|A brief History of the Empire||the fall of the Republic and the rise of the New Order|
Year 485 of the RepublicTwenty long years of war with the mighty rival realm of Sidar over the control of the southern sea trade routes have brought the economy of the Esair Republic on its knees and its people to misery and desperation.
Only the Barons, the emerging class of merchants, bankers, usurers and speculators has been growing richer than ever lending the money even to the Republican government when it was needed to continue the war.
These Barons have been conspiring with the sacerdotal cast of the High Priests, and liased especially with the feared order of the Konklave, to reduce the power of the senate, expression of the old land-tied noble families, and an institution that had become the last line of defence of the rights of the poorest classes against the exploitations of the Barons.
These occult powers eventually found an ideal ally in Kossir, the newly appointed supreme commander of the army, anxious to get the Baron's economical backing to his military ambitions. With their money Kossir hired, trained and equipped the Murgard, an elite military corp that still serve as his own personal guard and as a special security force in the newly occupied territories.
Sidar, even more exhausted than the Republic by the long years of war was unable to match this last formidable offensive effectively lead by Kossir, and spearheaded by the new Murgard divisions, and finally capitulated.
Year 486Saluted by the army as "The Commander" (Imperator) and welcomed by the people as saviour of the homeland, Kossir returned in triumph to the capital at the head of his personal army. There, with the backing of the Barons and the blessing of the High Priests, he deposed the legitimate consul and self-proclaimed himself Dictator, declaring the beginning of the New Order.
The people's tribunes and those of the nobles who dared oppose the coup were arrested, publicly tortured and executed as enemies of the people. Their families were massacred, their properties and lands confiscated, their friends persecuted. The new reign of Kossir begun with a bloodbath in the capital and the long hand of the Murgard covered the lands of the old republic like a blanket of terror.
Of the High Priests only one member of the Konklave, a powerful sorcerer named Khar, who opposed the coup, managed to escape the persecution and flee from the Sacred Island.
Khar joined Moras, former proconsul of the large province of the lowlands of the Enron, and by law the rightful head of the state now that the elected Consul was dead. Moras was a powerful senator and around him concentrated the opposition to the New Order. Khar managed to arrive just as the Murgard tightened Moras' fortress palace in a formidable siege. Lord Moras would not leave his place, but he entrusted his young daughter Ilia to the care of Khar, who escaped with her through a secrete passage.
Year 487Khar and the young Ilia hide for months with a few loyal friends in the swamps of Madur, an inextricably tangle of vegetation that covers the marshes at the mouth of the Great River. The Murgard reconnaissance looked for them in vane; protected by the lush vegetation and the sorcerer's tricks they managed to evade the search and the monsters of the swamplands and reached a small village at the foot of the mountain range that marks the southeastern border of the Republic. There they joined a smuggler band and crossed over the mountains to a small port on the other side, in the Eastern Kingdom of Zhafar where they managed to hire a ship for the Underlands, the only province that then still stand against Kossir the Usurper and his New Order.
In the meantime the malcontent has exploded everywhere in the former Republic; the Barons have been squeezing the land even more than the Republican government during the war, and all hopes of a return to times of abundance were quickly dissipated.
The new hardship and the continued misery, couple with the murders and abuse of the New Order military dictatorship were more than what the exasperated people could tolerate, and revolts flared up anywhere in all the lands of the former Republic, even in the Esair capital itself.
Year 490Kossir' new Empire was dissolving in a cascade of small semi-independent reigns and city-states, and the Murgard alone struggled to bring back under central control the scattered remains of all the immense territories that once were the Republic. As more and more units of the former Republican army had to be put under the direct control of Murgard commanders to ensure their loyalty, mercenaries and disbanded veterans were enlisted everywhere to swollen the ranks of the new Imperial Army. Many of the best officers of the former Republican army refused to submit to the takeover and with the support of their most loyal troops turned to the newly formed independent kingdoms that were growing out of the old republic' ruins for a new job.
In this time of uncertainty a powerful prince of Sidar saw his occasion and took advantage of the crisis that had been shattering the old enemy. He begun a revolt to throw out the occupation forces of the former Republic weakened by the redeployment of large number of troops in an attempt by the Imperial command to stabilize the more turbulent areas back home. Winning a few quick victories he quickly gained the respect and admiration of the Sidarian veterans of the long war who rallied under his flag to retake the control of their old kingdom.
Year 492While the Imperial army soon took back control of all the richest provinces including the Underlands, Khar and his small band of loyal troops eventually managed to bring Ilia safely to the Espen, a savage land on the western side of the Moon Mountains. There they had begun to rally all those who oppose the New Order and longed for a return to the old Republic. Although in exile, as the only heir of the last republican proconsul Ilia is the legitimate head of state and many recognize her status and her right to appoint new representatives to replace the noble families exterminated by Kossir and the Barons.
Year 496-512: TodayIn this uncertain times even the smaller players on the political scene may find the perfect occasion to carve out some autonomy and wealth for themselves: the small client kingdoms of the East have began expanding their borders at the expenses of the former Republic, the mighty island city of Paer took complete control the sea routes to and from the inner sea, the nomad tribes of the desert raids the coastal settlements with impunity, countless captains at the head of small mercenary units sell their loyalty at a price and bands of smugglers, raiders and pirates grow larger and more numerous by the day, their ranks swollen by deserters and veterans of the Sidar war.
While the empire tighten an iron fist around the economical core of the old republic the newly formed neorepublican army encourage and support the revolt in the outern provinces. Many independent corps under young but capable and enthusiastic commanders are sent to all corners of the empire to challenge the New Order authority.
As every little ruler seize the opportunity to grab a piece of the cake for himself the world plunges in a dark age of anarchy and war, were only the best will survive.
From the Imperial Archives:
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