The Great Race Wars
The Great Race Wars in the History of Valusia
No records remain of Valusian history before the Scourge, and the records pertaining to the time between the Scourge and the present day have suffered the ravages of the Race Wars.
Some elven records date back to within two centuries of the end of the War of Liberation. They make mention of the scattered, disorganized human settlements that struggled to rebuild after the spiders were eradicated. According to these sources it was the Church of Solace that kept the isolated human communities from splintering off into different nations, save for the people of Kos and those of the Dragon Isles, whom were across barriers too great for even the resolute and courageous Sun Priests to overcome.
Many scholars wondered that humanity, who had formed the backbone of the fighting force which stood against the spiders, would splinter so quickly. That was until dwarven scholars released some of the ancient tablets as a peace offering to the humans at the end of the last Race War. The tablets went back further than the elven scrolls and were apparently less biased. The dwarves, always a people proud of their courage and might did not shy away from explaining how the humans had been nearly exterminated by the dwarves and elves after the Scourge was successfully put down. Indeed for centuries it was thought that the halflings, the only people to remain loyal to the humans, had been utterly wiped off the face of Tarth. Had not a band of pacifists fled to the far eastern shore, and settled the far off Dales, it is likely they would have been extinguished completely.
The dwarven tablets tell how it was discovered that war had been kindled between humanity and dwarven-kind by the elves that feared a united humanity would turn on them once they had solidified their power. Once the dwarves learned of the truth they focused their considerable might upon the elves and the two races began a war that would cripple both peoples for centuries to follow.
The dwarves were winning the war, though at great cost, but their victory was all-but secured until the orcs of the Dread Mountains fell upon the dwarven homelands, seeking to eradicate their ancient foe. The dwarves were forced to via for peace with the elves in order to turn their energies to the orcs, goblins, and trolls pounding on the gates of their fortress cities. The elves agreed on the concession that the dwarves would abandon all holdings in the forests of what would later become Valusia. The dwarves agreed, pulling their surface dwelling brethren back to the mountains to fend off the goblinoid hordes.
Eventually the goblin races were fought to a stale mate, though the war never truly ended, and it can be said it continues to this day.
Thus ended the first race war, leaving Valusia in bloody chaos and ruins. Out of this darkness rose bands of humans led more often than not by Sun Priests and the occasional Red Knight. Kingsport, which had never fallen to the demi-humans was the hub around which this new generation of humanity revolved. As elves and dwarves alike licked their wounds humanity began to rebuild, and breed. Humans have a shorter gestation period than do elves, and they are fertile year round whereas dwarven women cycle through four years of bareness for every year of fertility. It was this biological advantage that gave humans the resilience they would need to survive the next eight hundred years.
Humanity’s population exploded, and it was only a matter of two generations before he began to encroach upon the elven forests. The two peoples began a war of attrition until an envoy from Kingsport made contact with the dwarven people. They reminded the dwarves of how the elves had tricked them into war against the humans in order to steal the dwarven lands in the process, and the humans reminded the dwarves of how successful the plan had been. Had not all dwarven strongholds on the surface been surrendered? And wasn’t it at least possible that the elves had inspired the goblinoids to invade dwarven territory at the elves most desperate hour?
The dwarves did remember. And, their lifespans being longer than humans, many of them also recalled vital information about the elven forests. So the two races were joined against the one, and again the forests ran red with blood. This time the elves did not have a goblinoid invasion to save them. Had not the human armies fell to in-fighting, it is likely the elves would have been driven from Valusia. A rift had formed between the Sun Priests and the Red Knights over the necessity of the war. It was the Knights who wanted to cease fighting once enough land had been acquired for the needs of the people, while the Sun Priests, from the safety of their temples along the southern shore wanted to press the advance and the war further. What had been only a loosely united force of towns quickly split along the divide, and the humans abandoned the war effort. The dwarves, not as strong in numbers as the humans, were not foolhardy enough to try and go toe to toe with the now battle-hardened elven forces, so they too retreated back to uncontested lands. It seemed fate had saved the elves once again.
