I’ll admit I’ve decided a few new things in writing this up, and reserve the right to correct any problems I find later. It is all written intentionally vaguely, but this is in part because there is a lot of lost, or confusing history and disagreement intended. Meant to echo subtle things such as the unlikely ages of some biblical figures, or the doubtful authenticity of any aspect of arthurian legend, but all are more likely true(r) in this context.
I intend this to be something of a living document as I track down little things I have (somewhere,) but also part of a series tackling different epochs of world history.
This is none the less, largely codifying my operating understanding of the history of the world, with a few flourishes along the way.
Though exact dates for anything much before 200 B.E. are hotly debated by scholarly circles, most are willing to oblige approximate decades of various significant historical events as far back as the commonly given 750 B.E. for the founding of Osyrae, and the declaration of Osir as King (Koning.)
This begins the Early Age of Kings, that may also be refer to as the Osyraen (sub) Period, dominated by two distinct branches of Osyraen influence spreading through the world. There are however ample disagreements even over these decades, and doubts placed in claims made in surviving historical texts.
Osir is recorded to have been “of his Twenty-Eighth Sun” when he was “fashioned a crown of gold taken from many tribes, with seven jeweled diadems,” but some suspect he was as old as forty, which calls into question some of the most accepted timeline, due to extreme age implied by some more certain dates. Osyraen historians are however typically quite happy to be persuaded that their first sovereign might have challenged the remarkable age of 220.
The First Maji
There is only passing disagreement on separating the Maji into two major periods of First and Second Wave. This distinction is based on both leadership, and time frame. Lead first by a pair from Osyrae to Napir, then second by their supposed granddaughter (or daughter) from Napir through the eastern world. We will however take the position for clarity alone, as it is useful in discussing the Maji’s travels in the larger context of history.
670 B.E. is the most commonly accepted founding decade for the nation of Avrale under “Cwen Navi,” who wished to unite her people, and prepare for the coming incursion of Osyrae. This was spurred by the Maji being driven south by Osir’s conquests.
The Vale Conflicts began around 660 B.E, and lead to dramatic changes in northern ecology as the Osyraen’s razed the dense local forests both for resources, and to eliminate hiding places for local defenders. This leads to the founding of Midrook as a defensive bulwark against further incursion, and several decades of back and forth between Osyrae and Avrale over what is now the north eastern prairie lands.
The lost portion of the north was ultimately reclaimed through pressure from the powerful shamans of Tethis, and failed conflict with mages in the north western mountains, ultimately driving Osyrae back. Though there would be further push and pull over many centuries the extent of modern Avrale would remain in Avrale’s hands for most of it.
The bulk of the Osyraen Maji abandoned Navi to continue their path south during this period, and spread their knowledge. Concluding that even if they were to consider Navi herself a success, there was an inevitable course. That their invention would turn to the conquest of those who did not learn it, and it was too late to stop. So it is explained in their early writing that they set themselves to teach all who would listen, that all would at least have the chance to stand as equals. For they could not be certain of what would follow. That Avrale would forever stand, nor that even the Sylvans might not one day fall.
The Niven Land, the First Split
There is some confusion of ‘r’ and ‘n’ in early Maji writing, such that the “Niven Land”, is believed by some to have been a transitional relative of riven (to be split apart) as the land was divided into many tribes, separated by river valleys with frequent seasonal flooding. This land proved highly fractious, and while some factions embraced the Maji, others, even who took up their practices, sought to drive them out.
This lead to The Helmite Split of around 600 E.R. as one group wished to proceed into a mountainous eastern region to hide, and escape growing conflict, while the main body moved south. The split was lead by a son of the Maji Elders. Some of these appear to have traveled on, and settled with the people of modern Helm, likely giving them their name.
Napir the Ancient Land
The bulk of Naperaen written record begins at the time of Maji arriving at the Throne of Storms (590 E.R.), where a curious Storm Queen welcomed their surviving leader to stay, which she did until her death. The Maji brought with them not only a more advanced form of written language than the Naperaen’s yet had, but the more convenient codex, and methods of creating paper which was a great improvement upon stone carving.
Where scholars become confounded in this time line is the implied ages involved. Presuming Osir’s contemporaries among the Maji were of similar ages between 20 and 40, then they would have been between 180-200 years old upon arriving in Napir, stretching life expectancy significantly, as at least a decade is recorded in Naperaen texts and monuments. Indeed the less gifted of their two primary leaders was written to have passed of old age before departing Niven. Most confounding the Maji’s own records imply, “At two-hundered and seventeen Suns, she rested then beneath the moon.”
