The Aldric Empire
When humans banded together (with help from other races) to overthrow the giants, they formed a great empire that would eventually encompass most of the continent. The Aldric Empire unified human language, culture, and religion under the chimera banner. Many heroic deeds accompanied its ascendence, ushering in the 4th age and the preeminence of mankind among the races.
The unified empire lasted for centuries, and brought with it a flowering of art, learning, and construction. After a while, though, it became too large for one emperor’s central authority, and internal tensions made it difficult to hold together. After some political power grabs and a repressed civil war, the unified empire was divided into an eastern, western, and southern realm. Each was semi-independent from each other, and the Emperor himself, who was becoming more and more a symbolic figurehead. Each was represented by a different head of the imperial chimera symbol.
West of the Dragon’s Spine mountain range to the Endless Ocean was the Western realm, ruled by Prince Leo I. The culture, institutions, architecture, etc. of the western empire reflect a generally Greco-Roman and European flavor. A long line of Emperors ruled from the Lion Throne in Arcadia, until Emperor Leo XXIII was killed in the War of the Rifts. After the war, the Empire of the Lion disintegrated into rival kingdoms, while westernese barbarians and monsters shrank the territory under civilized control.
The Eastern realms were ruled by Prince Draco and his decendents from the Dragon throne. Its style, culture, and architecture have a generally east Asian flair. Instead of breaking up or decending into barbarism after the War of the Rifts like the other empires, It was taken over more or less intact by a new emperor, who is an actual gold dragon. He shaped it since into the Dragon Empire that still exists today.
The southern realms, symbolized by the goat, prospered for centuries. It held the richest resources of the 3 empires, and the magi of that land were said to be unsurpassed. Near the end of the Fourth Age, however, Emperor Capricorn XIV and his successors began closing his empire (especially the capital) off to the outside. After the War of the Rifts destroyed the imperial heartland, almost nothing was heard from the south in the other realms. Explorers since that time who have looked for the southern civilization and its riches, instead find endless expanses of wilderness and jungle, inhabited by fearsome creatures and tribes of southernese reduced to barbarism. Wild stories persist, however, of lost cities full of gold, gems, and forgotten magic, protected by monsters and enchanted guardians. Tales also tell of terrible curses that befell the people of the Empire of the Goat – and to those who seek to disturb it.
The culture and architecture of the Southern Empire reflect a mix of Egyptian, Aztec, and Indian styles. They had a particular penchant for pyramid or ziggurat temples and imperial tombs.
War of the Rifts
There is considerable disagreement over who or what caused the rifts between worlds to open up. Some say it was mages fooling with greater powers than they could handle. Others say it was the wrath of the deities or revenge of eldrich powers long banished. In any case, they unleashed foul creatures and chaotic magic upon Arekhan, the likes of which had not been seen in age, or perhaps ever before. It weakened the barrier between the material World and other planes, such as the Feywild, Shadowfell, and the Abyss.
The wars lasted 33 years, and caused great devastation. Unspeakable apocalyptic magic turned the heartland of the old empire into a desert wasteland, killing millions and creating a magic dead zone.
See Also: [ HISTORY ], [ NATIONS ], [ HUMANS ]