The Kingdom of Espa
The history of the Kingdom was written by Ken Christensen, with GM oversight and approval. Thankfully, Ken seems to be a natural at this sort of thing, and I don’t believe I had to change a single thing
The first beginnings of the Espan kingdom started with the settling of what was to become the capital city of Houltum. The settlers of Houltum were a group of migrating humans chased from the region west of what became modern day Dulcette by dragonborn clans. After traversing the Blackwood Forest, hunted by tribes of goblins all along the way, finally the steep rocky cliffs of Geldar’s northeastern coastline greeted them.
Tucked away in the fjord where the mouth of the River Stuulst (Serpent in the old tongue) met the ocean, Houltum saw immediate success and growth with waters rich in sealife and ease of travel along the Stuulst’s waterway granting a significant trade boon. With-in one hundred years the small village of Houltum had expanded into a large township, close to a small city’s population as neighboring humans joined together under the rich success of Houltum. With the Blackwood reaching the Stuulst, logging camps spread along the river’s banks sending timber en masse to Houltum to supply its ever increasing production of fishing boats and city construction.
The then ruler of Houltum, Alberich the Great, started expanding the borders of Houltum’s control. Sending longboat expeditions south along the riverway and north into the open seas Alberich sought to bring more of the smaller and less-able groups of humans into Houlstum’s sphere of influence. The arteries of the Stuulst led from the rolling Istod Plains, running along the eastern coast until reaching the Ril’Idar Desert, and the Villuc Plains south of Blackwood.
Inevitably the expeditions would lead to the headwaters of River Stuulst deep through the Evergreen Woods, emerging from the Calan Mountain Range at the entrance to the dwarven stronghold of Fulston. The longboats, having come bearing items from the northern reaches unheard of in the region, found that while the dwarves were hesitant in initial greetings with the young race, were more than ready to trade their crafted metal and stoneworks for rare pelts and ivories. Alberich himself traveled to the stronghold, and established what would become a permanent bond of the dwarven people and the humans of Espa. With the dwarves of Fulston, Alberich also found travel through the treacherous Calan Mountains and made contact with the state of Escalan, bringing more trade through the great underground halls of the dwarves to the humans of Houltum. Alberich would then push the boundaries further along the eastern coast, bringing the furtile lands of the Istod Plains under his control and protection. With rich farmland secured, the population continued to rapidly grow. Longboats returning from their several year long expeditions north into the oceans brought news of a land caught in a permanent frozen state, with its thin coastline only turning green for a few short months of the year. Unable to establish a permanent settlement with so few members, many of the longboats that survived turned back to bring news of this land. Alberich died before being able to send a colony north to conquer this wild land of permanent ice and snow.
Alberich official proclaimed the Kingdom of Espa in the year -1589 AU. Espa(Man in old tongue) saw its borders stretching from Geldar’s northeastern coast north of to the Ril’Idar Desert to the entirety of Blackwood, and everything west of the Suulst in the Evergreen Woods and parts of the Villuc Plains. To the east of the Stuulst however, Evergreen had been held recedent by the Kro’Na elves. The elves found no interest in these humans of Espa, finding their methods of felling whole trees to gather their lumber disgusting. In their eyes Espians held no respect for nature, nor the bounty that it offered if ‘correctly’ gathered with proper respects paid using druidic channeling of the spirits. Mankind was an abomination, desecrating the elves’ sacred forest.
In -1584, only five years into the kingdom’s history, the Kro’Na made an organized attack on an Espan logging camp. With-out hearing from them or receiving any logs at the nearest milling site along the line, Alberich sent men to investigate. What they found was a slaughter. Every man, woman, and child had been killed, and the men found each body had a small sapling growing from it, the Kro’Na making it clear that they intended Man to pay for their crimes with their lives. Soon another camp was found the same way, and then another. By fall of -1584, seven encampments and milling sites had met their fate at the hands of the Kro’Na elves, and Alberich, unable to find peaceful terms, was forced to declare a state of war. The humans of Espa, shaped by their years of nomadic life and hardened by the harsh landscape that they carved a living from, marched to war.
