An Empire Divided

1380 DR: The Great Scourge sweeps out of the icy north of Faerun, its ranks filled with new undead from the fallen orc and barbarian kingdoms. Waterdeep declares a state of emergency. Tethyr’s capital city, Darromar, finally falls after a protracted siege by the Calimshan/Amn armies. Cormyr and Sembia end their cold war in order to make joint preparations to hold off the Scourge at the trading hub of Tilverton.

1381 DR: The Scourge overwhelms the Western Heartlands, leaving only a few isolated cities standing (Waterdeep and Baldur’s Gate). Rumors spread of a small band of resistance fighters operating out of the High Forest; some say they are led by religious fanatics, others say the group answers to a slight, unassuming youth who is actually a deadly assassin. The tide of refugees to the south becomes a deluge. Amn’s borders are overrun. A wave of political assassinations in Suzail and Ordulin destabilizes the alliance between Cormyr and Sembia. Tilverton falls.

1382 DR: This year becomes know as the year kingdoms and empires broke. Amn and Baldur’s Gate fall, as do Corymr and Sembia. The Eastern Kingdoms, partly protected by natural barriers, create new walls of stone and magic to seal off their kingdoms from the charnel house that the West has become. Calimshan’s plutocracy panics as the Scourge sweeps through Tethyr; the great houses free most of their slaves and depart for Tashalar, across the Shining Sea. Maztica declares independence from Amn. Lantan begins using its great dirigibles to destroy any mainland ship that enters its waters. The Shield dwarves of Citadel Adbar open their stone gates and pour out of the mountains, choosing this time to break the crippled barbarian and orc tribes. News of this creates great bitterness in the human and half-elf survivors of the Western Heartlands. Where were the dwarves when their neighbors needed them most?

1383-1386 DR: Calimshan’s empire is reduced to ashes as the undead ravage the countryside. The Calim desert and the Marching Mountains help keep the horde at bay; efforts to combat the undead are complicated by infighting in the Calimshan military. General Vesperus Tiber, a freed slave and former mercenary, returns to Calimshan from his adventures in the East. He unites the warring factions in Calimshan—some say through force of personality, others say with his mailed fist—and begins to push north. Waterdeep clears its lands of undead, but at great cost. Baldur’s Gate is retaken by a ragtag army led by the resistance fighters of the High Forest; the liberated city declares itself independent of Waterdeep. A drow army emerges from the Underdark to establish a new kingdom in what was known as Cormyr; rumors abound of the drow being able to operate in daylight, which strikes terror in the hearts of Faerun.

1387-1390 DR: Vesperus Tiber’s armies continue to push northward, “liberating” the lands of Tethyr and Amn. Tiber is crowned Emperor of the new Calimshan Empire as 1390 comes to a close; he shocks some by taking a half-elf of a minor noble house from Chondath as his queen. Baldur’s Gate sends ambassadors to Calimport; Emperor Tiber agrees to respect Baldur’s Gate independence and strikes trade and mutual assistance treaties.

1390 DR: Empress Acela gives birth to twin girls, Septima and Sunniva. Representatives of Calimshan’s former ruling elite declare Emperor Tiber an “usurper” and demand he step down. Tiber refuses; over the next 10 years, he narrowly survives no less than a half dozen assassination attempts.

1391 DR-1397 DR: Emperor Tiber solidifies his hold on Amn and Tethyr. In the fall of 1397, illness overcomes Tiber; the dowager empress Acela dies in childbirth shortly thereafter. Tiber’s trusted general Nicostratus assumes power until the twins come of age, a promise many feel will not be kept. When do Emperors ever willingly give up power? Cynics lay wagers on when the twins will meet with an unfortunate accident.

1398 DR: Emperor Nicostratus begins building a series of fortifications called Severus Vallum, which extends from the Sword Coast along the borders of Amn and Tethyr. Adherents to the Broken God, Ilmater, begin preaching that the Great Scourge proves that the gods have failed the people—except for Ilmater. Religious tension builds.

1399 DR-1408 DR: Emperor Nicostratus expands the Empire eastward, absorbing the lands of Turmish and Chondath. War breaks out with Tashalar, which proves to mostly be naval skirmishes surrounding the island of Tharsult. The dwarves of Citadel Adbar are driven back into their hold after a new wave of the Scourge erupts. Septima and Sunniva come of age, and Emperor Nicostratus shocks Faerun by keeping his promise to relinquish power.

1409 DR: Septima and Sunniva are crowned in a tense and elaborate ceremony; no one is sure how joint rulership will work, and the twins have barely worn the crowns for a fortnight before cracks in the government begin to appear. Sunniva converts to Ilmater and states publicly that worship of any deities other than the Broken God is heretical. Religious violence breaks out. Septima and Sunniva set up separate royal courts in Calimport; civil war seems inevitable.

1410 DR: Political assassinations rock Calimport, and both Septima and Sunniva survive attempts on their lives. A summit is called, and representatives from all over the Empire meet in a desperate effort to prevent all-out civil war. The king of Baldur’s Gate pleads with the twins to put aside their differences, since the Great Scourge has arisen once more. Former Emperor Nicostratus emerges from his retirement to broker a Grand Bargain: the empire will be split into two kingdoms, the western half ruled by Septima, the eastern half ruled by Sunniva from her mother’s home city of Ormpetarr. While nominally part of a greater empire, both will function as independent states bound by blood.

1411 DR: Empress Sunniva establishes her court in Chondath. The roads are choked with adherents of Ilmater who have decided to follow Sunniva. Sporadic religious violence breaks out, including a few skirmishes between troops loyal to Sunniva and Septima, but the Grand Bargain holds. However, relations between the two empires can only be described as cautious and tense.

1412 DR: Current year. Plague breaks out in the late winter and ravages Calimshan. Rumors from the North are few and far between, and many fear that the Scourge has completely wiped out civilization in the Western Heartlands. Tashalar takes Tharsult. Border clashes between Calimshan and Chondath become common yet neither empire will publicly admit to the battles. Calimport, always a city of intrigue, becomes a place of paranoia and back-alley murders. Agents of the former Calimshite nobles, Chondath, and dark forces unknown are rumored to be working in the port city and throughout the empire.


An Empire Divided Kenrik