A KINGDOM UNDER THE SUN
Trace back the paths of the stars and you’ll find a Dunkarga more powerful than any kingdom on all of Loerem. A land of beauty and culture that encompasses everything from the southern oceans to the frozen north. A land of wise leaders and prosperous people. A land of peace.
But the stars never pass through the same sky twice . . .
--Olmesh al'Idmah, Resident Historian at the Library of Imaf
Though the Dunkargan people have an oral history that stretches far before the founding of Old Vinnengael, it was the Vinnengaeleans who brought the idea of written history to Dunkarga. Hence, most Dunkargan histories use the Vinnengaelean calendar, which begins at the founding of Old Vinnengael in 1 OV.
The peoples that will eventually become Dunkargans gather into nomadic tribes that wander the western half of Loerem. Complex customs develop for interactions between tribes, and some tribes begin to specialize in particular trade goods. There are many small encampments across the region where the tribes gather to trade, but the largest is Dunkar, on the western shore of the Kaldus River. Dunkar eventually becomes a religious center as well, home to the annual Festival of the Sun, and is populated year-round four hundred years before the founding of Old Vinnengael.
Loyalty to tribe and family are held above all else, but as the decades pass and Dunkar thrives, the tribes slowly begin to call themselves “Dunkargans”. The elders of each tribe meet in Dunkar each year during the Festival of the Sun, bartering information from faraway lands and making trade and marriage arrangements for the coming year.
As the Dunkargan Council meets in their blue-striped pavilion, another group of tribesmen forms to discuss the manipulation of the energies they feel flowing through the lands. Some stay behind in Dunkar to study and exchange ideas, founding the Academy of Magic.
Against the advice of his elders at Academy of Magic, the young mage Tarras Weldar gathers a group of young mages and hires guides for an expedition that will travel far to the east, where Weldar claims to have forseen “a land of promise and destiny.” They depart Dunkar in the spring, and do not return. (Unbeknowst to the Dunkargans, the mages encounter and befriend the charismatic warlord Verdic Ildurel and journey with him down the River Hammerclaw to build a permanent fortress. This construction of this keep marks the founding of Old Vinnengael, where Verdic becomes its first king and the Dunakargan mages his Council of the Magi.
Birth of a Nation
64 OV : When Orken ships arrive with the intent to trade in Dunkar, the Dunkargans kill their crews and burn the ships, declaring the Orks abominable mockeries of Humans that have been damned by the gods. This is the beginning of Dunkargan enmity with the other races of Loerem.
72: The rifts in the ranks of the Academy caused two generations before by the departure and disappearance of Tarras Weldar and his followers come to a head as the Academy fractures into splinter groups, each espousing particular practices and variations on the nature of magic. Over the next century these become Dunakarga’s mage guilds, and the Academy remains as a center of education from debate from which new mages can make their decisions about which guild to join or support.
114: Several hundred knights from the city of Vinnengael ride into Dunkar, bringing the greetings of King Verdic II and the Council of the Magi. The alarm from the military arrival is eventually calmed by the diplomatic skills of Janwyn Mocos, an ambassador also sent by King Verdic.
115: During the Festival of the Sun, Mocos aids the Dunkargan Council in drawing up the first maps of the lands traveled by the tribes. In doing so they formally create the nation of Dunkarga, which stretches from the western ocean to the borders of Vinnengael in the east. The next decade is spent codifying ancient custom into national law.
Gathering of the Tuul
116-182: Tribes give way to ‘tuul’ based on familial relation, personal fealty and intricate webs of internal diplomacy. The tuul each lay claim to a portion of the kingdom; some, such as Tuul Karnu, remain nomadic but claim the area within the boundaries of their wandering. Others claim areas in order to build provincial cities and trade centers, such as Tuul Armah, which claims an area in the north of the kingdom and founds Armah ‘Lin (“City of Armah”).
143: The aging Ambassador Mocos returns to Vinnengael for the first time in thirty-seven years, accompanied by his son Faramon Mocos el’Sihran, who will be the first ambassador from Dunkarga to Vinnengael.
166: Tuul Karnu establishes a trade route to the prosperous Kingdom of Nimra. Queen Baelwin of Nimra welcomes the traders with open arms, and close diplomatic ties form between Nimra and Dunkarga.
185: After decades of service negotiating disputes between the tuul and adjudicating the law, Sathos el’Idmah, a native of Dunkar, is named the first King of Dunkarga. Queen Baelwin of Nimra and Princess Emprostia of Vinnengael (who would later in the year become that nation’s ruler) attend his coronation. Dunkar is officially named the royal seat of the Kingdom of Dunkarga, and Dunkar Province, “a province that belongs to all the peoples of Dunkarga” is formed around the capital city.
