Harndonian History

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Antiquity

Ancient Harndon was a isolated place. What tribes there were somehow eked a living from the cold forests and mountains. As Harndonians saw their entire scope of perception grow from just the tribe to the entire region and beyond, interactions and receptions varied from the amiable to the outright genocidal. There is no way of knowing how many tribes were lost during this period, though it is known that as Harndon entered its iron age, 43 tribes walked the forests. Warfare in its tradtitional form didn't occur: what was the point? Instead, there was raiding and sabotage between the tribes (and later on, with neighbours). Despite of all of this though, the Ancient Harndonians made multiple advancements very early on in their existence, such as a written language and alphabet, a calendar, sailing and a form of democracy. This period defined Harndonian culture and society for the next couple of millennia.

Major Events

c. 4200 BCE: First Evidence of Permenant/Seasonal Settlement

Approximate date of earliest evidence of human activity within Harndon: the Uldia excavation in the forests just south of the Polosi Mountains yielded a selection of stone tools (spearheads and axes) and what looks to be a small settlement of wooden huts, preserved in the peat bog of that marshy area.

c. 4000 BCE - c. 3600 BCE BCE: Development of Guvar

Guvar (and Harndonian traditions) develop. Historians tend to agree that this was when the notion of "Viberguvar" as a concept was created.

c. 3600 BCE - c. 3000 BCE BCE: Aspect Shrine Construction

First Aspect Shrines begin to appear within the north western coastal region and the Polosi Mountains, and are the first signs of any real development of the land in Harndon. The number of these grow as time goes on, spreading outward from these two regions, with all regions of Harndon having at least one Aspect Shrine by c. 3000 BCE.

c. 3350 BCE: Namuil Rites Begin

The first evidence of Namuil: a bone mask (very similar to that worn by the Namuil in later periods) found within the Quechkhonia area in 1923 is dated to approximately this time. Tools of torture and skins with traces of hallucinogenic drugs found within the same archeological dig indicate that the rituals surrounding the Namuil were also performed at this time.

c. 3200 BCE: Writing

First evidence of writing within Harndon: a primitive script was used on a cave wall in the north-eastern Polosi Mountains.

c. 3000 BCE: Domestication of Ashkelun

Ashkelun domesticated. This is a revolution in the lives of Harndonians: now, each tribe has a fairly stable source of food (especially fat and protein), triggering a population boom in the early 20th Century BCE.

c. 2800 BCE: Harndonian Alphabet

Modern Harndonian alphabet developed in the eastern forests by the Hethanda tribe. This will have spread across the rest of the Harndonian region by c. 2000 BCE, and be more or less standardised across all local tribes by the 2nd century BCE.

c. 2750 BCE: Askelun-back Riding

First recorded use of Ashkelun being rode as transport. This was found within a druid's (belonging to Brother Nature) written reports to the Chief of the Hethanda at the time.

c. 2400 BCE: First Debating Chamber

First debating chamber built in the south-western forests of the Iliosh tribe, where all can challenge and debate with their chief, regardless of status or gender. The Iliosh spend the next 100 years wondering the entirety of Harndon, driven by a volcanic eruption in their previous territory. They pass on their ideas of semi-formal tribal democracy, with the majority of Harndonian tribes recorded to have adopted this system by the end of the Ilioshi migration, which ends c. 2300 BCE in the south-eastern forest-marshes.

c. 2300 BCE: Harndonian Lunar/Solar Calendar Created

The first written calendar in Harndon was based off the movements of the 2 moons, named Daithresh (translates to "Gold-star" (for the moon's sandy-coloured surface)) and Hagadiresh ("Rock-star": this moon is closer, and so the grey, rocky surface can be seen in more detail), and the movements of the Sun (Zheraresh: "firestar"). This calendar was used officially by Harndonians until the Courellians introduced the modern calendar (many Harndonians adheared to it even then), but following the founding of the Harndonian State after independence, it came back into full use.

c. 2000 BCE: First construction of pottery in Harndon

Simple pots of clay found in an Aspect Shrine near the port town of Utoshe date from approximately this period. Traces of fish were found in these pots. The discovery of pottery would go on to be an important factor in Harndoninan life and history, in its wide range of uses in both warfare and peacetime.

c. 1800 BCE: First Boats
Coracle.jpg
A Chakil (a small boat contructed from branches, cloth and wax) was found preserved in the mud 50km west of Utoshe, and was dated to c. 1800. This coincides with a series of texts which contain details of the growing power and influence of the druids of Father Sea over the coastal tribes; the druids would teach tribesmen the art of navigation and sailing on Harndonia's coastline, and then inspire them to go further and further in search of trade and fishing grounds.
c. 1700 BCE: Bronze Age Begins

The first bronze tools found to originate in Harndon date from this point. Among the most used (and most dug-up) were kolfden (hooked, barbed hunting spears), axes and pots/cauldrons.

c. 1630 BCE: First Internatinal Trade

The first recorded trade between a Harndonian and a foreigner took place in the far east of Harndonia, when some enterprising traders from the Anaaxean region travelled west, entering into the land of the secretive Harndonians. Luckily for the traders, the first Harndonians they met were of druids to Mother Earth, at an Aspect Shrine built on a clay deposit. Had they met a tribe, or druids from a less accomodating Aspect, the Anaaxeans may have been lucky to espcape with their lives. What was traded was not written down, merely the mention that there was one. This would herald a slow increase in trade with outsiders, and a growing acceptance of the Harndonian People towards outsider cultures and civilisations over the next millennia.

c. 1500 BCE: Five Temples Built

Grown in what was - at the time - the most significant example of what would become Harndonian architcture, the Haqueri tribe, under guidance from tolomiri from all the Aspects, constructed The Five Temples. Building commenced in c. 1554 BCE and took 54 years to 'grow' all 5 temples, which were constructed simultaneously. During this time, the Haqueri settled to finish the production. The 54 years remaining stationary is the longest recorded period of no migration for a Harndonian tribe; a whole generation grew up to a settled lifestyle, and so the Haqueri struggled with the move back to nomadic existence, with reports of starvation and infighting for the first few years of migration.

