History of Gendara
Much of Gendara's history is incredibly dull - less a study of names and dates as it is an inventory of production and reams worth of efficiency statistics. As such, history is rarely taught to the young.
There are some crucial moments which occurred in Gendaran history which are considered important, however, and these are taught to children as young as six - the most important of these is the Wars of Ascendancy, the War of Supremacy, and the Unification of the Empire.
All dates in Gendaran history are listed as either occurring in Œ or Æ - Œ being shorthand for Conventus Empirae (Creation of the Empire) and Æ being short-hand for Aetas Empirae (During the Era of the Empire).
The Wars of Ascendancy
The earliest history of the region now known as Gendara is lost to the mists of prehistory and oral tradition, but the first acknowledged stories begin during a time known as the Wars of Ascendancy.
A number of petty kingdoms warred with each other, each vying to control the plentiful resources of the land. Kingdoms rose, kingdoms fell, borders shifted day-to-day, and the rivers ran red with blood.
To the north, the kingdom of Värja expanded outward, conquering the neighboring kingdom of Cerion. In the mountains, border disputes kept the tribal nations of Brisus and Sa'ar in a constant state of war. Farther south, Firiel warred against M'narra, and Asteria utterly conquered its neighbor, Malann. Farther still, the nation of Nara moved against their northern neighbor, Sonière.
It was in this time of strife that a man named Adrian appeared, claiming to be of the House of Blackburn. Many scoffed at this, as there WAS no House Blackburn - when asked, he merely smiled and suggested that even the greatest of legends must begin somewhere.
Adrian carried a strange silvery blade, which he claimed was a gift from his mother, named Celanteinn. It was not his only weapon - he also possessed unmatched tactical genius, and a charisma that drew people to his side. Where he led, others followed.
With but a handful of allies (including Tarine d'Aquitaine and Julien Andreana), he conquered the city of Alaris (then located just within the western border of Firiel), and Adrian declared the new city-state Gendara.
Over the next few years, he recruited warriors and slowly gathered more allies. Firiel was too busy warring with M'narra - they could not afford to fight a war on two fronts. Gendara took advantage of this distraction, striking west instead of east - the weaker nation of Tírane was easily absorbed into the burgeoning kingdom.
Realizing they could no longer ignore the threat to their west, Firiel began to send troops towards Gendara - but it was too late. Too weak to defend two fronts, Firiel collapsed. The west went to strengthen Gendara, while M'narra claimed the southern reaches. Shortly after, Värja conquered its western neighbor Pharen.
The balance of power was completely changed - Asteria, flush from its victory over Malann, now saw potential enemies on all sides. To the south, Gendara and M'narra consolidated their gains, while to the north, Värja showed no sign of stopping their outward expansion. Even so, few could have predicted what happened next.
Värja marched south, to assault Asteria, even as M'narra moved northwest to attack Gendara, seeking to finish what had begun with Firiel. But M'narra was soon horrified to discover their southern borders under attack - Adrian had secretly struck a deal with Nara. Once Sonière was overcome, the Naran war machine continued up the coast into M'narra. Assaulted on two sides, the kingdom was divided among the two conquering nations.
Soon after, this alliance turned south, quickly overcoming the theocracy of Ochren while Asteria and Värja were still occupied to the north. After this, the two growing kingdoms parted ways on the field of battle, but remained allies - Nara moved southwest against the republic of Cymersen, while Gendara struck northwest into Jetrel.
Two more of Adrian's secret alliances bore fruit at this time, in the northern mountains, and in the southern wastes. Secret allies were sent to Brisus, which allowed them to conquer the neighboring Sa'ar. Meanwhile, to the south, the nation of Melia was encouraged to move north, into the scrublands of Argetnel.
Värja eventually completed its conquest of Asteria, even as Gendara conquered Jetrel. Neoma, a nation dead-center between the two powers, saw which way the wind was blowing - the queen, Arina Sandarace, voluntarily relinquished sovereignty to Gendara in exchange for defense against Värja. Unwilling to face Gendara before it was ready, Värja moved instead into Damalis, flanking Neoma's northern border.
In less than eleven years, nearly two dozen kingdoms had coalesced into five - three "great powers" (Gendara, Värja, and Nara) and two "lesser kingdoms" (Brisus and Melia).
The War of Supremacy
It was inevitable that this balance of power couldn't last - as winter turned to spring, Värja drove straight south, hoping to capture Alaris and end the war quickly. Adrian had struck his alliances well, however - Naran troops were already billeted nearby, and with their aid, Gendaran forces held the line. Meanwhile, bolstered by troops from Brisus and Neoma, the Gendaran forces struck into Värja from the north. This drive was more successful, nearly cutting the enemy nation in half.
In desperation, the forces trying to reach Alaris were forced to turn back, in danger of being cut-off from their own capital of Cyrene. Their retreat allowed the Gendaran and Naran forces to follow, conquering the southern reaches of Värja. Like a vice, the combined armies moved inexorably towards Cyrene. Finally, in late autumn, the city was besieged. Eight days later, the gates were shattered and Värja had fallen.
Unification of the Empire
When the wars were over, and everything was said and done, Gendara reigned supreme. Brisus still existed to the north, but it was little more than a puppet-state now, an extension of Gendara. Melia lay to the southwest, but the lands it controlled were barely habitable. Nara was still a potent nation, but were there to be war with Gendara, few had doubts as to what the outcome would be.
It was at this time that Adrian formally declared the kingdom of Gendara an Empire, and accepted the position of First Imperator. At the same time, the Moon Goddess Tanith was officially recognized as the patroness of the Empire - and it was revealed that she was, in fact, Adrian's birth mother.
Soon after the fall of Värja, Julien Andreana was placed in charge of their former lands. He was given the title of Margrave, and the region was reorganized as the Northeastern March, or Almeddwyn (a word chosen by Julien from the ancient K'an tongue, meaning "Land of Wine and Honey").
Over the next five years, Brisus was brought into the Empire, and reorganized as the Northwestern March, or Briarsis. Arina Sandarace, former queen of Neoma, was made Margravine of the region in recognition of her acceptance of Gendaran rule, as well as due to the fact that her former nation lay within the boundaries of the new March. Some rumors also suggest that she gained this blessing due to an affair she had with Adrian while he was in Neoma, during the war with Värja.
Shortly after, Sandomir Dolorosa the High Lord of Melia, also formalized his acceptance of Gendaran rule. In exchange, his nation (along with other Gendaran territory) was reorganized into the Southwestern March, and he was granted the title of Margrave over it (in truth, no one else wanted responsibility for the scrubland, as it was seen as being mostly useless). Perhaps in ironic acceptance of this fact, he named the new March Mor'crâith (which literally means "The Dead Wastes" in the K'an tongue).
Two years later, Nara finally accepted the inevitable, and voluntarily joined with the Holy Empire of Gendara. Its ruler, Marrek Bryant, agreed to do so only so long as he would be granted power within the Gendaran hierarchy. In response, Nara was divided (it was nearly half the size of Gendara itself - much too large to preserve as a single March) its southern reaches were reorganized as Ildáthach (a K'an word meaning "Sorrow's Path") with Marrek as Margrave, while the north was combined with other Gendaran territory to form a second March. This second March (the Eastern March) was named Sarn'alaeth by Imperator Adrian himself (the word meaning "Heart of Fire" in the K'an tongue). He also granted the title of Margravine to Tarine d'Aquitaine, and placed her in command of this coastal province.
The Empire had reached the boundaries it was always destined to achieve - and it has remained more or less the same ever since. Such is the will of Tanith.