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Duqan, 7000pm to 707pm

When the elves of Esselia began to spread, they found in Duqan a perfect grounds for colonization. The islands were relatively close together, uninhabited, and the climate closely resembled that of the elvish homeland. The elves established their first colony in Duqan in 7047, on the island of Qarennia. Several colonies followed in the next hundred years or so, set up to facilitate the movement of natural resources from these islands back to the elven homeland. By 6100, there were elven colonies on every island of the archipelago, and these colonies had expanded into cities like those on Esselia itself. Elvish civilization flourished in the Duqan archipelago more than anywhere else outside of the homeland.

In 5972pm, the city of Q'lleniaristi was founded as capital of the new Q'lleni Domain. The youngest daughter of Empress Tosiria, Princess Letesia, was enthroned as the ruler of this domain, and under her rule the city and the domain flourished as an outpost of elven culture. In 4934pm, the Domain was elevated to a Province, and Letesia's great-granddaughter was crowned as Queen Binara. Around this time, humans first began appearing in the archipelago — floating on rafts and balsa-wood sailboats. The elven rulers generally left these humans to their own devices, forbidding them to enter the elven cities but allowing them to gather in their own villages. These primitive humans subsisted in their villages as hunter-gatherers and only occasionally came into contact with the elves who ruled the islands.

Over the next two thousand years, these tiny villages of humans multiplied rapidly, while remaining simple and fairly primitive. By 3000pm, human villages could be found on every island in the archipelago. They regarded the elves with superstitious awe, and the two races continued to avoid each other.

Within another thousand years, however, these human villages had evolved into temple-states devoted to the sky-goddess Suqhei and the sea-god Doblos. Still banned from entering the elven cities, the humans directed their attention to each other, struggling with each other for domination of island groups and natural resources. Over the next hundred years or so, several small theocratic kingdoms were formed in the archipelago, and the elves finally began taking some interest in human affairs. The elven queen Melotiriel (r. 1771pm-1107pm) negotiated treaties with each of these temple-states, obtaining oaths of fealty in exchange for a share of elven learning. By this time, the elves had armor and weapons of fine steel, while the humans were still using bronze. Well-placed gifts of fine and powerful weapons and armor, along with some knowledge of magic, cemented the loyalty of the priest-kings to the elven queen for several human generations.

When Melotiriel passed on in 1107pm, her daughter Jesra (r. 1107-707, ruled as Empress Asira III from 955pm) continued her mother's policies toward the human temple-states. However, she was not the skilled diplomat her mother was, and the oaths of vassalage started to dissolve. As tribute from the priest-kings to the elven Empress dwindled with no reprisals, the humans realized that the elven empire was weakening, and began to press their advantage. In 713pm, the human temple-states all banded together in an assault against the elves, beginning the Elf Wars. The conflict lasted only six years. By 707pm, the elves' cities were destroyed, the elves living as fugitives in the most distant forests, and the humans unified into the Empire of Duqan. Q'lleniaristi was completely destroyed, and the entire island is avoided to this day by humans and elves alike.

The Duqan Empire, 707pm to 601pm

What began as a confederation of warlords against a common perceived enemy (the elves) could not for long unite an archipelago as scattered as Duqan. Almost as soon as the elves were conquered, the Empire began to fragment.

[The Emperor's advisors rebelled, each raising a separate army . . . The advisors were drawn from the territories of the old warlords, so there was old ethnic loyalty involved. Emperor — son of Qorgian and Lemira — was sickly, weak, poor leader.]

, led by Emperor Jekred, the most powerful of the priest-kings

The Sedreq Kingdom, 112pm to Moqhir


The Qaren Principality, 265am to 330am

After the dissolution of the Duqan Empire in 601pm, the various islands of the scattered archipelago remained for the most part independent of each other. The chaos of the Empire's fall settled into peace at least. There was a certain amount of conflict at times, but no one island ever maintained control over many others for an extended period of time. An uneasy equilibrium was found after the bloody wars which broke the Empire, and was maintained for over 800 years.

Then Qillesti appeared on the scene, possibly the most frightfully powerful undead wizard the world had seen before — or since. In the third century am, hordes of shadowy beasts streamed at her command over the island of Qarennia and to the islands beyond, inaugurating a reign of terror which was to last for sixty-five years. The Duqan archipelago was united once again, into the Qaren Principality.

