In a way, we were fortunate the kavi showed up the way they did. Without a common enemy, I’m sure we would have cannibalized each other until there was nothing left.
-Yong Lu, 5th Emperor of Shang
1278 FA: First Contact
The kavi were the first to successfully sail across the Altum Ocean and make contact. The initiative was part of the Radiant Empire’s efforts to expand across the globe; at the time, a general sentiment among the kavi swept their nation, one that declared it both their destiny and right to oversee Blueheim.
Led by the famed scholar, Ustad Garg, an expeditionary force embarked from Aahana on March 15th, 1278 FA. Five weeks later, they landed on Magna Tellus’s coast and encountered intelligent life—a small group of human fishermen. In Ustad’s journal entries of the encounter, he wrote: “I was at once both awed and overwhelmed. I stumbled across what must be our distant relatives. Their faces and bodies were so similar to our own, though they lacked our blue skin and silver hair. I wondered what secrets these cousins of ours carried, what knowledge could we share with each other?”
Ustad made the disastrous assumption humans could communicate telepathically, as the kavi do; he reached out with his mind, not knowing untrained humans experience painful migraines when receiving telepathic messages. Frightened, the fishermen retaliated and killed one of the kavi. Ustad dispatched the humans and ordered his expedition group back to the ships for safety. That night, however, warriors from a nearby village mounted a surprise attack and killed nearly half of Ustad’s people in the ensuing fight.
Fearing for his crew’s life, Ustad conferred with the Avatara of the Radiant Empire, who quickly mobilized more ships to help fortify a foothold in Magna Tellus. Unfortunately for Ustad and the rest of the explorers, help would arrive too late.
This and subsequent encounters with humans in the following year would taint the kavi’s perception of humanity as barbarous, unintelligent animals.
1278 FA-1267 FA: Conquest
The reinforcements requested would land in Magna Tellus three weeks later and find nothing left of Ustad’s expedition save for a few bodily remains. The Radiant Empire had prepared for this, though, and had the hindsight to send warriors instead of scholars and explorers—100,000 warriors to be exact. These men and women would eventually be the ones to conquer the new world. Although the number seems small at first, especially when compared to the local population of approximately 80 million, there are several factors to consider:
The most obvious was the power disparity. Humanity’s primitive weapons were no match against the Radiant Empire; how could they fight the magical destruction the kavi wrought, what good does a steel sword or knocked arrow do against unnatural earthquakes, conjured firestorms, and unrelenting hurricanes conjured up by a kavi’s mantras?
Brute force aside, the humans at the time were a scattered collection of countries that had been warring for ages. They were unable to put aside their differences and form a united front against the kavi, with some going so far as to form shortsighted alliances with the invaders. When the war between human and kavi would come to its inevitable end, these same countries found themselves bound to the Radiant Empire in servitude. Though this would afford them better treatment in the coming centuries, it would spell their doom when the rest of humanity would retake the continent.
The final nail in the coffin, as humans like to say, was the population’s own ignorance of the kavi. Humans had never witnessed chanting before, so many saw the kavi’s magic as a godlike power and believed them to be higher beings. There are records of entire towns surrendering to their mercy without putting up a fight. Of course, now humans realize kavi aren’t much different from them, but in those times superstitions were thick in human mythos, and science and reason had yet graced them with enlightenment.
The complete conquest of the continent of Magna Tellus took eleven years, with the last of the human resistance being stamped out in 1267 FA. Regrettably, humans wouldn’t truly achieve their freedom for another 12 centuries.
1267 FA-51 FA: Subjugation
What came after the pacification of the humans on Magna Tellus is a dark stain on the Radiant Empire’s history. Despite the kavi’s self-described enlightenment, their greed would prove to be insatiable; during their campaign across the continent they discovered the land had untold riches and resources to be reaped.
The kavi wasted no time absorbing Magna Tellus into the Radiant Empire, setting up great trade cities and installing puppet rulers among the population. Though they allowed humans to preserve most of their distinct cultures, it was a small condolence compared to the crimes committed against them. People had their homes and land stolen out from under them, and unfair laws were put in place that prevented the local population any autonomy from their kavi overlords. Young men were conscripted to fight in the Radiant Empire’s foreign wars, and steep taxes were instated, gutting Magna Tellus of untold wealth and resources. Perhaps worst of all was the cultural and scientific stagnation this forced upon humans, while the kavi flourished off their labors.
Initial rebellions in the first couple hundred years were met with swift and heavy-handed repercussions. Death squads destroyed whole cities, burning everything down without regard to civilian casualties; though a barbarous tactic, this wholesale destruction achieved the kavi’s goal of ultimately quelling future resistance and turning humans into obedient slaves.
For 1200 years, humans lived in servitude to kavi—second-class citizens in their own home, forced to watch as the Radiant Empire stripped their lands.
