The Zenithal Epoch
The Rebel Century was a period of time lasting for a little over one hundred years in which every nation on Akritus engaged in at least one significant revolution, uprising or civil war.Most scholars agree that it began with the Thalaxian Revolution and the establishment of the Federated Republics of Thalaxia and ended with the signing of a peace treaty between the wood elves of Wujiang and the four most powerful high elven corporations, spanning one hundred and twelve years. Some scholars and governments disagree, with some offering different starting dates or ending dates (Kyronites, for instance, refer to only the “rebel period” as being bookended by their two civil wars), some contending it has not yet ended (such as the civil unrest in the Orcish Sultanate and those on the receiving end of Thalaxian aggression) and some refuse to believe it that there was no such “rebel century” and that the wars of this period were exaggerated (as is the official position of Herzogodiye). The Rebel Century was followed by the Zenithal Epoch, the contemporary time period, a time of rapid technological, industrial and economic growth built upon a tenuous peace following the Rebel Century. Following the the rise of Thalaxia as an international power, the following dates will be given according to the Thalaxian calendar, which begins the common era with the start of their revolution, referred to as “Anno Libertine” or “A.L.”). The current year is 112 A.L.
The conflicts typically included as part of the Rebel Century are as follows:
- Thalaxian Revolution, leading to the fall of the kingdom of Tizea and the unification of its former territories with the independent city-states of the Ytarune gulf. The city-states of the Ytarune gulf had been small, independent republics for much of modern history, ever since the break-up of the ancient Petrachic Empire. The cities often relied on mercenaries rather than standing armies for their defense, and, as such, powerful economies were central to their security. During a few particularly lean years caused by Orcish pirates preying on their trading fleets, their large, northern neighbor of Tizea managed to conquer them and add to their territories, primarily by paying off the mercenaries assigned to protect them. The citizens of the former republics were outraged, and began to ferment dissent in the north, rallying the mistreated peasantry of the north into a massive force that first swept through Tizea and then the south, forming the core of the modern Thalaxian army. The Thalaxian revolution was successful in part because of the masterful use of mass media magics and technology by subversive partisans, as during the course of the war Scrying technology was perfected and used to great effect, along with the development of their state religion of Tyrannomachia. (1 AL-5 AL)
- Kyronite Civil war, in which the King of Kyron was overthrown by the Thanes of the Allthing and a short-lived republic was established. (2 AL)
- The Fall of the Fey Dynasty, in which tensions in the Elven empire of of Wujiang came to a head after two centuries of immortality. Elven alchemists and magicians worked in tandem to develop a method for attaining immortality without considering the consequences. For years the elven population swelled as their food stores and quality of life plummeted. Starving and wracked with pain, yet unable to die, the massive peasant class of the elves invoked their rights under the doctrine of Divine Revolution and rallied behind the new dynasty, the Vang Dynasty. The Vang Dynasty instituted a series of cultural reforms to purge elven society of the bourgeoisie elements it assumed were the root of their immortality and suffering, forcing members of the Fey Dynasty and their sympathizers (most of the nation’s middle class) to flee and outlawing arcane magic. The Fey Dynasty and their supporters rechristened themselves High Elves and constructed massive airships in which they now live as part of the four High Elven corporations, and the elves of the Wujiang empire, in response, typically refer to themselves as “Wood elves”. (9 AL-14 AL)
- Dwarven War of Independence, in which the dwarves, at the time subjects of the Orcish Empire, overthrew the provincial government that ruled over most of their ancient domain with the cooperation of the three human nations of Thalaxia, Kyron and Herzogodiye, the first time in recorded history in which the three human nations cooperated. The Dwarven revolution was the first in a long line of defeats for the ailing Orcish Empire, and precipitated the civil unrest that would cause it to retract in scope from an Empire to a Sultanate. Despite existing as an independent nation for over 19 years, the various factions of the dwarven government have yet to fully ratify a constitution or form a stable government that lasts more than a few years, and all three of the human nations that helped them win their freedom, particularly Thalaxia, are now calling for repayment of the nation’s sizable war debts, slowing the dwarves’ economy to a standstill. (18 AL-19 AL)
