The Rise of the Sanguine King
Kingdoms of Dalgar
A General History
The continents of Dalgar and Sar’dalgar (or Ezark as referred to by those who belong to the Ezarkand Empire) was for time long since past mostly inhabited by a handful of races: Elves, Halflings where the two most dominant, but Orcs, Ogers, Shifters, and Trolls were noticeable. Then, about sixteen hundred years ago came the Rift in the Northlands. Out of the Rift came the Giants and the Titan overlords. These elemental warlords came out of the north and spread as far the northern half of the With them came the Gnolls and Kobolds. Soon later came the elemental humanoids, the Genasi, but their exact connections to the Giants and the Rift is unknown. Eventually, the Giants were driven back to the Northlands by the rise of a new race, the Yuan-ti, half-snake men who were supposedly elves transformed by the God Uroboros the Eternal to fight the Giants. A century or so later, came the Easterners, a great conglomerate of races, mostly Human and Dragonborn, but also Gnomes, Eladrin, and Deva, fleeing from a cataclysm on a continent across the sea. It is these people who would eventually found the kingdom of Dalgracia.
Kingdom of Dalgracia
The central kingdom of the continent of Dalgar. Once spanned the entire width of the continent, and ran from the Dragon’s Wings Mountains in the north, all the way to the Snake’s Gullet in the south. The kingdom was formed when Dalgar the Great, a human champion lead a great convoy of ships, laden with human, dragonborn, and warriors and refugees from many other races from the east eight hundred years ago. Dalgracian history records that a great cataclysm had occurred in the east a millennia ago, making life intolerable there. The nature of the cataclysm is never really explained even in the earliest texts, and many consider it a nautical miracle that the refugees made it in the first place, so no attempt has been made to reconnect.
Dalgar the Great united and lead the disparate peoples of the east. He negotiated treaties with the native elves and halflings, acquiring land, and defended his peoples against raids from the Giant and Genasi barbarians of the north, and the aggression of the elvish/Yuan-ti empire to the south. As he grew old and died his son took his place as leader, and then his son replaced him. Soon the Dalgracian dynasty was born and the kingdom of Dalgracia rose up from the tired huddled masses to control almost the whole of the northern continent.
This Kingdom has not withstood the test of time. Over the past six hundred years the Kingdom disintegrated, first in the War of the Brothers in which the Dalgracian dynasty split three ways, forming the separate kingdoms of Dalgracia, Vandomia, and Masgothern. The king of that time died a sudden death, rumored at the time to be the work of Ezarkandiz the Eternal. His oldest son, Veonard, took the throne. The kingdom launched a war against the Ezarkandian Empire, but after five years or so of war, the second oldest son, Vandon, declared that it was his older brother who had killed the king, not Ezarkandian agents. The two princes turned on each other for ten years of civil war, before a mutual cousin, Masgoth Rebbonard, also declared a stake for the throne declaring the two sons unfit for rule. The civil war lasted on and off for fifty years. Eventually, the son of the Veonard brokered a truce with his estranged uncle Vandon and the son of Masgoth, Leo Rebbonard I, splitting the once mighty kingdom into three.
Even still the kingdom suffered many smaller wars with the Warlords of Ganzzard, Ezarkandiz, and the two new kingdoms, Masgothern and Vandomia. Furthermore, eighty years ago further unrest caused an uprising along the eastern coast of the kingdom of Dalgracia. Many merchants claimed the king at the time, Ajax Dalgracian, was favoring noble houses over the economic “plight” of the merchant guilds. Eventually, the merchants staged a coup and removed most of the governors of the territories in the east, and raised a great peasant and mercenary army in the name of “liberation.” After tens years of conflict, the Republic of Genoswerv was founded and declared itself independent of the rule of the Dalgracian monarchy. Since then, there has always been a steady border war between the Kingdom of Dalgracia, and the Republic of Genoswerv.
The Kingdom of Masgothern
During the Brother’s War, the old kingdom of Dalgracia was severed into three separate states. Dalgracia, Vandomia, and Masgothern. Dalgracia was ruled by the son of Veonard and continues the “true” line of Dalgar the Great, while Vandomia was created by Vandon, the second son whom accused his older brother of treason. The third nation to come out of the War of the Brothers was Masgothern, created by Masgoth Rebbonard who declared the warring brothers unfit to rule and set himself up as the true heir to the throne of Dalgracia. The war ended in a three way stalemate, and the kingdom of Dalgracia was divided between the three sides, with Dalgracia taking most of the North and East, while Vandomia took the western reaches and Masgothern was placed in the south between the two.
Masgoth and his son, Leo the First, where both mad. Paranoid in the extreme the pair used assassins, spies, and saboteurs to undermine bother Brothers’ war efforts. After the war, Leo became so paranoid he established the Maggatur, the sorcerer-police of Masgothern. The Maggatures became widely feared across the small nation, using unlimited power backed by the crown to search and seize any and all people even remotely suspected of treasons. For forty years the headsman’s axe ran red with blood. It wasn’t until Leo the Third overthrew his father and disbanded the Maggatur that Masgothern got its first relative bout of peace.
