After the shattering of the United Plane, it is thought that Humans migrated across the great mountains en masse, whereas the elves, having come from the great wastes of the North, had already occupied the northern fertile regions and had been there, modern scholars estimate, for as long as two centuries. As the Humans poured in and settled in Southern Valorum, along the Salt Sea, a natural power structure formed and the Kingdom of the Rivers came into being. A need for expansion and new lands eventually brought the Humans into conflict with their Elvish neighbours, signalling the Century of Fire.
Century of FireEdit
So named because of the vast tracts of forest burned by the Humans as an act of warfare, the conflict lasted nearly a hundred years, before the Elvish clans were vanquished - the greatest retreating back across the wastes where they presumably met their end.
With all the resources of Valorum now at its disposal, the Kingdom of the Rivers set about settling all the new land and building great cities to serve as regional capitals and trading hubs. The greatest and oldest of these being Ragolith on the Salt Sea. At some point in this period, the Kingdom of the Rivers was overthrown by the new-forming regional powers, and a Council of Great Lords was erected in its place. The feudal administration remained, but instead of a single monarch ruling Valorum, a council of 6 "princes" (as well as a seventh member, the Warden of the Outlands, a member with far fewer powers than the princes) from each of the regions worked together to govern Valorum efficiently. The civilization period lasted roughly 2.5 centuries, with the overthrow of the monarch happening approximately 150 years into the period.
Main Article: Warlord Period
A simple boundary dispute between aristocrats on the island of Verin sparked one of the most destructive and bloodiest periods in the history of Valorum, and lasted for a little more than 60 years. The boundary dispute escalated to the point where armed forces were brought to bear on each other on the island, and The Council relented and split the island into two regions. This showed aristocrats across the nation that violence was an acceptable means of seizing power, and that The Council lacked the authority to impose its will on the people it was supposed to rule. After a series of conflicts across the continent, a young warlord from the riverlands named Virgillianus entered Ragolith with a petty 3000 troops (as the city proved to be relatively undefended due to other campaigns) and disbanded The Council, executing the 4 of 7 princes that he found residing in the city, but not before they relinquished their powers to him and declared Virgillianus Lord Protector of Valorum.
Following the dissolution of the council, the closing twenty years of the Warlord Period saw numerous generals and aristocrats fighting each other for the mantle of Lord Protector, and while Virgillianus was soon unseated, several Lord Protectors followed in his footsteps of seizing power quickly, and losing it just as quickly. The period was quelled when a middle-aged man by the name of Rhaedestus won numerous campaigns and became the last Lord Protector of the period, and the first Emperor of Valorum, having the province in which he was born renamed after him as a testament to his glory.
Rhaedestus quickly set about restoring order to the provinces and quelling any rebellions. He instituted a set of local governments within the provinces and reorganized the council. No longer would the emperor's council be made up of a few select aristocrats who had enough power within their governed province to challenge the monarch, Rhaedestus now reformed the council to include almost all regional members from the provinces, taking away much of the Prince's powers. The council now was made up of 230 councilors who all competed for the Emperor's ear.
Rhaedestus also reformed the military, raising the standing Imperial Army to a headcount of 30,000. He further strengthened the Emperor's control over the military by allocating a yearly "loyalty bonus" from the Emperor's personal treasury. To pay for this, as well as for infrastructure advances, the first Emperor created a new taxation system that affected different professions differently. Agriculture, forming the backbone of Valorum's economy, was taxed fairly heavily, whereas the nobility were often exempt from taxation.
This period was marked with relative peace for the first fifty years, and after that, while there were a few rebellions and some power shifts, Valorum never again saw the kind of violence that marked the Warlord Era until the Interregnum.
Main article: Valorum Interregnum
In 243 A.R. (After the Crowning of Rhaedestus) the feckless Emperor Lucius III died without issue. Lucius was product of family incest practiced by the Sixtimian dynasty to keep the bloodline pure, and reigned for only three years before dying at the age of 29. Lucius' relatives were too weak or too young to press their claim on the Imperial Throne. This set off an age of conflict not unlike the Warlord Era, but on a much grander scale as nearly 250 years of development and progress had set the stage for a massive civil war.
Brother fought brother as the wars raged across the continent, vast armies formed, and broke upon each other. After twelve years, imperial loyalists were able to put down the pretenders and revolutionaries whom had taken root across the country. Supreme Commander of the Imperial Army Darren Vyganus was able to enact brilliant military strategies with limited resources, and smashed the rebels. He succeeded in defending Lucius III's nephew, Lucion II's claim on the throne. Darren, however, had designs on the throne himself. Although Lucion was twenty by the end of the war, Darren persisted in his role as Regent until Lucion was deemed suitable enough to rule. After nearly a year since the Interregnum had ended, Lucion began to grow tired of this affair and attempted to give himself greater autonomy and authority. He was appalled when no one raised their banners for him, and even his own city guard welcomed Darren back into the city. Darren's forces slew the young Emperor as he tried to flee, and named the general his successor in full sight of Lucion's corpse.
Imperial Restoration PeriodEdit
With the provinces now too weak to rebel against the new Emperor, Darren set out reforming the empire once more. Darren's reformations, however, proved to be ephemeral. He replaced many of the landholders with new lords and placed men of loyalty into his army and council. Darren failed to address what had caused the previous war to break out, which was of course the hereditary succession of the empire - creating weak Emperors - as well as the centralized authority which caused the Crimson Throne (as it was called, after the bloody interregnum) to be such a prize.
Now it is but thirty years after Darren's reign. While he and his successor, Darren II Vyganus were able to revitalize the economy and keep Valorum in relative peace, Darren II's son Alexis now sits the throne uneasily. Both his father and elder brother having been taken by the same plague, Alexis is but 12 and must face the vast horde of plots arraigned against him.
Whether or not he will be remembered as the Emperor who overcame all odds and saved the empire, or as another footnote in history, another emperor deposed in a bloody age of feudalism, only time will tell.
Valorum is broken up into seven provinces and one territory. They are as follows:
Toryn - Capital City: Toryn
Verin Sy - Capital City: - Certe
Dragon Island - Insula
Bosona Plains - Aequor
Capraecia - Liviolanum
Rhaedestus - Arcen
The Riverlands - Ragolith
The people of Valorum have differing culture depending on the location. The coast people are considered the "most civilized" by the people of influence within Valorum. They adhere to the common religion and speak with the "appropriate" accents. These coastal and city folk revere private life and are relatively pious. Generally, they are more educated as well. The interior consists mainly of farmers and hunters, with few towns and villages scattered across the massive plains. These people are more communal, and worship the same gods as the coastal peoples.
The Outlanders are the only other cultural entity of note. They rejected the Western gods long ago, and have continued in their practice of ancestor worship. They are considered barbarians by the other cultural groups, and are very solitary folk.
Outerlands • Jotun • Vedfolnir • North Eidyn • Frozen Vale • Teleios • East Teleios • Leir • Sky Pass • Gierkliff • Central Eidyn • Varden • Verdant Wilderness • Oceanfell • Shuang • Necronia • Kharnstheim