At'mavi vs. Koldrogan: The 3000 Year War
One of the biggest central plots in the book series will follow the ending of a wide scale war that has been going on for over three thousand years. In this article, I will be lining out the facts as of the in-world year of 300 6gc and provide teasers for what is to come in the books that follow this story.
This war is waged between two parties: The At'mavan Empire and the banded war tribes of Koldrogan. Koldrogan is divided into two parts by At'mavan territory and mountains, east and west. Occasionally Torlynn, across the waters to the east, or Jen'wendas Isle, to the west of the continent, become involved, but they mind their own for the most part.
How the War Began
In the ancient days, when the second era civilizations had crumbled, a large void was left on the continent of At'mavi where the Dega empire had been. What few humans survived the cataclysmic destruction of Dega were misplaced and reverted to tribalism to survive. As generations passed, the humans began to spread, and the Golboren trolls, who were driven into hiding by the people of Dega, began to flourish again.
Things were peaceful between them for hundreds of years, but humans, adaptive as they are, began to develop civilization once more, and as the built farms and villages and cities, the trolls became wary and kept their distance from the humans, returning to the forests and mountains. Over the next few centuries, they made themselves so scarce that most of the At'mavan humans began to think that the trolls were no more than myths.
In the third great cycle (early in the 3000s), under the reign and command of emperor Khadmar Izhodas, the At'mavan people began to send settlers into the southern heartlands of the continent, driven by a need for its rich timbers, as they had depleted their own forests. A scouting party sent back a report of a strange tree in the central southern woods, in the Painted Forest region, with a description that enticed shamans to investigate. An investigation party was formed comprising of soldiers and shamans, and the mission commenced.
This tree was called the Tantagruhk by the native Golboren trolls, and it held a special place in their hearts. All tribes throughout the region, and occasionally pilgrims from others, came to this tree to give prayer and offering to this unique, ancient being. The tree was a living fossil, growing from the large base of an even more ancient, dead tree that had long turned to stone. Cracks in the petrified base revealed beautiful opal.
The Golboren treated this as a magnet for sacred spiritual energy. The At'mavan party, as they approached the Tantagruhk, found the native trolls gathered around in celebration of the landmark. Curious and afraid, the trolls tried to communicate with the At'mavan people, but when they would not leave their weapons at the perimeter, the trolls became hostile and loud, trying to push them away from the landmark.
The soldiers reacted by slaying the few that tried to push them back, hoping to frighten the other trolls into retreating. The action had the opposite effect, and all of them came to the defense of the slain, throwing themselves at the soldiers now with every intent of killing them. The soldiers killed every one of them, suffering nothing but light wounds, and their guarded shamans began prospecting the Tantagruhk.
But, watching from the treeline, was a survivor. A young man whose name would some day be heard the world over: Koldroga. The At'mavans caught one glimpse of him standing above them, watching with calm acceptance, before he turned and ran into the forest. He was not pursued, and after studying the Tantagruhk, the At'mavans sent word that the area was to be settled.
Koldroga had other plans. After witnessing the slaughter, he ran to the nearest tribe and alerted them to the situation. They took up arms and gave him a Lors, which is very comparable to the extinct Irish Elk of the Pleistocene age of Earth, so that he could ride and alert the other tribes. On the back of this Lors, he covered all of the trollish territory, spreading the story and preparing them for what may come.
He ended his journey where he began. Many local tribes had banded together, awaiting his command. In the time it had taken him to unify his people, the At'mavans had constructed a settlement around the Tantagruhk, but they had not expected retaliation of the size Koldroga had rallied. A battle was waged, and the At'mavans were decimated, the trolls only allowing women and children to live and return to their people. The trolls reclaimed the Tantagruhk, marking the true beginning of the war.
The Rise of a People
During his reign as the first war king of the Golboren, he lead his people to many victories and secured vast tracts of land. For the first time, the trolls had a unified cause. Over the next decades, they grew a strong cultural identity and sense of purpose. The many tribes were working together and successfully eliminating invaders within their territory. Lines were being drawn and mapped, forming what would some day become their country.
Although the trolls could not hope to see At'mavi's cities conquered without more resources and more warriors, their ability to hold on to what they perceived as their territory was unmatchable. The best At'mavan scouting parties could not compete with the trolls' advanced guerrilla tactics and knowledge of the land. The consistent defeats wore away at emperor Khadmar's patience, and soon, he appointed a new general, Hespar, whose sole mission was to see Koldroga killed.
Koldroga's and Hespar's victories from this time period are countless and still recounted and sung thousands of years after they occurred. One of the most famous victory stories told by the trolls is of the time At'mavi sent a war ship down the Heskegi River, hoping to deliver a regiment of warriors behind enemy lines to ambush the trolls. Koldroga and his trusted warriors leapt onto the ship as it passed through a narrow bend in the river, climbing its sides and setting it on fire. The startled At'mavans were slain, if not by the fire, then by the river or the trolls, who awaited them on the shoreline.