Indeed there are frequent questions raised over many dates, and ages implied in Maji writings, which while baring some inconsistencies do not vary greatly. Leading to speculation that life expectancy of Osyraens of the early Age of Kings might have been moderately higher than modern peoples. Indeed the Maji themselves made note of the “young peoples of southern lands, and how short their lives could be.” Though surviving scraps of writing in the hand of (one of the Arias) indicate that the Storm Queen would give no age, but called her ‘nanyet’ (sweet girl, in ancient Napieraen,) which she considered ‘starget’ (charmingly odd, a close relative of the modern strange, inherited from vale-speak.)
A further point of contention lies in that no confirmable date can be given for the founding of Napir, which claimed thousands of winters according to all existent Maji writings on the topic. Indeed it was clearly an ancient land by all evidence, and contemporaneous Maji accounts, and drawings of the existing structures and development of the land confirm that it was likely at least several centuries established, if not longer even then. Deeply traditional, and more staunchly matriarchal than any other land the Maji would encounter, their leaders appear to have accepted the claim that the line of Storm Queens were descended from a goddess, and lived for many centuries. Which more modern records can confirm at least one three century reign.
Though the title Cewn was brought with them, it was embraced by the Napi of the day, and with time Napi has become a very rare address for the Queen, most often by her children. The etymology of the word is uncertain (believed to at least be partly derived from Southern Sylvan,) but is claimed to have originally mean ‘she protects.’ Though it’s modern use appears to have become more closely ‘mother,’ or ‘queen,’ including at times snide uses such as addressing one’s wife or friend with annoyance, ‘yes, Napi,’ in the sense of, ‘yes, mother’ or more exaggerated, ‘yes, my queen.’
Napir would develop one of the richest gifted cultures of the world, for while shamans faded into the druidic sects, no practice could challenge the power of the Storm Queens, and it was not till the Challenge of the Second Emperor, that any Queen ever consented a draw in combat, save the not uncommon passing in defeat to successors.
The Second Maji
The granddaughter (or daughter, this is debated) took up the surviving leader’s name of Aria, creating long term confusion over Maji works, and began a new journey, driven by some accounts over prophecies of the east, and through the west of what would become modern Thebes, were we see a second split of the Maji who traveled East, and fade gradually into lingering tales of “The Teachers,” as far as modern Esten.
The reason for the split was interpretation of the prophecy, and over fear of the mages of Helm. In the end the students of the Helmlites did not trouble the travelers much, but did hurry them along. For nothing could be found of their family, only their works.
Around 500 B.E. Ancient Palentine was a land beset by strife as warlord kings had risen up to replace the collapse of Osyraen authority after the death of Osir some 80 years prior. Again raising questions about his exact age at death. Clearer records however do not occur until later.
These are sometimes called the Wars of Plenty, for the land was rich in many ways, and authority, and territory were the crux of conflict, not any particular shortage of resources. Indeed it was this plenty that allowed conflicts to continue far beyond good sense. While “The Land of Palaces,” is the common accepted origin of Palentine, Plentia, is sometimes recorded in Maji writings, and it is unclear if the two names merged, or the latter was a miss-understanding.
The Maji found themselves bottled against the north Helm sea for several years, and this drove internal divisions. Particularly as they learned the history they had missed in their travels.
Sometimes (posthumously, not contemporaneously) called the Empire of Osyrae by post-imperial scholars, or The Greater Osyraen Kingdom (more accurately,) is divided into five periods. Two land expansions, ultimately contained by nations with strong natural physical boundaries (primarily Sylvans and Avrale.) Then two water expansion periods through which they subsumed the North Sea† region, expanding so far East as the modern Ascension. There founded The City of the Sun by Osir’s youngest.
† Though some ancient records and maps refer to the Osyraen Sea, this fell out of favor long before the days of the Empire. The eastern region is however sometimes marked as the Sea of the Sun (or Sun Sea,) even in modern times, though collectively is usually considered simply part of the North Sea. Except by those who like to count 7 seas.
The third expansion primarily moved along the southern coast, driven by reliable trade winds east, while later sparse expansion through the more thinly populated northern shores was driven back west by the opposing winds. Modern scholars refer to this as the North Sea Vortex.† A region of prevailing winds driven in a loop by the high-winds on the south. This provides significant rainfall both to northern Lycian off the eastern end, and parts of the Western Sylvan Territories where the winds lag back relative to the land moving beneath them.
