- Gennaian Isles
When the people who would become the Alor entered A’therys, they did so beneath churning clouds and driving rain. The wanderers were scattered by the storm, driven across endless plains in search of shelter. For untold years they struggled to build lives beneath the inhospitable skies of this new land, hoping that one day the darkness would lift. Eventually, a group on the eastern shores decided to challenge the storm, sending their best representatives high above the clouds above the looming mountains to broker peace with whatever they found. At the mountain’s peak, the representatives made their case for the people below, and the winds fell quiet. The storm was impressed, and made itself known as Thesse, Goddess of the Skies. An agreement was reached, to serve beneath the deity and enforce her will in return for calm skies under which to do so. Word spread of this miracle, and other settlements beneath the storm sent their own emissaries to the high points of the land. The clouds slowly began to give way to sunlight across the plains, as the many peoples beneath pledged themselves to their goddess.
With the storms at last quelled and the fledgling empire united in the service of Thesse, the people were finally able to cease their travels and settle down. The land was cultivated, native beasts tamed, and cities began to appear on the plains. The mightiest of these, Methes Avonthes, sprung up around the mountain on which the first deal had been brokered with the goddess; completed c. 1C-270, it dominated the cloud-ringed spire, topped by a grand temple from which Thesse could keep vigilance over her lands and people. The descendants of the original families who had entered her storms became her most trusted advisors, structuring among themselves the enduring traditions of the Orator Court and the Noble Houses. With the consolidation of the western peoples c. 1C-440, the Alor Empire reached its greatest size, the largest A’therian empire in history.
In the closing days of the first Cycle, growing tensions between Ithero and Vrovona found their way to the shores of Aloreh. By this time, the empire was a firm trading partner with both nations, seeking both the maritime technologies of their seafaring neighbors and the superior craftsmanship of the Vrovonic forges. As such, Aloreh staunchly refused to take sides when the first A’therian war erupted at the beginning of the second Cycle. The Orator Court, fearful of war reaching their borders and seeing no profit in a hasty alliance, advised Thesse not to intervene. But decades of war became centuries; generations of bloody conflict had left the continent exhausted emotionally and financially. Around 2C-300, with the hard-won endorsement of the Noble Houses, Thesse dispatched envoys to the capitals of both nations, while consulting herself with Vrovona and the Twingods. Their arbitration found miraculous success: spite honed over long centuries gave way to mutual respect between the warring nations, and a formidable debt of gratitude to Aloreh.
The unlikely Alor achievement in ending the Sundering of the Eclipse gave rise to their now-historic reputation as skillful mediators and advocates. Over time, the empire became involved either by invitation or infiltration in many of the other nations in A’therys. While some empires proved difficult to work with, most notably Roreg Logh, or downright impossible as in the case of the Daggerlands, Aloreh was able to become a powerful force in global politics. In 4C-226, years of trade successes were crowned with successful negotiations with Daidama for merchant passage, opening a new gateway to the western hemisphere until the fall of Von's, empire. Across the remaining Cycles of the Age of Balance, Aloreh repeatedly proved itself a powerful ally and keen advisor, with little to no internal discord. In all things, the balance of Thesse was preserved.
Once upon a time, the world was as a storm, dark and violent. Our kin begged their god for mercy, and she saw fit to shelter them from the storm’s terror. And when the Alor people saw that miracle, they begged our Houses for that same mercy, and we saw fit to shelter them in turn. And when the whole of A’therys was wracked by storm, her nations begged the Alor for mercy, and one by one they too were sheltered. It must have been so easy then, to forget the grace of the gods. To spurn them. But the cycle’s turning, now. It brings the old world with it, roaring back from the memories of our ancestors. Dark. Violent. Now, who will you beg for mercy?
As the Second Calling neared, the people of Aloreh were perhaps the most aware that great changes were on the horizon. The enigmatic Aristocrat made his first appearance in the Court of Thesse in 6C-729, before reappearing at the estates of many Noble Houses over the following years. By the time the Mortal Heroes first arrived to Aloreh in 6C-733, they already had an enormous contingent of followers awaiting them. The well-spoken Shapeshifter endeared many to their cause, particularly the downtrodden members of the Alor peasantry. But the groundwork laid by the Aristocrat was significant, more so than in any other nation; the Orator Princes saw the opportunity to form a lucrative alliance with a technological powerhouse in the event that the Heroes were successful. Had they failed, the expense of some spare troops and diverted naval resources would have hardly been worth a second thought.
When word reached Methes Avonthes that Golgorai-Asthas was no more, virtually every oceangoing ship in the harbor was requisitioned by the government and dispatched to the Daggerlands with food and aid. The words of Llyrrh still echoed in the minds of all, and the general populace of Aloreh was still reeling from the sudden departure of Thesse, but the Orator Court knew it needed to seize the opportunity the Daggerlands presented. By 7C-14, a provisional government had been set up in Monas Roth and the country had been willingly unified under this rule. The trade of knowledge and history began to speed up at this point, with Aloreh seeking to finally recoup some of their massive investment in the form of technology and resources.
