|Region||Azrik, Pipe Home|
|Enemies||Deep Six, Giff Leaque, Ivory Asylum, Vîlnên|
|Ruler||Emperor Raxcvillibus, Empress Katrana|
|Established||14 Dreamer 798|
Ba'lith is a minotaur empire concentrated in the Azrik Region. Its minotaurs, the majority, have beginnings five hundred miles to the east, in the cliff villages of Imrabêl. They were prone to conflict within as much as with the growing numbers of Tragarans and Khazarkars boxing them in.
In the Third Imrabêl War (412 - 414), the First Khazarkar Empire conquered Imrabêl's minotaurs. Seen as brutish and extremely chaotic, their Khazarkar overlords set about remaking them. Over several generations, the Khazarkars selectively bred the minotaurs, taking only those with an energy composition of less entropic leanings. These measures, not a first, were led by the Khazarkar's Department of Retooling. Their Minotaur Cultural Edict was highly effective, quelling the often violent nature of the minotaurs; which the department blamed on the minotaur's maker, the demon lord Baphomet.
Under the Khazarkar Empire, then based in Gulimbor, the minotaurs found themselves trained and schooled in areas where they shown the most skill. Chattel personnel, those proving loyal and skilled were given a lot of liberties.
Our weapon-makers were greatly sought after. In some settlements, a minotaur smith served as the place's lead armaments maker.
- Thirak Imgirthim, minotaur historian of the Second Epoch
Beginning in the 731, the Khazarkar Empire was facing growing slave unrest. The most rebellious element were the minotaurs. They sought more freedom and an end to the practice of trimming their horns. The latter they considered humiliating and of little need with minotaurs being bred to be a lawful people.
In 750, a great minotaur named Ba'lith became head of the minotaur resistance movement. He planned a general uprisings across the Khazarkar Empire. They knew they could not defeat their master's armies, but straining their economy would probably bring them to terms. A secret arms build-up began with the Vorjunts. Minotaurs also became more interested in arena fighting and joining various Khazarkar lords as mercenaries. Before the arrival of Ba'lith these sort of things were shunned. In 762, a Cal-Thaounean they nicknamed Leghorn the Human, entered minotaur destiny. This master alchemist came up with a solution to harden the minotaur horns so that only at great cost could they be trimmed. Leghorn's herbal solution, used to harden exoskeletons, and bone extremities like teeth and horns, is still in use today.
On 12 War March 785, the Great Minotaur Revolt began. Nearly the entire minotaur slave population rose up against their masters. After a great slaughter on both sides, many got their freedom, gathering in pockets along the southwestern borders of Gulimbor. For nearly a decade, they waged a guerrilla war. In 796, the First Khazarkar Empire agreed to peace terms. Most minotaurs left Gulimbor for Azrik. In this adjacent region they split into two groups. Those more interested in rebuilding minotaur civilization went north into the Carodrak Mountains where they established the Xiser Confederation. The more warmongering minotaurs, with little interest in settling down, building, and farming, went to the lowlands south of Merorarg. From this area, they raided Tragaran settlements, greedily eying the riches of ancient Merorarg.
In 798 the minotaurs founded Bâlê. This was a violation of peace terms with Merorarg; which in simplicity stated that the minotaurs could not establish any permanent settlements north of Lake Tarkor. Two months later, Bâlê became the capital of the Ba'lith Empire. It was named in honor of the hero Ba'lith that organized the resistance against the Khazarkars. In its infancy, Ba'lith was a prodigy of chaos, torn by unrest and strife, civil wars and military coups. The rise of Coeus worship in 815, and lasting nearly nine centuries, are often blamed for Ba'lith's long internal struggles.
In the Pugad War, Ba'lith defeated the Niratar Theocracy. Three years after capturing Merorarg, in 820, this ancient city became Ba'lith's new capital.
With affairs settled in Azrik's interior, Ba'lith looked west to the Salzârrâk Strait. Today, this sea channel separates the lands of Ba'lith from those the elderaunts reigning over Izagunbar's long coasts. Early in the First Epoch, Salzârrâk was quickly becoming a major trade route to the islands ports of Râpha-Nâr. To help quell unrest, Ba'lith sponsored battle, openly supporting pirating and mercenaries ventures. Salzârrâk became a hunting ground for minotaur pirates. There activities were most threating to the Elderaunt city-state Rîni. On the western side of the strait, Rîni, party of the Râpha-Nâr Oversight Board, was charged with policing the area's commerce. Unable to cope with Ba'lith's growing naval presence alone, the unification of Athoreon's elderaunt city-states was forced. United under Jurmalon in 846, Ba'lith's aggression led to the rise of their long-time rival Ivory Aslyum.
During one of Ba'lith periodic civil wars, Ivory Aslyum imperialism spread to Azrik. This started with the building of the trading post Lorfin-Bator (871). This gave rise to the term Ivory Imperialism.
Once chattel to the Khazarkar, now the Elderaunts seek to master us with their colonialism!
- Bulltongue Facespit, from the Wartime Chronicle, Year 874 - "Imperialists Amiss"
Ivory Asylum colonialism led to the Horn Tusk Conflict. This period of hostilities was broken frequently, with each side returning to open trade through intermediaries, replenishing their coffers for the next flare-up.
During the time of the Gulimbor Cataclysm, with lands ripped by magical storms and prowled by magical monsters, Azrik became a destination for Tragaran refugees. These were people fleeing wars started by the First Khazarkar Empire and the magical devastation affecting Gulimbor and parts of Azrik. Tragarans of the Borillisk Empire tended to go with Balith, while those of the Niratar Theocracy went north where they became citizens of the Xiser Confederacy.
