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Thoughts on Darokin

by James Mishler

The Daro, or Darokinians are descended from an Antalian/Traldar mix. In this case, the Antalian influence comes from a group of Antalians who had lived on the Ethengar Steppes from 2400 BC through 2000 BC; at that point in time, they were driven south into the Dwarfgate Mountains by the invading horde of Oltec-Neathar peoples who would one day be known as Ethengars (the proto-Ethengars migrated north and east along the Streel River, from the area of modern Darokin; they were remnants of the Taymoran Slave Caste and Serf Caste). The proto-Ethengars drove groups of the steppe-dwelling Antalians south and east (the north was held by stronger, Norse-Antalian tribes and the west was in the grip of the Thonian Ice Age). The lowlands and plains of modern Darokin were held by more powerful relatives of the proto-Ethengar (almost entirely Neathar, with some Oltec descent, these people were descended from the Serf Caste and Merchant Caste of the Taymora). So the Taymoran Neathar folk held the lowlands and plains, and the Antalians held the mountains; then in 1500 BC the Nithian Ptahr al-Dar clan colonised the areas corresponding to modern Karameikos, Thyatis and Darokin, intermingling with the native Taymoran Neathar. Within 100 years, the Nithian culture of these peoples had "regressed" to a more barbaric state, and the combined people came to regard themselves as the Traldar. The Southern Traldar (south of the Cruth-Black Peaks-Altan Tepes range) were more "advanced" culturally than their cousins to the north, in the lands of modern-day Darokin (this was in part due to the influence of the Hutaaka as well as their closeness to the sea; they kept more in contact with other, more advanced cultures). The Northern Traldar also had a greater admixture of Oltec culture than those of the south (more Slave Clans were found in the farming plains of the north than in the more mountainous south during the Taymoran Era), as well as Antalian influence from the Antalians of the Dwarfgate Mountains. Also note that the Dunael folk of the Isle of Dawn (the Mystaran equivalent of the RW Celts) were descended from Antalian and Oltec peoples (having evolved ca. 2200 BC); so the Northern Traldar actually had more in common with the Dunael than with the Southern Traldar (Northern Traldar were Neathar-Oltec-Antalian- Nithian mix; Southern Traldar were Neathar-Nithian-Oltec mix). [If you watch the Hercules/Xena shows, the Southern Traldar were the "Civilised", citified Achaeans of Hercules, and the Northern Traldar were the "Barbaric", rural Celtic types of Xena].

In 1000 BC the Beastmen Races surged forth from the Broken Lands, destroying everything in their wake; this included most of the Northern Traldar and many of the Southern Traldar (around 1 in 10 Northern Traldar survived the invasion; about 1 in 5 Southern Traldar remained in their lands after the invasion). The Beastmen also pushed the Antalians out of the Dwarfgate Mountains; these peoples survived the destruction of "Civilisation" better than even the Southern Traldar, as they had less of it than even the Northern Traldar (the casualties among the Northern Traldar were due to the fact that they felt the brunt of the initial Beastman Blitz, not due to collapse of infrastructure, as was true for many Southern Traldar Kingdoms).

The Antalians moved into the plains and lowlands that the shattered remnants of the Northern Traldar lived in, and merged with these people. Precariously placed between the Red Orcs of the west and the emerging Elven Nation of Alfheim in the east (the Canolbarth being founded in the area of Mealidor in 800 BC, the forest reached as far west as the River of Monsters by 500 BC), the Humans of the land, like their cousins to the south, by 500 BC began to identify themselves as descended *from* the Traldar, rather than being *of* the Traldar. The Northern Traldar/Antalians became known as the Traladaro, while the Southern Traldar became known as the Traladara. By 200 BC the Traladaro had shortened the name to simply Daro. The languages of the two peoples were even more greatly divergent, as the Daro had been very strongly and directly influenced by the Antalian peoples (there was also a great deal of influence from the Elves). The Daro tongue was *based* on the Antalian language, with strong influence from their Traldar antecedents; the Traladara language was *based* on Traldar, with influence from Thyatian and Kerendan (which were Antalian-Traldar and Antalian-Dunael languages, respectively). [I think that the real-world relationship would be somewhat similar to that of the RW Norman French vs. Romanian]. So the Darokinians are, in fact, descended from a Hattian-type people (the Hattians being mostly pure-Antalian); there is also the Celtic and "Italianate" influence (Traldar, or "Achaean Greek", in this case, but close enough). [I suppose that the Northern Traldar might also have been compared to the RW Dorian Greeks in their pre-civilised state (ca. 1600 BCE, RW), as much as with the Celts].

