Fractures of The Empire
Merely four years into the reign of Emperor Drokal, fractures began to form throughout the Zetani Empire. With the removal of the Guardians and Furies, the people found themselves unprotected and began to doubt the empire’s ability to keep them safe. Despite Drokal’s efforts to establish the Red Legion to fulfill the duties once held by the Guardians and Furies, the people quickly realized that the inexperienced Legion was a poor substitute for the former protectors.
The great leviathan that had plagued the port city of Tamana for years had now become an ever increasing menace, attacking regularly and now with near impunity. Despite repeated reassurances from the empire, the Red Legion continued to prove no match for the Great Leviathan and they were unable to repeal the beast from Tamana’s shores.
Feeling abandoned, the people of Tamana chose to deal with the beast themselves. Governor Braem of Tamana commissioned a strategic fighting force of their own in an effort to repel the beast from their beloved city. Surprisingly, this fighting force proved to be quite capable. The newly formed militia swiftly defeated the Leviathan on their first encounter, repelling the beast from their home. Word of their success spread quickly, like a brush fire, to the surrounding cities and villages, and soon others began asking for their help over that of the Red Legion.
When word of the new militia’s accomplishments and newfound fame reached the empire, Emperor Drokal became furious. Increasingly paranoid, the Emperor — by imperial decree — ordered all private armies to be disbanded immediately, attempting to put an end to what he saw as a threat to his supreme authority. Governor Braem defiantly refused to obey this decree, declaring that the will of his people transcends even the strength of the empire. Braem’s refusal to uphold this decree sealed his fate. Upon learning of Braem’s refusal to uphold his decree, Drokal ordered the Red Legion to depart for Tamana immediately. Braem was labeled proditor supremus ordo — traitor of the highest order, a crime punishable by death. The Red Legion was commanded by the emperor to dismantle the Tamana militia by any means necessary and to take Governor Braem into custody for his crimes against the empire.
The Red Legion — led by Commander Garrat — marched south toward the city of Tamana, determined to bring Braem and his militia to heel. The Governor knew the empire would not allow his insolence to go unpunished, thus he sent Tamanan scouts to venture far beyond the city, keeping a vigilant watch for any soldiers.
Scouts, spotting soldiers to the north, informed Braem of their advancement toward the city. Mustering his militia, Braem ordered the city to be fortified as much as possible during the little time they had left and pleaded with his people to take up arms in defense against the Red Legion’s might.
Upon arrival, Commander Garrat ordered the militia to lay down their arms, and for Governor Braem to surrender the city immediately. Steadfast and defiant, the Governor refused Garrat’s order, instead instructing his archers to nock their arrows and prepare to fire on his command. Garrat, who was far more inclined to use force rather than diplomacy, ordered the Legion to enter the city. Braem signaled his archers who let lose a hail of arrows, striking several of the Legion’s soldiers, killing them. Sword fighting broke out as the two forces clashed, with the militia proving their worth as Red Legion soldier after soldier fell to their blades.
Unable to break through the militia’s defenses, and with growing casualties on the Legion’s side, Garrat signaled his army to fall back. Braem, thinking the Red Legion to be in retreat, yelled out in triumph as the militia cheered. Unfortunately for Tamana, the Red Legion would not be retreating that day. Garrat’s soldiers took to the catapults that had been painstakingly positioned around the city and loaded them with their deadly ammunition. With a swift motion of his hand, the soldiers fire the catapults, raining massive stones over the city.
With the city in ruins and the militia all but broken, Garrat ordered his soldiers to put down any remaining fighters. As Garrat’s army poured into the city, several of the Tamanan townspeople took up arms out of fear. Garrat, unwilling to halt his advance, ordered the townspeople to be killed and they were brutally slaughtered. Governor Braem’s body was discovered soon after, having been buried in rubble during the catapult onslaught. With the city still burning, Garrat ordered the Legion to depart and return to Zetan, their mission accomplished. Upon their return, Garrat informed Emperor Drokal of the Red Legion’s success over the Tamanan militia. Drokal was displeased. He had hoped the matter would have been solved without bloodshed, but the Tamana siege would serve as a warning to any other town or village that hoped to defy his authority.
After the fighting was over, more than half of Tamana perished and the city was consumed in flames. When fleeing refugees reached the city of Karg, the High Council convened to discuss their plight. Having formed four years ago in response to the expulsion of their former governor by none other than Drokal himself, the High Council remained the ruling body of the powerful desert city. The council decided not only to allow the refugees sanctuary but also to declare independence from the empire. This move sent shockwaves throughout the empire. With independence came a new government for Karg, as the council appointed Commander Meloch to be head of state.
Far in the east, the Kilan Isles decided to take advantage of this situation. The cities on the remote island had long sought their independence from the empire, and with the current struggles to the west, it was decided now was the perfect time to make their move. Seishin, who had served as governor of Kilan for 12 years, gave herself the ancient title of Khan and declared the Kilan Isles its own sovereign kingdom.
For the first time in over a thousand years, the empire of Zetan had fractured and powerful factions had formed.