c. 1200 BCE: Brotherhood of the Quera Created

Written guides and rites from the Quozh tribe contain details of the creation of the Quera (literally meaning "Scout") brotherhood, and the training and fitness requirements of each brother. Although each tribe already had scouts, the people of the Quozh took this one step further, creating a military, social and reconnaissance elite that could not be matched by other tribes. Through contact (and sometimes conflict), nearby tribes adopted this system over the next 50 or so years, and then filtered through the rest of Harndonia, taking only 150 years to completely take hold in the entirety of the isolated region. These scouts would prove invaluable in later centuries. This is the first (and probably the only) societal activity that women were ever excluded from (though there were exceptions, depending on individual tribes).

c. 700 BCE: Sailing
Small fishing poldi, without oars
The Poldi, the Harndonian variant of the longboat, dates from this era. A large triangular peice waxed/oiled cloth was held between a mast and a boom, located at roughly centre-deck. This means that the Harndonians accidentally invented the lateen sail at almost the same time as they discovered sailing. A happy accident, as it gave the poldi greater maneuverability than its counterparts at the time. There was also a deck of oars at both port and starboard, usually covered in a canvas tent or wooden shelter. Some of the less utilitarian poldis had wooden decking that gave another (albeit shallow) layer underneath the main deck, where the crew could sleep and store goods.
c. 500 BCE: Harndonians Look Outwards

After centuries of the only interaction with outsiders being on their own soil, some of the more enterprising and wonder-struck Harndonians begin to travel further and further from their own tribes, first within Harndon, then outside of the sacred land. Many of these become merchants, buying and selling goods with different Harndonian tribes and outsider peoples.

c. 250 BCE: Iron Age Begins

Through the import of iron tools and the recruitment of foreign experts, tolomiri of Sister Fire start to construct the first Harndonian-made iron products. Since iron was rarer than bronze in Harndon, tools continued to be made out of wood, bone, stone, horn and copper, with the majority of the high-worth items still being made from bronze.

Ancient Harndonian Society

Societal tree. Closer to the top corresponds to more power and influence.

From c. 1000 BCE onwards, Harndonian society was of the same fundamental structure until the confederation of 1906. Authority and influence was gained through merit, not birth, with roles in which applicants/nominees must prove themselves worthy through a series of tests, or through repeated and sustained service to the tribe.

Derevashi

Derevashi in high-quality horn and cloth lamellar

Derevashi ("Respected Ones") were those in Harndonian society who had proved themselves a worthy asset to their tribe, be it in combat, trade, academia or scouting. Due to their station, Derevashi wield greater soft power, using the respect they have gained to influence minds and hearts in the debating chamber. The wealth that often accompanies such a station afford members of the Derevashi class the rare opportunity to acquire high quality clothing and equipment, like the finest lamellar armour in times of strife (heavy by the standards of the Harndonian tribes), constructed from horn, bone and wood. On top of this, Derevashi are the only tribespeople within the societal structure of the tribe itself for whom it is worthwhile gaining strictly martial weapons, such as the war axes they wield with such skill. If a Derevashi was incredibly wealthy, they might even be able to comission metal armour.

Derevashi-Opoli

A chief would handpick a successor to take control of the tribe upon their death. This would be the Derevashi-Opoli ("Most Respected One"), who could then reasonably act as a "junior chief" of sorts.

Woodrunners

Woodrunner applicant in ceremonial gear

Woodrunners (Vagerarontos; literally, Forest-runners) are tribespeople of sufficient skill, experience and wisdom to have a position of respect within a tribe. The name is derived from the ceremony required to become a Woodrunner, where the nominees (chosen by fellow tribespeople) must race along a stretch of forest, overcoming various (randomised) problems along the way. Some are solveable through dexterity and strength, others through quick wit. Those who pass the test, therefore, are worthy of the title, and the boons that come with it. Woodrunners have access to better material goods and - with the respect that their station affords them - their voice is elevated above that of their lay tribespeople within the debating chamber.

Quera

Quera in the traditional wooden lamellar armour

Quera were military scouts used by the Harndonian tribes both as an advanced warning system, and as an elite ambush force. It was considered a great honour to be part of the Quera, as the requirements were almost legnedary speed, stamina, skill and stealth. They were also rewarded for their hard, dangerous - and often lonely - work: Quera were given immediate access to the debating chamber when arriving at a tribe, and commanded the ear of chief and tribesman alike. When they were with their tribe, they lived almost lavishly; the finest furs, equipment, ashkelun and clothes were provided. Quera sported distinctive wooden lamellar armour, decorated and designed to show their status and prestige whilst still being light, manouverable and quiet.

Archdruids

Archdruids were senior druids selected by their peers for their quick wit and piety. These tribespeople would co-ordinate the movements of their local branch of druids and tolomiri, managing relations with the local tribes. Normally, there would be an archdruid for each tribe, plus more to co-ordinate the region-wide activities and Aspect Shrines.

Bethtali

A trio of Bethtali, heavily equipped with lances, axes, horn and/or bronze lamellar armour, and a painted shield

Some tribes see the opportunity in increased trading opportunities, and recruit adventurous souls amongst their tribespeople to act as travelling merchants (Bethtali), in order to both diversify the life of their fellow tribespeople, and to enrich their coffers. Due to the risk of banditry and sabotage from other tribes, Bethtali had to be good fighters and scouts, quick-witted enough to be both cunning merchants and canny travellers. They often travelled in parties, mounted on the fleetest ashkelun the tribe possessed, with the finest war gear they could scrabble together. Many started with little, but enriching the clan meant that they themselves were also enriched: established, successful Bethtali had better equipment than those new to the trail. Outside of the main tribal power structure, their positions were both precarious and variable, with more influence proportional with success and service. When the tribe itself was under threat, Bethtali would use their - comparitively - vast wealth and experience to equip themselves as a fast medium-weight shock cavalry.

