To readers of the Tempest Team: I am still working on issue Three, and I'm afraid I still have a long way to go before I'm done. Especially since, uh, I'm leaving today to go to France for nine days and am coming back just in time for my end of school exams... yeah... not had that much time for writing lately...
Anyway, here is a history of Opidan which I had kicking around on my computer from several months ago. It's just a rough copy, and was written more for my benefit, so I knew more about the development of the setting of the TT, than for actual published reading (Hence it's not quite as polished as my story is) but I hope you enjoy it anyway. Enjoy!
Opidan – A Brief History
Back through the mists of time, near the beginning of the world, lived a race of people. They were the native inhabitants of what would be later named Opidan Minor. Their religion centred on a great stone, a crystal, which they believed was left there by the Creator as a gift of protection for them. The runes and carvings they left behind show individuals performing amazing feats; lifting great stones with their thoughts, breathing fire, one even appears to be holding the sun and moon in his hands (historians have surmised this meant he had power over time). The surprising thing about these individuals is that in every picture, they are using their powers to aid and protect the rest of their people.
This group of "guardians" were a central part of the belief system of this ancient race. The crystal was given by the Creator for protection. It chose youngsters from amongst the race, imbuing them with these great powers which they used for the good of all. They were servants and protectors of the people, the children of the crystal. For this reason the otherwise nameless race has been dubbed The Guardian Nation.
The guardians of the people grew in size – they aged, were married, reproduced, and more were chosen by the crystal. Eventually several different races grew from this single one, and the runes show them leaving, believing the Creator was calling them to live separated from the others.
(No record of these other races has ever been found in any other archaeological sites. The races themselves could certainly not have existed – they were shown as physically changing, growing claws, fins, feathers etc. Historians believe it could be some ancient explanation this race had for how species of animals were created, and this seems the most likely case.)
Though this race were very advanced, having produced beautiful temples and detailed philosophies, they abruptly seemed to spiral downwards after a cataclysmic event referred to in the carvings as the Breaking Of Worlds. A man, shown as a huge shadow with one enormous eye in the centre of his face, appears through a cloud. He takes the crystal and slays all of the guardians before leaving again.
(There is an entire wall in one ruin which records this story. It is interesting to note that whereas before the carvings were very beautiful and pleasing to look at, this one is not. It shows the battle between the guardians and the Shadow Man. There were earthquakes, tidal waves and tremendous storms which knocked entire cities to the ground. It shows the slaughter of the people: Monstrous beasts were brought forth into an army by the Shadow Man, and attacked the Guardians. The Guardians fell, killed in vile ways such as being cut open and eaten alive, then the demons began to feast upon the ordinary people and rivers of blood flowed around the feet of the Shadow Man.)
After this, no more temples were erected and the people ceased to create carvings of the Guardians and their heroic deeds. They burned many of their scrolls and writings in their grief, and historians believe this is when the counting of eras began. The Breaking Of Worlds. Year 0. The start of what would be known as The Broken Era – the beginning of life separated from the crystal and their Creator. This information has been gleaned from the ruins in Opidan, but also from the writings of Irontooth, Opidans first king.
It was roughly one hundred and fifty years after the Breaking Of Worlds when Irontooth and his people sailed from across the Great Sea and landed on an island which would be later known as Opidan Major. It was recorded that Irontooth set foot on the beach after months of travel, took a deep breath, bared his teeth in a grim smile, and declared that the first defensible piece of land would be where he'd start his kingdom. He built a fort on that island and, naming it Granite Point, declared himself king.
(Granite Point has since then always been the site on which the ruler or leader of Opidan has lived. This has meant that the entire island is regarded as "upper-class" and so throughout history the rich and powerful have fought to reside on Opidan Major, and indeed, that is why the island was given that name, despite its diminutive size compared to Opidan Minor.)
When King Irontooth and his men began to expand their kingdom, they soon met with the descendants of the great Guardian Nation, who were still living in the alabaster temples, but had given up on building new cities or finding new champions. They put up no fight when Irontooth declared himself their ruler, but to make certain they wouldn't revolt against him, Irontooth took a young maiden of their people and married her, advising his own race to do likewise. Eventually the Guardian Nation was bred out completely, its blood diluted amongst the clan of Irontooth.
(Although no more tales of the Guardians were carved, perhaps a few of the individuals still remained, vanishing into Irontooth's people. Many strange legends tell of Irontooth clansmen and women who seemed to harbour strange talents, such as Firya, the young warrior who killed men by kissing them. She was hailed as a great fighter but threw herself off a cliff after she likewise killed her young husband on their wedding night.)
Irontooth and his offspring ruled for many years, and "Opydach" (Named after Irontooth's first son) prospered under them. Invaders from lands such as Valnar or Rentruark who wished to take the throne from Irontooth were shown the error of their ways (Usually using a broadsword or a big blunt club), although peaceful trade from these lands were graciously allowed. However, as years passed, Irontooth's barbarian people grew soft, preferring farming to battle and fishing to fighting. Irontooth himself aged, grizzled, old and cantankerous till the day he died. His children likewise grew steadily gentler, though they ruled with wisdom and pride over the growing nation from the castle on Granite Point. Eventually, in the year 476, the Irontooth Era finished with the death of his last heir – Queen Ghea, who was tragically barren and died with no children to follow after her.
