Age of Arcana
The Makhavirene Empire
The Makhavirene Empire, the Empire of Makhavireth, or the Teluna Empire, was the most expansive empire in the history of Makhavireth. The empire expanded across the entire surface of the three continents, and incorporated many dwarven lands beneath, its borders stretching as far beneath the surface as they did across the lands above. The empire boasted a thriving economy, with internal and external trading, the empire’s fleets expanding out to the other two landmasses both by air and by sea. The Makhavirene Military was an unparalleled fighting force, with its organization and doctrines used as prime examples in militaries the world over. The empire expanded mostly through diplomatic means, both by negotiation and threat, but expanded almost as readily by military force.
The conquered lands under the Makhavirene Empire were ruled by lesser royal families, subservient to the Teluna Imperial Family, with many noble houses beneath them. Those royal families who surrendered willingly to the empire were permitted to retain their thrones, but those conquered by more violent means were cast down and replaced as the emperor saw fit.
The major religion of the empire was the Pantheon organized and instituted by the emperor’s personal advisors, consisting of the dozens of various major and minor deities of the Makhavireth landmass, and headed by the triumvirate of Order, Void, and Chaos. The pantheon is known simply as the Makhavirene Pantheon.
The Empire of Makhavireth collapsed over three hundred years prior to the present day, in Ida 735, 313 BI. The causes of the collapse are many and varied, the collapse determined official when the last child of the Teluna family line was smothered in their crib by rebel forces in a small village outside Makhiren, as the last members of the family attempted to flee into exile.
Shortly before the empire was founded, the man who would be Tarekles Teluna became known throughout the kingdom of his birth as the first dragonrider. With dragons seen as paragons of sin and vile immorality, he was considered a hero who had conquered evil, and bent it to his will. As the young man fought and won battles for his king, he taught others his secrets and soon an entire force of dragonriders was born. A year or two later, the first dragonrider usurped the throne of his king, and used his dragonriders to conquer the neighboring lands.
Founding of the Empire
As the First Dragonrider’s forces marched through the neighboring countries, conquering in his name, the young man set up court and began to institute sweeping changes through-out his kingdom, declaring an administrative monarchy and enforcing new laws and regulations. As his influence and power expanded across the central continent of Makha, the dragonriders convened within the capital city of the fledgling kingdom and crowned the young man Emperor Tarekles Teluna, First of His Name. With the coronation of Tarekles as emperor, the conquests began in earnest.
Within a matter of years, Tarekles’ empire had expanded across most of Makha, absorbing dozens of warring states and peaceful cities. The influence of the empire was immense, and with simple trading embargoes the emperor expanded it even further before he began to consolidate power outside the borders of his home continent. Various coastal cities and island nations, especially those dependent upon trade to survive, began submitting to his will, and before the first decade had ended the Teluna Empire held power on all three continents of the landmass known as Makhavireth.
Tarekles II – Glitter and Gold
Tarekles Teluna I died at the age of 71, with over a hundred sovereign nations under his rule. His grandson Tarekles II took the throne, and the expansion of the empire’s borders slowed for the first time since its founding. Tarekles II focused more heavily on diplomacy, trade, and internal administration, enhancing the lives of his people and through their eased burdens bringing the culture of his empire to new heights. Teluna art and style spread to every corner of Makhavireth, with Imperial name passing the lips of even the greatest of lords and kings of distant lands. Dining halls as far as the farthest borders of Vengehar and the highest levels of the tallest spires in Cra’awrios held Teluna styled works of fashion, paint, and sculpture. Under the grandson of the empire’s founder, the empire expanded further in mind than in body, but in this way, it expanded to nearly every corner of the globe.
When Tarekles II died childless of a riding accident at the age of 37, his cousin Verinas I was crowned emperor. After a short succession war fought between Verinas’ forces and those of his elder brother, the newly crowned emperor set about relighting the fires of expansion and conquest in his empire. Within only a few short years, the Teluna military began marching across distant lands, and under Verinas’ guidance the empire won its first victories against a non-human race. Several elven cities on the continent of Rethil fell to the armies of the Teluna Empire, and it was only after months of negotiations that a truce was signed, ending the war. With the truce, the elven royal family became vassals to the comparatively newborn Teluna Imperial Family, and ceded nearly all elven lands to the east of the Orientis Mountains.
