History of Froturn
Before the High Elves
Much of what would later become part of Froturn - especially the Eastern part - was part of the Ancient Lizardman Empire, therefore populated by Lizardmen. After the fall of the Lizardman Empire, de-urbanization ensured, and the changes in religion resulted in the abandonment of the various religious buildings. This ensured that all the ancient cities became ruins full of old texts and treasures.
The Proto-Elves appeared on the coasts of South-Western Dragoc around 2500-2000 BEKE, and they began colonizing the rest of Artograch. Out of the Proto-Elven clans, it was the Élaeli that ultimately won in managing to dominating Froturn. The original Lizardman population was either expelled or massacred by the advancing Proto-Elves, who settled the area and made much of Froturn their own.
The only exception was North-Eastern Froturn, which was populated by Halflings. It was unknown since when were Halflings present in the area. They could have arrived during the fall of the Ancient Lizardman Empire around 3000 BEKE, or later, coinciding with the proto-Elven invasions.
Froturnish Dark Ages
Unification under Salvia
Salvia the Great proclaimed herself Queen of Froturn around ~1300, and managed to unify the tribes in the following century. Salvia's rule demanded strict discipline, and those who refused to bend the knee were harshly punished. In 1136 BEKE, Salvia decided to attack Fathred's Confederation. but was defeated during the First Battle of Ancestor's Field. Even though Salvia lost the war and failed to invade Etrand, she did manage to secure her position near the borders, creating an autonomous protectorate in the lands occupied by the Halflings.
In 1106, Salvia decided to attack Etrand once again, as its leader Fathred the Great has died several years before. This war turned out to be a bittersweet success: while it did in fact ensure the end of Fathred's Confederation and the degeneration of a once-unified Etrand into warring tribes, it also resulted in Salvia's death in battle.
Salvia's son King Saltrius the Weak - who ruled from 1106 to 1025 BEKE - wasn't powerful enough to hold the bickering clans together under his thumb, and they broke away from royal authority one by one. By the end of Saltrius's reign, royal power has all but disintegrated, with the king and his loyalists controlling only the capital Ehënos and surrounding territories, the rest Froturn being in the hands of warring clans who constantly fought amongst each other, and would continue to do so until Froturn got re-unified under the rule of King Lynésus the Wolf-Hearted (reigned from 933 to 811 BEKE) and consolidated under Queen Taela the Wise (reigned from 811 to 625 BEKEE).
Quite paradoxically, some of the best High Elven philosophers lived and produced their works during this era, giving birth to concepts such as "the laws of war". Much of the groundwork for reforming the Church of Titanius into that it is now was also laid during this era. The strong desire for unity and reunification caused the shift of their religion from monolatrism to full-on monotheism, gave the High Elves a strong sense of national identity. Philosophers were also advocating for the abandoning of tribal ways and the creation of a strong, centralized state.
One could argue that the reason for this was the uncovering of a large number of Ancient Lizardman artifacts during the period, including written records that got translated. It is said that many of these translated Lizardman texts resonated with the High Elves who lived through this warring era.
Reformation and Golden Age
Under the rule of King Lynésus the Wolf-Hearted during the 9th century BEKE, Froturn was finally re-unified under the rule of one monarch. What followed this was a series of reforms, most of which were finalized under the rule of Lynésus's daughter Taela. The Church of Titanius underwent a massive overhaul, the shift from monolatrism to full-on monotheism was completed, In 832, the Book of Visions got released, which became the official holy book of the church and would define the ruling ideology of Froturn even to this day. The book itself was inspired by both Elven mythology and Warring States-era philosophy, which in turn was heavily influenced by Ancient Lizardman philosophy. Following the "advice" of long-dead Lizardman philosophers that influenced the reformation of their religion, the High Elves reorganized Froturn into a highly centralized state with a provincial government, a senate that both kept potential tyrants in check and was responsible for the daily business of the kingdom, two consuls that answered to both the King and the Senate.
The kingdom's capital Ehanus became a magnificent example of high civilization. Sewers ensured that waste water would go away. The smart minds of the kingdom managed to come up with ingenious ways of not only recycling waste water and making it clean again, but also finding use for all the excess materials washed out of the water. The city was clean, well-segregated, and all foreign visitors claimed to have fallen in love with it during their visits.
