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Varellyan Timelineby Geoff Gander
BC 4000: The region that is to become the Vulture Peninsula is a semi-tropical land with rich soils, populated by primitive Neathar tribes.
BC 3000: Blackmoor is obliterated in the Great Rain of Fire and is now the north pole. The peninsula has become drier due to its new location, and the changes in the wind directions. It is now a semi-arid land (various sources). The Neathar tribes, due to the ensuing chaos and ecological changes, migrate elsewhere.
BC 2400: A band of elves (the ancestors of the Hatwa) splits from Ilsundal’s migration, and passes through the region in search of a new home. Desperate to lighten their load, they leave behind various tools and other simple technological items.
BC 2000: Bronze Age Neathar tribes return. They discover what the elves left behind, and figure out how they work. This allows them to advance much more quickly than would otherwise be possible (partly from HW migration map). They also adopt the elvish script. Politically, they are fragmented into feuding clans, vying for control over a handful of lakes and rivers.
BC 1750: An ambitious chieftain named Tabnit uses his superior tactical knowledge to dominate the two other largest clans. He proclaims himself ordained by the Immortals to lead all the people, crowns himself king, and names his kingdom Varellya (Land of Our Destiny). He digs the first irrigation canals and names his capital city after himself. By this time, the Varellyans have progressed to the Iron Age.
BC 1600: Varellya conquers the last of the rival clans. Tabnit’s descendant, Maharbaal, embarks upon a plan to extend the irrigation canals across the entire peninsula.
BC 1500: With an expanding population and growing towns, the Varellyans begin to move inland and out to sea. The Isle of Cestia is discovered by the renowned adventurer named Androk – word of this discovery reaches the capital.
BC 1490: The first Varellyan colonists arrive on the southwestern shores of Cestia, founding the town of Androkia – the entire island will also bear this name. The region that was first settled by the Varellyans will eventually become the xenophobic kingdom of Androkia, which Haldemar will discover in the modern era (some elements of Dragon #157, HW migration map). Contact and trade is established with the Oceanians.
BC 1400: The Varellyans have thinly settled the littoral between their peninsula and Androkia, and a few ports of note are founded. Contact – mostly peaceful – is made with indigenous peoples on the fringes of the Arpytian Savannah.
BC 1314: Explorers venture deep into the Aryptian Savannah, and return bearing tales of prosperous short folk (the hin) on the far side, as well as what appears to the a great sea (the Adakkian Sound). King Prial, slightly mad and very eager to expand his holdings, orders the conquest of the interior and the establishment of a port (to be named in his honour) on the other sea within 20 years. Several decades of vicious war erupt with the plains folk who live on the fringes of the kingdom, which ultimately result in thousands of people being enslaved, or expelled into the dry interior.
BC 1300: The hin, facing pressures from increasingly organised humanoid tribes, abandon their homes and sail north. The Varellyan expeditionary force manages to seize enough coastal territory to establish a stronghold, which they name Priallus in honour of their king. Messengers report that the “vicious” hin have been subdued. The king proclaims Varellya an empire, and dies in his sleep, contented.
BC 1290: King Prial II orders 10,000 people inland to colonise Priallus. Many settle on the fringes of the recently-cleared Aryptian Savannah; just over 1,000 people reach the outpost, which is little more than a small fortress in the middle of a swampy jungle. Its only link to Varellya is a single trail winding through the interior, dotted with the occasional trading post – some of which are attacked by the tribes that have been relocated.
BC 1200: The Oceanians are suddenly attacked by the Night Dragons. Many of the survivors flee to Cestia, where they are sheltered by the locals (HW migration map). They soon establish communities of their own in the north.
BC 1150: The humanoid tribes living near Priallus, facing pressures of their own, migrate to the coastal region. The colonists resist as best they can, but there are too few. The garrison sends word to the capital, begging for aid. The imperial court, which has become increasingly isolated from the rest of the realm, never receives the message. By this time, the Varellyan emperor is wreathed in so much glory he is revered as a god.
BC 1100: The colonists abandon Priallus. Terrified court officials forge reports that the colony is prospering.
BC 1065: The tribes of the interior mount a united attack against the Varellyans. Some frontier forts, and dozens of villages, are overwhelmed. The imperial court orders a counterattack, but word of the setback reaches Emperor Philosir, who has his generals executed and replaced by men he feels he can trust. The tide of battle shifts even more in favour of the tribes.