In 1672, a hell knight named Raxcvillibus, renown for his service in Ba'lith's armies, helped forge a treaty between Xiser and Ba'lith. The signing of the Treaty of Droorlow recognized territorial boundaries of each nation. Ba'lith claimed all territory south of Droorlow and the fortress Marmarath. In return for this concession, Grimrune engineers along with thousands of Xiser laborers were hired by Ba'lith in a great construction effort. They constructed Sonic Horns along the hotly contested southern borders of Azrik. These were erected as a defense against the Locust Encroachment.
In 1692, Raxcvillibus Dumu-loc, once a renown general of Ba'lith, declared war on the empire he once served, starting the Terror March. In 1693, Ba'lith was blockaded by the Pact of Behemoths. This Azrik Blockade of their sea and air space came as the result of Ba'lith openly sponsoring piracy.
By 1694, the last year of the Locust Encroachment, a line of Sonic Horns had been completed along the southern borders of Ba'lith. Over the next decade they were instrumental in stabilizing Ba'lith's southern border with the Hive. The end of the bug menace gave Ba'lith security in the south.
From 815 to 1695, the minotaurs of southern Azrik were ruled by a theocracy headed by the Church of Coeus. In 1695, the usurper Raxcvillibus, once the longest serving soldier of Ba'lith's military and most renown, traveled to Coeus's home world and slew him. With the loss of their god, and the resulting loss of divine energy, priests of Coeus were unable to cast their divine spells. Some also begin to question the worthiness of a being taken down by a non-god.
When Raxcvillibus traveled to the the home world of Coeus, slaying him in his own palace, the minotaurs immediately recognized Raxcvillibus as their emperor - a cruel twist of fate for our southern brothers, once again led by a Khazarkar.
- Farnux, citizen of Xiser, from the History of Xiser
For much of their history, the minotaurs of Xiser and Ba'lith clashed horns over territory. Ba'lith was normally the aggressor. Their stated goal was full control of the Ezdynn river. A major tradeway between Azrik and Ma'Ohari. The incessant raiding and probing of Xiser borders led to the Brother's Enmity War. In this conflict, Xiser was destroyed and her people absorbed or enslaved by Ba'lith. Today, Ba'lith's large slave population periodically leads to unrest. Slaves that prove loyal to Ba'lith first serve in the military before earning their right to become free citizens.
Ba'lith commonly allies with other evil or neutral empires. Before its downfall, Ba'lith had a long standing military alliance with the Kingdom of Bloodtusk. It was an uneasy alliance with frequent infractions and skirmishes. The fall of the Kingdom of Bloodtusk led to a large influx of maleraunts and an unwanted chaotic element to Ba'lith society.
In the 1700s, the Ba'lith's economy continued to suffer under the Azrik Blockade. This led Emperor Raxcvillibus to marshal his navies for a great sea battle with the enemies patrolling Salzârrâk. To counter enemy air superiority, Ba'lith secretly purchased voidships from an alien power, the neogi of the Arachnidion Empire. The neogi offered 12 pump engines and neogi technicians to build twelve Great Bombards. Built in secret at Grielfand, a future skyship base, they served as the first ships of the Horns of the Void. For the pump engines and neogi expertise, it is said that Ba'lith gave 2,000 slaves and a little over 500,000 gold pieces.
A century later it was learned, that a promise had also been made between Raxcvillibus and Arachnidion, whereby he would aid them in a future enterprise of their choosing. Obviously bad terms to take, some say it was a decision of desperation, others say that it was not Raxcvillibus that agreed to them, but that of Grarg, his sentient spiteful sword temporarily in control of his wielder.
In 1824, Raxcvillibus fulfilled his part of the deal, joining the Drachdekai Pact.
In 1796, a treaty was signed between Ba'lith and the members of the Pact. One of the stipulations of the treaty was that Ba'lith must give up sponsoring pirating, which the emperor accepted. Afterwards, Ba'lith's economy rebounded greatly. As a result, the increased trade revenue along with a stable and financially savvy government, the Klomtroller, has led to greatly increased living standards for the people of Ba'lith.
In 1812, the lich Katrana Dumu-loc once again takes the side of her husband, joining him as the Empress of Ba'lith. Even though Ba'lith added a throne, many still call the empire's seat of authority the Throne of Broken Tusks.
The term Throne of Broken Tusks came into usage in the Horn Tusk Conflict. In 1206, a gang of minotaurs made off with elephant tusks from an elephant graveyard. This place is sacred to Ivory Asylum's Elderaunt people. A year later, the tusks robbed from Irastânâz, were used in the construction of Ba'lith's new throne, the Throne of Broken Tusks.
On the imperialism front, the expansionist nature of the minotaurs, driven by their emperor, continues to threaten west into Karnegmoth and into lands south of Pipe Home. These colonies are built-up through forced migration of Ba'lith's peoples. Where native people exist, Ba'lith takes a page from Ivory Asylum imperialism, they force themselves into the markets, acting as protectors. Then the evil nature of Ba'lith comes to fore, with them closing the noose on the native peoples and subjugating them.
On several occasions, Ba'lith have brought their nation to an economic standstill from excessive pirating. The irony of the matter is that they prey on their own country-men's merchant fleets as much as others.
The architecture of the nation is split between the sharp, ornate, and Gothic features of Ba'lith to the airy domes, wide thoroughfares, and colossal arches of holdings built by the Xiser. After turning the masses to diabolical worship, the craftsmen of Raxcvillibus have added fiendish architecture to the state buildings and temples. Some of these structures are replicas of structures seen by Raxcvillibus during his sojourns in the Hells. The minotaurs of Azrik are known for their architectural achievements. They created a towering walls with sound producing towers called Moralak. Another wonder of minotaur engineering, is a voidship called the Pillar of Horns.