But, off course, there was a darker side: this so-called "Golden Age of Philosophy and Arts" was in fact an age of repression, where anyone not throwing the party-line found himself to be lacking in patrons, leading to them being priced out of the "artist's life" - starving artists. This, off course, would greatly backfire at the Froturnish during the turn of the millennium.
From 632 BEKE to 12 AEKE, trade between East and West greatly benefited Froturn. As a matter of fact, Froturn was technically the the biggest occidental trading partner of the Shár Empire. Trade between the two great states was a well-documented fact of everyday life. Shár porcelain was very priced amongst the Froturnish, while Froturnish glassware was considered desirable by the Shár nobility. Froturnish mythril was also considered prized resource by the Shár. Kings of Froturn and Emperors of the Shár would constantly give crowning gifts to each other out of mutual respect, which led to many cultural exchanges.
In addition to trade with the Orient, the search for Ancient Lizardman artifacts - especially written records - continued. Adventurers would crawl through abandoned ruins and dungeons to bring such artifacts back to Froturn, where the books would be translated, while everything else would be sold to the highest bidder: usually the royal family or other rich nobles, who would put them on display and sport these relics proudly. In fact, one could even speculate that the High Elves of Froturn saw themselves as the successors of the Ancient Lizardman Empire: a noble race of highly-enlightened poets and philosophers whose sacred duty is to spread enlightenment accross the world. Even if other Froturnish citizens or kings didn't hold that view, King Naeredus the Missionary - who ruled between 289 BEKE and 38 AEKE - certainly did, as it was under his rule that the Titanist religion was transformed from the ethnic religion of the High Elves to a universalist religion that seeks to convert all peoples. It was also under his rule that the first missions to Etrand were organized.
The turn of the millenium has brought both good news and bad news to Froturn.
Among the good news, Froturn has found a new ally in form of the newly-established Kingdom of Etrand, eager to spread the Titanist faith to the human tribes.
Among the more bittersweet news, the collapse of the Jing Dynasty in the Orient has brought an economical depression to Froturn, but it has also kickstarted the rise of the native Froturnish silk industry. causing Froturn to become the number-one supplier of silk to the rest of Continental Artograch even to this day.
On the more negative news, by this point, Froturnish philosophy, literature and art became a shadow of its former self. As the High Elves believed that their way of living was perfect, interest in philosophy declined drastically. Froturnish literature, music, painting and sculpture have all become stale and repetitive at this point. However, the rather limited intellectual freedoms that previously helped the rise of a strong and centralized state were now hindering the advancement of Froturnish culture, and prevented experimentation that could have rendered their arts less stale and repetitive.
Not even the economy was safe - despite the rise of the native Froturnish silk industry, the country's budget fell into deficit under the rule of King Caelferus the Incompetent. Truth be told, even during the so-called Golden Age, the expenses of maintaining the bureaucracy and state apparatus were unbelievably high, but still manageable. During Caelferus's rule, living standards fell, taxes had to be increased, loans were taken, and there was still deficit. The Etrand-Froturn war of 105-106 AEKE put an even greater strain on the budget, as occupying another country was a rather expensive ordeal, especially if looting was forbidden and army professionalism was to be upheld.
The final nail in the coffin was the Civil War of 108-109, which was effectively a succesful military coup d'état by General Vaclus Helviatha aimed at deposing King Caelferus. In the aftermath of the coup, Froturn temporarily became a de facto military dictatorship (remaining a de jure semi-constitutional monarchy), albeit with rather libertarian, laissez-faire economical policies, lower taxes, a stripped down bureaucracy to save money, the provinces being given greater autonomy. Helviatha ruled as a military dictator until his assassination in 266. In the aftermath of his assassination, his wife, Queen Ypsela resigned in favour of their son Euvalus and retired to a monastery.
A New Golden Age
During the Demonic Invasions of Artograch between 251 and 263 AEKE, Froturn has suffered extensive damage, but at the same time, it received a well-needed slap. The highly-centralized and bureocratized armies were unable to respond to the demonic threats swiftly enough, forcing the locals to either flee or organize their own sub-standard quality militias in response to the attacks - to remedy this, after the invasions, the armies were reformed, new local auxilias were created to supplement the legions, while the leaders of the legions themselves were given autonomy to allow them to react to threats as quickly as possible. The destruction in cities like Yanus forced the High-Elves to rebuild.
