The Four Kingdoms
Greetings fellow scholars. In the past several essay’s, we looked at the formation of the Church of the All Father, and how it spread throughout Elhal to form the predominant religion of the land. In this lecture, we are going to look at the formation of the four major kingdoms of Elhal, how they formed, and the influence the Church had upon them.
The Four Kingdoms
In the first lecture, I discussed the geography of Elhal, but for the sake of inclusion I have included the modern map of Elhal and a brief summary of the four kingdoms:
- Vaasari – The northernmost and most remote kingdom. Most of the population lives on the Great Glacier.
- Kotkala – The most temperate of the regions. It is the breadbasket of Elhal.
- Stammiglin – Mountainous region known for its rich mines.
- Monatobe – Central desert, with a rich eastern coastal region.
The Ancient Past
Going back to the end of the Eon War, the All-Father had cleared most of the races from the continent of Elhal, leaving the humans as the primary race. The population of humans was at that time far less than today, leaving much of Elhal unsettled. At this time, a small colony of Giants remained in the central mountains of what is now Stammiglin. They would remain hidden for hundreds of years.
There is not enough documented history to give an accurate account of the location of all the human settlements during this early time. Some information exists from the Church of Humanis, as well as other scattered historical documents. What we do know from this time are the more significant settlements:
Located in the northern desert of Monatobe, and close to the southern plains of Kotkala. We believe that this city was founded shortly after the Eon War ended, by the early survivors. While there has not been historical evidence to support this belief, it was the location the All-Father visited when he returned to check on humanity.
Located on the western coast of Kotkala, this ancient city is close in age to Ceradome. It was home to an advanced civilization which mastered agriculture, forestry, and engineering. Of all the early settlements this was the most advanced, and in turn would pass many of it’s ideas on to the future Empire.
The Wylad Range
A cluster of ten peaks in northern Stammiglin, this area was home to the earliest Stammiglinin settlements. The region was home to many clan houses, small towns, and mines.
The Onyx Coast
Found on the northeast coast of Vaasari, just below the Great Glacier. This area was home to a staunch group of worshipers of Humanis; survivors from the Eon War. The area is know for its black, rocky beaches, but bountiful ocean harvests.
Historians are sure that other groups lived in the other areas of Elhal. Documentation at the University of Inkala showed evidence of small nomadic tribes who traveled through central Kotkala. There are also stories about nomadic tribes who traveled from Ceradome down to the southern coast of Monatobe.
The Growth and Fracture
With the Eon War over and time passing, these regions prospered and grew. New towns sprang up and began to cover more lands, and their growth created new problems.
Our “gift” from Humanis, the desire to rule over others, has always been a hindrance in our growth and progress. As these ancient regions grew in size, they began to fracture into various factions, none of which wanted to ruled by another. At the same time, the rulers of the larger cities desired to control more and more areas outside of their own territories.
Sometimes these factions were peaceful towards one another, and other times they were hostile. This period of time is known for small skirmishes and larger battles between different regions and towns. There was a cycle of regions conquering one another, then growing too large and fracturing into smaller regions again – all vying for power.
During this same time, the Cult of Humanis grew into popularity, fostering beliefs that were in line with the desire for rulers to conquer one another. As we mentioned in earlier lectures, the Cult of Humanis was nothing more than a loose connection of factions, so it did nothing to unify its worshipers. If anything it perpetuated this continual cycle of conquest and fractioning.
It is possible that this could have been the peak of human civilization; a collection of tribes, engaging in territorial struggles.
The Church of the All Father
For hundreds of years the territorial fighting continued, with no major changes in winners or losers. Land was taken, then taken back, and humanity slowly grew. This was the way of the land when the All-Father returned to Elhal, and the Church of the All-Father was formed.
As Ceradome embraced the Father’s words and his Two Gifts, they sent missionaries out to spread his message.
It was not an easy task, but the word of the Father began to spread, and regions began to adopt the Church’s philosophy. Soon rulers and leaders stopped fighting one another and focused on caring for their people.
With hostilities ceased, there was an opportunity for trade as well as intellectual pursuits. The next several hundred years would see great prosperity. The Church became a unifying element among the people in all the towns. With the Church’s guidance they were able to keep the peace.
The Church also brought another key ingredient to the formation of the kingdoms: communication. The Church had a network for carrying messages to and from Ceradome. This allowed the First Father to stay in contact with the smaller churches, and to share the message of the Father. The Church allowed the kingdoms to use this system to send messages from the capital cities out to the most remote towns.
The Formation of the Kingdoms
With hostilities between the various regions and towns ceased and a philosophy of taking care of each other developing, the regions went from being friendly neighbors to allies, and finally coalesced into kingdoms.
The early kingdoms formed around their geographical areas: the Monatobean desert, the mountains of Stammiglin, the coastal forest of Olmkala, and the icy coast of Vaasari. The borders we know today were not quite the borders of this time. Growth and exploration would work to expand those borders.
There is one exception and that is Olmkala. During this time the region of Olmkala fell, and the people fled the kingdom to the east, into the plains. In time the survivors founded a new city, Inkala and forged a new kingdom that would become Kotkala. The history of Olmkala is both tragic and beautiful. It is a topic for its own lesson.
The Pre-Empire Days
After the formation of Kotkala, the kingdoms grew into roughly the shapes we know today. During this time there were small disputes along the boarders of all the kingdoms, and most would not be settled until the formation of the Empire.
In the years leading up to the Empire, the kingdoms grew with little conflict between themselves. It was a time where everything flourished. The Arcane colleges were created, the Church continued to mature and grow, and various crafts matured. Trade routes between the kingdoms formed. Ideas were shared through the Church network. It was during this time that the iron work of Stammiglin became set, as well as the woodcraft of Kotkala.
It was a time of general peace, but that time would soon be challenged, and if not for the wisdom of the Church, this may have been the apex of our society.
The rise of the kingdoms is a key period in the history of Elhal. Even in the post-Empire and post-Demon era we still identify ourselves by our home kingdom. Even the Empire did not change our ties to our home lands.
The formation of the kingdoms was a necessary step for the Empire to form, but neither would have been possible without the Church of the All-Father, and its ability to change the philosophy of the people from conquest to caring. It was the one organization which did not have a regional bias, and thus formed a unifying commonality among all the kingdoms. Finally, its central organization provided channels of communication that would be key for regions to resolve issues rather than go to war over them.
In our next lecture, we will start to look at the factors leading to the formation of the Empire.