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Lhomarr in the Hollow Worldby Geoff Gander
Arrival in the Hollow World
Upon their arrival on the continent of Suridal, the Lhomarrians found themselves in a land much like their old one, except that the skies were red, and the sun never set. Pergamnos was made a temporary capital, pending the construction of a new palace to house the young emperor, Timorian (he was the youngest son of the final emperor before the sinking of Lhomarr, who happened to be in Pergamnos when it was sent to the Hollow World). Construction and settlement proceeded quickly, until a new capital city, Calimnis, could be founded on the shores of the Bay of Lokam in BC 7015. The palace was not completed until BC 6992, when Timorian was already well into adulthood. Exploration of the continent proceeded soon afterwards, and it was found that they were currently inhabiting the central portion of the continent, near the "western" coast - by surface reckoning (the absence of a setting sun played havoc upon their navigational skills, but they adapted).
The Lhomarrians were not alone in this new world, for small group of Ilarnnians had also been swept up along with them. They, too, wondered at their new home, and stayed near the Lhomarrians, for protection and for a sense of continuity. Before long, they migrated north, and founded their own villages and towns, but remained closely allied with the Lhomarrians, to the extent that, when a new Lhomarrian nation, known as "Selhomarr" (New Land of the Sea), was formed, the Ilarnnians willingly joined it as an autonomous region. This was, in fact, a continuation of the relationship they enjoyed with the Lhomarrians on the surface. As Ka and Ixion saw no danger of the loss of Ilarnnian culture, this was permitted. For over 800 years on the surface world the Ilarnnians had lived within the confines of the Lhomarrian sphere, and had maintained their language, culture, and a good relationship with their larger neighbour. Never being very numerous, and sharing many traditions with the Lhomarrians, the Neathar-descended Ilarnnians had almost become Lhomarrian themselves, in many ways, by the time they were sent to the Hollow World, though different enough to see themselves as distinct.
The largest difference between the two was the relative absence of wanderlust among the Ilarnnians. While the Lhomarrians were intensely curious about what lay over the next hill, the Ilarnnians were content to look within themselves and be satisfied with what they had at the present. Thus the Ilarnnians largely remained within their towns, looking after their own affairs, and confident that, if there were any threats in the outside world, the Lhomarrians would deal with them. Ilarnnian towns were clean, prosperous, safe places to live, where everyone found satisfying work. Ilarnnians also found their way to power within the new Lhomarrian state. Where Lhomarrians made up the bulk of the explorers, soldiers, and citizenry, the Ilarnnians were often the top bureaucrats, diplomats, and administrators. Whenever a dispute arose between two provinces, the often impartial and objective Ilarnnians sent a magistrate to hear the case and deliver judgement. So these roles solidified with the assistance of the Spell of Preservation, such that few citizens of Selhomarr question how things are now run.
Encountering no other cultures, the Lhomarrians and Ilarnnians concluded that they were the only peoples on this new world, or at least on their continent. They had also determined that Xeron, their chief god (another name for Ixion) had favoured them by saving their lives. Determined not to fail him, they made extra efforts to live justly and to take no more than what they needed. Over the centuries, Suridal had been mapped out, as well as the surrounding islands. With each newly discovered land, their sailors saw another island, or piece of coastline, farther away. By BC 5000, a great continent had been discovered, far to the "west". There, explorers discovered tribes of primitive humans, who communicated in a guttural language. They were at suspicious of the newcomers from over the sea, but they soon were able to establish that the strange sailors meant them no harm. That party of explorers stayed among the Brute-Men for the next fifteen years, learning their language. Soon afterwards, the party returned home, full of tales of other inhabitants on this world, as well as spreading knowledge of the Brute-Man tongue.