The lich-queen Qillesti ruled her dominion with an iron fist, appearing to be both omniscient and omnipotent, aware of any organized dissent and swift to squelch it through brutal means. In 326am, however, a young woman named Etiara began organizing a rebellion. It was not exactly fruitful, though it was popular, and Etiara managed to keep the revolt alive for four years. But in 330am, Etiara was finally captured by Qillesti's forces, and was drawn and quartered as punishment for her rebellion. The people of the archipelago began to lose hope.

But while Etiara's dying screams and curses still echoed within Qillesti's halls, the sails of the Empire of Ataqim's navy were spotted on the horizon. The power of Ataqim's war wizards combined with their unbeatable naval strength crushed Qillesti and her shadowy minions in a short but brutal war. Qillesti was destroyed, her minions banished to the nether realms of their origin, and peace restored to the Duqan archipelago — under the banner of Ataqim's High King. The Ataqim'ns were hailed as liberators by the grateful Duqan'n people, and gratefully accepted the Empire's rule.

The Duqan Archipelago, 330am to 618am

When the Qaren Principality fell to Ataqim in 330am, the Empire was hailed as the liberator of the grateful Duqan'n people. Duqan'ns were welcomed into the Empire as full and equal citizens, and some advanced almost immediately into the ranks of the bureaucracy and nobility. As time passed, however, some Duqan'ns began to resent the foreign rule of the Empire.

The beginnings of Duqan'n unrest in the Empire started around 490-510. During this period, several charismatic leaders agitated for overthrow of the caste system, freedom from the Empire's taxes, and so forth. These demands had their root in the cultural identity of the Duqan'n people, who have always valued equality and independence, but these sentiments were manipulated by crafty demagogues who sought their own power. Nevertheless, the Duqan'n mendicants rallied to these cries, resulting in the so-called "Beggar Revolution" of 510-512. During this time, a large number of Duqan'n mendicants led an archipelago-wide movement of protest and revolt against the policies and government of the Empire in Duqan. The revolt was generally put down by local authoritiess, but the island of Bedaira, on the far eastern end of the archipelago, declared its independence as a result of the revolt. Bedaira's independence was not recgonized by the Empire, of course, and the High Mage of Qarennia was held responsible for bringing the island back under Ataqim'n government. She let the issue slide, however, covering the tax revenue from her own coffers.

Though it did not succeed in bringing any major change to the Empire's government, the beggar revolution set the stage for future turmoil. When High King Quirius III abolished slavery in 517, the informal merchant council of Girvet, which held many of the reins of power in the region, persuaded the High Wizard of Qalbeq to defy the imperial decree. Slavery was a lucrative business, of course, and the merchant council in particular relied on slave labor to a large extent. Slavery remained in effect on Qalbeq, Girvet, Alsa, and T'rida, thanks to the merchant council's influence. High Sorcerer Eiram urged the High Wizard to comply with the decree, but did not force the issue. It is generally agreed that Eiram himself was personally ambivalent about the issue of slavery, which explained his unwillingness to exert too much pressure on the High Wizard of Qalbeq. It is important to note that the governor of Tremed, though subordinate to Qalbeq's ruler, did comply with the imperial decree.

The decade from 530 to 540 was marked by a series of elven uprisings on the eastern islands of the archipelago. Following the Elf Wars of 713 Ð 707 pm, the long-lived and slow-breeding elves literally took centuries to even begin to rebuild their race. But by the 300s am, they were outgrowing their tiny secret enclaves and appearing more often to human eyes. And by the 500s, they were ready to begin reclaiming some of their ancestral lands. By the end of 540, the human colonies of Aqo, B'dol, and Eqmoliar were completely eliminated, and the elves had inflicted serious damage on the other islands of the easter branch of the archipelago. Many humans fled to Qarennia, Bedaira, M'ben, and Todan, which became a safe refuge for humanity.

In 550 am, High Sorcerer Eiram was killed by . . . . Medhlos, High Wizard of Reis, was elected to the position. Appalled by his predecessor's lax handling of affairs in the archipelago, Medhlos tried to bring the islands of the archipelago more firmly under his—and the High King's—control. In Sedreq, where the generals of the military had in effect ruled the fief for decades with the High Wizard, Qaipan, maintaining only the illusion of control, Medhlos relieved Qaipan of duty, putting one Iesh'ri in his place. The generals remained fiercely loyal to Qaipan, however, and their armies to them. Their military power outweighed even the magical power of the High Wizard, and the governors and rule of the Empire were expelled from the Sedreqi islands — Sedreq, Dirmar, Isrei, and Bleir. The generals of the various islands' armies united in a military alliance, and the Sedreq Alliance was formed.