51 FA: The Peasant King’s Rebellion
Everything would change when the Peasant King would emerge in the western territories of Magna Tellus, the land furthest from the Altum Coast and where the kavi’s reach was weakest. There are no definitive reports on when he first surfaced, and there are even conflicting documents about who the man was. Some state he was a lowly farmer, some believe he was a conscripted soldier who finally snapped, and others say the man was actually a wealthy kavi’s milkmaid—some historians even think the Peasant King was a moniker for a collection of rebels. However, October 31st, 51 FA is one date all historians can agree on. At exactly midnight, across most of the western Magna Tellus territories began a bloody purge of the kavi-appointed leadership. Every king, mayor, councilman, general, warlord, advisor, president—the title didn’t matter—they died that night, with the violence extending to these unfortunate souls’ families and friends. Tens of thousands of men, women, and children were murdered with extreme prejudice in graphic, public displays of gore for everyone to see.
This bloody coup was called the Scarlet Cleanse and had been meticulously planned and executed decades prior to that night. Rebels had carefully infiltrated the leadership of countries in the west, rising to positions of power right under the Radiant Empire’s nose. On the night of the Scarlet Cleanse, they killed any human loyal to the kavi.
In the ensuing chaos, the remaining leaders seized control under the banner of the Peasant King. Any opposition that remained was squashed. Though the initial coup was successful, the Peasant King’s Rebellion wouldn’t finish for another 51 years.
The Radiant Empire didn’t deign the issue important enough to send their own warriors and instead ordered loyalists to quell the uprising. This decision would prove to be a tactical error on their part, one they wouldn’t be able to recover from; the Peasant King’s armies were weak at the start of the rebellion, and had the Radiant Empire acted sooner, they could have ended it within the first year. Instead, the Peasant King’s armies were allowed breathing room to grow.
When the rebels clashed with the loyalists, rather than meeting them head on, they engaged in guerilla tactics. They drew the loyalist armies into the countryside and engaged in hit-and-run battles in rugged terrain, hitting them in the dark and fleeing before they could retaliate; meanwhile a secondary force infiltrated loyalist cities, now largely unprotected, and easily took them over. After the first cities fell like this, the loyalist armies began holing up in fortified positions, but the Peasant King’s armies simply changed tactics and raided peripheral cities instead, looting food and weapons—even recruiting members to join their cause.
Zho soon joined the Peasant King’s cause, contributing large numbers of fighters and gunpowder weapons pioneered by their newly appointed Emperor Fa. It soon became apparent the rebellion outclassed the loyalists in every way. Not only did the rebels have superior technology that crushed the old swords and armor favored by the loyalists, but their tactics had modernized. Rather than fighting in largescale battles with specially-trained warriors grouped up for close-quarters combat, the Peasant King’s army was mobile, deadly from longer ranges, and could quickly train new soldiers (due to the relative ease of learning how to shoot a gun).
Little by little, Magna Tellus was reclaimed under a unified front. It wasn’t until the Peasant King’s armies neared Brackwater River, threatening the safety of kavi colonists, that the Radiant Empire finally intervened.
After nearly eleven months of fighting, a detachment of 20,000 kavi warriors left the Green Coast and marched on the Peasant King’s army. A decisive victory was expected.
By then the Peasant King’s army was 3,000,000 strong. They employed their new military tactics, chipping away at the kavi forces little by little until they were completely wiped out. Though to the kavi’s credit, they killed and wounded almost 470,000 humans before succumbing to their sheer numbers.
In any other situation, this would have been a catastrophic loss for the human army, but it wasn’t the numbers that mattered—it was the realization the kavi could be beat. Word of the Radiant Empire’s defeat spread through the continent and rebellions broke out uncontrolled. Kavi civilians were forced to flee to the Green Coast where the Radiant Empire still held power; those that didn’t escape were killed by lynch mobs. As the rebellion’s numbers swelled, they crashed down upon loyalist territories, and one by one were reclaimed.
During this upheaval, several nations were wiped clean from history. The people of Magna Tellus never truly forgot the betrayal of the countries that had helped the Radiant Empire conquer them. They were seen as traitors, and judgement was unforgiving. Millions were killed in what can only be described as genocide, their homes obliterated and lands divvied up.
1 AT: Magna Tellus Independence
The Peasant King’s final battle occurred on July 3rd, 1 AT. After a bloody campaign spanning 51 years, the last Radiant Empire foothold was destroyed. The Peasant King, still protected by anonymity, gave up control of his forces back to their respective nations and disappeared—though not before convening all the major leaders of the rebellion. From this meeting, the Populo Federation was established, and all the countries and nations that had once been ancestral enemies became allied states of the federation.
Despite this event, the Human-Kavi conflict wouldn’t end for another century, during which the Radiant Empire would make numerous attempts to reclaim Magna Tellus—gaining land back along the coast, but finding it impossible to support across an entire ocean. The Populo Federation would retaliate in kind and make two disastrous attempts at invading the kavi’s homeland of Aahana, as well.
The Long War’s Treaty
On February 17th, 105 AT, the two great nations would finally sign a peace treaty: The Long War’s Treaty, agreeing to never cross the Altum Ocean and cut off all contact. This period of isolationist peace would last for 400 years before the two nations clashed again.