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Federated Kingdoms of Kereske
Fedraǔǐn Zamocin K’éresk’ame (Kereski)
Gůśtaźni Zampisni Qeresqimni (Thiusu)
Băr’nò ʔàslex qò Kerseyek (Baxthoi)
Kerekśaä nho Jhaytüutuho ë Ẋöddiþ (Bikkan)
Vidraǐn Đamosin K’eresk’am (Tsybyn)
Fiðiru Sǎmoṡ Gerezgmam (Chkolan)
Mùmtàn Þalbivi uda Kerèsuyo (Udmaer)
Kereske
Flag
Kereskemap
Location of Kereske
Capital Kashumashte
Largest Largest City Capital
Ethnic groups 51% Kereski
12% Thiusu
7% Baxthoi
7% Bikkan
5% Tsybyn
5% Chkolan
5% Udmaer
8% Other
Demonym Kereski
Government Federated Absolute Monarchy
Yarus IX
Important Dates
• Foundation of the Kingdom of Keres
c. 1400 BU
• War of Kereski Unification
720-717 BU
Area
• Total
1,868,454 km2 (721,414 sq mi) (5th)
Population
• Estimate
43,900,000 (5th)
• Density
23/km2 (59.6/sq mi) (80th)
Currency Kereski Payl

Kereske—officially the Federated Kingdoms of Kereske (Kereski: Fidraǔǐn Zamocin K’éresk’ame IPA: [fi'drajujin 'zamətsin 'kˀɛrɛskˀamɛ])—is a large country straddling the Shapolotu Sea, more commonly referred to as The Gash (Kereski: Gúdobu-on), in southern Rathnaes and northern Zalaym. Kereske borders Mesemyu and Athimriss to the north, Bikka-Laimiek to the south, and Haxroxex to the southeast. It also shares maritime borders with Demitu and Bikka to the west and Galice to the east. Kereske covers over 720,000 square miles, making it the fifth-largest country by area in the world. Its population of nearly 44 million also makes it the fifth-most populous. The capital city of Kashumashte, with a population of nearly 800,000, is the most populous on Rathnaes, and the third-most populous in the world, behind only Hlyskots and Orexmenhadrizzhem.

Political Structure

Kereske regions

Kereski Autonomous Kingdoms c. 329 AU

Kereske is a federated union of what began as twelve kingdoms but is now ten kingdoms and two republics. In each kingdom, there remains a king with absolute authority, and they often rule their respective kingdoms effectively as independent nations. The king of the Kingdom of Keres has the title of First King, and his say can ultimately trump the decrees of any of the other kings. This power is rarely invoked, and it usually only occurs during times of war or crisis.

Two of the constituent states have an even higher degree of autonomy than the rest: Thiusu and Southeast Bikka. Southeast Bikka was granted an especially high degree of autonomy in an effort to avoid war with Bikka, should the Bikkans feel their brethren were being treated poorly.

The Thiusu Kingdom, ever since its integration, has made itself a thorn in Kashumashte's side. Thiusu's highly strategic location and relatively large population gives it a great deal of clout within Kereske. About once a century or so, the Thiusu Kingdom will rise in rebellion against the central government, and while the government in Kashumashte does not like this, war does not always break out. Things often end at blockading Thiusu Bay and fortifying its borders before something is negotiated.

History

Kingdom of Keres

The Kingdom of Keres was founded c.1400 BU by Dzaelyus when he united a stretch of land along the banks of the Yarmeles River and the coast of The Gash.  He declared the lands the Kingdom of Keres (Archaic Kereski: Dzǎmǎc’i ǵe K’ěriṡaǎm; “Keres” is ultimately of unclear origins.  May be drawn from Bikkan Koöris, “estuary”, in reference to the capital of Kashumashte).  He capped off his declaration of the kingdom with the founding of a new capital, Mashte (lit. “island fort”) on one of the offshore islands at the mouth of the Yarmeles.  Later kings would expand to other islands, and eventually the city was renamed Kashumashte (Four-island-fort).

Border clashes were frequent, particularly with the neighboring Kingdom of Yilmashte to the west and various Baxthoi groups to the north.  The Keresians eventually expanded to the northern Pashtuyin Mountains and established an effective border between them and the Baxthoi.  Other kingdoms in the region began pushing back more aggressively against the Baxthoi, and soon massive swathes of the Snaxthoim Desert were under the (nominal) control of the various Kereski kingdoms.

Beginning under the reign of Chogyus II in 808 BU, Keres began pushing eastward, slowly absorbing the territory of the Kingdom of Yuzhnimuy.  Yuzhnimuy was a close ally of Yilmashte, and this led to flaring tensions between Keres and Yilmashte.  Yilmashte began seizing islands in The Gash in an effort to make commerce more difficult for the Keresians.

After decades of gradually increasing tensions, war broke out in 720 BU.  King Yarus V of Yilmashte, still very young and freshly-crowned, declared war on Keres for threatening Yilmashtean interests.  King Yarus VI of Keres, a man in his late 60s who had been reigning since he was 11, quickly began sending out messages to form quick alliances.  Initiallly, the only major kingdom to bring back a positive answer was the far eastern Kingdom of Tsyb.

