The World Of Khoras - History

The Age of Dawning

10,000 BT - 0 TIC

"The endless centuries of prehistory are collectively referred to as the Age of Dawning. While other scholars consider events before the Thullian Empire trivial, I believe we cannot know the past without first understanding its beginning. The events of this age laid the groundwork upon which all history would be laid. Its influence speaks to us even today."

- Drevan Stoor, Lore Master and Historian, Ithell

Introduction

The first age of history that historians agree upon is known as the Age of Dawning. This great age is arbitrarily defined as the 5,000 years preceding the beginning of the great Thullian Empire. Very little is known about the Age of Dawning. Historians find it to be a difficult period of history to study due to the tremendous cataclysmic events that have altered Khoras during the intervening centuries. Texts and artifacts from this period are rare and there are very few ruins in any condition to study.

Civilization

For hundreds of thousands of years prior to the Age of Dawning, plants and animals had slowly evolved. Primates had risen to become masters of the forest. From the primates, man evolved. Little more than hunters and gatherers, they were nomadic, following the herds and moving with the seasons. The Age of Dawning started when nomadic tribes began to settle, agriculture was developed and real civilization came into being. Nomadic hunters began to organize themselves into stable villages conducting animal husbandry and simple farming.

The Kingdom Of Anhara

Many villages and groups, united by currency and culture, formed a region known as Anhara. Later, in 4500 BT, an economic alliance forged them into a coherent kingdom. The capital of Anhara was the first true city of any significant size. It was also the first completely walled city. The Kingdom of Anhara was renowned for its high culture and art. Ruins from this kingdom have produced a remarkable spectrum of literature, poetry, philosophy, sculpture and many writings of theoretical metaphysics. The first epic poem, "The Kingdom of Light", written by Chadisor came from Anhara. Anhara was also home to the first great library. The Kingdom of Anhara was ruled by a line of philosopher kings. Anhara occupied the northern quarter of the Ithrian continent.

The Darzek Tribes

Around 3,700 years B.T., the first organized groups, known as the Darzek Tribes, began to form in the west. The Darzek tribes were quite large, often boasting over one thousand members in a single tribe. Scholars of the ancient past have verified over thirty separate Darzek tribes. The Darzek lived in harmony with nature despite their large size. They conducted hunting and gathering in a manner which complimented the natural rhythms of the ecosystem. They also conducted simple gardening and herbalism.

Each tribe was ruled by a god-king, an almost mythical figure said to make the crops grow, the rains come and be able to slay mortals with a thought. The god-kings were served by a number of chieftains, priests and shamans. The shamans of these god-kings were capable of rudimentary magic which was quite barbaric and often involved formal rituals. Animals were slaughtered, slaves were sacrificed and entrails studied. With such magic, they divined the future and slew their enemies.

Much of the Darzek beliefs centered around life and death, flesh and blood. Their spells were called "blood magic". The Darzek Tribes buried their dead in communal tombs. Starting around 3,500, important figures (chieftains, priests and shamans) were buried alone in private tombs with treasures and possessions (ornamented daggers, shields, breastplates, earrings, etc). In addition to this, huge stone temples were erected, one for each god-king. On the tiers of these great structures were most rituals carried out and within them were the god-kings buried.

In this brutal and primitive culture, the god-kings frequently demanded human sacrifices. Since the Darzek tribes often battled each other, prisoners of battle were common. Those who were not sacrificed were used as slaves. Scholars believe that one Darzek tribe, the Iriyuku, may actually have been cannibalistic.

The Barakus Clans

To the east, warlike groups coalesced into the Barakus Clans beginning about 2400 BT. These clans were strongly family oriented and varied greatly in size. The fighting between these clans focused on the conquering and possession of land. Therefore, each clan claimed a specific territory and made war on its neighbors to increase that territory. The Barakus Clans were legendary for battle prowess, bravery and an aggressive nature.

