The Empire of SeriniaEdit
The Scondovian people are descendants of the destroyed Empire of Serinia. Serinia was a landlocked feudal monarchy located in the central plains of the Palurin continent, and was led by Emperor Falgor. Serinia was in constant conflict with various Orc tribes in the mountains to the east. The Serinians were always able to hold back the disorganised tribes of Orcish raiders, utilising their feared Imperial Vanguard regiment of cavalry.
The Orcs remained disunited until the legendary Warlord 'Headhunter' Horg'ull, leading his elite 'Black Hundred' army, began a campaign to conquer the smaller Orc tribes. Initially, the Serinian Empire was enthusiatic about Horg'ull's campaign, seeing the Orcs destroying themselves in a bloody civil war. However, as the Black Hundred's military successes mounted, and more Orc warriors were added to their legions, the Serinian military leaders grew increasingly concerned that Horg'ull was building an army with which he could conquer the Empire. Emperor Falgor refused to listen to his advisors' warnings, insisting that Horg'ull's Orcish forces would collapse into factionalism, and his army would fragment and effectively dissolve into tribes once more. It was soon shown that Falgor grossly underestimated the discipline of Horg'ull's army. In just 8 months the warlord conquered roughly 90% of the Orcish tribes of the east, and his army, now the Black Thousands, grew ever closer to Serinian territory in their unrelenting march of conquest. A confrontation between the two powers quickly became more and more likely.
Compounding the Empire's problems, Emperor Falgor became increasingly reclusive to his government, and refused to attend to most of his duties, including receiving most reports from his military commanders. Falgor was seen by his advisors to be in denial that his empire was facing annihilation. his behaviour grew eccentric, and he spent most of his time hosting extravagent parties, ignoring the Orc threat. There was widespread concern among the military high command that Falgor was no longer fit to rule Serinia. Instead of reinforcing the eastern frontiers against Horg'ull's Black Thousands, he kept roughly half of the Serinian Imperial Army in his captial of Dravin to perform in military parades. The exacerbated military high command ordered the rest of the Imperial Army to march east.
The Black TideEdit
The Battle of PergiaEdit
Pergia, the easternmost city of the Empire, had historically been the main point of defense against the Orcish warbands, due to its position among the western borders of the eastern mountain range. As such, the town had accumulated heavy fortifications and a large garrison of Imperial Army troops, supported by the Imperial Vanguard elite cavalry. In total, the garrison numbered approximately 600 men.
The only warning Pergia received of the Orcs' assault on the town was the return of riderless horses belonging to Imperial scouts, with the riders' heads tied to the tails of their horses. The main Imperial Army force that was coming from Dravin had not yet arrived. The garrison commanders made frantic perparations for an attack, and Imperial soldiers and citizens took up arms. The Black Thousands, led personally by Horg'ull, attacked at midnight. Supported by catapults, the first wave of attackers numbered approximately 500 Orcs. Despite their physical advantage, the Orc force was defeated by the Imperial garrison whilst still outside the city gates, due in large part to the Imperial Vanguard's flanking and destruction of the Orcish artillery. Imperial losses are estimated to have been approximately 250, and Orc losses at 350.
The following morning, the Imperial Army force from Dravin arrived in Pergia, led by Commander Andre Rigaleus. The city's defense force was reinforced to 1500 men. Rigaleus took command of the Imperial forces in Pergia. Having tripled the number of troops, Rigaleus felt confident that the Orcs would be defeated just as they always had been. Despite the losses of the previous night, with the arrival of the reinforcements of the capital, morale was high. Throughout the day, small groups of Orcs strapped with explosives attempted to blow holes in the city gates, but no serious damage was sustained, and human casualties were minimum.
Horg'ull attacked with the rest of his force at nightfall. Instead of the 1200 Orcs that were expected by Rigaleus, approximately 4000 Black Thousands Orcs charged toward the Imperial formations. The human forces outside the gates were quickly overrun by Horg'ull's Orcs, and the Black Thousands easily broke through the main city gate. Imperial forces stationed inside the city resisted, but the Pergia was quickly being flooded with the Orcs. The Black Thousands killed all humans on sight, including fleeing civilians. Rigaleus ordered the survivng forces to abandon Pergia and retreat to Dravin. Horg'ull ordered 800 of his Black Thousands Orcs to catch and kill the fleeing Serinians, leaving the rest of his troops to secure the city.
