Although the city-states that are the core of the confederacy existed well before the the chaos of the DragonWars or the salvation of the rising, the history of the confederacy begins after such events; however, a birth is meaningless with an understanding of the conception.
The city-states that comprise the confederacy have all existed for well over 500 hundred years, emerging as powerful economic trade centers because of geographic fortune. Located on the southern peninsula of the continent of Aeuild, known as Sheiner, the city-states found themselves at the nexus of a world ripe for exploration and exploitation, a world whose size was shrinking as different peoples made contact with each other. As the isolationism of the the past centuries was swept aside by rampant materialism, trade routes were opened that found Sheiner at the crossroads. Quickly, the small towns and cities grew into majestic city-states that rivaled the fabled cities of the old Imperium.
Of course, competition grew between the cities which almost resulted in open warfare when the Diamedred of House Mernar of Ethaech Yel claimed that House Thyrien of Conmaier was violating the customs of trade. Unfortunately, law was one thing and custom another. Neither side could prove its point and armies from each house gathered on the Plains of Orvigan . Without the intervention of cooler, more rational heads, economic competition would have led to military conflagration. Under the auspice of the Diamedreds of House Lyane, House Elentas, and House Stoneryphe, the Concordat of Houses was struck and warfare averted. The Concordat turned custom in law and forbade the use of warfare as a means of resolution.
Over time, as the city-states became wealthier and more powerful, the ruling mercantile houses forgot or ignored the spirit of the Concordat and twisted the letter of the law. Warfare was replaced by skirmishes and assassins; negotiation and bidding with piracy and terrorism. Fortunately for the economy and unfortunately for the people caught in the competition, trade was not hampered and profits continued to rise. However, a greater menace than the houses arose from the north.
The Ar' Athån War
The Ar' Athån, elven nomads from the northern steppe invaded the Sheinar peninsula with a vengeance before any semblance of a defense could be mounted. Even after the city-states began to react, it was with little unity. Each house fed its military piece meal to the invaders to be slaughtered until the Diamedred of House Stoneryphe convinced them that a united front was the only means of surviving. It took another year of disrupted trade, rioting by refugees from the countryside, and the fall of three houses before the city-states formed a unified force under the command of Diamedred Stoneryphe.
Although an able leader, the Ar' Athån were not, in the words of Diamedred Lyon, "savages, easily brushed aside." The Ar' Athån War lasted for three years as more bodies were fed into the bloodshed. Ar' Athån warrior-priests fought Sheinari spellweavers, while bare-backed horseman fought heavy cavalry; bladesingers against swordsman, archer against crossbowman. As another year of warfare passed, a stalemate and then a truce was reached. For each side the costs became too high. Although neither admitted defeat and the Ar' Athån remained in the Plains of Orvigan, peace emerged.
The Antebellum Years
Through the peace of the post-war years, the city-state once again began to prosper and, tired of the warfare, again turned to the old Concordat for guidance. Meanwhile, the nomadic Ar' Athån settled in the forests of the region, willing to change their entire way of life rather than risk shame by fleeing the Sheinar peninsula. As seasons passed and one generation was replaced by another, the war become a memory, the truce a way of life. The merchant houses of Dhurban and Faile Dar approached, and successfully opened trade with the Ar' Athån; quickly, the other city-states followed suit and a burgeoning trade arose.
At the same time, the dwarven hillsman began to leave their secluded homes and ventured into the cities of the Sheinari, seeking trade and cultural trade. Attempts had been made in the past, but the isolationistic Thjadrir, as the dwarves called themselves had always rebuffed such attempts; none cared why they had changed their minds, thinking only of the money to be made from the mineral and jewels found in fabled carved city of the dwarf. In turn, the Thjadrir never volunteered an explanation.
For generations more, the three races lived in peace and prosperity, uniting in defense when enemies threatened from outside the peninsula. Although there was no military force as deadly as the combined might of the three races, their was not enough unity to manage anything more than defense. A defense that would be humbled in another war of cataclysmic magnitude
Rumors began to arrive with the mercantile that flowed into the Sheinar peninsula, rumors of a war between dragons. It was the rare individual who had seen a dragon and believed the creatures to be little more than myth. Safely tucked in the cleft of the peninsula with the might of three armies to protect them, the Sheinari believed themselves safe; more importantly, the trade had not lessened and it was safe. For two years the threats were ignored; however, not everyone ignored the rumors. Ar' Athån StoneSingers began to have visions of scattered tribes, crumbled cities, and broken bodies. Most, even among the Ar' Athån ignored these portents, but enough listened that scouting parties were sent out to investigate the rumors.
Even before they could return, rumor was made reality when a flights of dragons appeared over the skies of Sheinar. As the peoples watched in awe, dragons fought each other over the city, raining carnage on those below. Although the battle ended quickly, in what appeared to be a grudging stalemate, it was only the beginning. As the armies prepared themselves for a battle they were dragged into, scouting parties began to trickle back and warned of wizards, loyal to different dragons, were fighting on the ground. Open warfare had returned, if not to Sheinar, then its neighbors.
