Extermination of Non-Humans
|Source: Drakefyre canon|
|History of the Empire|
|Historical account: Extermination of Non-Humans|
|Written by Eli Karad, junior chancellor for Ironclad VI, 401 IE|
|Began: 261 IE | Ended: 384 IE|
In 259 IE, the total population of all humans on Pralgad was greater than 40 million and steadily increasing due to the advent of the new metropolis. However, beyond the vision of man lay the beasts of Pralgad, who numbered themselves more than 12 million. The new expansion of the Empire united directly clashed with the hermetic nature of Pralgad's non-humans. Ironclad II had contented himself with the reunification of the Empire and keeping the peace, but his son, Ironclad III, foresaw the great potential of expansion, and thus he began the slow process of asserting human expansion on the far recesses of the continent.
The first non-humans that were encountered were the warring tribes of the Giants. Hill Giants were terrible men, 13 feet high on average and weighing more than 35 stone. They carried huge clubs made of tree trunks and boulders pried from mountainsides in a pouch made of mountain lion skin. They inhabited the hills and mountains of northeastern Pralgad, and they were clan creatures. Among the clans were the leading Snakeye Clan, Lionskin Clan, and Rockback Clan, all of whom were engaged in brutal and bloody civil wars. It was during the middle of one of these civil wars that Ironclad III and the Imperial Army decided to strike.
The Imperial Army moved from Blackstone out to the northern mountains late in the year 261 of the Imperial Era. Attempting to catch the Hill Giants in disarray, they launched a brave and foolhardy offensive against the Rockback Clan. The army was repelled as all of the nearby clans rushed to their aid, and the army began to know true meaning of pain as 10 stone boulders were tossed among them and towering shamen created walls of fire to block their retreat. They did eventually make it out, but at only 40% of their original strength, their spirit broken and their bones crushed.
Early the next year, the full might of the Imperial Army, augmented by many new battlemages, launched an attack against the giants that succeeded only because of its brashness and forcefulness. Imperial tactics proved to be more than adequate to stymie the giants, who were confused and frightened as they realized their impending doom. The Rockback and Lionskin Clans were eradicated, along with smaller clans around them. Still, the Snakeye Clan, one full of ingenious shamen, continued to mount resistance against the Imperial Army. In time, however, harrying army raids led by Ylai Ironclad, a nephew of the Emperor, broke their resolve over the next ten years.
For the next five years, Colonel Ylai Ironclad continued his raids, which kept the giants penned up within the mountains, never able to threaten the citizens of the Empire. In 277 IE, he received a deluge of troops from command in Imperius, and he was able to break the deadlock completely in favor of the Empire. Breaking down stone walls and scattering wooden fences, the Empire swept into the last fortresses of the Snakeye Clan and eradicated all of the Hill Giants forever. The last months of the year were spent painstakingly searching through the mountains, looking for any giants that may have survived. Any that were found were put to the sword, and the final tallies put the giant casualties at more than seven million. [Ed Note: This is an exaggeration - recent counts have put the giant population at 2.75 million.]
The mountains proved to be receptive to both terrace farming and the cultivation of crops that only survived in the harsh and rocky soil of this mountain region. Later mining expeditions found vast quantities of iron in deep strains that run to the center of the chain.
The next Empirical foray into the realm of nonhuman extermination came with the feline Nephilim during the reign of Ironclad V. The previous emperor, Ironclad IV, had deemed the success against the giants enough, and he facilitated the establishment of permanent trade routes with the Aizoan continent. However, Ironclad V saw the merit in adapting the wetlands for settlement and farming of spices and fruits. But in the Swamps of Dralgath lay an enormous settlement of fierce Nephilim who were resisting any attempts at human settlement and slaughtering all settlers that were sent to the wetlands. And this meant that Ironclad V had to authorize the beginning of war with the Nephilim. And he did so with vigor, in year 322 of the Imperial Era.
Wary of just plunging into war with the Nephilim as his grandfather did with the giants, he began with the small raiding parties that Ylai Ironclad had popularized. Unfortunately, the Nephilim did not take well to having their homes burned and their crops torched. And unlike the giants, who tried to strike back against the raiding parties, the Nephilim assembled their own raiding parties and took them to nearby Cautheron and Dubridge [Ed Note: Now Cauthington and Sarkagrad.] The towns were quite surprised by the voracity of the Nephilim attackers, and the guards were often too slow to chase away the Nephilim before they burned houses, ran off with women and children, or ran through crop fields.
