~1400 Years Before the Second (Telkarion) Empire (B2E) - Rise of the Emberek Empire. On the distant continent of Berek, where human kingdoms have vied for dominance for all of known history, a powerful empire emerges. The Emberek Empire unites most the human kingdoms, soon coming to dominate most of the continent.
~1100 B2E - First human explorers of the Emberek Empire cross the Golden Sea to discover a strange new world. A number of colonies are established, but further exploration is prevented by a forbidding mountain range that parallels the coast. In Urakodinak, the language of the Emperor’s Kodina culture, they name this range the Pajzsat, or Wall, Mountains. In only one place are the mountain broken, by the mighty Keresk River that descends from the mountains over mighty cataracts. The only means of bypassing these perilous waters is via secret ways built and utilised by a group of short, powerfully built beings that the humans come to know as dwarves. Via these hidden ways, the dwarves bring great quantities of exotic goods that are loaded on barges and floated downstream to a human trading post in the delta of a mighty river. Many of these items are crafted in a meticulous skill unlike any seen before by human eyes, or enchanted with alien magics more powerful than that which the deities have bestowed on their most loyal priests. These dwarven goods are much sought-after by the wealthy nobles and merchants of the Empire and the trading post quickly grows into a great city. While the name of the city is Arany, most soon begin referring to it simply as the Golden City.
~900 B2E - Emperor Legosoje IV sets his gaze eastward, to the source of the wondrous dwarven goods. It is commonly believed that a wealthy dwarven kingdom lays just beyond the Pajzsat Mountains, and the Emperor promises great wealth and power for any man or woman who can deliver it to him. A famed adventurer, Intezoben the Explorer, discovers a long-abandoned passageway through the mountains and leads an Imperial army through. Emerging from the far side of the passages, he does not find the fabled dwarven cities. Instead, he finds himself looking out over a broad swamp, bisected by the Keresk River before it disappears into a deep canyon through the mountains. On the river are more dwarven barges, obviously transporting their goods from lands even further to the east. While disappointed that the humans have penetrated the mountains, the dwarves concede that they are there to stay, not wishing to imperil the lucrative trade.
Humans soon begin to explore the new land. While it soon yields many of the wonders that humans were familiar with from trade with dwarves, they find that the land it surprisingly inhospitable. To the north, vast forests are inhabited by fey creatures and other wild woodland spirits. The Feywilds are a chaotic region with an ever-changing terrain that is rich with ancient magic, alien to the humans. A farmer might plant an orchard, only to find that the trees become inhabited by dryads who will strike out against any who come to pick their fruit. A grieving family might find that their dead relative, buried the day before, has suddenly arisen from the grave and shambled home to sit in his favourite chair. Those who gorge themselves on the delicious, sweet wild fruits of these lands might soon find that they can no longer be sustained by normal food. It is here that humans first encounter the elves, with their strange arcane magics, often living in wondrous dwellings formed from living trees, stone, or crystal.
To the south is a land of rolling hills and small mountain ranges, inhabited by a variety of strange creatures that the humans come to refer to collectively as "goblinoids". While this name is derived from the goblins and hobgoblins first encountered by human explorers, the humans eventually apply it to orcs, ogres, bugbears, gnolls, and other sentient creatures of this region. The goblinoids are organized into an endless landscape of tribes and kingdoms that frequently war amongst themselves for local dominance. Tyrannical rulers, aided by a rigid caste system, enforce their iron will over disciplined armies of underlings who in turn swear fealty any warlord whose power promises great victories.
Following the Keresk River eastward through the swamps, the Empire establishes colonies on the shores of a great inland lake, the Nagyto, their existence safeguarded by large armies sent from the fatherland. The elite human clerics, crusaders, swordsages, and warblades who have long been the mightiest warriors of the Empire's armies, find themselves faced with magics much more powerful than that possessed by the rare human mages. The Empire’s greatest scholars are sent to learn to utilise these new powers. The great schools of wizardry are soon founded, encouraging patient research into specialized magical disciplines. Other, less patient, humans make pacts with demonic or fey forces, becoming the first sorcerors. Seeking their own mages to battle those of their enemies, the Empire establishes the first warmage training academy. Rangers are trained to patrol the borderlands, the first line of defence against the threatening unknown.
~900-750 B2E - Expansion of the Nagyto Colonies. The colonies expand into the lands around Lake Nagyto, upriver into the Feywilds via the Mese River to the north, and into goblinoid lands via the Pokol River to the south. These years are marked by nearly constant warfare as the armies of the Empire seek to evict the existing races from the land and safeguard the new human colonies. Even with large imperial armies for protection, humans suffer many setbacks as they learned to battle both the fey and goblinoid natives. Often, success comes only after adopting their enemies' tactics. Vast areas of the Feywilds are put to the torch, so that humans can cultivate the land. Goblinoid fortresses are stormed, then restored for use by their new human occupants.