BC 1020: The tribes have regained most of their ancestral lands. Many Varellyans living in the region abandon their towns and villages for the relative safety of the fortified ports.
BC 1004: Emperor Tabnit VII orders his armies to retake the interior lands. In retaliation, the tribes launch an invasion of their own, in which they systematically raze settlements and slaughter the inhabitants.
BC 998: The emperor orders every household to send one son into battle. The Oceanian-descended communities in Cestia refuse to comply, claiming that the war is not theirs. The emperor orders the governor of the province to deal with the problem. The governor sends troops into the northern communities to round up young men for service, but these are attacked by village militias. The conflict escalates steadily.
BC 970: Cestia is in the throes of civil war, as the largely Oceanian-descended northern communities band together to defend themselves against the Varellyan-descended south. The unintended consequence of this is that the loyal southern regions are now unable to send troops to the embattled mainland.
BC 952: The port of Badghaan falls to the interior tribes. A handful of terrified survivors reach Varellya proper, spreading a wave of panic.
BC 940: After more than thirty years of war, Cestia is devastated, and local authority breaks down entirely. The emperor and his court, focused on the conflict closer to home, do nothing. A dark age ensues.
BC 926: With both sides exhausted by war, an uneasy truce is forged. Badghaan is rebuilt, but never regains its former glory.
BC 900: Some Varellyans, dissatisfied with their nation’s decline, leave for Priallus in the hope that it still exists, and is uncorrupted. Discovering the truth, they undertake a perilous journey through the Brasol Range and reach the southwestern coast of Davania by BC 800. They build a new nation there (modified HW migration map).
BC 873: Empress Arishat dies without issue. The provincial governors try to select one of their own to replace her, but none will submit to another. Within a few years the “empire” dissolves into a collection of petty kingdoms. The Varellyans turn inwards, and lose almost all contact with Cestia.
BC 500: Cestia emerges from its dark age. Four kingdoms (Androkia, Morovoay, Manakara, and Ambiroa) have arisen. Their borders are relatively stable, and an uneasy truce exists between them. Androkia is the only kingdom where Varellyans are still found. The latter, remembering that they once ruled the whole island, have become highly xenophobic (Dragon #155 modified).
BC 127: King Eshumunazar of Arnuun has a series of dreams of Varellya in its glory, where he meets the legendary King Tabnit. Determined to revive the empire, he musters his armies. The dreams are actually sent by Thanatos, who enjoyed the chaos created by Varellya’s first collapse (which he did not cause), and is determined to orchestrate an even greater downfall.
AC 14: The Varellyan Peninsula is once again united, under King Hasdrubal. His armies march on the remaining littoral strongholds. The latter, which have been independent city-states for centuries, call on the interior tribes for aid.
AC 31: Badghaan is destroyed by the Varellyans. Shuuriit and Yariin, the only remaining holdouts, band together, and with the aid of the plains tribes manage to defeat the Varellyans. Hasdrubal vows to destroy the cities.
AC 59: King Eshumunazar II carries out his father’s vow, but in doing so exhausts his armies to the point that they must withdraw to the peninsula. His advisors counsel him to abandon thoughts of empire, and care for what remains. The king follows their advice, and concentrates on repairing the neglected irrigation canals and other works.
AC 415: Ossir is crowned king of Varellya at the age of ten, in a time of relative stability. There is peace with the plains tribes, contact has been established with the Cestian nations, and adventurers have set out to find news of the old colonies.
AC 438: The twin princes Abatu and Lothir are born to King Ossir amid a time of plenty. News of a successful Varellyan colony in the far southwest reaches the capital.
AC 465: Crown Prince Abatu kidnaps his aging father and declares him dead, claiming the throne for himself. Lothir, an accomplice in the kidnapping, questions his brother's claim to the throne. A civil war ensues, in which Abatu conjures up a fiend from the Sphere of Entropy to eliminate his brother, but is unable to control it. The fiend ruins Varellya's irrigation system, and curses the land, beginning the process of desertification. The war and subsequent devastation kills most of the population (modified Dragon #157). The survivors scatter to the winds – some settle in the city-states of the Meghala Kimata plain. Others reach their distant cousins in southwestern Davania.
AC 550: By this time Varellya has become a desert, dotted with the ruins attesting to its former glory. Those who died in the war begin to come back as nagpas.
AC 965: Haldemar visits the Vulture Peninsula (as Varellya is now called), and learns a fragment of its great history (Dragon #157).