Simultaneously, Medhlos attempted to replace the pliable High Wizard of Qalbeq with a stronger and more loyal ruler, with similar results. Girvet's merchant council chose a popular local figure, a renowned adventurer named Udein, as king of the new Girvet Kingdom. The king was and remains but a figurehead, doing the will of the merchant council. In Girvet, as in Sedreq, the military remained loyal to the local government (being financed in large part by the merchant council). The secession of two large sections of the archipelago with their military forces left the High Sorcerer powerless to resist their departure.

Tremed, which had already begun separating itself from the islands of Girvet, found itself caught between the Empire and the new Girvet Kingdom. The island's governor immediately began the dangerous game of playing the two powers off against each other. After toying with half-hearted declarations of independence from the Empire, claiming the protection of Girvet, Tremed would then turn right around and claim the Empire's protection against Girvet. Each nation was too wary of the other to make a military claim for Tremed, and Tremed enjoyed a great deal of freedom in the space between. Pirates also took advantage of Tremed's nearly-neutral status, finding many safe havens among the cliffs and coves of the island.

Cut off from the remnant of the Empire and swamped by refugees from the elf-dominated islands of the east, Qarennia declared its independence in 553. Qarennia, Bedairs, M'ben, and Todan joined together in a loose Duqan'n confederacy, free of the Empire's domination. Humans from all the eastern islands continued to flock to this refuge, and elves completely dominated that branch of the archipelago.

In 562am, a band of adventurers on Dris island ventured into that island's swamp and killed a black dragon that had made its lair there for centuries. The repercussions of that action were greater than anyone could have imagined. The dragon had served a vital purpose on the island, keeping the population of lizard men on Dris and the neighboring islands in check. With the dragon's demise, the lizard men increased rapidly in numbers, and between 575 and 580 they began swarming the human settlements of the islands. The humans fled westward to the islands of the Empire, leaving so few behind that the Empire to this day considers the islands uninhabited.

In 594, the governor of Tremed finaly declared the island's independence. Tremed's military tried (unsuccessfully) to drive the pirates from the island. Then, in 597, the Qaren Confederacy dissolved into a collection of independent Duqan'n islands, maintaining an amicable relationship but falling into the traditional Duqan'n state of independence and freedom.

After a century and a half of Ataqim's rule, native Duqan'ns finally began climbing the social ladder into the nobility, and several islands gained native governors. In addition, the elves of the southern islands, with whom the Empire had been in conflict from the beginning, began gaining strength. In 514am, the elves of B'dol conquered the human cities of that island, eliminating the Empire's presence there. With help from the elves of Aqo and Lesti, these elves successfully repulsed the High Sorcerer's attempt at reclaiming the island in the following year. Aqo was lost soon thereafter, destroying the Empire's sole settlement on the island in 537am (with help from the elves of B'dol).

In 533am, the Imperial governor of Dris (a Duqan'n by blood) died, leaving a very popular and capable son. His son Enqir, however, was a warrior with no grasp of magic, and thus under the laws of the Empire could not succeed his father. The people of the island felt the laws to be irrelevant, and proclaimed him their governor, to which he agreed. The neighboring islands were preoccupied with problems of their own (elf raids, disputed successions, etc.), so no military force could be mustered to recover the island, and Dris has remained independent since.

In 550am, three secessions occurred which created the political map of the archipelago as it is today. The popular ruler of Girvet, subordinate to the High Wizard of Qalbeq, mustered his people's support and attacked Qalbeq's governor, winning easily, and quickly extended the new Girvet Kingdom to include the nearby islands of Alsa and T'rida. Girvet's example led the armies of Sedreq, Bleir, Dirmar, and Isrei to band together in opposition to the Imperial governors, and Ataqim's governors were expelled from the new Sedreq Alliance. At roughly the same time, the governor of Lesti declared her independence, in solidarity with the two new states. In the face of three secessions, the High Sorcerer of Duqan was helpless, and all three went virtually unchallenged.

With the creation of the Girvet Kingdom, the island of Tremed found itself caught between two major powers, and used that position to great advantage, playing Girvet and the Empire off against each other. Finally, in 594am, the island's governor declared his independence from both, and neither realm dared attack for fear of provoking conflict with the other.

Elven resistance to human colonization continued, resulting in the overthrow of human control on Eqmoliar in 561am and on Duqir in 562am. Elves still struggle against the humans of Lesti, having weakened them considerably.

In 604am, the island of Qora, suffering from the distance to the High Sorcerer's domain, seceded as well. The Imperially-appointed governor still rules there, and much of the Empire's law and social system remains in force, but the island is technically independent.