The Mesathalassa summary (with info, maps, terminologyroleplayerguild.com/posts/4896581
Up. Upward. Up to Mountains. Up to the Sky. Ever since I left the coast it was nothing but that, a constant march towards the heavens, where the person who some said was the ruler of all mankind lived. The imperial machine worked with impeccable zeal along the way. The roads were well maintained and the Djore were well maintained even in the middle of the aridest lands. Djore being little inn-like lodges along the path. Apparently, this use of inns was used by tribes of Western Mesathalassa in the past creating a vast network of information and stability, the empire, always up to stealing what worked, remade the system, focusing on centralization and the expansion of its army.
Yet as a reminded we are dealing with empires of mortals, not of gods, it clearly showed its limits where the land became too rough. The Climb, or Nyar Refi, are a mountains broken region between Western Mesathalassa and Northern Mesathalassa. The North is a land of countless rivers, many of which go west, upon meeting the broken cliffs they turn the whole area into massive waterfalls.
Your Holiness, I cannot properly describe how terrifying these paths are, beautiful too, like many of nature's worst terrors. Endless snaking cliffside roads with the abyss on one side and thick merciless jungle to the other. It was slippery, it was cold, it was foggy. Even the mighty Dzanyavehar cannot tame these lands, which is why they made another road, a longer slower one through a smaller passage deeper inside the continent. Only the military uses this one these days, and as a prisoner, I am taking it along with the guards who are scouting me, five of them your holiness!That is just the average size of these types of units. Our troops are not so puny we need to send this many man to watch for a single out-of-shape hain scholar.
Once past the mountains, you reach the highlands of Northern Mesathalassa. This is where the imperial bureaucracy lives, where the empress and the high priest make their edicts and were the generals meet to decide on the matters of protection and expansion of this empire.
The air itself seems to hold great pressure, Dusklander Humans seem to handle it well, but for other peoples, such as the many other types of humans making this trip from the low coast to here is a painful experience. I myself am feeling a bit dizzy as of late, to think these lands used to be inhabited by hain in the past is curious.
Oh! How I wish I could continue my trip eastward and make it to the Hain side of the continent, to see its impressive fortress and rolling hills, to see the hometown of Gerrick and historical cities such as Fibeslay or Tagrasse. But I am a prisoner. Captured for the crime of trying to get historical records of this continent! How tyrannical of the Dzanyavehar Empire.I am no master of your language, but it strikes me as such an odd thing to that the writer of this letter uses Dzanyavehar Empire, wouldn't the proper use be the demonym of Dzanya? But I guess your language doesn't have one yet. Dzanyaish, Dzanyaite, Dzanyiard. Well, Dusklander Empire works but I'd rather for foreigners to just use Dzanyavehar. Vehar is such a beautiful word, people's land, it's creation was one of the drivers of the creation of this empire, or rather, government. Empire is such a strong barbaric word, we are no tyranny and there is no hereditary succession, well, in theory. On the other side, it does invoke the idea of the late Lifprasilian Empire, if it ever existed.
Twenty Days since the Summer Solstice.
Year 146 since the stars fell.
I have been lodged in a luxurious home. The empress herself wants to see me and she wants me to bring her my writings about this region. Oh! Your Holiness, this might be my end. What if she has an issue with my use of Northern Mesathalassa and Western Mesathalassa instead of the regional names of the provinces?
The young empress (She is not young anymore, but she did come to power before she was 20. She has reigned for decades and is still relatively young for a monarch, she also seems to showcase great health. If she lives a long life this whole population won't know what the world without her rule is like.)
But anyway, the young empress is said to be flexible but stern. Aren't these conflicting statements? I do not know if she will show interest in my works or sentence me to lose my head. I will hide certain papers in the house and tell a local hain about them, then perhaps at least some of it may make it to you. Unfortunately, I never finished the full story, I was starting to research the Human - Dwarf war.The papers were found under his bed.
Twentyone Days since the Summer Solstice.
Year 146 since the stars fell.
Your Holiness. It all went very well. In a sense.
The Capital of the Dzanyavehar Empire is something to behold, not as beautiful as our capital, as it was built in a rush and the whole architectural style is composed of small bricks and concrete instead of our more impressive size using larger rocks. But, it is a colorful luxurious land.
