Kal-Oni Empire

CategoryFallen Empires
RegionHells Womb
DeitiesArcana, Ares, Hades, Neld-Rac
EnemiesLances of Merioss, Tarkrath
LeadersHouse Kal-Oni
Reign1016 - 1266

In the Great Exodus (998 - 1017), hundreds of thousands of refugees, from fallen empires and soon-to-fall ones, fled parts of Azrik and nearly all of Gulimbor. These regions of the Karterus continent were becoming uninhabitable from a great magical cataclysm sweeping across the land. One group of refugees went to the Hells Womb, a southern coastal region of the Brucrumus mainland. Nearly all of these people were Tragarans, most former citizens of an empire that had just fallen. This was the Cal-Thaoun Dynasty, ruled by the Cal-Thaoun family for the last seven centuries.

Like the untold stories of many thousands lost in the Great Exodus, the Cal-Thaouns with their great station, were not immune from the voyage's dangers. They crossed untamed and poorly chartered seas at the head of the fleet, proving that they were true leaders.

- excerpt from the captain's log of the ship Cal-Thaoun Spear

At the time of this writing, early in the Second Epoch, the Sea of Mourning, what it would soon be called, had no serious empires patrolling its waters. Hundreds of ships and many thousands of lives would be lost in the Great Exodus, most at sea. Many fell prey to pirates, creatures of the deep, bad weather, or unfamiliarity with the currents, drawn unerringly east into the Doldrums, a windless life sapping expanse of ocean the size of a continent. Most of the Cal-Thaoun family were lost on their voyage to a new land they assumed they would rule for another seven hundred years.

Leaderless on the shores of Hells Womb, the refugees looked for new leadership, many pointing to the Kal-Oni family. The Kal-Oni were influential, strong in business, most of the time supporting the government. In fact, they were so trusted by the Cal-Thaoun family, having served many centuries side by side, one controlling government, and the other vast business interests, that they put their protection under Kal-Oni ships rather than their own military vessels. It would be a grave decision, with the entire family tossed overboard by crews driven mad by the songs of sirens.

On 3 Bliss 1016, the Kal-Oni family became heads of the newly formed Kal-Oni Empire. They doled out all the important posts in the military, government and in state-owned businesses. It was a dynasty, with an Empress or Emperor overseeing it all. Based on customs dating back to the Lith-Crillion Era, this was a singular head of state, with never an Emperor and Empress and the helm; the spouse relegated to a role outside of government.

The Kal-Oni were aggressive, taking what they wanted by force of arms. They proclaimed to the populace, "we are surrounded by entrenched peoples, ones that have been here a long time, none to happy with our presence near their lands, to survive we must be strong." In the empire's first century of existence, Graagvrii raiders from the Ghar-Lakh Swamp and orcs coming out of the Kamoni Jungle were a common problem. In times of peace, they traded with their temporary friends and more permanent ones to the northwest, the halflings of Bathor and the elves of Celebriän. The Kal-Oni Empire also had strong trade and friendly relations with Ivory Asylum and their fellow Tragarans which settled along the eastern coasts of Ma'Ohari (c.f. the Burterinii Empire).

In the Ghar-Lakh War, Kal-Oni battled Ghar-Lakh's Graagvrii. This conflict came about from Kal-Oni's desire for Mynzuth iron. With war's end in 1022, the party's agreed to terms beneficial to both sides. The Kal-Oni would lease the land at rather cheap rates, and the Kal-Oni would take a more aggressive posture towards the area's orcs. This the Kal-Oni did, building Troom, setting off conflict with the orc tribes laying claim to this part of Mynzuth. These orcs had been in this area since the Horgon Era. They were hostile to outsiders, hostile to each other, and hostile to "those who had lost the way", those who chose to settle down in Tarkrath.

One of the most influential groups to advise the Kal-Oni government was the Bralda-Balc crime syndicate. In 1026, one of their exploration teams found the Lab Journals of Neld-Rac. These journals were of religious significance, though their bearers did not know. They would lead to a revival of Neld-Rac worship, and the proliferation of information on dark rites and necromancy.

Between 1031 and 1041, the empire warred with the orcs of the Kamoni jungle. These were the most feared of all the orcs peoples scattered like a crescent from Kamoni, across part of the Mynzuth hills and into the guts of the Cormindar Mountains. This conflict became known as the Kamoni War. A Kal-Oni victory, Tarkrath was depopulated. The orcs fought as guerrillas for a few years, then left in what became known as the Arduous March (1041 - 1096).

In 1080, civil unrest was becoming a problem. Many were tired of the dynastic rule, most wanted popular elections, others wanted a government more favorable for trade or some other interest. Some of this unrest can be blamed on groups like the Cult of Worms and Bralda-Balc's splinter groups. At the time, the lich Caliguworm headed the Cult of Worms. Under the guidance of Thasmudyan, it is believed the two were key figures in all the problems that were to follow. The government knew their were bad actors, even resorting to assassinations when enough evidence could not be found to bring them to trial. Most of this dirty work was done by the Hulo Sect (c.f. Tearberon) and the Shadow Sect.

In 1090, the empire was facing growing numbers of undead. Untypical, the government was slow to respond, leading to another wave of unrest. Fifteen years later, in 1105, the people learned the reason for the poor show against the packs of undead roaming the countryside, and unusual leniency to necromancers. The League of Magicks gave convincing evidence to leaders outside the government, proving that Kal-Oni's true emperor had been killed fifteen years ago, the same year the undead problem began. Since that time, the head of the Cult of Worms, the lich Caliguworm, had been ruling in his stead. The deception was so effective that even members of the Kal-Oni family did not know, or were under spell not to raise alarm. The Kal-Oni High Church (a group of priests representing all the major gods worshiped in Kal-Oni's sphere of influence) issued the Shadow Bull. This religious proclamation forbid all activities involving necromancy. Caliguworm was removed from power, taken by the League of Magicks to serve out an eternity in a Hibernation Bay.

In the 1240s, undead were again becoming a problem. In 1244, the empire sent assassins and crack adventurers to purge the lands of necromancers, dark cultists, death priests, and their supporters. The Cult of Worms continued to gain power even after the imprisonment of Caliguworm and the Purging of 1244. In secret they continued to induct new members and spread necromantic practices. By 1255 they had collected the necessary resources to raise a vast army of undead. The Cult of Worms demanded the rescinding of the Shadow Bull. When this did not happen, the Cult sent forth the Pitch Bone Legion, ravaging Kal-Oni lands. When the Cult lost control of this legion, the undead wandered about destroying everything they came across. As time passed, the Pitch Bone Legion gained in strength as fiends, death priests, and necromancers joined the ranks. This death army terrified the Kal-Oni people. The Kal-Oneans united against this threat and appealed to the Kal-Oni government to banish the Cult of Worms. They also requested that the Kal-Oni High Church issue a bull forbidding the worship of evil gods. Unfortunately, their appeals were in vain, because the government was now firmly in hands of one of the former factions of Bralda-Balc, a group called the Shadow Sect. The people were unable to change the government's dark path, so the strongest and most influential merchant lords of the empire went north, enlisting the help of the elven republic Celebriän. To deal with the Pitch Bone Legion, the elves sought the help of the Lances of Merioss. The Gwaeldior Alliance was formed by the elves, knights, and merchants to put an end to the undead horde and bring down the Kal-Oni government.

The Kal-Oni War lasted six years, resulting in wide-spread destruction. In the end, all but one settlement, a small fishing port called Paradomea (c.f. Paradomea City), was put to ruin. The merchant lords of the Gwaeldior Alliance went on to form the Merchant League and run this small port.