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    The Flanaess of the Sheldomar Millenium
    Posted on Tue, September 12, 2006 by Dongul
    samwise writes "
    As part of my development of the Sheldomar, I decided to advance the date to around 650 CY, which would be the 992nd year of Keoland with the working name of Sheldomar: Millennium. This is a brief look at the rest of the Flanaess, built on a theme of getting rid of all the old enemies and creating new power blocs.

    The Flanaess of the Sheldomar Millenium
    By: Samwise

    Most of the key events described below occur between 591 and 625 CY. The Flanaess has been at relative peace for just over a generation. At best, it will remain stable, with nothing more than low-level skirmishing, for another generation, two at the most, before exploding in another major war.

    The Baklunish West

    Since the Brazen Horde came from the far west 300 years ago, the Baklunish west had slowly decayed into splintered states. That ended with the appearance of the Shining Horde, which overran Zeif, conquered Tusmit and Ekbir, and annexed Ket in a swift series of campaigns. The Horde sent a single wing north to subdue the Tiger and Wolf Nomads, while their main armies prepared to clear the Paynims and Ull, and subdue the Dry Steppes. While most of the human inhabitants were swept away, swarms of Euroz, Eiger, and their half-breeds boiled out of the mountains, and the advance stopped. The leader of the Shining Horde sent representatives to negotiate peace with Keoland and Perrenland while the Horde concentrated on securing its southern border. Those agreements have become near permanent as the campaign has dragged on over the decades.

    The Shining Horde follows a stoic Lawful Neutral/Lawful Good faith that worships far western versions of several common Flanaess deities, most notably Pholtus, and Allitur. They place heavy emphasis on martial ability and proper behavior, and have an extremely low opinion of the Baklunish already in the Flanaess, considering them good intentioned weaklings at best, decadent merchants and schemers for the most part, or corrupt heretics at worst. But their greatest hatred is saved for humanoids and half-breeds. They despise the Euroz, and consider the half-Euroz and half-Eiger of the highlands as abominations they have a divine duty to exterminate. They do not have any object to demi-humans though, and welcome Dwarrows, Olve, and Hob-niz into their society. The Olve among them are most notable, including what are obviously Valley Olve, as well as what appears to be another Grey Olve sub-race of unknown origin.

    The Sheldomar

    Upon the death of Kimbertos, his illegitimate half-Olven son Anladon took the army and liberated the Pomarj and the Sea Princes. He then returned to Keoland and was able to end the civil war that had broken erupted as the Court bickered over who would be the new king. The peace was tenuous even as he initiated a series of reforms that strengthened the Royal power, and resulted in a tense standoff with the Yeomanry and another round of war with the Knights of the Watch. However, these victories led to the unification of the entire valley, and allowed Anladon to fortify the frontiers in Bissel when the Shining Horde appeared and the Velverdyva was conquered. It also enabled him to defy Celene when the Valley Olve reappeared and become a force within Keoland. Later, Anladon formed an alliance with the United Kingdom of Ahlissa to destroy the Scarlet Brotherhood and clear the Azure Sea. Keoland has since focused its efforts on expanding into the Amedio.

    Celene remains independent, and has become even more isolationist over the years. Queen Yolande steadfastly refuses to ally with either the Kingdom of the Lake or Keoland, and the Euroz and Jebline of the Velverdyva seem content to leave it exist with only minor raiding across the border.

    The Velverdyva (Old Ferrond)

    Although discomfited by the Great Northern Crusade, Iuz still had a considerable force under his command, as well as a plan that many consider too good to have been his own. As the Crusade wound down, Iuz gathered his forces, stripping every garrison, and swelling their ranks with new recruits. He placed a screening force of humans from the Bandit Kingdoms in the Vesve Forest, and massed the rest of his forces just beyond the Veng River. When he was ready, he spent his human forces to force a crossing of the Veng, and then had the Euroz and Jebline break out into the Furyondian heartlands. The Furyondian response was weak as nobles withdrew forces to protect suddenly vulnerable provinces that had never been on the front lines. Only reinforcements from a massive mobilization in Veluna were able to hold the main armies of Iuz.