Large towers, countless bridges with silver and gold ornaments over equally countless channels of raging river water. Silk, oh so much silk, even the beggars have some. I visited the royal temple and saw its tablets built entirely from gemstones. The empire knows how to use its wealth to give an impression.
The empress is a regal person, for sure, but also very charming, she talks to you and you feel like you are talking to an old friend. Albeit an old friend who seems like they wouldn't think twice before murdering you to advance her cause.
All she wanted was to read my work just so she could see the perspective of a third party about the continent's history. She also wanted to make some notes and fill some spots she felt my research was insufficient. I was too scared and too charmed to say no.
Chapter ?3 - The Wave.
While initially a religious circle, Tsefo soon became a far more diverse group, with many generals rising from the rich environment of learning. This was crucial in maintaining the importance of the circle during the decades that followed.
Of the Tsefo generals, six were the most prestigious, Tsilluhan Dyetzu, Rofotzan Tsir, Fernya, Funmih Huro, Llor Tzemeh and Pihati. While in generally aligned in objectives and zealous defenders of the Dzanya, all had a serious rivalry against each other.They were friendly rivals at worst. The only one who suffered a bit of aggressivity was Fernya due to being half-sunlander and a bastard with no clan behind her name
All of them would write differing guides to strategy and the history of conflicts between 68 and 74, mostly sourced on foreign works.
In 74 there a group of dusklanders were murdered in the city of Grehvew. This was the call to action for the group of young generals, all of them leaving with plans to conquer the south.They never expected to conquer even a single city. Tsilluhan confessed to me he expected to campaign against some Sunland nations but what happened was never expected.
The initial group was only composed of Tsilluhan for his leadership, Pihati for his experience and Rofotzan as the Tsir clan was from the Papuratsura, the gravel shores of the Duskland an area close to Grehvew.
Seeing the hostility of Grehvew and knowing it was an important chokepoint between the Dusklands and Mesathalassa, they decided to infiltrate and take over the Sunlander fort. The daring plan worked, and the city fell under their hands.
This was, of course, not a solution to the issue but the beginning of a great war between two regions. Decades prior, Tihtzin's Tabata city-state had been denied, and the sunlander lords were not about to allow a dusklander to take over another city. If they knew the price of their actions, I am sure they would have allowed it.
First came the regional lords, the tribes of Shayek and Nur Yir thinking this could be their chance to shine. They not only were unable to defeat the well organized and well-prepared Dusklanders with knowledge in tacts brought over from all over the fractal sea and beyond, they certainly made it all too easy for Tsilluhan's troops to get a footing in Western Mesathalassa. Even the lack of horses, one of the Dusklander's worst obstacles in the war, was slightly alleviated when the tribal troops melted against the invaders, leaving behind troops and animals.
The land conquered so far was plenty of territory for a nation. Sparsely populate for sure, but with countless Dusklander refugees expected to come south, this would be quickly evaluated.
But, just south, was Tabata. The City once ruled by a dusklander, Tihtzin, the first of such kind. They were scared and probably not without reason. Another group annoyed with the situation was the Republic of Kodekzia, with the vassal state of Puperute in the North, a reliance on dusklander trade, and just a general aversion to the idea of a group of people conquering land almost equal to the land they held, even if of lesser quality.
Their biggest fear was that the group could become allied to Kivico and join forces to crush Kodekzia for once and for all. This feels hilarious in hindsight but who knows how things could have evolved.This is a foolish statement. Kivico would have joined forces with Kodekzia to take out the "invaders" as they did in the past. These two nations not uniting to defeat a common foe is a perfect example of why independent regional powers are dangerous. All they do is bicker and fight, wasting human lives in senseless intrigues and rivalries. In this case, they were lucky the so-called invaders were humans with morals and not murderers and slavers.
The two nations started their campaign against the northern invaders trying to be as quick and offensive as possible. Highly underestimating the competency of the Dusklander army, in particular the presence of foreigner military strategy.I think the writer values the foreign influence on our initial military beyond reasonable levels. Yes, it is known our access to the trade of the fractal seas and the continent to the north was key in getting more information than the isolated Mesathalassan nations. But it is a mistake to ignore the homegrown strategies.