This gave room to experiment once again, and try out new architectural styles. The co-operation with Dragoc fostered a new era of philosophy and art. The "ecumenism" between the Church of Titanius and the Cult of Nature breathed intellectual freedoms into the air, while Wood Elven influence helped to spice up the stale High Elven arts and literature, giving the Froturnish artists and poets well-needed influences. The sudden competition in form of Wood Elven influences encouraged purists to develop their arts, to save pure native arts from going stale: they were forced to experiment, and experiment they did a lot of. New schools of philosophy were born, many of which broke with established traditions of emphasizing the necessity of a strong, centralized government and a hierarchical system, instead promoting libertarianism and "free-thinking".
During this era, both "mixed arts" (High Elven art and literature heavily influenced by Wood Elven art and literature) and "purist native arts" prospered and were highly developed. The various competing schools of philosophy produced flowers of thinking not seen since the Warring States era.
During these centuries, royal power also declined significantly, and the senate basically ran the kingdom.
Off course, all good things have to end one day. This Titanist-Naturalist ecumenism - the very thing that fueled this new Golden Age of Art and Philosophy - began to have cracks in it during the late 7th century, when Titanists began complaining about Naturalist missionaries. During the reign of King Cairbré I of Etrand, Wood Elven missionaries were driven out from Etrand, compelling Queen Cairi of Dragoc to focus her missionary efforts on Froturn. King Cael'mus the Lean was very receptive to these missionaries, as he gave them royal protection, enraging the native nobility and clergy.
Tensions between Froturn and its long-time ally Etrand rose, as the two states highly disagreed on the definition of a "state religion", and opinions on secularism and religious freedom. During Cael'mus's rule, Wood Elven influence grew drastically, now extending into politics and the royal court as well. The king's niece, Ta'ael Myrth'nddare, who was educated in Dragoc brought with herself an assortment of druidic influence that wasn't welcome. The king was also accused to being a tyrant for increasing royal authority at the expense of the senate and the church.
Opposition to his rule culminated in the Froturnish Civil War of 809.
The Druidic Dictatorship
- See also: Froturnish Civil War (809 AEKE)
In 809, a civil war broke out in Froturn to reduce royal power and convince King Cael'mus to change the direction in which the country was going. Despite wide support for the rebellion from the clergy and nobility as well as Etrandish intervention - , the loyalists won in the end. King Cael'mus did not live to see his side win the war, and his son Ivahó was underage - merely 5 years old at the time -, therefore, the two consuls Ardryllus Sim'vara and Ta'ael Myrth'nddare took over and ruled Froturn until 818.
The era between 809 and 818 is called the "Druidic Dictatorship" by many of the conservatives who resented the fact that the Church of Titanius was stripped of many of its secular privileges, and the fact that the Cult of Nature enjoyed special protection. While freedom of expression wasn't limited during this era (at least not anymore than in the past) - save for the censorship of books considered particularly "dangerous" - political freedoms were somewhat reduced, as political power was monopolized by those in the "inner circle" of Sim'vara's friends and allies.
An age of slight reforms came about: the army was strengthened by more regular soldiers, while the number of conscripts was lowered. The monopoly on everyday life that the Church of Titanius previously had was abolished by a "royal edict", allowing people of other faiths to practice their own religion more freely than ever - much to the resentment of the conservative elite. The sewer systems of the cities found themselves repaired, and the previously unused lands north of the capital were filled with fruit orchards and vegetable gardens, maintained by farm hands mainly migrating out of Etrand into Froturn - the harvest was nominally collected and counted by inspectors entrusted by the Senate, although in a much fairer way than in any human-ran country.
In 818, the Sim'vara-regime fell victim to a coup by the royal bodyguard, which was previously ordered to suppress a protest/riot that demanded the installation of the king as the de-facto ruler. Sim'vara was removed from power, King Ivahó de facto stepped on the throne he already held de jure since the death of his father, and a few of the reforms of the consuls were reversed. Sim'vara himself couldn't bear the humiliation, so he commited suicide, while Myrth'nddare left the country even before the coup.
The Church was handed back quite a bit of secular power, proselytization of Titanists by any other religion was made a punishable crime again, conversion away from the state religion once again became a felony, and (rather paradoxically) the freedom of assembly was ratified and written into law. Paradoxically, freedom of practice of one's religion also became written law, but not freedom to choose one's religion - in fact, the state religion's right were strengthened.
This means that relations with Dragoc went from friendly to bitter almost overnight. Relations with Etrand only slightly improved, and there are still tensions between the two countries. While things may seem calm under Ivahó's rule, Froturn is still a very polarized country.