Under Leo the third, the nation was relatively quiet and peaceful, as it was under his grandsons and their grandsons. Some say though, that the paranoia of Masgoth and his son are hereditary. By the time Leo the Fifth took the throne four generation later, the crown began to reinstate the control and power it once had. Leo the Seventh reinstated the Maggatur, although with much more limited powers, although even now they are a force of terror and suppression within the borders of Masgothern, and even their current limits are loosening. Currently, Leo the Tenth rules Masgothern. The Maggatur have become something akin to his personal gang. Leo X is terrified of rebellion and squashes all signs of insurrection, while on the other hand fostering a massive cult of personality among the populace. The Maggatur go into the streets, preaching of the king’s goodness and greatness, and then often go off to assault those rumored of disagreeing with the king in the night. Leo X is also fearful of all of his neighbors, save for Ezarkand. His entire standing army is made of Ezarkand trained elven strike teams and halfing guerrillas, all of them backed by the sorcerer warriors of the Maggatur. It is unknown what Leo X sees in the unknown war in the north of both Vandomia and Dalgracia, but recent reports say the government has begun to seize private assets and is spending a great deal of money on food and raw material. Leo might see the fighting up north as an opportunity to win back the throne his ancestor lost so long ago.
The Empire of Ezarkand
The Empire of Ezarkand is a massive sprawling theocracy/autocracy on the southern continent below Dalgar. Dalgarians refer to it as the continent of Sar-dalgar, but the natives of the Empire refer to it as the continent of Ezark. Ezark and Dalgar are connected by a narrow winding stretch of land known today only as the Snake’s Gullet.
For nearly a thousand years the empire of Ezarkand has ruled the continent of Sar-dalgar. It existed before the humans and dragonborn landed on Dalgar and has remained unmoved since. Its population is mostly Elven and Halfling, with Yuan-ti making the upper tiers of society. The Empire’s history is shrouded in mystery. Its official legend is that Ezarkandiz, the Eternal, was an elven shaman who was sent on a vision quest by his god, Uroboros the Endless. He journeyed into the sea with nothing but a raft and his faith and returned a hundred years later having gone on a odyssey to learn the secrets of the world. When he returned he learned that his people had been conquered by the by the giants descended from the primal titans. He rose up against the giants and their elemental warriors. He used his miraculous power to free the elves and Halflings, and when they asked him who he was, he said only that he was the servant of Uroboros, and that Uroboros would lend his might to all those who wished to fight and would grant them new forms of great power. A thousand elves fell to their knees and swore their souls to Ezarkandiz, and he laid a blessing upon them, causing them to shed their flesh and become in the image of his God, creating the Yuan-ti, litterally elven for “blessed ones.” He then took the form of a great many-headed dragon and lead his faithful to slay the Giants and their minions, driving them from the continent of Ezark and into the northern-most reaches of the Dalgarian continent.
Dalgracian scholars take the legends with a grain of salt. Ezarkandian myth states the war between Ezarkandiz and the Giants happened six thousand years ago. Mages have determined it is unlikely, due to what little examination of the architecture of the Ezarkand Empire is allowed by foreigners, that the Empire is any older than nine centuries. This is further collaborated by the Giant Skalds who declared their war with the “Dragon-wurm” occurred over eight generations ago.
Society in Ezarkand is centered loosely centered around the church and state. The Messiah-Emperor Ezarkand and his clergy have the final say in all things, but as their empire is sprawling in size and degenerate in its culture, their direct power is somewhat vague. The society is broken up into a number of castes, with the Yankt making up the lowest rung and are more or less slaves owned by the church, to the Yuan, who rule the empire. Most people fall into either the Yankt caste or the one above it, which is made up of free-men and artisans. Above this caste is the Warrior caste, the Yarzec, and above them the noble-clerics of the Messiah-Emperor. The caste system is starting to waver though, as secular ideas from Dalgracia and Genoswerv are starting to influence the youngest generation of Elves and Halflings, causing much discontent among the artisan caste. The numbers of the Yankt are slowly dissolving, as more and more are freed and allowed mostly into the warrior caste. This is due more to Ezarkandiz selling Yankt troops out as mercenaries to the Dalgarian northlanders. Social mobility is more difficult the higher one goes. Rising from the Yankt class is easy enough (should one put one’s life on the line), and becoming a warrior is simply a matter of skill and bravery. Only those favored by Ezarkandiz himself though, can undergo the ritual of the Shedding of the Flesh and become “blessed” and join the ranks of his immortal clergy. The culture overall has become mostly bohemian and cynical, save for the old-guard among the warriors and noble-clerics who still view Ezarkandiz was the vessel of god.
All of this aside though, the Empire of Ezarkand gives no appearance of being close to collapse. Ezarkandiz himself has lived for more than nine centuries, and has no plans to either shuffle off if his plush throne or the moral coil any time soon.