† I’m not quite ready to commit to exact wind patterns for the entire world of Thaea, but am certain they are a bit “strange” for reasons the locals themselves debate at times. This is a side effect of a disparity in polar temperature in all seasons, with the barren north-eastern hemisphere being persistently and notably warmer. This means that convection patterns are disrupted with a polar bias such that there is a tropic rather than sub-tropic jet stream (high winds) in the south, and that it and the polar jet stream are more deformed.
Certainly I imagine things get even stranger in the northern hemisphere where there is a persistent convection center near the eastern side of the northern polar cap, which has rendered it uneven. Though this area of the polar cap is unknown to inhabitants of Thaea. Only parts of the costal “Thaeran” continent have ever been explored. I’m undecided if anyone ever got so far as the southern continent on the opposing hemisphere, due to a lack of supplies, or if even the entire coast line of the Thaeran continent has ever been mapped.
These winds vary slightly with the seasonal shifts of the high winds in the region, making it much easier to travel the southern coast east in the summer, and somewhat practical to travel east in the winter. Modern trade routes however maintain an easy loop along the southern coast east, and the northern coast west. Though the northern coast is more thinly populated there are some useful mining regions, or other goods brought in from the deeper wastes. Food relatively cheep in the south has a high value brought into these more barren lands, maintaining a reliable trade.
Piracy however has been problematic in the region since the end of the Greater Osyraen kingdom. Particularly amongst the Crown Isles. Post Osir Osyrae has never in their long history taken any concern whether traders arriving on their shores are pirates or merchants, unless they are found to have raided Osyraen ships, or in their sovereign waters.
Indeed there is some scarce proof they funded many pirate expeditions through the Imperial period. Though this is blamed on the dread pirate Red Mane, who is largely confirmed to have been the eldest daughter of Osir II (32 B.E. tenth King of Osyrae), and disappears from all other record upon her younger brother’s ascension of the throne.
The Osyraen Collapse
Greater Osyrae entered a sharp decline with the death of Osir I (580-575 B.E. again implying an age of nearly 200 or more). His eldest sons, and daughters came to bicker over power. In the far East the youngest (seventh) son withdrew from the contest, and instead conflated the Osyraen word sun and the pre-ascension word son (pronounced soon,) and formed the break away Sun Kingdom. Also stepping away from his father’s distaste for allusions to the Sun Civilization, or Vael. He proclaimed himself the Seventh Son of the Seventh Son, and so on, seven times, of the Morningstar, the Light Bearer.
He struggled greatly to produce a seventh son himself as part of this mysticism, but only produced six (some scholars contend he was only the sixth himself,) and instead had a seventh daughter, by his third wife. The Sun Kingdom persisted under a voting pact enacted by his children till around 400 B.E. where internal tensions between tribes began to tear the nation apart.
Scarce records survived various Ascension purges, but notably the seventh daughter who claimed some of the most fertile land with the given name Raeana (named for the goddess of summer), was known for a lavish lifestyle, and many festivals. She was beloved by her own people, but they were despised for “taking” (by all accounts willingly) the sons and daughters of neighboring regions.
This particularly became problematic with her elder brother’s people, leading to the first significant war in the family. This was lost decidedly by Raeana’s people, who were ill prepared for war. This cascaded into smaller conflicts that ended the pact the region had been governed under for nearly a century, and only two or three of the siblings are believed to have survived, and even the victors ultimately lost control of the populace.
The City of the Sun survived this collapse as a city state until at least 100 B.E under the line of the eldest son, and the rise of Clarion ideology in the region. This son accepted the teaching of Darius, seeing the shift in the populace, and renounced his crown to become Arch Cleric of the faith. A title that would be defunct by 100 E.R. His conversion had a dramatic impact on some of the early unified doctrines during the time The Ascension joined the Empire.
The Maji: Palentian Split
Returning to the Maji who found themselves for a time stranded in unfriendly lands along the Helm sea. Many sought to prop up not the common mage kings already in place, but a noble order of warriors who seemed intent only to create peace, and helped them claim the palaces the warlords raided from. They taught these the secrets of mage-iron, long ignored in Maji teaching for how it had been misused by Osir.
This choice lead to a split (around 500 B.E.) of those who wished to shore up the lands south of the chaos left by Osyrae, while their primarily elder contingent traveled south, into less contentious lands.
The northern contingent is believed to have helped restore order that lead to the founding of Palentine, or the land of Palaces, which were reclaimed from warlords, and restored. They were rebuilt from their ruined state in the intervening century since Osyraen occupation, and the Paladins, and their Palaces are most attributed as the origin of the modern name Palentine. Less clear in Maji writings is the possible conflation of plenty and palace.