The Time of Growth
Millennia passed, a sporadic meetings took place between the Lhomarrians and the Brute-Men, and also with Neathar tribes, who had arrived in the Hollow World not long before a Lhomarrian visit to Iciria in BC 3300. At these meetings, valuables were exchanged, as well as tales. Thus, the Lhomarrians were kept informed as to what was going on in Iciria, albeit sporadically. With the coming of the Neathar, the Lhomarrians also acquired knowledge of the language of those people, a move by Ixion to ensure that the Lhomarrians would be able to communicate with their neighbours. This period was also marked by a steady growth of the Lhomarrian culture on Suridal, which had covered one-third of Suridal's landmass by BC 5200. Great civic works were built, such as roads, aqueducts, sewers, canals for irrigation, and statues. Within three centuries, no settlement with a population greater than 1,000 people was without running water of some sort, and smaller settlements were always a short distance away from places that had such amenities.
Accompanying this time of growth was also a time of increased contacts. In BC 2800, a Lhomarrian expedition, while exploring the "western" coasts of Iciria, came upon a people who called themselves the Azca. Although their reception by the villagers was courteous, local priests had deemed the newcomers to be infidels, and ordered the local militia to kill them. Although many Lhomarrians escaped, they did not forget what happened to those who were not so lucky, and spread the word about the inhospitability of the Azcan leadership. To this day, no Lhomarrian sailor will willingly sail in Azcan waters, nor will they have any dealings with them.
It was also around this time that certain Lhomarrian sages felt an incredible urge to voyage to Iciria, and from there to the World Spine mountains. This was in fact prodding from Ka for the greatest Lhomarrian sages of the day to make their way to the Lighthouse, where they would join like-minded people from other cultures to preserve the lore of the Hollow World. These sages were the first Lhomarrians to go, and those people recruited their replacements later on, beginning a period of formal Lhomarrian involvement in the affairs of their world.
In BC 2347, another Lhomarrian expedition landed on the southern coasts of Iciria, and there encountered the Tanagoro people. The initial meeting, although strained due to a lack of understanding, was peaceful enough, once the Lhomarrians had established that they had no territorial designs upon the Tanagoro. They exchanged gifts, and news of recent happenings, over subsequent visits. Although contact between the two remains infrequent, no animosity has existed.
No Longer Distant
Only once in their entire history in the Hollow World did the Lhomarrians ever see another people come to their own shores. In BC 1590, a small fleet of Antalian ships crossed the Sea of Rax from Iciria to land near the Lhomarrian port of Nevora, which was then sacked and burned by the raiders. Few people died in the raid, but many homes were destroyed, and countless relics disappeared into the sacks of strangers. The Antalians managed to flee before an organized response could be sent, but the deed had been done. The next year, empress Disana assembled a council of her top generals, and discussed the prospect of such an attack happening again. They all agreed that Selhomarr had grown too complacent in its relative isolation, and must take steps to ensure that its security did not become threatened. It was decided that more frequent envoy missions be sent out into the world, as it appeared to them that more and more cultures were making themselves known. Unlike the peoples of the mainland, the Lhomarrians and Ilarnnians had nowhere to run if their island continent came under a concerted attack. They also decided to send out regular naval patrols to scout the Seas of Rax and Keleb within a 100 mile range of the coast, in order to ensure a buffer zone within which no hostile forces could gather.
Within two years' time a Lhomarrian patrol encountered another group of Antalian raiders, whose longships were unmistakable. The Lhomarrians chased their enemies down, and captured the crews of those ships they did not sink. They allowed one crew to take one of the surviving Antalian ships back to their homeland, where they could warn their masters not to attack Selhomarr ever again, or face dire consequences. They were also sent with the message that the other surviving sailors would be held indefinitely if the riches taken from Nevora were not returned. Those who were captured were imprisoned, but treated well.
Within a year, one of the more powerful Antalian warlords sent a delegation to Selhomarr, both to claim the captured warriors and to return what remained of the loot. The exchange was civil, and from this meeting a more peaceful relationship developed. Although incidences of Antalian raiding still occurred from time to time, they recognised that, beneath their "soft" exteriors, the Lhomarrians were not a people to be trifled with, and were indeed quite capable of defending themselves. The Lhomarrians, for their own part, learned about the fragmented nature of Antalian society, and that peace with one warlord did not necessarily mean the same arrangement with others. So it has remained to this day, that about one-quarter of the Antalian populace is at peace with the Lhomarrians, with whom they trade their furs and crafts for those of Lhomarrian make.
