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    Citadel Developer Blog, Vol XI: Modern History

    Monday, September 15, 2008

    by: Shane

    History TomeAfter an appropriately long sabbatical for the Citadel blog, we return this week for another look at the world’s history. Last post, we studied what is known about the “lost eras” of history, for which there are few written records. Now we examine the Modern Era, the events that shaped it, the cultures it spawned, and the great adversities in store for it.

    The Rain of Stars has ended and a new era has come to Citadel. Commonly known as the Modern Era, it is properly known as the Era of Sanctuary (as in the notations ES for Era of Sanctuary, and AE for Astraic/Archaic Era). The cataclysms of the previous age have subsided and the world is free once more to form societies, build cities and explore new frontiers.

    The Awakening (1 ES - 154 ES)

    “I awakened that morning, my only remaining memories vague and terrifying. A lifetime of nightmares always in the corner of my eye. My people trusted me and looked to me for guidance, and the prevailing feeling was that the dawn had brought new hope. I had no idea how long this reprieve from the terrors of the sky would last. I only knew that we had to rebuild, knowing full well our work could be undone by the heaven’s slightest whim. Why do this? Because it is our nature to do so.”

    - Murabb Ahuarga, First Elder of the Council of Old Dhesh

    Though the exact date of the Day of Awakening is disputed, it is popularly held to be the first day of the month of Doril, the beginning of spring in the Southern regions. It is said that this is the day upon which the world woke up from the mass amnesia that marked the end of the Rain of Stars.

    The Awakening brought with it chaos in all corners of Citadel, as the scattered tribes and communities emerged from hiding and all tried to stake their claim in the world. This period lasted over a hundred and fifty years. During this time, small civilizations rose and fell almost overnight, but three bastions of order endured.

    The Amadi, fleeing the destruction of their homeland of Sayaghar, found refuge in the arid expanses of the Four Deserts. They were pursued there by the terrifying Ghul and nearly perished but for the wisdom of a lowly goat-herd, the prophet Azad, who forged a pact with the enigmatic Ifrit spirits and led his people to salvation.

    On the Paan river, a mighty power rose under the guidance of the God-King Ormasht. Although inscrutable and a tyrant in the eyes of many, he was responsible for the building of countless engineering marvels. Even after his eventual overthrow, he is regarded as the father of the Republic of Orm.

    In the south, the hero Laird Donnart united the clans of Scallskerry to fend off an invasion of terrifying man-eating giants. Through his actions, the Hallowed Kingdoms of Scallskerry remain intact, a testament to the lasting society he helped forge.

    The Enlightenment (155 ES - 268 ES)

    “We have failed to see the signs. The living statue of Laird Donnart had moved for the first time in sixty years, raising its greathammer aloft in one hand, warning of a disaster coming to Scallskerry. Seven years later, the towers of Barhem fell to a massed invasion of giants, led by a savage war chief. And now, just when we cannot imagine things becoming worse, our colony of Auldport rebels against the Heirophant’s rule! Our star is falling, like a warm tear rolling down Donnart’s cold marble face.”

    - Erin Castervale, Deacon Prelate of the College of Creminster

    It was a dark hour for the Hallowed Kingdoms. The Second Ravening War was raging, and the baronies of Scallskerry were falling before the giant armies like wheat at the harvest. When it seemed things couldn’t get any worse, a rebellion led by a coalition of merchant houses claimed the wealthy colony of Auldport in an almost bloodless coup. Although the giants were eventually defeated, Auldport was never reclaimed, instead forming its own Empire, fuelled by staggeringly profitable sea trade. The Hallowed Kingdoms, though victorious in war, were robbed of their most precious frontier and left to slowly stagnate in the south.

    In the wake of the rebellion, the newly established Auldport Empire launched into an historic bilateral agreement with their old rivals in Orm. This agreement is commonly referred to as the Charter of Enlightenment, and is the basis of all commercial and cultural exchange between Orm and Auldport to this day.

    However, all was not well with Orm. Civil strife which had been brewing for years now bubbled over, threatening Ormasht’s rule, while Amadi refugees had formed an army on their doorstep. Twenty-two years after The Enlightenment was forged, Ormasht was overthrown in a bitter and bloody revolt and the undead Immortal Conclave siezed power, forming the Republic as it is known today.

    Trade between Orm and Auldport continued, making both nations stronger. However, in 210, an impossibly large pirate fleet under the leadership of the Accursed privateer Markholm Strack emerged from the Bright Sea, declaring rulership over the oceans and demanding tribute from all nations. The Republic and the Empire responded by forging a naval alliance known now as the First Concordance. Although they were unable to defeat Strack entirely, they drove him back into the Bright Sea where he was eventually vanquished by an alliance of three Pirate Kings.