[The idea that the Daro are descended from numerous different peoples, I think, comes from the section in GAZ 11 titled "Land of Leftovers" (pages 4 and 5). In this section is described the migrations of peoples from different lands into Darokin, the majority of which take place from 725 through 925 AC. Prior to this period, there were a few other periods of in-migration; first and foremost were the Alasiyani migrations of the late 200's, which resulted form the Thyatian and Alphatian settlement of the Alasiyani desert and surrounding regions. ]

By 250 AC, the Attleson Dynasty was still strong and longed to expand eastward. The Prince of the City State of Salonikos (descended from a long line of Southern Traldar Kings, but thoroughly Darokinian in culture) had long resisted the overtures of the King of Darokin to become a vassal. Mithras II showered gifts on the Alasiyani Sheikhs for their support in destroying the upstart prince. The combined forces of the Darokinian Knights and the Alasiyani Nomads destroyed the forces of the Salonikan Prince, and the City State fell. Many of the Alasiyani settled in the new Darokinian Principality, where the most powerful of the Sheikhs was made Archduke under Mithras II. Eventually, the city came to be known as Selenica, and the culture became thoroughly Darokin, as the Alasiyani merged with the local peoples (many of the Alasiyani who did not wish to settle in Salonikos were granted passage through the kingdom to the Sindhi border, where they were welcomed as mercenaries and kindred spirits).

During the early half of the reign of Attleson Kings (88 AC through the late 300's AC, the "Golden Age" of Darokin) the kingdom reached its maximum extent, and its kings were hale and sane. Some small in-migration occurred during this time, mostly from the surrounding lands which the Attleson Kings had added to the Kingdom (parts of Traladaran Sindhi and Alasiyani territories were held by the king; there were also the trans-Sierran settlement north to the Red River, but little ever came of them). The latter half of the Attleson Dynasty (ca. 400 AC though 725 AC) saw three larger in-migrations occur:

--- a number of Flaemish clans (beginning around 400 AC; many of the Flaems, like their Alphatian cousins, found they had not nearly as much magical power as previously; those of little magical prowess but otherwise quite talented found their way into Darokin, where their talents were more appreciated);

--- the in-migration of a fair number of Thyatians, Kerendans and Hattians in the early to mid 500's AC. The Empire of Thyatis had a period of Theological chaos during the rule of the Theostridaes of the II Kerendans Dynasty (dedicated purely to Vanya in her Most Bellicose Aspect), the Hattian Knights of Vanya were at their peak of power until Zendrolion V "The Inquisitor" was slain by Tarantius I "The Kind". The cities were not safe for those who followed the more tolerant Pantheon, let alone for those who revered a faith that did not include Vanya; thus, a number of urban folk left mainland Thyatis, either for the colonies or elsewhere, including Darokin. The Linton House is descended from a Thyatian/Hattian family from this migration.

--- the years 640 through 660 AC saw the reduction of Alphatian power on the Isle of Dawn and the rise of the Thyatian standard, until the entire Isle of Dawn was a Thyatian dominion by 660 AC (the Oesterpolitian, or Redstone Dynasty, was based not in Thyatis City itself, but rather in the Great Citadel at Redstone). Many of the native nobility and merchant class loyal to the Alphatians fled the land, either to Alphatia proper or to other lands, including Darokin. Many Danoia and Dunael fled to the inland regions of Darokin, settling in the Borderlands; many Amancerians and Daumancer settled in the more urban regions.

The most common factors of all three of these in-migrations was the fact that all these peoples were assimilated *by* the Daro culture; they left some mark, but not enough to cause any major evolution on the part of Daro society (these were in-migrations, *not* invasions). The Daro still spoke Daro (a language evolved from Traldar with many Antalian influences, *not* a dialect of Thyatian, which is an Antalian derived language with influence from Milenian, which in turn is a derivation of Traldar); there were a sufficient number of borrowed words and phrases to indicate minor evolution in the language, however, and this would become more pronounced as more peoples migrated into Darokin in the 8th through 10th centuries. The difference between "Low Daro" (the more "bastardised" dialect) and "High Daro" (the purer, more stilted dialect) is about the same as that between "American English" and "Queen's English"; enough that there is social status differentiation, but not enough that they are by any means different languages (Darokinian Thieves Cant is equivalent in this respect to a Cockney accent, with Dickensian thematic throughout, and more than a dash of Monty Python).

