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Origin of the Espans

by James Mishler

I was curious as to whether anyone else has delved into the origin of the Espan peoples? The book simply states that they were Thyatian colonists, of a sub-culture of the Kerendan peoples, and that they had a strong wanderlust as a cultural trait. This never sat too well by me; it seemed that the Espan culture was so greatly divergent from that of the Thyatians (mirroring the real world relation between the Byzantines and the Spanish) that I felt that I should delve a bit more into the history of this people. What I found was quite interesting. You see, the Espans are indeed descended from peoples of Kerendas, however they took a long and winding path to reach their destiny on the Savage Coast.

Many hundreds of years ago (ca. AC 250) Thyatis colonized the southern reaches of what is now known as Ylaruam. Many of the colonists were from the Duchy of Kerendas; the Kerendans found the sparse land to be to their liking, and the upland plains were the perfect region for raising horses (as the Ylari have shown to this day). For several hundred years the Thyatian/Kerendan colonists thrived in their new land, however, the wars between the Thyatian and Alphatian colonies drove many of the Kerendan colonists deeper into the desert regions. There, they adapted many of the ways of the local Alasiyan tribes... and though there were intermarriages, they remained a culture apart. This caused no end of difficulty with the other Thyatian colonists, so by AC 600 they came to be regarded as a people seperate and distinct from their Kerendan cousins. The lowland Thyatian colonists began to call them the "Espadi", which in the local dialect of Thyatian meant "The People of the Sword", as the Kerendan colonists would always carry their long swords, as compared to the more common Thyatian short sword (long swords were of more use on horseback). Anti-Thyatian sentiment among the Alasiyans grew during that century; unfortunately, the relationship between the Alasiyans and the Espadi soured, as the two groups were coming at odds more and more over the same grazing lands. It all came to a head in AC 728, when the majority of the Espadi warriors were mercenaries on the Thyatian side of a colonial war and the Alasiyans were mercenaries with the Alphatians. The Thyatians and Espadi won the battle, but the Espadi lost the war. Thyatian atrocities committed against the Alasiyan mercenaries created an anti-Espadi fervor among the Alasiyans. The resulting raids and attacks on the Espadi nearly destroyed their society. The remaining Espadi sought assistance from the Thyatians; what they got was an offer to settle in other territories. With nowhere else to turn, the Espadi accepted the Thyatian offer.

The Espadi were granted lands in Provincia Septentriona. Most settled in the plains and hills of the north; some moved to the more settled regions between the sea and the forests. They found that they had much in common with the local peoples. The Amanceria (the urban, coastal folk(Italian, after a fashion)) were of Thyatian descent, with a long tradition of independence; and the Caerda (the rural forest folk (Celtic, after a fashion)) were semi-nomadic. Over the next century the three cultures mingled and merged, so that by AC 850 they regarded themselves as one people, the Ispa (the word Espadi was softened by the linguistic influence of the Amanceria, a more poetic, soft spoken folk). About this time the Thyatians began to put the squeeze on the peoples of Septentriona; the Ispans were entirely too independent for the Emperor's liking, and the last thing he wanted was a weak southern flank at a time when he was consolidating his grip on the Isle of Dawn. Higher taxes and harsh treatment at the hands of the Thyatian Legionaires led to further unrest and organized insurrection (led by the now legendary warrior, El Espada Zorro "The Cunning Sword") . Finally, in AC 893 the Emperor gave the Ispan peoples an ultimatum: Flee or Perish. Knowing they could not withstand the full might of the Thyatian Legions, the Ispans sent representatives to deal with the Emperor; not realy wanting to waste the time and effort to destroy the Ispans, Gabronius IV listened to their proposal. The Ispan representatives proposed that the Empire fund the migration of the entire Ispan people, a plan that would be more efficient and less costly than a protracted guerrilla war; the last thing the Empire needed was to look weak in the eyes of the Alphatians. The offer was very tempting, but of course the Emperor could not accept it at first. The Ispan representatives and the Emperors councillors argued and debated for five years while the Ispans made preparations for migration or war. In the end, the Emperor agreed. Ispan scout/adventurers had explored the Savage Coast several years before, and it was decided that the region that is now the Savage Baronies would be their destination. In AC 898 the entire Ispan nation began the long trek to the west... and the rest, as they say, is history...