187: King Sathos takes Needah al’Mordyn as his Queen. Later that year, they give birth to twins, a son they name Werol and a daughter, Delo.
202: Gold is discovered in Qok Province. Tuul Qok abandons their original seaside capital of Qok ‘Lin and establishes a new capital in the mountains near the strike, called Qok ‘Tol (“Riches of Qok”.)
A Fraying Tapestry
205-211: King Sathos dies late in 205, and while the tuul mourn publicly they scheme in private, each plotting to place one of their own on the throne. Over the next year, the long peace of Sathos’ reign frays; Tuul Idmah claims succession demands Sathol’s son Werol rise to the throne, until the young man is ‘killed by bandits’ outside Dunkar (following his death, Welos’ sister Delo flees Dunkar and goes into hiding); prominent members of several other tull are openly assassinated, while others die under mysterious circumstances; long-standing trade agreements between tuul are suddenly called off. Finally Kelwin al’Sihran lays claim to the throne and in a four-year process brings the other tuul into line one by one. By 211, Dunkarga is once again at peace.
212: Delo al’Idmah emerges from hiding. To appease Tuul Idmah, King Kelwin names her Dunkarga’s ambassador to Nimra. Kelwin also begins building a national army, formed of volunteers from Dunkar and other provinces. A training camp is built outside the city, and Kelwin names his brother Bolyn al’Sihran commander of both camp and army.
215: Dunkarga’s centennial is celebrated during the Festival of the Sun. Kelwin invites performers, tradesmen, and dignitaries from across Loerem to Dunkar, and the celebration is a great success.
223: Against the advice of their trading partners in Tifyn Province, a caravan of elven traders ride west for Dunkar. They are never seen again. Though suspicion falls on the shoulders of Tuul Karfa, nothing can be proven.
229: It is discovered that the “ailing King Kelwin” is not actually in seclusion; he is, in fact, dead, and a conspiracy of the councilors from Tuul Idmah and Armrah has been ruling in his stead for several years. A furious Bolyn al’Sihran beheads the conspirators and posts their heads on spikes outside the palace. A state funeral is held for King Kelwin, and after three months of debate and maneuvering Wenados al’Dalon is named the new King.
230: A crude ship from Sihran ‘Lin makes the first successful crossing to the Nimran costal town of Kalta.
Darkness Before the Dawn
233: King Wenados makes good on one of the promises he made to win the throne by marrying Loi el’Karnu. They have a daughter in each of the following four years, then in early 237 finally give birth to a son, Leren.
236-245: A bloody feud breaks out between Tuul Mordyn and Tuul Armrah in 236. A halt to hostilities is called during the Festival of the Sun in 238, and in hopes of promoting peace Queen Loi visits the Festival in Riydah ‘To, a small town in the northern borderlands of Mordyn and Armah Provinces. She is poisoned at the welcoming banquet, and dies two days later. Hostilities flare as the two tuul each blame the other, and the Dunkargan Army rides in to form the final side of a three-sided conflict that lasts for seven years until a grizzled Bolyn al’Sihran personally binds the heads of the two tuul together and then draws and quarters them. Peace follows, as does criticism of Bolyn, who retires to farm the lowlands of Sihran Province.
251: In a scandalous move, the King’s eldest daughter Naras el’Dalon volunteers for the army. She refuses anything that appears to be preferential treatment and ends up assigned to a scouting party sent into the mountains of Echnea Province.
256: Tromek’s Shield of the Divine proves that elven memory is as long as their lives when an elven raiding party sweeps across the Dunkargan border, through a passive Tifyn Province, and into Karfa Province, seeking vengence for the Tromek traders who vanished thirty years earlier. They lay siege to Karfa ‘Len, and within two weeks penetrate the city’s walls with surprisingly little bloodshed. Wyred mages accompanying the elven army discover the traders’ bones in a secret room deep in the tuul household; the Shield of the Divine carefully packages the bones in silks and then ties Tuul Karfa’s leaders behind his team of horses and drags them to the Tromek border, where they are left to rot in a watering hole. The following morning finds that all elves in Dunkarga have departed for home, rarely to again be seen within its borders.
261: A message arrives in Dunkar that Naras el’Dalon has left the Dunkargan Army to marry into Tuul Echnea. King Wenados is furious that his daughter would remain with the mountain tuul, but cannot locate her among the nomads to demand her return.
