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Lore: ADDITIONAL INFO - WORLDBUILDING The Vraenor Empire (LORE)
Sign-Ups: BY INVITATION ONLY The Vraenor Empire Sign-Ups
Sign-Ups: BY INVITATION ONLY The Vraenor Empire Sign-Ups
The invaders were clad in blue steel, wielding black coffin shields in addition to blight blades and dark spears, there pikes atop which solid red flags flew in the distance- the ensign of the Imperial Army. Despite the panicking defenders that sprawled about after the breach of the wall, the utter dominance and brutal efficiency of the Imperial soldiers was a sight to behold. From the lowest infantrymen to the great battlemages, all knew their own place in the grand strategy, forming coherent cells that kept from harming women and children, yet cutting down all who opposed them.
Behind each strike was the collective vengeance of years of exile and shame, fueled by righteous anger and rage of a dominion that had hidden beyond the scope of kingdoms for the longest of times. It was the wrath of the Vreanor Empire.
Such as it was now, shining as their emperor cut down his foes in the frontmost ranks of the battle. He wore a mandarin collar tunic beneath a thin set of blue steel armor similar to what his soldiers wore. A recent crusade had taken soldiers away from the wall, giving the Vraenorans the chance to test their newest military technology- gunpowder- as they brought the massive stone structure to rubble. The Vraenoran spymaster created a quick network, allowing for the swift invasion and conquest of the city-state Ildir.
A firestorm raged as the power of magic was on display, the emperor slaughtering his way through the central fortress where the lord of the city lived. Heavily defended as it was, it was no match for a good strategy. The orders of the emperor were clear- kill no innocents, but defeat all who opposed the armies. There were small pools of blood everywhere as the army worked with brutal efficiency, the emperor himself wielding a longsword that pierced the hearts of any foe who stood in his way, doing so until there was but one man- the lord of the city- who stood in his way. With some of his soldiers at his back, the dark mage raised his left hand, electrocuting the man with great prejudice before dropping him to the ground and lopping off his head, kicking it to one of the soldiers before sheathing his sword and taking a seat in the vacant, oaken throne. He then looked to his soldiers, a small smirk on his face as his commanding bass echoed throughout the room.
“Mount that head on a spike and clean up the remnants. The battle is over- Ildir is now the sovereign territory of our glorious empire! If you find any nobles or officials, bring them to me. We’ve much work to do.”
And so it was done. A handful of the Ildirans went to flee the city and, as such, a calculated few were allowed to escape the whole affair with nothing to stop them. Most would go and flee directly to the east on foot or in wagons or on horseback into the neighboring country of Shaodor, while the remainder that chose to escape utilized the small tributaries of the river that tickled the edge of Ildir’s walls. An assortment of knarrs- wide longships with shallow drafts that were often used to ferry cargo to the nearby southern Shaodoran and Naskan border ports- were untied and let loose upon the Great River, which itself was approximately six and a half nautical leagues at its mouth while remaining slightly over five nautical leagues in width for the vast majority of the main river (the larger branches and minor tributaries, however, varied greatly in width).
Those who took to fleeing by the Great River would primarily travel to the southeast, somewhat against the flow of the river itself but aided by the strong easterly winds. Those going this route would reach some of Shaodor’s larger trading ports in two days while the remainder would reach the city-state of Pheros in another two. It seemed to many who chose to flee in this manner that their unusually quick times to make landfall were signs from the gods they worshipped that they needed to spread the word about this new empire.
Within six days, Ildiran riders reached the glistening walls of Veles, the capital of Shaodor. The news was rushed to the king upon the Azure Throne, the long-eared and long-toothed monarch raising his gaze from beneath a long, grey mane. Kaeras Dmiviran Sarpetor, the Azure King of Shaodor, spent two days weighing this information before acting upon it. Gathering with his closest advisors, he sent a company from the Thesatra- the king’s personal, elite legion- to meet with one of his more trusted envoys in the border provinces while sending the with them three chests containing a geldan, a form of offertory bribe intended to stay the hand of the recipient until formal negotiations could be engaged. But, despite their secrecy, Kieran knew of them by the time they were four days away from Ildir.
It is important to know that Kieran commanded two personal units. As Overlord, he had authority over the Fell Maidens, with their ferocity serving him well on the battlefield as one of his primarily strike forces. As Emperor, Kieran held over the Aumsláegr, an elite military unit that fulfilled the far more delicate roles that the Fell Maidens had less finesse in, such as infiltration and reconnaissance- and he had deployed them to scout and gather knowledge of the surrounding areas as soon as their grip over Ildir was secure, but not straying more than four days from the former city-state for the most part of their mission while there was rebuilding to be done.
For the first three days after the battle, as reconstuction and refortification began, Kieran and his closest advisor’s combed through the city’s upper echelons as they cast judgment. Excluding the Lord of the City that had been so skillfully beheading by the new claimant to the title, there were twelve individuals who were considered nobles amongst the Ildiran people. Regarding these so-called nobles, only two of them remained in their positions. Furthermore, after a very simple summary court-martial, two were executed by Arterion’s blade for various crimes, including wrongfully convicting individuals into slavery for thousands of gold coins apiece. It sickened him. Three were stripped of their various ranks and accolades and their houses condemned to live in exile, while the remainder retired and passed on their titles to their next-of-kin.
