History of the Kruthad Peninsula
Once the Gods of Man had won the Madorian War of Gods (Ver. Garn-Madorian, Saer. Gur-Docherlan), the divine general of the South, who had fought bravely against the frightening armies of the inhuman Scith, brought his own army to the shores of Lake Shirem. These people called themselves the Dolbazi, the dark men of the lake. The Dolbazi, as mighty and impetuous after the war as during the war, kept their skills honed with constant fighting and confrontation.
As their tribes multiplied, the Dolbazi outgrew the plateau of Lake Shirem and spread out across the lower lands. Even then, they fought on and on until the Kruthad peninsula blazed from end to end with the fires of war. Finally, the wise and weary leader Alberon sued for peace. He had fought campaign after campaign, taken many wives, and raised many children who themselves grew up on battlefields. But there could be no more of this. “The halls of the dead are full, the mourners never cease their wailing, and all of my children have fallen to senseless conflict. And for what? I am king of the land of nothing.”
Half of the warlords of the Dolbazi agreed with Alberon, but the other half would have nothing of peace. They would fight until the peace-lovers would be forced to take up arms or die. So Alberon appealed to the gods for intervention. “Let those who wish to fight wander the land and fight as they would. But let those who desire peace settle the land and make things grow. And those who fight should let them be.”
So it came to be. Those of the Dolbazi who would fight were called the Roshibi. The Roshibi wandered west and east and split into many smaller bands, but even some of them eventually tired of wandering and war and founded the city of Angarun in Roshiran (now Rashan). Those of the Dolbazi who remained in the fertile valley of the Binebir were called the Zuli. The Zuli settled the valley and spread in city-states and colonies as far as Sericarn, Aurelia, and Tasseris, but even some of them could not stay settled for long and wandered the land as bandits and thieves.
(Some of the Roshibi crossed the Silent Sea in paddled boats and reached the western continent. There they encountered the non-human Murayhar and human tribes descended from the Muroi. These people, the Oyegi, would eventually found Mara Zai and build the great temple of Onye-gu-San in the Malana valley.)
Kingdom of Tenket
The Dolbazi who remained by Lake Shirem did not take part in the splintering of tribes. Whilst the Zuli and Roshibi of the peninsula advanced and developed, the Dolbazi of the lake (i.e., the Shirem Dolbazi) came under the influence of dark magic. Long in hiding after the War of Gods, tribes of Beast-Man still lurked in the caves of the Basturan. The Shirem Dolbazi fell prey to their influences and degenerated into the worship of primitive demon gods.
Unlike the Zuli, the Shirem Dolbazi, while ostensibly peaceful, had never quite shed themselves of their savage warlike ways. Now with their new gods they acquired mastery of cruelties never before seen. When they were strong enough, the Shirem Dolbazi came down from the lake plateau and invaded the valley of the Binebir. Assisted by their demon gods, they broke through the Zuli's divine protections that had for centuries discouraged the Roshibi, and the Tenketian Kingdom was born.
Contact with the Tenketians encouraged the Zuli to protect themselves in fortified cities on the coasts bordering the Tenketian Kingdom. The fishers of the coasts and islands built five cities: the three on the coast were Akunadesh, Yeshen, and Bitesh; the two of the isles were Buseyn and Himir.
The Tenketians were hostile and relentless; many wars were fought between the cities and the Kingdom. The powers the respective leaders had over creatures both holy and unholy meant the battles fought between them were quite spectacular. In the final battle, the Zulin wizard Dedrahan of Akunadesh — whose skills in sorcery surpassed those of all other magicians in those days — prevailed against the conjured demons of the Tenketians with an army of summoned angelic warriors. Some of the most powerful demons of the Tenketians were magically imprisoned inside six urns and sealed within the Vault of Arik-Petom, where they lay dormant for a thousand years.
Four thousand years ago, a central Mourattan nomadic tribe called the Cazzirians, came into the Vale of Arenib after crossing the Meshan-Talai and driving the Aramur before them. The Cazzirians had attained mastery of bird-like creatures called pelithyn. They used the pelithyn as war mounts and with them the Cazzirians inflicted terrible damage upon their enemies.