Commander Rigaleus and his 400 remaining men, including the Imperial Vanguard, made their through Gerwin's Pass, a canyon path outside the city. As the pursuing Orcs gained on them, the Imperial Vanguard stopped. Rigaleus ordered them to continue, but Captain Lurden of the Vanguard insisted that his men stay to hold back the Orcs so that the survivors could escape. The Vanguard gave their horses to the soldiers. Rigaleus and his shattered army fled to Dravin, as the 200 Vanguard formed a defensive line in the canyon. The elite soldiers succeeded in holding back the legions of Orcs long enough for Rigaleus to escape the pursuit of the Orcs, but the Imperial Vanguard was finally destroyed by the Black Thousands. Despite the defeat, the Vanguard's heroism at Gerwin's Pass entered Serinian legend.
The Fall of DravinEdit
Rigaleus and his force of 150 arrived at Dravin, with many of them having died of injuries on the journey back. He went to brief Emperor Falgor on the defeat in Pergia, but Falgor refused to see him. Commander Rigaleus met the military high command, and reported to them. The decision of high command was that the captial must be defended at all costs, and the Emperor must not be able to get in the way. High command issued the order to the Imperial Army to arrest the Emperor. The order was met with little resistance, and Falgor was detained. The monarchy was abolished, and Serinia came under the control of a military junta, named the Central Authority. The Central Authority ordered for the fortification of Dravin and the formation of a militia force to protect the city of 4000.
When Warlord Horg'ull arrived outside the capital with his 3000-strong Black Thousands, he was met with approximately 1300 Imperial Army troops and 1900 militiamen, armed with swords, sticks, farming tools and basic training. Instead of besieging the city, Horg'ull smashed a hole in the side of the city wall and his army charged in, setting fire to the city. After a full day of fighting, most of the city had been destroyed by fire, and 2500 Serinians had been killed or captured. The castle had been stormed by the Orcs and former Emperor Falgor was executed by Horg'ull himself in the plaza.
Serinian Evacuation and Orcish collapseEdit
The remaining Serinians, led by the survivng Central Authority leaders escaped through the sewer tunnels underneath the city. They emerged in a swamp on the city limits, and began the Serinian Exodus.
Once Dravin was captured by the Black Hundreds, disorder broke out among the conquerors. Leadership disputes and conflicting claims on spoils drove street fights, and Horg'ull was killed. There are two theories on how he died. One is that he was assassinated by a rival who was jealous of his power. Another is that a drunken Horg'ull was trampled to death on the street by a horse that had been spooked. After his death, civil war broke out in the conquered lands, with the Orcs splitting into small armies under numerous leaders vying for the power that Horg'ull once had. The new Orcish state quickly collapsed completely.
The Scondovian RepublicEdit
The Serinian survivors became nomadic, constantly escaping and evading Orc bandits. They travelled east, through the Pravinian Range, fighting Orcs and human barbarians. The Serinians became a rugged, hardy people with a strict military mentality. Eventually they emerged from the mountains onto the fertile, unconquered Plains of Anglora. The original inhabitants were relatively primitive tribal peoples who saw the Serinians as dangerous outsiders. They proved not to be a challenge for the hardened Serinians under the leadership of their Central Authority, who took most of the territory rapidly, and with few losses. The Serinians established New Dravin, and declared a new state; the Republic of Scondovia, to be led by the Central Authority.
The Scondovians began an era of building, expansion and development. The Scondovians expanded along the Plains of Anglora conquering the tribes inhabiting the area, expanding their territory. When the Scondovians reached the northern region of the Angloran Plains, they encountered the formidible Hurngat'rr barbarian clan. The Hurngat'rr began a guerilla war against the Scondovian army, which has continued to the present. Because of the constant need of weapons, armour and other equipment, the military industry was developed quickly.