    It was then that the significance of the strange conquest of the Pomarj was revealed. When Anladon had led the combined Keoish and Ulek armies into the Pomarj, the main Euroz and Jebline armies of Turrosh Mak had disappeared. Turrosh Mak had known he could never hold those lands, or force an overland passage to the Lortmils, so he had focused his efforts on cutting a path to the Lortmils through the underdark. When the armies of the Sheldomar arrived, the Euroz and Jebline simply marched away en masse, below the ground. Turrosh Mak had looked even further ahead. He knew the old dens beneath the Lortmils could never be held against the Dwarrows and their allies. Rather than wasting his forces trying to take them, he continued the brutal migration to the northern extant of the Lortmils. Then, when the armies of Veluna had marched north to fight the forces of Iuz, he led his people out, swarming over the rich, undefended lands south of the Velverdyva. When word reached the front, it collapsed, as Velunese troops raced home to try to fight the new invaders. With no united army to oppose them, the forces of Iuz and Turrosh Mak joined up, and set about systematically reducing the strongholds of the nobles of Furyondy and Veluna. In their fear and greed, the rulers refused to hang together and so were hanged apart.

    Iuz was finally triumphant. Then, as his armies, led by Turrosh Mak, moved to add Verbobonc and Dyvers to his new empire, the Tiger and Wolf Nomads forced to flee their frozen homes by the Shining Horde came across the Cavern of the Soul Husks, and destroyed it. Iuz was suddenly mortal and vulnerable. Who struck him down at that moment is unknown, as is how the fleeing nomads found the caves and knew how to destroy their contents. What mattered was the tyranny of Iuz was finally ended. Turrosh Mak held the horde together while he lived, and finished the conquest of both Verbobonc and Dyvers.

    After his death, the Euroz and Jebline divided the fertile lands between their tribes. They have since maintained an incredible degree of cooperation among themselves (for Euroz and Jebline that is, which means they have a reasonably stable that none have betrayed with full-scale war yet), focusing their efforts against the enemies that surround them.

    The Central Prairies

    With the Euroz and Jebline having migrated to the Velverdyva, the Tiger and Wolf Nomads fleeing the Shining Horde found a power vacuum waiting for them in the central prairies. The Rovers of the Barrens were also eager to leave the half-frozen northern lands they had been exiled to hundreds of years before. The three groups shared enough family connections (primarily through the Wolf Nomads, who intermarried with the others) to make negotiating possible within their strict tribal taboos, and they were able to forge an alliance to clear the prairies from the Dulsi River to the Zumker and Artonsomay Rivers. The have continued to cooperate since the conquest, with each group forgoing any attempt to establish supremacy in exchange for ready allies to help keep the prairies free.

    They were later joined by Tenha refugees fleeing the conquest of the remainder of that nation by the Pale. These refugees have built a number of small villages and towns, and serve as go-betweens for mercantile exchanges with the Kingdom of the Lake. They are also leading efforts to unite the tribes in a more formal federation, but the overall social development of the nomads is too chaotic makes more than peaceful coexistence difficult without an active external threat.

    The Nyr Dyv

    Following the destruction of the Velverdyva nations, thousands of refugees flooded the domain of Greyhawk. They brought with them a strong Lawful Good ethic that contrasted strongly with the decadent self-interest of the city. That attitude resonated strongly among the long abused lower classes of the city, and the city erupted in a social war within a few years. The revolution succeeded, and the thieves and other undesirables were expelled. The domain was reorganized as a feudal state, albeit significantly more benevolent than other states, with most of its efforts focused on fighting the Euroz now pushing east from Dyvers.

    In Nyrond, King Lynwerd was slain fighting a raiding force from the Bone March. His reforms proved to be too little, too late, and the Kingdom collapsed and was partitioned among its neighbors. The eastern parts were either seized by the United Kingdom of Ahlissa (the part of Almor that Nyrond had annexed), or joined it within a few years to avoid annexation by the Pale (from the coast to the Duntide River). The northern regions around Midmeadow were taken by the Pale following a dubious request for “assistance” from some local mayors. The western region, between the Franz River and Duntide River looked to the Urnsts, and an alliance between the three became a permanent union.