    During this time, Auldport was having problems of its own. The mining colony of Endesmouth and its ruling merchants, House Marin, had declared independence from Auldport and were making their presence felt in the East. This newly formed “Agalmic Syndicate” took control of the lion’s share of Auldport’s mineral resources. With arrogant confidence, Auldport sent a land army to the crossroad city of Tansell, intending to use it as a staging ground for an assault on the Syndicate. Instead, they were ambushed there by the Syndicate’s armies and were utterly destroyed by Endesmouth’s newly-forged land and air forces. After this battle, the Syndicate took control of the entire Certa region and holds it to this day.

    Then, in the year 266, a natural disaster known as the Sundertide obliterated coastal settlemements across the known world. It was the largest natural disaster since the Rain of Stars. None were worse-affected than the inhabitants of the Bright Sea, and countless thousands of lives were lost in the archipelago. Worse yet, the disaster stirred up the bloodthirsty sea-dwellers known as the Reefsfolk, who began a vicious conquest of the waters from their submerged coral fortresses.

    At the close of the Period of Enlightenment, the three Pirate Kings once again joined forces. This time, they did so to combat the Reefsfolk who threatened to usurp their position as rulers of the Bright Sea. Although the Dead Eye Free State alliance proved decisive in saving their fleets, their battle continues to this day.

    The Concord (269 ES - present day)

    “Seven more bureaucrats died this week. Exhaustion, heart failure and suicide, once again. This scramble to produce a draft of the Second Concordance is madness! The Founder’s Council, Xol preserve them, were terrified by the sudden re-unification of the so-called Dead-Eye Kings and now make us work night and day to extend Auldport’s alliances. They envisage an unstoppable pirate armada arriving on our doorstep at any moment. I, for one, would welcome them as any tormented soul would welcome the apocalypse.”

    - Belvedere Montgomery, Vice-Chancellor of the Imperial Ministry of Foreign Relations

    The year 269 saw the signing of a Second Concordance, this time between not only Orm and Auldport, but with the Amadi, the Syndicate and the Hallowed Kingdoms. Although the move was largely provoked by Auldport’s fears of the greatly strengthened Dead-Eye Pirates, the new Concordance did help stimulate trade and bring the nations together. Hostilities between Auldport and the Syndicate, still fresh in the minds of those involved, gradually subsided into a vicious, but less visible, cold war.

    In the year 270, an exploratory party from Auldport seeking mineral and star deposits in the misty forests south of Byreford stumbled upon a bizarre sight. They were surrounded by curious plant-like people emerging from the forest itself. While not immediately hostile, relations with this new race were tense to begin with. They swiftly gained the moniker “tanglefolk” for their strange, vine-tangled appearance. Since that day, the tanglefolk have spread far and wide across Citadel, driven by innate exuberance and curiosity. They have even formed a ramshackle new nation in the lands of their awakening, simply named “The Thornwood”, a motley confection open to all who share their spirit of collaborative anarchy. Many outsiders dispute the Thornwood’s legitimacy as a nation, instead dubbing it a lawless rabble of criminals and ne’er-do-wells.

    Of particular note is the tangleman who identified himself as Prince Oskar (and later King Oskar). In 281, he emerged from the Thornwood claiming to be the reawakened heir to the lost Hallowed Kingdom of Crowebyrne. Thousands of other tanglefolk flocked to his side, fervently supporting his outlandish claims. Indeed, a galtic Prince named Oskar did lead several thousand refugees south into the Thornwood from Crowebyrne, albeit 127 years ago. Needless to say, the Hallowed Kingdoms vehemently deny his claim and are still today locked in a bloody struggle with Oskar and his upstart “Ironwood Court” over the province of Wakestrath, once the territory of Old Crowebyrne itself.

    “And so we come to the present day. And what have we learned from history? Precious little, it seems, for in the words of that historical visionary Deacon Erin Castervale: we have failed to see the signs. We are too preoccupied with the so-called Green Peril to see beyond our neighboring provinces. Have we truly become so short-sighted? Late into the autumn months of last year, the statue of Laird Donnart began to raise his greathammer, not in one hand, but in both. In folklore, this foretells a terrible disaster approaching, not only to Scallskerry, but the whole world. May Xol grant us the wisdom to heed the signs set before us, and the fortitude to weather the coming storm.”

    - Mervil Henleyridge, Scholar Excelsior of the Kaeldrian Order of Creminster

    That concludes the history lesson for today. Next post will examine Citadel’s shadowy parallel world, the Etheric Realm, and its enigmatic inhabitants, the Jinn.

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