The Southern Old World By Alfred Nuñez Jr. Additional Material developed by Niels Arne Dam and within the Collegium Historica
A BRIEF HISTORY
The Archaic Age
Unlike the lands that became the Empire and Bretonnia, the southern Old World was relatively untouched by Dwarf and Elf. The first Human migration from the south occurred hundreds of years after the Elder Race prevailed against the invaders that surged into the world when the Chaos gates collapsed. These semi-nomadic tribes settled along the river valleys and seacoast of Estalia, Tilea, and the southwestern Border Princes.
The Elves were the first to “discover” these Humans along their trading routes to Barak Varr and the southern Dwarfholds of Karaz Ankor. The Elves established trading colonies along this route in order to take advantage of the trading possibilities. Trade between the Elves and Humans didn’t amount to much as neither side had much of interest to trade. Still, the Humans learned much from the interaction and it wasn’t long before the first Human civilizations appeared in the Old World.
Scholars are unsure as to which civilization arose first, primarily because there is precious little evidence for them to gather other than folktales handed down through the ages. Perhaps the Elves know, but most likely they don’t consider the knowledge as terribly important.
The legendary city of Tylos was founded at the northern end of the wha is now known as the Tilean Sea near the junction of the Abasko and Irrana Mountains. Shortly thereafter, the War of Vengeance between the Elves and Dwarfs erupted across the lands north of the Irranas. Shortly after, Dwarf naval ships -- constructed by methods ironically taught by Elven shipwrights -- secured the southern flank of Karak Ankor by patrolling the Black Gulf and eastern Southern Sea. Many Elves in the southern Old World tried to make do as the navies of Ulthuan were withdrawn from the Southern Sea to provide transport of soldiers and supplies to the colonies in the north. A southern offensive, launched by the Dwarfs from nearby Dwarfholds, finally drove the Elves from this region.
Despite the lack of extensive trade with the Elves, Tylos developed quickly and expanded its influence across northern and central Tilea, even to the point of receiving tribute in the form of slaves from the neighbouring tribes. It developed trading relationships with the city-state of Estacrez, which was founded on the southwestern foot of the Abaskos, as well as the developing kingdoms of ancient Araby. The promise of Tylos was cut drastically short by a catastrophic occurrence where the heavens rained destruction on the city. Seemingly overnight, the devastated land became foetid swamps and ill-fated Tylos disappears from history.
Founded around the same time of Tylos, Estacrez spread its influence across southern Estalia. Its position allowed the city to continue some limited trade with the Elves throughout the war between Ulthuan and Karaz Ankor. With the fall of its trading neighbour, Estacrez increased their trade with the Arabians. Unfortunately, the rise of Nagash in those arid lands took its toll on that trade as did the defeat and withdrawal of the Elves from the Old World. Massive earthquakes and volcanic eruptions in the Words Edge Mountains caused a reaction of earthquakes across the other mountain ranges including the Abaskos. One particularly strong quake, following a series of powerful torrential storms, caused an immense mudslide, which buried the first great city of Estalia and its population. The few who miraculously survived journeyed far from this cursed land.
Though Tylos vanish from history and into the Blighted Marsh, a colony of its people made their own mark on Archaic Tilea. These survivors lived among the High Elves in the colony situated where modern-day Remas would be built. As the Dwarf-Elf war spilt into Tilea, all of the Elven settlements were besieged. Dwarf pressure forced the Elves to abandon their one colony to the Humans so they could concentrate on holding the other ones in the region. The withdrawal of the Elves from ancient Remas allowed the Dwarfs to do the same, leaving the Humans there to build their civilisation.
As the successors to Tylos, the ancient Remeans referred to their realm the Eternal Empire. In actuality, the Eternal Empire never reached the vitality of Tylos nor was it eternal. Its reach outside the vicinity of central Tilea was very limited, though it effectively remained in power for nearly a thousand years. Its major trading partner was the ancient Arabian kingdom of Nehekhara, but turmoil in that land eventually spelt the end of the Eternal Empire as well. From the archaeological records, it seems that the ancient Remeans embraced Solkan as either their war god or prime deity in the latter part of their history. Speculation among scholars is that this embrace of a deity with extreme views might be related to the fall of Nehekhara.
In its decline, a war against an unknown enemy ensued. The details are still clouded in myth and speculation, but it was believed that the Eternal Empire came to a disastrous end with ancient Remas burning to the ground. With its dominant city destroyed, the legacy of Tylos came to an end when a massive earthquake devastated the region.
