War of the Worldwound
History of Arcadia, the first forty years
Forty years have passed since the creation of the great land of Arcadia, AR 4711. The nation’s tumultuous early years have become the stuff of legends within its borders, and Knallhart a symbol synonymous with the best that demihumanity has to offer.
Following the death of Nyrissa, the evil fey demigod who had held the Stolen Lands in her thrall for millennia, tensions ran high as (insert end of Issian campaign)
With the civil war in Brevoy finally over, Arcadia spent the following decade building up its cities and institutions, as well as trade and alliances. Great works were envisioned and completed. The Portal Network was constructed, connecting Arcadian territories in ways previously unimaginable. In the depths of Blackrock’s dwarven forges, the creation of the first generation of the arcuballista, what would become Arcadia’s national ranged weapon of choice.
In the fields of Equestria, breeding programs result in the establishment of the Arcadian Appaloosa, a new breed of magnificent horses with celestial ancestry, while midnight black wolves prowl the forests alongside Treewarden hunters, and herds of titanic mastadons lumber across the plains, occasionally on two legs and even, rarely, speaking in their deep, elephantine voices. In the world of art and culture, a mass publishing of Saalus’s masterpieces Opus Knallhart and the epic Reclaiming That Which Was Stolen (not a single tale but rather an entire series filled with insights into morality and duty) inspires artists, musicians and playwrights for years to come—and adventurers up until the present day.
The pacification of the Embeth Forest is achieved with mingled Aldori forces, leading to a further tightening of bonds between the once uneasy cousins. Ties forged with Numeria and Kevoth Kul bear fruit, and the Technic League are dealt with once and for all in a massive, city-wide battle. Agreements with the Black Sovereign result in a treasure trove of eldritch technology, including the Silver Tower and its vitally-important power source, allowing a rapid increase in understanding of the technologies recovered from the Numerian Wastes and the Starship.
Rostland and Issia benefited under Arcadian post-war reconstruction efforts, and soaked up the culture of personal freedom and social responsibility the people so desperately needed after their decades of subjugation, internal strife and overall uncertainty. Tensions occasionally flared between old rivals, but always there were cooler, deadlier heads that would intervene or avenge. Slowly, the age-old wounds began to heal into something approaching tolerance, guided subtly by the Autarch’s public addresses, the Primarch’s influence and initiatives, the skillful and tireless efforts of Arcadian agents, and the spread of magic and technology that could only be truly understood by those trained at MagiTek University or another of the realm’s elite educational institutions.
A network of well-maintained roads are patrolled by the various orders of knights, and banditry is nearly unheard of within central Arcadia. Between Midgard and Equestria the wide highway still bears the troll skeleton mile markers as Primarch Saalus ordered nearly half a century ago. The roads themselves are often paved between major cities, long straight stretches of stone magically shaped and maintained by specialized caretakers. Waterways connect cities across the realm, patrolled by the nation’s growing river-bound navy and ensuring the safe and expedient exporting of fine glassware, monsterhide products, dwarvish metalwork and magical innovations like the Freshbox and Infiniwater. Along with goods, Arcadia exports its culture of cooperation, measured trust, and belief that magic and technology are not to be feared but rather used to made life better.
And, of course, an implicit trust in the Autarch, the wise ruler who, with his council of Primarchs, had tamed the wilds, ended the wars, and whose reign had resulted in this stark shift in the region’s prosperity.
The Inspired of Arcadia, drawing their name from the inspiration of their service, spread the message of magical hope across war-ravaged Rostland, tales of the Autarch’s near-divinity drawing as much interest as the rumors which spoke of his claim to an Aldori birthright. The well-remembered aid Arcadia had provided Rostland during its darkest hours, and the wondrous technologies Arcadian science and magic had to offer, helped ensure that when Astoroth proposed a grand merging of the three nations into an Aldori-inspired stronghold in AR 4721, the people rejoiced at the opportunity. While many of the noble families initially resisted, Mayor Ioseph was elevated to the title Lord Protector of Rostland, the nation retaining a polite degree of autonomy, but following the laws and overall plan set down by the Autarch and the Primarch Council.
As history has shown, it proved a wise move on the part of the newly-freed people of Rostland, and their directionless cousins in Mivon. The Aldori in exile’s ruling families were even less enthusiastic about joining a nation that wouldn’t recognize the rights granted to their elite blood, but with the aid of Raston Sellene, former mayor and future Lord Protector of Mivon, and a substantial infusion of Arcadian coin, the transition occurred without too much serious bloodshed, and the will of the people was given the credence it was due.
The ease of trade allowed by the Teleportation Networks has opened up vast markets to local exotic and luxury goods and allowed an unprecedented level of connection between cities separated by vast gulfs of distance. As such, trends and news travels quickly within Arcadia, and it’s not unusual to hear stories of events as they happen hundreds of miles away. Fueled by Primarch Lodrin’s keen understanding of economics, a vast amount of national currency has been coined and distributed, flowing freely throughout the realm. The platinum Autarch, the golden Primarchs (collect all 10!), the silver Guardian, and several series of commemorative copper Commons, with rare mintings of the sought-after electrum Syzygy.
