The Pirates Of Atlantis
The Age of Conquest
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In time the Ten Brothers’ explorations ceased, and they began instead to think of conquest and power. Their own kingdoms on Atlantis were prosperous and secure, but elsewhere things were not so well. They had seen much in their travels that they deemed wrong: impoverished peoples oppressed by petty tyrants; the terrible power of Lemuria; folk who lived in fear of monsters and beasts. The light and enlightenment of Atlantis needed to shine out upon the world.
First the Brothers turned their eyes eastward, to the forested, mountainous lands of western Pelasgar. When they landed their fleet of a dozen ships on the shores of the land now known as Kartalia, they met a king who scoffed at them, for his army was ten times the size of theirs. But size is not power, as the king learned to his grief when Atlantean warriors caparisoned in enchanted armour and wielding magical blades and spears slaughtered his men like a farmer scything wheat.
Word soon spread of the might and power of the Atlanteans, and the benevolent terms of their rule. Some kings in that region opposed them, such as the rulers of the stubborn Regnarian tribes, and had to be taught their error at the point of a spear. Others recognized the folly of fighting and sought terms, becoming Atlantean vassals in exchange for keeping some measure of their former power. Soon western Pelasgar had become the first part of the Dominion of Atlantis, with native warriors flocking to Atlantean banners and the common folk shouting paeans of praise for the Ten Brothers.
The Battle Of Tardanian Pass
Having seen how easy conquest was, several of the Brothers and many of their warriors returned home to Atlantis, leaving further tasks of war to those who enjoyed them the most: Elasippus, Azaes, Ampheres, Mneseus. But overconfidence nearly cost them dearly in the Tardanian Pass, when they strove to push the Dominion into eastern Pelasgar.
The kings and lords of that region had heard tales of the Atlanteans, and while they had little liking for each other had even less desire to be ruled by outlanders. They banded together, creating an alliance able to field an army thousands strong. Knowing the Atlanteans would have to come through the Pass, the army marched for it to hold them there.
A small force of Atlanteans — the four Brothers and a handful of their best warriors — found themselves confronted by an army that outnumbered them several hundred to one.
Yet they did not fear or falter. Crying “For Atlantis! For Vondarien!” they charged forward. Now seasoned in battle after several campaigns in the west, they fought with greater skill and power than ever. Though thousands were arrayed against them, their enchanted arms and armour, plus the magical powers of the Brothers, made them unstoppable. After several hours of terrible slaughter, the Pelasgaran army broke and ran, abandoning its commanders and kings to their fate. The Brothers rounded them up and beheaded them.
It took a few months for the Brothers to overcome other opposition, put down new petty kings, and stop banditry, but in time peace came to eastern Pelasgar. Looking over the nobles of each land, the Brothers chose the wisest and bravest to be the new princes of those lands, holding them in the name of Atlantis and obedient to the Atlan’s laws.
Their desire for conquest temporarily sated, the Ten Brothers set to the task of learning about and administering their new lands. But even an immortal cannot maintain his interest in such things very long, when there are new lands to conquer, new challenges to face, and more injustices to end. Little more than two centuries passed before the Ten Brothers and their soldiers grew restless. This time the warm lands of the South drew their attention, and once more the war-fleets of Atlantis set sail.
But the second wave of conquests did not go so easily as the first. Having seen how easily Pelasgar fell, the kings of the South had marshalled their resources in succeeding years, and prepared for inevitable war. Their wizards had worked hard to develop magics to blunt the Atlanteans’ mystic power — they couldn’t wholly stop or contain the Ten Brothers and the arcane armaments of their soldiers but they could stand against them with some hope of victory.
The Ten Brothers first came against Ras Shamra, a small empire in the northern part of the continent of Tel’Ramas. Long had Atlantean galleys visited there for trade, so Atlanteans were familiar with the area and its peoples. The emperor mounted a valiant defence, and at first he thwarted the Atlanteans with a combination of power and guile. But his soldiers were not numberless, and Atlantean magic seemed to know no limits. Within a few months his armies were worn down to almost nothing, just a small garrison endeavouring to hold the royal palace in a last, desperate bid for victory. But it was not to be. The Atlanteans swarmed into the palace, slaying the defenders with ease. Elasippus himself killed the emperor in single combat, and then with one blow of his mighty fist smashed the man’s throne into flinders. At his command the imperial capital was razed to the ground, not a single stone left standing on another, to show the world the price of defying Atlantis. Appointing as prince from among the Shamran nobles one who’d come over to Atlantis’s side early, the Lord Choresh, the Atlanteans departed, the Dominion now even larger.
The Wise King Of Karshemish
Elasippus and Azaes turned their armies east, riding over the fields of Ras Shamra into Karshemish. An ancient land of much lore and wisdom, Karshemish was ruled by a king named Arvand. Having seen how easily his brother to the west was dispatched by the Atlantean army, small though it was, he had no desire to see the same thing happen to him. Gathering his soldiers to him, he put on his finest regalia and went out to meet the foe. As the two armies neared, he rode out ahead of them, accompanied by his leading nobles and court wizards. Gadrius, Autochthon, and Elasippus went out to meet them. “Noble Atlanteans!” King Arvand said when the two parties came within speaking distance, “I desire parley with you.”
“Speak,” said Gadrius, intrigued.
“Assembled before me is the Atlantean army, and mighty it is! But not so mighty that my own cannot give it a strong fight, and perhaps win through to victory. Many of my men and your own will die before the day is done, if fight we must. But I seek a different course! Make me prince of this land, leave my rule undisturbed, and I will join your Dominion about bloodshed.”
