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War in the East

As with many such wars, the terrible struggle which threatens to destroy Venz and Klevlik resulted from a combination of factors. The atmosphere leading up to the conflict was full of  national pride and a scant understanding of the costs to come. Looking back on those early days, it is tempting to marvel at the naivety and disregard for the seriousness of their plight.

The Venzi had long been envious of their more wealthy neighbours, and this made them hostile and untrusting. Amory Martas, a brutish young man, ascended the throne of Venz, promising to return the kingdom to past glories. A trade tariff enacted by the Klevliki soon after made him feel foolish and did much to embitter him further.

The Table of Klevlik Lords felt pressure from their populace to withdraw from the world about them, and restrict the free movements of foreigners within its borders, as it had for centuries previously. The world was becoming an unsettling and difficult place, and the foul fashions and beliefs of outsiders were diluting the hard earned serenity and virtues of the Great Nation.

One thing that all the countries of the Eastern Cromac kept a fearful eye on was the expansion of the Iatri Empire to the west. Even from this distance, the signs were ominous and both Venz and Klevlik were no different from the others in building their forces and keeping careful note of what was happening about their borders.

It was one such border between the two nations where the war sparked. The area of Sencreatol has a deep cultural significance to both. It was where the Klevliki lords had first opened their borders to others, and thereby ushered in the world. They allowed their neighbours access to the Diapurtna there, an ancient monument the Venzi claimed to have been founded by their ancestors when they had owned the lands stretching all the way to the Cold Sea.

At the height of tensions, a Venzi lord was murdered on pilgrimage to the Diapurtna. The offenders were not caught, and their motives remain uncertain. However, the Klevliki refused to allow Venzi troops in to hunt the murderers. Hostile skirmishes turned to outright war when Venz annexed Sencreatol.

Over time, the battlefield ebbed and flowed, taking in a large swathe of land which neither kingdom could control entirely. The people living in the area – Venzi and Klevliki both – fled the war zone if they could; many could not and either eke out survival as best they can or have died in the process. The area became known as the Disputed Lands. The beauty of Sencreatol bore scars and the Diapurtna was destroyed.

With the war taking up ever more resources, the peoples of both kingdoms find themselves subject to higher taxes and afforded less protection from outlaws and army deserters desperate to flee the bloodshed.

Neither side can now afford to be defeated in what has become constant conflict. Yet there are enduring rumours of factions on both sides working in secret to bring about the end of war by any means. Some have been hanged for treason, but it is thought there is still a growing number plotting to bring down their leaders or give the enemy a decisive advantage, just to end it all.

Will traitors be successful? Will Iatris – ever an opportunist empire – seize more land? Will a hero like those of old rise to claim a stake in the future of the Eastern Cromac? Will sorcery spread east in step with the rise of Sorrows in this fertile land of violence? It is too soon to say, but many fear the worst is yet to come.

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