Under the leadership of the Central Authority, military industry was the nation's strongest economic sector. However, due to the Central Authority's constant demand for more troops, farms and other vital agricultural enterprises were left with little labour power available. This led to underproduction, food shortage, and finally famine. Disease thrived, and organised crime ran rampant. Compounding these difficulties, the Central Authority grew ever more distant from its people, taking most plunder and profit from the sacking of barbarian tribes, and distributing little to the people. All available funding was poured into the military-industrial complex, and agriculture was largely ignored.
Rise of the Crimson HandEdit
Out of this widespread desperation and economic ruin, countless religions and political groups emerged, vying for dominance. The most prominent of these was the Crimson Hand cult. Led by the prophet Adineas, the Crimson Hand was well-known for its humanitarian projects, such as food distribution programs, but also for its radical policies and violent methods of quelling opposition. Nevertheless, the Crimson Hand provided much-needed spiritual and material aid to the starving and sickly population of Scondovia, especially in the industrial areas. The Crimson Hand's prophecies of the imminent arrival of the 'Red Messiah', who would save Scondovia and the human race from all poverty and sickness, and usher in a golden age of peace gained the cult widespread support from most of the populous, particularly in the capital of New Dravin. The Crimson Hand was also human-supremacist and fervently anti-Orc, and presented the Orcs as the sub-human cause for all Scondovian and human suffering, citing the invasion of Serinia by the Black Thousands.
Soon, the Crimson Hand had built up a strong intelligence network and had stockpiled a vast supply of weapons, stolen from armories by sympathetic soldiers. When the top leaders of the Central Authority met in New Dravin for their annual meeting in the capital, the Crimson Hand had followers who worked in the headquarters compound, including servants, cooks and guards. Combat detachments were also hidden surrounding the main compound in the city centre. When the Central Authority began their meeting, the signal was given for the combat teams (named 'Crimson Cabals') to surround the building. Crimson Hand agents then killed the loyalist guards, and the gates were opened. The compound was stormed, and Crimson Hand guards broke into the Central Authority meeting room, arresting the military committee.
The Central Authority leaders were led to the town square to face tribunal and execution before the people. Those who repented were stabbed or beheaded. The members who refused to submit were burned at the stake. Lower officials not converted to the Crimson Hand were beaten to death by the mob or dismembered, with their heads paraded on pikes through the city streets.
The new orderEdit
A new government was declared; the Divine Empire of Scondovia, with the Red Messiah as the head of church and state, and his word being interpreted and shared by the leader of the faith, Adineas the Prophet. The divine will would be applied by the Supreme Council of the Divine Church of the Crimson Hand. New Dravin was renamed to Red Throne, prophesied to be the Red Messiah's seat of power in his eternal reign.
A 'Divine Inquisition' organisation was established to root out heretics and non-believers hiding in Scondovia. A brutal reign of terror followed, during which the slightest misdemeanour against the church-state could be punished by torture or execution. It became required by law to hold membership in the church, and perform all duties asked of one by the church. The Crimson Hand made it their mission to build in the world a holy domain for the Red Messiah to rule when he descended. It was determined that He should be able to use it as a holy capital from which He would rule His divine kingdom for eternity, granting eternal life to His disciples, and resurrecting His dead believers.
The Church of the Crimson Hand ordered that a strictly defensive war was to be fought against the barbarians of the west, freeing the majority of the army to work on the fields, providing a massive boost to the severely neglected agricultural industry. Healthcare was also made a priority, and soon the squalor of life in Scondovia became confined to the histories of the 'godless military dictatorship' of old. Hatred for the Orcs continued however, as they were still blamed for the problems of Scondovia. There was a hysterical public hatred for the Orcish race, reinforced by the teachings of the Prophet Adineas. When the economy was stabilised and the majority of heretics had been purged from Scondovia, the gaze of the Crimson Hand turn south, to the Orcish Borderlands of Chiid.
The Golden Crusade of the Red Messiah ( "the Dark Purge")Edit
The Prophet Adineas claimed that he had been tasked by the Red Messiah to purge the heathen Borderlands of Chiid of all followers of the Temple of the Dark Hand, and to purge the world of the sub-human, demonic Orcish race. The Crimson Hand quickly assembled a crusade of several tens of thousands. The holy army became known as the Blessed Golden Army of the Red Messiah, destined to be the weapon of their god, cleansing the world for His arrival. The crusade was seen as the divine retribution of the Red Messiah against the Orcish race for their destruction of the Scondovians' original lands. The massive crusader army set forth from Red Throne southward, through the northern Pravinian Range and through the central Palurin plains.