The Second Period of Exploration
Emperor Haldassos, an emperor of note during the history of the imperial dynasty in the Hollow World, took it upon himself, in BC 895, to commission a comprehensive exploration of the world, thus far not undertaken. In the past, exploration of many of Iciria's coasts had been done, but not so extensively that useful maps had been drawn of the areas. By BC 893, a large fleet of ships, with non-perishable trade goods, diplomatic envoys, soldiers, and cartographers left Selhomarr. They set sail near the end of that year, the majority headed for Iciria, and the remainder sailing further "east", to the continent of Jomphur, which had been briefly visited long before, but not explored extensively.
In BC 891, a Lhomarrian expedition penetrated far enough into Iciria to make formal contact with the Kogolor Dwarves. An envoy was posted in the capital city of Kolmstat, and formal trade relations were concluded in BC 890. In exchange for dwarven stonemasonry skills, the Lhomarrians would provide rare spices, preserved fish, and fine woodworking.
In BC 890 as well, a party on the other side of Iciria made contact with Jennite herdsmen. They had stopped near the shores on their way towards a meeting with the Tanagoro, and encountered a clan of Jennites who had migrated to the coast, the first of their people to do so (hence, the reason why they had not been encountered before). After it was found that Neathar was a language both could understand, the formalities of opening relations between the two people was carried out. In exchange for rare spices and fine bronze weaponry, the Lhomarrians received many fine horses, which they took home with them.
This period of peace continued for many centuries more, until, by AC 100, the Lhomarrians had met the Nithians, the Milenians, and the Krugel Hordes. The Nithians were first encountered in BC 393, when an expedition commissioned by empress Jehannia came across some Nithian fishermen in Lake Menkor, who reacted with surprise. That same day the explorers were conducted to the capital city of Tarthis, where they met the local priests and elders, who determined that the Lhomarrians meant them no harm. Since then, a peaceful, albeit sporadic, relationship exists between the two cultures, who trade in magical research and foodstuffs.
The Krugel Hordes were first encountered in BC 287, when another Lhomarrian expedition landed on the shores of the Sea of Eadh in order to replenish some supplies. They found themselves in a barren land, apparently devoid of inhabitants. Before long, a roving group of Krugel orcs happened upon them, and tried to drive them away. The Lhomarrians fought back, and decimated the orcs. Word spread quickly among the various orcish tribes of a strange group of humans from over the sea, who were dangerous. Although the Lhomarrians never returned to those shores, the orcs have always maintained a detachment to keep watch over the sea, fearful that humans could appear so suddenly and do so much damage, as the memory of the Battle of Sardal Pass was fresh in their memories. Should the Lhomarrians ever return, they would find concerted resistance to any explorations further inland, but would not be harassed should they remain on the coast.
In AC 227, another expedition under the command of emperor Xanthos was restocking depleted supplies on what is now the Island of Amora, which had not been visited for many centuries. Upon landing on the shores, the expedition members saw some figures in the distance converging on their ship, the only large object near the otherwise empty shoreline. These figures soon resolved themselves into local Milenian farmers and shepherds, who had seen the strange-looking ship approach their island many hours before, and had waited until it finally came to shore. Both groups found they had the Neathar tongue in common, and they used it to convey who they were and where they were from. After initial stories and pleasantries were exchanged, the Lhomarrians were surprised to find that they shared many cultural similarities with these people - more so than most other peoples they had met thus far during their time in the Hollow World. Over the following years, a friendly relationship developed between the Lhomarrians and the Milenians, but it was tempered by the reluctance of the Lhomarrians to take the Milenians' side in their disputes with the Jennites, who also happened to be on friendly terms with the Lhomarrians.