The Zuli sent envoys to congratulate the Cazzirians, because they had always had trouble with the Aramur “nuisance”. But, explained the envoys, now that the Cazzirians were in their territory, it was only fitting that the nomads should pay tribute to the three Zuli cities who were the rightful masters of the Prulam. The Cazzirians ignored the petty demands and made their way across the Prulam and also northward into Anphirai.
In retaliation for this affront, the Zuli sent their army — which since the defeat of Tenket was reputed to be the best in the world — under the generalship of Samanik of Bitesh, to punish the Cazzirians. Unfortunately for the Zuli, Samanik miscalculated the effectiveness of the pelithyn and was soundly defeated at the Battle of Zavar Plain.
The Cazzirian prince Jitha then turned the tables by demanding tribute from the Zuli. The Zuli, who in their arrogance were not in the least concerned by their defeat, refused. In the meantime they proceeded to marshal another punitive force. Before this could happen, the Cazzirians snuck through the Varhalet Gorge and attacked, pillaging and plundering the Zulin cities.
Jitha withdrew short of razing the cities, but took prisoner the Zulin city leaders. The Cazzirians brought these leaders back through the gorge and impaled them on spears at a place called the Mound of Jithai. The Cazzirians later built the fortress of Fenumbir near the east end of the gorge where they would collect tribute from the Zuli.
Trade with the Zuli and the founding of other villages along the Varhalet eventually led to the softening of the Cazzirians. Occasional conflict with both Zuli and Aramur (who were their worst enemies, and a major tribe of which roamed nearby) encouraged the fortification of Fenumbir which soon became legendary for her strength.
Cazzirian religious figures — notably the priests of Pelithozzel the pelithyn god — took advantage of the permanent settlement to build temples for storing power, temples that also served to defend the city against raiders. As the city grew and skilled craftsmen set up shop there, Fenumbir became established as a hub of military and civic culture.
At this time the few Cazzirians of Anphirai were still uncivilized, and the Phireans still dominated the region around the Phirine Sea.
A long period of drought, and perhaps also poor agricultural techniques, rendered Cazria poor, and Cazzirians migrated westward to Tenket and eastward into Anphirai. Their cities were so weakened by the loss of population that marauding tribes of Relorians, also from the east, found them easy pickings. The Relorians established their own kingdom on the ruins of the Cazzirians, but centered it in Anphirai rather than the Prulam.
The Cazzirians that had drifted westward settled in the northeastern part of the Tenketian Kingdom in and around the valley of the Veyirros. The population there gradually became dispersed and less tied to Tenket. Around this time the Relorian cult of Maldai grew to such influence that it joined with Param to form the joint cult of Paramaldai. This new cult gained power centers throughout Anphirai and the Prulam.
A Cazzirian patriarch, who was also a priest of Maldai, incited unrest among his followers. These Cazzirians rebelled and fortified the city of Phegiron (north of Hilsakana). The founding of the Malesh Kingdom at its location on Binebir Bay almost immediately created difficulties for the Tenketians, as the Maleshites readily took to piracy. In the ensuing wars Malesh conquered Tenket completely.
Elsewhere at this time, island fishers had founded the settlement of Sharidun at a divine spot where one of their seers had received a vision. There they also founded the cult of the goddess Hegeto (called Lodretta by the Maletrians).
Malesh hardly lasted a century before the Tenketians produced a strong leader named Nakarnakal. Nakarnakal descended into the underworld on a foolhardy mission to free some of the gods the Zuli had imprisoned there. When he returned, the Sun Shrine island in Lake Shirem sank and the lake shrunk; it is now black Lake Ten. The dark god Shinaket rose from Lake Ten and bore his monstrous offspring Layashan down the Binebir to the sea. He united the folk of the Binebir Valley and made Nakarnakal his High Priest. The Shirem Dolbazi built a temple to him at Mekkara beside Lake Ten.
Rumors of Shinaket's appearance spread in all directions, inciting curiosity and alarm amongst kings of Akunadesh, Yeshen, and Phegiron. They wondered what threat this new source of power would bring to the security of their realms.
