Empire of the Eternal Flame
EOTEF - Empire of the Eternal Flame
The Empire of the Eternal Flame no longer exists, lost in the ashes of time as many others of its kind. Yet the lands that composed this Empire still exist, of course, and now they are known collectively as Iluvauromen. As we shall read, however, those lands were once known by a different name; the people who lived there had very different cultures; and many of the roots of the traditions of the Iluvauromeni can be understood by careful examination of this portion of their past.
Here we will examine the history of the EOTEF itself, rather than the entirety of the history of the people who have lived in the lands it occupied at its height. The latter, of course, should be a far lengthier undertaking; see Iluvauromen myths and legends.
The Birth, Rise, and Fall of an Empire
The Empire of the Eternal Flame was born during a time of strife and turbulence in the land now known as Ma-Nenya. The Nenyans, the chief occupiers of that land, were frequently under attack by the Humans who lived in the lands directly aroundabout: the Menjdari and the Dth'gari (modern names - for the ancient forms see Ancient Names of the Peoples of Iluvauromen).
The Menjdari sought to increase the range and scope of their ranging lands, for they were nomadic in type and preferred to fare hither and thither far and wide; the Dth'gari Nation, however, was a more advanced culture with a strong desire to place the Nenyans in thralldom.
The first inkling of the birth of the Empire was, according to contempary accounts, just a little over two thousand seventy years ago, with the birth of the Brigade of Flame - the first professional army created by the Nenyans; this tradition relating to fire and the military grew, and, within fifty years the old Nenyan Kingdom had fallen in a military coup lead by the commander of the Brigade of Flame.
In the place of the Kingdom he built an Empire, carving out the initial Empire in just seven years of almost warfare; the Menjdari were subjugated rapidly, but the Dth'gari were merely held and then subsequently pushed back into their original lands. Unfortunately the names of the individuals who took part in these events are not known; merely the basic outlay of the events are still today relatively well known.
The Dth'gari Nation, however, was not satisfied with the uneasy peace. After a long buildup of weapons and men - with many conflicts in between - the Nation launched a massive attack on a new Nenyan colony established in the new lands claimed by the Empire of the Eternal Flame; all those who lived there were killed. The attack was merely the first leg of the journey; but it is said that this force was met with such overwhelming brutality that soldiers on both side broke and ran, scattering across the countryside. This battle is known to Iluvauromeni historians as the Battle of The Sundering.
Indeed, many of those Nenyan soldiers which did flee were responsible for the spattering of colonies which sprang up on the Nenyan-Dth'gari border; and when both sides had withdrawn from battle once again, these proved fatally dangerous to the peace.
For there were colonies on both sides of the border, belonging to both parties; and neither side consented to allow them to continue to remain. The Dth'gari, being under the leadership of an exceptionally hotheaded young man (whos name is also apparently lost in the mists of time), launched attacks on the Nenyan colonies, slaughtering many hundreds of people - many of those soldiers who had formed the colonies had been joined by their families; and many of those soldiers were not really any longer capable of combat, so great were their wounds from the terrible Battle of The Sundering.
This event, more than any other, set the tide of the Empire against Human occupation of the lands aroundabout the Nenyan Empire of the Eternal Flame. The Nenyan Empire (as it was also known) went through a period of great discussion, retreating back into its own lands for nearly thirty years; when it burst forth again, it did so with such a greatness of hostility that the lands aroundabout were to be the sight of much blood letting and pain for many years to come - indeed, nearly two thousand years to come.
It was decided amongst the Nenyans that the Dth'gari were no doubt in fact intending to entirely eradicate the Nenyan species. This is, in fact, a possibility; the previous tactics of the Dth'gari Nation - slaughtering entire villages - does certainly point to that possibility. However, the Nenyans made a terrible error: they decided to eradicate the Dth'gari entirely - and any other Humans which might support their cause. The subjugated Menjdari, having briefly won minor standing in Nenyan society, were suddenly slaves to the Empire; and the Two Thousand Year War of Conquest began.
The War of Conquest was a bloody combat fought over many many battles; the Dth'gari Nation outnumbered the Nenyans fifteen to one, but the Nenyans fought with clever tactics, and had the advantage of having some amongst them that could know the thoughts in the very minds of their enemies at whimsy; this proved to be a decisive factor in evening the odds. The Dth'gari found that they were ambushed wherever they tried to creep; and should they move openly, they were harassed less.
This tactic seems strange to modern eyes, but it had a decided advantage: the Dth'gari became slowly convinced that the Nenyans had eyes in the sky, and began to fear what else might be brought down from above - there are even records of Dth'gari worshipping the Nenyans as 'the great demons from above'. This had no small effect on the Nenyans; they yearned to take to the air ever and again, from this point, and this perhaps explains the modern Nenyan preferance for early attainment of air superiority during warfare.
The tactic was clever, but not clever enough to guarantee victory. Yet at some point in the year 1671 f.e. (Flame Era) the Nenyans suddenly turned the tide in a stupendous manner. Nobody knows how this was achieved, but the battles fought were exceptionally bloody, with no Dth'gari survivors being recorded at all in any of the battles after this date. Nenyan casualties were reportedly very low, and would have to have been low in order for their advance to continue; but within fifty years, the Dth'gari Nation was subjugated entirely - and its population reduced by three fifths of its original size.
The Fall of the Empire of the Eternal Flame was caused by many factors. Firstly, following the end of the War of Conquest in 1753 f.e. there were the Great Debates; these centered on Nenyan policy regarding the Empire - and regarding the war just fought. Many Nenyans grew to hate their ancestors for their actions against the Dth'gari, and the Dth'gari began to cool significantly during the last thirty years of the Empire's existance; yet it was not the Dth'gari or the Nenyans who directly caused the fall - it was a Menjdari.
The Menjdari were now no longer a seperate people entirely, but had been subsumed by the greater Nenyan culture and society; despite this, they actually outnumbered the Nenyans three to one.
Yet the Menjdari, now known as House Menjda, were a servantile underclass. They had rights, now, and were no longer entirely slaves - but their standing was less even than the Dth'gari - who were become House Dth'gar. There were other tribes amalgamated into the Empire, also, but we do not go into those here as they are not entirely important to the general outline of the history of the Empire.
House Menjda, as a servantile 'family', was privy to all the activities of the Nenyans; and they found them exceptionally distasteful. The Nenyans ate and sang and danced and cavorted and copulated with one another en masse; the Menjda had no moral objection to any of that, but they were aware of the plight of many of the Humans in the Empire.
To the credit of the Nenyans, times were changing. The recovery from the methods of the war was admittedly slow, but a great many in that culture were working hard to change hearts and minds to a more wholesome path; unfortunately, the Menjda did not find this fast enough.
On the day now considered by Iluvauromeni historians to be the last day of the Flame Era and the first of the Long Night, the Emperor was murdered in cold blood by his Menjda First Minister (which was a massive concession to the Menjdari population in the first place) - and the Crown Prince went missing, as did the remainder of the Imperial Family.
The Empire fell into chaos, and split into two coldly distant states: Ax-turath and Ma-tek. Ma-Nenya, the capital, was abandoned - and so fell the Empire of the Eternal Flame.