The Classical Period
There is a debate about when the classical era began in the southern Old World. Many Imperial scholars claim that such did not begin until Sigmar was crowned Emperor. To support their argument, these historians have found records which place the founding of the great Tilean cities to the first year of Sigmar’s reign. This dating of events also allows them to claim that Altdorf is the oldest, continuously inhabited city in the Old World. Historians who are not subject to the Sigmarite dogma have authenticated evidence which places the rise of the classical cities of the southern Old World to a much earlier period.
The first of these cities were founded in the area surrounding the Lagoon of Tears in the Border Princes. The people there, collective known as Darians, began trading with Barak Varr and gained much from their dealings with the Dwarfs. Incessant raids by the indigenous greenskins and their kin from the Badlands pushed the Darians into a political alliance to ensure some measure of safety and defence. From this need rose the powerful Daric League.
Led by the martial traditions of Solania and the economic power of Myrmidens, the Daric League had the muscle to push the greenskins out of the western lands and maintain security for centuries. In time, however, the great rivalry between the two great Daric city-states led to the war among themselves and the weakening of the league.
To the west, the Tileans and Estalians founded their great cities. Most of these were established upon the ruins of the ancient Elven colonies. The Tileans were the first to establish a trade network across the southern Old World, including Barak Varr. Merchant colonies were established in the Estalian cities, Bretonni villages which were to become Brionne and Quenelles, and the Imperial market village of Nuln. In many cases, Verenan priests accompanied the Tilean merchants to spread the justice of Verena, record transactions, and learn what they could of the peoples they encountered. In this manner, the archaic dialect of Tilea, commonly known as Classical, spread across the Old World.
Like their Tilean neighbours, the people of Estalia were seafarers as well as farmers. They established trading routes with the Arabian emirates to the south and the western Bretonni tribes. Some old records indicate that there was trade with Albion, but these are viewed with some suspicion.
The growth of culture in the southern Old World came to a halt with the massive Orc invasion of 474 I.C. Sweeping past the formidable defences of Barak Varr, the greenskin horde overran and obliterated the Daric League. Without pause, they swept through and laid waste to the Tilean countryside before rampaging elements bludgeoned their way into Estalia. Though many died in the devastation, the strong fortifications of the large Tilean and Estalian towns allowed the inhabitants to avoid the same fate of the Daric League.
In spite of their initial success at slaughter, the Orcs were greatly overextended. The remnants of the armies of Tilea and Estalia began a long, slow process of eliminating the greenskin threats from their lands. Most of the fighting took place in the countryside, but the constant dangers posed by the greenskins made farming a tenuous business. Famines were common throughout the southern Old World as well as disease. Centuries would pass before the Tileans and Estalians were able to expel the Orcs and re-establish a level of normalcy in their lands. In contrast, the old civilisation in the Border Princes was forever a thing of the past and the land remained wild with small Human settlements in the foothills of the Vaults and Black Mountains. Nomadic tribes of Orcs and Goblins inhabited the central and southern portions.
The appearance of newly arrived Bretonni warlords and their retinues in these lands changed the balance of power. The Bretonnis swept out and replaced the native ruling families in the region. From a peasant's point of view, one set of rulers was no better than the last. In time, Bretonni rulers would intermingle with the remnants of the old order.
One more disaster beset the lands of the southern Old World. The Black Plague that began in the Empire in 1111 I.C. spread across the entire Old World. The devastation wrought by such a disease led to many deaths and depopulated whole villages. Even the greenskin tribes were effected and many of them perished as well.
By the end of this period, migration into the Border Princes from the Empire began to grow. Some did so to escape the anarchy brought forth by the Empire’s Age of Wars, others for the opportunities that the under-populated Border Princes presented.
The Araby Wars
As the southern Old World began to recover from the ruinous pestilence, another threat loomed on its horizon. Arabian corsairs have become bolder over the years with increasing attacks on Estalian and Tilean shipping. This eventually led to an Arabian invasion of the island of Sartosa, which had been settled by Norse immigrants over two hundred years before. From their island redoubt, the corsairs stepped up their piracy, as well as conduct slaving raids along the northern coast of the Black Gulf and along the rivers of the region. These raiders stayed clear of the Barak Varr Dwarfs.
