History of the Midland Monarchies
The world was ruled by the Djann, a mysterious and powerful race that commanded a mighty empire. Their capitol was on the continent to the south, far distant, but their hand was felt all across Hava, the land in which the Republic now resides. The Djann were powerful beyond measure, mastering elemental magic so great that the world shook at their command, and the skies bled. All of the racesHuman, Elf, Dwarf and Trollwere their servants, and Orcs were their slaves, made to do the worst of the backbreaking labor, their troops in war, their gladiators in peace.
The Djann ruled for centuries, defying all of the gods who sought their downfall to free the other peoples of the world. Then, something occurred, a cataclysm beyond imagining that turned the sky into a storm and caused the Djann to vanish. What the Djann did we do not know. Did they trifle with the nether gods? Fall before an alliance of the Summer and Winter Gods? Fall from grace with their own Elemental Powers? None know. What is known is that the cataclysm destroyed the Djann hold on the world, perhaps the Djann themselves. If they live at all, it is on their moon, crafted from our world's landmasses, which we can see but not reach. For the first time in remembered history, the races were free.
Very, Very Long Ago... The world came to mirror the conflict between the Summer and Winter Gods, whose worship flourished. Few would worship the Elemental Gods, but those that did found them distant and aloof, eventually either dying or abandoning their followers altogether. Their influences, and the Djann's, are still ever-present, as elemental magic is now used across Hava for purposes mundane and fantastic, and their freed avatars and spirits roam the land as they will.
Monarchy and Raelism
The humans of Hava discovered monarchy, and several kingdoms and city states were founded across the plains. This system was the logical extension of the great tier of being, where each living creature exists at its natural level, governing those below them, being governed by those above them. This simple yet nuanced system formed the basis for human society for centuries. People who proved themselves worthy and capable were able to raise themselves in the chain, and most lived in the comfort of their own proper level of being, free from the burden of unwanted and unearned duties. Kings ruled their own realms, making themselves strong testing one another, and then turning this might against the Winterkin Invaders. Thus was the strength of kingdoms forged and the light of civilization burned bright.
This time of chivalry is called the Middle Kingdoms. For centuries it kept humanity strong, proud and free, and gave worship to the Summer Gods in the proper fashion. Then there appeared a soothsayer and malcontent, a so-called prophet named Rael. Born a nobleman, he had at first distinguished himself in his Earldom on the northern border, holding off the Winterkin and perfecting the breeding of his falcons for use by the rest of the Nobility. Then, struck by delusions, he abandoned his post and let his lands be overrun, his family and followers slaughtered by the barbarians while he wandered as a mad hermit in the eastern mountains for a decade. Finally, he returned to the Middle Kingdoms, walking the length of the Eagle River towards the heart of the greatest monarchy, the home of King Grendel of the Coast. Along the way he gathered a mob of peasants, foolishly swayed by his mad charm and deluded rhetoric to cast off their comfortable position on the tier of being and take action against their natural rulers.
When he reached the heart of the lands of Grendel, the great king who had given his left arm saving his vanguard from Winterkin raiders, Rael spoke in the streets, in the tavern houses, in the courts, anywhere that people would gather and listen. He spoke of shattering the tier of being, of the lowest being raised to the highest and the natural leaders being cast down. His speeches inflamed the populace, leading to riots as he surrounded himself with a band of thieves and cutthroats. Two times Rael was captured by Grendel's guards, so that Grendel could speak to him as noblemen speak, and both times Rael's thieves invaded the place, assassinating guards and making off with their leader. The third time, as riots bordering on war boiled in the streets, Grendel ordered Rael's execution, letting him chose the method. Rael ordered himself staked out on the cliffs, where birds devoured his living flesh and made the madman into a Martyr.
Grendel's kingdom fell within a year, becoming the center of the Old Republic.
