“Tartarion (known of old by the name of Tauranad, from the first centaur warchief, and who were at first called Tauran: whose posteriry its inhabitants were) extends 1300 miles from East to West, and 1450 from North to South, so that whosoever claims it will have many great Realms and Provinces under him. It is bounded on the East with the Saphronian Hetmanate and the Human Islander Nations (introducing them to the united humanity's rule is of utmost importance); on the West with our glorious domain (praise the Grand Monarch and Humanity!), and on the North with the Sea of Talons whose shore is so cold, that it is held inhabited. <…> Whosoever controls this unrestful land, controls the Orient...”
- - Extract from Encyclopædia Hūmāna, chapter XI, On the Realms of Koldenwelt
Tartarion is a massive plain in the center of the Oriental Koldenwelt which divides the metropolitan domains of the Empire of Man, its colonies in the Frontier and the Islander nations. Known as the Shaking Land, Tartarion is notorious for its heavy seismic activity which is the bane of all who seek to tame this savage place; its natives are hardy, strong people who are used to accept losses and live in harmony with nature. The most prominent of these natives are of course the nomadic centaurs which are split into the warrior tribes of the Stomping Grounds and the scholar tribes of the Southpeaks, but Tartarion is also home to other speciess, such as the druidic, cervine Däisarvi and the wise Karakon Orcs.
The large amount of precious metals found in Tartarion's soil, as well as its beneficial economical and political position (linking the two most advanced human states), makes it valuable for other, more advanced Koldenwelti civilisations such as the Sovereignty of Dryada and the Empire of Man. However, because of constant earthquakes, noone has been able to acquire a permament foothold in the region so far.
Times of LegendsEdit
Asthere have been no true empires or advanced civilisations (save for the Monasteries of Xin on the south, which are unwilling to share their historical documents) in Tartarion to record its history, its past before the appearance of the Empire and the Sovereign is sketchy at best and is known only from. Däisarvi, centaur and orc legends. According to these legends, the centaurs were the first species to settle in Tartarion, having come from the west in search of new dangerous lands to prove their worth against by. The cervine Däisarvi of the North were the second to emerge; centaur legends claim that they were once centaurs transformed into half-beasts by the Sun as a punishment for becoming pacifists, while the Däisarvi themselves believe that they were born from animals of the Tuuli Woods turned sapient. The orcs were the last; originally from the frozen north, they quickly adapted to the new land and became the brown-skinned tribe that is known as Karakon.
Aside from the creation myths, there is also a legend common to all people of Tartarion: the Saga of Tauran the Great. A legendary conqueror, this centaur supoosedly united all of his people's tribes, turning them into a mighty horde that subjugated both the orcs and the Däisarvi and plagued the "softskin kingdoms" for decades, conquering human settlements and taking gold, slaves and women. Feared across Tartarion and beyond, Tauran was unstoppable and undefeatable; so feared and admired was he that the centaur shamans, the orc priests and the Däisarvi druids alike proclaimed him a divine entity - a messenger of a merciless war god set to conquer entire continents.
Unfortunately, Tauran's legend eventually came to an end when he, corrupted by the decadent cultures of the foreign lands he conquered, sought to turn the Great Centaur Horde into a sophisticated, civilised domain and forced his people to abandon their nomadic ways. Despite all his efforts, his "Tauranad Realm" lasted no more than a few years, and Tauran ultimately died the most ignoble of deaths; he was poisoned while sleeping in his golden palace. Soon afterwards, the mighty fortresses and cities that were built under Tauran's rule were swallowed by earthquakes. Species subjugated by the Tauranad Realm regained their independence while the centaurs returned to their old ways - all but a small band of outcasts, known as Xi, who didn't agree to forsake culture for barbarism once again and moved to the southern Caelunar Ridge, founding the Xi Monasteries. To this day, the people of Tartarion retell this saga to each other, seeing it as an example of the ruin civilisation and pride can bring.
The eyes of foreign civilisations were turned towards Tartarion after the foundation of the Empire of Man circa 200 BNA. After unifying the human kingdoms of Alhassal, Mannazia and L'Ammanori under a single banner, its first ruler and founder, Grand Monarch Ermenrich of Mannazia, turned his eyes towards the East where other human nations which have not yet been introduced to Imperial rule existed. The Empire thus set out to expand eastward and began settling Tartarion in order to create a secure land path to the Inland Seas. However, the constant seismic activity of the region, as well as the centaur raids, hindered small-scale human expeditions, the Empire chose another path: all-out war with the natives. No less than 20 Knightly Orders were called to join the First Imperial Crusade against the centaurs and the Däisarvi.
However, the Empire faced much more resistance than what was originally expected. The centaurs and orcs, even disunited and with no advanced technology, turned out to be more than a match for Imperial knights thanks to their knowledge of Tartarion's arid terrain and ancient warrior culture, while the Däisarvi's nature magic protected the Tuuli Woods. The intervention of the Sovereignty of Dryada who did not want to see the Empire expand unchecked and thus took the region's natives under its protectorate, finished off the remaining crusaders, and the surviving knights retreated back into Imperial territory. The Grand Monarch deemed further expansion into Tartarion a lost cause and instead began marine expeditions in order to find an alternative route to the Inland Seas, which would later result in the discovery of the Frontier and the foundation of the Saphronian Hetmanate.
For the following 100 years, Tartarion has remained unchanged. The centaur tribes still trample its ancient plains, the Däisarvi still practice their druidic rituals and the orcs still battle with each other in the deserts. However, Tartarion's people are as unpredictable as its land, and there is always a possibility that a new Tauran the Great will emerge, swarming the continents with his fury...
