Like much of the rest of the world, poor record-keeping, lack of literacy, and frequent wars make it difficult to piece together the past of Termecia. It was once inhabited by the Myceen people, who existed as a loose tribal confederation. They were largely nature worshippers, on good if remote terms with the elves of El’Atol, with druidic magic playing a large role in their power structure and mythology. However they were poorly organized and with little experience in more advanced forms of warfare, and were ill-prepared to withstand the assault of seaborne migrants from Lefland who began arriving in the fourth century A.B. The Leflanders had little trouble in establishing settlements along the coast, with their first major posts appearing in modern-day Abergon. Southern Myceen tribes appealed to El’Atol for military aid, but unsurprisingly, the elves saw no reason to shed their blood to protect the Myceen and politely ignored the requests.
By the late fourth century, the Myceen had been forced inland. Increasingly under pressure, they adopted a more warlike, defensive posture. Smaller tribes were absorbed by larger ones and in 543 A.B., the Myceen formed a military pact at the Myceen Awakening.
While details are uncertain, the pact may have been lead by a near-legendary warlord named Urt, who is credited in mythology with the defeat of a great Leflander force on the banks of the River Illeil, though the exact location of the battle and indeed whether it took place is a matter of debate amongst sages. What is not contested is that the foundation of the pact was followed by a series of military reversals for the Leflanders, who previously had enjoyed a nearly unbroken string of victories. The pace of Leflander expansion slowed rapidly.
By 600 A.B., what had been an all-out military conquest by the Leflanders had become a more peaceful period of intermarriage and trade. Despite the violence of the migration, the Leflanders were not in the practice of exterminating Myceen who fell under their rule; rather, once their power was established they relied on Myceen labor and local expertise to help run their settlements. While bloody skirmishes continued, increasingly, Myceen traders began to make use of the Leflanders’ maritime prowess, selling excess foodstuffs to the Leflanders who in turn shipped much of it back across the Grey Sea to their overcrowded homeland. Additional farmland was cleared to make way for this trade by both sides, and Leflander settlements on the coast began to grow into established ports. Any dreams of a reconquest by the more militant among the Myceen withered in the face of this new economic co-dependence.
In 683 A.B., the Myceen were dealt a serious military reversal at the Fallow Fields, in which a confederated army of Myceen tribes was defeated by a mixed force of Leflander infantry and archers. This marked the end of the Myceen Awakening, and the Myceen were never again able to present a single, united military opposition to Leflander expansion. However, the richness of the lands was also causing a splintering among the Leflanders, some of whom had inhabitated Termecia for generations and no longer identified with Lefland.
As the Myceen confederation fell apart, some moved farther west, founding what would eventually become the principalities of the western reaches of Termecia. In the east, Leflander internal strife lead to the formation of petty fiefdoms, which in turn became incorporated into larger lands in a series of chaotic conflicts. The Myceen and Leflander peoples in the area also merged, and feelings of Lefland as a ‘motherland’ slipped away.
Despite the warfare, this era is viewed as a major cultural flowering, the birth of Termecian culture. As distinctions between Myceen and Leflander faded, the rise of the Termecian language began, a hodgepodge of largely Myceen words with extended Leflander vocabulary thrown in. Competing lords, seeking to legitimize their rule and impress their neighbors, also invested in Termecian tapestries, sculpture, woodworking, and military architecture. The era also saw the migrations from Lefland slow as Termecian lords became keen on controlling access to their lands and Lefland’s own population explosion ended. Some interior principalities organized colonial expeditions from Lefland to settle unclaimed farmland but unchecked migrations ended.
By the 800s A.B, Termecia’s larger neighbors, particularly Cadria, were eyeing its agricultural and timber resources enviously. When Cadrian troops crossed the border of the west Termecian state of Skell in 851, its ruler, Lord Hanodel, appealed to other Termecian states for aid. In 853, the Council of Welm was held, in which the scattered Termecian lords, princes, dukes, councilmen, and dictators recognized the threat posed by the political disunity and agreed on a common military and political leader, elected by the member provinces’ heads of state. It was a groundbreaking agreement; one of the first political documents to set clear boundaries on the power of a ruler and to agree to an electoral system to elect him. Luckily for Termecia, its first High King, Waemark Felmaer, was up for the challenge.