Iron Age

The iron age was one where the Harndonian People pushed the boundaries, in every respect. In the early years, they pushed the boundaries of brutality. As time went on, however, various scientific and policy advancements made their mark. The Harndonian affinity for the written word continued, entirely dominating their way of life. The bethtali went through their most radical reform since their gradual creation centuries earlier. Life became easier for the Harndonian tribes - despite increasing attention from outsider raiders - who managed to do that rarest of things: work a balance between development and keeping in tune with their environment. Although the early iron age took its toll on the population, reducing the number of tribes down to 38, this marked a significant slowdown in the loss of tribes to conflict and disaster.

Major Events

c. 190 BCE: The Holy War

The Kilizh tribe raided an Aspect Shrine to Mother Earth situated in the eastern Polosi Mountains, appearing in the night to slaughter and pillage. Come the morning, nothing was left but smouldering ashes. Some bethtali happened to be travelling through the area at the time, who rode at full speed to the next aspect shrine (one to The Void), dispatching two of their number to ride back to the last known location of the tribe en route. When the party arrived at the aspect shrine, they described what they had saw to the druids there, who then killed them. The other two, after riding for 2 days, managed to catch up with their tribe (the Chemi). After speaking with the tribe in a local debating chamber, the bethtali guided the now enraged tribe towards the destroyed aspect shrine. The chief of the Chemi dispatched quera to report to other local tribes and the local tolomiri archdruid before departing. The Kilizh (a much larger and wealthier tribe) were waiting for them. It is unreported what occured in the combat that ensued, but it is clear that the Chemi were massacred. Some escaped, others did not; they died where they stood, cut down by Void fanatics.

All across Harndonia, tolomiri of The Void and sympathetic tribes turned against their brethren, killing and enslaving druids of other Aspects, and anyone who would stand in their way. Come the turn of the seasons to winter, 16 separate uprisings had raged, aided by 4 separate tribes, including the Kilizh. It had become clear to the rest of Harndonia that The Void had declared war against the other 4 Aspects in its endless pursuit of power and chaos. In an unprecedented move, the other 38 tribes met at the 5 Temples, along with all surviving archdruids and many druids and tolomiri, in what became known as the Dashreoquit - the Sacred Moot. There, they declared in one united voice the initiation of Dashreestem, the Sacred War. The 38 were divided into 19 groups, of 2 tribes each. These travelled separately, with 2 groups converging on each treacherous Void aspect shrine simultaneously, and in turn. None were spared. The 4 tribes where annihilated in turn by vastly larger forces. Men, women and children of the offending tribes were killed, until the tribes existed only in the histories.

In the fallout of this bloody year, several reforms were passed, for the first time in the history of Guvar:

  • No Aspect Shrines to The Void may exist
  • All temples to The Void must have a presence from the other 4 Aspects, and must be guarded by trained tolomiri.
  • All aspect shrines will have a small garrison to protect them from raiders
c. 130 BCE: First Map of Harndonia

The Moot of Archdruids of Mother Earth in c. 134 BCE met and decided that there was a need to have a formal map of Harndonia, complete with physical features and tribal territories. Their reasoning was this: in the age of growing internal and external trade, the need to direct foreign caravans and bethtali through other tribes' land was apparent. Also, the growing wealth of the Harndonian tribes were starting to draw the attention of some of the more opportunistic outsider tribes, and a series of maps, openly available to the tribes, could improve co-ordination and defence, especially concerning aspect shrines and the small (but growing, albeit slowly) number of seasonal villages.

Quera from each tribe were loaned to the archdruids, who sent them to map their tribe's territory. Once they were done, they were to deliver it by hand to the archdruid of The 5 Temples. This monumental task took 4 years, but it was (largely) successful. These maps were then copied and distributed to each tribe, and a handful of Chokta across the region. By today's standards, these maps were fairly crude, but far from inaccurate.

c. 200 CE: Hold Construction boom
An early design for a tribal hold. As time went on, many of these wooden keeps were replaced with stone.
Following an increasing spate of raids from outsiders, many tribes started to build small, simple fortresses, known as holds. A hold is a small stone and/or wooden keep inside of a walled village. When either a permenant settlement (a rare occurrence) or the entire tribe is threatened, the tribespeople can flee to the hold, whilst a defence is organised. Behind the battlements troops can withstand long sieges, and attackers could face a murderous set of defensive towers and gatehouses, depending on the sophistication of the structure, and the wealth of the constructing tribe. Even when not under serious threat, these holds were used as bases to outlast the winter, and to store goods or hoards.

This coincides with an increase in the trend for seasonal villages within Harndonia, where parts of some tribes settled temporarily: some in times of harvest, most in winter: a warm hearth and a strong roof is more welcome than canvas and campfire in the bitter cold of a Harndonian snowstorm.

c. 250 CE: Kalgatha invented

The followers of Sister Fire devote their time to alchemy and fire constructs, with the most famous of their concoctions being Kalgatha: a combustible, sticky liquid brewed from plant sugars and extracts, very similar in application to nahptha. It is normally held within a clay pot with a fuse poking through the top. Once lit, contact with an object or person causes the clay pot to break, showering the enemy in burning, corrosive liquid that seeps through armour, defences and flesh. A deeply unpleasant weapon.

Texts from the Temple to Sister Fire at the site of the 5 Temples recorded that this discovery was a mixture of happy accident, and very-much-not-happy accident: the druids were attempting to create a plant-based alternative to a candle when the mixture exploded, covering the 3 working on it in flaming, corrosive liquid that couldn't be removed from their skin or clothes. Unsurprisingly, they died. Horribly.

302 CE: Kira's Maxims Completed

Kira Thurshe was the chief of the Menama at the turn of the 4th century, and was a renowned scholar, especially knowledgeable in the history of the Harndonian People. Using her learning, she wrote a selection of texts that gave guidance on how to rule, how to lead people, and how to fight wars. She called these her Kazhgre, or maxims. These texts became known, therefore, as Kira's Maxims, and were eagerly lapped up by the academic druids of Mother Earth (who reproduced the original manuscripts for distribution and storage in Chokta around the region), as well as other learned chiefs and derevashi. Kira's writings are thought to have guided the leadership of some of Harndon's greatest historical figures.