- The establishment of the Barian Raj, in which the republican government of Kyron directly took control of colonies and business ventures administrated by the Kyronite Expeditionary Company in territories controlled by Goblinoids. Kyronite Bards, particularly reporters for the newspapers Motley and Coxcomb, uncovered a litany of abuses in by the leadership of the Kyronite Expeditionary Company that caused the Allthing to nationalize its holdings and directly rule the areas formerly held by the company and form direct alliances with nearby Hobgoblin Rajahs. (22 AL)
- The Herzogodian Partition. In 18 AL, a wizard working in a remote laboratory within the nation of Herzogodiye did the unthinkable: he cracked the secret to creating self-sustaining undead. Unfortunately, he took his secret with him to the grave, because the laboratory exploded and every body buried within a 140,000 square mile area (primarily, but not exclusively, within the borders of Herzogodiye) rose from its grave. These undead, well outnumbering the nation’s living population, did not attack the humans who lived there, and in fact were quickly trained to perform manual labor for enterprising individuals. Suddenly, the fields and factories of the somewhat backwards nation were now staffed with zombies, and riches flowed into the pockets of those who managed to amass “hordes” of the undead. Unfortunately, however, while the undead were not violent, they were not necessarily brainless, either. Significant portions of the undead were intelligent and they, along with humans who had been rendered unemployable thanks to cheap zombie labor, engaged in a series of revolts. Unlike many other events during the Rebel Century, the revolts of Herzogodiye were not organized military campaigns but a series of small skirmishes with different goals. Eventually, however, the undead were afforded a modified, limited set of rights and citizenship and the position of the Emperor of the Dead was created to represent them: an elected, term-limited figurehead with just as much power as the living King who would serve as an advocate for the rights and concerns of the undead within the nation. (25 AL-37 AL)
- The Kyronite Restoration, in which Frigga of Muirsving, niece of the deposed king of Kyron, successfully raised an army to lead a counter-revolution against the rule of the Allthing. The throne of Kyron was restored with Frigga at its crown, however, their victory was hard-won and far from total. The Allthing emerged from the Restoration with far more power than it had ever had, even during the period of time when it was a republic, and tensions within Kyron still simmer between those with loyalties to the Allthing or Crown. During Frigga’s counter-revolution, it was revealed that the Allthing and its army received heavy support from Thalaxia, resulting in Frigga declaring war on the new nation, a conflict which remains to this day. Following the restoration, the crown of Kyron continued to directly administer the territories of the Barian Raj. (35-36 AL)
- The Urug Cossacks’ Coup. For years, the eastern frontier north of the Orcish sultanate and east of Herzogodiye was considered impenetrable, however, the discovery of great natural resources such as Mithril veins and various Leylines that were untapped in the region spurred the nation of Herzogodiye to finally stake a claim and attempt to tame the wild frontier. The frigid steppes of Ogredom, inhabited, as the name might imply, by nomadic ogres organized into loose, pre-literate tribes, were cold and inhospitable; a perfect match for the Kyronite Expeditionary Company. The Company entered into a business deal with the king of Herzogodiye to supply mercenaries to establish forts and tame the frontier in preparation for Herzogodian settlers, but soon after the mercenaries headed east, they stopped responding to commands from the Company. It turned out that many of the mercenaries had “gone native” and found the lifestyle of the Ogre tribes liberating. These mercenaries forged the ogres of western Ogredom into an army of Cossacks, particularly composed of light cavalry, and declared themselves to be an independent state in 46 AL: a state with an army but no subjects. The civil unrest caused by the Herzogodian uprisings caused many living peasants to flee east, and the leader of the combined Kyronite-Ogre army offered many of them shelter, employment and parcels of wild, untamed land in return for their loyalty. Ogredom, now referring to itself as the “Urug Hetmanate”, has a majority human population due to the constant influx of human immigrants, has made the slow transition from bands of tribal raiders to stable government. The impetus for the creation of the modern Urug Hetmanate began in 43 AL but it was not until 78 AL that the Hetman, the nation’s military dictator, officially formed any sort of government.