Years of suffering at the hands of other races had breed a deep seated hatred in the hearts of Espians, and the recent events only flared the burning ember into a raging inferno. Armed with the crafted weapons and armor supplied by Fulston’s dwarven smiths, the Espian legions marched into Evergreen with only the goal of annihilation in sight. The legions however were still fresh, and with-out real military experience Espa suffered heavy losses in the initial years of the war against the Kro’Na. On their home territory and with many more years experience than the humans, the elves enjoyed the upper hand. However, as the war dragged on, Espa’s military showed no sign of backing down and continually gained ground, defiantly pressing forward to claim the Kro’Na’s forest with the blood of Espian soldiers. And with the constant warfare, the legions gained invaluable experience. By the second year of engagement Espian forces were noticeably winning battles, by the third year they were hunting down the Kro’Na, constantly driving them farther into their homeland. Within seven years the last group of Kro’Na found themselves surrounded by Espian forces with the flat face of the Calan Range’s eastern most mountains behind them. The leader of the Kro’Na, with no other options and facing the complete annihilation of his people, finally relented and sought an audience with the Espian force’s commander. His head was among the first of the projectiles sent into the Kro’Na encampment at the start of the final battle in the war. At the end, the Kro’Na elves of Evergreen Woods had been completely destroyed. Only sparadic abandoned tree settlements that hadn’t been burnt down and an odd druid circle here and there throughout the Woods were the last evidence of the Kro’Na’s reign over the forests. Several of the Legions were tasked with the colonization of the region and over the years, finding themselves so enstranged from Espian control, founded the country of Krona.
By -1568 Alberich passed away, leaving the throne to be succeded by his son Elbrec. Through him, the line of Alberich continued for over seven hundred years. After ascending the throne Elbrec refortified Espa’s military, which had dwindled following the events of the Kro’Na war, and sent them deep into the Blackwood Forest. The Legions subdued the dark forest’s denzins of orcs and goblins. What few orcs were immediately spared from the sword were enslaved and shipped across Espa’s lands, their raw strength put to use in the numerous logging camps or breaking land on Istod farms. Inevitably, the issue of half-orcs’ place in society grew. The Espian monarchy ruled that with-in each region of Espa the liberties of half-orcs was decided upon by the local controlling nobility. In several regions they retained no more rights than the full orcs, while is other regions something more of a sembilance of normal freedoms were granted to them enjoy.
Over time, slavery itself was successfully outlawed by the monarchy across all of Espa, with the region of Dulcette region being the exception. Dulcette, founded by the soldiers of Espa’s legions tasked with the cleansing of Blackwood, refused to acknowledge the monarchy’s authority in the matter. With relations falling more with its parent kingdom, Dulcette declared its sovergnty and rights to rule itself in -753 AU. Eventually the legal protection of slavery itself was removed by Dulcette’s ruling class. In order to sustain itself in its early years, and in order to stay the hand of Espian backlash from seperation, Espa allowed Dulcette succession on the condition of the newly formed state levying a full legion under Espa’s control in return for neutrality and trade rights. Although the levy was lifted several hundred years later, the mercenary tradition has continued in Dulcette’s people to this day.
By the time of Dulcette’s seperation, the ruling line of Alberich the Great had ended and the nobility had found itself split between two parties vying for control of the crown through claims. The argument grew so out of control and the sides split over the matter that it appeared that the Espa would tear itself apart not from its many enemies surrounding it, but from the inside out. The conclusion finally decided was to split the control of the kingdom between two monarchies, each overseeing a different half of the Kingdom’s assets. The Western portion was given to the Hamfberg line, controlling Espa’s lumber and mining operations from the Blackwood and Evergreen forests. Eastern Espa was given to the Blussvein family, in charge of Espa’s vast farmland with the Blussveins enjoying several hundred years of heavy trade taxing with the country of Escalan during their food shortages. The capital was shifted from Houltum in West Espa to the city of Gestro in the
middle of River Stuulst’s length, while the capital of Eastern Espa centered on the city of Beritean along the edge of the Ril’Idar Desert.
When Escalan fully developed and put to use their airship designs, Eastern Espa suddenly found itself no longer enjoying the rich influx of wealth from its monopoly on grainery trades with Escalan. However, recent rumors talk of a discovery in Espa’s Ril’Idar Desert that has been having the monarchy sponsoring caravans into the heart of the desert, returning with pots filled with a black liquid used in Escalan to keep their metalshops constantly running. As well as large crates of a yellow mineral that’s rumored to be integral for Espa’s famous Dragonsbreath-using geveer squads.
Constant disagreements between regional ruling class and plots of upheaval and subversion between parties, the Kingdom of Espa felt itself gradually losing position as one of the world’s dominating countries as internal power struggles continually weakened it. Never again since the days of the line of Alberich has Espa seen itself as a unified country. Recent incursions from the monarchies seeking to expand Espa’s borders once more have been met with defeat, equal parts resistance from the enemy as internal subterfuge.
The once proud Kingdom of Man is facing its darkest hour, brought low over the years. Rumors of invasions being planned by surrounding countries have had the border regions nervously looking over their shoulders at their neighbors while simultaneously preparing for war.