438 CE: Tiasha Accord

Following the increase of wealth and power of bethtali across Harndonia, many chiefs and derevashi began to to shut out the most influential bethtali from their respective tribes, in a mixture of paranoia and disgust at the fact that tribespeople could gain power through merely being a shrewd merchant. Those bethtali that were shut out lost much of their wealth (stored often in tribal holds or with the tribes themselves), and any authority to trade with other Harndonian tribes - the vast majority of bethali trading partners, despite the ever growing foreign market. Therefore, exile from a tribe (whether formal or not) could be as much as a death sentence to any bethtali, no matter how cunning and well-equipped they were: without a party to help them, they became easy prey for bandits.

In answer to this, a handful of bethtali from the north of the region met in the river village of Tiasha in June 438 CE. Among their number were bethtali who had been exiled, and others who had not. They agreed there that, in order to protect their interests - and more importantly, eachother - all Harndonian bethtali would belong to the Guild of Bethtali.

Although entirely ineffectual at first, their numbers grew over the next decade. Using their combined wealth, they created rest houses throughout the region, so that bethtali could bring in their goods and trade with both the local populace, and any Bethtali in the area at that time. Small holds belonging to the Guild were built to act like vaults for each bethtali's personal wealth. In order to not provoke the tribes, the Guild stated that any bethtali that was a member was not allowed to even speak whilst inside of a debating chamber; these bethtali could no longer wield their influence, and so the power of those at the top of Harndonian society (built on respect, honour and sacrifice to the tribe, and jealously guarded) was not to be threatened. With this move, the Guild gained the support of many chiefs and derevashi around Viberguvar; some even made membership of the Guild compulsory to those they enlisted as bethtali.

471 CE: Bethtali Take to the Seas

Sea trade had historically been the provision of druids of Father Sea, and the individual sea-faring tribes of the northern and western coasts, with the bethtali of the vast majority of tribes taking the forest trails on ashkelun (as the wheel had not yet made much of an impact in Viberguvar - the small forest trails predominant among land routes were entirely usuitable for carts). However, with the uptick in goods being taken by ship along the coast (north and south) and to the Kanorian Archipelago, the other tribes and their bethtali wanted to break into the monopoly the seafaring tribes had with this vast trade potential.

In the spring of 471 CE, representatives of the Guild of Bethtali and each of the inland tribes held a series of meetings with archdruids, druids and tolomiri of Father Sea. In these meetings, they agreed that bethtali from the inland tribes could use jetties from their coastal aspect shrine of choice, on the condition that the rentiers are paid 5% of all income from that route. Many of the coastal tribes were not happy in losing their monopoly; indeed, some had built lavish and expensive to maintain holds, temples and aspect shrines. One tribe in particular, the Gonek, had such large outgoings in terms of physical goods that upon the increased competition, they could no longer upkeep many of these structures, which fell into disuse and ruin.

Medieval Era

The medieval age was largely a quiet one for the Harndonian People. There were occasional raids between tribes, and between tribes and outsiders, but none that threatened to grow into all-out conflicts. Following the tend of the iron age, no tribes were lost during this era, and many grew more prosperous and numerous.

Major Events

610 CE: Construction of The Library of Viberguvar Begins
The Library of Viberguvar, replete with opulent, yet functional, watchtowers
Spurred by the theft of texts from a couple of Chokta around the region, druids of Mother Earth (as custodians of Chokta) across Viberguvar petitioned their archdruids to do something to ensure that the theft of texts (although rare) wouldn't result in the loss of knowledge. After the winter snows, the archdruids met at The 5 Temples to decide their course of action. The moot came to the conclusion that every text placed within a chokta or an aspect shrine would have a duplicate written. This duplicate will then be placed into a fortified vault, where only druids of Mother Earth will have access to it, and used for research and collation.

Satisfied with their decision, the archdruids commissioned that tolomiri working within aspect shrines to Mother Earth within the western Polosi Mountains will work together to cut the stone needed (only a fool builds a library out of wood) and construct the fortress-library, all whilst trees were woven and moulded to provide the main scaffold. A selection of the more fanatical druids of their order were selected and trained by local quera and derevashi - they would be the constant guard protecting the library, and were to be known as Gemethi: Guardians. The work took 13 years, being completed in time for the spring equinox (and so the Kiko celebrations) of 623 CE.

845 CE: First Recorded Use of Anaesthetic

Whilst experimenting with heroin from the Anaaxean region on the seriously injured, druids of Brother Nature (the Aspect of healing, as well as nature) discovered its anaesthetic properties. Although unreliable in its pure form, the druids mixed the drug with various substances, both from within and without Harndonia, until they managed to create a stable, useable tool. Previously, those needing surgery either had to be operated on initially awake, or knocked out by... more intrusive means. The drug itself was barred from personal use (on pain of exile from a tribesperson's respective tribe), and it's unclear how these druids managed to get hold of the substance. However, once these druids submitted their finding to their archdruid, instead of exiling them, she recognised the potential good that this research could yield, so the report was placed in the Library, and copies distributed to aspect shrines and temples of Brother Nature.

c. 1000 CE: Iron Armour
A small retinue of the highest-satus derevashi in the tribe could ride to war in iron with their chief.
Even among the derevashi, iron armour had simply been unobtainable since the start of the iron age: iron in Harndonia was rarely accessible, and the import costs so high, that iron was only ever used for high-status tools and weaponry. The majority of the populace used bone, stone, copper, horn or bronze. Those with enough wealth to acquire better armour than a hide or wood lamellar vest would own more extensive and higher quality lamellar constructed from horn and/or wood; bone; or bronze.