By 400 B.E. Palantine would be united under one King, and the Brotherhood of Paladins. Though this would not last.
The Eastern Reach
In the south the founding of Anderhale (510 B.E.) was “more concerning than most,” as the Maji record it, and they hurried on into what is modern Esten where they encountered tribal societies already possessed of significant magical learning, telling tales of “The Teachers,” though none could point to any survivors, many claimed to be immediate descendants. This was again strange in light of the long lives oft recorded for members of the Maji, or even modern mages.
Though the men and women of the land had arrived at something approaching equality it was unclear if this would last, and ambitious men were already rising. Driven further by pressure from Andrhale. Untrusting of conditions in the land the Maji turned north again, seeking to reunite with their lost branch.
Sylvan tribes pushed them west into the southern reaches of what would become modern Lycia, which is commonly agreed to have been founded around 490 E.R. It is unclear if the two final branches of Maji ever reunited. Claims vary widely, including those of some trade families to be the descendants who continued to travel the continent,† trading goods, and knowledge through the middle, and late Age of Kings.
† I’ve only somewhat recently decided on the name “The Laeurnal Continent,” for the primary landmass of the story. The thought being (for a much longer time) it would only have been given a name during the early High Empire, when burgeoning global exploration discovered and named a northern landmass the Thaeran Lands. Even the word Continent came in a bit later I’m quite sure.
Thaeran and Thaean give me some ambiguity, but Thaea as the living world was a dominant idea in the minds of the people, and no one pushed back too hard against Thaeran, so alas, it seems what the peoples of the world called things.
All of these are very little used, and only arise around the need to differentiate between the two as wholes. Imagine how much we actually use the word continent, now imagine how much it was used before the 1400s, and then that no one lived on any of them but one. The words and names might come to be, given time, but would rarely come up.
The names were given based on old myths that the northern land might be the land from which stories of the Sun Civilization, and Mother Tree came, and that the home continent was the Winter Lands, and the realm of Laeune in the corresponding and more prevalent moon myths. Most who even take stock in such ideas consider them surely wildly exaggerated from any possible truth.
For all solid record, the Path of the Maji, and the Osyraen Period ends here. There are two primary schools of thought. One that gives the Osyraen Period the first 350 years of the Age of Kings, and another that divides it evenly into three 250 year periods. As most events in this interim “Dark Age” are sparsely recorded, and chaotic, with few clear winners it is entirely a stylistic choice, and even within some scholarly groups there is disagreement that disrupts discussion of what constitutes the Middle Period, or Middle Age of Kings. ††
†† And with some irony I so establish that this is indeed not a medieval setting, certainly not in their own view. Indeed I’ve always intended it to be more like a post renaissance world, it’s just that they figured out how to do things nearly as devastating as WWII without as much technology, “because magic.” It really is hard to compare. Perhaps, post Roman, if the romans had left a more useful power structure to hold things together because they foresaw their own inevitable collapse. That said the “Middle Age” (of Kings), is truly that same chaotic post Roman period, out of which we get an Imperial Renaissance some centuries later. More on all that in another post.
Notes on Map:
I’m getting pretty happy with this map, but certain coastal features are too far off shore for my tastes. I’ve mostly corrected Carth being out of view of the mainland in Avrale. Though it’d be a bunch of math to insure that 40 miles given relative heights (and smaller global size) is not too far for Davan’s flame to have been visible in the capitol, or the coastline to be seen from the mountains, or the volcanic northern region. Mind you I forget if it was implied maybe it wasn’t, but it was a noble enough effort, and tales would have gotten back to a certain princess. I’ll address these later as I continue to work on it, this is good enough for this post however, as we are mostly concerned with land travel over centuries, and the area of the North Sea.
Eventually I’m going to drill down on certain areas, and it will become easier to more accurately correct some distances. The Bay of Wesrook is for instance at this scale portrayed at something like 12 miles across. Much too large, not that I left the scale indicator on the map in this iteration. I have also concluded Avrale is a bit larger than I once thought, maybe double, and this could require some minor corrections through Book I.
I’ve been told it resembles North America, which is ironic because it was based more closely on South America, but “accidental Florida” (Southern Esten) got added as I was sketching out costal details, though was inspired more by Italy and India.
It seems to be a fairly common land feature of continents (based on Earth) to have a wide region, and a large peninsula like extrusion. See North America, South America, and Africa. Even Australia… but just a little. Europe and Asia seem almost outliers not following this pattern. Seems likely there is some form of cause for this in plate tectonics, maybe something to do with centrifugal force, but it could just be chance.