Saturday, June 24, 2017

Valley Kingdoms: A History of the First Great Kingdom

In order to understand the history of the Valley, it is important to understand the method of timekeeping currently in use. For many generations, time was recorded with reference to the rule of the local king. That is, when King Amolun was reigning the First Great Kingdom, the year would be the 8th or 9th year of the Reign of Amolun. This confusing system was abandoned after the Great Unification was undertaken by the Empire of the Throne (Sifhum); the year of the Unification became the first Year of the Faith (Fi Vosye). Time before that is known by the period of the first Great Kingdom, and runs forward until 1 FV -- those years are known as Fi Vashir, years of the Shadow (FA).

Ancient Othan Fortress Reconstruction

1 F.A. — 687 F.A. The First Great Kingdom (Othan). Founded in the south of the Valley, in the city of Dumyana, on the plain known as the Ogoss, the First Great Kingdom of Othan was as near to a universal kingdom the Valley had ever seen. Othan was formed out of the subjugation of ethnic Viraes tribes living in the central Ogoss.

Othos was the first King of the Great Kingdom, who elevated himself from a chief among chiefs of the Viraes to become the High Chief of all the Ogoss peoples. His settlement on the Fetham River, which was originally a simple collection of rude huts on the sluggish waters, but after his wars of conquest (lasting from what scholars imagine was the early part of Othos' life, perhaps age 17, until he was nearly 39), it became a permanent lodging.

Though Othos traveled between several major royal installations, the town at Dumyana was his primary residence. The first year of the Shadow is recorded from the day the foundation was laid for the High Temple in Dumyana, beside Othos' magnificent gilt-wood palace.

High Chief Othos died in 13 F.A. Dumyana had reached a population of somewhere close to 10,000 people. It drew trade from the entire Ogoss plain, and from many places farther north. Indeed, he was recognized as a petty king by the Thingatha Emperor, far in the south, and was given gold and silver to keep the peoples of Ogoss from moving into that ancient Empire.

Reign of Queen Athana 13 F.A. — 36 F.A.
After the death of Othos in 13 F.A., Othan continued to exist as an independent client state of Thingatha. Othos was succeeded by his daughter, Queen Athana, who defied the authority of the Thingatha Empire late in her reign and raised a hall in Dumyana to be the permanent residence of Othan royalty.

By ejecting the Thingathim embassy from Dumyana and seizing Thingathim quarries on the Ogoss plain, Athana broke her father's treaties. The Thingatha were not quick to chastise her or her progeny, however, as in those days the old Empire was collapsing: ecological change in Slithis led to a series of southern civil wars, and the Thingatha Emperors would never be able, from that point on, to launch an expedition into the Valley to enforce their rule.

Reign of King Floreyth (The Mason-King) 36 F.A. — 69 F.A.
Floreyth was a newcomer to Dumyana, from one of the outlying regions of the kingdom. Scholars have placed the locale of his birth somewhere near the southern shores of the Sea of Yer. He was a renowned carpenter, mason, and swordsman, and eventually won the acclaim of Queen Athana's court.

It was widely believed that he had an affair with the Queen near the end of her life, and that his whispers were responsible for the expulsion of the Thingathim. After the death of Athana, Floreyth moved quickly to disinherit her three sons and claim the throne for his own. A bloody civil war followed from 36-38 F.A. during which the old household of Othos and Athana was mostly exterminated. Those who supported Floreyth were spared, but greatly reduced in power and influence.

Under Floreyth's reign, most of Dumyana was rebuilt in stone. It was walled, and the Five Great Temples were constructed on the hill overlooking the palace. Dumyana became the largest city in the Valley under Floreyth, and certainly served as the heart of Valley culture. He raised the great Stone Lords that now dot the Ogoss Plain, as well as the Thousand Altars along the southern shores of the Sea of Yer.

King Floreyth also kept a number of women as his official wives; he sired children on these while he was the lover of Queen Athana. The eldest of his daughters, Leb, outmaneuvered the king in his old age; in the Garden of Roses outside the great Dumyana palace, Leb humiliated her younger brother, Rilu, in a game of wits and swords before the assembled chiefs of Othan. Unable to elevate the humiliated and emasculated Rilu to official heir as he had planned to do, Leb became heir and inherited her father's empire.