Modern Darokin (or, at least the more recent history of it...) The 8th through 10th centuries AC saw numerous wars and revolutions which caused massive migrations of peoples across the land.

--- First came the migration of the Erewan Faction of the Erendyl Clan in Alfheim in 700 AC; most of the Erewan would stay in Darokin for a period of time before finally moving on to the Highlands in 710 AC; some would remain in Darokin (a number of the Erewan who remained in Darokin would intermarry with Umbarth House).

--- The unification of the Kingdom of Sind under Rajadhiraja Narenda Ul-Nervi in 714 AC caused the migration of a number of Sindhi (and Darine); mostly, these Sindhi would remain west of Lake Amsorak, but some would make the crossing and settle in Akorros or Darokin City.

--- In 720 AC, Morphail Gorevitch-Woszlany, Lord Count of Rymskigrad in northern Traladara brought the baronies of Volaga and Ivorga under his control (he had earlier in the year dedicated himself to the service of the Immortal Nyx, and had become a Greater Nosferatu). Over the next five years northern Traladara was in a state of war, as the Count of Rymskigrad attempted to conquer the lands of the Duchy of Halavos (modern Kelvin). The war destroyed the economy of the northern Traladaran states (long since fallen from the grasp of the Attleson Kings), and many of the natives fled elsewhere, including north into Darokin. In 725 AC Rymskigrad fell to the forces of the Duke of Halavos, and the Count of Rymskigrad (known in Traladaran legend as the Black Count of the Moors) was staked through the heart by the Duke himself (unfortunately, the Count was saved by his minions before the Duke had the chance to finish the job). With the destruction of Rymskigrad, the trickle of refugees to the north became a flood, as the entire population of Rymskigrad fled the purge of the Duke of Halavos (the northern territories of Traladara have yet to recover from the decimation and out-migration of the population at this time). The Traladaran refugees settle in the area around Selenica, protected by the wiles of their cousins, the Darine Gypsy folk.

--- In 728 AC the Alphatian Colonies in Alasiya got the upper hand on the Thyatian Colonies and destroyed numerous settlements. Thyatian, Amancerian, Espadi and Hattian colonists either returned to Thyatis or decided to move on to the new territories opening up in the Highlands; they travelled through Selenica en route to the northwest, and while passing through met up with and joined the Rymskigrad refugees. Thus a very large and mixed group of peoples left for the Highlands in early 729 AC; while many would complete the trip to the Highlands, nearly as many would stop on the way in Darokin and remain in a town or village where they either felt at home, or when they felt they just couldn't go on any further.

--- It must be noted that this period (early to mid 700's AC) was a turbulent one in the history of Darokin; the Reign of the Darokin Kings had come to an end with the death of Santhral II Attleson in 723 AC; local princes, dukes, marquis and barons would openly assume power, and many petty wars were being fought over local land and rights. The merchant class, who had gained power over the last century, was the unifying factor throughout the land (they were the ones to guide the refugees throughout the kingdom, milking them for all they were worth in some cases). Many lords welcomed the opportunity to settle their territories with the Traladaran, Thyatian, Amancerian, Espadi and Hattian refugees; it meant more income and the growth of their own territories.

--- At the same time that the Thyatian, Traladaran, Hattian Espadi and Amancerian refugees were heading to the Highlands, refugees of another sort were also fleeing to that land. The d'Ambrevilles, fleeing from their own native world, arrived in the Highlands in AC 728; by 729 AC, a number of the d'Ambreville clan and their allies would discover that their magical prowess was less on this world than it was on the old (similar to the loss of power experienced by the Alphatians and the Flaems, but different in essence). Many of the less-magical Averoigne would settle to the south, just as the Flaems had done three centuries ago.