In 719, with the war at a rough stalemate, the Principality of Zhagyame threw in with Kashumashte, after Yilmashte refused to repay debts owed.  Simultaneously, Aktimuy also allied with Keres, leaving Yilmashte completely surrounded.  Yilmashte was forcibly annexed to Keres, and Yarus declared himself Yarus I of Kereske.  The King of Tsyb in the east begrudgingly agreed to become a part of Kereske, on the condition of autonomy and that Yarus’ heir would marry one of his daughters.

Yarus offered autonomy to all kings that pledged themselves to Kereske; he would even allow them to retain the title of king. The remaining independent kings of Yayats and Dzvigir quickly offered up their lands, for fear of an all-out war with the newly-formed Kereske. The small, northwesterly Kingdom of Wagyashte acceded after long negotiations.

In late 717, Yarus officially declared an end to his war, with most regions having yielded.

First Tuynol Dynasty

Yarus’ reign as First King of Kereske was brief, as he died in 715.  He was succeeded by a young grandson, Ervus, who had married one of the Tsybyn king’s daughters.

The kingdom Ervus inherited, though young, was surprisingly stable, but it was buffered by states to the east (Udmaer Kingdom of Avda Anan; Thiusu Kingdom) and southwest (Free Bikkan Kingdom) that were not friendly.

In 712, Ervus launched an aggressive campaign to bring all those nations into the fold to better secure Keres.  Avda Anan was the first state that Ervus set his sights on.  In exchange for assistance, Ervus offered the northern reaches of the kingdom to Athimriss, who eagerly accepted.  (The Usshim Ivar Strait was already under Athmir control, but most of the surrounding land was not.)

Avda Anan finally fell in 708, and the southern portion was integrated into Kereske as the Udmaer Kingdom (Íúzmarvoxuy Zamoc).  In 707, Ervus, looking to counter Bikkan dominance in the Sea of Bikka, ordered the island of Demitu annexed.  Demitu was divided between a number of petty rulers, so the conquest was very quick.

Ervus was conflicted as to whether he should attack the Free Bikkan Kingdom, to Kereske's southwest. It spanned the western end of The Gash, and as such, was very valuable from a commercial perspective. At the same time, it was still officially claimed by the Kingdom of Bikka, though the Bikkan King in Sakkiokaalaa exerted no actual control over it.

The King of Dzvigir had only begrudgingly joined the union of Kereske, and he did not like First King Ervus. When the Demitians threw their first revolt in 700, King Ibatus II of Dzvigir allied himself with the Free Bikkan Kingdom and declared independence from Kereske, forming the new state of the Diarchy of Axhaabikka-Dzvigir. The ensuing war was long and bloody, dragging on for nearly a decade. The Free Bikkan Kingdom fell long before Dzvigir, as its geography consisted of mostly indefensible plains. It was annexed as the Kingdom of New Bikka (Kereski: Zamoc Vovume Bik'ame; Bikkan: Jhaytüutuho nhel Aẋaäbikkä). The war in Dzvigir was much longer, dragging on until early 690. Dzvigir's dense forests and mountainous terrain made assaults on major settlements difficult. Ervus himself led three abortive assaults against the city of Dzvigir itself, suffering an arrow wound to the shoulder that severely limited use of his right arm for the rest of his life.

Dzvigir finally finally fell nearly a year after most of the rest of the kingdom had surrendered. King Ibatus had died of natural causes during the war, but his successor, his niece Molgyasu, was executed for treason.

After absorbing the Free Bikkan Kingdom and quelling the revolt in Dzvigir, only the Thiusu Kingdom remained in opposition to Kashumashte.  First King Ervus debated invading Thiusu, but he eventually decided against it, reasoning that the war would likely be too long and too taxing on the nation.  He did, however, begin sending naval escorts with many major ships passing through the Thiusu Strait.

The following decades were spent improving Kereski infrastructure, most notably building new roads and improving the quality of existing ones to better facilitate commerce and movement throughout the constituent kingdoms.  

In 631 BU, Queen Gyuzhate I of Thiusu died in labor, and few in Thiusu were willing to put up with nearly two decades of regency while her newborn son grew up.  Factions soon sprouted up, and the kingdom rapidly fell into disarray.

The Kereski First King—Yarus II of Kereske—was a cautious ruler who did not particularly want to become involved in Thiusu’s civil war.  Unlike his predecessors he was fine with Thiusu existing an independent sovereign nation, and he had sought strong relations with them.  He had even tried to broker a marriage between his brother Syebnyus and Queen Gyuzhate.  However, one of the claimants—a cousin of the late Queen named Enkathiche Yushestuk—approached Yarus in person asking for assistance in securing the Thiusu crown for himself.

