The Call of our Forefathers
Over a century ago the empire of Kryta was the single greatest force on the continent. It held the greatest land mass; its markets were largest and most lucrative the world had ever seen; its grand palaces and temples were marveled at by its neighbors; and its military was the unquestioned dominant force on the continent. It’s borders stretched from the frozen tundras of the north to the southern seas. At the time, it was also the westernmost country in the known world, and it was continuously expanding into the yet unclaimed lands west of its borders. The lands, however, were not unsettled. For decades groups of settlers comprised of explorers, adventurers, traders, refugees, wandering priests, and exiles had been settling down in the unclaimed lands that had once been far west of Kryta’s borders. Kryta had always turned a blind eye to them. It had always assumed, as had everyone else, that when the tide of Krytan expansion reached the settlers, they would simply be incorporated. They were wrong, and their mistake would trigger the War of Unification.
War of Unification
The motley assortment of settlers who called the lands west of Kryta their home had grown cherish their autonomy, and so, when Krytan expansion finally reached their doorstep, they surprised the entire world by taking a stand, uniting under the banner of an experienced adventurer and brilliant tactician named Edmund Hellnor. Kryta bristled at their defiance and set the full weight of her western armies against them. They would be made an example of, they were warned, unless they offered Kryta their full surrender. Led by Edmund Hellnor, however, the united forces of the settlements dealt the western Krytan forces a series of crippling defeats over the course of five years Kryta would neither forget nor forgive for well over a century. Until that point, the Krytan army had been the unstoppable force on the continent. It had never failed to deliver a swift end to any military conflict it entered. Despite this, it had just lost a prolonged war against a confederation of settlements with numerical odds of nearly 20:1 in its favor.
The defeat of the Krytan army would be the beginning of an on and off series of wars that would com to define the settlements, now united under Edmund Hellnor and soon thereafter named Tyria. They would crown their leader, crediting him for their victory, and naming him the first of his line. Historians today believe his crowning was equal parts gratitude and pragmatism, for few doubted they would have to face Kryta again before long. Under his rule Tyria continued to grow, organize, and prosper. A mandatory term of service in the army of one’s lord upon adulthood was made law. One could leave after one’s term had expired, but every citizen was required to answer the call to arms of their local lord whenever it came. All were required to keep and maintains arms in their household. Once a year the local lords were charged with ensuring the readiness their people. Smugglers were courted and rewarded handsomely, for theirs was the only trade that made it through Kryta‘s blockades. With the exception of the crown, the heir to a title was not the current holder’s firstborn but whoever the current holder held most worthy of it. Expansion westward was encouraged. As word of these and other laws spread, the world looked on at what Edmund Hellnor was creating in disbelief and wonder. Many predicted Tyria’s collapse into disarray. Lead by the Hellnor kings and their carefully appointed generals, however, Tyria persevered and never lost a single war. Throughout the years both Tyria and Kryta would could claim a willingness to lay down their arms for good if the other side did so first. Neither took the other up on the offer until a century later at the close of the War of Medarrion.
Well before the War of Medarrion, however, as Tyria expanded westward it also began spreading further north where the tundras that stretched across Kryta gave way to a mountain range found to be rich in iron ore. Once this was discovered, there was much speculation that in addition to iron ore, some of these mountains must be rich in precious metals as well, and a increase in northern migration began. Villages began dotting the landscape and soon a title was created by the crown to oversee the mining lands to the far north. The new lord, Marquis Clifford Avery, set construction of his keep north of the current wave of settlers, envisioning a region that would have his keep in its center. Under his leadership mining communities were established further and further north, and soon enough the speculation surrounding the metal deposits became fact. Interestingly, it seemed the further north in the mountains one mined, the greater the concentration of precious metals there was.
The promise of great wealth in the north turned the increase in settlers into a rush. Fueled by the greatly exaggerated stories of merchant houses being founded overnight with the wealth acquired in newly excavated mines, more settlers began turning north every day, and each new group of settlers wanted to stake their claim further north, ignoring the risk of the harsh mountain winter. Most came prepared, they felt, carrying blankets, timber, coats, and any other bit of equipment they thought they might need to protect themselves against the cold. While such preparations served new settlers well, the constant press northward resulted in a new discovery none were prepared for: White Dragons.
The first reports of dragons came from a settlement that had been suddenly attacked by wyrmlings and successfully fought them of. The next came weeks later from the same settlement’s survivors after a young dragon had sacked it. Soon, reports came streaming in from the northernmost settlements across the region of attacks by dragons and their servants. The new lord immediately marched his forces north and sent a plea for aid to the crown. Initially, his concerns seemed unfounded as he struck success after success against the unorganized draconic forces. In short time, however, his army found itself struggling to contain the wrath of a pair of adult dragons. The pattern seemed clear to Lord Avery, and he sent a gift of precious gems to the draconic forces along with a request for parlay. In the negotiations that followed Lord Avery realized his mistakes in his plans for the region.