264: Wenados dies, and for the first time in Dunkargan history the crown passes to the king’s son as Leren al’Dalon is named Dunkarga’s new king. It quickly becomes obvious that King Leren is a mere tool of the political forces that put him on the throne, content to be the mouthpiece for those forces so long as his life of luxury continues. He is widely despised by the Dunkargan people after such actions as building a massive expansion to the royal palace in Dunkar, which includes razing three blocks owned by Tuul Echnea to make way for a large interior courtyard for his stable of horses.
267: To the annoyance of the rationalists at the Academy of Magic, Vinnengael’s Temple of the Magi begins to establish itself in cities across Dunkarga. Streetcorner debates on the nature of magic regularly degenerate into magical duels, with many non-mages caught in the middle.
269: King Leren is entertaining a throne room of well-wishers when his throat is suddenly slit by one of his female courtiers, Geyrdn al’Echnea. A massive army of nomads from Tuul Echnea appears outside the palace and holds the Dunkargan Army at bay while the deceased king’s elder sister Naras Dalon el’Echnea takes his place upon the throne. She quickly wins the favor of the people of Dunkar by rounding up her brother’s advisors and hanging them in the marketplace. Over three years she slowly wins over the people of Dunkarga through just and fair rule, and in 272 is named the country’s first Queen.
The Naradan Era
273-302: Queen Naras’ rule is long and prosperous. She attempts to put an end to the public battles between the Academy of Magic and the Temple of the Magi by creating the College of Dunkarga and establishing branches in major cities across the Kingdom. Naras encourages “all mages and scholars to attend the College and share their knowledge with the people, while enlarging their purview through tranquil and peaceable discourse.” The plan largely succeeds, and those wizards who still feel the need for sorcerous duels take their disputes far from cities.
In an effort to place the citizens’ national loyalty before their affiliation to the tuul, she ends the long practice of burying rulers in their home province and declares that she will be buried in a tomb intended for all of Dunkarga’s kings and queens to be constructed in Dunkar Province. Materials are contributed from all over the kingdom, and when the Queen dies at the age of 68 in 302 she is buried in one of the most beautiful and fantastic structures in all of Loerem: Rulers’ Rest.
303-312: Unable to find someone they consider a worthy successor to Naras, the Dunkargan Council rules for ten years, a decade filled with chaos, indecisiveness, and infighting among the tuul and their representatives. Finally they choose the young but wise Armah el’Armah, who is crowned on his eighteenth birthday in 312.
315: The culmination of Dunkarga’s bicentennial festival is the marriage of King Armah to Mya el’Qok.
324: A conspiracy from Tuul Karnu convinces King Armah (wrongly) that his wife has been unfaithful. They arrange for the King to take her to the royal retreat northeast of Dunkar, where he plans to dispatch her in a boating ‘accident’. Instead the conspiracy makes certain that both King and Queen fall prey to the accident, and by 326 have maneuvered Ulan el’Karnu onto the throne.
346: When King Ulan begins to follow his own conscience over the commands of those who placed him on the throne two decades previously, they have him assassinated, then place Sorteral el’Karnu, one of their own, upon the throne.
War with Vinnengael
358: King Sorteral makes an agreement of mutual support with the Nimran Queen Letrull, symbolized by the two rulers each sending members of the royal family to live in the other kingdom’s capital; King Sorteral sends his nephew Tobyn to Neyshabur, and Queen Lutrell’s granddaughter Hykael travels to Dunkar.
Increasingly jealous of the wealth of Vinnengael, in the spring Tuul Karnu begins attacking caravans crossing the border from Vinnengael into Dunkarga. Soon thereafter Sorteral amasses the Dunkargan Army in Karnu Province and begins invading and conquering Vinnengaelean land, eventually pushing the eastern border of Dunkarga to the shores of Lake Ildurel.
359: Led by Vinnengaelean Prince Tamrond III and the King’s Watch, the Vinnengaelean Army begins a methodical campaign that pushes the Dunkargan Army through Karnu and Dalon Province into the mountains of Qok Province. Rumors have passed among the Dunkargan people that Tuul Karnu has been manipulating the country’s rulers for thirty years, so the Vinnengaeleans find Tuul Dalon and Tuul Qok surprisingly helpful in their struggle with the Dunkargan Army. In late summer King Sorteral pulls his troops back to Dunkar, and in fall the Vinnengaeleans follow and lay siege to the city through the long winter.
