Note: The following was first written in 1573, and a second extended edition was issued just last year which discussed the recent war and the period known as the Factions.
A Brief History of Elysia
By Ness Riley
Elysia's importance in the time of the Ancients may have been paramount. The deposits of archaeological sites and ancient ruins is staggering; among the richest in all the known world. It is easy to see why so many historians, archaeologists and mages take a unique interest in Elysia, and the unlocking of the mysteries of Ancients and their disappearance from prehistory.
For the Yanaka, who many suggest emigrated to Elysia from Stara Ziema many centuries ago, these sites were of utmost spiritual and cultural significance upon their arrival. They were the nothing less than the remnants of the nations of now-absent Gods.
This was all Yanaka land from that time, watched over by generations of powerful Chiefs and Shamans, and occasionally red with tribal warfare. Sometime in the 11th century the Yor held sway over all the other Yanaka peoples, but by the 12th century they had been annihilated by a vengeful coup d'etat. Relative peace was had by the Yanaka from that point on. Up until, of course, the Novari colonization that gave birth to the Revolution, and our modern Kingdom of Elysia.
In the early middle part of the last century, the Novari sent their ambassadors across Europe, reaching out to the many kingdoms for peaceful parley, and a proposition; band together in a Coalition, and colonize the island of Nexus in the mid-Atlantic. Lacking significant naval power, the ambassadors promised riches and priceless ore in exchange for the aid of Europe in creating a suitable naval force.
Many greedy European leaders and monarchs were quick to agree at the prospect of such capital gains. Notable among these was the growing banking concern, Malthus & Fullo. The British, Spanish, French and numerous others offered their naval power to ferry Novari equipment to Nexus. Ostensibly to be used to mine the precious metals found on the island, the members of the Coalition would soon discover what the Novari’s true interests were.
The nations forcibly conscripted thousands of commoners as cheap labour, and sent them to Nexus as the first settlers. The island, forcibly taken from the indigenous Yanaka wolf-peoples there, was quickly dotted by Novari garrisons with tenant settlers and farmers labouring in the Nexus sun nearby. Despite the monolithic presence of the Novari garrisons, the island’s natural unspoiled beauty caught the imaginations of the multi-European population of settlers, who soon began referring to Nexus as Elysia, after a fabled paradise of their shared Light religion. To many, this name was more than figurative; the settlers began to see it as the long-sought paradise they had earned through countless generations of suffering in Europe.
Their visions of paradise, however, were short-lived. The Novari Expeditionary Force brought the colonists brutally to heel. They became little more than slaves to the Novari archaeologists; not to mine valuable ore, but to excavate the vast ancient ruins of the island. The Novari forced their slave-state to feverishly search the countryside’s archaeological sites, without even being particularly sure of what they were looking for. Thousands lived in harsh conditions, dying of exhaustion and starvation while unable to tend fruitful crops or plantations.
To replenish their workforce, the Novari commissioned slave ships to bring captured workers from across the globe. These slaves would form the diverse ethnic background of modern Elysia. The Novari built vast camps for their new slave state, later to become modern cities. They erected a great fortress for their King which would later become the capital, Aesir. Meanwhile in the South, the foundation was laid for Elysian City, the Southern boomtown of tremendous trading significance and economic engine of the nation.
In the winter months of 1458 the Novari called upon a French garrison commander to quell a small peasant uprising near the settlement of Aesir. Instead, he commits treason against the Novari state and organizes the militia into a true fighting force. As the Novari prepared to crush the rebellion and its new leader, Malthus & Fullo expressed their doubts in the profitability of the Novari colonization by bankrolling Aucoin’s militia instead. The Novari angrily retaliated with summary executions and imprisonment.
The European Kingdoms of the Coalition, having taken their steps from Malthus & Fullo, refused to intervene. A dispatch of Daruni was sent from back home in Novare, but upon reaching Elysia they strangely began to lose the will to fight. Within a mere year, most of these Daruni have gone AWOL. Many of them joined the rebellion, which was now a full-blown Revolution on Novari hands.
