History of the entire world I guess
Work in progress!
NOTICE! This article is thick. It isn't meant to be something you have to read to get into this world, but as something to reference, or to deep-dive into if you are truly fascinated and want to know where the world came from. Do not feel forced to read this unless you really want to.
This article is written from the perspective of the Kykr civilisation. Particularly the northern parts of the civilisation, which means that any values or interpretations are made through their eyes. What is presented below may not necessarily be the absolute truth, but the Kykr's interpretation, or belief, of history.
Very little of this time in history is preserved in writing. What the Kykr know of this time is what they've managed to piece together from ruins, scattered, ancient texts, mythology and pure guesswork.
The Fay and the Sifir
When the world was young, only two species, or rather groups of species, existed. They were the fay and the sifir. The fay were devious, treacherous and used powers of witchcraft to hunt and oppress the sifir, whereas the sifir relied on cunning, strategy and cooperation to battle the fay.
The gods desceneded on the world and saw the war between the two species and saw the virtue and purity of the sifir's reliance on each other and their own minds, rather than using heretical witchcraft, occultism and magic. The gods saw the value of the sifir, and bestowed upon them their gift and covenant. From that day forth, the sifir would remain as they were, pure and unspoiled, and they would enter a covenant with the gods, allowing the gods to bestow their power upon chosen champions in exchange for the sifir's subservience and worship.
The covenant meant that if two sifir descendants, regardless of subspecies, would mate with one another, the child would become one or the other, but never mix. There would be small variations within each subspecies, but never would the species be mixed and watered out, for the god's saw the value of diversity. (See The Peculiar Case of Birth)
The Estarian Empire
With the discovery of the continent of Celenia, the Kykr have been made aware of an ancient civilisation that once ruled the continent. Seemingly, a single empire ruled the entire landmass as one nation and one culture. This makes study of any remnant texts difficult, since the Estari language is the only one documented, meaning there are no other languages to compare it to. This makes translation a near hopeless feat, but with dedication, scholars have started to piece together a useable codex. The Estarian Empire was populated by a species of winged creatures, approximately the size of Illim or Kuna, but with the features of Vindral. They called themselves the Ithonair.
The empire rose from conquest of scattered nations, incorporating them into one, not unlike the Kfandr Empire of Arjin. It is not known of the Estari empire had any presence on other continents, but considering no ruins have been found of their culture on other continents, it is unlikely. The empire's history is draped in unknowns. What is clear is that they were far more technologically advanced than the Kykr civilisation is today. The texts speak of machines and happenings that the Kykr lack words or even concepts of. Things that are completely unknowable for them. Their civilisation relied not on wind, water and coal, but on some other form of substance, that, in their language, is called Mrak, which has eluded translation.
Mrak was a viscous liquid they used to extract energy from, much like you can draw heat from burning wood and coal. The discovery of this substance was apparently a huge event, as it is mentioned in several different documents as a major turning point for the Estari civilisation, throwing them into an industrial super-age.
The Estarian Rise
Very little is preserved in Estarian documents about other cultures, nations and even species. The Ithonair of the Estari empire appear to have been the sole sapient inhabitants of Celenia, or they considered other cultures so beneath them they weren't worth mentioning.
With Mrak-powered equipment and machines, the Estarian empire grew massively, encompassing the entire continent, building hundreds of cities in only a century. The Ithonair, either by culture or their dominance of the continent, seems to have had a fair bit of narcissistic or elitistic tendencies. Their arrogance was a core part of who they were. Strangely enough, they seem to have been a largely athetist culture, believing in their own strength over that of any diety. However, a radical movement within the Estari empire began to grow, starting out as a political movement, but later turning into a fully fledged cult, recognized as a "religious movement".
The Saydarim Cult
The group called themselves the "Saydarim", after their leader and founder, Vanarin Saydar. The Saydarim took the Ithonair arrogance to the next level, believing themselves to be divine beings, capable of "magic". They had begun meddling with the Mrak energy, using it not only for machines, but bending it to their own will and using its power to perform "magical" feats. The other Ithonair were initially very tolerant of their experiments, but the Saydarim grew more numerous and began to put political pressure on the rest of society, gaining not only numerical power, but political power.
