Alsara: The Dragon's Legacy
Known commonly as Vokaya, the Vokayagora Zemla was one of the most powerful nations in the world for four hundred years, a time known (at least by Vokayan scholars) as the Golden Age. During the Neverwar, however, Vokaya achieved such a pyrrhic victory that they were nearly destroyed, and they lay claim to “most powerful nation” only because all the other nations of the world are in similar straits.
Size (inhabited): 219,960 square miles.
Population: 16.7 million (10.5 million Vokayan, 6.1 million Tribal)
Prewar: 19.9 million (14.8 million Vokayan, 7 million Tribal)
Small Towns: 167 (population of 501,000)
State of Affairs
End of the Ghosts
The Glass Ghosts were disbanded in 1216, after low morale and infrequent demon sightings forced Merik to follow up on his promise. While the soldiers went their separate ways, their skills hardly disappeared, and many folded into the regular military. These days, the Ghosts not in the army are scattered all about, living their lives in retirement after having received a small fortune for their service. Nothing left but a rumor, and a haunted look in a stranger’s eyes as they walk by.
Despite the steady and rapid decrease in demonic activities in Vokaya after the death of Abaddon and the destruction of the Cabal, there are still demons in the world. While few act with any real organization or cohesion, they are all dedicated to bringing misery to the people of Alsara. Occasionally, they will kill a family, burn down a town, destroy a bridge or a fort somewhere, or just kill off a caravan for no good reason. They are nightmarish, yes, but without the terrible will behind them, they’ve gone from the nemesis of all life to just a very bad day.
The High Council was the most powerful ruling body in Vokaya before the Neverwar, but most of it was killed or dispersed during the Battle of Cascade Fortress: between the Demons and the Traitor Prince, nearly everyone of importance was slain or rendered unfit for rule. Due to the rapid action demanded by the circumstances, Merik Serendi Rex determined that he could not afford the time to rebuild the High Council, and suspended the office, transferring all of its powers to him. There would have been more protest, but the country was losing a war and facing down annihilation.
Afterward, though, he never got around to reforming the Council. This became more and more stressful on public opinion as the years rolled on, and there was a lot of upset when he decided not to reform the council after declaring the Neverwar ended. It happened again after the reconquest of Brittlestone Loch three years later, and again when the Contests were held in 1218. Merik was masterful at manipulating his image, though, and somehow even when there were demonstrations in the street he managed to convince everyone that it wasn’t time yet, and he could match everyone’s demands without the need for a High Council to check his power. It helped that he had done amazing things to revitalize the postwar Vokaya, and there was a certain amount of discussion amongst the people to simply elect him Emperor of Vokaya and do away with Council system altogether.
Then he died.
Lidiya Serendi Rex has not meet the people’s needs or expectations nearly as gracefully as her father had. Her reasons for forbidding the reformation of the council were not well-received, and even those close to her find the action difficult to defend. Opponents to her actions vary from tepid to outspoken, but it has won her no friends.
The Rise of the Republics
The dictatorial attitude of both Merik and Lidiya Serendi have fostered enough negative public sentiment to build into a large-scale movement to modify the government of the country, and to strip power from the Serendi Rex. While at first it was just grumbling arguments in taverns, it exploded into widespread and organized protests. So far, Lidiya has done little to appease this growing minority, and it has done nothing but galvanize the proponents of the ideas.
The most coherent Republican plan of action is as follows: first, they would reinstate the High Council as the primary body that generates and modifies laws. The Serendi Rex would lose the wartime powers of ordering general consription, and the ability to both declare and wage war without consent of the government.
In the late winter of 1214, Merik Serendi Rex called upon the Founding Treaty in Bastion, compelling them to ship a sizable portion of their armed forces and treasury to Vokaya. At the time, though, they were fighting a small war against a regiment of Raiders called the Black Hand. Due to some skillful negotiating, Lidiya Serendi was able to convince both the Bastion military and the Black Hand to march northward in defense of Vokaya. Part of her agreement with the Black Hand, of course, was legal protections and land in Vokaya.
This has had wide reaching effects, which the world is still feeling the echoes of today. After the Battle of Frozen Gates (which the Orcs of the Black Handed participated in), Merik extended the legal protections to all Orcs, and created a fast-track program for Orcish citizenship in Vokaya. He also began the establishment of entire towns, usually in parts of Vokaya that had been devastated by the Neverwar, where the Orcs could build private communities. In 1217, the Orcs were granted large territories in Brittlestone Loch, and did a great deal to try and repair the war-torn countryside.
These actions have attracted scores of Orcs from all across the world, and while the integration into Vokaya has been rocky, the progress has been steady. The impact this has had on Vokaya is difficult to quanity, but their presence is used in examples of both the successes and the failures of Merik’s reign. For the Orcs themselves, though, the response is clear: in the midst of growing distrust and disrespect for the throne, not one dissenting voice is Orcish. Their loyalty to the throne and to Lidiya Serendi Rex is absolute.
Rebuilding the Rampart Line
Two of the castles of the Rampart Line were destroyed in the Neverwar: Arx Vigesimus Secundus, and Arx Vigesimus Quintus. The destruction visited upon Arx Vig Secundus was nearly absolute, as it was the entry point for Empress Amelia’s vast host, and it fell directly to her wrath. The repairs of these mighty fortresses has been long and time consuming—not to mention expensive—but the new castles were designed to incorporate many modern advances in siege technology.
Currently, neither fortress would be able to withstand a dedicated assault from the south. As a result, a large force of soldiers is camped at both sites, ready to defend from attack if the Blessed Imperium should move in through the Steppelands.
Postwar Vokaya is not safe. It was once much worse, but no country survives invasion unscathed, especially not an invasion by a large and disorganized military like the Holy Imperial Legions. The upsurge in banditry caused by the Neverwar has tapered off, but the Imperial deserters have been replaced by others of their ilk. Elves, both High and Tribal, as well as disgruntled remnants of the Gift, as well as Raiders introduced by the Orcish migrations. Recently, there is talk of darker organizations meeting out in the wilds, making politically motivated attacks on Royalist figures. One might call these “bandits,” but the reality is they are either harmless or much more dangerous, depending on who you are.
Rise of the Stratosi
The destruction of the Stratos during the Neverwar has been answered by a massive force buildup over the past decade. The formerly undertrained and inexperienced footsoldiers of the Vokayan military have been reorganized, and both their equipment and their training has grown to reflect modern tactics and technology; particularly more recently, as the manufacturing centers in Brittlestone are finally catching up after the destruction of High Tower and Obsidian. Their numbers have also grown, in response to the numerable threats that continue to destabilize the heartlands of Vokaya.