The Solarian Curse
Spanning a dozen small isles, the Oread Empire has risen to become one of the principal military powers in the Southern Pelagos. However, due to their lack of resources the Empire has been forces to loan out their forces to a variety of nations in return for a regular supply of resources – wood from the elves and precious metals from the dwarves regularly enter into oread port cities, where they are crafted into some of the finest ships to sail the Pelagos.
After the end of the Great War the oread people were left in a broken state – their home had been utterly ravaged in the war, and they found themselves plying the waters, seeking a new home. At the time the islands that they first set their sites upon belonged to the elves, but this was before the Southern Elven Kingdom had formed. As superior warriors and sailors they forcefully seized most of the islands from the elves, pushing their enemies into a corner. However the elves rallied, uniting to form the principal government that is still echoed today. After approximately fifteen thousand years of losing ground to the oreads, the elves launched a counter-offensive and began to reclaim their lands, pushing the oreads back. After another twenty thousand years of fighting the elves and oreads ground themselves into a stalemate, with the elves controlling the larger islands to the south and the oreads controlling the smaller islands to the north.
By this time the warlike oreads had established a republic through their principal families, but constant backstabbing and bickering between the families weakened the oreads united front. This, combined with the growing power of the elves and their propensity for magic led to the twelve most powerful families seizing control of each of their lands and forming a pact – the Pact of Twelve. The document specified that each family would take turns presenting a single individual to rule over the nation for a hundred years. The power of each family at the time of the signing of the Pact of Twelve decided the order they would go in.
Once the Pact was legally put into place the Oread Republic became the Oread Empire, with an Emperor put into place. The first Emperor, Lục Dương Vương, immediately shored up their defenses and went on to defeat several elven invasions of the Empire in a short time, officially ending their push-back period. At this point each side settled into an uneasy truce of peace. The elves mainly wanted to gain back the lands that were originally theirs, while the Oread Empire wanted to expand – their were choked for resources and more than half of their islands were becoming sprawling cities.
During this time most of the other islands in the area ignored the conflict. Their closest neighbor, the tengu, were embroiled in constant clan wars. Both the elves and oreads sought to expand eastward but were utterly crushed by the tengu. In the south the Horizonlands were flourishing as they exported gold and weapons to anyone willing to do business. The southern dwarves were slower to bounce back from the Great War but by the middle of the Oread-Elven Conflict they, too, were pouring resources into both sides. It was good business, but once the stalemate settled in and the fighting lulled, the business sharply declined.
The Oread Empire nearly collapsed in on itself once the fighting officially stopped. Broke from the fighting and completely lacking in resources after a forty thousand years of fighting following the Great War, the opulence of the Empire could no longer sustain itself. It was then that the legendary Emperor Mai Thúc Loan decided to export their principal commodity – war. Emperor Loan called for a permanent peace with the Elves and invited as many of the other leaders of the Pelagos to attend the formalities. As his nation neared a total economic collapse he hosted an elaborate party with many meetings of state. At the party he instructed his generals to boast of their fierceness and victories over the elves. The elves responded in kind, but most of the stories were new to the visiting dignitaries. Once the peace treaty had been formally established between the elves oread ships were have said to be scouting nearby lands for conquer. As a result, many of the dignitaries attending the party struck deals with the Emperor that greatly benefited the Empire – they mainly consisted of trading raw materials, food, and luxury goods for expertise and soldiers and sailors on loan. Emperor Mai Thúc Loan set up more than a dozen treaties with nations during that long month.