The DragonWars lasted for over five years, unleashing magic and chaos onto the world. Nations fell and cultures were erased in the wake of the devastation. Two of the city-states on the northern most border were completed left in ruins, as others barely managed to maintain a semblance of cityhood. As much as they tried, the Sheinari could not keep the war away from them. Rather than be completed laid to waste as rumor and report claimed to be happening to the rest of the world, Diamedred from a hundred major and minor houses gathered with Ar' Athån leaders and Thjadririan nobility to seek a solution. As war and devastation raged around them, changing the physical and emotional face of the world, these men and women met in secrecy. As rivers were run dry and seas arose in deserts, as mountains crumbled and wooded forests burned fouled flames, they remained in hiding. After almost two months had passed, a solution was found and unanimity reached.
The Price of Salvation
On a cool summer night, a group of a score of Sheinari spellweavers and Ar' Athåni Stonesingers were escorted by twice as many heavy cavalry and Ar' Athåni Bladesingers into the darkness of the night. They returned two days later, half their number dead, with a captured dragon. Then, filling their ranks with more soldiers and wizards, these would-be saviors left in the dead of night to return with another dragon. This continued until three dragons were captures, and nearly one hundred soldiers and wizards were dead.
Then, the rituals began. As the Ar' Athåni Stonesingers conjured spirits, Sheinari spellweavers wove strands of ritual magic. Few had been prepared for what was to happen and it was only by the sheer force of the people's fortitude that madness did not reign as the earth began to shake. Wizards began to die, sacrifices to save their people, as the ground heaved and tore aware from its foundations. Using the power of the dragons buried deep within the earth with the help of Thjadririan miners, the wizards brought life to the land as it rose into the air like floating islands. The sacrifice was not only of the dragons, but also of the wizards. Every one involved in the rituals, over 60 Stonesingers and spellweavers, died from the backlash of the magic. The power of the ritual reverberated to a magnitude that could not have been foreseen. Although the land was saved, a barrier between the real world and the astral world was torn causing a rippled in the fabric of astral space that closed of magic to those who wove threads from such space. Magic, once a part of life was no more.
Survival and Rebirth
The people of the Sheinar peninsula, whether man, elf, or dwarf, had always been sturdy survivors and those that lived through the devastation of their world were made stronger. In the early years, the loss of the threads of magic was devastating, not only for those who wove spells, but also for those who needed spells woven. The people began to turn to the clergy and to druids and hedge wizards who had never really relied on the threads.
One day, on the 58th anniversary of The Dragonheart Rising, a spellweaver by the the name of Ancel who was conducting research under the auspice of the church discovered a new source of magic - the very dragonhearts that had saved the Sheinari. It was found that the dragonhearts could be drawn upon for the raw material of the magical weave. A new brand of spellcasting was found and in the name of its discoverer, was called Ancellary magic.
With the aid of Ancellarian spellweavers and Thjadririan scientists, the people adapted to their new home in the sky. Airships were created to fly from island to island, while farms were fed by newly created aqueducts and canals. Trade, though limited to the cities themselves began anew and prosperity was in sight. Without the threat of external attack, the future seemed bright. Although the Sheinar mourned for the loss of their world, they rejoiced in their survival and rebirth. And over time, the adaptations and necessities become a way of life.
Then, after a generation passed in isolation, the future seemed to brighten even more when an airship, blown off course and long thought lost, returned to safe airharbor in Dhurban, claiming to have found others who had survived in a similar manner. At first wary, merchant houses quickly saw the monetary potential if such news was true and fast airrakers were built and sent out as scouts. It was learned that they were not alone and allies as well as enemies had survived on their own islands.
Contact was made with others: survivors from the Imperium, the Theocracy of Nirajen, and Vlanece Rieghdon.. Unfortunately, the geographic advantage had been lost and the competition grew fierce. As the Houses of Sheinar competed with each other, they competed with the imperials, the Nirajenians, and the Vlanecei. And then, marauders in captured and stolen airships were added to the stew.
The Confederacy is Born
Once again, the economic survival of the islands was threatened. Although some attempted to resurrect the Concordat of Houses, it was remembered that it had not been as successful as the chroniclers claimed in their tomes. After the events of the last century, the Concordat was now a meaningless footnote and the new world needed a new solution. As the Sheinari had always done, a council was called.
From this council of Sheinari, advised by Ar' Athåni and Thjadririan representatives, was born the Confederacy of Sheinar. Lord Ormas of House Stoneryphe was named High Diamedred of the confederacy, to work alongside the Dioed, an assembly to meet every two years or as the need arose to pass law and settle disputes. Each city was to be given autonomy as long as the law of the Dioed was not violated.
Although meant to be an elected position, Lord Ormas chose his own son as a successor on his deathbed. Unwilling to go against such a popular House, the members of the Dioed made the fatal mistake of acquiescing without even raising an eyebrow. Setting precedent, it became impossible for future Dioeds to oppose successive High Diamedreds from House Stoneryphe from naming successors from their own House. Although many within the Dioed were opposed to such maneuverings, the High Diamedred, especially in the early years of the confederacy were able leaders who cared for the people and shrewd politicians who watched the Dioed, could not be ousted without collapsing the confederacy. Thus, High Diamedred became a hereditary position. From merchant was born a noble.
©1998. Laljit Sidhu. All Rights Reserved. Except where noted, material on this site is the property of the author. Propriety material is used with permission. For more information, contact the author at Raensleyar@hotmail.com.