    The Shield Lands had managed to survive the conquest of the Velverdyva as Iuz bypassed it during his initial invasion, and the Tiger-Wolf-Rover alliance forestalled a further assault from them following the death of Iuz. Their position was extremely precarious, and they were heavily dependent on aid from the Urnsts and Greyhawk, particularly after the revolution in the latter.

    Surrounded by enemies, these states forged closer and closer ties, forming the Great Lake Union, and finally declaring the Duke of Urnst as King of the combined nations. Their position remains precarious, particularly along the north shore in the Shield Lands, which now extends from the Artonsomay River to the Veng River, but the nation remains strong.

    Almost unnoticed amongst all of this, the Bright Desert suddenly began to transform into arable, albeit arid, plains. Rumors suggested that the infamous Rary the Traitor had broken some ancient curse on the land, but had disappeared because of it.

    The Pale

    Although unable to take advantage of the weakness of its neighbors following the Greyhawk Wars, the last decade of the 6th century provided endless opportunity to the Pale. Iuz’s conquest of the Velverdyva stripped the garrisons of Tenh, and the migration of the Baklunish and Flan nomads allowed it to annex Tenh as far as the Zumker River. The collapse of Nyrond allowed it to seize Midmeadow, the Gamboge Forest, and the part of the Flinty Hills formally controlled by Nyrond. Using that as a base, the Theocrat launched an offensive that many expected to cause the destruction of the Pale. He sent his armies into the Bone March. However, people had underestimated the fanaticism of his followers, particularly the ones from the newly taken territories. They swarmed across the Harp River and annexed Knurl, then swept north. As they went, they slaughtered the humanoids that had occupied the Bone March for decades. Overking Grenell watched in horror as the humanoids he intended to use as mercenaries were scattered, and thousands fled across his border, pillaging as they went. He mobilized his armies and tried to rally the fleeing humanoids and counterattack into the Bone March. He underestimated his ability to turn the humanoids around and soon found himself fighting both the humanoids and the fanatical forces of the Pale at the same time. The nobles of his kingdom sensing weakness rebelled, further dividing his forces. The common people revolted against the atrocities they had been subjected too for so many years, and thousands joined the Pale as its armies surged onward. In the end, the North Kingdom and the humanoids of the Bone March fought each other more than they did the Pale, and the Theocrat was able to destroy them both, and extend his rule to the Solnor Ocean.

    Since then the Theocrat has concentrated on consolidating his new empire, building roads to tie it together, and purging other faiths, particularly in the former North Kingdom. He looks with eager eyes all around him, and his neighbors remain at peace with each other primarily out of fear that the Theocrat will take advantage of any dissension to invade and destroy them.

    The United Kingdom of Ahlissa

    Overking Xavener continued to focus on developing the mercantile power of his kingdom. The UKA used trade to convince its neighbors of the benefits of joining, while preparing a strong military for defense. This allowed it to annex nearly half of Nyrond without a fight, and have forces to discourage the Pale when it expanded. To the south, an alliance with the resurgent Keoland and the remnants of the Iron League led to the sole military campaign of the Kingdom, directed against the Scarlet Brotherhood. The campaign was long, but ended with the complete destruction of the Scarlet Brotherhood. As a result, the Azure Sea was cleared, and Hepmonaland was opened to exploitation by the merchants of the UKA. It also led to a continued improvement of relations with the Iron League, and after many years, they finally joined the UKA, though with numerous guarantees.

    The UKA continues to maintain good relations with all of its neighbors except the Pale, despite its growing commercial rivalries with Keoland the Solnor Compact. The Overking grows wealthy, knowing he will need the money to fight the Pale eventually.

    Rel Astra and the Solnor Compact

    Drax finally resolved his desire for an alliance with the Sea Barons in the traditional way, arranging for a coup in Asperdi. He then managed to repeat the feat in Duxchan, taking the Lordship of the Isles from the Scarlet Brotherhood while they fought the Keoland-UKA alliance. This gave Drax command of the Solnor Ocean, and with the threat of the expanded Pale, he was able to negotiate a long-term treaty with the UKA. Since then Drax has seemed content with his expanded empire. Many suspect he is waiting for a war to break out between the Pale and the UKA allowing him a chance to expand further. His fleets are active in Hepmonaland, although they carefully avoid any direct conflict with the UKA there.