It wasn’t race that caused the next great war to ravage Valusia, it was religion. The strife between the Red Knights and the Sun Priests did not end with the war against the elves, it grew. The Sun Priests held high offices in kingdoms and forts across the land, while the Red Knights were little more than shock troops in the human armies. Thus the people were divided by class, with those loyal to the aristocracy battling against those loyal to the Red Knights. However, this was a short war, as most of the fighters from the previous war sided with the Red Knights whom they had shared the battle field with over the fat and fanatical Sun Priests. The war ended with a charter being signed by the Knights and the Priests, giving each equal responsibility and equal status in the Church.
The next couple hundred years saw small kingdoms fighting over tracts of land and resources until the first King of Valusia (then King of Kingsport) Tilun Farewald conquered the smaller kingdoms uniting them under his banner. That was when men began to call the country Valusia for the first time. Once his power was secure, King Farewald turned his eyes again to the elven forests.
But the elves and dwarves had been watching the developments of the humans carefully and they had signed a mutual support accord, so when Farewald invaded the forests he was met with arrow and axe. Elves and dwarves had not fought side by side for centuries, but that did not keep them from being a terrible force to face. The resistance was far more than the humans were prepared to face, but instead of surrended, King Farewald made a decision that would make this the bloodiest of all race wars. He allied with the goblinoids.
Though he kept the truth from his people, and though he had no plan of honoring his agreement, he reached out to the goblinoids and promised that he would help wipe out the dwarven presence in the Dread Mountains if the goblinoids would help break the back of the united elves and dwarves. The goblinoids were only too happy to oblige. They spilled down from the Dread Mountains and fought dwarves and elves in forests they had not trod in nearly a millennia. But the goblinoids lacked skill and discipline, though they nearly made up for it in numbers. It was recorded that for every dwarf and elf who fell nearly half a dozen goblinoids died alongside them. But despite their greater skill, the weight of the goblinoid hordes finally broke the elven-dwarven union.
It was then that Farewald decided to betray his half-allies. But to his dismay the orc-led goblinoids had already prepared to turn coat on the humans. So what should have been a swift and decisive victory for Farewald became a horrifying, drawn out massacre that left no corner of the continent free from blood. Finally, when nearly three out of five humans in Valusia had fallen in combat or at the lecherous hands of the goblinoids, and unknown numbers of the wretched beasts had died themselves, did the two forces disengage. The dwarves beat the remaining goblinoids back into the mountains, while the Elves secured their lands against the devastated human armies. In the end the human lands had expanded, and due to mutual weakness no one contested their claims.
For nearly a hundred years the races kept to themselves. It would be the orcs this time who would instigate war. Remembering how they had been used and betrayed by the humans, and how badly the dwarves and elves had beaten them over the centuries, the orcs drew their goblinoid brethren back into the deepest crags of the Dread Mountains, training and breeding, awaiting the day of their final revenge. Once they were powerful enough, they began to use subterfuge in order to get the other three races at one another’s throats again. And they succeeded in weakening all three armies effectively before King Kaden realized what was going on.
Though war was never actually declared, the three armies had been skirmishing against each other for nearly two decades when an orc party was finally captured in the field posing as humans. King Kaden immediately called for an end to the fighting, but he was not quick enough. The orcs and their kind fell upon the weakened humans and demi-humans slaughtering villages and fortresses, wooded enclaves and cities. Kaden was able to convince his fellow victims of what had been going on, and with the might of all three armies the orcs were being held back. But it was the assistance of no small number of North Men cutting off enemy supply lines, that marked the end for the orcs and goblinoids. Being forced to fend for food in foreign territory, being poorly suited for the growing heat of the summer, the goblinoids were soundly defeated. Their numbers were greatly diminished, leaving only roaming tribes of dozen where once an entire kingdom had waited quietly for revenge.
This was the most recent great race war, and if King Kaden had his way, it would be the last. He set about making peace treaties with the dwarves and the elves, even with some of the North Men. His plan was to establish a mutually interdependent relationship between the races such that no one race would ever risk falling out of favor with any other. He was well along in this plan when disaster struck…