Yarus expressed trepidation, not wanting to throw his weight behind any of the factions.  This caused a greatdeal of displeasure in Kashumashte, especially as the war began to breed instability in Dzvigir and Tsyb.  After months of indecision and being courted by the other major Thiusu contenders, Yarus II was removed from power in a bloodless palace coup, and his sister Ifiru was installed. 

Ifiru allied herself with an uncle of the late Thiusu Queen—Zuteshyu—who had agreed to become a constituent kingdom within Kereske if his claim were successful, and an invasion of Thiusu was begun.  With the sudden injection of Kereski troops into the conflict, momentum quickly shifted.  By 627, all but a few towns on the Qayoli border were under Zuteshyu’s rule.

Ifiru was succeeded by her daughter Molgyasu, who was not such an able leader.  Rebellion broke out on Demitu in 601, and the island was quickly lost.

In 550, relations with Athimriss began a rapid downturn.  Border disputes and competing complaints over tariffs fueled much of this.  Diplomats were withdrawn, and the border became more and more fortified, while the porous Baxthoi section of the border was used for smuggling.

Finally in 533, war broke out between the two nations.  Kereske attempted to blockade the Usshim Ivar Strait, but the blockade was smashed shortly.  What followed was a series of attempts by the Athmir to get past the Thiusu Strait.  When they finally did get through, the Thiusu countryside was ravaged.  An emergency emissary to Athimriss managed to negotiate a peace before forces could get too far up The Gash.

Terms of the treaty were very harsh to the Kereski, and a strong sense of resentment arose in Thiusu, as their navy and their country had borne the brunt of Athimriss’ war.

The Thiusu monarchy eventually ceased payment of taxes to the government in Kashumashte, enflaming relations.  Fighting began to break out, but the Kereski forces were disunified.  The terms of the treaty with Athimriss had crippled the Kereski economy, and dissatisfaction with the monarchy ran high.  In 521, Yilmashte also ceased cooperating with the crown, stretching Kerski forces thin.  Fighting soon broke out in Kyudayuyu, only about 100 miles outside Kashumashte.  The situation rapidly degraded, and in 520, forces from Yilmashte swooped in.

Yirbezhad Dynasty

Ryatwus Yirbezhad, a major regional ruler from Yilmashte Rallied troops loyal to him and invaded Keres, attacking Kashumashte and Kyudayuyu.  The sitting First King, Dafirkayus II, was slain in battle, and Ryatwus claimed the First Kingship for himself, much to the consternation of the Yilmashtean king, who had formerly outranked him.  

Most of the rest of the realm didn’t pay much mind to the changing of dynasties, as long as it did not affect them too greatly.  Gyersatus V of Yilmashte begrudgingly accepted his new overlord, and Ryatwus, sensing the tension, took an extremely hands-off style of ruling in regard to Yilmashte.

The Thiusu King was still behaving insubordinately, and Ryatwus used his authority to override the Dzvigiri king’s reluctance and command a naval invasion of Thiusu.  The city of Nausot Thyushchu Ergna was blockaded, and a peace was eventually struck, which involved greater military assistance from the other kingdoms, as Thiusu would bear the brunt of any Athmir or Qayoli invasion.

When Ryatwus died in 489, he left a strong realm that had managed to solidify its power base further than any Tuynol First King was able to.

His successor, Queen Yenyeku inherited an extremely stable realm.  She was something of an inattentive ruler, delegating a great deal of responsibility to her cabinet.  While this made her popular with the lesser kings of Kereske, corruption was rampant under her rule.  Near the end of her reign, debt began to skyrocket, and the stability of the national economy began faltering.  She died in 444, and her son, Yushesnyus, who had largely been kept out of the political realm, was wildly unqualified for his post as king.

Yushenyus had spent most of his time as crown prince philandering with many high-ranking noblewomen.  He continued his mother’s neglectful tendencies.  He spent a decade on the throne, mostly ignoring pressing issues, including restiveness in the Udmaer regions.

When he died in 434, his son Dafirkayus was only 15, but he still recognized that five decades of neglect had left Kereske in very poor shape.  He tried to exert royal power over Kereske, but the regional kings now blamed the lassez-faire attitude of Yenyeku and Yushenyus for the poor international standing of the Kingdom.

A great-grandson of Dafirkayus II was held up as the rightful Tuynol heir, and many began demanding a restoration under the Tuynol kingsWar broke out in 429, and it was marked mostly by small-scale skirmishes and localized attacks on specific cities and castles.  Dafirkayus III Yirbezhad abdicated in the face of unwinnable odds, allowing for the ascension of Ervus III Tuynol.

Second Tuynol Dynasty

First King Ervus III had been crowned for just over a year before his first major challenge presented itself. In 422, the Thiusu King officially declared independence from Kereske, citing "neglectful and exploitative tendencies" toward his kingdom. The rebellion lasted just under two years and ended in the sack of the Thiusu capital.