At some point during this colonial era, the humans discover that they share their lands with halflings. However, these elusive beings are largely considered harmless and ignored. A small number come to live in human towns, where they are valued for their culinary skills and ability to do fine craftwork.
~750-650 B2E - War of the False Emperors. The Emberek Empire is sundered by civil war when two brothers each claim the throne. Over the ensuing century, other claimants arise as various factions see opportunities arise to wrest power from the ruling dynasty for the first time in more than 600 years. Expansion of the Nagyto colonies ceases as the Imperial armies are recalled westward, or break up into warring camps.
~750B2E - The Empire dissolves as the individual claimants and other minor powers carve out their own realms and open warfare is replaced by constant border skirmishes. The powerful Doge of the Golden City claims dominion over the Eastern Emberek Empire, consisting of all of the lands east of the Golden Sea.
~650-166 B2E - Golden Age of the Eastern Emberek Empire - For nearly 500 years, while the western continent of Berek is constantly swept by conflict, the Eastern Empire stands as the largest human realm in the known world. Enriched by trade and protected by powerful mages and large armies, it slowly but gradually expands into former fey and goblinoid lands. Its explorers and traders travel distant lands, finally discovering the strongholds of the dwarves in the eastern mountain ranges. Vast steppes are discovered to the southeast, offering boundless forage for livestock herds. Halflings gain full citizenship in the Empire, emerging from their hidden enclaves to play an active role in human society. Having thrown off the shackles of the Kodina culture that dominated the previous Empire, a new Eastern culture emerges, with a new language.
~350 B2E - Construction of the Great Wall - To protect human lands from constant goblinoid raids, the Great Wall is constructed along the far southern borders of the Empire, stretching from the Pokol River westward into the mountains. In the mountains, the Great Wall is replaced by a serious of mountain forts, occupied by local ogre chieftains whose loyalty to the empire is ensured via regular tributes. The Knights of the Wall are formed as an elite force to defend key strongholds.
~250 B2E - Construction of the Great Highway - Inspired by the success of the Great Wall, the Emperor orders construction of a highway around the circumference of the human lands, to enable swift movement of armies, trade with remote borderland communities and to encourage establishment of new settlements.
166 B2E - Dissolution of the Eastern Emberek Empire - The Doge of the Golden City has grown wealthy on trade from the Nagyto lands, yet this is not enough. Taxes become more and more crippling, their collection enforced by governors with powerful armies. A rebellion led by a minor noble, Lazad Onak, quickly gathers popular support and the armies of the Doge are eventually driven back to the coast following several bloody campaigns. Lazad Onak is assassinated soon afterwards and the Nagyto is fragmented as local nobles try to carve out their own domains.
166-5 B2E - Age of the Warring Kingdoms - The noble houses of the Nagyto war amongst themselves, while weaving a complicated web of shifting alliances. Without the armies of the Empire to protect them, many borderland communities are abandoned, or simply disappear into the wild as communication and trade break down. The Knights of the Wall claim domain over the wall and a large area of land to the north, managing to maintain their borderland area while most others are lost.
56 B2E - The XIIIth (Goblinoid) Legion is formed, from goblinoid mercenaries serving House Telkar.
55 B2E - Daemanfolyo, second-largest city of the Nagyto, surrenders to the Telkar armies.
20 B2E - Faced with the advancing legions of House Telkar, the Magi of Gena make a desperate attempt to tap into powerful elemental magical forces. The resulting explosion of elemental energy, henceforth known as the Gena Disaster, ravages the land for a hundred miles in every direction with energies that warp its plants and animals, tainting the ground itself. When very few humans emerge from the Wastes, the Telkarion forces assume that the Genasi have perished in the disaster. In reality, the energies were released by the Genasi and their elven allies in a powerful ceremony that opened of a portal to a distant land. The mages, their armies, and most of their subjects manage to escape through the portal, leaving behind a small enclave of volunteers to protect the portal site.
0 2E (Second Empire) - Having conquered or made alliances with most human lands east of the Wall Mountains, House Telkar proclaims the establishment of the Second Empire, under the leadership of Emperor Csaszart I. The Second Empire soon becomes commonly referred to as the Telkarion Empire.
5 2E - Wasteward Keep is established, as a supply centre for forces guarding the Telkarion Empire against the aberrations that inhabit the Gena Waste.
97 2E - A group of young heroes who would come to be known as the Companions of Telkarion find themselves in Wasteward Keep. The Genasi return from their self-imposed exile in the land beyond the portal. In the intervening century, the strange energies of the portal have left their mark on the majority of the Genasi, imbuing them with characteristics of the four elements and granting many of them arcane powers. Enslaved elemental monsters fight alongside their armies in battle. The XIIIth Legion is defeated in a quick series of battles and Wasteward Keep soon falls. Behind the Genasi army come thousands of settlers eager to reclaim their lost homeland or to claim the lands abandoned by the citizens of the Empire.
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