According to the annals of history, the Kingdom of Laurëa is one of the most glorious and successful kingdoms in history. Founded by Réy Alerán an’Laurë three hundred years after the exile of the Rëlines, it was the result of a long period of strategic diplomacy. They were a foreign clan of exiles, said to be the children of the goddess Laurë. Their family served as Palatines-In-Exile and eventually were granted the ranks of Dé Arras (the Dukes of Arras), and became the military administration of the West. When the last Rëline Emperor fell and the Empire became a series of Kingdoms that strove to claim the title of emperor. Dé Alerán an’Laurë kept himself aloof and instead began expansion into the north, which continued under his children until they claimed the Marches of Lenorë. It was in this era that a disciple of the Second Martyr encountered the rising King and taught him the religion that would one day be transformed into that of the Seven Saints. When Alerán threatened to kill him for his heretical beliefs, Saint Créspien (as he would later be called) knelt and proclaimed that Alerán would one day be king, and that he would be granted his title by the True God. He stated that he would prefer to die before recanting his beliefs. Alerán was moved by this brave man. And when Alerán proclaimed himself the King of the Laurëans, he publically renounced the Ecclesia and denied the physical world. Most of his subjects did not convert, though many of the royal family did. He eventually abdicated his throne and became a hermit under Créspien. To this day, the monarchs practice the rites of Créspien instead of the rites of the Ecclesia.
The Kingdom of Laurë prospered under their new religion at first. But the Ecclesia rarely allows heretics in any generation, and proclaimed that any who would bring the heads of the Laurë monarchs would be rewarded with the favor of every god. No kingdom was powerful enough to overwhelm the Laurëans, who had unified the Paladins in their kingdom with religious fervor and a code of honor, named for the legendary paladin Orëa.
Many generations passed before the Ecclesian Conversion and of all the kings of the earth, Rey Valén an’Laurë was the first convert to the Seven Saints and their religion of Davahaya. Valén would claim the Rëline Crown and the Palatine Crown. The Paladins of the Laurëan army were blessed with divine power by the saints, and the Paladin Houses of Palatine bent the knee after a disastrous defeat at “The Battle of the Field of Sacred Fire” where the heads of the houses were destroyed. Réy Valén than defeated the Palatine Regents during the siege of the Palatine, and then had them all flayed alive, before burning their fleshless bodies. Over the smell of the burning flesh, Réy Valén an’Laurë was elected and proclaimed San Répalatine Valén, the Sacred Emperor of the Palatine.
The Palatine Empire controlled most of the known world at this point, but Valén’s glory would not last forever. For by the laws of his kingdom, Valén’s empire would be divided among his many children.
The Laurëans followed gavelkind law where all the children of a ruler will receive a title, or else, an inheritance will be carved out. The eldest inherits the highest title, while those who follow will receive equal or lesser titles. Because of this law, the pagan Laurëan Kings would often drown all but one of their children at birth in order to maintain the sovereignty of their Kingdom. His only wish was that his empire remain united.
But his children, the six executors lived, founding the clans Arrazëan, Lenorë, Reliné, Sethan, Mallanë, and Vallanëan. Over the years, Mallanë was divided, and the Arthadë of Sethan fell. But the Laurëan civilization remains largely intact.
In the north, the old world lives on. Untouched by the majority of western empires, the thickly forested regions are a constant source of fear and anxiety for all civilizations. The dark woods are thought to be the home of demons, strange creatures, and people. Filled with pagan tribes of nomads, the people of the north largely are indifferent or hostile to the Ecclesia. It is a world where the people still claim descent from gods of the trees, rivers, hills, and the hunt.
In ancient times, the entirety of the west was dominated by such cultures. It was the rise of the fortresses that created the nomadic clans. Some of these clans would become royal clans in the south while others continue to wander in the south. Little is known in the west as there is very little writing that survives in the west of the northerners. But there is a rich bardic tradition in Adanëa and the folk tales of how the Adanë wandered the woods as thousands of various clans. They wandered between the sacred groves, and their brothers, the fur covered Basan and the goatlike Kerata, protected these groves. These peoples remained semi-nomadic, save for a select few clans that formed minor settlements and states along the border.
These Adanic states were created by Adanë inspired by the southerners, founding hillforts from which they ruled the wandering clans. Old Arthadë, Vadan, Ladanë, and Leyethon were the most powerful of these Adanic clans and in constant conflict with “The Lions of the North” (the Mallanë) and with the Palatinate.