A larger Arabian invasion came two centuries later. The main thrust was into Estalia with a secondary expedition launched at Tobaro in an unsuccessful attempt to secure the flanks of the main effort. The squabbling Estalian kingdoms and dukedoms fell before the onslaught, many of its inhabitants fleeing into the Irrana Mountains. Soon, only Magritta stood defiant, but besieged.
Fighting men from all over the Old World put aside their differences and joined in a Crusade against the Arabian intruder. Many battles were waged before the Estalian cities and towns were able to drive the invaders out. Sartosa lasted for a few more decades before it too was freed of the corsairs.
The war didn’t end there. Many of the knightly orders and mercenaries craved more riches and glory and the local rulers wanted these unruly and dangerous forces out of their lands. So, Estalian ships, chiefly those from Magritta, took advantage of the bloodlust and transported many of these warriors to the northern and western shores of Araby. Their energies spent, the Arabians could not resist in the initial stages of this counter-invasion. Many cities and towns fell before the marauding Old Worlders, including the then Sultan of Araby’s city of Istrabul.
The destruction of Istrabul proved to be the critical catalyst to Arabian resolve. Armies that once faded into the desert now attacked with a fierceness that the Old Worlders had not expected. Where there were once victories for the invaders, they now experienced defeat. The Old Worlders fought their way with mounting losses back to the Arabian seaports. Uprisings there made even these (relatively) safe havens dangerous. In retaliation, the Old Worlders set these towns aflame so as to cover their own evacuation. Ships from Tilea and Estalia transported the remnants of the Crusaders back to the ports of the southern Old World from where these warriors could make their way back home.
Age of Recovery
Some Tilean scholars proclaimed the years that followed the expulsion of Arabians from Estalia as the Age of Exploration. These scholars claim that during this age Marco Colombo, the founder of the ruling family of Trantio, “discovered” Lustria and brought back riches from that foreign land. Many scholars are sceptical of the claim as there were no historical records proclaiming such an accomplishment at that time nor do they really believe that such an expedition could have escape notice of the High Elves. More likely, the Colombo family’s claim was put forward in an attempt to trump the discovery by the Norse Explorer Eric the Lost centuries later. There are also some historical records from the Verenan Temple in Remas that suggests Colombo was nothing more than a pirate who attacked the ships of other Tilean cities as well as Estalian and Arabian. Then again, there are those Lustrian plaques located in the portion of the Trantio palace honouring Marco Colombo.
There is little doubt that the Tilean city-states took advantage of the cessation of hostilities against Araby to expand their network of trade. In this, they were in direct competition with one another, as well as with the Estalian ports, chiefly Magritta. Skirmishes, particularly at sea, were common between these competitors. Moreover, Arabian corsairs returned to plague shipping about the same time that Old Worlder pirates were increasing. At times, these two bandits of the sea would battle one another for the right to attack a merchant ship, allowing the prey in question to escape intact. So numerous were the Old Worlder pirates that they were able to band together to wrestle control of Sartosa from Luccini.
The Wizards’ War, which commenced in Middenheim, spilt over the mountain ranges to effect society in the southern Old World. Fleeing Imperial wizards were followed by the Witch-hunters of Sigmar, Mórr and (to a lesser extent) Solkan who desired to “save” the souls of their sorcerous prey through the cleansing flame. Emissaries from the Grand Theogonist of the crumbling Empire of Sigmar brought forth evidence of the Chaos taint of wizards to his religious counterparts. Soon, other cults (the exceptions being Shallya and Ranald) joined in the persecution and burning of wizards and witches. The effort in the Border Princes was more haphazard as that land was far less “civilised” than its neighbours. The sorcerous arts in the Old World were brutally suppressed for the next three centuries with many of its surviving practitioners driven underground.
In the current view of Tilean scholars, the year 2000 I.C. heralded the dawn of the Age of Enlightenment. This term is a misnomer in as much as the years were marked by advancement in art, culture, and prosperity as it was by pestilence, famine, and wars. Some scholars attributed these calamities to malevolent vapours emanating from the Blighted Marshes. While this theory is certainly plausible for northern Tilea, it is a stretch to apply this to the rest of the southern Old World.
Border wars between northern Estalia and southwestern Bretonnia became frequent as each side sought to gain some land at the expense of the other. The Estalian kingdoms even battled one another for influence and land, as well as battling the independent Irranan dukedoms. The Bretonnians tried to extent their influence here as well, but fared as poorly as they did with their continuous attempts in northern Tilea.
