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Chronicles of Nentsun
CHAPTER ONE: ANCIENT HISTORYby Giulio Caroletti
This Strange Engine
At the time of the Great Rain of Fire, there was, south-east of Thonia, a population known as the Nasuuan, of mixed Afridhi and Thonian ethnicity. The Nasuuans were a half-barbaric nation who survived by primitive farming and occasional barter. (3,000 BC)
Although Nasuua was distant enough from Blackmoor to survive, the axis shift resulted in a new position for the territory, who ended up located in the cold northern territories. The Nasuuans remained indisturbed in their territories for centuries, simply struggling for survival, living a semi-nomadic existance in a small and uninfluent corner of the planet. (3,000-2,500 BC)
However, Ierain Klee, a candidate to Immortality in the Sphere of Energy who had been a priest in late Blackmoor, saw these barbarians as the perfect subjects for his Testimony: he wanted to change them into a more civilized population, by the transformation of their cold and barren land. Klee had been a brilliant scientist, before converting to priesthood, and searched the ancient Blackmoorian Empire's lands hoping to find a power engine that he could use to warm artificially the lands of Nasuua. When he discovered the engine, he altered it magically, and then he created nine minor engines connected to the first, and put them in strategic areas of Nasuua. However, Klee was worried by the possibility that the engine could explode. He didn't want the Nasuuans to know the nature of the engine, because he didn't want technology to destroy Mystara, but on the other side, he had used technology, against his own believes, to help the population. (2,300 BC)
It's a hard road
It was no problem to accomplish his Task, as no high level cleric was present in Nasuua, after the technological delirium of Blackmoor. Klee had already completed his Quest, and his Immortal Patron, Simurgh, told him that the work with the engine had earned him success in the Trial. He had changed the lands of Nasuua...but to complete the Testimony, he had to recruit six apprentices. Klee took a long time before making his choice and taking his decision. He decided that these apprentices could understand and follow his footsteps, and care for the land. However, he didn't want to let them know everything. And he needed ten men, one for every device. Having become king of the unified Nasuuans, Klee left a land who had slowly begun its rise to civilization. He was intending to search carefully for the ten men, as he saw no worthy in Nasuua. Protected from aging by Simurgh, Klee wandered through the planet for decades, and found proud and honest men, devoted to their people. Claiming to be the messenger of the Immortals, Klee helped many tribes, villages, cities and nations, claiming as his payment the rule over them. In 1,950 BC, he returned to Nasuua, and brought with him entire tribes. Meanwhile, he had kept the chosen men in a perpetual slumber, and he had controlled the situation of the villages he "protected".
In the meantime, in Nasuua there had been several changes. The Nasuuans had grown, and they had begun to organize themselves in definite tribes, who often warred each other. The arrival of strangers was a hard blow to the peace of the region. Although most tribes and villages had begun to worship Klee as an Immortal, that was not enough to unite the populations of Nasuua into one land.
Klee saw this, and decided to use all his efforts to prepare the ten disciples to the task he had assigned them to. For the moment, the engine was not very active, and he could control it without great trouble.
Klee and his ten men travelled from city to village to tribe, taking control of the land, and proclaiming that he was their god, and he had to be worshipped. Then he ascended as the Immortal Nentsun, and left his ten disciples with the indications for the new organization of the land. (1,706 BC)
For the first, the name of the new land would change into Nentsun. A new name was needed, because Nasuua was the symbol of the main population, but created problems of integration with the other few groups; the name of their god, Nentsun, suited the purpose.
Secondly, the land was divided into ten duchies, each ruled by one of the disciples of Klee-Nentsun. At the time, the lands of Nentsun occupied a territory who was of about twice the size of current Karameikos. The population was made of about 30,000 men, 28,000 of whom were Nasuuans. The ten dukes controlled each a device, and with their intervention, the engine worked better, and the agricolture's productivity increased.
Caution Radiation Area
The situation remained stable for about five centuries. The dukes taught their heirs how to control the engines, and ruled more or less peacefully over the Nentsunians. The non-Nasuuans were soon integrated, and their influence on the local culture was very reduced. The population had risen to 74,000 when a danger came from the east: rakastas!
The rakastas were a nomadic and extremely savage race of feline humanoids. Led by their masters, the evil Rakshasa, and by an obscure leader known as Ghatotkaca, the rakastas came with their wakizashi of steel, and proved immediately too hard for the peaceful Nentsunians, who conquered the city of Vixen, capital of the central duchy in 1,212 BC.
During this period of war and desolation, nearly all the dukes were killed. The only two survivors, Alkyon and Jallaj, struggled to prevent problems regarding the engines, but unfortunately they were not strong enough, and during a new moon night of Flaurmont 1,201 BC, Jallai died consumed by the energies of the engine, and Alkyon, left alone to control the energies, was not able to stop them. The central engine, located in Vixen, began to emit radiations.
Alkyon fled south, because he knew what this meant. He fled to the mountains alone, and there he begun a secluded existance, praying that Simurgh and Nentsun hears his prayers of helping him to solve the radiation problem of his land.