Over time, the Saydarim were revealed to be utterly devoted to some higher being, some higher power, cementing them as a religious cult. They served the "Prophet of the Dark", an enigmatic figure, who they claimed was the herald of the "True Gods". Vanarin Saydar was the only one who was allowed to directly commune with the Prophet, but in spite of this, he had no problems swaying more and more Ithonair to his cause.
With the rising political power of the Saydarim cult, the Ithonair government became increasingly desperate, attempting to stop them from gaining more power. The followers of Saydar only saw this as confirmation of their just cause and the government's resistance had already been fortold by the Prophet. The government's resistance and persecution only strengthened their resolve.
This came to its peak when the Saydarim demanded to erect a religious monument in the midst of the Estarian capital city of Le Celena. The government tried in every way to resist this, but since their law allowed anyone to follow whatever religion they wished, and allowed such organizations to erect and maintain religious symbols, in certain circumstances, they were legally forced to allow the monument to be built.
This turned out to be a ruse by the Saydarim, as the monument was a portal, or doorway, to some otherworldly place. A doorway through which their true god would emerge. Documentation becomes spotty from this point on, as this event is called "The Calamity", and appears to have been the utter end of the Estarian empire at the hands of a terrible horde of "darkbeasts", summoned through the doorway built by the Saydarim.
What little information we know about the Estarian empire is what has been scoured from the charred remains of their civilisation. The Shadowscars that litter the landscape of Celenia is evidence of the magnitude of the destruction.
Far more is known about the ancient epoch than about the prehistoric age, as there are far more written records preserved, and word of mouth, legends and myth has brought much of the past to the present.
Pre-alliance times and the Fay schism
While the sifir had always warred with the fay, either side unable to make a decisive victory, there was one one group of people who did not get well along with their neighbors. The vindral, back during this time, lived in relative peace in the Winterweald, or the "Realm of Ayla", as the fay call it. It is a cursed space, under the watchful domain of the fay witch Ayla.
The vindral, however, were not among the fay who would wield the occult powers of witchcraft, nor were they blessed with great physical strength or size. The vindral relied on their mind and cunning, which put them at a disadvantage against the ravenous hordes of other fay. To defend themselves, they turned to metalwork, making swords, spears and axes out of metal. They worked primarily with bronze, as iron was so rare in the north that they did not find enough to do anything useful with it. In addition, the fay were deathly allergic to the mineral. Cursed with fay blood, so were the vindral and they avoided it.
The Vindral Banishment
The vindral's reliance on weapons of war and cunning made the other fay jealous, and the fay king saw fit to banish the vindral from the realms of Ayla under penalty of death. Faced with extinction, the vindral fled across the frozen Crimson Straits and found themselves in the forests of the Dark Thicket, off the northern coast of Arjin. Fleeing from the murderous fay, they came upon the Blood Coast Settlers, a settlement of illim who lived on the frigid northeastern coast.
These illim, always friendly and welcoming, took the vindral exiles under their wing, and together they drove the pursuing fay off, using a combination of numbers, might and the vindral's weapons. The vindral swore to never side with the fay and forged a bond with the illim, sealing their fate under the gods. They became sifir, and as such they now followed the true gods and obeyed their rule.
The Blood Coast was rich in iron sediments, and the vindral found that with their allegiance to the gods, their fay weakness had been purged from them. They could now touch iron without burning themselves and they eagerly set to work to forge weapons of this new metal. The illim were fascinated by the skills of the vindral and in exchange for the illim's knowledge of seafaring, woodworking and shipwrighting skills, the vindral shared with them the secrets of blacksmithing. Together, the vindral and illim formed an unstoppable force, armed with ships and metal.
The Great Migration
The illim-vindral alliance flourished and held the fay back without issues, using their combined powers and iron weaponry. They grew plentiful and spread across the north. Eventually, they sent expeditions through the Seigr Pass, through the Næka Mountains and found themselves upon the fertile plains of the Gimroan Basin. With access to virtually unlimited lands of fertile soil, the illim-vindral alliance spread out and learned to truly harness the land. Their agricultural skills added to their already growing repertoir of knowledge.