- The Pirate War. Since the Orcish Empire first conquered the dwarves and gnomes of the Kratein sea, controlling the entirety of the northern coastline of the continent of Guresh and the eastern quadrant of Anremar, Orcish privateers have preyed on the humans who stubbornly refused to join their empire. Privateers often raided coastal settlements and ships for goods and more often than not, slaves. Nations often paid protection money to Orcish privateers for safe passage on the waterways, avoiding conflict if possible. However, the young nation of Thalaxia, a nation founded on a philosophy of freedom rather than the practicality of politics, refused to pay the orcs and suffered raids on its cities and sailors. Most of the pirates who operated near Thalaxia were Gnomes flying the flag of the Orcish Sultanate, hailing from Olea directly across the Kratein sea from Thalaxia. Rather than pay the orcs protection money, Thalaxia invested into the creation of a state-of-the-art navy. While smaller than the robust navy of Kyron, the world’s preeminent naval power, Thalaxia’s “Great Truesilver Fleet” (so named because of the mithril armor that plated every battleship, mithril taken from the Dwarven League as austerity measures) blockaded Olea and demanded its surrender, while simultaneously, the Thalaxian slaves and sailors aboard the Orcish ships staged a mutiny and rebelled. In the blink of an eye, a war lasting just two months, Thalaxia had completely wrested Olea Province from the Orcish Sulanate. Unlike the dwarves, who became an independent nation, Olea and its population of gnomes (and to a far lesser degree, orcs) was admitted into Thalaxia as another Republic, a fully integrated portion of its territory. (51 AL)
- Contact with the Halflings. Riding high off their decisive victory against the orcs in Olea province, Thalaxia sent its Great Mithril Fleet on a circumnavigation of the globe as a show of force. The Mithril Fleet’s final stop was to the far east, to the Wagou Islands. The High Elven Corporations, close trading partners of Thalaxia, had been attempting to penetrate the market of the reclusive nation, which for four hundred years had refused contact with the outside world. The Mithril Fleet stopped in the harbor of Wagou’s capitol in 55 AL and demanded they open their borders to trade. Reluctantly, the Halflings acquiesced, and in time they learned how behind the rest of the world they had fallen. The emperor of the halflings was humiliated by the perceived weakness he showed, and soon power transferred from him to the Halfling’s supreme military leader, the Shogun. The Shogun announced that the halflings would join the rest of the world, and it would be dragged into the future by force. One by one, the Shogun reined in the historically independent Samurai clans of Wagou by importing and using to great effect foreign technology. The Samurai were defanged and disbanded as official positions, and in their place arose the Zaibatsu: powerful corporations patterned off those of the High Elves, each a small, self-sufficient economy. Under the Shogun’s rule, the halflings were able to wrest control of eastern provinces of Wujiang from the wood elves and engaged in a hostile buyout of an entire High Elven corporation and its airship fleet. By 81 AL, Wagou had rechristened itself as the “Greater Lyshian Co-Prosperity Sphere” and engaged in a meteoric rise that has caused it to be christened the “Thalaxia of the East”.
- End of the Orcish Empire. The better part of the Rebel Century had passed the Orcish Sultanate by. Once the largest empire on the planet, straddling three continents and with populations of slaves that dwarfed kingdoms, the Orcs did not reap the benefits of progress as much of the rest of the world had. The losses of the Dwarven territories and Olea Province, the rise of both Kyron and Thalaxia as maritime powers on the Kratein Sea, the rise of the Urug Hetmanate to the north all combined to make the orcs realize that their way of life for the first time since the establishment of the empire was threatened. Discontent and dissent grew in the cities of the core Orcish homeland of Gokte. Blame was thrown everywhere, from curses to portents, to accusations of “deep state” conspiracies, but after much arguing many orcs, rightly or not, seemed to settle on the idea that their weakness arose from a lack of identity. The orcs had arrived on the scene and carved out a massive empire for themselves seemingly overnight, and, as the faction that later referred to itself as the “True Orcs” theorized, they spent so much time conquering other races that they never sat down to define what an actual orc was. Administering to the edges of the empire, the humans, dwarves, gnomes, hobgoblins and ogres all under their sway, had left the core orcish territories weak. The True Orcs’ philosophy, one of ethno-centricism in the otherwise pluralistic Empire spread, reaching a breaking point during the year 77 AL, when the Dwarven League and Orcish Empire underwent a population exchange to forcibly repatriate their minority communities of orcs and dwarves, respectively. The True Orc party seized on this event and argued that the Orcish Empire was no longer concerned about its titular Orcs and overthrew the sitting ruler (who had garnered so many titles from the various conquered people under the Orcs’ thumb that no one was entirely sure what to refer to him as). A “True Orc” ascended to the single position of “Sultan of the Orcs” and declared that its outer provinces, populated primarily by gnomes and hobgoblins, were officially independent and no longer the concern of the Orcs. The Orcs receded their borders, leaving the gnomes of El-Hadast to the west of Thalaxian Olea and the Hobgoblin Satraps the Kenvhen Mountains to their own devices. The Hobgoblins were quickly bought out and added as the northernmost extents of the Barian Raj, while El-Hadast had a brief period of independence before Thalaxia and Kyron swooped upon it like vultures. Lacking the political will to go to war over such a far-afield location, El-Hadast became a protectorate beholden to both states and governed by treaties between the two states and the relatively weak local king.