In the meantime, dangerous radiations began to corrupt the population of Nentsun. Although the Nentsunians were only slaves of the rakasta, the radiations proved very egalitarian in the way they treated both. Children were stillborn, or were born crippled. Adults died of cancer. The only ones who seemed immune from the radiations were the rakshasa, rulers of the rakasta. After a couple of generations, the population had been halved, and no one knew the reason, because no-one knew about the engines, apart Alkyon, who, very old by then, still lived praying the Immortals in the southern mountains. The common idea was that it was a terrible disease, but clerical magic was unable to cure it. With the passing of time, the rakastas begun to think that it was the rakshasas's fault, as it was them who led them. They begun to think that the Immortals punished them because they had treated so bad the Nentsunian whom they had conquered, and it was to no use for the rakshasas to point out the fact that the humans too were dying.
In 1,149 BC it seemed that Alkyon's invocations had been listened to. A young man came from the south-western lands, a man known as Orcnad, who found his caverns and told him that a giant eagle Immortal had visited him in his dreams and told him to search for an old hermit who lived in the mountains. The Immortal had promised him to become king and lead a whole nation to a great victory against the enemies that oppressed their land.
Alkyon thanked gratefully the Immortals, and taught the young man everything he had known. He taught the man to reform the dukes of Nentsun, because only in this way the Immortals would stop to send the plague, and then he told him what was needed to control the engine. However, Alkyon didn't know that the engine caused the radiations.
Orcnad led a great revolt in Nentsun. His victorious move was to search the help of the rakastas, and in 1,146 BC the rakshasas were all killed or had left Nentsun. Orcnad was proclaimed Duke of Nentsun, and he reformed the other nine duchies, then asked the population to recognize him as king. He became the first King of Nentsun.
Soon, the radiations stopped, even if the consiquences of the radiations lasted nearly 500 years. And the Kingdom lasted for the same amount of time, while it expanded and the surrounding lands were settled by colonists, both humans and rakastas. The northern regions, where the devices worked, were called the Inner Lands, the southern, the Outer Lands. The population grew to 200,000 by the end of the millennia, and about twenty kingdoms were formed. Wars were fought, and peaceful and warlike settlers came from the east between 800 and 600 BC, belonging to the the human race of the Ursinians, descendants of a mix of Tanagoro and Afridhi. A new danger came from the southern mountains in the form of orcs and goblins. They appeared in the mountains around 900 BC, and in the following centuries they took possession of the unsettled hills and colder regions. In 632 BC, the orcs and goblins conducted a major invasion of Nentsun, destroying cities and putting an end to a couple of kingdoms. But the dukes and their heirs, who fought the hardest battle for the survival of Nentsun, managed always to resist in the lands of the Inner Circle, and Nentsun mostly thrived.
Wake up, set your sights
Around 350 BC, the orcs and goblins of the south begun a terrible civil war. Adventurers and fighters of Nentsun joined the warring tribes as mercenaries, and this led to increasingly good relations between hot-tempered adventurers, mercenaries and youths and the orcs. The goblins of Nentsun were completely annihilated, although some of them were transplanted in the Hollow World. The orc tribes that were allied with the goblins were pushed out of the hills and had to flee on the mountains, where they had to conduct a hard and miserable existance. Meanwhile, statal organizations were born in the lands of the victorious orcs, where the most adventurous humans settled too.
The orc-human kingdoms were unstable and warlike. They warred among themselves and against the southern kingdoms of the Outer Circle of Nentsun. In 123 BC, a half-orc king known as Glashow unified the city-states and baronies, and moved to conquer a big part of the Outer Circle. The central duchies and territories prepared an army to defeat Glashow, but unfortunately they were repeatadly beaten by the half-orc. Most dukes were killed, and Glashow marched triumphally in the capital city of Vixen. But his army, who had grown considerably since the beginning of his campaign of conquest, revolted under the leadership of his lieutenant Abdus. Chaos was spread in the conquered regions. And only two dukes were left, Kewd the Hawk, Duke of Weinberg, and Shrain of Vixen, although the latter was imprisoned in the tower of Abdus. Years of conflicts (and the radiation danger, although no one knew this) ended much later. Although Shrain died during the burning of the tower of Abdus, Kewd survived and managed to restore pace to part of the lands. Giving a central government to the Inner Circle, he was crowned King of Nentsun (113 BC). In the eastern conflicting lands, the Ursinians were able to restore peace, but most of the Outer Circle fell pray of brigands and orc bands. Moreover, in 94 BC the green orcs of the mountains descended to reconquest their ancestral lands, and the Outer Circle and the hill regions of the south (known by now as Glashow's Desolation), remained in chaos and unstability.
In the last century BC, Nentsun slowly recovered. The country remained mostly at peace, and no migration from other parts of Mystara came to change the status quo. The situation about 0 AC was of about twenty city-states and minor kingdoms in a region dominated by humans, but where orcs and rakastas (and half-orcs) were common, important and respected. It was in year 43 BC that Sanka the Hawk, descendant of Kewd, founded the Divine School of the Bear, devotd to form the ten masters needed to control the engine. No one remembered the existance of the engine, apart from the aristocratics, and the Divine School was open only to members of the ducal families and of other important aristocratic families of Nenstsun, but even they didn't know exactly why they protected the engines. It was a tradition, more than a duty, and unfortunately this would led to a cataclysm, the day the aristocrats in decline decided to ignore the traditions of the School. But this is another story...