The History of Albir Gulf
The Tales of the Carnelian Coast arose from a time when literature and the arts were flourishing among the cities of Albir Gulf. Beginning with the myths of the earliest heroes and gods, then growing to include the acts of kings, the trials of generals, and the discoveries of an enlightening civilization, the Tales grew to include nearly everything the ancient scholars considered important. From this work of tens of thousands of volumes, modern scholars know much of the earliest histories of Madorian civilization.
|The “Carnelian Coast” is properly the region stretching from Torovan to Lazon.|
Three different cultures converged upon the Sidovrian Peninsula to make it the center of one of the world's greatest civilizations. These were the Zuli, the Mekkarans, and the Sardians.
The Zuli came first — dark men who worshipped the Sun and the Sea, a surviving branch of the Dolbazi. For their dark skin the Sardians called them Sidovren, and their land they called Sidovria. Sidovria included the areas now known as Maletria, Euridea, and the northern reaches of Aurelia, as well as Scadria and Rivardea. Generally speaking, the term “Sidovren” encompassed all those Zuli who inhabited the mainland.
In a wave of settlers from Kruthad and the Prulam the Zuli came, crossing Albir Gulf and colonizing Sericarn, Sidovria, and Tasseris with small city-states, invariably located on the plateaux and foothills of the rocky coasts. Haroz the Elder, who sired Haroz the Younger, controlled the wild upland. His Cromir and Cromirling cronies harassed the heroes of the Zuli, but artifacts left over from the Garn-Madorian gave the Zuli the edge they needed to maintain and even extend their borders.
Each Zulish colony consisted of an extended family, or clan, under the absolute rule of a patriarch, and so each maintained its own autonomy. Marriage between city-states was common practice and a valuable political tool. Each city-state also produced its own heroes, and these would compete every five years in a grueling test of endurance and cleverness, the Carnelian Quest. Held in the caverns of Mount Amber (overlooking Torovan and Lake Torova), the Carnelian Quest involved a week-long trek into the underworld. As a result of the Games, certain rivalries and alliances grew between city-states.
Zulin and the Carnelian League were the two major powers who developed rivalries from the Quest. The Carnelian League included Torovan and all the cities of Sericarn, chief of which were Arilin and Lazon. Zulin held sway over nearly all of the islands and cities of the Albir Gulf, including Zulir, Sharidun, and Aran Lazir. Strife, largely a result of disputes at the Quest, broke out among the the two powers, and a prolonged war developed. This war was disastrous for both sides, weakening them to the extent that neither side was left capable of truly defending itself. In the aftermath of the Albirian War, the Mekkarans took advantage of the weakened states and drove the mainland Zuli into the desert or to the islands and established dominion in Malesh.
Following the Big Flood in Goertha, many tribes drifted outward from the region to find new lands. One of these tribes was the Sardians, who crossed into Ventria and conquered the Ellicarians there. They brought with them their tribal religion (the Sun), which largely supplanted but could not eliminate many of the indigenous cults, cults which eventually became the basis for many tales of demons and bugbears. The Sardians built a fortress at Aveter, then began to covet the cities of the Sidovren in the valleys below.
Exposure to Sidovrian civilization refined the Sardian outlook on life. They developed a more formalized religion and developed a system of writing which simplified the Sidovren pictographs into a syllabic alphabet. Later, the scholars of Tirreter would develop these symbols into the universal Maletrian syllabary, with which any human language can be expressed.
The Mekkarans sought the wealth of the islands of the Albir Gulf. As soon as they had marshalled their strength, the Mekkarans attempted to conquer the Gulf. Surprise on their side, they swiftly conquered the city-states of Zulin, but were halted by the concerted effort of the Carnelian League. Still, the Mekkarans now controlled most of the Gulf. At this time the city of Maleter was establishing itself as a center of Sidovrian culture. It occupied a well- protected basin surrounding Green Lake. When King Gadricas of Aveter conquered much of Sidovria, only Maleter resisted successfully.
Sardian King Gadricas of Aveter, coveting the Sidovren wealth, adopted an aggressive policy, and began a conquest of the Sidovrian Peninsula. Nearly all of the peninsula came under his control, including Torovan and Tasseris, with only Maleter withstanding siege.
During their brief period of dominance, the Avetrians built military roads and bridges over the Sidovrian Peninsula's chief high plains, many of these edifices have survived and are still used in the 20th century. Although Aveter produced important works (including the syllabic alphabet) and brought Sidovria one step up the scale of civilizaton, its domination of the peninsula lasted few years beyond the reign of its founder.
The city of Maleter (now Maldonne) attained supremacy over the Sidovrian Peninsula after Aveter lost control of its subject states. The roads and bridges built by the Avetrians gave Maleter solid and easily defendable military routes to the north which made military excursions possible, yet still maintained Maleter's secure position. Given this, it is remarkable that they were rarely used for purposes of conquest. Instead, the most important factor resulting in Maleter's prominence was that it gained a reputation as a haven from persecution and tyranny. Flocks of artists, thinkers, and radicals came to Maleter to freely practice what in any other city would be condemned or made criminal. In a matter of a generation Maleter became the center of Sardian culture.
This culture eventually spread to the lowlands, where colonies and client cities were acquired. In fact, responsibility for popularizing the Avetrian syllabic alphabet fell to Maleter, whose scribes further refined and embellished the symbols, as mentioned earlier. Euridea was absorbed by Maleter. Meanwhile Aveter maintained its diminished holding inland of Avidean Falls, Tirreter continued to dominate the islands, and Mekkara controlled the Albir Gulf. The Zuli, whose civilization had long fallen into an unrecoverable decline, still maintained colonies in Rivardea (north of Sidovria) and had diplomatic ties to Maleter. Ellicarian tribes who inhabited the wild interior of Rivardea were occasionally peaceful and could be traded with.
The Carnelian League repeatedly repelled advances by the Mekkarans into the peninsula. As Mekkaran control of Albir Gulf strangled the cities of Sericarn, the Carnelian League finally sought aid from Maleter and her sister cities. But Maleter was busily preparing its own defenses in case Mekkara had designs on her. Then when Mekkara attacked Sericarn with a huge fleet, Maleter offered to meet with the Carnelian League and discuss terms of an alliance.
The city-state of Yulan, on the island of Hetrovan, hosted the summit where representatives of the cities of Sericarn and Maletria met. Having the advantage, Maletria drew up the first draft of the treaty. Its terms drew shock from everyone present, even anger, but after considerable debate and modification, a final draft emerged. It stated that Maletria would defend Sericarn with her navies in return for all the cities of the Carnelian League to surrender their sovereignty to the king of Maletria. The treaty also had numerous conditions which provided the candy-coating that, in the midst of protest from Torovan, Sericarn decided was better than the harsh theocratic rule of Mekkara. Maleter sent her fleet to the Gulf and built a line of defense stretching from Arilin to Lazon.
Torovan, the last major city of the League, was caught in a precarious position between two greater powers. Then 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, which they did, and later they built up defenses on the southeastern coast in anticipation of an attack from Mekkara.
The Sardians eventually convinced the Maletrians to support the defense of the peninsula. The superior naval forces of Maletria proved the bane of Mekkara'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.
The Maletrian Empire
The history of the Maletrian Empire is recorded in the Imperial Annals. The Albir Gulf remained the center of civilization even when the capital was moved from Maletria to Kripada during the reign of the Serentean Compellators.
The Albir Gulf lost its strategic importance with the rise of Verentis. It lost its economic importance after the Verentians established trade routes between Ai-Orai and Goertha.