    Ratik and Rhizia

    Although completely unintended, the Pale’s conquest of the Bone March proved beneficial to Ratik and the northern alliance. Archbaron Alain was not dead, but a prisoner in Spinecastle. In the chaos of the invasion, a strike force from Ratik managed to free him and return him to Marner. There he faced a new problem. His father-in-law, the Count of Knurl, wanted him to join the Pale, but the people of Ratik were violently opposed to the idea. Instead, he turned to his Frost Barbarian allies, and renewed his call for a grand alliance in the north. Although the chaotic nature of the barbarians made a full alliance difficult, it grew slowly. An agreement forged by Tenha refugees with the new Tiger-Wolf-Rovers alliance of the central prairies led to the destruction of Stonehold (the Rovers and Tenha had their own long-standing reasons to seek the destruction of Stonehold). Since then the alliance has fought numerous border wars with the Pale in the Loftwood, while focusing its energies on exploring Fireland.

    Potential Conflicts

    Although the Flanaess appears stable, with good relations or active alliances between the major powers of the Shining Horde, the Empire of Keoland, the Kingdom of the Great Lake, and the United Kingdom of Ahlissa, and the minor powers of Perrenland, the Assembled Hordes of the Plains, and the Rhizian Assembly, major conflicts still exist.

    In the west, the Shining Horde continues to battle the Euroz and Eiger of the mountains as they have for decades. Many fear that if the Khans of the Horde feel they cannot achieve victory in their own lands, they will attempt to force the Fals Gap and seek victory against the humanoids of the Velverdyva, even if doing so would mean war with Keoland.

    In the far north, the Shining Horde faces a danger of its own. Although their forces drove the Tiger and Wolf Nomads off with ease, they have had no success in penetrating the Burneal Forest, or driving through to the isolated Archbarony of Blackmoor. Vague rumors of attacks on the string of forts the Shining Horde has built have drifted south, along with tales of a man using the name of the notorious renegade Lyrag the Hoolian seizing power in Blackmoor.

    In the south, Keoland seems content to expand into the Amedio and beyond it into the Pearl Sea and places more distant. Indeed, it is far more likely Keoland will become embroiled in a war beyond the boundaries of the Flanaess than within it. Still, King Anladon commits significant resources to securing the Fals Gap defenses both east and west, and many fear a resurgence of the violent Knights of the Watch could provoke a war that could destroy everything Anladon has built.

    In the central lands, every passing year increases the tension. The fertile lands of the Velverdyva and the long years have increased the numbers of the Euroz and Jebline beyond anything seen before. Millions of them prepare, training and storing arms, waiting to be unleashed on the Olven nations to their north or south, or looking to the even more fertile lands east across the Nyr Dyv. All know it is a matter of when they will march, not if they will march, the only question is who they will march against. The central prairies are no safer, despite their nominally friendly relations with the Kingdom of the Great Lake. Although their numbers have not increased as quickly as the Euroz and Jebline of the Velverdyva, they have grown faster than usual in lands much more favorable for their herds than their former homes. Further, despite their hatred of the Pale, the lands across the Zumker are less inviting than the lands around the Nyr Dyv. Were the Khans and Sachems convinced they could pass the Rift Canyon, they could pose a greater threat to the Kingdom of the Great Lake than the Euroz and Jebline or the Pale.

    In the east, the Pale looms over all, waiting for any sign of weakness in the civilized nations to unleash its armies, hardened in constant skirmishes with the Rhizians. A greater threat comes from within the civilized nations themselves. While the Kingdom of the Great Lake is unlikely to seek to expand, the Overking of the UKA would like nothing more than to annex his neighbor’s lands. Meanwhile the Lord Protector is what he is, an undead monstrosity with a demonic advisor. None can begin to comprehend what motivates such a creature. The servants of the Overking and the Lord Protector compete with each other regularly in Hepmonaland, and each meeting carries the potential to lead to a war between the two.

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