In 397, frequent raids by Baxthoi bands on small villages in the Pashtuyin Mountains resulted in First King Yarus IV ordering Kereski counter-measures. Baxthoi settlements were raided, and for the first time in their history, the nomadic Baxthoi fielded a unified army against Kereski political ambitions. The result of the six-year war was a Pyrrhic Baxthoi victory. Effective Baxthoi independence deep in the Snaxthoim desert was maintained, but their numbers were severely depleted, so it was they who sued for peace.

Yarus IV was assassinated in 389 BU by a lone Baxthoi who had sneaked into the castle at Kashumashte. The situation played out nearly identically in 380, with Yarus' son, Olugnus. Olugnus' aunt, Pochefnu succeeded him, and she immediately declared war on the multitude of Baxthoi petty states in the desert. This three-year war resulted in the complete disintegration of the Baxthoi hegemony in the Snaxthoim. All Baxthoi warlords (Baxthoi: qòbres) were given the option of death or subservience, and the depths of the Snaxthoim Desert were divided between existing Kereski kingdoms, especially Tsyb and Zhagyame.

A war broke out on the border with Qayol in 345. Under the terms of previous agreements, the other constituent kingdoms should have contributed great amounts of material support to the embattled Thiusu army, but almost no help arrived until 341, when significant territory in Emaluk had already been lost. This failure to protect Thiusu did nothing to lighten the long-standing mistrust if the government in Kashumashte, and in 339, King Tathis closed his kingdom's land and sea borders to other constituent kingdoms. The Thiusu could not field an army large or strong enough to put up a reasonable fight, but the geography of Thiusu would force any Kereski forces through a bottleneck. Tathis' Rebellion lasted a little over three years and ended with his death from old age. His daughter and successor had married a son of the Dzvigiri king in 350, so her political views were much more pro-Kereski than her father's. Because she peacefully ended the rebellion, First King Ervus V was very lenient on repercussions for the Thiusu Kingdom.

As the fourth century BU waned, the Tuynol Dynasty began suffering from some instability. Ervus V died in 312 of natural causes. His successor was his daughter, Shayakyiryu, often called Shayu. Queen Shayu was not well-liked at court. Her whole life, she had been known to suffer from a perpetual foul mood and was fond of ordering extreme punishments for even minor infractions. Her reign was brief and marked by an expansionist desire not seen since Ervus I. She had ambitions to invade and annex Qayol, to give Kereske access to its mineral-rich mountains and fish-rich coastline. Before any of her plans could be carried out, factions within the government removed her from power and detained her in her royal apartment. She never accepted this and insisted she was still the legal queen until the day she died in 298.

Following Queen Shayu as the third monarch of the year 312 was a distant cousin, Dafirkayus IV. Dafirkayus was viewed as a more level-headed option who would be much less likely to start expensive wars. However, the Baxthoi viewed him as weak and began trying to exert authority over the Snaxthoim starting in 306. Dafirkayus was slow to recognize the threat, but he finally began to mobilize some troops in 302.

Dafirkayus was assassinated in 301. The assassin is thought to have been Baxthoi, though no one got a good look at him, and his face was smashed beyond recognition when he was fleeing. His successor, Nyokemus, immediately declared war on the Baxthoi and sent a huge army to quell the uprising. After five years of war, the Baxthoi leaders finally surrendered.

Relations between Kereske and Qayol began to rapidly degrade in the mid-280s. In 280, King Tlutxok of Qayol attacked the major Thiusu city of Yutakru. This time, the First King (now Queen Yagamu-Yusensyu) honored past treaties between Kashumashte and Thiusu and sent massive military support to repel the invasion. The Qayoli forces, relatively undisciplined recruits from the countryside, quickly broke before the much better-trained Kereski forces. The Kereski army pushed deep into Qayoli territory as the Qayoli retreated. By 278, the Qayoli army had fallen back to the capital city of Oeheril. Facing defeat and potential annexation of huge swathes of land to Kereske, King Tlutxok sent a message to King Vashelyok of Xemex-Uvitxi, offering to pledge fealty to him if he could repel the invading forces. Xemexi forces arrived to aid the Qayli within a month, and the Kereski forces were taken largely unawares. Much of the rapid territorial gain was lost, and the last two year of the war were spent fighting over tiny parcels of land along the border and in Emaluk. The war finally ended in 275 with an uneasy treaty that officially delineated the Xemexi (now-Haxro)-Kereski border.

The Qayoli War highlighted how poorly-defined the Kereski border was in many places, so beginning in 270, sporadic negotiations with neighboring countries were undertaken to officially delineate which country controlled what land.

First Queen Yagamu-Yusenyu died in 259 and was succeeded by her infant grandson, Yarus V. Yarus' regency saw a revolving door of powerful regional leaders try to gain influence. Finally, in 249, Yarus was officially deposed by a major Keresian leader, Ervus Vyatseber.

Vyatseber Dynasty

Ervus VII died in 242, and in 241 the Thiusu once again cut off access to their internal waters, over what the Thiusu monarch felt were unfair taxation policies. Ervus VIII, Ervus VII's successor, was determined to make sure this Thiusu rebellion was a brief one. A rapid, aggressive military response saw the rebellion ended in under six months, in early 240.

