"The Sapphire Coast. Some say it's the birthplace of civilisation itself. I can't speak for that, but what I do know is that city-states, kingdoms and empires have been fighting tooth and nail to control it since we left the caves; and I wouldn't be surprised if the reason we left the caves is because some Kalriv lost a war to control them." -Hakkan Selebu, a philosopher from Ekos, 3rd Century TENamed for its presence along the coast of the Sapphire Sea, the Sapphire Coast is the largest region in Arikanda and home to both the Helikan League and Kalriv Empire. It is vast, running from the edges of the Sheer all the way to the intersection of the Sapphire and Calinan Seas considered one of the birthplaces of civilisation in Arikanda.
The Sapphire Coast consists of three major geographical subregions;
Southern Sapphire CoastThe southern Sapphire Coast is a Mediterranean-style warm climate with dry summers and mild winters. It has a variety of biomes, with hills and mountains, scrubland, meadows and river valleys. Most of the rivers fed from the central and northern regions of the Sapphire Coast find their way east to the Sapphire Sea here. This region is the core of the Helikan League, with its largest city being the city of Helik. In the far north of this subregion are the Sapphran Borderlands, the border region between the Kalriv Empire and the League, which sees considerable build-up of towns and fortresses on both sides of the border.
Central Sapphire CoastThe central Sapphire Coast is much drier than most of the other regions, and sees the flatlands to the north and south give way to the vast, rocky Venderan Desert. This region sees vast alkali flats, along with ravines, buttes, canyons and mesas. In spite of the inhospitability of the region it is the original home of the Kalriv, with most of the Kalriv Empire's largest cities settled here, including the capital Var Kalriv.
Northern Sapphire CoastThe northern Sapphire Coast sees the dry desert of the central Sapphire Coast become cool again, eventually becoming stretches of prairie interspersed with escarpments, ridges and a small number of buttes. Eventually, the terrain becomes much more hilly, eventually becoming alpine and melding into the mountain peaks that make up The Sheer. The largest cities in this region are Lycrus and Matara, once-independent cities that were conquered by the Kalriv Empire.
The Sapphire Coast has been settled since time immemorial, and is the birthplace of some of the oldest civilisations on the face of Annyrion, with permanent settlements established as early as 8000 years before the present day. The Coast was also the first region to see bronze metallurgy come to the forefront, with it being prevalent in the Venderan Desert since at least 3500 years ago. This saw a steady expansion over time, with the Kalriv tribe becoming the fastest developer, settling towns all over the central coast in the next several centuries. The late second millennium DoM saw the rise of the Kalriv as the dominant force in most of the Sapphire Coast. Beginning originally as a confederation of central tribes, the Kalriv rose to prominence after a war with the ambitious city-state of Lycrus, which had been attacking and conquering states in the northern Sapphire Coast. After the Kalriv defeated and conquered Lycrus, a number of other cities in the north pledged under their protection. This led to a crusade by the Kalriv to extend their reach across much of the north and central Sapphire Coast over the next several centuries, often in conjunction with the other city-states, which often invited them to request their protection from marauders. Concurrent to the development of the Kalriv, a number of settlements formed and expanded in the southern Sapphire Coast. These settlements were far less unified than the Kalriv settlements, and often squabbled and warred with each other. Despite this, they all developed a similar cultural and religious background, and there was a surprising amount of cultural homogeneity in the region. By the end of the Dawn of Man, several large city-states such as Teldum, Helik and Barkos had risen to power in the south. As time passed beyond the end of the Dawn of Man period, the Kalriv began to adopt a more aggressive approach, with an intensive period of militarisation in the third century and the shift of the state into a military-based government. By the 330s, the Kalriv had declared themselves an empire and had begun conquering city-states without invitation. The Sapphran states in the south had not let this go unnoticed, and began to band together in anticipation of a conflict from the north. The most powerful city-state in the south, the City-State of Helik, announced the formation of a League, rallying most of the southern states to its banner. While originally a flat alliance, in the latter half of the fourth century TE Helik grew to dominate the alliance, to the point where the alliance began to be known as the Helikan League. It also incorporated many city-states and kingdoms in Tanoron after the Empire's first foray into the Sapphran Borderlands, fearing a future conflict leaving them defenseless. Affairs in the Coast have been relatively calm in recent years, with the Kalriv overlord Var Belsev maintaining the current borders of the Kalriv territories. It is understood that this peace cannot last however, and there is a palpable tension in the Sapphran Borderlands like the calm before a storm.
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