Crystal Cantrips

Interlude: The History of Old R'Kassi

The First Age – The Age of Heroes

A fact of history that the rest of the world often forgets is that the first humans came from the deserts of what is now known as Old R’Kassi. Desert tribes, either farming the banks of the Great River or roaming as nomadic herdsmen, first spread across the continent some 8,000 years ago. Over time, these tribes coalesced into city states, and then minor kingdoms. This period of history is preserved mainly through the epics telling of the heroes of this age, their quests, their battles, their wars. Monsters were fought and villains brought low. Those heroes favored by the gods carved out tiny empires, and ruled until the favored of another god overthrew them, in a constant struggle between justice and tyranny.

The Rise of Kas

Into this age of near constant war was born a man of the lower class known only as Kas. He enlisted as a soldier in the army of the local warlord, and soon rose to the command of a full battalion. History is unclear on whether it was a battle, roving monster, or force of nature, but whatever the reason, Kas was left wandering the wastes with only a tenth of his men still breathing. Knowing that they wouldn’t make it back to civilization on their remaining supplies, Kas ordered his men to make camp, and walked into the desert to pray.

He prayed for a full day and a full night, beseeching any god or goddess he had ever heard of to answer his call. And finally, as dawn broke on his vigil, Ra, god of Light, answered his call. He commanded Kas to rouse his men, and to travel in the direction of the rising sun until they found footprints, and to follow the footprints until sunset. Ra said that in return for following him, Kas would unite all the desert kingdoms under his rule.

Inspired by Kas’ newfound zeal, his remaining men followed him east. They forged ahead through the extreme desert heat, until all but Kas himself began to doubt. But then, they found footprints, just as Kas knew they would, and soon after, they rounded a dune and came in sight of an oasis.

Kas and his men rushed towards the water, when suddenly, from the sands behind the oasis rose the great head of a brass dragon. The men fell to their knees, in terror and awe, but Kas approached the mighty beast. Kas spoke at length of the will of Ra, and of a great and righteous war to end the endless bloodshed. As his men watched, the dragon bowed its head, and Kas climbed upon it. And as the sun set, the dragon let out a mighty roar and breathed an enormous column of fire into the sky.

The Second Age – The Golden Age

Upon the back of the brass dragon, Kas conquered the warring kingdoms one by one, and declared himself the first Pharaoh of R’Kassi, the Empire of Kas. He built his capital on the banks of the Great River, and erected many temples and monuments to honor his God. Soon the religions of the warring states were folded into the state religion, with Ra as king of the pantheon.

Kas was a wise and just ruler, and his dynasty ruled for a thousand years. The power of the pharaohs of R’Kassi was said to be unquestionable, for they could call fire from the heavens, and flew on dragon wings.

The Splintering

Great as the Empire of Kas was, nothing is immune to the passage of time. Rivers change course, trade routes become impassable due to storms, and eventually, the Empire started to crumble. Unrest rose among the nobility as their affluence fell, but things came to a head with the reign of the Mad Pharaoh Xav. He managed to single handedly alienate every member of the aristocracy and the clergy, and what’s worse, never produced an heir with any of his three wives.

Finally, when his entire court rebelled against his latest unjust execution, he woke the Ancient Brass Dragon, who had been sleeping for longer and longer years at a time (as is typical of the elders of dragon kind). He screamed at the dragon that they were all traitors, all of them. “Burn them, burn them all!”

In full view of the court and clergy, the dragon lifted itself to its full height and glared at what the Line of Kas had become. Then, the dragon opened their maw and spat a white hot line of fire down on the impudent kingling on his throne, reducing him, the throne, and and all the royal regalia to molten, golden slag in moments. Then, the great dragon launched itself skyward and flew off into the desert, never to be seen again.

R’Kassi almost immediately dissolved into chaos. The nobles set upon each other like dogs, trying to tear off the biggest chunk of land from the dead husk of the empire. The capital, from which the Pharaohs of R’Kassi had ruled for so long, was torn apart by numerous battles and finally abandoned, to be lost under the sands of time.

The Third Age

After a long period of relative anarchy, the fractious city-states were eventually united into three kingdoms. Via a combination of economic sanctions, political marriages, and assassination, King Durka united the three into a single nation. He named it Old R’Kassi, in order to establish continuity to the empire of old. He also traced his lineage to a bastard son of the Mad Pharaoh’s father, and declared himself Pharaoh. Two hundred years later, and Old R’Kassi is once again a large and prosperous nation.

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