A Brief History of Kaelaross
Civilization has been on Kaelaross for many millennia, perhaps for 15,000 years when the warrior-kingdoms of Kzuth arose in what is now known as Bursia. However, it has certainly not been a smooth upward trend – wars between cultures, diseases, natural disasters, monstrous attacks and occasional incursions from the Planes of Chaos have all slowed or even reversed the march of progress. Many cultures and civilizations have fallen, a few even totally forgotten.
Around 1000 years ago the four great empires that were to dominate Kaelaross (until very recently) began their rises to power. For hundreds of years Kaelaross was dominated by these great empires called Bellenos, Toutus, Telthus and Bursia. Each became huge, covering the equivalent of a continent each, with populations of a hundred million each.
Toutus was renowned for its feudalism, knights and castles. Strength and chivalry were greatly admired, while clerics of Law supported the knights and nobles.
Bursia had its clerics, mages, grand temples and disciplined legions. Knowledge and order reigned supreme. The Emperor of Bursia was a mystical figurehead, but the real power lay in the large bureaucracy that dominated the day-to-day running of the empire.
Bellenos was built on an archipelago of thousands of islands, and its navy was the best in the world, as were its merchant-traders. Bellenos was renowned for its light and fast swashbucklers and its appreciation of fine art. Wealth and taste were driving forces in the empire.
Telthus was the darkest of the four, nestled in the jungles of the south. Its clerics openly consorted with the forces of Chaos, to the disapproval of other Empires, and it used slavery to bolster its workforces, both human and humanoid slaves.
Between the empires there was a cold war with very little trade and diplomacy, but much espionage and posturing. Tension and national pride ran very high, and everyone reckoned that war was inevitable, and it was just a matter of time. In retrospect it is suprising that peace lasted so long – the skirmishes and border clashes between the empires in the previous thousand years had not escalated due to financial problems and the sheer effort of sending armies and navies over such long distances.
And the time came when, in BY 1550 (Bursian Year, the most widely used of the calendars), after three bad harvests, Telthus decided to invade Bellenos to gain better farmland. Bursia attacked Toutus because, ostentatiously, Bursia had allied with Telthus and Toutus had allied with Bellenos.
The war degenerated into an all against all for world supremacy. It was terrible in its scale - legions were sacrificed like pawns in a game of chess; cities were sacked, fleets were sunk; brutal crimes were committed in the name of patriotism. Raids and invasions were launched with varying degrees of success, but no empire could gain a decisive advantage, and neither would any empire surrender or even sue for peace.