With the exception of the Caelunar Ridge on the southest, Tartarion is almost completely flat, its terrain dominated by arid clay plains in the south and verdant coniferous forests on the north. Its skies are bronze in colour, almost like fire in their blazing countenance; during the rain periods when clouds gather and bring life upon Tartarion, they become stormy and tumultous, and lightning strikes ceaselessly thundering across the land. According to centaur legends, these lightnings are born of divine passion, coming to the land when the god of the sky and the goddess of the earth join in a loving intercourse.
The most emblematic feature of Tartarion's geology and geography, however, is the constant earthquakes that gave the land its morbid name. From the Tuuli Woods to the Southern Karakon, no place is truly safe; at any second, the earth beneath you may split open and bury you in ash. Indeed, Tartarion is a savage, untamed land that abhors civilisation with its very being, and its inhabitants have learned to live in tune with nature, knowing full well that it may take their lives at its whim. Settlements made by Tartarians are typically built on long stilts, better to endure the shaking earth, and are also simple enough so that they could be rebuilt with ease.
- Inhabitants - Centaurs, Karakon orcs
- Leader - None
- Affiliation - None
In the south of Tartarion lies a land of charred, arid steppes and clay deserts, known as the Stomping Grounds after their emblematic inhabitants, the centaurs of the Thousand Clans. This region is also home to various tribes of orcs who came there from the Frontier Land, who've set their villages on the east from the centaur lands: their territories are known as Northern Karakon and Southern Karakon. Unlike the other parts of Tartarion, which have at least a semblance of a unified government, noone has been able to unify the Grounds since the ancient times, and for those unfortunates who end up in this inhospitable place, there is no law to protect them but the centaur and orc code of honour - which, while strict, cannot be always relied upon.
- Inhabitants - Däisarvi
- Leader - Nikänen of the Aäinen Grove
- Affiliation - Sovereignty of Dryada
- Inhabitants - Centaurs
- Leader - Ashtur-lama
- Affiliation - Xi Monastery
“None shall stand in the way of the Sun and the Moon!”
- Classification - Deiwos
- Affiliation - None
The most powerful species in the region, the sky worshipping centaurs, known as Caonima in their own tongue, are divided into two large factions, as different from each other as day and night. The Sun centaurs, hailing from the central plains of Tartarion, are a primitive, warlike people, split into many different clans and tribes that mistrust each other greatly. Obeying no authority but their code of honour, they abhor all civilised peoples, but especially the humans of the Empire of Man who once sought to conquer them; any Imperial captured by centaur raiders may only wish for a merciful death. For centuries, they have eked out their living by hunting and raiding, and they would rather die than accept any foreign influence.
The Moon centaurs of the Caelunar Ridge, on the other hand, are scholars and mystics, having their own culture, complex writing system and civilisation; always inside their moonlit monasteries, they have no higher calling in their life but to seek knowledge. Few understand them, especially their solar cousins, and even fewer know what knowledge they seek. It is all a mystery...
“Listen to the woods. They speak.”
- Classification - Theriocephali
- Affiliation - Sovereignty of Dryada (clients)
Among the more peaceful races of Tartarion are the cervine Däisarvi, an ancient druidic species that has been inhabiting the sacred Tuuli Woods for thousands of years, purportedly wild animals given sentience and grace by the forest's tree spirits (or descendants of cowardly centaurs, depending on whose story you listen to). Partly because of their herbivorous nature and partly because of their devotion to wild nature, they find all forms of violence highly distasteful, and are notably friendly towards strangers. It was this pacifism and predisposition towards diplomacy that made the Daisarvi ally with the Sovereignty of Dryada in the aftermath of Tartarion's war with the Empire: the deer people found something in common between themselves and the elves.
However, the Daisarvi are far from the angels they often seen as. Beneath the veleer of seeming serenity that the Daisarvi society is an neverending struggle for influence and dominance where nobles and druids compete with their fellows - not with blades, of course, but with lies and slander - for the attention of the forest spirits that the deer people revere. Those that fail rarely end up well.
“War is the way of nature. War is the way of the plains.”
Descendants of the Lesha orcs that came south seeking shelter from the human expansion, the Karakon Orcs have since then abandoned the nature-worshipping ways of their frozen ancestral homeland and devoted themselves to the plains, making their skin turn from leaf green to sand brown. Warlike, harsh like Tartarion itself, they are a brutish and belligerent people, yet unlike the centaurs, the orcs understand authority and order, and instead of being nomads live in organised tribes and kingdoms - the so-called Northern Karakon and Southern Karakon - much like their northern cousins. Thanks to their discipline and camaraderie, the orcs have been able to endure wars with centaurs for ages despite their superior number and strength, and the two races respect each other, if somewhat begrudgingly.
After the war with the Empire, the Karakon Orcs have fallen under the protectorate of the Sovereignty of Dryada. Unlike the Daisarvi, however, the orcs have no strong feelings for their elf allies, and their agreements and pacts are mostly necessity-driven. Neverthless, elven foods, weapons and armour are highly prized in the Karakon Kingdoms, and are only worn by accomplished warriors or brave leaders (these two groups tend to overlap). Some of the orcs also serve as mercenaries, and are valued by many employers because of their strength, honour as well as discipline.
“It's a beautiful land on its own ways. And by that I mean only the Tuuli Woods.”
- - Earath
“I WANT ONE OF DEM HORSE PEEPS”
- Based on various Uralic and Central Asian cultures.