The Touvette Incident
In AR 4723, a force of Touvette knights rode into Arcadian territory, chasing down refugees that had fled from within the small, militant nation. Demanding that the terrified “traitors” be handed over, the armed men searched the countryside, eventually finding their quarry in the home of a farmer. Rather than turn over the supposed renegades to the dangerous-looking men, the farmer, a retired veteran from the Pitaxian war known only as Old Ironheart, told the men off as they drew steel and charged the house. Anticipating their aggression, he was able to grab hold of his pride and joy, one of the masterful dwarven crossbows made available by a recent Autarchian initiative. Old Ironheart met his end that day on Touvette blades, but he took not one but three of the so-called knights with him to the grave.
Four more citizens were slain in apparent reprisal attacks as the bandits fled back to their lord in Touvette, the recaptured refugees in tow.
The response was swift and inevitable, a rallying cry across the western fringes of Arcadia where many of Pitax’s second-time soldiers had taken pensions and went about the work of building a life for themselves. Three days after the Touvette marauders had rampaged their way into Arcadia, leaving a trail of bodies and shattered lives in their wakes, General Malgos himself emerged directly into the middle of Avendale, a dozen small columns of soldiers and local militia volunteers, shoulder to shoulder, beginning to pour out into the central plaza seemingly out of nowhere. Multiple teleport circles allowed an entire half-legion to infiltrate the town before an alarm was raised, and by then expert crossbowmen had gotten into position and were already raining down death. The several hundred enemy soldiers were slain by bolt and blade, trapped by twenty foot sheets of fire that penned them in where they stood, the Primarch leading a furious charge through the flames into the midst of the enemy, lopping of Lord Voran’s head with a sweep of his mighty curved blade.
In a public ceremony honoring the dead, the Autarch approached the casket of the youngest of the victims, and as the audience held their breath he reached out. Radiant, powerful light seemed to burst from within him, and with a collective gasp the people watched as the child rose, blinking uncomprehendingly.
Far Flung Wars
AR 4726, far-off Cheliax invaded Molthune and Varisia with their Isger thralls and Nidal allies, triggering a war against an alliance of Andor, Druma, and Nirmathas. Lastwall and Ustalav free knights and mercenaries moved southwest to join the war effort against Cheliax, and their original destination, the Fifth Crusade being conducted in the northeast, suffers for it. Mendev was dealt its worst defeat against the demonic forces of the Worldwound yet, abandoned by allies drawn into fighting the continent’s other infernal threat. Losing a major stronghold, it would be decades before the forces of Mendev could muster anything beyond holding the line against the encroaching demonic wastes.
Small companies of Arcadian units had volunteered for both the defense of Mendev and the fight against Cheliax, but suffer grievously in the few months of Crusade that remained as the rest of the the countries pulled their troops back to confront Cheliax.. Mendev is forced to abandon one of its greatest strongholds, while Cheliax is contained only at great cost to the other nations. While Varisia is freed from Cheliax’s occupation during a prolonged rebellion, Isger and Molthune remain under the fiendish influence of the devil-bound realm.
The significant losses from the failed Fifth Crusade was a blow to morale across the Commonwealth of Arcadia, sadness that is quickly focused to a smoldering anger. Determined to prevent such catastrophe in the future, the Autarch, General Malgos, Furious Lodrin and Champion Sayaka work tirelessly coming up with new weapons, stratagems and revenue streams. Blackrock Depths, the manufacturing center of Arcadia, explodes into action as dozens of projects and prototypes are developed in a feverish attempt to prevent such a thing from happening again.
A New Conquest
In AR 4733, as the nations to the west waited tensely, doing their best to recover from the trials of the long and terrible combat, Arcadia embarked on a pacification mission into Loric Fells, the renowned and reviled area of the Stolen Lands filled with savage monsters and untamed despite a dozen attempts to clear it out. Two years of careful and meticulous extermination began, trolls and giants and fell aberrations hunted down by dozens of ranger/hunter-killer squads, aided by the first integrated companies of Saurians, as the tribe of lizardfolk in the southern swamps of Hooktongue call themselves. These armored, aquatic marines prove highly skilled in swamp combat, and aided by ranger scouts leading packs of hunters with their recently hatched state-bred dinosaurs, Arcadia forces reported the destruction of seven hundred fifty-two trolls, forty-seven giants, and one last sad, lingering remnant of the Cult of Gyonna.
Recently, the chaos that has gripped the benighted realm of Galt has been ended. After a series of increasingly outrageous provocations, General Malgos was dispatched to end the incursions into Arcadian territory. Savagely depopulated by decades of internal strife and persecution, the pathetic rabble that inspired so much terror in townsfolk and average people across that savage nation were wheat to be scythed by the crack troops of the Arcadian Army. What originated as a reprisal assault against enemy assets quickly turned into a popular uprising, and with a sense of amazement surrounding nations waited pensively for the chaos-gripped nation to implode again. Instead, the Galtans freed by General Malgos, took up his cause, and with focused determination the Primarch led the native-born Galtans in tandem with professional Arcadian soldiers, marching to victory against the worst of the Red Cults (as the death-obsessed revolutionary societies became known). The Final Blades were secured, unholy artifacts that trapped the souls of men, and with his awesome power the Autarch freed them from an eternity of imprisonment. Although it remains a troubled nation, things are slowly beginning to improve for its war-torn people.
Hymbria, in a surprise move immediately after the successful Galt campaign, petitioned to join greater Arcadia, but even as one set of elvish neighbors to the south have been welcomed with open arms, the homeland of Kyonin interpreted this dramatic change as outright conquest over lands that were, by rights, their own.