Tsilluhan Dyetzu's focus on standardization, his understanding of scouting and the importance of supply lines. Pihati's concept of observing nature for strategies once adapted and expanded by Fernya was innovative even in comparison to the rest of the world. So many strategies used by us to this day are inspired by the observation of hunting tactics of animals. Rofotzan's genial line of combat strategies.
The battles against Tabatha were not won only on luck and foreign ideas. The patience of the troops, the surprising trickster moves, the quick use of horses in our scouting, the adaptation of the environment of combat with carpenters and heavy workers being brought from the tribes to help to build structures for our group, this was all local ingenuity.
That hubris was harmful, perhaps if these nations had faced the southern invasions the continent had gone through they would know the results of overextending and expecting easy battles. But to them, those were all stories of southern incompetence.
The tide turned quickly, and violently. Kodekzia's tyrants ordered the immediate retreat of its troops leaving Tabata to fend for itself. The idea was to lock the Dusklanders in a siege on Tabata while they prepared their positions for defense in their own homeland. It was vile to abandon an ally, but it had merit.
The only issue was that the Tsilluhan saw trough it. Only leaving enough troops around Tabata to suppress the city before marching southward, towards Kodekzia.
"It was like fighting a wave, no matter how sturdy your armor is or how sharp your blade is, you cannot do anything. It crashes against you no matter how much you move, it seeps into your clothes and then it sucks you deeper into its ocean. As you are recovering, the wave crashes again." - Zaarn of Kodekzia.
The Dusklander's greatest advantages were their numbers and organization. Their tactics and formations were perfect for open fields, to raid nations with exposed supplies, to constantly add pressure to less organized armies and nations until they broke under the stress.
Tsilluhan Dyetzu was a master of getting others were they wanted them to be.
In his own army, this was shown through its great organization, the ability to integrate sunlanders into their ranks, the ability to keep the supplies and settle the wounded. He knew to identify those who needed to put into leading positions and the veterans who were better instructors than soldiers, it is even said he knew how disposable each soldier was and his punishment for failing soldiers always set a strong example.
But what is truly important was what he did to his enemies. The elasticity of his command was impressive. With forward bases and scouting, they knew where their enemy would be, and they were never beyond bribing locals and merchants for information on the geography of the area. He was able to suppress attacks on their weak points and fully take advantage of the weak point of others. His group was able to perform many fakeout attacks to dislocate enemies from better positions, and they were able to quickly infiltrate the enemy nations.
Their defeat of Kodekzia was done using exactly that. The nation of Kodekzia was divided by a great river, the Kodez, and not many passages existed.
The Dusklanders prepared the perfect bait, pretending they would conquer the countryside of Kodekzia, beyond the river, first. Making the tyrant of the republic move towards the region expecting combat. Instead, the main army moved straight to the city of Kodekzia, not a single stop to siege another town as they moved onward. How did they get there? They discovered an area easy to cross by canoes that not even the owners of the land knew, the soldiers who were also lumberjacks had been able to prepare the rafts and move the army through without the Kodekzians ever knowing.
Of course, Tyrant Zaarn of Kodekzia knew this was trouble, he had seen the Dusklanders pulling miracle after miracle, he feared for his city. That fear was expected, it was in fact, the key to Dusklander victory. They didn't have the means to take over Kodekzia, the whole plan was to make the tyrant to do that with the main army. The Dusklander's main army quickly turned to face the royal troops while the once dispersed troops raiding the countryside congregated into a second army.
The Kodekzians were caught between both armies, they took defensive positions, but at that point, it was a waiting game, they had limited supplies while the Dusklanders were increasing their control of the countryside. A final attack ended the army, the tyrant was capture, Kodekzia was without leadership and without most of its army and ultimately the Tyrant Zaarn surrendered in exchange for safety.
Only one thing existed between the Dusklanders and total control of the North, and that was Kivico. The jewel of Mesathalassa, the only truly unconquered city of the continent at that point.
Kivico was another beast entirely, they had fought invasions before and their traditions and hold over the land were old, often unbroken for far longer than most other governments had existed. They were in a good position and the Dusklanders knew they couldn't expect their luck to exist.