It was around the turn of the millennium that import prices started to fall, due to the supply in the surrounding regions increasing, and the increase in active trading networks (and traffic on those networks). This meant that more derevashi and chiefs could afford the still-not-insignificant cost of constructing iron armour. Therefore, for the more powerful tribes, each chieftain could evolve their personal retinue to a hard-hitting heavy cavalry force, which no doubt made quite of few of their days.

1346 CE: Gunpowder

On the northern coastline of the Harndonian region, a trade ocurred that would change the lives of Harndonians for centuries to come: outsiders had come to Harndonian shores, barrels of gunpower lining their holds. A demonstration was made: an arquebus was fired against a target, which was promptly destroyed, both impressing and distressing the traders who had gathered around the ship. At the news of this cargo, druids of Sister Fire ran from their temple in the village at which the ship had landed to investigate. These druids bought it all, and took it back to experiment on this mysterious black powder.

After a month of intensive research, they had a series of conclusions:

  • Gunpowder could not be made out of available components at the druids' disposal (which were not inconsiderable, to say the least)
  • Creating firearms was relatively simple, as long as the design and manufacture was carefully controlled: one of the druids' number died when attempting to fire a gun with a small crack in the barrel.
  • Combining kalgatha and gunpowder was a druid of Sister Fire's wet dream: a violent explosion which sprays kalgatha everywhere.
  • Kalgatha (in a very intensive, and somewhat dangerous process) could be tweaked and solidified during its initial manufacture to produce a similar effect to gunpowder. This invention was named Zherahagadi: literally, "fire-rock", for its dark grey, hard, crumbly texture, a lot like certain types of sedementary rocks.

Noting down their conclusions, they sent them to their local archdruid, who (understandably) took great interest in this news. The order was given to start producing equipment and weaponry from these new materials, and then to distribute them to aspect shrines to Sister Fire, who would then offer them in trade to Harndonian tribes. Archdruids of other Aspects, especially Brother Nature, were more than a little concerned at this development, and raised their objections to such a quick roll-out. They were largely ignored. By the beginning of the 15th century CE, all tribes had at least a dozen firearms (and more Zherahagadi and kalgatha bombs) apiece.

The Dark Ages

This period was a dark time for Viberguvar. Under the yoke of the Courellian Empire, technological and cultural progress within the Harndonian population stalled: resources and time were spent assissting the Bradley Shipping Company, rather than on Harndonians. A growing resistance from the late 1600s onwards treat their colonialist foes with ever-increasing brutality. Even with the eventual withdrawal of the Courellian Empire, Viberguvar continued to tear itself apart, unleashing wounds that would never heal. From the time of invasion onwards, the number (and state) of Harndonian tribe were unknown: they had disappeared into the shadows, leaving behind only those who could not - or would not - follow.

Courellian occupation did leave cultural and linguistic marks on the Harndonian region, with opera houses being constructed in many of the - now formalised - Harndonian settlements. Immigrants - whether soldiers or workers - came with families and settled alongside the native sedentary Harndonian population. Courellians and Harndonians fell in love, and raised families of their own, despite the difficulties involved with bridging two different castes. The occupation changed certain aspects of life for the better for some native Harndonians, and others for the worse.

Major Events

1513 CE: Bradley Shipping Company Arrives

With the bethtali travelling further afield in their Poldi than ever before, they came into contact with more and more civilisations they previously had no contact with, such as the Lawattsians, Courellians and Hirematians. The goods they brought with them to trade caught the eye of many, but none more so than members of the Bradley Shipping Company. Intrigued by the strange plants and goods distributed by the bethtali, they decided to send their first ship to Harndonian shores to discover more about the area.

The ship landed on Harndonia's northern coast in the spring of 1513 CE, a week later than intended, due to the thick mist common to the Sea of Monwe hampering navigation. They were surprised by what they saw: an equally advanced society, though with an entirely different way of life, social structure, religious system and aims of technological progress to what they were used to back in Courelli. Sensing opportunity, the traders of the vessel begged for local druids to sell them copies of texts containing histories, geography and details of regional customs. Although initially against this proposal, the local Harndonian tolomiri finally gave way, trading the texts for a large amount of iron and gemstones.

Upon the ship's return to Courelli, the texts were poured over by clerks. What they found pleased them greatly: minerals in the Polosi Mountains; new, strange fauna to harvest, especially the forest wyverns; intriguing crop species that have catalysed the Harndonian way of life. They looked again at the maps enclosed within the texts, and saw a region of strange, promising riches. From then on, the shipping company resolved to gain unfettered access to Harndonian resources, and to initiate the spread of Dalinism within Harndonia.

Much to the amusement of Harndonian scholars both at the time and since, Courellian texts refer to a "King Lvijas", who the Empire seeked to control and assert their influence over. Lvijas was actually a trader from Lafartya who served as a translator between the Courellian ships and the Harndonian delegation tasked with dealing with the BSC.

1514 CE: Bradley Shipping Company Initiates Trade Offensive

Their goals identified, the Bradley Shipping Company got to work. They slashed the price of goods being sold to Harndonians, so to incentivise them to buy as much from the Courellians as possible. Although this would be less cost effective in the short term, the possible long term gains would be significant. It also had an unexpected (though fortunate for the shipping company) side-effect, that would become apparent as the offensive progressed.

1520-1586 CE: Fall of the Bethtali

With the ever-cheaper range of external goods provided by the Courellians, the Harndonian tribespeople relied less and less on bethtali to import goods. As the Courellians were also avid buyers of Harndonian goods, the export capacity of the bethtali also decreased. These combined events spelled doom for the bethtali; as the century progressed, more and more bethtali ceased trading. In 1586, the Guild of Bethtali was dissolved: there were simply not enough bethtali to either sustain such an expensive operation, nor to make it worthwhile.

1607 CE: The Trap Closes

Replicating their successful measures across the expanding Courellian Empire, the Bradley Shipping Company - now that Harndonians were effectively reliant on Courellian trade for many non-food goods, with even inter-tribe trade at a historic low - abruptly cut off all exports to Harndonia. The source of most metals and raw materials used in advanced contruction and crafting vanished. Having severley reduced domestic production in the face of cheap imports, each and every tribe found itself marooned on a metaphorical trade island.

