Heralds of the Crescent Moon
The Great War
200 years ago (50 PW), a war broke out between the Warrior nations in the west and the Wizard nation of Avkenda in the east. In the beginning, there were four warrior kingdoms, each waging its own, separate war. It was believed at this time that the Wizards were not even human, but rather demons who could wield terrible magics. The Warriors took it as their moral imperative to wipe these affronts to God from the face of the world. The war waged for 50 long, bloody years.
At first, the Wizards had the upper hand. It would take scores of warriors to fell one Wizard in battle. This was due to the fact that War Wizards (the only kind known at the time to the Warrior Nations) could summon horrible creatures and monsters to do their bidding and protect them in battle. It was often difficult to engage the Wizard (or demon?) in battle directly, without first confronting his summoned defenders. As each Kingdom waged their own battle, these smaller skirmished were almost all won by the Wizard.
The Wizards made rapid gains in the first years of the war, overrunning all of the outposts on the edge of the Valorious Mountains, the eastern most boundary of the Warrior’s territory. In 48 PW, it was decided that something must be done, and King Tolemus II convened the first Council of Kings. It was decided the only way to combat the threat was for the four nations to work together. The council decided, for the duration of the war, the four nations would act as one. Each King would have his say at the council and the council would vote. The council would also select one of the Kings to act as leader, though his only functional power was the ability to break ties. And so the first High King was elected (Tolemus was the unanimous choice), and the free city of Tolemachia was created at the nexus of the four kingdoms. From there, the Council would wage it’s war.
The council also established the first professional fighting unit, which would remain the mainstay of their Armies for the duration of the war: The Century. A Century was comprised of 100 men, a mix of footmen and archers, led by one of the elite warriors, a Knight (known as a Knight Centurion in this role). The Centuries were formed with the sole intent of combating a solitary wizard, based in their tactics. It was believed that a single Century was an even match for a Wizard.
The Church during the war remained neutral, which infuriated the Council of Kings. They claimed they were fighting this war as the Demons were an affront to God, and as such the Clerics should support them. But the Church refused, adhering to their belief that no living creature should wage war upon another. The Warriors asked that the Church at least release their Knights Archon (elite religious defenders, so skilled they have never been defeated in battle) to come to their aid. The Church refused even this demand. Their only participation would be to heal those wounded in battle, and raise those deemed worthy from the dead.
And so the war continued for decades, Centuries fighting War Wizards, the Warriors regaining their lost ground, but unable to gain any footholds in Avkenda itself. And so the Isthmus of Jarta became a static battle ground, defended in depth. (Note: it is during this time that The Ballad of Owain and Elizabeth was written, based on actual events).
This cycle continued unabated until 2 PW. This was the beginning of the Trials of God, or simply The Trials. One otherwise normal day, the sun went down in the evening and did not rise in the morning. The world was covered in darkness, not even the stars shone in the night. Panic swept the four Kingdoms, they thought the Wizards had developed some new super weapon. Order was restored within days, and it was at this time high ranking members of the Church reported to the High King that God had stopped answering their prayers. This was unprecedented.
This was surely a sign that God was displeased with his creation, and the Church begged the Council of Kings to put a stop to the war. The Warriors were convinced that they needed to win the war quickly, and decisively, to please god, and so the war continued. This time became known as the First Trial: The Displeasure of God. For 100 days, darkness covered the land.
On the 101st day, the sun rose. The people rejoiced, and the Kings Council felt their stance was validated. The Church, however, still received no response to it’s prayers. A few days later, it began to rain. It rained hardest at Jarta, the main battlefield. It rained for 100 days, and this time became to be known as the Second Trial: The Tears of God. The four Kingdoms were still convinced of their righteousness, and, as such, continued the war.
The rain stopped on the 101st day of the Second Trial. Again, the Kingdoms saw this as a good omen, and again the Church pleaded for a peace. But the war continued. Shortly after the end of the Second Trial, members of the Church across the land began to fall ill. They claimed that, when they tried to pray, instead of receiving no response, they had a feeling as if their head was on fire. A feeling of intense anger. The Church again went before the High King, and warned that a great calamity was coming, for God was angry. The High King laughed, and brushed these concerns aside. As a result, the Church withdrew all their Clerics from the war torn region who had been administering aid.
One day after the last Cleric left Jarta, the Third Trial began; the Wrath of God. Rocks, stone, boulders, and hail began raining down from the sky at Jarta, bombarding the men and the landscape. The assault was brief, but brutal. No one survived. Once it was all over, the Isthmus of Jarta had ceased to exist. In its place was a vast sea with numerous, small island dotting the horizon. A barrier between the Four Kingdoms and Avkenda.
The Kings Council was at a loss. The bulk of their Army was destroyed, only the Homeguard was left to defend them if the Wizards were to attack. There was no other choice, the High King decreed that special envoys be sent to Avkenda to negotiate a peace. At that exact moment, Clerics across the land reported that God again began answering their prayers.
The peace was not quick in coming. At first the Wizards did not receive the envoy, thinking it a trap. Their Wizards had also perished during the Third Trial. But, once the envoy was received, it was learned that the Wizards were not Demons (a fact that was already known at this time, but ignored). The Wizards were also tired of the war, and wanted to see it end. A general armistice was signed, favoring nor harming either party, which lasts to this day.