Beginning in the mid-230s, Udmaer nationalism began to become a force in Athimriss, and soon that sentiment spread across the border into Kereski Udmaer lands. In 233, the largest Udmaer city of Huth Myatri declared independence as the capital of the Udmaer Kingdom. Ervus commanded that the city be retaken as quickly as possible. By the end of the year, the city was retaken and the Udmaer leadership who had orchestrated this stunt were executed.

In 195, Athimriss launched an invasion of Galice, an archipelago off Kereske's east coast. Galice had long been an important trading partner, so the government in Kashumashte was quick to provide military aid. The Athmir navy was the strongest on the planet at that time, though, and Kereski assistance only prolonged the inevitable until 191. The Galician War led to a rapid cooling of Athmir-Kereski relations.

In 190, the Udmaer Kingdom once again became restive. The rumblings were not of independence, but of dissatisfaction with the monarchy, who were viewed as Kashumashte's lapdogs. A civil war soon broke out in the small kingdom. Kashumashte ordered troops to assist the King Unyasik III, but forces were slow to mobilize, and the reigning Jumyek Dynasty had won no friends in Tsyb, the only constituent kingdom that Udmaer bordered. King Unyasik was overthrown and executed just four months after the rebellion broke out. Civil war dragged on in the Udmaer Kingdom for another year and a half before a treaty was agreed upon, implementing a republic with a strong executive office. The region officialy renamed itself the Republic of Avda Dathan.

In 150, the Thiusu Kingdom once again tried to seal itself off from the rest of Kereske. First Queen Yextrabu, someone well-versed in her country's history, realized that sending an army into Thiusu Bay would likely do nothing to improve relations with vitally-important kingdom. Instead, she herself traveled to Nausot Thyushchu Ernga and negotiated terms with the Thiusu King, Dyuzharez III. Skeptical of any Kereski offer, he demanded something beyond mere promises of greater military assistance in future crises, so she agreed to marry her second-oldest child to his heir.

In 133, King Chtohu of Zhagyame attempted to expel the Baxthoi--many of whom had lived there for centuries--from the western part of his kingdom. Naturally, this provoked a response from the sizable Baxthoi population in Zhagyame. Fighting quickly spread to neighboring kingdoms with significant Baxthoi populations. The ensuing war lasted five years and ended in a territorial stalemate, though the total Baxthoi population of western Zhagyame was reduced by about 10-15%.

In 123, then-Crown Prince Cocempyus married a Thiusu noblewoman, Yashinga Zavzhyushu-Vyatsebru ,who was herself the daughter of a diplomatic marriage between a regional lord and a woman from a major Qayoli family, in an effort to defuse simmering tensions along the border. Yashinga's father was not particularly devout, but her mother raised her in Haxro faith of Qoyhloesism, which had recently spread through much of Emaluk and Dzvigir. She followed in her mother's devotion. Crown Prince Cocempyus was no more devout to the common Kereski faith of Tarwazhism than most men, so when his children were born, Yashinga's religious influence was considerably greater than their father's.

Upon Cocempyus' death in 105, his son Yiktamus inherited, despite having an older sister, Ifiru. This was partly due to Yashinga undermining her own daughter at court, due in part to her preference for Tarwazhism, and her general skepticism toward zealotry. Upon Yiktamus' ascension, Ifiru fled to the city of Axhaabikka. She tried to rally forces to her cause, but no regional king was willing to put troops forward for her.

In 101, Yiktamus had the head of Tarwazhism expelled from the high temple Kyudayuyu and brought to Kashumashte on trumped-up charges of corruptions, apostasy, and other crimes. He was given a show trial and executed. Yiktamus then declared the Tarwazh faith corrupt in its very essence and ordered that all Tarwazh temples be shut down.

Yiktamus, only 17 at the time, had led a very sheltered life and faced no real opposition to any of his ideas, save from Ifiru before she had fled the capital. He assumed most of the country was as apathetic about Tarwazhism as his father and sister, but mobs were quick to form Six of the constituent kings assembled their armies, all of whom officially backed Ifiru for the throne within a few months. However, Keres, Yilmashte, and Dzvigir continued to support Yiktamus, albeit with some hesitation. However, Ifiru died less than a year later of a persistet stomach ailment that had hounded her for years. Her cause was taken up by an uncle, Elchigyus.

The combined naval strength of Yilmashte and Dzvigir managed to keep the anti-Yiktamus forces at bay for a few years, but the alliance faltered in 97, when the Yilmashtean navy mutinied. Kashumashte was taken within a week, and both Yashinga and Yiktamus were executed for their parts in fomenting it.

In 70, the Kingdom of Wgyashte, the smallest of the kingdoms in both area and population, suddenly declared its independence from Kereske. Wagyashte had always been the least involved with the politics of the country at large, often doing more trade with Mesemyu than the rest of Kereske. Despite this, Wagyashte was the least troublesome of the constituent kingdoms, as well as one of the wealthiest, on a per-capita basis. Not wanting a potentially devastating war, First King Ervus IX sent numerous envoys out to the city, only to have them all turned away at the city's gates. Wagyashte quickly became a hermit kingdom. Rumors swirled that there had been a palace coup, which was what accounted for the kingdom's bizarre behavior.

