Monday, January 26, 2009
The Great Realm Ladoga
Vamarine, Orobia, and Kabdoria where all once known as the Great Realm of Ladoga. Ladoga was simply known as ‘the realm of men’ as far as the other races were concerned. While other pocket realms of men existed Ladoga was by far the largest, the most stable and the most powerful of these. The Cities Afar would perhaps come in second, but they are so distant it hardly mattered. Disunity among the Great Realm of Ladoga occurred about 12 years ago when Emperor Seleucid was assassinated. However the seeds for the sundering were placed many years prior during a series of revolts led by the meandering teachings of the wizard Caphias Mennoc.
Caphias found his foothold in the western provinces of Kabdoria, and these revolts eventually found noble and knightly sponsors rather than the usual oppressed peasants. Eventually these revolts in the western territories of Kabdoria became very threatening and an army from Ladoga proper as well as the Kabdorian forces were marshaled to put it down. So they did, but along with the revolt, a series of natural and magical disasters weakened the realm and the army enough that some of the southern Orobian lords began to speak of independence from their tax-heavy northern cousins. The peasantry and nobles in Kabdoria alike were punished for the revolution and severely weakened politically and robbed of their riches. The Kabdorian nobility found some solace in trading with the bordering Elves, Dwarves and Halflings but were again ostracized by their northern and eastern cousins for doing so.
In truth the southern lords of Orobia did not instigate the sundering of Ladoga, although Orobia is commonly blamed as the main culprit. The Emperor’s entourage of eunuchs had been slowly siphoning the power away from the throne for years. They grew to wield great power and tug the strings of discord among the realm. Emperor Seleucid was assassinated by his own doctor, and he was quickly replaced with a eunuch reagent, Shuno of Thool. With the promise to find a successor immediately, Shuno instead found one reason or another to decline the interested nobility. He wrought a number of laws that favored his constituents and pillaged the imperial treasury as well. Clearly unhappy with Shuno and the eunuch powerbase, Roumbus of Orobia, lord of the imperial city forces quickly took control on the imperial palace to reestablish order and free itself from the corruption. Roumbus was a well liked general who did indeed mean well, but his practical experience and knowledge had been struggling at best. What resulted was a bloody massacre and a purging of the eunuchs after they refused to surrender with their own elite imperial guard. Great magic and winged hydras aided the eunuchs, and what should have been a quick victory took a heavy toll among the army of Roumbus. The palace burned and most of the nobility fled to their own lands with tales of the slaughter. Shuno likewise fled, it is said on the back of a walking gemmed golem, and hid among the few remaining realms loyal to his cause.
Although victorious, Roumbus was quickly labels as a traitor-general when the imperial city burned. Most nobility were hesitant about openly denouncing him since he still controlled one of the largest armies in the domain. To the distant north Loawane of Vamarine held the elite troops of the empire to battle the constant foes of the deep wilds. When the news reached his ears he brought down the bulk of his force to methodically return the Ladoga to unity. During this time revolt returned one again to Kabdoria, and with no imperial forces to stop them, the revolt claimed many realms that declared independence. Roumbus of Orobia and his army returned to his homeland but was slain by his own family who replaced him with his brother in law, the great warlord Kreilis, to marshal a defense against the vengeful army of Vamarine
Kreilis was far more competent than Roumbus, but also far more ambitious. He sought to take control of the empire for himself since he saw opportunity in the disarray. Instead of defending Orobia, Kreilis instead mustered his levies and forced his large army into Kabdoria to stabilize those provinces, and thus claim the throne through controlling most of the Ladoga. Loawane of Vamarine took his spearhead forces into Orobia and was content in exacting revenge upon the Orobian citizens rather than chasing Kreilis’s army hither and fro. After two years the two armies did eventually meet on the border of Kabdoria with a series of small skirmishes. Both attempted to draw in the other to no avail, and dragging the war into several more years that drained most of Ladoga’s resources. Many western realms in Kabdoria realized full independence when they marshaled their own forces and slew what remaining Orobian troops that were left behind to hold onto their territory. Their supply lines cut off, Kreilis thrust into the Vamarine lines in a desperate effort to end the conflict. Both armies battles vigorously with heavy casualties on both sides. Neither side could claim victory since the Orobian troops could not break the Vamarine line and Loawane himself perished in the assault along with his senior leadership.
Loawane’s daughter, Bodhimel, took control over the remaining Vamarine forces knew they simply lacked the resources to maintain a foothold so distant from their homeland. She sacked, razed and pillaged the lands as they marched on the way back to Vamarine. The eastern side of Kabdoria and the northern facing of Orobia were thus burned out and the Orobian forces returned to a wasteland of a home. Lacking proper leadership, the remaining Vamarine troops quickly dissolved with only a few elite shock troops that followed Bodhimel to re-stabilize the Vamarine powerbase. Kreilis himself was murdered by his family when returning to Orobia and most of the remaining officers took their troops and returned to their lands. It is said Shuno still lives and bids his time in the lands of Orobia. Kabdoria remains particularly fractured, being a shadow of its former self, struggling to regain the territories that have claimed independence. Their troops are light however and this seems to be increasingly unlikely as the years pass.
The deep wilds north of Vamarine have encroached greatly since the main army marched south. Even large cities have fallen to emboldened inhuman forces. The Vamarine lords battle to keep what they have, each reluctant to give any men to the greater Vamarine army. Bodhimel is currently the lady of Vamarine although many of the lords are unhappy with her rule, and her ruthless actions in Kabdoria. The imperial city sits in ruins at the southern peninsula in Vamarine.
Orobia is ruled by the noble family Osteniar, although no clear leader is named. The Northern provinces are still in ruins and the southern ones speak of independence in hushed tones. These are fearfully and ruthlessly put down – at least when the remaining Orobian army is able too. The Osteniar hold power with a thin thread of past loyalties only.
Kabdoria is largely fractured on the west into several fully independent realms. The years have gone by long enough that many in Kabdoria simply accept this as the truth of the future. The eastern Kabdorian realms have consolidated behind Vanis Enemor, a Count of old Ladoga. His rule is pragmatic and focused on rebuilding the war torn east and to keep from loosing further realms to independence.
Several smaller realms have developed as fully independent. Some benevolently ruled by brave men who seek peace. Others lost to opportunistic Marggots who enslave those they find on the open roads. The encroaching wilds between the realms seem to be more foreboding then ever. An assortment of spirits seem to sense the absence of men and have seeped in. The beings that once hid beneath the leaves during the Great Rot have likewise stepped out from the shadows and now travel openly, and brazenly claim territory as their own. Travel between the realms is sparse and dangerous, and some men turn to the likes of Elves, Dwarves and Halflings for protection from the deep wilds.