Even with their advantage of massive attacks over large areas existing they needed more than just a simple advantage to claim victory, it was necessary to rethink their approach. The fact the invading forces knew that was impressive, the fact they managed to pull the necessary reforms to guarantee an influx of troops and supplies was a miracle nearing absurdity.Mostly thanks to most of the generals of the time managing to predict they wouldn't be able to keep a single style of warfare for long, they had the system ready to change in response of a new threat, this is a tradition with roots back in how the clans would prepare warfare, fighting the battle of today and preparing for the one next year. It was not a miracle, it was proper management.
The battle with Kivico was a close call, though the victory at the Tall Gardens went down to history as "The Disaster of the Tall Gardens" it was mostly a stalemate. It was perceived as a disaster however because it should have been a Kivico victory, their inability to crush the invasion there and the eventual loss of land painted a grim picture for all the less-prepared nations. It was known back then that the invaders would only strengthen their hold over time.
A year would pass, with the Dusklanders now focusing on consolidating their victories, uniting territories and establishing the management of conquered lands. A recruitment drive was done among dusklanders to get more displaced young adults into the army with the promise of land and riches, a lot of thought was put into integrating horse riders and raindeer riders in the army and finally, the Dusklanders had access to metal production.
Chapter ?4 - The Southern Campaign
Mirny was the broken heart of Mesathalassa, a land of mineral riches and a political mess due to that, the fanatic Elysian cultists (a goddess invented by humans) did not help. The dusklanders knew that, and they wanted to take the land. There was no pretense of defense here, though it would have been easy to fabricate an excuse.
The sudden invasion made it clear they no longer were fine with just taking over the north, they were in it for everything and would take as much as they could. The fact more and more of them migrated into the region every day also made it clear this wouldn't be as easy to solve as the Raindeer ridder invasion from the south earlier in the century. Invoking the spirit of legendary queen Runza when she united the lands to defend it from invaders (or rather, reconquest) many local kingdoms finally managed to put aside their differences to mount a response.
This was the right response in the North, and would have ended the conquest, but things were already out of control when it came the time for the south of the continent to do the same. It was necessary to show excellent leadership and good coordination, the former was shown sometimes but the latter, with so many distinct political entities and former rivals involved, never really existed.
The response was slow and not in time to save Mirny and the surrounding areas, the answer was not able to regain those lands, the lines stagnated, or worse, at times they were pushed back. The Dusklanders were still able to use their mobility and information to pull infiltrations and surprise attacks, even sending out smaller armies to spread havoc on the attacking nations, even sieging and conquering a few cities.
It must have been terrifying for the southern lords because this was unlike any other battle of invasion from before, invaders came, gave their all and disappeared. Dusklanders had patience and endurance and only seemed to become stronger over time. Meanwhile, the southern lords were giving it their all, and it just wasn't enough, their armier become more and more fatigued, yet they couldn't just pull back, they were holding the door of a lion's cage closed, once they retreated it would open and the beast would consume them, yet, all they could do was hold the cage closed, there was nothing in sight to tame the beast.
The only salvation after the initial errors was Kivico putting an actual effort against the dusklanders or a peace deal, but neither happened. The lines began to break and the blow to the south was immense once the kingdoms were forced to retreat and fortify.
The effort for the Dusklanders, however, had been excruciating. A lot of blood had been shed, including one of the six generals leading the attack, one, Funmih, who was assassinated.
The remaining five found themselves having very different ideas of where to lead the battle now that they had cracked Mesathalassa open like a clam. Llor would lead his forces against the West wanting to conquer more the coast, Fernya would move East to help Dusklanders settle in the inner continent, Pihati and Rofotzan would lead a charge south with aim of finding new lands for the Dzanya to settle and destroying weakened local kingdoms. Tsilluhan went north, to capture Tabata, and enact his revenge upon Kivico.
Tsilluhan was obsessed with Tihtzin and the idea of destroying the hero's main enemy was something he kept as a focus. Conquering Tabata for once and for all and ruling it on a charge to destroy the Ruby City was his childhood dream.
But Kivico, even if weakened, was not an easy target, especially now that the Dzanya armies were widespread. His attack was misguided, but it did stop Kivico from sending aid to the south in the second wave of the Southern Campaign. Yet all benefits were thrown away as he kept forcing the attack, to eager to break Kivico like the other nations had been broken. But that just wouldn't ever happen, Kivico was good at defense and at the time the Dusklanders didn't have the proper siege, leadership had improved and the losses of the attacking side became too much, the war came to almost a halt.