The next four hundred years were spent with Granite Point empty and uninhabited. At first Opydach immersed itself in a civil war. With no clear heir to the throne, several lords and barons began to contest each other. The country split into factions, the once united clan of Irontooth now disjointed and separated. Then Rentruan raiders began to nibble away at Opydach's northern flank, slowly gaining ground until they owned a large proportion of northern Opydach coastline. It was only when the raiders began to slaughter and pillage their way further inland that Irontooth's descendants decided something must be done, and briefly banded together to destroy the intruders. Once the threat had been annihilated, the barons all agreed to a truce: each baron would continue to rule over the land he already owned. These baronies would be separate, and would co-operate and trade, but no baron would have claim to any throne or power beyond his boundaries. So the years passed, and thus was the Baron's Era.
In 835, there was a vicious attack on Opydach from Valnar invaders, intent on conquering the country. The baronies again banded together, but the battle was won by a brilliant young general named Isfard. It became clear that if Opydach was to continue to prosper, it would need a ruler once more. A scholar, on studying ancient ancestral trees, discovered that Isfard was the descendant of a bastard son of Queen Ghea's uncle, and so Isfard became King Isfard, ruler of Opydach, which he re-named Opidan. (It was a closer spelling to the word piddahnt, which meant, in the ancient language, unity.) Kind Isfard rebuilt Granite Point and began his reign. Not wishing to cause discord with the barons, he ruled by a feudal system, which would allow the barons to retain power over their own territories and homes. King Isfard also created the Isfard Knights – a battalion of warriors made up from the noble sons who were born second and would have no inheritance. They served the king, protecting the people from invaders and upholding the king's justice.
The First Great War occurred in 854. A young group of nobles approached the king, asking for permission to seek out new lands they could claim for their own. Isfard gave them his blessing, reminding them that that was how Irontooth himself had begun his rule of the country. Unfortunately, when the nobles travelled to Valnar and attempted to forge out baronies for themselves the enraged Valnars slaughtered them and their queen, Queen Tarshee, declared war with Opidan. The war ended at a stalemate in 861 when both leaders came to a compromise and exchanged treasures of apology. Tarshee for slaying the young nobles, Isfard for sending them to Valnar in the first place. The reign of Isfard and his descendants lasted far longer than Irontooth's had. Isfard's line reigned from 835 to 1796. It is known as the Isfard Era.
The Isfard Era ended in 1796 when King Nerlan took power. Nerlan was only loosely related to the Isfardson line, and was a very weak-willed and petulant young man. He was manipulated by the royal advisors and others with lots of power eg. The head of the Church of Genthar. With the influx of immigrants from countries such as Kheel several generations ago taking effect, there arose a new race. An Opidan/Kheel mix known as Kheldan, who had darker skin and different facial structures from the native Opids. Most of the Opids did not mind or even take notice of this external difference, but, fearful of the growing number of Kheldans, the councillors manipulated Nerlan into decreeing that Kheldans were less than human, and didn't have the same rights as Opids. This led to another civil war in Opidan, as many Opids either were or had loved ones who were Kheldan. It was the Second Great War Of Opidan, and Nerlan had the royal armies attacking the common people in the street, and anyone who spoke out against him. This caused more of the common people to join the battle, and Opidan had its first revolution. Locked away on Granite Point, surrounded by incense, drugs and prostitutes, Nerlan had been a puppet in the hands of his advisors, raising taxes and exploiting his people. So the Puppet Era (The shortest Era so far) ended after the revolution waded through rivers of blood to reach Granite Point, where Nerlan and his councillors were put to death and the common people took power. 1769 – 1775.
(Since then Opidan has been a democracy with a political party being elected, by the people and using a PR (Proportional Representation) system, to run the country for a period of four years at a time. The Opidan president is elected separately. Each party leader runs for the post, and the people vote for the individual. To keep a sense of continuity the government system itself does not change, and the government agents and civil servants are kept on even when there is a change of party within the country. Surprisingly, the president's offices are located to the present day in Granite Point, the site of Irontooth's ancient castle.)
The People's Era then began, and the excitement of the new democratic system led to a deeper sense of pride and motivation within the country itself. There were great innovations within the areas of art, literature and science, and many breakthroughs were made such as the invention of the steam-engine. It was in this period that Opidan discovered its rich supplies of fossil fuels, and many mines were dug during this era. The Third and Fourth Great Wars also occurred in this time-frame.
The Third Great War began in 2186 and finished in 2203. It was a war between Valnar and Opidan, and was over Eltop Island, and which country it belonged to. After spilling lots of blood for this small island, Opidan claimed ownership. Then, in 2265 the Fourth Great War began, when Kheel and Valnar joined forces to attack Opidan and reclaim Eltop. Rentruark then backed Opidan up, and the resulting war lasted until 2278 and killed hundreds upon thousands of people. Many of these were civilians, as by this time technology had advanced far enough to produce aeroplanes and bombs. All of Opidan's major cities were levelled to the ground, including the ancient fortress of Granite Point.
The war ended in 2278 when Eltop was officially declared a no-mans land, and every country retreated to try and rebuild their communities out of the flattened desolation the fighting had left behind. This was the end of the People's Era. Then Estra, a small, neutral country suggested that an agreement be made with Opidan, Estra, Kheel, Valnar and Rentruark. They wanted an agreement and an alliance, whereby all the countries would trade together and defend one another, setting aside their differences for the greater good. Thus, the Opidan Allaince was formed, Opidan being the central country out of them all. The Alliance Era began.
The Silver Era replaced the Alliance Era in 2374, due to all the technological breakthroughs that were beginning to occur, and this era continues into the present day. The OA still exists, and the countries continue to stand united, even more so since the inter-country monorail was built, joining them all together.