Arthadë was the most successful of these states and the most ancient, forming an unofficial hegemony over a number of Princes, most Adanic and other. Legends tell how the god-prince Arthad founded his kingdom by his silver-tongue and united the children of Basa and Kera with his children. He was the first of the Princes to farm the land while still protecting those who followed the old ways with steel swords and Adanic spears.
It was the rise of Valén that led to the collapse of these clans. Arthadë was conquered and the Vadan were functionally exterminated. Never again is their name used in the historical record after the death of Valén. The Laurëan conquest of the Arthadë was proclaimed as a sign of the godhead’s conquest of chaos and was used to assuage the fears of the Laurë.
The Adanë’s time as servants in their own land was not over, for out of nowhere, steel clad tribesman with tall helms came to conquer. Legend said that they were led by a self-proclaimed god, Rone, racing through the woods, subjecting the wandering clans and forcing them to pay homage and tribute. Rone and his ten princes erected fortresses and created a series of small principalities, building each atop a ritual sacrifice of one person of every clan that the prince commanded.
Only a few free native Adanic tribes remained. Elsewhere they were the lower castes under Rona, Laurë, and eventually the Varagë. But the tides soon changed as the Arthadë clan, long a Laurëan thrall, was freed by the native guerilla, Elemer Sethanos. Sethanos was Adanic at his core, liberating his clan by fighting in the ancient manner of the Adanë while using the Laurëan equipments and their god. His foes thought him a savage demon with a horde of savage devilspawn following him. His name brought fear to all the civilized world. Despite his pagan reputation, his new clan, the Sethanë, worships alongside the Ecclesia. However it is utterly Adanic at the core, and the old ways of wandering are still strong.
Meanwhile, the Rona High Prince founded the city-state of Ronis, creating a stable, pagan agricultural state that could rival many of the splintered northern Mallanë clan. And soon, the collapse of the Mallanë led to a new age of Adanic and Rona prosperity.
The loss of Arthadë shocked the Laurëan world. The Rona, ever the opportunists, used this refound anxiety to begin their raiding in earnest, crossing the Laurë border to plunder and pillage. Small sections of the successor states began to fall into the hands of the fierce Rona. Laurëan armies sent into the woods were torn apart, many disappearing into the darkness forever. To this day, Adanëa remains a dark source of fear for all the west.
The region of Varagëa is a grey, mountainous peninsula with a few strategic fertile valleys. Varagëa is a strange land with a fearsome reputation. The original occupants of Varagëa are unknown, though communities of bluish skinned individuals have dwelt there on the shores of lonely peninsula for as far as any could remember. It is said that these people were magnificent sailors who knew the art of Windcalling. These people were organized into petty clans that warred and fought over their mountainous land.
The Varagë are a pagan people with a reputation as the most vicious and warlike peoples in the world. The Varagë have their roots in the east, where the Tarë, the Rona, and the Reliné clan and moved into the region known as Varagëa. They fell upon the populace with sword and fire. The Varagë were called “The Lords of the Storms” and were a grim people. For hundreds of years, they made their living by mercenary work and raiding. Petty kingdoms rose and fell over the valleys and fishing waters. The Varagë, with their long coats and bright scarves became a common sight.
These petty kingdoms were prone to brutal wars and were well-versed in the making of weapons and armor. The petty kingdoms were fiercely pagan, and practiced the ritual sacrifice of criminals, via drowning or the shedding of blood in water. And each village has a diviner, a seer who sees into the future and the past. They participated in divine ancestor worship, just like the Rona. And like the Rona, they understood how to use terror as a weapon.
No one knows who the first raider was. All that is known is that ever since, the Varagë have learned to strike fear into the northerners. They arrived in huge, shallow ships. They would call a great storm that would follow them. They clad themselves completely in armor or in quilted jackets. They wore masks or helms with veils of chainmail, concealing their faces. And then they would arrive, by water, concealed by torrents of rain and lightening, storming into the villages and slaughtering the defenders. Minor raids were launched across the sea against weak targets like coastal villages since the Varagë were first born, oftentimes feeding whole Varagë villages for months and enslaving the populaces. Indeed raiding became an important rite of passage.
Varagë warriors. feared across the west became prized mercenaries. Their foreign tongue became well-known across the west and Varagë merchants spread everywhere. Morever, the Varagë have proven to have a great cunning and resourcefulness.