Felmaer, the High Lord of the province of Petra, used a mixture of political cunning, threats of military force, and extortion to force the member states of the Council to make good on their obligations of troops, money, and supplies. As Petra controlled a central stretch of the River Illeil on which much of Termecia was dependent on, Felmaer had an invaluable bargaining chip for dealing with uncooperative lords and he used it without compunction.
Cadrian forces advanced through and subjugated Skell, killing Lord Hanodel during a sortie from his capital of Njer, but Hanodel’s fierce resistance of the vastly superior Cadrian forces bought Felmaer the time he needed to build the largest army Termecia had yet seen; at least 100,000 men. As autumn of 854 A.B approached, Felmaer moved his forces westwards towards Skell, intent on denying the Cadrians and their commander, Duke Inova, the prize of wintering in Njer. The High King’s army encountered Inova’s freshly reinforced troops near Skell’s eastern border, where Inova had been conducting raids. In the subsequent Battle of Winter’s Night, Felmaer thoroughly defeated the Cadrians.
In the aftermath, Cadria signed a treaty with Termecia and withdrew, and Skell was restored. High King Felmaer was poised to begin a new era of a unified Termecia but this did not come to pass. He grew ill with fever and died before the end of 855 A.B. With no present external threat, the next High King, Adan Tiriol, has found little traction in amassing either political or military power and has largely become a figurehead. The states of Termecia have resumed their internal struggles and power plays.
Termecia has no monolithic culture, but rather a diverse array of cultures across its 14 states. In broad strokes, it can be said that the culture of the eastern states shows more Leflander influence than those in the west, but even that has rapidly changed as connections to Lefland have weakened.
Termecia’s position gives it a central role in trade. Lefland ships much of its trade goods to Termecian ports for carriage further inland; Cadria uses it as a conduit for its food exports to Norhelm and a destination in its own right; Ravenna uses it as a major trade nexus for its ships.
The River Illeil is a dominant trade artery that serves the length of the country. It is used whenever possible, since the quality of roads across the disparate states is highly variable.
Government and Relations
Nominally, Termecia is a united kingdom. However, since the withdrawal of Cadria and the death of the first High King in 855, the states which make up the kingdom withdrew most of their support for the monarchy. The new High King, Adan Tiriol, has found himself with little recourse to build his power as the royal constitution created by the Council of Welm provides no mechanism for him to compel the states into obedience; its language is vague. Tiriol ‘rules’ from the royal capital of Estril in the state of Icenas.
The terms of the constitution also provide for two other royal institutions. The first is the Estates, where each member state has the power to appoint five delegates to represent their interests. The delegates are intended to serve as an advisory body to the King, and can compel him to appear before them twice a year. The second is the Royal Court, whose stated purpose is to ‘through vigorous application of the laws of the land of Termecia, maintain harmonious relations between the peoples’. Unfortunately, the document makes no mention of which laws are considered the ‘laws of the land’ (Royal law? Does Petran law apply in Lisretha?) nor how the court is to enforce their verdicts. As such, the court has been used thus far by Tiriol to reward aging supporters. It supports five justices, appointed by the High King.
Termecia is comprised of 14 states: Skell, Orlana, Daymar’duan, Merna’duan, Petra, Belmara, Icenas, Qireta, Dhakos, Akedine, Miscia, Lisretha, Greywall, and Abergon. Its symbol is a red cross, its upper left and lower right quadrants colored white and the other two quadrants colored beige.
Combat and Military
The diversity of Termecia precludes a unified military. After Felmaer’s death, the various components of the royal army were pulled back by their parent states, leaving High King Tiriol with little more than a royal guard, partially bankrolled by Icenas.