The Daerean Empire
The Daerean Empire arose from the Heathen Duchy of Daerea, located in the very north of Ezriel, a naturally dark land located within lush pine wood forests. The empire's rise began after the fall of the Kingdom of Hathia, led by the Valnor Dynasty. About a 100 years ago, the duchy embraced the religion of the Dark, headed by the Moon Mother Euna, and it emphasised raw qualities of strength, power and intelligence. This was perhaps due to it's cooler and darker nature of the lands, not overly dependent on the sun. This did not make the lands grim or iron fisted, but perhaps colder, with it's people focusing more on a common goal than individual ends. The duchy cultivated a fighting force known as the Grim Knights, which created a unique fighting style known as Kalasar-var, drawn from the power of the God of the Wild himself. With the Grim Knights on his side, and a crumbling lands on the opposite, Rikar the IV declared a war of conquest, promising to spread the message of the dark. He and his Grim Knights marched into the heartland, where they faced little resistance from the assorted duchies that emerged after the dissolution of the Valnorian's Empire. The Daereans swept through the hills of Bandarún, and marched towards the duchies of Zarun, where the crucial crossroads of the heartland was at. Prince Zeherus, a remenant of the broken Valnor dynasty knowing that this cut off would be the end of his broken kingdom. Gathering loyal soldiers, and more importantly Paladins of the light, he marched towards Ravenwood, where he would meet Rikar's armies. However, luck was on Rikar's side, perhaps as a sign of devotion to the God of the woods and wild, wild beast mauled Zeherus's armies, and fierce hand to hand combat arose between the equally driven Grim Knights and Paladin. The Paladins were eventually driven back to the end of the woods, where in a famous moment. Grandmaster Ordilin with his dying breath cast the Wrath of Sun, a spell of faith only used by the most powerful of clerics. The Grim Knights however survived the spell, though badly wounded. The spell proved to be Zeherus demise, unfortunately igniting him and his armies alive. With obliteration of Valnorian armies, Rikar marched across the holy Halyron River, and captured Elran, Capital of Man. With that, in 500 AG, Rikar crowned himself Archlord Rikar I of the Daerean Empire. The Empire began the Second Great Age of Man, centered around the worship of the dark and most importantly, the Moon Mother Euna. Rikar's Pontiffs of Euna were responsible for tearing down all references to the gods of light, and beheading heretics who still worship it. These Pontiffs were headed by High Pontiff Yurzan, an extremely powerful man within the empire, who cemented it's legacy of dark. They built the Ziggurat of the Moon, a grand structure that was built at the heart of the capital, served by the pontiffs as symbol of Euna, with it's ever burning darkflame, ignited by the moon itself. A society of Dark was as strange on indeed. With more conquests the dark grew stronger. The sun of Khathar faded, and the the moon of Euna grew stronger, with it's society eventually shifting to night instead of day. Nightcrops, famed vegetables and fruits which grew under the moon's light were famed across the land for it's sweeter and softer texture. The people of Daerea were known for having lighter skin and it's civilization built around one strength and power. The dark was said to have increased the longevity of the people, made them wiser, stronger and faster, and elevated them to the status of demigods. Magic was also developed, with worship of the darker aspect of Nyrana, the twisted goddess being prevalent among the empire's mages. This magic was much more raw and powerful, being able to create cracks in the land itself, or grow crops straight from the ground, but could spiral out of control. Art, again symbolising the virtues of intelligence, strength and power was created, massively brilliant statues being built in the capital, and the Mural Crypts, which depicted the wars of dark that was insinuated by the Empire and it's prosperous times. It's cities were often all encompassing, hosting colosseums, temples, baths and villas in it's planned town quarters. Society was made out of three classes: the Emperii, or the Empowered Ones, warriors, mages, rulers and priests, all chosen to take oath of Euna, and bound themselves to the dark, elevating themself to higher class. The Darii the middle class, consisting of farmers artisans, bankers and merchants, very much part of Daeran society, and worshippers of the Dark. The third class, the Lerii were slaves and labourers, shunned by the empire and were exploited for work by the two upper classes. The empire centralised Ezriel in it's conquest, conquering the merchant towns of the southwest and the disconnected Sun Kingdoms of the east, bringing the trade routes of land under it's control, creating a Golden Age of wealth and riches. The Black Coin was created, to bring all commerce under the emperor's will. They conscripted Dragons of the northeast in their military, making a pact with them as the God of War Takuja, the Dragon's creator was a lord of dark as well. In all, the Empire creating a great of age dark, defined by grandiose art, great conquest and great riches, all centred around the three virtues: strength, intelligence and power. However, the empire decayed, as all things must. It first was invansion of El'kar, the Spirit Monastery, which Archlord Rikar VIII viewed as a heretical threat. However, his armies met a bloody end, stopped by a vicious sandstorm, his Grim Knights broken. In the East, the Sun Kingdoms incited a rebeliion, and the weakned armies of Rikar VIII were not quick enough to respond, as a full out revolution broke out, spearheaded by the various Paladin orders, previously suppressed were now suddenly a fully organized army. They were supposedly headed by a Lighborne, a messiah of light, similar to how Rikar I was the chosen messiah of dark. To add to the empire's woes, a failed experiment in the northern lands, near the origin of the duchy, had created severe consquences, creating the Howling, a raw primal dark, which the mages hoped would created stronger brand of warrior, but instead corrupted them, and made them feral creatures. With these woes, a weakened army, a crusade of Sun and a oppresive Dark, in 1256 AG, the Daerean Empire collapsed, as Rikar's descendants skulked back north, and an age of Dark ended, followed by another age of light.
- Geopolitical, Empire
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