Ways of the Seven
History of Valua
Year 1 of Our Emperor: Erathir and Avandras, as well as their surrounding territories, enter into the Pact of Valua and become one nation. The First Emperor, Dominus Septimus I, is crowned in Avandras. The Duke of Erathir, who could well have tried to rally support for his own claim to the new nation’s throne, was very old and well known for his piety and humility. He did not press his claim but allowed Septimus the crown in exchange for making the Duke of Erathir the successor to the Imperial throne should his line go extinct. The Septimus dynasty would last until 477 AI.
26: After a decade of war, Valua defeats the army of Warchief Grosk, annihilating the orcish nation of Duum Barash. Valua claims the orc territory and inducts it into the Valuan Empire as the province of Graymont, from the Old Valuan “gray mountains.” To this day Graymont contains more orcs and half-orcs than any other province, although the orcish diaspora was large.
31: After three decades of rule, the First Emperor is felled by disease. His son, Argus Septimus, ascends to the throne, and begins construction of the Imperial Palazzo to honor his father’s greatness. Finished in 74 AI this massive structure remains the tallest in Avandras. Atop it, a 20-foot gilded statue of Septimus I, clad in adamantine armor, forever faces the dawn.
202: The nation of Vergoii, under attack by hostile Thulic tribes, sends an envoy to Avandras requesting aid. The Imperial Legion is dispatched and successfully defends the frontier. Vergoii becomes a Valuan protectorate.
210: After years of financial instability and unrest, the Confederation of Septentria petitions to join the Valuan Empire. After five months of negotiations, the Confederation becomes the northernmost province of the Empire.
227: The last of the Weirstagg Kings abdicates, ending the nation of Vergoii. The landholding males of Vergoii are permitted to vote on whether to become a Valuan province, and the motion passes overwhelmingly.
278: Utaybat raiders cross the Tannis Mountains and invade the mostly undefended province of Graymont. Count Harmond of Porliet rallies the local lords and counterattacks. The province is ravaged by war until the arrival of the Imperial Legion, who are able to drive back the invaders across the mountains and into the Gorzai Desert. Tragically, the 2000-strong Imperial 5th Cohort is destroyed by Utaybat forces in the arid foothills of the Tannis, at the Battle of Harmosk.
391: The young, headstrong Emperor Vitellius IV declares his intent to conquer the region between central Valua and Vergoii, stating, “If the uncivilized tribes of the middle-lands cannot be brought to heel by diplomatic nuance, then all just and due military force will be applied to ensure peace in the lands of Valua.” The nation embraces this spirit of conquest, and the First Valuan Crusade begins. In response, the horse-raising people of Tennuvia declare their intention to aid the Valuans against their hostile neighbors, becoming a province.
404: The province of Innstatten is founded after a series of brief skirmishes between the local tribes and the forces of Margrave Truosk Vellus. Way stations are set up to aid the movement of troops towards the yet-unconquered Thule.
417: Suffering from constant attack and enduring brutal winter conditions, Imperial forces suffer a 70% attrition rate as they battle the Thulic barbarians. After three years of war the Valuan forces are attenuated and driven back across Innstatten. The First Valuan Crusade ends.
420: Under the aegis of the first Count of the Alkonost dynasty, construction of the Imperial Highway begins in northern Septentria using Thulic slaves captured in the recent Crusade. The site is so remote that ninety percent of supplies sent to the workers disappear en route. Slave revolts are frequent and dealt with harshly.
422: The ancient red dragon Chalchiuhcihuatl, known as Chalice the Red in the common tongue, leaves her lair in the most easterly parts of the Tannis Mountains for the first documented time in the Empire’s history.
423: Chalchiuhcihuatl begins raiding the countryside of Tennuvia, eating herds of horses and stealing caravans loaded with treasure. After a six month reign of terror and devastation, in which Fort Tenethim burns to the ground and the Imperial Garrison at Tennuvia is destroyed, Chalice moves north to the province of Graymont and establishes a new lair in one of the local mountains. She makes it known that she expects tribute equal to half of all the wealth in the nation of Valua, as well as servants, supplicants, and eladrin mages.