It was then that brigades were dispatched to these two towns and all villages nearby, as General Hector Sol, leader of the Imperial Army, rounded up enough troops to begin a large-scale assault on the Nephilim. Still, it was eight years since the beginning of raids on the Nephilim when the Empire fully realized the threat and assembled this army. To their credit, the Nephilim did not meet them on the field of battle. Instead, they hid in trees and shot arrows at the army, led them into quicksand, and surrounded them deep in the marshes. But it was here that the training and discipline of the Imperial Army came into play, and it overcame the natural savvy and drive of the Nephilim. Surrounded and demoralized in the swamps, Hector Sol rallied his troops and drove them to victory against the Nephilim, scattering them to the winds.
It was then, in 333 IE, that the fight against the Nephilim became intense. Many quickly jumped into sailors' organizations and left Pralgad for better pastures. Many more still hid in the swamps and mountains of eastern Pralgad. And more disappeared to the south, navigating the harsh Ndovlu Mountains to make their way to a place yet unknown. [Ed Note: These are likely the ancestors of the Ratbane Clan that populated Valorim in the 600's.] It was not until 343 IE that all of the Nephilim had either been hunted down or banished for Pralgad, and the agrarian experiments of Ironclad V could continue.
When Ironclad VI, our glorious emperor, first began to excavate the Jsoulza mountain passes joining western and eastern Pralgad, there were no pressing concerns. But after they kept unearthing artifacts - earthen bowls, clay pots, and more - Ironclad VI called a halt to the excavations. Whether they were evidence of the pre-Imperial human inhabitants of Pralgad or another humanoid species was not yet certain. But Ironclad VI had a sage's insatiable thirst for knowledge along with the human superiority mindset of his father and great-grandfather, which led to a long investigation by the Saxton School of Magic. Its old sages spent many weeks arguing the merits of both cases. In the end, Ironclad VI continued the excavation to find more information, and the diggers came across maps and scrolls in a foreign language that was definitely no human tongue.
When the map was interpreted, it led to the mines near Solaria. Miners were ordered to leave the mines, and soldiers and mages investigated the caverns beyond the rich veins of iron, silver, and gold. Nobody had ever gone that far deep in the caves - nobody had ever seen the need to, except for Ironclad VI the Wise. They found the passages littered with the same type of writing on the map and scrolls, and the passages led to a completely new area of land, which was inhabited by these hideous humanoids. Dubbed Troglodytes, these men were twisted and scarred from birth, like a form of intensely mutated human. Short and squat, they were well-armed and not happy about the invasion. Armored troglodytes quickly seized the Solaran mines and began to create iron weapons and armor, effectively using the Empire's own resources against them.
These troglodytes were no fools, unlike the giants. In fact, they were more intelligent than the Nephilim, and their mages had perfected vicious and devastating combat spells, that they used without prejudice against all humans that they saw. The army was quickly rushed to Easton and Solaria, where they coordinated attacks on the troglodytes. However, all attacks at the beginning were unsuccessful and horribly bloody. Years of infighting [Ed Note: and fighting the giants - the reason there were so few giants for Ironclad III was because of the troglodytes' own extermination campaign] had honed their combat skills and their cunning. They took control of the nearby villages and took over the farming operations and began to expand their base of operations.
Commander Nepald Londar was not going to allow these troglodytes to take control of the Empire, however. A tactical genius, he began a long series of staged battles that weakened the troglodytes' tenuous hold on the land. But they were not going to go down without a fight. They struck fast and hard and with magic, and Londar had no answer for the spells. But one night in 384 IE, Londar's men constructed catapults and readied for a complete assault against the Solaran mines. Crashing down came the barricades and defenses that the troglodytes had erected, and infantry secured the inner passageways of the mines. Sealing off the troglodytes from their original base of operations took away their reinforcements and supplies, and they fell quickly. Two years later, the soldiers bloody from their defense of the mines, burst through into troglodyte territory and razed several villages to the ground. With more troops pouring through every day, Londar oversaw the systematic hunting down and eradication of the last of Pralgad's intelligent non-human species.
Today, the population of the Empire is estimated at 100 million, including the Aizoan Dominion, and we continue to push out. There cannot only be two continents on Ermarian, and no doubt future Emperors will lead us into the seas and beyond, to an unparalleled glory.