Recognizing intelligence and insight when they saw it, and having no desire to spill blood needlessly, the Brothers agreed, and King Arvand became Prince. Many of his soldiers willingly joined the Atlantean forces, and some of his people went to live in Atlantis itself. Gadrius took the king’s eldest daughter as his wife. And to this day, Karshemish remains one of the most loyal and important parts of the Dominion.
The Atlanteans spent a few years absorbing their new conquests into the Dominion, then continued the path of conquest. South and east of Karshemish lay the land of Eshuna where, legend claimed, men had lived in the city of Mursali for thousands of years. It was said the Eshunans possessed chronicles of the times when Lemuria still existed above the waves and creatures stranger than the monsters slain by the Ten Brothers regularly stalked the land.
Knowing he could not oppose the Atlanteans with force of arms, the king of Eshuna turned to his wizards for a solution. Working together they cast a mighty spell that thrust the entire kingdom forward one second in time, creating an unbreachable barrier around the land. For nearly two years the Atlanteans battered themselves against that wall, and fought the armies of strange conjured creatures that the Eshunan wizards somehow sent out against them.
Then finally Diaprepes discovered the secret behind the time-spell and broke it, dragging Eshuna one second back in time to match the rest of the world. Knowing he had failed to save his kingdom, the king surrendered. The Atlanteans beheaded him for his defiance, but to honour the humility of his surrender spared his kingdom.
The priests of Orikailos, god of magic, cast an augury to determine who should become prince of Eshuna. The spell led them to Herromdeshi, a simple farmer. Astonished to see a delegation of the Atlantean army at his farm, Herromdeshi was even more surprised to learn why they’d come. Dressing him in rich robes, they escorted him to Mursali and installed him on the throne. His line served Atlantis as the princes of Eshuna for nearly a thousand years, and are accounted some of the greatest rulers in the land’s history.
A few years after the conquest of Eshuna, the land of Parinda, a patchwork of several small kingdoms, petitioned Atlantis for entry into the Dominion. The Parindan kings had taken note not only of how easily Atlantis had conquered nearby realms, but of how becoming part of the Dominion had enriched those realms through trade and Atlantean magic. Atlan Mneseus (who held the throne at that time while his brother Vondarien was off adventuring) accepted their petition, with one proviso: they must choose one from among their number to serve as prince.
The situation threatened to turn ugly, with each king prepared to go to war to earn the title of prince, when King Shulgur suggested a different way: an athletic competition. All of the kings would compete in a series of athletic events; the overall winner would become prince, and the other kings his nobles. Each of the kings consented and the games began… and to the surprise of no one who knew him well, clever Shulgur won. During his reign the Parindan Games became an annual event; they’re held to this day in the late spring of every year, and the Atlan and other rulers from around the world shower the winners with prizes.
Kalla’har And Kaphtor
Several decades after absorbing Parinda into the Dominion, Atlantis again began to harbour designs of conquest. Diaprepes, Mneseus, and Azaes landed in Parinda and marched south, into the land known as Kalla’har. But almost as soon as they entered it, something felt… wrong. A shadow lay over the land, growing ever darker the further south they went. All the Atlanteans could sense it; Diaprepes, with his wizardly perceptions, was particularly hard-struck by the shadow and soon fell ill because of it. Some of the commanders and soldiers wanted to press on, but most felt it wasn’t worth it, and soon the expedition returned to Atlantis — the first, but not the last, time the armies of the Dominion would be thwarted.
Atlantis suffered the next setback to its plans of empire a few years later when it crossed the Dardessos River to conquer the Empire of Tellat. They met the Tellat army on the field expecting an easy victory like the ones they’d achieved so many times before… only to find that the Tellats had power. While most Tellat soldiers were ordinary footmen, horsemen, or archers, more than a few of the Tellat warriors possessed magical powers and weapons rivalling those of the Atlanteans, and the Tellat wizards were skilled at countering Atlantean magics, or even twisting Atlantean spells to their own ends. The battle shifted back and forth over the course of the day, neither side gaining a substantial advantage for every long. But when evening fell and the armies separated, Elasippus decided to withdraw from Tellat rather than risk the lives of more of his soldiers. The Ten Brothers would have to learn the secret of Tellat’s power before attacking it again.
For over a thousand years, Atlantis remained quiescent. The Dominion danced a wary dance with the Empire of Lemuria, whose own lands extended into the continent of Sangobar and thus came near the western side of the Great Island. But by about the year 33100 BC the momentum had shifted in the Dominion’s favour. As Atlantis continued to grow in learning and wealth, while Lemuria remained essentially stagnant, more and more realms began to see the benefits of belonging to the Dominion.
Many of these lands, beginning with the northerly realms of Hernicia, Varinia, and Avaria, joined the Dominion much like Parinda had, through voluntary petition. Known as the Bloodless Conquest, this period brought most of eastern Sangobar into Atlantis’s fold. The Hazarian tribes, then as now, remain stubbornly independent.
The south-western lands of Darvilos and Gardarica were tougher nuts to crack. After absorbing Ystria, Atlantis gazed greedily over the mighty Ractoris River at the green and prosperous lands to the west. A series of minor clashes between Atlantean and Lemurian forces in the 33000-32860 BC resulted in those two kingdoms breaking away from Lemuria and becoming part of the Dominion… though a sometimes fractious and reluctant part.
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