The Imperial Diet, Mage’s Council, and Emperor convene in Avandras to determine a course of action. When nearly on the cusp of declaring war on Chalchiuhcihuatl, Archmage Calaiur Hussar interjects that he does not think total war is the proper solution. In a stunning move, Hussar claims he thinks he can placate the dragon and end the conflict peaceably. Though the majority of the Imperial Diet is deeply opposed to this action, the Emperor is moved by the Archmage’s eloquence and insistence that his way will save more lives. The Emperor is recorded as describing Hussar’s Apology, as the speech came to be known, as “…the declamation of a power greater than man, spake by a mortal. His heart is dearest to Our own.”
424: Leading a procession of ten caravans loaded with gold, gems, and other items of great value, Calauir Hussar approaches Chalchiuhcihuatl’s lair. The mighty dragon meets Hussar at the mouth of her cavernous lair and states that she accepts his supplication to her and that he would now serve her as a vassal. Three years of relatively peaceful relations between Valua and Chalchiuhcihuatl commence.
427: Word reaches Valua that Archmage Hussar, christened the Ambassador of Man by Imperial dictat, has been slain by Chalchiuhcihuatl. The red dragon, seemingly gone mad with rage, begins laying waste to the surrounding area, destroying everything in sight and ranging far from her lair.
Edmund Cuthbert of Svenneya, a paladin of Erathis, and several allies confront the red dragon amid the burning ruins of Morvania. Although the red dragon claims the life of Cuthbert’s erstwhile friend Dominician, she is driven off and retreats to her lair.
The following morning, Cuthbert, joined by his nephew Francis and faithful esquire James, assaults the dragon in the heart of her lair. After a terrible two hour clash, Cuthbert skewers Chalice’s jaws with his sword, burying it to the hilt. In her death throes, the ancient red wyrm devastates the foundation of the mountain and it begins to collapse. Cuthbert, eager to leave as the walls and pillars of the dragon’s home fell about him, and the creature seeming dead, went to retrieve his sword, when the beast swelled up for one final moment and drove a fang clean through his chest. Francis and James stabbed the beast’s eyes out, slaying it once and for all, but Cuthbert was mortally wounded.
Removing the dragon’s tooth, which was like an enormous sword, Francis and James laid their master down for the last time. The two men swore that they would remain by his side until the end, until the mountain buried them all, but he said to them, “If you have ever loved me, you will live. Without life, there cannot be hope.”
Under such an oath from their lord, the two men were compelled to go, to follow his final command and show their love to him by simply living. They left him there with a great wound that pulsed blood all over his chest, staining his white tunic red. When they were some fifty feet away from him, they turned back for but an instant and saw him standing, radiant in white light and seeming without injury. That was the last they saw of him before the mountain collapsed their view back to him, and they rushed out of the tunnel.
Francis and James each claimed that while they escaped, falling rocks were strangely averted from crushing their heads, and mounds of stones that blocked the way parted without seeming cause. They escaped the mountain unharmed and alive.
429: The stories of Edmund Cuthbert as told by Francis and James lead to the beatification of the paladin by the Church of Erathis.
519: Citing increasing encroachment by Valuan settlers, the Bahamut-worshiping nation of Barduria declares war on the Valuan Empire, invading the province of Arlienna and launching naval attacks against Valuan shipping near Avandras.
520: In recognition of the newly completed Highway, the Province of Septentria is renamed the Province of Alkonost by Imperial dictat.