In the early evening one night in the summer of 68 BU, a mob assembled in the center of the city of Wagyashte in front of the king's residence. Before long, a fire had been lit, and the blaze soon tore through much of the city, including the royal palace. The city's gates, which had opened for little more than food shipments over the previous two years, were thrown open, and within a month, a new king had been installed, and things essentially went back to normal.

Beginning around 60 BU, First King Ibatus I began a gradual crackdown on Qoyhloes temples and priests. The Qoyhloesic population in Dzvigir, Thiusu, Yayats, and Aktimuy had exploded since the Gods' War five decades earlier, and the government in Kashumashte was fearful of the influence it may have on politics. Royal interference in religious matters only got more invasive under his daughter, Ifiru II.

In mid-41, worshipers at a Qoyhloes temple in Yayats, tired of Kashumashte's interference in their services, marched to the regional governor's palace and stormed it, declaring the city of Daytuy Tsrey the base of the Yayatsi Oemlisate. As news of this rebellion spread, other Qoyhloes-majority areas overthrew Kereski-loyal leadership and pledged themselves to the Yayatsi Oemlisate.

Response of Kashumashte was swift, though. The bulk of the revolutionaries were untrained in combat and were handily defeated by royal armies. The Second Gods' War lasted only seven months and ended in early 40.

Ifiru's daughter Baelseru succeeded her in late 40, and she continued her mother's policies toward religion. In 29, she issued an official edict, declaring Tawazhism the only permissible religion in Kereske. At the time, Tawazhists comprised only about 40% of the population. Aside from followers of Qoyhloesism, many Thiusus followed their traditional religion, though it ultimately came from the same root as Tawazhism; the Bikkans' faith was completely alien to most Kereskis; most Udmaers followed a monotheistic faith; the Baxthoi had their own traditions, similar to those of the Udmaer; and the majority Wagyashte shared Mintu's fire-based religion.

War broke out almost immediately following Baelseru's edict. The Third Gods' War was the longest and bloodiest of the religious wars of the late Vyatseber Dynasty. It lasted over eight years and resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths. The monarchy was incredibly unstable during the war. Baelseru was removed from power before the end of the year, to be succeeded by her uncle, who would rule as Yarus VI until 25. Yarus died in battle, but his son Ryatwus III managed to stave off major succession worries. Ryatwus himself was killed in the Sack of Kashumashte in 22, the penultimate battle of the war. Only the religious center of Kyudayuyu held out after Kashumashte fell.

The only survivor of the royal family deemed fit to inherit was Ryatwus' twin sister, Taparnu. Taparnu II was a subdued First Queen, often deferring to her councilors' decisions. She married but never produced an heir.

Chetermis Dynasty

Taparnu II died in 3 BU without designating who would succeed her. Her husband attempted to claim the throne, but few were willing to back him. After several months of effective rule by council, a noblewoman from western Keres managed gather enough support to take the crown herself. She was crowned Shayakyiryu II only four days before the end of the year in the Kereski calendar.

For a few months in 5 AU, a long-simmering conflict with Haxroxex bubbled over into a brief border war and left several mid-sized Thiusu settlements in ruins. Once again the Thiusu government in Nausot Thyushu Ernga blamed Kashumashte for not sending adequate aid. First Queen Shayakyiryu sent a letter to Thiusu King Zahiz II apologizing for the central government's slowness to react, but she made no real attempts at improving Kereski-Thiusu relations. Shortly after receiving the letter, King Zahiz ordered a major fleet be sent up The Gash. Many small and medium cities and towns were attacked, and the city of Zamuy Trey was briefly attacked. Flaming debris was launched inside the city walls, igniting several major fires.

Kashumashte was expecting Zahiz to react negatively to Shayakyiryu's letter, but most thought the Thiusu Kingdom would declare independence and seal itself off for a few months, like they usually did. This sudden act of aggression on the Kereski heartland was completely unexpected. Response was sluggish, as Dzvigir refused to participate. Thiusu at the time possessed the most powerful navy in Kereske, and Dzvigir's navy had suffered heavy material losses in the Third Gods' War.

King Zahiz announced his intention to sail to Kashumashte and depose the First Queen, which had the inadvertent effect of galvanizing some previously-neutral leaders against the Thiusu cause. Zahiz's navy never made it to Kashumashte during the four-year rebellion, though Ryatwin and Kyudayuyu were both attacked numerous times. Athmir and Galician naval mercenaries were brought on by Thiusu near the end of the rebellion as the situation soured.

Zahiz's vessel was captured in the last major battle of the rebellion, off the coat of Yayatu. Though he refused to declare an end to the rebellion, his military was left severely demoralized, and his cousin, acting in his stead, declared the rebellion over in 9 AU.

