Kharolis, were still places of fractious petty kings, but the area now known as Lorknir had grown into something more. Although vast areas of wilderness still existed, a number of great city-states had arisen. Each of these city-states found themselves in a strange position; because of the way in which they had grown and matured, none of them could afford to crush one of the others without weakening themselves to their neighbours.
For a time - from 100 to 20 BE - the city-states had fought selfishly, making alliances and pacts between city-states to crush mutual enemies. These alliances rarely lasted more than a few months, and the result was that the natural wealth and fortuitous positioning of Lorknir was squandered. It was in 20 BE that the situation was finally settled once and for all. Under the guarantee of the Blue Elves of Daggerwood, and in the greatest and oldest city in all of Leng - Antiras - the Lorknir Pact was signed.
This agreement dictates that the city-states of Lorknir will work together and maintain their territories without resorting to arms. It formalised the tension that had dictated the past centuries: any who attacks another member of the Pact will face the combined wrath of all the others. This made Lorknir, in a world riven by war and conflict, a place of stability, safety and - most important of all - trade.
Of course, the Lorknir Pact says nothing about action against those who did not sign. This prompted many within Lorknir to turn their attention and their resources to the territory in the Vintas and beyond - fuelling the War of Accession that began 5 years later.
The War of Accession15-0 BE
With the signing of the Lorknir Pact, the attention of those with power and wealth turned to the east - to the fertile and well-placed lands of the Vintas. What had always been a land of fractious, hereditary lords and their vassals became a war for absolute rulership of the land. Minor lords fell away and swore oaths of fealty to those backed by the powerful merchant princes of Lorknir.
A period of 5 years passed in this way, and it seemed as though it would be the deepest coinpurse that ruled Vingaard. The face of the War of Accession would change deeply with the Apotheosis of St. Cuthbert, however.
The Apotheosis of St. Cuthbert10 BE
The Apothoesis of St. Cuthbert is one of the most significant events of Vintish history, and one surrounded by myth and embellishments. By 10 BE, the War of Accession was in full swing - what had once been a fractious but peaceful assortment of petty kingdoms had devolved into a frenzied melee of warlords. Tales of the early priesthood of Belzor are few, but all know the story of St. Cuthbert.
The Apotheosis of St. Cuthbert occurred in the town of Solamnus, which would eventually become the capitol city of Vingaard. It had been the site of a great battle; one of the warlords, swayed by a cleric of Cyric, descended upon the town with the certainty that killing Cuthbert the Holy would guarantee the destruction of the New Order that threatened his claim on Vingaard. He was held back by priests and shepherds - by the locals of the town.
It is said that when the battle was done, Cuthbert the Holy called the leader of the battle - a shepherd named Eolus. This shepherd, it is said, had no stake and no ulterior motives but his desire to keep his people safe. It is said that, of all the warlords seeking the blessing of Cuthbert, it was Eolus that he chose. For Eolus did not come to him, did not ask for his blessing, did not want a crown. With Eolus and his Disciples alone, he ventured into the ancient catacombs beneath the town.
Only Eolus and the Disciples emerged; the Disciples, with wide eyes, swore that Cuthbert had commanded them to serve Eolus as the man who would bring peace and righteousness to the Vintas, and had vanished in a flash of light. This was the beginning of a turning point in the War of Accession; for it was Eolus who was to become the first king of Vingaard. Whatever passed in those catacombs, he went in a reluctant shepherd, and came out as the King of Vingaard.
In the years to come, the shepherd-made-king would leave his mark on the Vintas. The newly-unified kingdom of Vingaard would, by his death, stretch across the Vintas. Even the hard-headed and stubborn Wardeners bent the knee to King Eolus before he lay down the crown for his brother to take up.