360: In the spring Prince Tamrond is quietly approached by Sorteral’s son Imaf, who makes it clear that his true loyalties lie with his mother’s Tuul Tifyn and the nation of Dunkarga, not the power lust of his father and Tuul Karnu. Together Tamrond and Imaf lay a plan to end the bloody war.
By summer Dunkar has been ravaged by the siegeand by Vinnengael’s Orken allies, who have blockaded the harbors of not just Dunkar but also Sihran ‘Lin, Mordyn ‘Lin, and Dalon ‘Lin. Sorteral makes a pronouncement that he is prepared to hand over his sword to Prince Tamrond and negotiate a diplomatic end to the war, but the Vinnengaelean prince makes it clear that he will only accept unconditional surrenderand plans to hang Sorteral shortly thereafter.
For the first time in centuries, pilgrims are unable to travel to Dunkar for the Festival of the Sun. Imaf takes advantage of the unrest, and emphasizing his roots with his mother’s Tuul Tifyn, instigates a rebellion among the Dunkargan Army and the people of Dunkar. Sorteral is quickly rounded up, handed over to the Vinnengaeleans, and executed (though the Vinnengaeleans do allow the body to be buried at Rulers’ Rest.)
The Dunkargan Council and all the people of Dunkarga view Imaf as the man who brought peace back to Dunkarga, especially after Prince Tamrond declares that of the lands captured in the war, all will be returned to Dunkarga but for the southern half of Karnu Provincea deal brokered that spring between Imaf and Tamrond. When Imaf el’Tifyn is named king by a grateful Dunkarga, Tamrond validates his rule by attending the coronation. As the peace with Vinnengael cost them much of their homelandincluding its capital city, Karnu ‘Szo, Tuul Karnu refuses to recognize Imaf’s legitimacy.
365: Tamrond, now King of Vinnengael, goes insane and is removed from the throne to be replaced by his young cousin Horthos. King Imaf of Dunkarga rushes to visit his old friend and attend the coronation, and upon his return to Dunkar issues a royal proclamation calling Horthos “a simpering weakling who will be unable to make the difficult decisions required of rulers.” He also expresses bitterness that Nimra seems to be treating their treaty of mutual support as a treaty of non-intervention following the war with Vinnengael, as Nimran trade with Dunkarga drops to an all-time low.
Queen Lutrell of Nimra is assassinated that fall, and Dunkargan spies report the death to clearly be the work of the queen’s daughter, Adros. But after Adros rises to the Nimran throne she publicly blames Dunkarga for her mother’s death, rescinding all treaties with Dunkarga, expelling Imaf’s cousin Tobyn from Nimra, and demanding the return of her daughter Hykael to Neyshabur. Unbeknowst to Queen Adros, the young Hykael is King Imaf’s lover and secretly hoped to wed him; she does eventually return to Nimar, but it is only against her will.
366-374: Hoping to build a legacy as a diplomat, King Horthos of Vinnengael becomes increasingly involved in both Dunkargan and Nimran affairs. Dunkara is seemingly open to Vinnengael’s overtures, and several of Vinnengael’s major colleges establish branches in Dunkar.
Meanwhile, Nimra drops further and further into internal chaos, as a mysterious group of rebels begins to insinuate itself into and take control of towns along the Nimra/Karnu Province border. In 372, King Imaf finally requests that King Horthos intervene in the border problems; Horthos agrees and departs for the Nimran capital of Neyshabur. As he approaches the city, full-scale civil war breaks outand simulataneously, the Vinnengaelean delegation is attacked. Only quick and valorous action by Queen Adros’ royal troops saves the Vinnengaelean king, but the insurgents manage to lay siege to the Nimran capital. Hearing of the war, the Vinnengaelean army sails to Nimra in Orken ships, and use them to eventually break the siege of Neyshabur.
In 372 it is revealed that the dissident army is commanded by Hykael,who still hoped to become Imaf’s queen. Adros wants Hykael executed, but Horthos preaches forgiveness and convinces Adros that Hykael and her followers should simply be exiled. Hykaels hopes to find shelter in Karnu Province, but Imaf rebuffs her, forcing her to continue her trek north. He never speaks to her again.
In the courts of Dunkar, rumors swirl that Imaf he was behind the entire plot, hoping to avenge Adros’ slanders against Dunkarga and dispatch of Horthos in one cunning maneuver. But they can only judge by Imaf’s closing of the borders in 374 and refusal to deal with other nations.
NOTE: In People of the Sword and Stars, this timeline continues for another 400 years.