Eventually, the borders of the Borderlands of Chiid were reached, and the Golden Army marched forward. The Scondovian invasion of Chiid came to be known to the Orcs as 'the Dark Purge'. The first city to be attacked was Kragon. After a brutal battle, the small Orcish garrison protecting the town was slaughtered, and all civilian Orcs who did not escape were captured and sacrificed as offerings to the Red Messiah. The city was then levelled to the ground, and all crops were burnt, as they were seen as unclean, tainted by Orcish hands.
The Golden Army continued southwest, and faced more significant resistance. Each time a settlement was attacked, a larger Orcish force was waiting to protect it. The army was also subjected to daily ambushes, disrupting supply lines and communication. The losses in battle and fear of suprise attacks drained the crusade, but the campaign continued. The Scondovians were determined to clease the land in the name of their god.
Three major towns were successively levelled, tens of thousands of Orcs were massacred, and over half of the land's agriculture was destroyed by the Golden Army before the humans reached the southern city of Klar-Zen. Here, the Orcs made their final stand against the Golden Crusade of the Red Messiah, gathering all the Orcish warriors they could find. The Golden Army mustered all of their courage and religious dedication finally destroy the Orcish nation. The two great armies clashed, and after one of the bloodiest battles in the history of the Realm, the Blessed Golden Army of the Red Messiah was defeated. After the loss of tens of thousands of soldiers on both sides, the order was given by the commander of the crusaders forces to retreat.
The crusaders intended on raiding the smaller towns eastward, but the message was received that Scondovia was sustaining a massive offensive from the barbarian forces of the western Angloran Plains. The Golden Army, knowing that their holy land had to be protected to ensure the Coming of the Red Messiah, were forced to march home to defend their homeland. To prevent any Orcish resurgence in the future, the crusaders scorched the land, salted the fields and burned food supplies, ensuring that nothing would grow in the Orc lands for decades, if not centuries.
The Brovlian River offensiveEdit
When the Golden Army left for the crusade against the Borderlands of Chiid, the Divine Empire of Scondovia had only a defensive force along the western front of the Angloran Plains, along the banks of the Brovlian River. The Hurngat'rr barbarian clan saw its chance to recover ground long taken from the by the Serinian refugees generations ago. The Hurngat'rr organised a massive attack on the Scondovian defensive line, to smash through and reclaim their traditional land. They gathered every man they could to participate in the attack.
When the attack came, the defenders were caught by surprise, and outmatched through sheer weight of numbers. The Scondovians were unprepared for an attack of that size, which had not been witnessed since the beginning of Scondovian settlement. The barbarians drove through the Scondovian lines, into the Imperial territory. The defenders scrambled to gather a militia force to hold the barbarians back, as most of the trained soldiers had gone to fight in the crusade to the south. A small force was assembled, and the westernmost town of Garril was fortified and evacuated. The Hurngat'rr fell upon the town shortly after, but the defenders were able to keep them out of the city.
The following day, the Golden Army arrived to drive back the invaders. The barbarian and crusader forces clashed, and the Hurngat'rr were routed, suffering heavy losses at the hands of the battle-hardened crusader-knights of the Blessed Golden Army of the Red Messiah. The triumph was short-lived however, as when the army reached the Brovlian River, they found it heavily fortified against them. Exhausted from months of campaigning, the Blessed Golden Army could go no further. They had pushed back to the Brovlian River, and had reclaimed the same territory that they had lost to the barbarian army.
Return to Red ThroneEdit
When the Blessed Golden Army of the Red Messiah returned to the capital of Red Throne, they received a hero's welcome from both the public and the state. While not quite as successful as had been planned, the now-legendary Golden Army had made the colossal journey to the Orcish lands and devastated their powerful nation, and had then returned to save the Scondovian holy land from invasion by heathen barbarians. Each returning crusader was given great spoils, including land, money, and titles for the most prominent and heroic. It was felt that thanks to the Blessed Golden Army, the Divine Emipire had been saved from certain doom.