521: During the Battle of Bahamut’s Gate, Bardurian forces under Warpriest Ulystat fight the forces of Valua to a bloody standstill. As the battle rages on, suddenly a shining column of light descends from the heavens, coalescing into a winged humanoid figure, half dragon and half man, dressed in gleaming plate. The figure physically intercedes between the Warpriest and Valuan Baron Hammark as they duel. It speaks in ringing tones, “Behold! I am the god Bahamut, come among you to stop this horrendous slaughter. As I cherish my fellowship with Erathis and Avandra, let the peoples of my land put aside their grievances and join their fellow men in harmony!” Then, as quickly as the figure had appeared, it vanishes in a blinding flash of golden light. The Warpriest falls to her knees in tears of awe, and the Baron staggers back dumbfounded. The battle ends immediately, and days later the nation of Barduria offers to join the Valuan Empire. Both sides, weary of war and in awe of the manifestation of divinity they had witnessed, accept the proposal. To this day historians and theologians argue whether the so-called avatar of Bahamut was real or clever trickery.The presence of spell-dampening wards on the battlefield, placed by Bardurian priests to negate Valua’s superior magical regiments, lends credence to the theory that it was genuine divine intervention and not magical illusion. Some modern scholars claim that the entire incident was fabricated by Bardurians and their Valuan sympathizers to cover up the fact that Barduria was facing defeat and wished to end the conflict without surrendering.
Bahamut is entered into the Empire’s list of officially recognized cults.
529: Exactly one century after his beatification, Cuthbert of Svenneya is canonized Saint Cuthbert and assumes the role of Exarch of Erathis. His domains are Law and War.
589: The Utaybat sheikh Farrukh al-Adadt declares holy war on Valua and invades Tennuvia. His forces are repulsed by the Tennuvian militia, whose horsemanship surpasses even that of the Utaybat.
652: Gardurithrax, the Vampire Thane, enacts a ritual of undeath in the wasteland that is now the province of Carnfax with the aid of Durius Vandal, a rogue Valuan necromancer. In the massive tidal wave of negative energy that follows, thousands of nomadic Huysat tribesmen are instantly slain and rise as ghouls under Gardurithrax’s control. Within weeks, the undead army subjugates the local goblin and kobold tribes, zombifying the defeated creatures.
653: Citing a responsibility to undo the terrible damage done in part by a Valuan wizard, Archmage Ilios Hussar speaks before the Imperial Diet urging war on the undead scourge. The Paladins of Erathis immediately take up the banner of war and declare a divine quest to eradicate the undead of the Thanedom. The Church of Avandras quickly pledges its support as well. The Imperial Legion, as well as the militia of Count van Dusen of Arlienna, enter the Thanedom and begin the seven-year War of Shadow.
660: After seven years of nightmarish fighting in the wastelands of the Vampiric Thanedom, the Knightly Order of St. Cuthbert and the rest of the Valuan forces surround Gardurithrax’s headquarters, the Citadel of Restless Bones. Because the unliving residents require no food, water, or rest, the siege lasts through four years of constant bombardment and counter-sorties. Knight-Commander Jacobus Gearmont spearheads the final assault on the great tower of the citadel. Though Gearmont is slain by Durius Vandal’s death magic as they fight their way towards the throne room, his squire Almuric severs Vandal’s right arm and leaves him to the harsh judgment of the paladin reinforcements. Gardurithrax makes his last stand in the ruined throne room of the citadel, managing to slay dozens of brave warriors before finally being overwhelmed. Hacked into dozens of pieces, he spits vile curses at his vanquishers to the last before he is staked through the heart and decapitated. The Citadel is razed to the ground, and the ruins, along with Gardurithrax’s remains, are buried under hundreds of tons of earth by magical rituals. The resulting barrow is named the Cairn of Remembrance in honor of Gearmont’s sacrifice. For his part, Durius Vandal is tried by the Valuan Mage’s Council and sentenced to ligatio animus. His soul is imprisoned in a gem, which is kept in the Valuan Royal Vault, and his body devoured by hounds.
664: The Vampiric Thanedom is rechristened Carnfax and declared a province of the Valuan Empire. Serfs from the populous nearby province of Arlienna are brought to populate the land. For the next hundred years they live on constant alert for remnants of the undead horde that had been dispersed during the War of Shadow.
692: Utaybat forces lead by Amir Tayyult, “The Coyote”, cross the northern Tannis Mountains and invade Alkonost. The inhabitants of the sparsely populated March Aubester flee from the invaders as the news slowly travels to the Margrave’s fortress at Kalathor. By the time the news reaches Lord Aubester and the militia is readied, the invaders have crossed into the Jötun Forest and are within 70 miles of the fortress. The march militia, mostly yeoman archers with good knowledge of the terrain, is deployed in the invader’s path and, although outnumbered three to one, defeat the Utaybat army with guerrilla tactics and ambush.