It was also under Verinas I that the dragonriders were lost. As the years passed, the dragonriders had lost many of their number, and with the death of Tarekles I, the First Dragonrider, the knowledge of their training was lost even to the riders themselves. The last effort of the dragonriders was an expedition into the Orientis Mountains, to a lost resting place of the dragons. The dragonriders were not heard of again, and the empire, though mourning the loss of their famed champions, moved on.
Verinas II – Bad Apple
When Verinas I died at the hands of an elven assassin at age 50, a regency was declared until his son Verinas II violently grabbed power at the age of thirteen and enacted harsh penalties on the entire elven race. All crimes committed by elven hands were punished through slavery, and within decades half the elven race in Makhavireth was enslaved under the Teluna Empire. The elves fought bravely against the enslavement of their race, but with the vast military and trading power of the empire at Verinas II’s disposal it was only a matter of time. Before the end of the young emperor’s adolescence, every elf on the continent of Makha was enslaved, and by the age of 35 he had seen all but the royal and noble houses of the elves on the continent of Rethil enslaved as well.
Verinas II was quickly seen as a far harsher and ruthless ruler than his forebears, and the reputation did not end with his mistreatment of the elves. Most of the military expansions and conquests of the empire’s history occurred at the young emperor’s whim, beginning a long period of death and torture at the hands of the empire. Verinas II’s first goal was the conquest of the western continent Vikar, and he set about his goal with an animalistic hunger. The empire’s armies broke through the Allarian Mountains in the west, and sailed south across the Godwave Sea, striking in a dozen places at once. With the military spread across the borders of Vikar, Verinas II relied upon an offensive wall against any counterattacks. Despite a slave uprising in Rethil that eventually threatened the capital itself, the aggressive conquests in the west were largely a success and Verinas II was to be the first emperor to expand the empire into the lands of the dwarves, conquering many of their subterranean strongholds.
With many dwarven clans under his rule, Verinas II ordered a new city to be raised in Makha, great highways of stone built connecting the far corners of his empire, and the vast networks of rivers that flowed through the three continents to be redirected into a system of massive canals, acting as a highway of water alongside the highway of stone. Though Verinas II did not live to see the completion of these monumental wonders, his name and image are chiseled into many of the stones themselves, with the foundation stone of the Makhiren Palace bearing his likeness to the present day.
Camilia I – Woman King
As Verinas II campaigned in the plains nations of central Vikar, his daughter remained at home. With the emperor away on military matters, he had left a regent in charge, considering his daughter an incompetent and fanciful child. This was soon corrected, however, as communication to and from the capital was cut off, disrupting the flow of information vital to a military state and throwing the hundreds of regiments, dozens of military operations, and the very structure of command into chaos. Believing his city to be under attack, Emperor Verinas II broke off the campaign, organized what scattered forces he could, and marched on the capital.
What Verinas II discovered was not an external force slaughtering his people but his own daughter, Camilia, standing on the gates of his city with the head of the regent in hand, geared in the very steel armor her grandfather had worn. It was only hours later the emperor learned of the regent’s attempt at a coup, taking the city by force with the aid of traitorous nobles, aristocrats, and merchants’ guilds. His daughter had discovered the regent’s plans but was too late to outmaneuver the man, instead joining him in the attempt. As the city fell to the regent’s manipulations, Camilia built up a base of loyalist forces and when the time was right, threw a coup of her own. Before the emperor had even begun his march on the capital, Camilia had executed the regent, imprisoned many of the traitorous noble families, and reconsolidated power in the name of the Teluna Empire. It was only shortly before the emperor arrived that she had sent out messengers to the various military forces that order had been restored at home.