Once the realm of Tenket was re-established, Nakarnakal began to flex his muscles. He built a new city of his own: Rom-Gabon. From there he conquered the cities of Malesh, and thus founded the Empire of Eight Cities. The Zuli, driven to the sea, colonized four new cities on the islands and coast of Albir Gulf: Zulir, Torovan, Lazon, and Arilin.
Some of the history of the conflict between Tenket and Malesh is covered in the Dhasharmahn, one of the prophetic books of the Jalin.
During his long life, Nakarnakal unified and conquered the entire Kruthad Peninsula: this was the Kruthad Empire. It was under his rule that many wars with the Carnelian League were fought, as Nakarnakal attempted to expand his influence northward. The culture of Kruthad under Nakarnakal was also marked by advances in architecture and mystical doctrine. They built cities, cultivated new lands, developed a complex society, and had a sophisticated written language.
While the Kruthad Empire was being built, regular commerce strengthened ties between Porelia, Arilin, Lazon, Zulir City, Torovan, Sharidun, Mekkara, Phegiron, Angarun, Kubri, and Mara Zai. Four spheres of power emerged: Sardian, Binebir, Carnelian Coast, and the Silent Sea. While Sardian, Binebir and Carnelian Coast cultures were closely related, the Silent Sea remained rather distant. The city of Lazon founded a new colony: Aran Lazir, whilst the great sailors of Sharidun founded colonies on Grixin and Tasseris.
Seeking the wealth of the islands, Nakarnakal plotted to take control of the Gulf. Only the members of the Carnelian League withstood his advances. The Carnelian League, supported by its Sardian allies, repeatedly repelled invading forces of the Kruthadi into the Sericarn.
Nakarnakal would not give up, and eventually seized the cities of Arilin and Lazon. The Kruthadi plundered the Carnelian Coast, and brought many of her treasures south to their capital Rom-Gabon. Torovan, the last major city of the League, was caught in a precarious position between two greater powers. Whilst Maleter remained a neutral party, King Parthidas of Aveter, in a move he claimed was necessary for his city's security, ordered his armies to invade and capture the city of Torovan. This they did, and later they built up defenses on the southeastern coast in anticipation of an attack from Nakarnakal.
The Sardians eventually convinced the Maletrians to support the defense of the peninsula. The superior naval forces of Maletria proved the bane of Nakarnakal's ambitions toward controlling the Albir Gulf. There were several battles fought, but the decisive one occured when the Maletrian admiral led his squadron on a spearheaded assault against Rame Tigon and captured the flagship of the Mekkaran navy.
New Tenketian Kingdom
After Nakarnakal died, his empire fell into the hands of one of his generals, but this man was quickly overthrown by a coalition of priests. The conspirators then proclaimed one of their own as king of a new Tenketian realm. The fear inspired by the cult of Shinaket prevailed over the threat of simple military force.
Even without Nakarnakal to lead them, the Tenhari were a cruel, merciless, warlike race bent on conquest and the subjugation of lesser peoples. At the same time, their power provided a safe womb for new culture to flourish. Drama and poetry were highly regarded, though possibly used initially as propaganda to enhance the reputation of the Tenhari masters. But later literacy, music, and astronomy were highly developed and later kings of the first dynasty minted coins to provide a stable economy for all parts of the realm.
Civil wars threatened to disable much of what the early rulers would build, but a second dynasty of emperors emerged during which period Tenket rose to the height of its power. Her engineers fashioned great machines of war and with these her generals brought power into Tenket, Zulir City, and Mara Zai. Later, the New Tenketian Kingdom would fall to the might of the Maletrian Legions and the city of Rom-Gabon razed ... but the Tenketians would rise to power again much later, behind the throne of Kruthedan.
Elsewhere, a sequence of disasters caused the collapse of civilization around the Albir Gulf. The inhabitants of Zulir mysteriously vanished, leaving behind a deserted island that no one in the future would dare visit. The elder Cromir Brigamos descended from his mountain and destroyed Aran Lazir, but was himself caught in a trap laid by the Lazirin, and now, encased in a body of stone, gives eternal watch over the ruined city.