From the Annals of the Empire at War - 001
Year 346 of the Imperial Calendar:
Photion Ohm Zenter, the reigning Emperor of Zenter, dies from a brain tumor, a condition the medicine of the time did not understand. First in the line of succession is his son, Euphranor Ohm Zenter, aged thirty-six. However, on the same day as Photion’s death, Euphranor is assassinated by his younger brother, Eugeios, to claim the throne for himself. In the wake of his coup, he proceeds to hunt down and eliminate all members of the imperial family who are of age, to remove all potential obstacles to his future rule.
In the same year, Eugeios Ohm Zenter announces that he would conquer the territories belonging to the various non-human races, to achieve complete human supremacy on the continent of Yggdra. Following his call to arms are those who have the ambitions to expand their territories, while those who have had good relations with their non-human neighbors protest against this injustice. Marked as rebels, soon the entire continent is embroiled in a civil war.
Year 347 of the Imperial Calendar:
The crusade against all free races in Yggdra reaches its height as the Empire fights on several fronts. It finally reaches Ljosalfarheimr, the capital of the Ljosalfar territories. The city falls within a day, the peace-loving Light Elves unable to fight the physically superior humans. Many are slaughtered, others are captured and brought to the capital to become servants in the homes of court officials and the Imperial Palace. Less fortunate ones are captured by mercenary forces, who sell them to slavers for immediate profit. The royal line of the Ljosalfar is lost in the chaos, with the Queen Ihana Eventyr and her husband, younger brother of Photion, Isidore Ohm Zenter, are confirmed to be deceased. Their two children, Lahya and Nerous Eventyr, are missing and presumed dead.
Within the same year the attacks on the Jotnar and Dvergr lands net great territorial gains. Only the Formido in the North, a new race of half-Jotnar half-human created through over a millennium of mingling, go on the counteroffensive and instead claim new land for their territories.
Year 351 of the Imperial Calendar:
Initial successes of the crusade are overshadowed by the stalemate the war has entered from 348, when the first rebel armies from various fiefdoms of the empire finally mobilized and came to the aid of their non-human allies. For the preceding three years, the war situation has not changed and territorial gains have been miniscule.
The sudden death of Eugeios Ohm Zenter, from a sickness he has been hiding all his life, marks the beginning of the Eternal Empire’s downfall. Due to the fact that no heirs of age are available, Eugeios’ oldest sibling, his cousin Loukas Ohm Zenter, ascends the throne at the age of ten. Grand Marshal Kleitos of Iasus, an old veteran who has been serving the imperial family since Photion’s father was in power, becomes the regent until Loukas comes of age.
Loyal to Eugeios’ cause, Kleitos continues his legacy and endeavors to finish what the deceased emperor has started.
Year 352 of the Imperial Calendar:
Following Kleitos’ command the imperial armies set out against the biggest resistance, coming from the fiefdom of Rhamus in the South, whose governor, Galeno of Rhamnus, adamantly defends the Fire Jotnar. His initial push resulted in major territorial gains for the Eternal Empire.
Confident from the success, Kleitos proceeds to attack the retreating lines of the Fire Jotnar, but meets their princess’ forces in battle. Aslaug of the Lava Lash, a Jotunn wielding a weapon forged by the Dvergr of a bygone era, stops the advance with her elite troops. Kleitos personally rides out and manages to cut off Aslaug’s left arm, wounding her deeply. Her father Brandr, called The Living Conflagration, joins the battle and incinerates Kleitos and his personal guards in retaliation.
Despite Kleitos’ death, the offensive ends in a success and the Fire Jotnar are driven from their homeland. However, the loss of the empire’s regent ends the crusade, as no other general capable enough can replace Kleitos. This marks the turning point of the civil war.
Year 353 of the Imperial Calendar:
In a massive counteroffensive, Galeno of Rhamnus marches towards the capital of the Eternal Empire, amassing his troops on the way as nobody can stop his advance. The court officials are thrown into a panic and call for help from Duke Hesper of Naxos, who commanded a veteran army against the Formido and was the only fiefdom to wrestle territories from them since the beginning of the crusades.
Bringing along his personal army, Duke Hesper gathers the forces from the fiefdoms on Galeno’s path in a counterattack, while at the same time commanding the fiefdoms surrounding Rhamnus to attack their home base. Within only half a year, Galeno is driven back and the territories gained by Galeno fall back into the hands of the empire.
Duke Hesper signs a ceasefire with the free races of Yggdra, who are only too willing to end the bloodshed. This removes Galeno’s legitimization for any further campaigns. Using this time, Duke Hesper amasses an army in secret, to attack all those who sided with the free folk, designating them as traitors to the empire. He replaces the young emperor, Loukas, with an even younger sibling, Zacheus Ohm Zenter, to be used as a puppet. Declaring himself Chancellor of the Empire, Duke Hesper becomes the de facto leader of the Eternal Empire, and begins a life in lavishness, while the population of the fiefdoms around the capital suffer from food shortages in the wake of the civil war.
Year 354 of the Imperial Calendar:
News of Duke Hesper’s tyranny and transgressions reach the outside world and it is made known that Loukas Ohm Zenter has died under mysterious circumstances, implying that he was assassinated so that loyalists would have no figurehead to rally behind. This time, governors of several fiefdoms rise up in rebellion to punish the tyrant and usurper, Duke Hesper, gathering an Anti-Hesper Alliance to march on the capital once more. Many of them hold the ambitions to rise in ranks, expand their fiefdoms or grasp power in the imperial court, some even eye the throne of the empire itself.
Their gathering place, before setting out for the capital, would be the city of Edessa, capital of the fiefdom of Pandosia.