Emperor Verinas II stayed only a few short days at home before crowning his daughter as his rightful heir, entrusting her with the security of home, and marching once more on campaign. When the emperor died at sea only months later, Empress Camilia Teluna, First of Her Name, took the throne. Enacting quick diplomatic and administrative reforms, Camilia I reorganized the empire and ended the vicious conquests to the west. Though she claimed her rule would be one of peace with only friendly interactions with foreign nations, Camilia I never entertained the idea of ceding back the lands her father or his father had taken. Indeed, under Camilia I’s rule the borders continued to expand, this time by diplomatic niceties, influence, and veiled threats, rather than brutal military power.
Under Camilia I’s rule the capital city of Makhiren was finished, and the Imperial Court was moved to the palace within. With a new, centralized city designed from the ground up as a seat of power over the entire landmass, Camilia I’s influence expanded rapidly. The trading power of the empire grew by leaps and bounds, and the first true trade agreements with foreign continents were signed. Embassies were built up, housing the envoys of other nations and powerful organizations, and greatly speeding up the various diplomatic negotiations Camilia I was so known for. An academy of magical study and science was founded in Camilia’s name, the first of its kind in human lands, and the power of the arcane in the empire grew unimpeded.
Camilia I’s personal life was one of great speculation, especially as the first woman to rule the empire. Joining in a political marriage with the High King Guldarik of Rethiln in northern Vikar, the couple remained far from each other and had only two, sickly children by the time Guldarik was lost on an expedition to the northern islands. The children did not outlast their mother, and by time Camilia I, first Empress of the newly dubbed Makhavirene Empire, passed from an illness just shy of 150-years-old, the line of succession was in dangerous upheaval.
With the death of Camilia I her cousins Heriax Teluna, Angelus Nemesius, and Volcatia Teluna, along with her nephew Palaestrio Teluna, and her aunt Caesetia Speratus, all laid claim to the throne of the Makhavirene Empire. Each claimant held strong legal ties to the throne and the influence to see it through, and so within months of Camilia I’s passing the empire was in a state of civil war.
With her longstanding political agreements, experience, and past military service, Caesetia Speratus was the first to gain the approval of the capital’s magistrate, regency, and populace at large. Caesetia took up residence within the Imperial Palace and, in all but title, became the first non-Teluna to sit upon the Imperial Throne.
Enraged by the blatant message Caesetia was sending by taking up residence within the palace, the other claimants increased their efforts. Armies of the claimants clashed against one another, skirmishes taking place across the great empire and the fortifications standing since the reforms of Tarekles II were turned to rubble by the empire’s own forces. Lasting twenty-five years through the death of three of the five claimants, including Caesetia herself, the succession war was a long and bloody reminder of the power afforded to even the least of the Imperial line.
It was at the Battle of Saicoa, when the armies of the last two claimants fought for the last time, that Tarekles III led a force of two hundred and fifty men against the armies of two thousand each and won. According to legend, Tarekles himself took the life of both claimants, causing their armies to route even as the unknown claimant and his forces bit at their heels. Rising from anonymity, Tarekles III rode to the gates of Makhiren, marched through the great streets of the city, through the halls of the Imperial Palace, and sat upon the Imperial Throne.
It was soon revealed, by Tarekles III and the companions that led his army, that Tarekles III was the last child of Camilia I, who gave birth on her death bed at the old age of 150. Thought to be the son of a celestial who had blessed Camilia I with a child only weeks before her death, thus naming the mysterious illness that had killed her, Tarekles III was named Emperor of the Makhavirene Empire.
Working immediately to consolidate his power, smoke out the remaining forces of the dead claimants, and repair the damage the war had caused, Tarekles III seemed tireless. The newly crowned emperor was quickly immortalized in song and legend as a hero who led an army of angels across the field of battle to cast down false kings and reclaim his rightful place as emperor. Tarekles III used the myth and legend that surrounded him to begin the formation of the Pantheon that would become standard for centuries after his death.
Tarekles III was an emperor known for his religious and administrative reforms, but was also a remarkable military leader. Defending his empire against the scavengers that sought to pick at the wounds that the succession war had left, Tarekles III proved himself entirely capable of holding his power. The military structures that had remained relatively stagnant since the days of his great grand uncle, Tarekles II, were reformed into a defensive force as the first indication of Tarekles III’s non-expansionist policies. With almost the entirety of the Makhavireth landmass under the empire’s rule, the young emperor saw no need for a standing offensive army.