Enraged, the tribes prepared for inevitable conflict: aspect shrines and temples across the region preached the importance of standing up to this colossal foe, with chiefs starting to drill and equip their previously ill-trained and ill-equipped tribal militias more thoroughly. Aspect shrines as villages on the northern coasts started to construct Poldi like never before, cooperating with druids of Mother Earth and Sister Fire to outfit these ships with ballista (bolt-heads filled with kalgatha) and firearms, such as muskets and Vosna, hand mortars that fired small shells of kalgatha and Zherahalgadi. Their limited supply of materials, however, massively hampered the preparation effort.

It was too little, too late.

Spring 1608 CE: Battle of Gonth Bay
Site of the battle, northeast of modern-day Quechkhonia

Having waited for their trade blockade to take its toll, the Courellian navy struck. They were sighted entering the Sea of Monwe a day before the spring equinox: they were planning to time their assault with the Kiko celebrations, so that they'd catch the tribepeople unawares. The Courellians, however, didn't count on quera being posted in boats on the north-eastern edge of the Sea of Monwe. A bird was sent before the fleet of 50 warships spotted the boat, and promptly blew it out of the water with their cannon. That quera's scarifice is still comemorated today.

The fleet appeared to be heading south-west, down towards the Quechkhonia area. The local tribesmen were mustered, with the Haqueri, Gonek and Nemenari tribes forming the largest warband since the Holy War, backed up by local fanatics from all Aspects, including Namuil. A small warfleet of 24 Poldi were gathered to face the overwhelming might of the Courellian navy. Father Sea, however, had smiled upon the Harndonians that day: the Sea of Monwe was blanketed in dense fog, allowing the smaller, maneuverable Harndonian ships to push off Gonth Bay, and to sneak towards the unsuspecting fleet approaching the shore.

A diary entry from a Courellian sailor on the Luecerian Vengeance give details on what happened next:

We were sailing through the dense fog, relying on our compases and previous headings to lead us to the pagan's great temples (or whatever they called them). It :was totally quiet, apart from the creak of the ship beneath us and the lapping waves against the hull. Everyone was tense. Suddenly, we heard screams from :starboard of us, away from the shore. The breeze carried the voices of panicked Courellian, pleading not to die. Flashes of light lit the fog, and we initially :thought that was our cannons firing at something, but the colour was wrong: it was like a luminous green mixed with bright orange. Without warning, something blew :up at our bow, throwing a firery spray the same colour the flashes had been. The spray landed on some of the sailors near me, and they died screaming, unable to :wash the hellish fluid off, even using the water we had in buckets on the deck.
The screaming to the right of us got louder, and flashes of both our gunfire and their chemical fire lit up on all sides. Our starboard cannons roared, firing :blindly in the direction of the screams. We rushed over to that side, clutching our muskets, but we couldn't see anything we could confidently fire at. I've never :been in a naval battle so confused before. It was awful.

The flanking attack by the Poldi were intially a success, spreading fear and panic into the Courellian fleet. Boats with Namuil boarded the much larger Courellian vessels, creating havoc. Fires spread onto many Courellian ships, with 15 being totally destroyed or ablaze within the first 10 minutes. After this, however, the assault lost momentum: the rest of the Courellian fleet fired blindly into the direction of the flankers with grapeshot, decimating both Courellian and Harndonian ships and troops. By the time the bay fell silent, no Harndonian Poldi was left, and the Courellians had lost 22 ships, and approximately half their troops.

The attackers then turned their attention to shore. Small landing craft were sent to investigate the coast, with orders to return if the area was clear. After 2 hours, they still hadn't been seen. Taking this as the only clue they were going to get, the fleet fired their cannons onto the fog-shrouded shore, again using grapeshot. The Harndonians were massacred. It is thought that the Gonek and Nemenari tribes lost almost all their adult population in the bombardment. Due to their position to the west of the other two tribes, the Haqueri fared slightly better, but it is thought they lost approximately 5/8ths of their adults. The Haqueri fled, taking what was left of the Gonek and Nemenari with them, and disappeared into the forest. As news of the defeat spread, the tribes learned: there would never again be a pitched battle between the Courellian Empire and the Harndonian Tribes.

Horrified at the losses they had sustained, the Courellians nevertheless continued southwest, until they arrived at the site of the 5 Temples. Though expecting resistance, there was no-one to be found. The 5 Temples were empty, apart from the fabled riches that the Courellian Empire was determined to gain.

1608-1632 CE: Invasion

Over the course of the year, more ships were sent to Harndonia. Most (but by no means all) managed to cross the now-infamous Sea of Monwe, and it's hidden tribesmen with chemical firearms. The Courellians marched onwards, capturing more villages, holds and aspect shrines. There were very little pitched battles, and little direct violence from settlement inhabitants. Often, there could be no or no inhabitants at all; the locals made the invaders pay another way. In every seasonal settlement and hold the Courellians came across, ambushes and traps - some crude, made with sharpened sticks and faeces; others with Kalgatha and/or Zherahagadi; or, grimmest of all Krarolnir - lay in wait, ready for an unsuspecting soldier to open that door, or to step on that path. It is entirely unknown how many invaders died from these, but it is thought to number into the tens or hundreds of thousands. Combined with this, tribespeople would stalk a column, taking advantage of any opportunity they had to cause havoc: a "trap" here, or a disappering scouting party there. The effect on morale was devastating: troops recruited to go to Harndonia known as the "Unlucky Legions" amongst the Courellian people and armed forces; and the offensive was slow.

Despite their difficulties, the long, agonising campaign was declared a success in 1632, when the Courellian Empire had decided it owned enough of the productive areas to stop expansion. Settlements either built by Courellians, or expanded and made permenant by them, became islands of security in a sea of threat: it was impossible to tell if you would make it to your destination alive if you dared to venture out of a settlement.