Indeed, the Lhomarrians were dismayed to find that so many of the different peoples in this new world were seemingly in perpetual conflict with each other, such that they could not logically take anyone's side, at the risk of jeopardising ties with other peoples. This dilemma has dimmed some people's views of the Lhomarrians over time, since they have proven themselves reluctant to take anyone's side against another.
The Modern Era
With the arrival of the Shahjapurans and the Merry Pirates since AC 0, the Lhomarrians have met almost every culture that has arrived in the Hollow World, with the exception of the Oltecs, the Schattenalfen, the Gentle Folk, the Kubitts, the Beastmen, the Malpheggi Lizard Men, the Icevale and Blacklore Elves, and the Traldar. They have listened to the tales from each friendly people as to how they arrived on the world, and have been amazed that each of these people came from a world so much like their old one, of which many legends are still told. Of course, the vast majority of Lhomarrians believe that their own world was destroyed when their old continent sank, so any legends of sunken continents from these other people must be coincidental.
In general, the Lhomarrians bear no ill will towards any other people, and will go to great pains to avoid conflict; for the memories of the old wars with the Carnifex of Y'hog are retold to each generation, and details of each battle are still meticulously kept. Such is their aversion to war that they will refuse to involve themselves in the conflicts on Iciria. Those foolish enough to attack Selhomarr will pay with their lives, however, as memories of the wars with Y'hog are also rich in the accounts of the destruction of the old nations of Davania.
As implied earlier, the Lhomarrians are generally accepted most places they go, not only because of their generally non-threatening nature; but also due to the fact that it is widely known they will not take sides in any dispute, due to their diplomatic position. This perception is a double-edged sword, however, because many people also see them as aloof of other people's affairs, and uncaring of anything outside their own sphere. Some even resent the Lhomarrians for their geographical distance - secure as they appear to be on their own continent half a world away - and consider any involvement by them to be unnecessary interference. Such perceptions are relatively rare, but many view the Lhomarrians with some degree of suspicion. After all, they are located far away (and who knows what they do in their own land?), they have a foreign culture, and they claim to have been on this world for millennia.
Such suspicions and suppositions even extend to their homeland, which is either viewed as a mighty empire poised to conquer the world, an idyllic paradise that only the Lhomarrians can safely find, a nightmarish realm that the Lhomarrians wish to keep secret, or some combination of the three.
This, then, is how the Lhomarrians developed in the Hollow World - as a people wanting to get involved in the world, but at the same time held back by geography, history, and by cultural differences.
Summary Timeline of Lhomarrian History in the Hollow World
Below is a timeline summarising the more important events in the history of the Lhomarrians in the Hollow World:
BC 7022: Some Lhomarrians are rescued by Ka the Preserver and are sent to their new home, on the continent of Suridal. The entire town of Pergamnos is taken, along with several thousand Lhomarrians and Ilarnnians. Young Timorian is now emperor of the Lhomarrians, having been in Pergamnos at the time of the sinking. Pergamnos is also made the temporary capital of the new realm.
BC 7015: The new capital city of Calimnis is founded on the shores of the Bay of Lokam.
BC 6992: The Imperial Palace is completed. It is a veritable work of art, and an almost perfect replica of the old palace at Regemnon, the original capital.
BC 6920: By this time the Ilarnnians have migrated to the northern shores of the Bay of Lokam, where they found their own communities in order to maintain their culture and traditions. This is also encouraged by Ka, as it ensures greater cultural diversity in the Hollow World.
BC 6912: The Empire of "Selhomarr" (New Land of the Sea) is officially created, although it has existed in the peoples' hearts for decades now. The Ilarnnians on the north shore, recognising their historical ties with the Lhomarrians, willingly join the new nation as an autonomous region. Both ethnic groups agree to share a common currency, obey similar laws, and recognise the Lhomarrian emperor as the sovereign. Apart from that, the Ilarnnians are free to administer their region as they see fit.
BC 6730: At this time, the entire Tylerian Peninsula (the large peninsula that juts into the Bay of Lokam from the south) has been settled by towns and villages of varying sizes. Some settlers head south, towards the Lhomarrian Range (the mountains along the "southeastern" - by surface reckoning - coast of Suridal).