The Natukunautep Tribes
After hundreds of years, the alliance had spread across the entire north, steadily moving further, discovering more lands as they went. To the south of the gimroan basin, a group of settlers came across another species, one they had never seen before. They looked fierce, violent and capable. They were Natukunautep nomads of the southern plains, a group of canine species who ruled the southern lands, all the way from the jungles of Tabut-Heda, across the great Kimaran Desert and the endless Great Plains of Kharamôr.
Scarred from centuries of war with the fay, the alliance decided to strike first, swiftly and decisively. They swept across the southern lands in roaming war bands, killing anyone they could find. What they found was the the natukunautep were a nomadic, tribal people, who rarely stayed in one are more than a few months at a time and had none or few permanent settlements. Once the tribes were made aware of the northern assailant, they grouped together and started to form a resistance. The alliance was not ready for the swift, roaming raiders of the natukunautep and suffered horrible losses, primarily to their logistical chains from the north. Facing starvation and dwindling forces, the alliance retreated back to the northern basin.
The Trifolk Alliance
The war went on for generations, neither side really gaining any upper hand or devoting too many resources to attacking the other side. Both sides seemed reluctant to fight, and finally, the alliance sent a delegation of diplomats to speak with the tribal leaders. After intense negotiations, the two sides made peace, as their common enemy, the fay, was far greater a threat and together, they would stand a better chance of defeating the true threat.
Thus was the Trifolk Alliance born. Out of necessity, by power of numbers and cooperation. An eternal covenant between the vindral, the illim and the kuna tribes. Together, they would rule the world and defeat any threat to their might. The people of the alliance adopted the word that the vindral used for themselves, "Kykr", a word meaning "One of us", "unity" and "progress". It was a suitable word to be used when one's species is less important than one's participation in the greatest alliance in history.
The formation of the cultural spheres
In spite of their unification under the Trifolk Alliance, the Kykr people spread across the world, and with the great distances, discrete cultures formed in the corners of the world. In the far west, on the Morvátian Peninsula, arose a culture focused on social status, martial prowess and a brutal concept of "honor" (see Ghoj).
In the east, on the fertile plains of the Gimroan Basin, arose the Gimroan people. Sheltered from the greater world by mountains, safe in their basin, their focus become one of self-improvement and cultural pursuits. Fond of poetry, music and other arts, the gimroans are a force to be reckoned with.
In the south, spread across the great plains, the Kharamôr rule surpreme. Leaning on old traditions and ideas, their conservative mindset forms a stark contrast to the more progressive Gimroans.
The dissolving alliance and rise of theocracy
Over time, the Kykr had spread out so much that land started to become a problem. They had reached most of the unknown corners of the continent and started to truly settle down, consolidate into villages, cities and capitals. Nations formed as people rose to power, and the Trifolk Alliance started to dissolve. It's core tenet; "No species of the Alliance is more than the other. Where we are strong, we protect the weakness of another, and they us." remained strong, but the Kykr slowly stopped being one people and turned into scattered groups of ethnicities, often united by faith.
The gods took a more direct part in their subordinates, by manifasting physically in the world. This lead to religion, faith and loyalty to a diety to become the major identifier for people, followed by ethnicity. People more likely identify with a fellow kykr who follow the same faith, than they are someone of the same ethnicity with a different faith. They also connect more readily with someone of their own ethnicity, than they connect with someone foreign of the same species.
Other species and civilisations
While the Kykr are the largest, most prominent civilisation of the world, there are certainly others, both extinct and present. There are the obvious ones, like the fay, but also the beastmen known as the Dru'un Tribes, the Hessak lizardfolk of the southern isles and the insular terrlaki of Naréin.
There are also some remnant civilisations that existed at some point in time, but for one reason or another have died out. The most prominent of those is the mountainhomes of Kwugra on the western isles of Kolos. The most well known being Koganusân.
Transition to a feudal society
The direct involvement of the gods in mortal business led to a rise of a very stringent social structure in Kykr society. Lords and ladies rose above the "rabble", tasked with organizing the advancing society. The feudal structure of ruler, vassals and commoners was instituted both out of necessity, but also as a mimicry of the divine structure among the gods.