Rumours of a war in the northern land of Kislev sent many mercenary bands packing. Due to their absence, peace reigned across the Southern Old World for the few short years that the Empire, Kislev, and Norsca were fighting for their survival.
Return of the Elves and the Rise of Estalia
In 2150 I.C., the Elves returned to the Old World by sailing into Marienburg and signing a treaty making the merchant houses of that city the exclusive agents of the Elves of Ulthuan in matters of trade. This coup trumped the attempts of the various Estalian and Tilean cities in reaching some accord with the Elves.
The reactions of these southern powers differed. The Tileans saw an opportunity to expand their influence, so they signed agreements with Marienburg to become trading and banking partners. Bilbali, capital of the Estalian kingdom of Tigarre was hit hard by the turn of events. Their shipping was greatly effected by pirates from Brionne, who were suspected of working in concert with the Marienburger merchants. Bilbali used diplomatic channels to reach trade agreements with L'Anguille and Bordeleaux, rivals of Marienburg and Brionne, respectively.
Magritta, irritated by the friendliness of Marienburg and their Tilean rivals, concentrated their efforts towards strengthening their trading network with the caliphates and emirates of Araby and extending their reach to the Southlands, Ind, and Cathay. This extension placed the Estalians in direct competition with the Elves for trade, which led to several confrontations on the high seas. The risk was well worth the difficulties as Magritta's wealth grew.
Having had enough of Brionne predations, Bilbali led a coalition of northern Estalian kingdoms and dukedoms against the Duchy of Brionne. Bilbali's Bretonnian partners convinced their King that the incursion was a local matter resulting from the piracy supported by the Brionne duke. Well-placed bribes kept the Bretonnian King content in the initial stages of the hostilities. As the war continued for a number of years with Brionne holding its own while under siege, other Bretonnian dukedoms, chiefly Quenelles and Carcassonne, began pressing the King to allow them to come to Brionne's aid.
The inconclusive campaign proved to be a drain on Bilbali's wealth. With the prospect of a costly and broader war, L'Anguille and Bordeleaux emissaries brokered a peace in which Brionne would pay some reparations to Bilbali and its Estalian allies in exchange for the cessation of war. Brionne's support for the pirates became less overt for a number of decades. In time, that charade came to an end.
Magritta tried a different approach in the south. For years, the daughters of the noble families of Astarios and Cantonia were much sought after by the ruling class of southern Tilea for marriage and political alliances. This gave the rulers of these Estalian kingdoms some influence in Tilean politics and power schemes. The expenditure of capital gained some additional trade concessions with Luccini and Verrezo, which caused some alarm in Remas and Miragliano. Tobaro began to become concerned with Estalian activity, especially after Magritta invaded the island of Sartosa on the pretence of acting against the pirates based on that island.
The fall of Sartosa caused alarms in Marienburg. Their northern rival decided to act against Magritta's interests by using its wealth to break Estalian influence and power in southern Tilea. This threat forced Magritta's hand and the Estalian kingdom of Astarios led the attack on Tobaro, one of Marienburg's Tilean trade partners, albeit a very minor one. This move proved too much for Magritta's Tilean allies and a general struggle commenced. The drain on Magritta's and its allies' treasuries made the Tilean venture too costly to maintain. The irony was that the southern Estalian kingdoms were forced to obtain loans from Marienburg to keep their economies afloat while they withdrew from Sartosa and Tobaro.
In the Border Princes, more Orc incursions forced Bretonnia's hand. Responding to pleas from the nobility who claim some kinship, the Bretonnian King proclaimed a crusade against the greenskins. Bretonnian knights and their retinues crossed into northern Tilea where they took ships to the Border Princes in their quest for honour and glory. The Bretonnians enjoyed great success in clearing the land of greenskins, but their pride and arrogance got the better of them. They took their campaign into the Badlands, slaughtering all they came across. Heady by their success, the cream of Bretonnian knights ignored Dwarf warnings as they rode into Death Pass in their quest to drive the greenskins back into the Dark Lands. The subsequent massacre forced the Bretonnians back into the Border Princes, many of who subsequently returned to their homeland defeated and demoralised. Nonetheless, the Bretonnians did succeed in pushing the majority of Orcs and Goblins back across the Blood River.