BC 6400: Many Lhomarrian settlements have by now been established along the northern shore of the Bay of Lokam. The Ilarnnians are no longer cut off from the rest of the empire, and are, in fact, surrounded by it.
BC 6022: The thousandth anniversary of what the Lhomarrians and Ilarnnians call "The Homecoming" is commemorated. All year long, songs are sung of old Lhomarr, and of the battles against the Carnifex of Y'hog. The mark the occasion, some carefully preserved seeds, taken from the Holy Grove of the Great Temple of Xeron in Regemnon just before the sinking of Lhomarr, are planted along the central highlands of the Tylerian Peninsula. This land most resembles old Lhomarr in climate and layout. From these seeds grow the Great Forest of Marinnir.
BC 5800: The Great Forest of Marinnir has become a living landmark, open to all citizens of the empire, no matter what their social station. The great oaks and Dillianora (a type of tree found only in old Lhomarr) are hundreds of feet in height, and of great width. Empress Camindria, by imperial edict, forbids the harming of any tree in this forest, as they are sacred. She also commissions the main druidic order to care for the forest, a task they accept.
BC 5467: The city of Annurios is founded, on the "eastern" coast of the Bay of Lokam. This is the easternmost extent of Selhomarr.
BC 5300: Suridal has been fully mapped out by this time. Explorers are now venturing out into the Seas of Rax and Keleb.
BC 5250: The uninhabited Wintlian Islands have been visited by the Lhomarrians, mapped, and left behind.
BC 5236: The southern coast of Aerical is reached by the Lhomarrians. As these shores are very mountainous and severe, they elect to return home, believing that no one could possibly live there. They are also short on supplies, making further explorations of the continent impossible.
BC 5200: By this time Selhomarr has attained its present borders, centring largely around the Bay of Lokam. Ka ensures that the Lhomarrians do not expand any further. Any settlements that appear outside these borders tend to be destroyed by the elements or by rampaging animals, or they simply disappear. Ixion also sends a message to his priests that the lands they occupy now are all they are to be allotted in this new world. This message is taken as the Word of Xeron, and, by order of the emperor, further settlements outside the current borders are forbidden. Attention is now paid to developing the lands already possessed, in order to maximise their use.
BC 5000: The continent of Iciria is discovered by Lhomarrian sailors. Over the next few weeks, inroads are made into the mainland, where groups of Brute-Men are encountered. After initial suspicions are overcome, the meeting becomes friendly. The Lhomarrians are grateful to have met anyone at all, and do not think about trying to elevate the Brute-Men out of their primitive state. The explorers take back with them, after a 15-year stay, gifts from the Brute-Men, as well as knowledge of their language. This information will be studied by Lhomarrian scholars for decades to come. This is also a period of cultural development in Selhomarr. Roads are built, and aqueducts stretch across the countryside - integrating the entire empire.
BC 4000: The Lhomarrians visit the Brute-Men many more times by this time, learning that, for some reason, the Brute-Men seem to prefer their own, more primitive weapons and items to those offered by the Lhomarrians. This is, in fact, the Spell of Preservation at work, although the Lhomarrians do not know this. The two peoples nevertheless manage to set up a trade in certain goods, such as the preserved foods made by the Lhomarrians for the simple, but attractive, jewellery of the Brute-Men. This trade is appreciated, but each group still prefers its own products (although the preserved fish saves the lives of some Brute-Men during poor hunting seasons) .
BC 3300: The Neathar are encountered by the Lhomarrians. They note that the Neathar are a fragmented, but more advanced people. Ixion ensures the Lhomarrians learn the Neathar tongue, so that they will be able to communicate more easily with other peoples. Trade is established with the Neathar as well, and tales are exchanged with them. The Lhomarrians now have two sources of news for events on Iciria.