Despite relatively primitive technology, the Barakus clans excelled at manufacturing all manner of equipment for war : weapons, armor, fortified dwellings, siege engines, battering rams and more.

The Kingdom of Gekron

The Kingdom of Gekron, , which was founded in 1300 BT in southern Ithria, was a culture known for its fine architecture and metalwork. Archeological excavations have uncovered advanced metalwork including blade folding and complex alloys. Pottery wheels, spinning looms and more have all been dug up from the ruins of this culture.

The Four Kingdoms War

It is not known how these four cultures interacted or how long they may have co-existed peacefully. Scholars do know that these four cultures eventually met on the battlefields. It is suspected that the Darzek Tribes initiated an armed conflict with the Kingdom of Gekron. This first contact was the prelude to warfare on a much larger scale. Despite attempts to remain outside the conflict, the Kingdom of Anhara was attacked. Eventually, war ravaged all lands, regardless of political boundary or geographical barrier. This escalated conflict is referred to by historians as the Four Kingdoms War.

The aggressive Darzek Tribes also attacked the Barakus Clans, which was their undoing. The Clans, having united themselves and formed into a unified whole, turned on the Darzek Tribes with a vengeance and began conquering their culture, tribe by tribe. Rather than obliterate the primitives, much of their culture was enslaved. The Barakus Clans saw that they could take and benefit from what the tribes had to offer. They allowed the Darzek tribes to worship their primitive god-kings and forced their shamans to fight for them. In this way, the Barakus Clans absorbed the Darzek tribes: their magic, their gods and their strength. Utilizing the primitive "blood" magic of the Darzek tribes gave the Clans a new weapon and with this weapon, they turned on the Kingdom of Gekron. While more technologically advanced, the Kingdom of Gekron was unable to withstand the potent combination of Barakus strength and Darzek magic. Gekron soon fell. Again, rather than destroy their enemies, the Barakus Clans absorbed the Gekron culture. From Gekron smiths, the Barakus Clans learned the workings of stone and metal, science and math. With strength, magic and metalcraft, the Kingdom of Anhara was easy prey. From the latter, the Barakus Clans took art, architecture, literature and culture. Battlefields from this period have produced treasure hordes of artifacts and relics while giving historians a good idea of the sequence of events. By the end, the Four Kingdoms War had raged for a century.

The Myratz Empire

Rather than crush its enemies, the Barakus/Gekron alliance allowed a blending of all four cultures: the strength of the Barakus Clans, the technology and craftsmanship of Gekron, the art and architecture of Anhara and the primitive magic and religions of the Darzek Tribes. The gradual merging of these four separate cultures fused into one great, but primitive, empire. The capital city of Quar'Ken was founded in 710 B.T. and from this walled city an empire was run. This empire was led by a new government and developed a new culture. The Myratz Empire grew in strength and power as the years passed reaching its pinnacle around 400 B.T. Seeking to extend this golden age indefinitely, the Emperor raised taxes and ordered new constructions with even more ambitious plans for the future. Beginning in 362 BT, trouble within the empire began to stir. While harsh seasons and poor crops limited food, taxes and wealth were squandered as the wealthy sought to build their own personal paradise. Financial corruption soon led to peasant uprisings. These were quelled, but the seed of dissent had been planted. This days were hard as armed and armored troops were often sent into the cities to beat down unruly peasants who fought each other for water and bread.

Ranyku

Out of this troubled time came a single man with a promise of hope. He was a wise man and teacher and his name was Ranyku. He was a philosopher, a poet and a writer. His words carried great weight with those that heard them. The year was 262 BT and rumblings in the empire had gone on for many years without change. This newcomer advocated a new perspective on life and on living. He taught that materials things were not the goal of a society, the excessive wealth and opulence could only lead to corruption. The imperial officials, who saw his affect on the people, feared an organized  rebellion, and so forbade him to hold public speeches. He refused and was later imprisoned. Though released and imprisoned several times, he continued to teach his beliefs, even if it was through a barred window.