While Kieran took to the litany of judgment, he charged some of his mages with taking a basic census of Ildir’s resident’s based on the city’s records while the army’s engineering corps began to repair any damages from the assault. Ildir itself was within a day’s ride of the Wall and they went to great lengths to reinforce the city after the large Vraenoran force had been spotted preparing to breach it but to no avail. The more difficult prospect, however, was facilitating the arrival of Vraenoran naval forces.
In their own land, the Vraenorans had few places where they could launch and train a navy, which for a long time had primarily been nonexistent save for a small coastal guard that protected towns against the odd sea-monster that made its way inland. This changes near the end of Kieran’s father’s reign, when the spirit of discovery filled the air as the loosely affiliated guards of the coast were turned into a proper navy and marine corps in order to attempt to take to the waters. While the Vraenorans were able to sail and explore somewhat into the northern seas and chart multiple uninhabited islands, their supply chains could only go so far and a great seasonal whirlpool- called the Maw of the Sea- had proven to be a hindrance to any attempts to launch anything larger than a longboat out into the ocean. The Vraenorans, however, were not one to take this lying down.
In spite of the fact nature itself seemed to conspire against them, the Vraenorans had continued to use one of these small islands, creatively dubbed “Shipwright Isle,” to research naval technologies for whenever the nation found itself capable of a great expansion. While Vraenor could certainly stake claims on the small islands they discovered, only Shipwright Isle was suitable for any kind of residence, as those who lived there only did so for a few months at a time to begin building new ships and moor them until such time they were fit for use. Among these was a ship Kieran had a small interest in, the carrack. It wasn’t even half the length of the great Naskan dreadnaughts, great war-galleys that could crew a force of seven hundred men for an invasion or a naval assault, but it would be far lighter, far faster, and armed with one of Vraenor’s latest inventions- the naval cannon.
Vraenor’s sailing knowledge was primarily firsthand, derived from a combination of self-discovery and salvage from the unfortunate ships who met with the Maw of the Sea and the great storms that surrounded only to have their flotsam come ashore, which sometimes included ship blueprints and sailings manuals. As such, outside of various meetings, his own training, and his time spent amongst the Ildiran commonfolk to attempt to learn more of his new subjects, Kieran had begun to make plans to bring the five carracks and some of the larger caravels into the Great River as a display of Vraenoran ambition and a warning to those who would attempt to cross him. Furthermore, these same ships had the largest holds and carrying capacities out of any in the fleet, and Ildir’s territory was ripe with strong timber and smooth cotton. While it wouldn’t create a large, sudden increase in the size of Vraenor’s navy, it would begin to pave the way for further experimentation and more ships-of-war. All Kieran needed to do was wait for the vernal equinox, around which time the maelstrom at the coast would begin to slowly recede. Once it had done so, Kieran could call his ships and Shipwright Isle could begin to become a proper colony.
For now, though, Kieran kept his focus on his new territory. Not two days after the essential repairs to the city had been completed, one of his Aumsláegr burst through the doors of his study, the emperor sitting behind a large, oaken desk. The wall behind the desk was covered primarily by a large, paneled window, beneath which was a small dresser-table flanked by bookcases on either side, which flowed to fill the left wall. The opposite was covered in maps with a chifferobe and a display cabinet beside it. Another small table stood beneath the maps, with various records resting upon its surface. The wall by the door was barren save for a suit of Ildiran plate armor to the left and a couch to the right, whereas the wooden floor was covered by a room-wide rug. The room was a remnant of the previous Lord of the City, although it had been thoroughly “redecorated” by Arterion before it came into the emperor’s use.
“Make your business known, corporal.” The Pale spoke in a slightly annoyed tone, a small reverberation accompanying it that one had to stretch their ears to hear of they weren’t a mage. The Aumsláegr soldier, dressed primarily in brown, tan, and green in order to blend into the surrounding landscape, responded in a tense, nervous tenor as he snapped to attention.
“I’ve come ahead of a small foreign force, Your Majesty- Shaodorans, about sixscore strong! I sent word ahead, but I fear it may not have arrived. They appear to be on a diplomatic mission, sire, as they are so few in number and carry what appears to be a royal standard. A noblewoman leads them, though I know not who she is.”
“Is that all?” Kieran’s tone had shifted into a more pleased, if not slightly excited, one as one of his grey eyebrows rose on his face.
“Yes, Your Highness.”
“You’ve done well, then. Relay an order to the Lord High General: take a company or two of the Drachenkrieger and greet our surprise guests at the eastern gate. I want them brought to the fortress and then to the throne room unharmed. You are dismissed, corporal.”
“Thank you, Sire.”
With that taken care of, Kieran stepped to the fireplace and fetched his sword from the mantle and his staff that leaned beside it. Stepping outside and, the monarch politely pulled aside the first servant that wasn’t absorbed in their duties, began to have the message spread that he wanted all of his advisors in the great hall to greet their guests, as well as to have a squad of the Fell Maidens (one of their commander’s choosing, of course) standing guard during the meeting to dissuade their visitors from doing anything awry. Taking long strides throughout the fortress, a small smile crept onto the Overlord’s face. The board was set, the opponents faced one another. The Pale was eager to lend his hand as he tried the game of foreign affairs for the first time.
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