BC 2800: A Lhomarrian expedition meets a group of Azcans while exploring the "western" costs of Iciria. Although the people themselves seem quite friendly, the local priests deem the Lhomarrians infidels, and have the local militia try to kill them. Most of the party escapes, but the memory of this event does not die quickly, such that, today, no Lhomarrian will willingly sail near the Azcan empire, nor will they do business with them. It is also around this time that leading Lhomarrian sages hear the call of Ka the Preserver in their sleep, and head, by his guidance, to the Lighthouse, where they meet other knowledgeable people from the other inhabitants of the Hollow World. Ka has determined that the Lhomarrians are ready to play a part on the protection of the world's lore, and its cultures.
BC 2347: The Tanagoro are encountered in southern Iciria. The meeting is friendly, although awkward due to cultural differences. Once it is established that the Lhomarrians have no territorial designs upon the Tanagoro, tensions ease. Gifts are exchanged, as is news of local events.
BC 1590: After almost a thousand years of quiet, the Selhomarr is attacked for the first time since the arrival of the Lhomarrians in the Hollow World. A small fleet of Antalian sailing ships, exploring uncharted waters, lands near the northern town of Nevora. It is sacked and burned, although relatively few people are killed (most fled their homes upon sight of the armed strangers). News of the event reaches nearby settlements within hours, although the raiders are long gone before concerted resistance can be brought to bear.
BC 1589: Empress Disana, along with a council of Lhomarrian generals and princes, decides that Selhomarr has grown too complacent in its isolation, and that it was not prepared for any military emergency. As a result, the standing army is increased, and patrols of the surrounding waters, to a distance of 100 miles, are stepped up.
BC 1588: A small Antalian fleet, thinking that Selhomarr would be an easy raid (news of the raid on Nevora spread quickly throughout the Antalian settlements), runs afoul of a Lhomarrian patrol. After a fierce battle, half of the raiders' ships are sunk, and one ship and its crew are allowed to return home, with the message that the other survivors would be held indefinitely unless the plunder from Nevora was returned. They were also told that any further raids on Selhomarr would be dealt with harshly. The prisoners are taken to Selhomarr, where they are treated well. The Lhomarrians learn about Antalian society during this time. Later this year, another group of Antalians comes to Selhomarr under a truce to take back the prisoners, and to return what remains of the treasure. Neutral relations develop with this group of Antalians.
BC 1550: By this time the occasional raid by Antalians has occurred, but the Lhomarrians realise that, because of their fragmented nature, total peace with these people is impossible.
BC 895: Emperor Haldassos commissions a comprehensive exploration of the world, which will fill in some gaps on the Lhomarrian maps, as well as update their information.
BC 893: The great exploration fleet, now provisioned, sets sail. Half of the ships go "west" towards Iciria, and the other half go "east" towards Jomphur.
BC 891: Contact with the Kogolor dwarves is established. Relations are friendly, with formal relations being concluded the next year.
BC 890: Contact with the Jennites is made. Both are able to communicate in the Neathar tongue, and an exchange of gifts is made.
BC 500: By this time much of the Hollow World has been mapped out by the Lhomarrians, and volumes of texts are written on the various flora, fauna, and peoples encountered.
BC 393: Empress Jehannia commissions another fleet to voyage to Iciria, which had not been visited for over 100 years. The Nithians are contacted on this voyage, and formal relations develop, which are largely peaceful.
BC 287: The Krugel orcs are encountered for the first time, after the orcs tried to attack some Lhomarrians who had landed on nearby shores to replenish supplies. The orcs lose the fight, and, although no Lhomarrians are met again, they remain watchful for further Lhomarrian activity, fearing their might.
AC 227: Contact with the Milenians is established. The two cultures find they have much in common, and a peaceful relationship develops.
AC 1000: The present day. The Lhomarrians have successfully avoided involvement in the major conflicts of Iciria, but because of this they are seen as a distant and aloof people by others. The people of Selhomarr realise that, in order to dispel these beliefs, they would have to take an active role in Icirian affairs, something they feel would be resented, and would cost them the friendship, or at least neutrality, of several peoples. They have also encountered the Shahjapurans and the Merry Pirates by this time, but no one else.