Reign of Empress Leb 69 F.A. — 105 F.A.
The first recognized "Empress" (rather than "High Chief" or "King") was Leb Floreythin, daughter of the Mason-King. During Leb's rule, the Sea People entered the Valley on their floating homes. The Empress was quick to realize that she could use the same strategies employed against the old Viraes tribes of Ogoss by the Thingatha: she paid the Sea People tribute, and soon established a network of far-flung colonies around the Sea of Yer.

Trade under Empress Leb flourished. She was renowned as a skilled tactician and diplomat, and as a fighter on the field. She planted the cities of Medenleb, Rubaden, Vabatden, and Medengez which would later grow into massive trade entrepĂ´ts. She also promulgated the Border Laws, declaring trade with outsiders to be suspect, and privileging the people of the Valley.

Empress Leb had a tumultuous personal life. She kept a clave of husbands, the chief of whom, Tha, grew jealous of the fact that they could not wield political power. Tha fomented rebellion against her, and several years were spent fighting Tha and the lords who betrayed her. When she was victorious, she executed her prisoners at the feet of the Stone Lords of the Plain, giving a sacrifice of some important personage in the enemy army to each of the great statues raised by her father.

In the years before her death, she passed a law permitting imperial power only to flow to her female-born children, and elevated her daughter Amem to be her official heir.

Reign of Empress Amem 105 F.A. — 121 F.A.
Like the rulers before her, Amem was forced to consolidate power within years of taking the throne. She had five brothers, each of whom sought to undo the dictate of their mother Leb, and each with a power base of their own through their fathers (all five brothers were born of different men from five of the powerful families of Othan).

This so-called "Six-Sided War" lasted for eight years, only finally ending with the razing of the colony of Medengez.

Reign of Empress Leb II 123 F.A. — 177 F.A.
There was a two-year interregnum after Amem's death as the imperial nobility forwarded possible heirs. One of Amem's younger daughters, named for her grandmother Leb, finally won out. Her reign was an unprecedented period of peace and trade. Sorcery first came into the Valley from the fallen ruins of Thingatha in this period.

The period of Leb II's reign until the death of her great-granddaughter Leb III was known as the Rule of the Good Empresses. Those four -- Leb II, Eles, Arath, and Leb III, are commonly known as the "Good Empresses" and are held up as models of beneficial rule, particularly in the southern reaches of the Valley. During the reign of Empress Arath, a scholar named Thubidis composed a political treatise still cited in the Valley to this day: The Book of Rulership.

Other Important Periods.
Rule of the Good Empresses 123 F.A. — 280 F.A.

The Sorcerers' War 297 F.A. – 302 F.A.
A brutal conflict between Empress Leb III's three chief wizards, Othi, Dishath, and Thul, broke out upon Leb's death. They each had their own puppet-empress. In the end, Thul was victorious with the Child-Empress Gedae as his candidate. She was installed, and Thul ruled through her and her successive three daughters for nearly 70 years.

The Slithan Invasions 409 F.A. — 520 F.A.
The shattered remains of Thingatha produced a series of invasions in this period as people attempted to escape the ecological disaster of the central desert. This put a great deal of pressure on Othan in the south, while the Spear-People threatened her northern border.

Reign of Amolun the Scholar 581–603 F.A.
A fluke in the long history of feminine rule in Othan, Amolun the Scholar took the throne when his elder sister, Ashbet, abdicated the throne in his favor. He was widely proclaimed a good king, and invented the writing system from which all Valley scripts are descended.

The Dameth Plague 592 F.A.
In the year 592, the Dameth Plague arrived from beyond the mountains. It destroyed the great cities of Othan, leaving many of them empty. Empress Nara took her own life by filling her chambers in Dumyana with suffocating smokes.

The Mountain Invasions 638 F.A. — 687 F.A.
An influx of outsiders to the Valley that eventually destabilized and destroyed Othan. The Last Empress, whose name is no longer known, was said to be a sorcerer as well, and when she discovered she had been betrayed by her most trusted generals, she took them into the great central processional and sacral square of Dumyana and destroyed them with a conflagration that left its mark on the stone today.


In modern times, the ruined City of Dumyana is known as the City of Tombstones. The Stone Lords stand silent and watchful vigil over the empty Ogoss Plain.

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