Tlerian Empire

Founding and Ascent

The years following the Fifty-Second Dark Times were politically tumultuous. Even though the nations of the planet had banded together to defeat the forces of Arkenos, and the Knights of the Silver Dragons provided some semblance of moral authority, upon the evaporation of the threat alliances disbanded, cities were left to the difficult prospects of rebuilding, and the political authority of the Knights became mostly limited to the land they acquired in Sudloc for the foundation of their new headquarters, the Fortress of Vigilance. Indeed, order rarely projected itself outside of the Knights’ territories in Sudloc and the surrounding regions.

Gallidus had been hard-hit by the Arkenosian onslaught. Before the coming of the evil forces, its cities had been stable, prosperous and growing, with a number of small states governing the rural lands. A century or so before, the rulers of Pemmadhaghra had even begun to unify several of the nations into an alliance, both for the purposes of pursuing trade and preparation for military defense. However, Pemmadhaghra was sorely sacked during the war, crushing all hope in its centralizing influence. Even as the Knights went about exterminating the remaining chromatic dragons, wars that slaughtered many more people were waged by petty warlords who fancied themselves the cultured emperors of the past.

The first leader to attain any significant power that was not wrested from him within a few decades was Tleron, whom his people –the Sethra, native to the upper cape of Gallidus– called the Firesword. Originally ruler over only a small patch of land and his little tribe, he proved himself adept at not only forging alliances but engulfing those who would not ally with him. Even at his young age, his diplomatic skill and military prowess meant that within less than ten years he had conquered all of Gallidus north of the Niktean Wastes (the Maha'i had repelled him from the desert) and the northeastern mountains (the dwarves threatened vicious war if he attacked them, and Tleron negotiated a peace treaty). In the wake of these astounding victories, he also showed himself to be uncannily prescient politically: he was able to organize the cities under his sole rule, and established mechanisms whereby they would both render tribute to the Imperial Crown and still maintain some local autonomy. With Tleron’s death at an unusually advanced age (DT52.246), the Tlerian Empire (also known as Tleros) was firmly entrenched throughout Gallidus, a position which it held for many of the succeeding centuries. Its capital city, which grew more and more embellished over the years by the riches of the continent, was the city of Sethrayin.

Rise of Hammerdine and Decline of Tleros

The pinnacle of Tleros’ glory would not last forever, though. Within two centuries after Tleron’s death, the southern and eastern edges of the Empire were exercising their autonomy and local rule to the point that they began to defy the orders of Tleros, and the tense relations were exacerbated by the involvement of the Knights of the Silver Dragons. Previously, the Knights had established chapters in many of the cities of the Tlerian Empire, which acted as embassies of sorts. However, this all began to change after the creation of the dragon orbs by Melchor Rivengol, as the Knights began to seek bases from which they could extend their reach around the world. Feeling challenged by their move, the Emperor at the time refused the new Dragonriders a base in Sethrayin, wishing to consolidate his own power. Unknown to him, the High Queen of Jevereshk also declined the offer of a base for the Knights, so they turned to a Tlerian city that had proven its friendly –and even malleable to the will of the Knights- in the past: Hammerdine. The Emperor would hear nothing of it. As the Knights moved into Hammerdine, he mustered forces from around Tleros to go against the insolent city before it could revolt completely (for though they had not rebelled against the crown, the Hammerdinians had shown their contempt by contracting agreements independently with a foreign power) and expelling the Knights from the loyal cities of the Empire. The Tlerian army eventually laid siege to Hammerdine, but after a long, bloody conflict, Hammerdine, aided by the Knights, emerged victorious. To add insult to injury, the renegade Knight Tawru Khimmak Tova Nem Rujdha had begun a rebellion in the coastal city of Clefthaven (later Laishtek) at the same time, and after the war Hammerdine annexed it and all the lands in between.

Notwithstanding its loss of prestige in the disastrous war, the conflict had served to unite Tleros once more, and the next centuries witnessed periodic flares, sometimes violent, of rivalry over the continent and, indeed, around the world. For example, there was a heated competition in which both tried to colonize or conquer the parts of Thanor to the west of Gallidus. Tleros succeeded in taking a large swath of the northern part, including some of the isthmus that led to Eskele and the Knights’ realm, while Hammerdine founded the city of Hretzifer and gained sway over the area just south of the Tlerian sphere of influence. As fortunes of war and money fluctuated, cities changed hands or suffered neglect, including even some on Gallidus, like City #34. Nevertheless, the Knights’ patronage of Hammerdine began to wear down on Tleros both morally and militarily; in DT52.702, the Tlerian Empire readmitted the Knights into their realm, hoping to even out the odds. Unfortunately for Tleros’s high expectations, the Knights wielded their persuasion and prestige to force through a peace agreement. Deprived of the only advantage that it had over Hammerdine to that point –raw military might and size- Tleros stagnated and began a gradual, but steady, decline.

Throughout this time, it sought to gain advantage over Hammerdine by other, subtler means. For instance, it is widely rumored that the independence movement of Hretzifer was fomented by Tlerian agents and funded by Tlerian gold, though the city’s liberation eventually spelled no more good for Tleros than for Hammerdine. On another note, Tleros once sought the favor of legendary traveler, merchant and scholar Tebbins Ferrick so that they could become his primary patrons and, hopefully, benefit from any future research, fame and resources he might accrue. After the Halfling declined, though, Tleros particularly funded his rivals and projects of plagiarism and slander that would discount Hammerdinic achievements.

At the present, the relations are still cool between the two nations, and as the Dark Times approaches, Tleros resents the preeminence Hammerdine is having in preparations. Emperor Ashlotle, approaching old age but still spry, still seeks ways to enhance Tleros’s honor, even though he realizes that Tleros, large, disorganized, disjoint and dispirited, is in little shape to assert its rightful place in Jenoan geopolitics.

DM's Notes
The Tlerian empire is a Jenoan analogue to renaissance Italy as far as culture and mores. Naming conventions follow suit.