1805 CE - 1883 CE CE: Courellian Colony Weakens

From the start of the 19th century, the Courellian Empire was spread thinly, with piracy a constant concern. More money was spent within the booming manufacturing sector within Courelli, rather than in the outlying colonies that had supplied the Empire with riches in the previous centuries. The Bradley Shipping Company, once instrumental in the invasion and running of Harndonia, became the Bradley Machinery Company, shifitng its focus away from the region. Courellian military presence was gradually reduced over the course of the 19th century, as more pressing conflicts and disasters ocurred elsewhere. Some even made it back to their fortified ports alive.

As the number of invaders fell, the number of attacks by the local tribes increased. Attempts were made to hunt down some of these tribes, but these attempts resulted in a nasty end for the soliders unfortunate enough to be sent on such a wild goose chase. It soon became uneconomical to continue supporting the colony, yet the Courellian Empire did not withdraw: the nobility were too fond of their mysterious Harndonian luxuries to allow such a move.

1883 CE CE: Courellians Withdraw

After 3 years of epidemic-level cholera outbreaks on the Courellian mainland, the resources, troops and will to hold onto Harndonia simply no longer existed. The Republic made the bitter decision to withdraw entirely: wealthy and powerful families, soldiers and some of the workforce were moved from the relative safety of their fortified settlements into the forests and the mountains, in order to make their way to the ports. The Harndonians had a field day. Entire columns were massacred, with little or no care for the civilians in their midst. Those who were lucky enough to survive and escape arrived back in Courelli... changed.

1883 CE - 1901 CE: The Years of Blood

Without a common enemy to unite the tribes and various warbands, the Harndonian people started to turn on themselves, with chiefs and petty warlords vying for power in what was already a broken land. Grudges were unleashed; unevidenced reports of collaboration with the invaders would lead to Holy War-style crusades against the accused tribe, no matter how spurious the claims. This dark time was known as Er Fenem ber Ribra, "The Years of Blood".

Eventually, this brutality and infighting started to burn itself out, with various major tribes and confederations gaining local dominance, only to reach stalemate with an equally large neighbour. Moves to formalise uneasy ceasefires and informal peace treaties began; first on a localised level, then with a more region-wide focus.

Life in Colonial Harndon

Life in the colony was, naturally, highly dependent on who the subject is. The experiences of colonials, occupied Harndonians, and Harndonian tribespeople are very different, though arguably equally unpleasant.

Occupied Harndonians

With the arrival of the Courellian Empire came the arrival of their social systems and structures, as well as Dalinism. Under the colonials, aspect shrines were demolished, and in their place were built more "productive" methods of harvesting the local resources, often leading to the decimation of the ecosystem in that particular location. Many smaller temples and shrines (though not Chokta or the larger temples: they were too useful and aesthetic to the invaders to destroy) were torn down and replaced with Dalinist churches. Those caught worshipping the Aspects would be punished (though as many types of Harndonian worship includes meaningful work for that Aspect, meditation, or simply being lost (metaphorically) in nature for a while, this decree was largely defective). Courellian law was introduced in the colony, which made life for the local Harndonians tricky: it was a massive culture change, resulting in many executions and jail sentences for the locals. This only helped to fuel the general resentment of the population towards the colonials.

Over time, however, the ways of the - now settled - Harndonian villagers did change, willingly or not. Some did genuinely convert to Dalinism, rather than just pretending. Some worked with the Courellians, in order to improve the life of their kin. History has not looked kindly on these people, despite their good intentions.

Colonials

Initially, there were two groups of colonials: soldiers and nobility. Over time, however, workers from Courelli were encouraged to move to Harndonia to help with the harvesting of the resources for the aristocracy and the empire. They came and helped the spread of Courellian culture to the natives, who were often viewed as "recalcitrant pagans who had potential, if only they had the ability to act like a civilised person", as one noble put it.

The nobles lived opulently, off the riches gained from Harndonia's forests and mountains. The soldiers lived a fairly harsh life, constantly under threat from tribespeople. The workers were at the bottom of the dungheap. Except the Harndonians, of course. Everyone shat on them.

The soldiers' lives were grim. Given the impossible task to drive off Harndonian raids and ambushes, they took out their fustration on the occupied Harndonians and captured tribespeople, which only increased the number of attacks in an endless cycle of violence and xenophobia.

Tribespeople

Ashkelun-mounted freedom fighters

On the edge of hunger and death at all times, it was a monumental effort to avoid slipping into madness and brutality. It was a task many failed. Driven by a desire for Harndonia-wide freedom, they cast aside their own lives and freedoms to spend their existence fighting the invaders, both physically and mentally. Their means of revenge weren't just limited to war and murder (though there was plenty of that), however: often, it involved nurturing life into a deadened area of forest, or replanting where a factory once stood. Druids would sneak into settlements and administer food, medical and spiritual assisstance to the Harndonians there. Texts in the simplified Modern Harndonian were smuggled into settlements, and between migratory tribes. Tribespeople would bury the unknown dead left to rot. All the different tribes were (more or less. ish) united as one in their ultimate objective, despite the cost in Harndonian lives.

Harndonian Resistance

The Headhunters were bands of tribeless resistance fighters that formed loose militia in any area the Courellian invaders swept through. So named for their fanatacism that may or may not have involved the collection of occupying troops' heads, these people were fanatics: their families and tribes had been scattered, their land violated. They had nothing to lose, and nothing to gain. Except, of course, the death of those who had killed their loved ones. Mercy was often a distant memory, with the few Courellian captives that escaped their grasp bearing the scars of their brutality. In combat, they would shriek and bellow anger towards their foe, all whilst charging at break-neck speed, firing muskets or rifles (either Harndonian-made, or stolen from a Courellian soldier) - if they were lucky enough to have them - or using bows, slings or javelins. It is no surprise that many an invader would turn and run, rather than face these vengeful warriors. If they were fortunate, some of these tribesmen would have ashkelun to ride on; many fought on foot. They were normally armed with a kolfden or axe for close-quarters combat, though many were limited to small knives and clubs.