Rofotzan came north to aid his friend once his campaign was done but that only added to the disaster, more man to die at the walls, including Rofotzan himself. It was a tragedy, and it was a great source of shame.
Tsiluhan no longer felt like a young genius and decided to retire himself to govern Tabata on his own, not thinking he would ever fight in a war again.
At year 81 the conquest of Western Mesathalassa was done, many large nations capable of doing damage remained, but a large tract of land was now in Dusklander hands.
Chapter ?5 - Northern Unification
Mavadzugji could have been the man who kickstarted the Tsefo and the new Dusklander culture, or Dzanya, but his political dreams were too sophisticated for the average clam leader and he was wasn't sly enough to be able to hold the political leadership of an entire continent.
His utopic city kept being built and it worked fine. He had alliances with regions that became prosperous in the north like the Tsilla, where most of the Dusklander silk was now produced and contacts all over Northern Mesathalassa.
But in 88, Dusklanders and Sunlanders who were done with Mavadzugji's project became allied and surrendered the city, "inviting" him to step down as the leader of the Tsefo for a younger candidate who, ironically, protected the old status quo.
Tsilluhan thought he was out of combat but the idea of leaving the very man who inspired him was impossible. Tabata and its allies rose and climbed up the Steps arriving to the aid of the aging Priest.
Far more experienced and better equipped than the coalition, he was capable of not only easily driving off the attackers, but also of quickly advancing against them, creating a buffer zone.
This battle and the victory of Tsilluhan became the start of the Northern Unification, or rather, the actual unification of all Dzanya people under the banner of the Dzanyavehar. It was ironic that as much as he had saved Mavadzugji, he also destroyed his plans of peaceful unification of the people.
With the aid of old allies, including a more striking contribution from Fernya, he helped allies in the Silk Valley, securing the valuable region.
In there, Mavadzugji showed him something that would change the story of combat in the region. The Tzurkortze (sea copper). Clay-like substances found high in the mountains that when extremely heated becomes harder than many metals. Today's science knows its because of the Mythril rich soil. It is from this substance we derive the word Turquoise as soon enough the characteristic elite troops of the Dzanya would show up wearing the special metal.
The Hatzur Marana as they became known, though their relevance only starts at the end of the unification campaign. Before that, the main source of aid was bronze and troops from Western Mesathalassa.
Once the initial area was helped, it was time to increase the pressure on the enemies of the Tsefo's message of unification. First with the Griz offensive, reaching the fortress at the border of what remained of the Dusklands.
At the end of it, with victory in the north, Fernya left, starting her own military group aimed at preserving the border region and exploring the advancing chaotic magic to find ways to reverse it, the Rotzetia, Rose Shield.
91 would start with great conflicts, but then move towards small skirmishes. 92, Llor dies, one his sons taking over the Mirny region and refusing to help Dzanya, thinking the empire was now lacking weaponry, a new coalition attacked, this time headed by the city of Susah. This soon was proven as a mistake, as Tsilluhan heroically turned the tides and walked into Susah by 94.
By 95, Dzanya would officially be formalized as a state. Mavadzugji had aged poorly and was not as sharp as before, but he did his best to make sure it all worked well. He would take the religious role of the triarchy, while Tsilluhan would take the military role. The economical role, the emperor or empress, was still empty, so a few invites were made, first to Batsami, then to Fernya, both declined. In the end, it was a Topami lady, niece of one of Mavadzugji's old friends, who would take the role.
(The name Topami is a bit infamous in our region, but they have nothing to do with the famous bandit Kadja Topami)I wonder at times if the best translation of Nyar Manyadjir is really Emperor? It impressed me that some other languages have borrowed the word Manyadjir (like Manager) but never use it in the same connotations we do. It is also a bit humorous, or rather, curious that Batsami, the one who invented the new etymologic use of Manyadjir over the more common use for adopted children, refused to become the Nyar Manyadjir. Which was good, she had passion in her eyes and a hot blood, cold foxes are better suited for this job.
Chapter ?6 - The Respite
Meanwhile, this was a time for peace for the new founded Dzanyavehar, Mavadzugji had his empire even if it wasn't exactly what he dreamed. All Dusklanders clans eventually came under their rule one way or another (in the continent, obviously the isolated few who escape north instead of the south didn't come into contact with the great empire)So the rumors are true? Interesting.