He had assumed, given the lack of settlements and sightings of sentient creatures his scouts had reported, the lands the new immigrants in his care had been settling were unoccupied. Instead, he discovered, the lands had been part of the wandering grounds of young dragons. Though they were visited for only a few years every decade, they had been used by the dragons for centuries. The choices he felt he was left with, then, were press a war against an uncertain number of dragons for lands they had held for centuries, or accept his losses and leave the lands behind. He chose the latter. The dragons were unwilling to leave it at that, however, and demanded fealty and the entire north as compensation for Tyria’s transgressions. The negotiations fell apart shortly afterward and the draconic forces renewed their assault. The north gave every appearance of being on the brink of capitulation, and soon the adult dragons could be regularly found on the field of war, believing victory at hand. As if on schedule, the royal army then arrived.
Theodric Hellnor, general and brother of King Carlyle Hellnor, made his appearance in the northern theater at the front lines of his army, charging across a frozen field towards an adult dragon and his forces, a war cry on his lips. The battle ended with the injury and retreat of the adult dragon and his forces. (Though, according to legend, his brother upon hearing the news would remark, “Theodric you madman, show some restraint.”) In the battles that ensued, Theodric became convinced that the dragons could be defeated. What they had in strength they lacked sorely in strategy, he insisted. Lord Avery, however, demurred, and Theodric chose to leave the decision in his hands. As a result, Lord Avery’s keep became the northernmost point of his territories. He further announced that any Tyrians who traveled further north did so without his blessings or his protection. He sent word to the dragons that Tyria would settle no land north of those lines, leaving a wide space between the Dragons’ territories and his. He received no reply but heard from the dragons no more.
The War of Medarrion
The War of Medarrion began after an unprecedented and informal ten-year peace between Tyria and Kryta following the War of Princes. These ten years were also accompanied by a relative lack of enforcement of Kryta’s naval blockade of Tyria. Near the end of this time period, some in Tyria had begun to wonder if Kryta had finally given Tyria up for lost. Such notions were proven wrong when, without preamble, Kryta marched their western forces in an attack against Tyria once again. It soon became clear that the intervening years had been spent not in peace by Kryta, but in preparation.
Tyria suffered heavy losses in their northern and central forces at the start of the war. After the loss of their general and old Lord Avery in the north, Kryta’s forces began steadily pressing forward, stopped only by the ruthlessness of the young Lord Avery upon assumption of his father’s station. The central forces suffered a catastrophic defeat at Hellnor Pass losing nearly half its forces, its lord and general, and most of its officers. The defeat led to the Central Plains becoming the site of a massive Krytan incursion. Only the south, led by Lord General Sarthus Keridon, The Lion of the South Wall, held strong. Hearing of the collapse of the central forces he sent his lieutenant, Gregor, a young peasant officer and prodigy he had been training as his successor, north with all the forces he could spare. Gregor’s arrival single-handedly turned the tide in the central plains. By the time the Royal Army, led by His Majesty Andrew Hellnor himself, arrived to reinforce him, he had rallied the remains of the central armies, joined them with his own, and pushed the Krytan forces back across the pre-war borders.
Upon his arrival, Andrew Hellnor called for a strategy meeting, to which he extended an invitation to Gregor himself. Historians have puzzled over the silence surrounding what precisely took place at the meeting. All that is known for certain is at the end of the meeting His Majesty Andrew Hellnor, last of his line, lay dead and Gregor seized control of the royal army. Leading the combined armies Gregor Medarrion, first of his line, marched virtually unopposed into the heart of Kryta, then called for peace. The choice he gave Kryta was this: Lay down your arms, surrender, and forgive all historical animosity towards Tyria, and my armies return to Tyria and our borders return what they were before this war began. Refuse and I march on your capitol. His terms were accepted, and he was given the hand of Princess Erianthe to seal the peace.
In the years following, depending on who you asked, King Gregor was seen as either a bringer of peace or a Kingslayer and pretender to the throne. He faced one revolt by The Lion of the South Wall seeking to reinstate the Hellnor kings but defeated it. He had two children, Richard and Anabelle, with Queen Erianthe Hellnor, whom by all reports he grew to love dearly. His wife, however, died while giving birth to their second child and only daughter. The king himself died young not long afterward. In the years following Thomas Constant, the late king’s chief adviser, ruled Tyria as regent for the boy king, but whatever skill he had in advising did not translate well to ruling, and over time the peace of the kingdom began to erode. Recently, Richard Medarrion, now nearly a man, has attempted to take a more active hand in ruling the country, but with the peace already deteriorating and refugees and mercenaries continuing to stream in from the east as a result of the goblin wars there, the task he has ahead of him is not an easy one.
Old Struggles Anew…
Following declarations of allegiance by many noble houses to House Hellnor, Tyria has fallen into civil war. The lines are quickly being drawn between the Loyalists, who seen to reinstate House Hellnor with Alaric Hellnor, son of Theordric Hellnor, at its head and the Royalists loyal to House Medarrion. Fighting has been reported along the borders of Dnessar and Halledar in the north and Murong Gate and Æthelstan-of-the-Hills in the East.
It has also recently been uncovered that many of the troubles arising in Tyria, from the emergence of a cult of Vecna of unusual strength to the murder of Lord Avery and the possibility of a dracolich having been created in the north, have to some extent been the work of a concerted group, perhaps the Cult of Vecna itself, that includes at least some Krytans. Their exact origins and purpose remain unknown. Also working with the group appears to be a group of Rakshasa who have murdered and supplanted several figures of note in Murong Gate and House Kellindore.