The Old Republic
Within a human lifetime the Old Republic spread the word of Rael across all of Hava, finding converts among all the racesthe Trolls of the hills, the Orcs of the Jungles, the Dwarves of the southern coastal caves. The Church of Rael was center of the Republic, and Rael's teachings were the Republic's dictates. Church run schools indoctrinated the young into Rael's teachings and structures, ones which turned the world on its head and made anyone who was willing to kowtow to the church and fight wars on its behalf the leaders of their brethren. Monarchy was slandered and lies were told about the harsh injustices, while people ran ungoverned in vast tracts of the republic, and crime ran unabated without strong rulers to oversee the peoples affairs. In all of this the Church of Rael was paramount, even as they built a paper government behind which they could hide.
The Republic never banned the worship of the Summer Gods, for they knew that this would lead to open revolt and the displeasure of the true gods. But with every generation the Raelites marginalized their worship, teaching people of the overwhelming power of their false, disembodied god. Every generation saw fewer and fewer true worshipers of the summer gods, and any of those who attempted to actively promote their worship were either co-opted into the government structure (given wealth and power if they would abandon their faith) or simply vanished, becoming another blood sacrifice in the church's secret rituals. These Red Masses were long rumored among the public, attempting desperately for form a body made of human blood for their phantom god.
Using the foolish and misled Trolls as shock troops and fodder for the front lines, and aggressively building fortress after fortress as centers of power and dominion, the Republic was able to drive off the Winterkin Invaders, even as the Summer Gods themselves grew weaker. The northern barbarians, seeing a paucity of worthy foes turned their attention elsewhere; confident in their power, the Republic flaunted it by making the Shield Mountains. This range of mountains in the north, ripped from the land through magic of an intensity not seen since the Djann, formed a final wall, blocking in the Republic and locking it away from outside influence.
Freed from the constant threat of the Winter Barbarians, the Old Republic grew soft and corrupt. The truth of the tier of being became evident, as those leaders who were not fit to lead forgot their obligations and began a petty struggle for personal power. Political coteries started warring with each other in the Senate and in the field, raising personal armies for their family's promotion, their policies, and their interpretation of the Raelite faith. In the face of this, The Summer Gods stopped feeling their responsibility to defend the people of Hava. Then disaster struck.
The Long Winter
In a sudden, brutal assault, the Winter Gods revealed their true strength again, overwhelming the Summer Gods and killing one of their number. Shosara, the goddess of streams and music and the sole patron of the Elvish people, died. Unsupported by the tier of being, the Summer Gods collapsed under the onslaught, and the Winter began. In Hava, the Orcs and Barbarians followed the blizzards south for a hundred years, sweeping across the plains, retaking the Great Mountains, decimating the old Republic's forces, tired as they were from fighting each other. For a hundred years the summers were shorter and shorter, the winters longer and harder. Barbarians roamed the plains, sacking cities and destroying the civilization that had built itself upon the corpse of chivalry.
The summer people survived only through powerful elemental magics, through the organization of the church, and through the defenses of their cities, some of which were totally buried to prevent assaults. A new balance was reached, but it was one that favored the Winter peoples, and left the Summer races on a constant defensive, lest another raid come, lest a wall not hold, lest a magic falter. Yet in this chaos the Church of Rael lost its grip on the people, and the natural leaders took command, restoring the tier of being.
The New Summer, and the Midland Monarchies
When all seemed lost, the natural order reasserted itself; at the joining of the Faith, Hope and Charity rivers, the remnants of Republic cites formed a new government, a monarchy, and managed to turn back an innumerable force of raiders. This single, decisive battle restored the balance of the tier of being, and renewed the covenant between the leader and the land. This was the beginning of the Midland Monarchies, and the restoration of the natural world. For the first time in a hundred years summer followed spring; the long winter had ended. Even as the new Kings claimed lands and built armies for their defense, the Church took advantage of the situation, laying claim to all the land they lost and wanted to hold again. The Monarchies found themselves surrounded in theory by the remnants of this monolithic theocracy, but in practice they have free borders, and are growing; their armies, backed by the magic of the Rulership Covenant and the tiers of being, have swept away the so-called-Republic's pitiful forces at every encounter. Chivalry lives again, and is restoring the world to its rightful order. It might take generations, but it will occur.
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Copyright © 2000 Brian Rogers