Control of the southern lands was mostly just formal, little actual power reached out through an entire continent. But some attempts to increase the hold of the region continued. Peace with Kivico had been stable, and the Imga remnants were too exhausted to attack
Chapter ?7 - Tsaha Regjurnyarha
In 104, the Topami Empress became suddenly ill, and it became clear a new empress would need to be picked among the clans.
The winner of the contest ended up being a young girl named Tsaha, 14 of age.
Oh so many things are said about her. Some say she was a street urchin, living off crumbles and wit. A young farmer girl from the countryside who hunted a monster and was blessed by the gods. A puppet who was put in control by the elites but with her great intelligence was able to turn around the system and become the de-facto ruler.
A lot of that are merely silly stories. Yes, she was an improbable candidate, but the Regjurnyarha family wasn't poor, on the contrary, they controlled a lot of the Tsilla (Silk Valley) who was such an important region of the empire. They had Firstlander descendence and had been in the area for very long, even being from the village where the capital was built.
It was the perfect storm. The firstlander clans liked the idea of an empress who knew their cause, the sunlanders enjoyed the idea of a woman who had a family line that wasn't pure dusklander, many refugees enjoyed the family's service in helping them settle and the traditional well-established clans respected wealth.
That said. While she was no street urchin, she did enjoy climbing and running around the city, like most human children do, can't help but to stretch those weird monkey arms of them I guess. She would often take part-time jobs at different places, learn their trade and move on once bored. She never mastered any trade, but she knew enough of them to know how to take advantage of it, every guild seemed to know her well and appreciate her services and ideas.
It was also an open secret many who voted for her expected only an easy to manipulate teenage girl who could easily be replaced. It is also true that the Empress title started to mean far more once she took hold of it, she also jailed quite a few people under conspiracy against the empire at around age 18.
She does seem to have some ancestry connecting her to an ancient and mystical order of shamans but that is likely just an appropriation of an ancient legend the shamans of the region used to have about one of them unifying the land and fighting of a great threat. I am sure however this was the star-fall event, since it was around the same time in which the Mesathalassan Shamanic practice started to dissolve.Whoever you are sending this text to will believe I am lying, but I had no idea about such a legend existing until today.
But it is hard to discern what is imperial propaganda or not. Nevertheless, the young empress was quick to show service. She had an innate intellect and instinct that help the administration of the empire greatly.
From the start, she focused on the expansion of the public projects, the establishment of roads, the formalization of deals. Her main objective was to guarantee the unity of this large continental empire, she had an eye for early signs of trouble and was quick to act.
By then most Sunlander Western Mesathalassan nations had regained their strength, but what could a nation like Kivico do in the face of a nation larger than the combined size of Imga and Kivico combined? At most, be too bothersome to be worth attacking.
In her early years, Dzanyavehar reached the eastern coast. Igar-Kuri was brought into the empire and the reconstruction started, now as Tsuvi Juta, meaning Three Harbors.
Humans often have weird assumptions about the world, but I have never found one as weird as the Dzanya's origins. They believe they were here before everyone, other humans, us, even the gods. That the world was clad in darkness like the Duskland used to be.
Then the sun pierced through the sky scorching the land, killing most of those who lived there before. Those who survived were blinded, no longer able to see in the dark. Like when you look at a flame and everything around you seems darker in comparison.
This idea that the Dzanya are not merely humans but the older humans was key to the power of the empire, and Tsaha focused on it like a tool more than any other person. Especially after Mavadzugji died in 108. This idea the Dusklanders were mankind's older sibling who merely wanted to protect them.
To me it felt like an adaptation of certain Elysian thoughts. At first I even believed it was created to counter the cult, but it is older than that. Tsaha was just to first to truly glorify this idea, perhaps because she was from the first generation of Dusklanders who had to deal with Sunlanders in all aspects of their life. It was a good tale to keep the Sunlanders from revolting against a foreigner group, to terrorize them with the idea of what happens if the empress isn't there to help them.I think that as an Empress the most basic metric of how good my reign has been is by thinking how worse the situation of the world would be without my existence? I do not understand the negative implication of the writer in this chapter. Dzanyavehar is the shield of mankind against many threats, humans should fear a world without us because that is a logical fear.