Recently, the Empire has made a small expansion westward, into the Pravinian Range. The Pravinian mountains are the territory of a number of small Orcish bandit armies, and are prized for their rich mining value. Aside from this, few territorial gains have been made, with the Empire focusing on internal development for some time, particularly in economic fields.
Scondovia has been planning a full-scale invasion on their western nemeses, the Hurngat'rr barbarians, for several months, aspiring to finally secure the Plains of Anglora for the Divine Empire.
The Empire recently unified with neighbouring Sirvania, forming the Divine Imperial Federation of Sirdovia. The Divine Church of the Crimson Hand remained as the supreme authority in the new federation. Scondovia became a state of Sirdovia, as did Sirvania. After an expansion eastward, the farming state of Sanctuary was also added.
The Divine Church of the Crimson Hand is both the state religion and the governing body of the Divine Empire of Scondovia. It is highly dogmatic, and does not allow for any dissenters, who are tried as heretics and are hanged or burned at the stake. For this reason, there are no political parties in Scondovia. All power is theoretically held by the Red Messiah, the god that the Crimson Hand worships. However, His will is supposedly communicated through the Prophet Adineas. In this way, Adineas is the de facto head of state. He communicates the Red Messiah's will to the Supreme Council of the Divine Church of the Crimson Hand, the second most powerful earthly entity in Scondovia, after the Prophet. The Supreme Council acts as the central government of Scondovia, according to the will of the Red Messiah.
There is no democratic representation in Scondovia, and the only way of achieving political power in the theocratic state is to rise through the ranks of the Church of the Crimson Hand.
It is illegal for any non-human to enter the territory of the Divine Emipire without the direct permission of the Prophet Adineas, as any alien race setting foot inside Scondovia is seen as a tainting of the pure holy lands of the Red Messiah's chosen people.
The main industry is the military industry, partly as a carry-over from the days of the republic. The ideology of the Crimson Hand urges military expansionism in the form of crusades and purges. This drive puts particular emphasis on the weapons and transport industries. The weapons industry is Scondovia's greatest strength, with a capacity to produce weapons and armour for trade. The Scondovian agriculture is strong, with much fertile soil on the plains of Anglora, however farming techniques are less developed than those in other nations, due to the neglect of agriculture during the Scondovian Republic under the Central Authority. There is also a shortage of paper and other wood-based materials due to the scarcity of trees on the plains and in the mountains of Scondovia. Due to this problem, the nation has an underdeveloped naval fleet.
Scondovian culture is extremely limited for the average citizen, as the church maintains strict control over the activities of the populace. The Crimson Hand has a vast array of cathedrals spread out across the nation, and especially in the capital of Red Throne. This calls for extremely developed, lavish architecture and fresco painting. Because of this, Scondovians are very advanced in the high arts, and their chapels are widely regarded as the most beautiful structures in the land, at least by the Scondovians.
Military service is seen as an honour in Scondovia, as the armed forces have saved the nation on numerous occasions throught history. The Golden Crusade of the Red Messiah especially inspires young men to join the forces, and frequent bandit attacks in the Angloran plains to the northwest encourage citizens to enlist to defend, as they see it, their holy sovereign territory.
The military complex of Scondovia is highly developed, with arms manufacture being the strongest sector of the economy.
Because of the shortage of wood, the nation maintains only a rudimentary naval force.
Roughly half of the population is enlisted in the armed forces, creating a full-time force of roughly 35,000 men with 5000 in reserve. Musketeers and cannons are integral parts of the Scondovian army, with cavalry and pikemen in support. Longbowmen are rarely deployed, and mainly form honour guards inside cities. Heavily armoured elite knights (called Paladins by the church) constitute heavy assault infantry forces, though there are very few of them. They are also used as bodyguards by senior Crimson Hand officials. The prophet Adineas himself maintains a small bodyguard force, who constantly accompany him.
In times of war, a crusade may be assembled, and the entire economy is mobilised, producing weapons and armour at an incredible rate. The crusade calls upon all full-time forces, leaving reserves for homeland defense. There has only been one crusade in the history of the Divine Empire, which was a huge invasion into Chiid. Although massive damage was inflicted upon the land, the crusade was eventually defeated.
Republic of Alledon