|Region||Azrik, Pipe Home|
|Enemies||Deep Six, Giff Leaque, Ivory Asylum, Vîlnên|
|Ruler||Emperor Raxcvillibus, Empress Katrana|
|Established||14 Dreamer 817|
Ba'lith is an empire of the Azrik Region. Its Minotaur founders had their beginnings five hundred miles to the east, in the cliff villages of the Imrabêl Valley. 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 incarnation of the 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 defined in the Minotaur Cultural Edict (420 - 796). It was to prove wildly successful, effective at quelling the often violent nature of the minotaurs - what the Department of Retooling called "demon origins, these sons and daughters of Baphomet."
Under the yoke of Khazarkar masters, then based in Gulimbor, Imrabêl's minotaurs found themselves trained and schooled in areas where they shown the most skill. Chattel personnel, those proving loyal and skilled, were given roaming liberties and the freedom to travel for several months.
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
For the next three centuries, there were 25 periods of slave unrest. In the Year 731, the 15th Khazarkar Uprising took the crown's treasury into the negative. The Khazarkars were losing money from labor strikes and general unrest. The most rebellious element were the minotaurs. They protested for more freedom and an end to the practice of trimming their horns. The said it was humiliating, an out-dated measure of the MCE. They proclaimed themselves a productive element of society, their demon urgings were long gone, and most of all not a threat. Many minotaurs saw their masters as bosses, and even friends.
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, long-simmering unrest exploded in the Great Minotaur Revolt (785 - 796). Nearly the entire minotaur slave population rose up against their masters. Over the next ten years, a great slaughter ensued on both sides. The minotaurs gathered in pockets along the southwestern borders of Gulimbor waging guerrilla war on their former Khazarkar masters.
In 796, the Khazarkars agreed to peace terms. The 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 founded Ilfongrak. 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 eyeing the riches of ancient Merorarg.
In the Pugad War (812 - 817), Bâlê defeated the Niratar Theocracy. With the capture of Merorarg, a minotaur empire is born. It is named in honor of the hero Ba'lith, the one who organized the resistance against the Khazarkars in the Great Minotaur Revolt.
In its early days, Ba'lith was a prodigy of chaos, torn by unrest and strife, civil wars, and military coups. The rise of Coeus worship in 815, then lasting nearly nine centuries, is often blamed for empire's many internal struggles.
With calm in Azrik's interior, Ba'lith looked west to the riches moving about what they would come to call the Minotaur Inlet. Late in the First Epoch, this channel sea was becoming a major trade route to the islands ports of Râpha-Nâr. To help quell internal unrest, Ba'lith's government sponsored battle, openly supporting pirating and mercenary ventures; the seeds that would start the Horn Tusk Conflict (1023 - 1467).
The Minotaur Inlet became a hunting ground for pirates that came to outnumber Ba'lith's small navy. State-sponsored pirating became a serious threat to the Elderaunt city-state Rîni. This city on the western side of the strait, party of the Râpha-Nâr Oversight Board, was charged with policing the area's commerce. Greatly affected by Ba'lith's mischief, and unable to cope with their neighbor's growing naval presence alone, the unification of Athoreon's elderaunt city-states was forced. In 921, Ba'lith's aggression gives rise to the elderaunt empire Ivory Aslyum.
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"
This colonialism led to the Horn Tusk Conflict; four centuries of hostilities between Ivory Asylum and the Ba'lith Empire, broken by periods of open trade through intermediaries, replenishing their coffers for the next flare-up.
In the Gulimbor Cataclysm (996 - 1203), when Gulimbor's lands were ripped by magical storms and prowled by magical monsters, Azrik became a destination for thousands of Tragaran refugees. Those hailing from the Borillisk Empire tended to go with Balith, while those of the Niratar Theocracy went north into lands held by the Torgilm Confederacy (1475 - 1719).
In 1672, the longest serving soldier of Ba'lith's armies, one that had for a time ruled the First Khazarkar Empire, forged a treaty with the Torgilm Confederacy. The signing of the Treaty of Droorlow made permanent the 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 tens of thousands of laborers went to work on the Sonic Horns. These were erected as a defense against the ongoing Locust Encroachment (1412 - 1694).
In 1692, Raxcvillibus Dumu-loc, once a renown general of Ba'lith, declared war on the empire he once served, starting the Terror March. A year later in 1693, Ba'lith comes under blockade by the Pact of Behemoths, starting the Azrik Blockade (1693 - 1729). The goal of this measure was to stop Ba'lith's support of piracy and other lawlessness.
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 Ilfongrak, from the History of Azrik
For much of their early history, the minotaurs of Azrik's north and south clashed horns over territory. Ba'lith was normally the aggressor. Their stated goal was full control of the Ezdynn River; a major trade-way linking Azrik with Ma'Ohari. Following the Brothers Enmity War (1697 - 1723), with the Torgilm Confederacy no more, the lands of Azrik were unified under one minotaur empire.
Before her fall, the Kingdom of Bloodtusk was a friend to Ba'lith. They had their feuds, but generally stuck together in their fights with Ivory Asylum. Ba'lith's maleraunts are mostly descendants of those that fled to Azrik with Bloodtusk's fall.
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 1729, 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.
Ba'lith has a large slave population. Periodically leading to unrest, those proving loyal to the empire can earn their freedom.
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 during the Torgilm Confederacy. 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.