While the government was busying itself with the elevation of the Daggerlands, matters at home were rapidly devolving into chaos. The economy had stagnated as a result of virtually all state funds being diverted away from the interior, and the strain of having to share produced food with even the relatively small population of the Daggerlands had soured most Alor commoners on the idea of continued aid. Further inflaming things was the perceived lack of change in the affluence of some Noble Houses, whose own wealth was largely unaffected. The class divide that had seemed reasonable for so long under Thesse was now becoming a problem, and peasant revolts became a regular occurrence. Some of the more astute Noble Houses saw this power struggle as an opportunity, and opened up negotiations with their local populations. Soon, the Orator Court was abandoned as the nobles retreated to their estates across the country, leaving only House Longweather to claim Methes Avonthes as theirs. By 7C-26, Aloreh had fractured into several separate states, warring and bickering with one another. Even the Cult of Thesse had split, with some priests remaining in the mountaintop temple of the former capital while most of the leadership moved with House Kastellon to their capitol city of Aore. The once mighty Alor empire was no more.
By 7C-104, tensions between the Noble Houses were at their highest. None of the states were fully self-sufficient, functionally requiring open trade amongst the commoners to even survive. It seemed as though only the governments considered themselves disparate from one another, but even that was often in contention; debates were frequent, lengthy, and ultimately accomplished nothing. Fearing a total collapse, the Kastellon division of the Cult of Thesse issued forth a challenge: all Noble Houses were to select again their Orator Princes and send them back to Methes Avonthes for a final debate. This Tournament of Voices would resolve the disputes among the nobility and reforge a true Alor government, whatever that might be. Some Houses rebuffed this challenge outright, or attempted to; the Cult had the endorsement of House Kastellon and their considerable militia. By year’s end, all who carried influence in what remained of Aloreh had amassed in the ruins of Methes Avonthes, destroyed as it had been by fighting during the last days of the empire. Mediated by the Cult of Thesse and enforced by Kastellon, the Tournament met with more success than had been anticipated, reinstating the Orator Court and reuniting most of the nation. Without Thesse to organize debates and break ties, the new position of High Mediator was created to enforce stability within the Court. Naturally a member House Kastellon was chosen to occupy this position, and so Levon Decraio became the first mortal to have final authority over Aloreh.
It’s a fine thing to see, the famous Alor mannered dogs. So well-behaved, so eager to please; so diligently they keep their flock, and they learn new tricks as fast as you can teach them. With their austere profiles, the solemn dignity in their eyes, you surely must wonder if they may harbor the sparks of a human soul. But then, starve them for a time and see how glad they are to draw their teeth...
With the gods gone and a new mortal government formed, most of the old alliances Aloreh had were long gone. The powerful foreign embassies had been all but shutdown, and new ones proved difficult to negotiate. The Daggerlands were quick to remember who their greatest benefactors had been, reforming their alliance with Aloreh in 7C-108, but others were not so warm; Ithero’s powerful position in the new world had rendered them less than friendly to the Alor nobility’s machinations, and Vrovona’s coming problems were already making foreign relations a tough prospect. The House Wars had also weakened Alor control of the Kestrin and Marcolo Seas, historical points of political contention with Ithero. As the Orator Court looked to rebuild the national economy, military vessels were dispatched to these warm northern waters to patrol ports and fishing grounds in 7C-132. Back inland, many Noble Houses began selling their farmland to private companies, and the feudal institution slowly gave way to more modern practice. Peasants across the country were put to work improving road systems and infrastructure beginning in 7C-141, which had the added benefit of inspiring belief in the new government as a functional entity. By 7C-190, Aloreh was beginning to resemble its powerful former self once more, a development neighbor Ithero had been watching closely.
Decades of prosperity at home combined with this renewed foreign exchange cemented Aloreh as one of two major powers in modern A’therys. The other power, Ithero, had been enjoying the position relatively unopposed for years and found the return to form startling. Naval patrols north of the Winewood began encountering Itheri military ships within Alor borders, sometimes close enough to be visible from port. The Orator Court, taking this posturing as a sign of potential aggression, began authorizing subversive activity within Ithero. In 7C-255, an Alor spy was discovered in the Admiral’s Council chambers after a discussion on military funding for the following year. While politicians from both sides began pointing fingers, militaries began building strength in preparation for the inevitable. With tensions at their height, Lord Admiral Baldovino Baldassare travelled to Methes Avonthes to discuss the ongoing hostilities with High Mediator Erassios Shroudbearer. However, a failed attempt on the Lord Admiral’s life during his speech to the Court ensured that no peace would come without bloodshed, and in 7C-259 Aloreh entered opposite Ithero into the first modern war in A’therys.
The Eventide, as the war eventually came to be known in Alor media, proved somewhat more difficult for the Alor than the Orator Court had expected. Though they levelled the full technological superiority of the allied Daggerlands at their foe, masterful Itheri tacticians were able to frequently out-maneuver Alor forces even though they lacked an air force. Most of the fighting occurred on and around the shores of Aloreh, better suited as the Itheri were for long range fighting. After the major turn in the war at Ciondel, however, the Alor were able to stage a massive counter-assault in the Bay of Crescents off the coast of Calastore. The Itheri were only able to stave off utter defeat using unknown magical intervention, and both sides suffered irreparable losses. Incapable of further fighting, a peace treaty was signed in the spring of 7C-264. The Orator Court returned its gaze inward, and most national funds over the following years were directed towards the rebuilding of decimated towns along the western Marouais Coast.
Though certainly laid low by the effects of the Eventide, Aloreh retained its extremely long political reach in A’therys. In the years since the war ended, it has returned to its old ways of inserting itself into the politics of other national entities A’therys over.