Eventually, in 212 BT, Ranyku, now middle aged, was banished. Many followed him into the wilderness, where they lived off the land, built large wooden halls and formed a brotherhood of peace and knowledge. They became known as the Order of the Ranyku.

The Death Of The Empire

As the Order of the Ranyku grew, the Myratz Empire began to crumble. Between 200 and 170 B.T, the Empire began to suffer serious internal conflicts. Revolts were crushed through violence. Taxes and inflation rose out of control. The imperial coin lost all value. Society began to revert back to trade and barter, while bandits prowled the road. Order in Quar'Ken was maintained, but only through the strength of an ever present military. The conflicts would soon come to an end however.

On a warm summer morning in the year 167 B.T., Mount Kamus, upon whose slopes Quar'Ken rested, erupted. The explosion sent millions of tons of lava, rock, ash and other debris hurtling into the sky. Quar'Ken, the capital city of the Myratz Empire, was utterly obliterated. Over 50,000 people perished that day, including over 1000 government officials, military officers and the Emperor himself.

The devastating eruption of Mount Kamus was the catalyst that brought about the final end of the empire. Like a snake with its head cut off, the great hierarchical machine that had been the imperial government flailed and bled. The empire fragmented quickly. The military broke down into small groups that terrorized the populace like packs of wolves, taking what they wanted. Within ten years, nothing of the former empire remained.

The Rise of the Churches

Quar'Ken had been the center of extravagant wealth and waste. It had been the seat of a corrupt government twisted by the evil desires of a single ruler. Many viewed Quar'Ken as a pit of vipers wallowing in its own sin. When word of the eruption and subsequent destruction of the capital city finally reached the outermost corners of the empire, many citizens believed that it had been destroyed by the wrath of the gods. Wiped clean so that society might start again. This belief was augmented by the manner in which the city was destroyed, a swift and sudden death wrought by the world itself.

For this and other reasons, the people of the crumbling empire turned their backs on the remaining government and looked to religion. The few cults that had existed before swelled in size and power. New groups formed every year. Cathedrals and shrines were erected. Ceremonies became more elaborate. Of the several dozen religions that grew to power during this period, three stand out above the rest.

First, of course, there was the Order of the Ranyku who had been gaining followers and strength over the decades since their banishment from the empire. Ranyku, now ancient and dying, was considered a holy man and was treated like a demigod. As his health failed rapidly, his every word was written down and the scrolls were carefully copied and preserved. His final months were immortalized in this way. These scriptures were the teachings that would hold the Order of the Ranyku together long after its founder had passed on. In the year of 165 BT, Ranyku, Founder of the Order, died.

As the Ranyku grew, so did another group. A cult that called themselves the brotherhood of Ventax, so named for its leader. Ventax was a mysterious and reclusive figure that appeared to no one except his high priests. These men, so the legends say, were given magical powers by Ventax. Fables tell that they could change shape, speak with the dead and turn humans into lifeless husks that obeyed them and fought for them. Many flocked to the Brotherhood of Ventax to partake in their night time ceremonies. Cannibalism and orgies were common. Ventax took the human skull as his symbol and the brotherhood became known as Death Priests.

Lastly, there was the Ke'tai. The Ke'tai was very community oriented. Families joined and ceremonies were large and elaborate. The Ke'tai stressed obedience to the church and its laws above all else. The faithful were expected to forfeit all of their worldly possessions to the church and pledge their lives in service. Rules for every facet of daily life were created to govern a "perfect" society. The followers of Ke'tai rose at dawn every day and worked until sundown. Strict silence was observed during certain parts of the day. They were not allowed to dance or sing and they could not partake in the pleasures of the flesh. Sexual relations were forbidden. The propagation of the church was through the active recruitment of members. All sins were punished with fasting, beatings, recital of prayers and castration.

There were dozens of other small cults and churches, but only these three listed above held any real power and they too held a great deal of the population.