Shortly after the ascension of Qusa I in Mesemyu, attacks from Garr and Shomfur gradually began to increase in frequency. From 40-48, a series of minor wars were fought along the Mesman border, with some small amounts of territory being gained.

In 49, at the age of 70, after 52 years ruling Kereske, First Queen Shayakyiryu declared that she had designated her daughter Yagamu-Yusenyu, her second child, to succeed her, instead of her oldest, Ibatus. Not only did she disinherit Ibatus, but she went further to declare that only women were to inherit after her. This caused a number of senior advisors who had helped keep Kereske calm after the Thiusu Rebellion to resign their posts, only to have cronies and yes-men take their places.

Shayakyiryu died in 57 AU, after six decades ruling Kereske, making her the longest-ruling Kereski monarch in history.

In 60, a war broke out in the Tsybyn section of Baxthoi lands. Firt Queen Yagamu-Yusenyu III did send some forces in an effort to aid the King of Tsyb, but she did not send much, and by the time the war ended in 62, the Tsybyn crown was deeply in debt. Yagamu-Yusenyu was assassinated in 64, though conflicting reports over whether the assassin was Tsybyn or Baxthoi were never resolved.

Her eldest daughter ascended as First Queen Yextrabu II. Her reign was brief, though, as she died after a minor burn wound did not heal properly and became infected. Her sister succeeded her as Zovuzlavu II. Zovuzlavu was a weak, ineffective ruler, who had trouble reigning in the subordinate kings. Zovuzlavu died at the age of 38 from a persistent lung infection.

Zovuzlavu's only daughter, Pochefnu II succeeded her. Over the next two decades, a revolving door of sisters and cousins held brief reigns, until finally, in 90, facing a lack of eligible female relatives, First Queen Yextrabu IV stated that she was returning to the former, gender-neutral model of Kereski succession. This did little to ease the general sense of instability in lack of clear direction in Kashumashte, though.

Sick of the mismanagement of the realm, the kingdoms of Yilmashte and Dzvigir allied to remove the Chetermis family from power. The small kingdom of Yuzhnimuy allied with Keres, and with those powers being the primary combatants, battlefield efforts effectively stalled. In 106, though, the Kingdom of Aktimuy allied with Yilmashte and Dzvigir and was able to tip the balance of the war. The war ended in 108 with a negotiated peace that included the exile of First King Zhigyalyus.

Aysyav Dynasty

With the civil war ended, the title of First King was given to Cocempyus Aysyav, who was crowned as Cocempyus II. He was commonly called Cocempyus the Lame, as he had been crippled in battle shortly before the end of the war.

In 113, the Thiusu crown began protesting new tariffs, arguing that such fees would hobble its trade-based economy. The Thiusu king simply began ignoring Kashumashte's orders. By the end of 113, Thiusu had taken to fortifying its borders, and low-level fighting soon began to break out. With the death of Cocempyus II in 114 and the ascension of a son widely considered to be a weak candidate for the throne, fighting escalated. Kashumashte was never involved directly in any fighting, but many towns in Yayats were attacked. The rebellion finally ended in 117 with a negotiated peace that gave Thiusu greater flexibility in setting tariffs.

Beginning in the mid-120s, Emperor Qusa III of Mesemyu began trying to push south into Kereske to reclaim land that had been lost in previous wars. In 126, a Mesman army struck out southward in a relatively risky stealth route through uninhabited arid steppe to attack the city of Zhagyame. The city was taken unawares. The city gates managed to be closed off before the invasion force could get inside the walls, but there was great loss of life.

Eventually, an army from Aktimuy came to relieve Zhagyame. Mesman forces were eventually driven out of the region, but soon after leaving Zhagyame, they laid siege of Wagyashte. That siege was broken in mid-128, and the Kereski army began hounding the Mesman army back north across the border. In the midst of a long string of military losses, the Mesmans fell back to their home territory and the city of Igolezmid. The Kereski army followed the Mesmars into Mesemyu and sacked the city of Igolezmid. Qusa soon sent communication to Ibatus, expressing his desire to end the war. Ibatus only agreed to withdraw his armies after key economic and territorial concessions were made.

Kereske history

Kereske territory under Yarus I and Yarus IX.

Athimriss had suffered a string of weak emperors who had gradually lost grip over many of their island possessions. In 144, Galice declared its independence and asked Kereske for help. Ibatus II was hesitant to supply troops in the crown's name. An independent Galice would be in Kereske's best interest, but Athimriss was also Kereske's largest trading partner. Ultimately, he made no official comment on the war effort, but he allowed Thiusu, Tsybyn, and Udmaer forces to help. Such unofficial Kereski aid helped Galice win its independence in 146.

Kereski-Baxthoi tensions began flaring again under Yarus VIII. He felt that his uncle and predecessor, Ervus X, had been too lenient in granting the Baxthoi of Keres a large degree of self-rule. Determined to reverse this trend and force the Baxthoi into subjugation to Kashumashte, Yarus created a new governmental position, the Baxthoi Liaison to the First King (Kereski: Báéxsuvoxuy Isǎniży-on ga Gluy Zamay-on, Baxthoi: Q’sĕʔhri Băxθò ʔ’s ʔàslăxθ Reθ). Under Yarus' declaration, this newly-created position would outrank all elected Baxthoi warlords and report directly to Kashumashte.