With the funds of Malthus & Fullo behind them, the enraged Yanaka indigenous peoples, and no European interests to help the Novari, the revolution was victorious. The Novari Expeditionary Force were ousted, many of their number changing sides rather than be sent back home to chaotic Europe. Aucoin was dubbed King Xavier the First of Elysia, and the new kingdom was born.
Second Novari War - 1482
Shamed but not beaten, the Novari turned their desire for vengeance upon their European neighbours. They avenged themselves against the Britains first, mercilessly hammering the British Isles with their new naval strength. Many nations will soon suffer the same fate under Novari expansion.
With their resources replenished and a new grasp of sea power, the Novari return to Elysia in 1482. The Novari have absolutely no European help this time, but had bolstered their forces considerably through European conquest.
The Elysians, meanwhile, have organized their nation under a new constitution, with a national Royal Army, Duchies, and an organized force of Yanaka military units. The Second Novari War ended in a narrow Elysian victory, as Colonials repelled the invaders from what was left of their devastated nation. Famine and disease followed, along with a deep economic depression.
War of 1579
The Horde of Arrym invade Elysia from the West. Though well-prepared, the Elysians experience a shocking loss of ground on their Western shores, the Arrym somehow able to penetrate and catch their defences off-guard.
The Novari appear soon after, ostensibly taking the side of Elysia, and engage in eastern skirmishes to secure Elysian townships. They set up garrisons to protect the populace. Elysians are astonished at the peace between them and their bitter old enemies.
As the entire nation awaits a devastating three-front war and the Arrym force in very good strategic strength, a small force of Rephan Empire Black Ships arrive, prepared to tip the scales against the Arrym, as well. This is the first true Rephan military presence observed by anyone in the West.
The true war begins, with pitched battle engulfing the country in the vicious destruction. The Horde seems too well dug-in to assure a quick victory for either side, but astonishingly, they surrender.
There is a deafening moment of political silence as the three sides seem unaware of what to do now. The Novari break it and begin to build garrisons everywhere in the country. They argue that the Elysian government is beset by traitors and incompetents, and that their original terms of engagement were violated by the wartime Elysian regime. The Xantha, meanwhile, keep a notable silence about these new movements.
The Novari begin to take control, buying time while their many reinforcements arrive. Soon the Novari declare the collapse of the Elysian government under the weight of treason and incompetence, and a full-blown Occupation has begun.
The Occupation drags on for a full year, as the Novari bring some of their political techniques to Elysia; torture, slavery, summary sentencing of treason. A vicious Resistance is formed to combat the Occupation. Many suspected are executed, and many more just for an example. The Xantha, once the allies of pre-war Elysian interests, create Death Squads to intimidate the Resistance into capitulation. Resistance forces retaliate ferociously, turning the Occupation instead into a bloody war of attrition.
All citizens, including Arrym soldiers and new Novari settlers call for the end of the war by any means. With the body count mounting on both sides, the deadlock is broken one day in August at the village of Cherry, where a Treaty is signed, forming the new Coalition government, with power shared among Elysian, Yanaka, Novari, Xantha, and Arrym interests. A Novari Mayor is elected in Elysian City, and many quasi-criminal Cartels are formed.
Modern Elysia is a self-sufficient Kingdom of vast economic and strategic important. Though rich in resources and historical interest, it has, due to the recent war, become extremely unstable in the past several years. Much of the South has become a breeding ground for crime, while in the North Duchy of Cragsfell the Nobility squabble over crumbling infrastructure, too complacent and selfish to make reparations after the destruction of the war.
Elysians are now surrounded by age-old enemies, strange foreign invaders, and representatives of nations that many had thought only legends until now. Despite this, Elysia has become the Crossroad of the world, and the only foothold between Stara Ziema and the Eastern Hemisphere. This continues to generate the presence of crime, international business interests, and both exotic goods and alien people.