Some tribes, noting the successes in the brutality and terrorism of the Headhunters' operations, began to employ similar tactics. Such imitation "Headhunters" were neither as feared nor as unecessarily brutal as their tribeless counterparts, but the autonomy of such armed groups of tribespeople even from the smallest of tribal units allowed the tribe the flexibility to strike out at multiple targets simultaneously. The ability to leave even a portion of the destruction, fear and confusion of the original Headhunters in their wake was often to good an opportunity for many tribal elders to pass up. There are even records of aspect shrines using such militias to protect themselves and deter further progress in the colonisers' advance.

Confederation

As the Dark Ages finally drew to a close, Viberguvar finally had the opportunity to recover from the hundreds of years of punishment and unecessary bloodshed. During this time, the Harndonian state was formed, and, despite its poverty, began to slowly rebuild. This culminated in the revolution of 1950, which shattered the remnants of the old orders which still clung to the apparatus of tribe and state, leaving the foundations of the Peoples' Republic that is now growing into its own in the modern day.

Major Events

5th October 1906 CE: The Confederation

Having fought and schemed themselves into a standstill during the Years of Blood, the remaining tribal chiefs knew that their position was untenable, both from an intertribal basis, and their plummeting support from within their own tribes. Even the Haqueri, the tribe that had come out of the Dark Ages in the strongest position, could not continue to push their advantage beyond the north west of the Harndonian Plateau. Although alliances and non-aggression pacts were in effect during the Years of Blood, many were unofficial, and - at best - temporary. Seeking to protect their own fragile power, the chiefs, druids and derevashi of different tribes and regions began to hold talks, initially in their ones and twos, but as the first decade of the new century progressed, these meetings would grow both in size and regularity.

Seeing the growth of major powers around the nearby regions, the chiefs realised they could never hope to match nearby nations for economic, geopolitical or military strength. In October 1906, the archdruids of the 5 Aspects called the tribes to meet at Vlekribraoquitlrethnicharequ, at the behest of Reshardi, the chief of the Haqueri at the time. There, both the archdruids and Reshardi spent a day with the chiefs and derevashi from each tribe, attempting to persuade them to confederate on a permenant basis, and unify into one nation. Eventually, the talks were successful, and in the Temple to Mother Earth, the chiefs of the 11 surviving tribes signed the first Harndonian constitution, previously drawn up by the druids of the 5 Temples and the Haqueri.

The constitution made some large changes to the structure of Harndonian society, some of which had already occurred over years of occupation, but required formalising.

  • The newly formed country will be named Viberguvar (Harndon)
  • Chiefs of all the tribes must be democratically elected by all the adult members of that tribe (starting with the next chiefs). The chiefs will then make decisions together about country-wide affairs. Affairs within a particular tribe will be voted upon by the derevashi.
  • The 11 tribes would be folded into 6, so to ensure survival for the 5 smallest and weakest tribes. These tribes, however, can split and travel seperately to reduce impact on the local area.
23rd April 1950 CE: People's Republic Formed

Inspired by leftist uprisings and election victories across the globe, and comparing their own conditions and crushing poverty with that of even their capitalist neighbours, what seeds of discontent there already were began to spread among a wider body of tribespeople. The Harndonian Communist Party (Borws'nol'erenkenvanch Toloithtolkierna (b'n'ET)), starting from humble beginnings in the early 1940s, quickly grew its ranks. Any moves on behalf of tribal leaders to check its growth proved counterproductive. It was in the mid 1940s where the first communist texts translated into Harndonian started to circulate widely, and a large-scale covert trade and distribution took place, involving many members of the Quera, druid and huntsmen professions.

These pressures and conditions culminated in the revolutionary movement of April 1950, where the b'n'ET lead a mass of tribespeople on co-ordinated strike, culminating in the arrest of the chiefs, derevashi, archdruids and vagerarontos of each tribe and tribal unit. Most were exiled, while some were executed before a trial could be held. The demands of the revolution were written into the second constitution that is still in effect today.

  • There will be no tribal or private holdings, as there was in the past: the country will belong to all.
  • All social classes were to be abolished. Professions would lose their caste-like character.
  • Aspect Shrines and manufacturies will be nationalised for the good of all Harndonians, with a mass expansion of sustainable industries.
  • Wholesale democratic reform from the bottom up, over all aspects of society and work.
  • Mass roll-out of education, healthcare and opportunities.
12th August 1979 CE: Formal Declaration of Peace with Courelli

Despite there being no conflict between the 2 nations since the end of the 19th century, peace was never formally declared. Although a formality, the significance of the deal was to be the start of normalised - though uneasy - relations between the two. Modern historians say this is when Harndon as a unified state started to enage with foreign policy on a level above that of espionage and limited trade.

30th October 2016 CE: Harndon joins the SLU

With a referendum vote of 65%-35% and a turnout of 84%, the Harndonian people voted to join the Social Liberal Union, formally ending the semi-isolationist policy that the state had tip-toed along since its birth.

Profiles

Reshardi

Lived: 1850 CE - 1914 CE
Background: Little is known about the legendary Reshardi, apart from the fact that she was the well respected chief of the Haqueri tribe of the north-western coast. She was instrumental in drawing together the surviving tribes in 1906 to confederate into one nation. In a joint effort between her and the druids of the 5 Temples, the constitution was written prior to the other chiefs' arrival. She was known as a good speaker, intelligent, and strong-hearted: favoured traits of a Harndonian chief.

Vei Ehroef

Lived: 1919 CE - 1973 CE
Background: With a surname/nickname that means "alpha-wolf", Vei Ehroef was the leader of b'n'ET at the time of the Harndonian Revolution of 1950, and rose to be one of its most prominent figures, throwing herself - and the party - into the revolutionary struggle. Notoriously private, she was nontheless elected as the first ever Delegate for Food Production in the Peoples' Republic, returning to her roots of belonging to the Hunter occupation.