--- In 735 AC Donatello "The Black" Matrongle, last legitimate member of the Matrongle Royal Line of Ierendi, disappeared while exploring southern trade routes; the Council of Lords of Ierendi seized full power and began the Forty Year Terror. Many merchants and commoners fled to Athenos or Port Tenobar; for a brief period, the might of the Darokin "Navy" grew, as these expatriates added their expertise to the Daro efforts.

--- With some exceptions (notably, an influx of peoples from Klantyre and Averoigne in the late 740's AC), the next 50 years were ones with little in-migration; mostly, peoples were moving within Darokin itself, as the balance of power shifted from one prince to the next, or as war flared up in one province or another. Many of the Ierendi returned to their native land in 775 AC after the Merchants Rebellion limited the power of the Council of Lords (and allowed for the popular election of a King and Queen); many of those born in Darokin remained, however, and continued to thrive in their adopted land.

--- Beginning in 784 AC the Highlands experienced over forty years of incessant war; many of the peoples there returned across the Broken Lands or through Fletcher Pass and settled in Darokin, like many had done 60 years before. This was also the time of the Orcwars (beginning in 800 AC), the Highlands Gold Rush (801 AC, attracting many Dwarves and other prospectors) and the time of The Plague (802 through 805 AC, with sporadic outbursts for the next 50 years), all of which was centred just north of Darokin, in the Highlands or in the Broken Lands.

--- Darokin was badly hit in The Plague, as over 30% of the populace was taken (naturally, a higher percentage in the cities than in the countryside). Dwarves, who were immune to The Plague, were driven out of the Highlands in what is known as the Years of Infamy; many of these Dwarves settled in Darokin and the mountainous Sindhi territories. The mainland was mostly quiet for a human generation, as nations recovered from The Plague (except, of course, the Highlands, which were in the middle of the Forty Years War).

--- The Alasiyan wars heated up in the mid 820's AC under the leadership of Suleiman al-Kalim; the Alphatian and Thyatian colonies, much harder hit by The Plague than were the Alasiyani, could not resist the "Desert Wind" of the Faithful, and the colonial presence was driven from the desert within five years (725 through 730 AC); the founding of the Confederated Tribes of the Emirates of Ylaruam followed in 731 AC. This was also the time of the founding of the Highlands Republic, under the leadership of Lord Alexander Glantri. Following the formation of these nations came the usual banishments and migrations (on the part of the losing side, of course). All Dwarves were expelled from the Highlands Republic, and many Thyatian and Alphatian settlers decided to leave the Emirates (though Suleiman al-Kalim did not force them to leave, they felt decidedly uncomfortable under the new regime); many non-Faithful of the Emirates also fled (mostly Hazar, they would settle either in Selenica, with the Espadi in Provincia Septentriona or in the Duchy of Tel Akbir in Thyatis).

--- A similar out-migration from Ylaruam and the Highlands took place in 858 AC, with the foundation of the Council of Preceptors and the University of Eternal Truth in Ylaruam and the Light of Rad decision in the Highlands Republic (then renamed the Republic of Glantri, or more commonly, the Principalities of Glantri).

--- Thereafter followed forty years of peace and growth, until the reign of Thyatian Emperor Gabrionus IV "The Conqueror" Tatriokanitas (890 AC through 913 AC), who re-established Thyatian dominance across the Empire and inspired more than a little intolerance. Many Thyatians and subject peoples decided to move on to greener, more tolerant pastures; this included Darokin and Glantri (well, Glantri for those who had magical talent, Darokin for those who didn't). Thus, another wave of Amancerian, Thyatian, Hattian, Kerendan, Daumancer, Ispan, Danoia and even a few Caerda, Nuari, Ochaleans and Alphatians moved into Darokin or on to Glantri (and again, more Traladarans after the conquest of Traladara in 900 AC).

--- Many believe that the Great Merger of 927 AC, which once again created an organised central government in Darokin was partially a result of the influx of immigrants; the reforms enacted at the Second Great Merchants Council in 934 AC included many references to the rights of immigrants, and reinforced the Darokin "Open Door" policy vis a vis Political Refugees.

--- Other than an influx of Traladarans and Thyatians at the formation of the Grand Duchy of Karameikos in 970 AC, there have been few major in-migrations in the last 100 years.

Though many a Darokin citizen can proudly claim descent from immigrants, many are more likely to identify with their Darokin antecedents.