Chara, Founding of the Republic
The Republic of Chara is acknowledged, however grudgingly, as the birthplace of human civilization in the Western Bay. The East claims different roots, but the West maintains that the East can hardly be called civilized, and so both sides remain locked in more or less continual military and economic conflict. But to the Western Bay, Chara, even in its current diminished state, is of supreme importance.
The City of Chara numbers nearly four and a half million inhabitants, and is built as much of marble as of wood. Its grand temples are monuments to the Republic’s former wealth and glory, and it is still the greatest scientific center of the human world. But it began the same way as every other city: a few hundred people gathered in a convenient location, in this case along the river Kalond, which feeds a vast area of fertile farmland. Good harvests brought in spare food, and spare food fed population booms for decades, and in time a few hundred people became thousands.
As the largest human settlement on the Western Bay, Chara received the Veshadiin ambassadors to humanity. The Veshadiin taught them metalworking, advanced agricultural techniques, and the beginnings of architecture- and then disappeared. Left without their allies, the Charans were nonetheless overwhelmingly better prepared to be on their own. With steel weaponry and quickly-extrapolated siege warfare, they expanded and conquered many surrounding peoples in the first few years after the Fall, and their expansion only increased in pace as it became increasingly obvious that the Veshadiin were not coming back, and many of their deadly neighbors were leaving as well.
The first great challenge that Chara faced was the tribes of modern-day Sobrin. Fearsome warriors, they were deadly enough that Chara turned to easier targets for many years- too many, for by the time Chara shifted its attention northwards the secrets of steel had spread outside its borders. Faced with steel-armed barbarians under skilled leaders, it took them nearly thirty years to conquer the heavily forested territories north of them, and they were forced to adapt their military to a variety of challenges- an adaptability they maintain today. Provided with wood and stone to fuel expansion they turned north, and faced few real challenges all the way up to the Walls of the Veshaadin, where they stopped, and then turned west.
This was Chara’s golden age: three hundred years of glorious, unhampered expansion into the inner lands of the west. Vast fields and forests yielded basic necessities and great mines across the territory provided a surplus of everything from iron to silver and gold. Outposts were established as far away as the southern end of the peninsula, where the splinter republic of Mikash lies now, and as far north as the now-abandoned Great Vale. They expanded east into many islands, which are now hotly contested territories, and west into what seemed to be endless, uninhabited plains.
They might, in fact, be endless as far as anyone knows; but after centuries of westward exploration, the Charans discovered that they were not totally uninhabited. When the first encounters with the Kuvaldi occurred is not certain; many now suspect they were responsible for the disappearance of dozens of expeditions in the years prior to the first records of their existence. The first major occurrence, however, was as the Charan expeditionary force tried to expand the republic’s roads out further west: an entire army, nearly six thousand strong, wiped out by howling berserkers and strange demon-priests, with only a handful of survivors to tell the tale.
The opening disaster of the Kuvaldi wars set the tone for a century of warfare to come; Chara suffered dozens of defeats, and only by falling back to heavy fortifications could they hold – and even then, the Kuvaldi quickly adapted their demon-fueled magic to siege warfare. Eventually, the Charans began to draw in vast forces from throughout the Republic to go west and exterminate their foes. A full half million soldiers marched west, and a little more than a month later, they reached Chara’s western border and discovered that the Kuvaldi had hit upon the same idea.
In the wake of mutual near-annihilation, the Charans and the Kuvaldi finally communicated with each other. They were unable to come to any peaceful agreement, but did finally settle on borders. The Charans, their economy ruined by the deaths of so much of the work force and their military might in shambles, spent the next two centuries trying to recover – but it was not to be.