Outliving even his mother’s respectable 150 years, Tarekles III passed at the age of 187. Leaving a host of children, a solid line of succession, and a clear set of laws for the possible eventuality that the Teluna family line would fail, Tarekles III was laid to rest beneath the first Pantheonic Temple of Makhiren, and his eldest son Casitus I Teluna was crowned.
Casitus I was the first in the line of the Silent Emperors, those rulers of the Makhavirene Empire that focused solely on administration, reformation, and internal rule. Despite the name, the Silent Emperors era was an era of foreign outreach and imperial strength. Vast movements in diplomacy and foreign affairs took place within the empire from the rule of Casitus I to the end of his grandchild’s husband Lydus VIII Aventius’s rule, and several alliances, trade agreements, and magical breakthroughs were the result. The era of the Silent Emperors was perhaps the golden age of the empire, and its people held the Teluna family as saints.
With the end of the Silent Emperors era at the death of Lydus VIII Aventius, his son Verinas IV Teluna rose to power, the twelfth ruler of the Teluna Empire since Tarekles I in the year IDa 712. Emperor Verinas IV Teluna is infamous as the Last Emperor of Makhavireth, for his hand in its downfall through manipulation and horrific experimentation through magic and forbidden sciences. With the death of Verinas IV, the Makhavirene Empire collapsed and historians in the present day declare the date of his death, IDa 735, to be the official end date of the Empire.
Verinas IV Teluna, Last of His Name
Verinas IV’s mother Volcatia I was a greatly loved and deeply religious ruler. Through-out her entire 32-year-rule, Volcatia I solidified the power of the Pantheon, granting tremendous legislative influence on the heads of the temples. The Pantheon’s various temples began raising hundreds of knightly orders, monasteries, and standing armies, with the Pantheonic Temple in Makhiren holding a standing army within the capital city itself. When Volcatia I passed away at the age of 110, her husband Lydus VIII Aventius, son of one of the royal families subservient to the Teluna family, acted as emperor until their young son came of age.
Lydus VIII’s rule and his son Verinas IV’s young life were smothered by the continuous growth of the Pantheon’s power. Wherever Lydus VIII attempted to enact reform under his own command, the Pantheon would step in and use its own influence, heightened by the man’s own wife, to counteract the emperor’s will and use the momentum to enact their own reforms in the name of their temples, citing Lydus VIII’s effective regency as cause. Despite the sitting emperor’s protests, political and diplomatic ties, and his best efforts, the Pantheon continued to grow both in size and power with many of the strongest military factions taken over by religious knightly orders. By time Verinas IV was old enough to take the throne, the Empire was little short of a theocracy, and his rule was threatened by the very organization his mother had helped raise.
As Verinas IV came to power, his first order was the execution of his father, under charges of conspiracy to assassinate the emperor. Instead of showing his hand and taking the offensive against the Pantheon, he worked with them to take out the man who had struggled the hardest against their rise, and accused his father of poisoning his own wife, Verinas IV’s mother. Regardless of Lydus VIII’s sparse declarations of innocence the man was put to death and hanged by the Pantheon’s forces. Verinas IV was hailed as the rightful king, triumphant over a traitorous father, and the royal Aventius line was dethroned, disinherited, and dismissed, with all its estates, lands, and assets seized by the Imperial line. This added nearly another third of the emperor’s already considerable holdings to the Teluna family, but what Verinas IV valued most was the political connections.
With the entire Aventius family disinherited, Verinas IV, as emperor, inherited all debts owed to them, as well as all treaties, trade agreements, and all standing military forces. Situated among the southern island chain known as the Coxani Archipelago, the Aventius royal family had held the most powerful trading force in the empire. Under Verinas IV’s personal attentions, the economic power of the Imperial estates grew by orders of magnitude unseen since the early days of the empire. The Pantheon, the religious heart of the empire, now had the material heart of the empire to contend with. However sure the leaders of the Pantheon were of Verinas IV’s loyalty to the church a shiver of fear would run through their hearts as the people of the empire looked to material gain before their religious duties.