Land became important when agriculture and animal husbandry rose as important ways of producing food. Agriculture demands large areas of land, which meant that protecting said land against raiders, predators and thieves became important. Nations formed around prominent chiefs and lords, staking out land by force. The Kykr society stopped being "one unified alliance" and became separate nations. The alliance became little more than a memory. A memory that shaped the way the Kykr saw one another, but no longer binding them together as one.
The feudal age is the modern age of the Kykr. It is "the now" and stretches from when the feudal nations first arose until modern times. The feudal age is rife with conflict, rising and falling nations, wars and bloodshed. It is the greatest time of turmoil in the time of the Kykr since the original exile from the Winterweald.
Much of the early feudal age turned the rather slow-paced, slumbersome spread of the Kykr across the world into a frenzied land-grab, once agriculture and land became vital resources. Neighbors were no longer content with letting others on their lands. Suddenly every inch of land was worth something. This led to a lot of conflict, and required laws and order to be set up, creating those who needed to uphold, and enforce, the laws. Thus the feudal system was put in place.
The Divinity Wars
Initially, the gods had a much more direct impact on the world. They acted as actual kings and queens over the mortals, ruling their own nations and waging wars against the other gods, forging alliances and scheming between each other. Not only did they directly meddle in mortal affairs, they participated in their own battles, leading thousands, even tens of thousands, of mortals in warfare against other gods. Their powers so vast it ripped Dunia apart, leaving areas scarred and destroyed for a century.
The Lordship Accord
Seeing the utter devastation their quabbles brought to the world, the most powerful gods convened in the Kfandr Bay, upon the mighty cliffs of the southern coast, and negotiated a deal to preserve the world. The gods would not agree one many things and they believed that warfare was still a sound solution to their problems. However, with how the gods rely on worshippers and how destructive their might was, it was non-sustainable for the gods themselves to participate in battle.
Instead, the gods agreed that they would only interfere in the world affairs through intermediaries. Primarily through the masses of worshippers, but they were also granted allowance for using champions to directly affect the course of history. They granted each god a set number of champions, a number still unknown to the Kykr, and banned any god from participating directly in combat. They were allowed diplomacy, subterfuge and participating through word and action, but they may not use their powers for warfare.
Most gods agreed that the prospect of destroying the world they oversaw through cataclysmic divine warfare was not a desirable one. The gods who did not agree were swiftly put down by the majority, and once the Accord had now settled, the gods took their new place as guides and shepards of the mortal Kykr, rather than warlords, kings and queens.
The rise of the mortal lords
With the gods stepping down from direct leadership, taking a more passive and religious role in Kykr society, the power vaccum gave rise to mortal kings, queens and emperors. These men and women still served under the gods, but in a less mundane way. Their service was now one more of worship and life-long commitment than like a ruler.
With the gods fading from public view as governmental leaders, so did their established realms. Suddenly, the lands were open for grabs by anyone fast or strong enough to do so. New allegiances were formed with people rallying around strong leaders, quickly creating new nations. The feudal age had begun proper.
Time of Turmoil
The claiming of fertile lands, resources and transport routes inevitably gave rise to conflict. The early feudal age is marred by constant warfare between the budding nations. Countless kingdoms rose and fall as wars were fought over a river, a mountain creek or an arable field.
Eventually, the map started to settle. Sufficiently strong nations were able to hold their lands against rival nations and while borders still shift frequently, they're less about wholesale conquest and more about a border moving slightly in one direction or the other as keeps were raised, conqured or razed.
Even when the Trifolk Alliance was in its cradle, there were different groupings within it. There were the original vindral contingent, who were descendents of Æþir. While they had already mixed with illim at this point, and some kuna had made it into their group, they were still primarily vindral. They were lead by a woman, Morvall the Brave, a descendent of Æþir.
This group traveled continuously west, leaving the fertile plains of the Gimroan Basin, past the hostile Hillands. They encountered strong resistance and continual harassment from the Hilland Dru'un Tribes, composed primarily of swift, cunning Nartaz.
The Kykr's superior weaponry and engineering proved effective in staving off the Nartaz raids, both by being effective combatants, but also through the construction of effective fortifications. The life and society of Morvall's followers were one of constant vigilance and martial prowess became important in order to defend one's life, family and settlement.