Welcome, constituent, to the divine dominion.
The exalted and enigmatic Stania Querea, the Dame of the All-Embracing Arms, the Consort of Wrack, the Midwife of the Ever-Seeing-Eye, the Handmaiden of Justice, the Daughter of Treachery, the Rector and Empress of the Sacred Realm invites you, at her pleasure, to peruse the ancient and modern histories of the empire of Aurumbrea, née Umbrea, Manifest of God. The complete tale of this hallowed land still unfolds through the lens of its more noteworthy constituents.
The Old World of Umbrea
Civilization was born in the land of Umbrea. Spanning a large continent, Umbrea’s history reaches back into the most nascent and primeval memories of the humans, elves, halflings and dwarves who comprise the dominant races of the civilized lands. For thousands of years the people of Umbrea co-existed as independent kingdoms, with only sparse and limited warfare. Sovereignty was drawn along mostly geographic lines: while each kingdom tended to be populated by a single predominant race, no one ruler claimed dominion over all members of any race. 1500 years ago that all changed, as the human kingdoms consolidated and coalesced into a single entity: the Umbrean Empire. Over the next thousand years, through a combination of military might and arcane prowess, they conquered and absorbed their surrounding neighbors of teyen wood elves, celate high elves, dwarves, urgush orcs and halflings, eventually bringing the entire continent under their rule, which was total and unquestionable.
These first wars, the Wars of Acquisition, were waged relentlessly to the far ends of the continent until only a few kingdoms remained autonomous. As the end of the wars loomed near, the umbrean emperor, the “Rector,” initiated an exploration into the far reaches of the ocean to the west. After fifty years at sea, the first ships returned with news of an stunning discovery: a new continent lay far across the ocean. Having by now achieved victory over all the continental lands, the Rector, whose divine mandate was to expand the empire to every traversable domain, called upon his people to take their all-powerful gods to the new world.
Aurumbrea is founded
The empire sponsored a great first wave of explorers and settlers, who dubbed the land across the ocean “Aurumbrea.” The first colonists embarked with the promise of opportunity and a fresh start. However, they arrived in a country already populated by an unfamiliar race of orcs and inhospitable to any magic they practiced. A military campaign was considered, but the ineffectiveness of umbrean magic and the 20-year sea voyage made this practically impossible. The skirmishes that did erupt with the natives proved disastrous, as the hocac orcs had magic of their own which operated with full force against the umbrean soldiers. This was not the least of the settler’s problems, however, for even if they had somehow managed to defeat the hocac, without magical assistance the ground proved unworkable on a scale large enough to yield food for anything more than a modest settlement. Their hopes and promises dashed, many returned to their homeland. Those that stayed founded the first aurumbrean villages, only some of which survived, eking out a meager existence through great toil and suffering.
Then, after a generation of impotence, the gods of Umbrea seemed to be heard for the first time in the new world. The magic of Umbrea slowly started to become manifest in Aurumbrea, though at first only within the confines of the settled areas. Word traveled east across the ocean. The empire, emboldened, unleashed its armies on the new world, sending unceasing waves of force to conquer the natives and imprint the umbrean way of life on the landscape. Over the next sixty years, as the potency of umbrean magic grew, villages became towns and towns turned into small cities. Merchant boats and other vessels containing a menagerie of immigrants and entities began to arrive, sending all manner of new creatures into city and wild alike.
Then, abruptly, approximately 500 years ago, all contact with the old world ceased. Umbrean trade vessels stopped making port. No ship dispatched to Umbrea returned, nor was any other communication answered. Magical travel proved impossible. If the imperial authorities knew what had happened they did not say. Dubbed the “Separation,” this time became an era of great anxiety. Promises were made by the imperial Governor that the empire was making strides in re-establishing contact, but those individuals who possessed arcane communication of their own were met only with silence and void – as if their homeland was simply no longer there. Perhaps it was absorbed by the sea in some great cataclysm, or perhaps something more horrible had occurred, something the imagination could only brush up against, but not quite see. Hope that Aurumbrea would be reunited with its motherland dimmed, and eventually faded. The fledgling society was left to its own devices.
Years of strife and power struggle followed. Riots, famine and open war erupted everywhere. At the heart of the country, imperial interests eventually prevailed and a new Rector was ensconced in the capital. Territories that had fashioned themselves independent began to be re-conquered. The remainder of unexplored lands in the east began to be settled.
The Edges of Empire
As the reach of the empire expanded it came up against new borders that, for the first time since the first days of colonization, stopped it in its tracks. Called the “Edges,” these geographic barriers consisted of: impassable mountains to the north, a brutal desert to the west and ferocious seas to the south, all places where umbrean magic proved weak if not completely nullified.
Despite the constancy of war, the eastern towns and cities continued to grow. Around this time, rumors started to emerge that small numbers of intrepid pioneers had found ways of crossing the western desert. On the other side, so the rumors went, lay an even larger, even more resplendent country peopled by hocac orcs and primitive humans. Responding to this intelligence, the empire tasked many a soldier, explorer and adventurer with finding a safe way across the desert. To date, no success has ever been advertised, and no explorer has ever returned.
Today, Aurumbrea celebrates the end of the Wars of Independence. The last upstart state, a region in the forested northern mountains, controlled by teyen wood elves, has at last submitted to the empire. Aurumbrea has been made whole, as it once was in the old world. Speculation now abounds that with the arrival of peace, the current Rector will turn the full attention of the imperial will toward crossing the western desert and spreading the empire ever further, as its divine mandate decrees, to the ends of the world. But trouble is also a-brew in the capital city of New Brea: outlawed religious groups denounce the empire and call for open rebellion, battle-hardened soldiers patrol the streets abusing their authority and cults of chaos commit all manner of atrocity in the dark corners of the city. And in the last few weeks a green moon has appeared and then vanished during both night and day, bringing with it demonic creatures that slaughter citizens with brutal, awesome might.