Chapter ?8 - The Aberrations
First came the rumors, from the reindeer riders of the South fleeing into Mesathalassa. Dwarves, from the cold mountains, they were marching towards the continent. They were mystical creatures unlike anything else, half-humanoid half-beast, possessing weapons that cut through copper weaponry like butter, godly magical powers and great mystical beasts.
It was taken as a tale first. Silly thing tribal people were saying. Misunderstood events.
Then the cities started being razed.
The humanist idea of Dzanyavehar as the bastion of mankind was a weird thing that could only exist in a continent as isolated as Mesathalassa, in the open world it wouldn't fly. The only non-humans they knew who had nations were the Hain of the east coast.
Yet they found themselves facing a real threat. The full might of a Dwarven kingdom wanting to destroy, enslave and raze the entire continent.
The newborn Empire was quick to react, though the damage on the south was impossible to avoid, Pihati who had stayed there to rule over a colony was killed. With Feyer infirm by old age, only one of the legendary six generals remained, Tsilluhan.
But he was in his 60s and many doubted his prowess. Not Tsaha, she fully believed in the man who had saved the dream of the Dzanyavehar twice. By then he was retired, working as a farmer, no wife but happy apparently, he really disliked the young empress and the idea of fighting her wars was sickening.
The exception was that this wasn't a war for the empress, it was a war for mankind. So he accepted the job.
The whole empire turned into a warfare machine for this war against the dwarves, and they felt no shame in asking the help of the rivals. Why, it was even suspicious, in how much trust the empress was putting in a nation like Kivico, considering how sly she was, it was 'impressive' to see her being so naive in her trust of a foreign rival nation. It was part of plan but we will talk about that later.
Tsilluhan's plan was simple, retreat, get as many people out of the way as possible and burn the crops. Fight skirmishes against the minor forces and learn about the enemy. What technology they had? How were their armies organized? Were they truly magicians?
Going beyond that, he went beyond that he lost battles on purpose, sending out convicts with obsidian spears to give the wrong idea about the empire to the enemy marching onward.
Then the actual battles started, usually against the secondary armies that split-off from the main group. They would be stalked and fought off with the intent to fully eliminate them and defeat the enemy in detail.
But there was no avoiding the main force, and they were already reaching northern mesathalassa. Entire cities vanished against their power, walls melted and the skies erupted in flames.
Once ready, Tsilluhan called all his forces, even the forces of the rivaling Sunlander Kingdoms like Kivico, to go for a final attack. It was madness.
Chapter ?9 - The Day of Azure
Leading the lines, the Hatzurmarani, clad in their Tzurkortze armor. Troops from all over the empire formed the ranks. Even armies of rival kingdoms were in the mix, but not Kivico. Facing them, an army of beasts, ungodly machines, and magicians.
The Dwarves were definitely impressed at how all of the sudden the Humans were able to show up in such numbers, with such equipment, but it had not been enough to turn the tides just yet. Though more dwarves were falling than they expected.
There was an eclipse, the world started to turn black, and it is said that at this moment the valiant Dusklanders charged, able to see in the dark. And it wasn't just seeing in the dark like they usually did, a bit better than other, no, they believed it was as good as their supposed ancestors did, and with their might, they started to break apart the dwarven forces.
Now, we, who know more about the world, will see the issue with this narrative. Dwarves see well in the dark, an eclipse wouldn't be an issue for them. I could see perhaps the ones piloting weird flying machines to lose control but not the foot soldier.
It is also curious that they think their leaders knew when the eclipse would be, they did not have the astronomical technology to guess it, but the Dwarves did.
As such, I propose an alternate theory. The dwarves were the ones who charged during the eclipse, expecting an easy victory against blinded humans. But the Dusklanders could see well in their dark too, and immediately punished such foolish act.
From the descriptions, you get the idea of the dwarven army having its most precious troops in the frontlines, including honor hungry commanders, if those were to fall in a sudden unexpected response, it's easy to see how things would go down poorly for them. Of course, I don't want to take away from human ingenuity here, I just do not believe in the tale as a proper historical account.
In particular, the Hatzurmarani, who led the human troops, had been given order to target dwarven officers and mages, the well trained elite troops would have done great damage in my proposed scenario.
Nevertheless, it's easy to guess what happens next. The dwarven plan was to go straight north and burn their capital. There was little supply stability, and once broken, their armies were quickly annihilated.