701-782: Reign of Urhim the Great. Forced to take the throne of Valua at the age of 9 years, Emperor Urhim III shocked his regents and the whole Empire when he manifested powerful sorcery at the age of 14. His powers grew throughout his reign and he proved a superbly charismatic diplomat as well. His excellent relationship with the Imperial Diet during his reign filtered down to the lesser nobility, and Urhim used this goodwill to successfully argue for and institute a loosening of serfdom, which in parts of Valua at that time, particularly in border states such as Alkonost and Innstatten, was tantamount to slavery. Although the reform temporarily destabilized the Empire as a new social order emerged, eventually Urhim’s reform precipitated a golden age that lasted well into the next century. He died in his sleep at the age of 81, the second-longest-lived Emperor in history and the longest reigning of any Emperor.
808: Emperor Marchand Tellurius issues a decree laying claim to Thule as a province of the Valuan Empire and declaring its people subjects of his rule. To back up his words with force, he orders a conscription rate of one in twelve citizens of the Empire. Under the supervision of the Imperial Legion, led by Supreme Commander Xavier Westerlund, the conscript army is marched to the border of Innstatten. Six months of bitter fighting later, the Army of Valua decisively defeats a coalition of six Thulic tribes at the Battle of Frozen Gorge. Hundreds of Thulic warriors are driven off the side of the cliff into the gorge to their deaths. Three days later, Westerlund meets with the six chieftains and receives their unconditional surrender. A percentage of the conscripts are converted to settlers, and the rest return to their homelands. The residents of Thule, natives and settlers alike, begin paying Imperial taxes and are counted in the Imperial census.
822-23: The Corundus Heresy. The Heresy originated in the Graymont town of Houmu and involved a cultist of Vecna, who masqueraded as an Imperial priest and swayed a large number of townsfolk with false pretenses. At its height the heresy was organized under dozens of subordinate priests and had attracted a flock of over a thousand innocents from Houmu and several surrounding hamlets. The false priest, an eladrin named Soventir Corundus, was seeking to use his brainwashed flock to mount an attack on a nearby clifftop monastery, Cloudreach. Inside Cloudreach’s sizable library were numerous tomes containing secrets that Vecna no doubt coveted. Although Corundus was a masterful deciever, his subordinates were less circumspect, and their careless words eventually reached the ears of the Inquisitors of Erathis and Avandra. When a cadre of Inquisitors lead a regiment of the local guardsmen to the old church where Corundus was holed up, they found the door barred from within. By the time it was breached, all within, including Corundus and a dozen of his most loyal followers, were dead. They had committed suicide by poison after ritualistically severing their left hands and removing their left eyes, a final, spiteful tribute to the Maimed God. However, the heresy lingered in the memories and tongues of many who had witnessed or participated in it. Legend has it that a small band of Vecna’s faithful, each of whom had helped cause the downfall of the cult by carelessness or misfortune yet survived the Inquisition, were cursed by Vecna to surrender their lives and souls in eternal penitence and stalk the land doing his dark bidding.
959-963: The Valuan Civil War. Valua had faced uprisings and unrest before, but this was the first true test of the Emperor’s ability to restore order in his realm.
999: Three Valuan scholars submit a scientific report to the Imperial Diet and the Council of Mages entitled “On the Spherical Nature of the Continent and World.” In it they describe their proof, through the use of mathematics, astronomy and careful observation, that the world is round and that it would be possible, were one to travel far enough, to circumnavigate it. The paper ignites a furor that filters through nearly every segment of society, in part inspiring the spirit of exploratory expansionism that lead to the events to come.
1000: The First Millennium and the beginning of the Golden Age of Exploration, which would last for over two centuries.
1014: The Treaty of Sergha is signed with the Sergha dwarves. The Second Valuan Crusade begins as Valua declares its intention to absorb the provinces of the Northern Continent. Tens of thousands of troops, settlers and explorers cross the Sergha Mountains.
Refer to the article A Recent History of the Northlands for further information.