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History

Recent History

The Old Kingdom

About four hundred years ago, the Archipelago was one kingdom, ruled by the ancestors of the ruling family of Storm Haven Island. The old castle with throne room are still there today.

The kingdom was composed of Humans, Dwarves, Elves and many others, working together in peace, with a few wild, untamed islands inhabited by the usual assortment of humanoids, like Goblins, Orcs, Ogres, etc.

This kingdom prospered for nearly two hundred years, during which even dragons spent time among men for friendly trade. Some are still around and remember this “golden age.”

There were still criminals and the like, but these were brought swift judgment and the worst were sent to the Isle of Sandwich, which served as a penal colony.

The Couriers

This age ended when the kingdom's navy became a private organization, due to financial difficulties the ruling family couldn't resolve. The navy became the Couriers and their prices were simply too high to keep the kingdom together. As a courtesy and to aid in the rule of law, they still ferried prisoners to the Isle of Sandwich, all fees waived.

The Couriers were just trying to feed their families. The current farmers and fishermen found though-out the region on otherwise uninhabited islands are the descendants of Courier families that were moved, so they might get food for the men and women aboard ship.

Financial Trouble

Without the means to communicate readily, the kingdom fell apart into small domains, mostly restricted to individual islands. They were still peaceful for the most part, with neighboring islands trading as they could, mostly through the Couriers.

During this time, the Cult of Profit rose from obscurity and saw it's pinnacle, as more and more became worried over the financial troubles of the entire region.

Fifty years later, piracy came to public attention as more and more Courier captains saw more profit to be had raiding other ships instead of ferrying messages and cargo around. As a response, the Law Keepers started a massive recruitment drive and began hunting the pirates mercilessly.

War

Ten years after this, some of the new kingdoms began wars over land, money and sometimes just general feuding. In the end, the reasons mattered little. These wars brought about an organization of Mercenaries that hire themselves out to the highest bidder.

Some of the Law Keepers tried to intervene, making peace where they could, but it was truly a lost cause.

Four decades passed with bloodshed reaching every corner of the Archipelago. Many were wounded severely, some losing their eyesight permanently. At this time, the Order of the Unseeing Eye was seen as a godsend, helping the blind to see in new ways, both metaphorically and literally. They defused the tensions and made peace where others had failed, simply by getting each party to see the other's point of view.

Oddly enough, they usually started negotiations by blind-folding the angry rulers and making them work together on some unrelated task. In the most extreme cases, they actually magically blinded them, promising to return their sight as soon as they agreed on just one thing. This was done with their permission, as both parties were usually sick of the fighting, but were unable to come to any kind of agreement.

The Iron-Crescent Bridge

Another time of peace began and trading commenced once more. The Dwarves of Iron Hall and the Elves of Crescentia traded quite a bit during this period, as their islands are adjacent. To ease in trade and reduce shipping costs, the Dwarves started a massive construction project to span the distance between the two islands with a huge bridge.

To accomplish this, they contracted out much of the work to the Gnomish Tinkers (who happen to live beneath the Dwaven tunnels), carefully watching to make sure their work wasn't jammed full of explosive gnomish gadgets. They also hired several Modron engineering teams in order to keep the construction on schedule. After thirty years of labor, the bridge was finally complete.

It has a noticeably Gnomish flare to the design, but was built using Dwarven and Modron construction techniques. Small artificial islands dot the waters beneath it, supporting it's weight. These were entirely the work of the Modrons, as neither the Dwarves nor the Gnomes thought it was possible, actually laughing at the suggestion, at least until they proved it by building the first one. The largest of these sports a smallish port city and docking facility, including an amazing dry-dock system designed by the Modrons. The Modrons run this port city for reasons unknown; it was their idea to build a larger island in the center with a small city.

To offset some of the expense of construction, the Dwarves decided to impose a high tariff on anything shipped over the bridge by the Elves. This made Dwarven goods less expensive than Elvish equivalents, ruining several of the trading opportunities they'd hoped for.

Finally, after another ten years, the debt incurred to construct the bridge was paid off. The Dwarves, in a streak of greediness, decided to keep the tariff, which the Elves were quite upset about. Even though the tariff was lowered several times in the next ten years, it wasn't enough to satisfy the Elves, so they ceased all trade with the Dwarves. Shortly after, they became unfriendly and occasionally fought battles, mostly over control of the bridge. Currently, they're in a state of cold war, where almost anything could easily set them down the path of war.

The bridge is currently in the care of the Modrons, who have been keeping it in good repair and enforcing the tolls and tariffs the Dwarves set up. They do this for a reasonable cut of the profits.

Toward the beginning of the difficulties between the Dwarves and Elves, the Modrons attempted to make peace. Unfortunately, their overly-lawful nature put an end to this; they started by reminding the Elves that the tariffs are perfectly legal.

The League of Adventurers

Sometime during this recent period, the League of Adventurers just sort of sprang into being and became a force to be reckoned with. No one is quite sure how long they've been around. Apparently, only they know, since for a long time they were a clandestine group, operating beneath the view of others. According to them, they prevented several wars before they were officially organized and recognized twenty years ago.

The Princess and the Crusade

Ten years ago, a small girl named Dia Tempest and the eldest daughter of the King of Storm Haven Island, claiming to have received a vision from her god, insisted that they begin a crusade to convert non-believers to their religion. Her family agreed and began preparing the kingdom for war, carefully hiding their plans from all around them. They built ships and conscripted 75% of the men of their nation into the army. After spending five years training them, they conquered several small, neighboring islands, forcibly spreading their religion.

Dia trained herself to lead the troops, rapidly becoming a charismatic leader that they would gladly die for. New comers to their religion seem to rapidly come to the same point of view. Some have been witnessed entirely changing their lives after hearing her speak just once. Most suspect some form of magical brain-washing and are preparing for the inevitable war. The Dwarves and Elves just to the north seem not to have noticed this new development, due to their own squabble.

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