Empress Tsaha had her field day with that, I can only imagine how disappointed Tsilluhan must have been when the young empress suddenly had exactly what she desired, inhuman enemies and a victory against them.
Chapter ?0 - Mesathalassa under the Shadows.
Like a child who had found a new toy, she made sure to parade the capture dwarves as if they were animals in cage, their beasts and machines were also exposed in a great Fahre at the capital.
Another thing she made sure to show to all across the empire were the humans who were hurt or enslaved by the Dwarves. She said it was a charitable act, but sincerely, it was more of a "this is you, this is what you are without me and my empire. We saved you."
Ah but the greatest victory was Kivico not fighting.
Kivico had been losing land bit by bit, the Dzanyavehar troops managing to get closer and closer to their capital. There was a certain romanticism about it, that they would fight to their last and die with honor against the encroaching Empire.
But where was their honor now? They had deserted mankind, and all of the human side of Mesathalassa believe the imperial narrative at this point. Getting the troops to go meet the dwarves in combat made sure the word spread quickly.
So when pressure mounted again, they started to bend, the city's spirit was gone and the monarch disgraced.
Tsaha, in her supposed "goodwill" accepted a deal, that gave Kivico "autonomy" but placed it under the empire's protection. It was said to be a better solution than having such a beautiful, historical city be destroyed and that she wished the red of Kivico was that of rubies, not blood, but it was hard to believe that.
Because at that point Kivico was the last holdout against Dzanyavehar and its empress in Mesathalassa. The hain in the east was unconquered, of course, but the empire started to redefine the continent itself, separating them from all they held. And nevertheless, once they stepped into Kivico all of the continent's humankind would be under one rule.
The gate opened without a siege, the shining turquoise troops entered the city, the citizens didn't look at them with shock or cheer, it was a tired expression. The most elegant horses trotted in, followed by the proudest reindeer. Riches from all over the empire and beyond. Politicians from far and wide, from the governors of colonies in the frozen sea far in the south to the captain of the Rose Guard which held the provinces in the border with the region that once was the Dusklands, the lost homeland of the Dzanya.
Then the empress, 24 of age, ten years into her reign and a whole continent bowed to her. Her Tiara represented her rulership over one of the largest nations Galbar had known, she knew her name would be known like the rulers of distant nations like Xerxes, Ventus and perhaps even Alefpria. And she was right, or else, how would I be writing this book to you, Your Holiness? We heard tales about them and tried to reach these distant rich lands and the supposed empire of people who looked like shadows.
Sincerely, at first, I was sure this would be a nation that would last for eternity, but I wonder... just how much is the empress capable of? She wants to be known, she wants to be the apex. I do not think she cares about successors, maybe that would explain why she is far softer with Sunlanders than many of the generals and Dusklander leaders, she wants to be that one ruler who was good and fair but after her things were never the same. Someone whose name would be remembered in bright light even if the Sunlanders were to rise, and who all next emperors or empresses will live in the shadows of.
Because when you look at her actions over time you get the impression that...
Nevertheless. Back to the historical records.
The empress and her guards walked up the stairs of Kivico's palace, up to where the Ruby Throne was. Back then, it was the tallest building in the continent.
The king of Kivico didn't have to bow or anything, just sign a contract, and then... there was one last task.
The imperial tiara always had a slot for one more gemstone, the only color that was missing: red. With Kivico conquered, the king had to finish the job himself and place a ruby in the tiara. With that, Kivico would be hers. Mesathalassa would be hers.
Some of the locals reported expecting the king to make a miracle, stab her in the throat at the last minute. But it never came, he placed the gem and she rose up.
Cheers. Cheers so loud the whole region heard them, or so they say. Why, looking down at the people, the king and the empress would see even many of Kivico's own citizens cheering for the empress. Cheering for Mavadzugji's dream. Cheering for the word Dzanyavehar.
One can only imagine the horror of the king's face as his own people fully gave themselves away. In contrast, it's easy to imagine how wide the empress' smile was, it must have made her day, I am sure of that, what I am not so sure is if it was the cheers of the people or the frown of those powerless to stop her now.I wish I knew the answer to that, but it was certainly a pleasant day. Not the best, that lies certainly in a time before I was fourteen.