The Rise of the New Nations

Perhaps in opposition to all this religious fervor, two new groups formed. They were the first formidable political powers after the Myratz Empire that were not religiously based. First, the Traxx Legion formed from many of the soldiers and officers that had been abandoned or hounded out of the cities when the empire fell. Little more than ragtag groups of warriors, the Traxx slowly coalesced into several strongholds and declared their independence in 155 BT. There was a great deal of friction with the Ke'tai and the Brotherhood of Ventax, but due to the nature of its citizens, the Traxx Legion shook of the unwanted religious arguments. The Traxx Legion formed along the length of the southern coast.

The northlands at this time were dotted with numerous frontier towns and villages. In 153 BT, a large male dragon settled in the realm and began attacking villages, devouring cattle and killing farmers. These attacks continued for eight months before a militia was finally able to drive the dragon away to seek other farmlands. In response to this and other threats, many of these northern towns banded together for common protection. This loose alliance of towns formed from merchants, travelers and craftsmen who believed in the value of their own hard labor rather than unseen deities. A few nobles from the empire who had escaped with their lives had already established strongholds in the region and small cities had developed around these. The nobles took control of the region and officially declared a political alliance. Thus, in the year 151 BT, the Irenni League was born.

The city of Nereli and the city of Tarset are the first independent cities to form, but not for the same reasons. Nereli formed in 148 BT from the unification of the world’s religious derelicts, rebels and heretics. Tarset began as a group of sages, scholars, philosophers and artisans who wished to pursue religious freedom free from the priests and ceremonies. It was founded in 139 BT.

Other political entities coalesced from the fragments of the former empire, but most of these were small. Tiny nations formed. Small groups of villages banded together. And a few small baronies that had survived the fall of the empire still existed. These lesser governments were scattered throughout central and eastern Ithria and held little power. Only the Traxx Legion and Irenni League had any real strength.

The Holy War

It was not long before all of these different beliefs clashed with one another. The Ke'tai were ruthless in the methods of conversion. The Ke'tai hounded other cults and religions, claiming that only the Ke'tai way was the proper way, only their path would lead to harmony and salvation. At every opportunity, they would ambush and capture "heretics" and torture unbelievers into converting. The Ke'tai claimed that all other ways were sinful, that such ways of the of life were barbaric. The priests of non-Ke'tai religions died horribly. They were always "purified by pain" before being put to death. It was in this way that the Brotherhood of Ventax fell.

Soon after, the Ke'tai turned on the Order of the Ranyku. For over a century, the Ranyku had lived in peace. But beyond this was an independence and a tenacious belief in their core philosophies which lived on in the grandson of Ranyku, the embodiment of his teachings. This grandson's name was Berenga. The Ke'tai captured Berenga in the summer of 133 BT and ordered him to renounce his faith. When he would not yield to their demands, he was publicly tortured and executed. It was hoped that the death of their leader and grandson of their founder would dishearten the Ranyku. His death did not have the intended effect. The response of the Ranyku was swift and harsh, for in their eyes, their very deity had been killed. They descended upon the central Ke'tai city by the thousands and rained flaming arrows onto it until every section of the city was on fire. The siege of the city of Ke'tai lasted for seven days and seven nights. It became known as the Battle of the Fire Cliffs. During those seven days, every last Ke'tai follower was killed. When they were through, nothing of the Ke'tai remained except charred bodies and burning rubble.

Throughout this conflict, Nereli and Tarset had managed to remain neutral, as had the two nations of Traxx and Irreni. As a result of their win, the Ranyku managed to establish peace between all religions and nations. Trade and commerce occurred along with political, social and religious interaction. A blending of religion and culture brought lasting peace. Although no official political unification was declared, the Ranyku held everything together.

Age
of
Dawning
Age
of
Thull
Rise
of the
Alliance
Age
of
Dreams
The
Focusing
The
Sundering
The
World
Storm
Age
of
Chaos
The
Great
War
Age
of
Sorrow
Age
of
Rebirth
Age
of
Legends

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