With the empire’s treasury filled to bursting, Verinas IV began investing in endless projects across the empire, from arcane research, to infrastructure, to rebuilding the empire’s own military forces, even incorporating many of the Pantheon’s own works into his own. One of the most infamous of these works was the creation of the races known as the gnolls, goblinoids, and the forged. It was the discovery of these creations, and the endless horrid experiments that wrought them, that saw Emperor Verinas IV Teluna declared a heretic by the Pantheon, creating a schism between church and state that caused the empire to erupt in civil war for the final time.
War of False Gods
As the Pantheon declared heresy upon the name of the emperor, the various knightly orders under control of the Pantheon went to war with the knightly and military orders under control of the emperor. With the shattering of the ties between church and state, the various royal and noble families joined sides, or declared independence, and the empire fell into chaos. Still holding large swathes of land in the central continent of Makha, maintaining the loyalty of many noble families, and fielding the monstrous creatures he had helped create, Verinas IV stood his ground and waged a terrible war with the Pantheon. Due to his disinheriting of the Aventius royal family, most of the remaining royal families either joined the church or broke away from the conflict entirely, declaring their ancestral kingdoms as sovereign nations once more.
The Pantheon, for all their influence and righteous indignation, were little more than a figurehead in the war. The church held only as much power as the noble families and landowners granted it, and the knightly orders were loyal to their gods and country before the leaders of the Pantheon themselves. Despite this, the Pantheon rallied a considerable amount of support and matched the emperor in force and zeal.
With the power of the church at the back of Verinas IV’s enemies, the emperor turned to deific power himself. Beseeching a myriad of gods for aid, Verinas IV’s armies were granted the blessing of numerous gods within the pantheon. Realizing their own gods were playing both sides of the conflict, the Pantheon’s power waned as the nobles relied less on the false security of the church and more on their own force of arms. As their own power fell out from under them, the Pantheon collapsed, and the War of False Gods became little more than the dying gasps of a shattered empire.
Verinas IV’s life ended not in glory, and not by the edge of an assassin’s knife, but at the hands of his own son. It was never discovered why Verinas V took his father’s life, but in the end the last Emperor of the Makhavirene Empire was smothered in his bed at the hands of a child who fell from the window a moment later.
With the death of the emperor, the war became nothing more than petty skirmishes between neighboring nations, newly freed of the once unifying force of the Teluna Empire. The collapse of the empire lasted for another century, with the Teluna family line hunted down man, woman, and child, until the last child to bear the Teluna name was smothered in a crib as his mother lie dead in the next room, both mere hours from boarding a ship towards an eastern island chain, into exile.
Little of the political power that was the empire continued after its collapse. Hundreds of sovereign kingdoms declared independence, with many more smaller duchies and lordships declaring the same. Makhiren stood as its own nation under the rule of a pretender family, falsely claiming descent from Tarekles I himself, and became a powerful nation of its own. No empire rose from the ashes of the last, only smaller kingdoms with hunger for independence and personal power.
The Teluna Empire lasted for 735 years, from its founding by Tarekles I Teluna, to its fall at the death of Verinas IV Teluna. Long enough to see the three continents of Makha, Vikar, and Rethil consolidated under its power, to form the singular landmass empire of Makhavireth. United as a singular power, the people of Makhavireth grew to astounding heights of military, economic, and diplomatic strength, and unparalleled in education of the sciences, arcane study, and its infrastructure.
The Teluna family itself was a wonder, claiming the first dragonrider since the Primordial War, celestial heritage as of Tarekles III in its sixth generation, and though it was one cause of its own downfall, the creation of entirely new species. Unmatched in personal strength and ability, any member of the Teluna family line was a force to be reckoned with in either the political sphere or on the battlefield.
The empire itself left its mark on every corner of the three continents, with its culture reaching even the far shores of Vengehar and Cra’awrios, as well as countless other lands and nations. The culture of the empire was rich and beautiful, with works of art and architecture to rival the gods and celestials themselves. Incorporating every race of Makhavireth and every class from richest to poorest, the empire’s ghost haunts the present and will surely haunt the future for centuries to come.