When word of this declaration reached the Baxthoi, bloody attacks were carried out. For the first time in centuries, Baxthoi warriors crossed mountain passes to attack settlements unquestionably under Kashumashte's control. The Kereski response was equally as harsh. The five year war of attrition eventually ended with the highest-ranking warlord, in the interest of saving his people from being completely wiped out by royal forces' superior numbers, begrudgingly submitted to this new Liaison position.

The Liaison was not a well-respected position in Baxthoi settlements, but it gave the crown the ability to have a toehold in Baxthoi political life, and it also gave Baxthoi leaders a means to express their grievances.

In 210, First King Yarus VIII was assassinated while at a summer residence in the foothills of the Pashtuyin Mountains. His successor, Dafirkayus V, contemplated another war, but decided against it. Instead, he began to tax the Baxthoi leadership punitively. This quickly bankrupted many of the smaller, already-poor settlements, and put serious financial strain on many of the larger ones. Dafirkayus survived no fewer than seven attempts on his life during his 19-year reign.

His successor, Dafirkayus VI, was not so lucky. After five years on the throne, at the age of 17, he was assassinated. His successor, an uncle, Cocempyus III, started a brief retaliatory war, which saw Baxthoi numbers further depleted.

In 269, revolution broke out in Kereske's southern neighbor, Bikka. Kereske heavily fortified its southern border in Dzvigir and Axhaabikka, fearing that revolution may spill over the border. First King Ibatus III also met with the leaders of Axhaabikka, which had peacefully transitioned to a republic several decades prior when the royal line died out. Axhaabikka had become one of the wealthiest regions in Kereske, and Kashumashte did not want to risk losing it. After negotiations, the region was officially renamed Southeast Bikka (Kereski: Ṡloxuxoxuě Bikke, Bikkan: Bikkä nho Läïmwerïek) and given a high degree of autonomy.

In 288, First King Ibatus' wife died of a fever. Still fairly young (39), Ibatus decided to seek out a Baxthoi bride in an effort to mend relations. Ibatus had already lessened the tax burdens imposed by Yarus VIII, and he hoped that this would help to further thaw relations.

He initially asked the most powerful Baxthoi families for a daughter, but all refused him out-of-hand. After over a year of searching, he found a mid-level family willing to marry their daughter off. The ceremony in Kashumashte was elaborate and full of pomp, though few Baxthoi dignitaries bothered to attend. After the wedding, against the advice of many councilors, he decided to visit the major Baxthoi settlement of Yabarsib. On its way to the city in late 290, the First King's caravan was ambushed. His guards and all attendants but one were slaughtered, and Ibatus himself was beheaded and had his hands and feet removed. His 19-year-old bride was brought into Yabarsib and brutally publicly tortured for over a week for being a traitor before she finally died of her wounds. The sole attendant of Ibatus who had been spared was sent back with Ibatus' head, hands, and feet in brine to deliver the news.

Ibatus' oldest child and successor, the 19-year-old Ervus XI, angrily declared all Baxthoi leaders complicit in this atrocity, the newly-elected head warlord Saalum Raxthis foremost among them. Saalum, upon hearing Ervus' declaration of war insisted he had nothing to do with such an act, and that it must have been carried out by a band of rogues. He failed to address how someone could be publicly tortured in the main square of a city of 40,000 for a week without the city's leadership (Saalum himself, in this case) finding out about it in enough time to stop it, though.

The sheer audacity and brutality of this assassination roused all twelve constituent countries to lend military aid to the war, including the normally-insular Bikka-Laimweriek, Wagyashte, and Avda Dathan, as well as often-oppositional Thiusu. The war was brutal, and over the course of three years, over one-third of all adult male Baxthoi were killed. Saalum Raxthis' camel was killed under him in one battle. Before he could be captured, he was taken away by supporters. By the time the war ended, Baxthoi control over the Snaxthoim Desert was essentially non-existent except in the deepest, most uninhabitable places. Saalum Raxthis was either in hiding or dead, and the Liaison had been installed as the official head of the Baxthoi regions in all constituent countries where they were.

Ervus spent over three decades as First King, though he almost never left the city of Kashumashte once the Baxthoi war was over, for fear of his own life. He died in 321 and was succeeded by his son, Yarus IX. Yarus was widely viewed as more liberal and reform-minded than his father, whose reign was heavily shaped by the brutal murder of Ibatus III.

Several months after Ervus' death, Saalum Raxthis reappeared in a minor settlement deep in the Snaxthoim Desert after three decades in hiding. He was now nearly 70 and very fat, as he had been permanently crippled in battle and left unable to walk. Yarus sent a letter stating that he was willing to let him live, as long as he did not interfere in politics in any manner.

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