Birth of a Martyr, Dawn of a Country
Koldroga converged with western forces, and with their combined might, they were able to wrest control of the Degahar region from the At'mavan troops. Unbeknownst to Koldroga, he had played right into the hand of Hespar, who had brought the bulk of his war force west. The opportunity was too great to pass up, and he readied for an ambush. Koldroga separated from those stationed in the west, taking a smaller band with him to allow for quick travel back to the east, where pressure had mounted.
In a low basin, where the forests broke in the north to reveal open sky and grassland steppes, the At'mavan forces came down upon them. They were overwhelmed immediately, pushed back from the road and into the treeline. Hespar watched from an escarpment to the southeast of the battle, and as Koldroga cried for his people to retreat, he drew his bow and honed in on him.
With a deep, steadying breath, he fired the first arrow. Koldroga, just as he turned for the forest, took the arrow deep in the right shoulder. Hespar, utilizing his martial technique and discipline, swiftly had a second and a third shot fired. The second shot struck his target in the middle of the back, and the last one caught Koldroga in the back of the head. Miraculously, the troll king did not stop running.
When the battle was done, Hespar had his men remove the tip of the tail of every troll for accurate recording of the dead, and demanded that he be alerted as soon as Koldroga's body was found. To the shock of Hespar and his men, the body was never found. A blood trail was picked up but, after a length, the blood abruptly ended and no more leaves were disturbed. Rumors spread amongst the people of both sides of the war that Koldroga had simply melted into the forest, becoming one with it.
In honor of his greatest sacrifice, giving his spirit and body to the forest so that he may always guide them, the Golboren trolls took heart in his disappearance and declared themselves an independant country by the name of Koldrogan, meaning "Spirit of Koldroga" in the suffix-based Golboren language. A new leader was chosen, and a system fell into place so that the country would never be without one.
After Koldroga's Fall
Hespar went on to commit many victories in the name of At'mavi, despite never finding proof of his greatest kill. His reign was finally ended within two decades later, killed by a troll on the battlefield that used Hespar's long hair to yank him into a vulnerable state. From that moment to present-day At'mavi, warriors in the At'mavan military keep their hair cut in honor of their first great war hero.
The war was destined to carry on for three great cycles, equating to three thousand years. At times, the combat was fierce and hellish, but at times the conflict would simmer down to only the occasional skirmish for a handful of decades. Neither side was ever able to mount a strong enough force to take each other down, and what began as a turf war, over time, morphed into a war fueled by hate of the other race.
The Tantagruhk became the proud symbol of Koldrogan, and the Golboren people built a strong, vast fortress around the holy site. It became their capital, where all war kings and war queens would hold serious meetings and conduct official business. A second base of operations was set up in the Degahar region to handle immediate concerns in the west.
The At'mavan people, in the fifth great cycle, managed to wrest the Heskegi region from Golboren control, separating the east from the west by a thin line of territory.
The At'mavi-Koldrogan Shaman's Symposium was founded to allow pacifist shamans to gather and discuss issues pertinent to their profession, to trade medicines, and to allow masters to adopt new apprentices. The event is held annually and is protected by forces on both sides of the conflict. Political discussions are banned for fear of violence.
The councils of the World Senate have begun to turn their eye to the Golboren people, debating on whether or not they will permit an ambassador from Koldrogan to join their ranks.
Where the Story Begins
The story will follow a young warrior by the name of Antegga Koldroskaro, who is cast out of his tribe by his mother after the accidental murder of his father, the war chief, during a coming of age duel. With only his cousin to support him, he must learn to survive in the harsh wilds of Koldrogan as he comes to terms with the consequences of his error and learn how life functions outside of home.
His journey begins meager, with only the clothes on his back and his father's sword, and with one companion at his side, but his heart is not snuffed out by the conditions. Instead, he blossoms, building a following of his own as he sets his sights upon the title of War King of Koldrogan.
Over the course of his story, the audience will come to learn the Golboren people's culture and lifestyles from within the system itself and see firsthand how the At'mavan people are, in fact, not the only bad guys anymore. The many factions of Koldrogan will be revealed, from the Kamunagi (warriors of the night), to the shamans, the chrut (nomadic silent druids of the deep woods), sorcerers, witches and warlocks, political intrigue, and how the entire war has become nothing but a display of heated racism.
This will be one of the most action-packed, richly detailed series in the entire franchise, and one of the first chain of books to get started chronologically, so I hope that I've cultivated some interest in this story and these characters within you. I hope you look forward to it at least a fraction of how much I do. (I know about a lot of events that you can't possibly know about, so I don't expect the kind of overzealous enthusiasm that I have.)
Anyway, that's all for this summary for the moment. I will run follow-up posts on any further details as I feel they are ready to go live.
Until next time,
Live a Little, Read a Lot,
Matthew D. Hammond