Saturday, April 6, 2013

F is, um... sorta like E, and E is for Elysion

I haven't really anything in the Olden Lands that starts with an F... huh. So here's a double-helping of E...

His Royal Majesty, Megakles VII, Great King of the Elysians, Lord of the Viridian Throne; Grand Prince of Elysion; Suzerain of Itlania, High Lord of Alspadia, Eosha, Notixos, and the Northern Reaches; Protector of Deshret; Grand Admiral of the Inner Seas and Outer Ocean; Archon of the Thunder Peaks; etc, etc… (Evil 0-level Normal Man)

Capital: Vasilopolis [City of the King] (pop. 60,000)
Humans: 16,000,000 (includes Auriante, Austellia, Tarraconia, Velanto, and Vóreioskórea)
Demi-humans: Few
Humanoids: Some (goblinoids and ogres in the Starcrag Peaks)
Monsters: Some, mostly in ancient underground ruins, in royal menageries, guarding the towers of wizards, or kept as assassins or muscle. The Storm Giants in the Thunder Peaks are considered holy, as are the sylvan creatures of the Immerwood.
Languages: Itlanic; Elysian, Itlanic, Élyséenais, Thysian, Common, East Gottish, Kartaghan.
Resources: Copper, gems (diamonds, opals), silk, silver, wood (rare)

This history of the Elysians and their coming to this continent, the founding of their many kingdoms, the foundation of the Empire of Elysion and its growth, rot, and final Doom, are all dealt with in detail elsewhere in this work. Following the Dark Age, the heartlands of Elysion collapsed into more than a hundred petty, squabbling cities, towns, and citadels, all menaced by tribes of Gotha and Kartaghans, humanoids and monsters. Here a lord, there a count, one a prince, the other a king. For long centuries no one power arose, and truly potent states were few, far between, and rarely lasted more than a few generations.

The Rekindling in Itlania and the growth of the Kingdom of Itlanis, together with the unifying myths and legends of the Golden Kingdom and the efforts of the clerics of the God of Law, slowly and in fits and spurts, dragged old Elysion back into civilization. But it took the conquests of the new Itlanian Empire to bring together the squabbling lords of Elysion. By the time the Itlanians had reached the Great Heart River, seven (mostly) united principalities stood between the Great Heart and the Sunrise Sea. Their united armies swarmed the streets of Vasilopolis and in unison told the Itlanian Emperor, “no further!” War was averted, the Itlanian Empire reached then its greatest extent, and the seven principalities were left alone.

Following the collapse of the Itlanian Empire, the various Elysian princes first sought to go their own ways. Further internecine wars, the continual break-ups and reconfigurations of the principalities, migrations of barbarians, and corsair attacks convinced Prince Orion of Vóreioskórea that Elysion needed to be unified once again. He thus initiated the 30-year War of the Princes that unified old Elysion under a single banner. When the dust settled, he created a new kingdom, the Great Kingdom of the Elysians, and crowned himself with the regnal name of Megakles while wearing the Royal Green, for he was wise enough to know that any who tried to claim the old Imperial Purple would die a horrible death.

This long rule stabilized the kingdom, as did his creation of the electoral college of princes, used to determine the next king. To firmly center the kingdom on old Vasilopolis, and to purposefully weaken the position of the king in regards to the other princes, he carved out the Royal Domains during his Great Realignment. This gave the king, who must forgo all claims to the throne and lands of his former principality, enough personal power, without combining the might of the sovereign with the personal power of the principality.

And so far, the balance of powers created by Megakles I, “The Great,” has held. It has helped much that the kingdom Orion built was purposefully well-defined by riverine and sea borders, the defenses of which are in the hands of marcher lords appointed directly by the sovereign. Open conflicts between the principalities have been limited, and of these, few have ever come to blows, as tactical considerations, being restricted, allowed the combatants to end their conflicts diplomatically. The arts of the assassin, however, have thrived, especially in the last century.

With no major threats to the peace, and no grand schemes of conquest (such as the Gottic Empires’ ill-fated crusades), the princes of the realm have turned decadent, dissipated, and debauched. A few have sought aggrandizement otherwise, such as the Prince of Auriante and the growth of his trade network among the isles of the Sunrise Sea, or the similar and competing efforts on the part of the princes of Austellia and Tarraconia in the Serene Sea. Most princes simply feast, engage in debauched rites, enjoy decadent pleasantries, or engage in classic tournaments or set-piece battles for amusement. A few plot, especially with the less-than-great “greatness” of Megakles VII on the throne.

As yet the Great Plague and the Saracen and Paynim hordes from the West have made few inroads into the Great Kingdom. Should it and/or they reach its shores, likely through Tarraconia, Austellia, Velanto, or Vóreioskórea, the weak, dissipated, and debauched realm may once again feel the sting of disaster and desolation.

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