The first scouts had reported that there was a population of savages in the new land. A strong force, some three hundred soldiers, were moved up to the cliff top by magic. There they built a small fort above the work site. From this base they hunted game to feed the clan and protected the work parties that labored to build the road. At first the natives kept their distance, watching and studying the Velitar. But as time passed and it became obvious that the strangers weren’t moving on and the hunting parties took more and more game, the natives reacted.
A force of seventy or eighty savages came out of the forest one morning and formed a line. The Velitar leaders on site rode out with a hundred heavy infantry and thirty or forty mounted troops to meet them. The savages wore armor of layered leather reinforced with bone. They carried shields of wicker and leather and were armed with bows, spears, slings, clubs, stone maces and a few bronze war axes. The Velitar heavy infantry, then as now, consisted of troops in knee length hauberks of mail, concial helms, and large rectangular shields. They were armed with broadswords, hand axes and crossbows. The Velitar infantry was renowned for its crossbow tactics. Traditional tactics called for placing troops in a defendable position and using skirmishers to goad the enemy into attacking. The shields employed by the heavy infantry were rectangular and a good three feet long and almost two wide. Inside the shield was a hinged prop of wood or iron that allowed a soldier to stand it up in front of him. The infantry would form two lines, shoulder to shoulder with their shields standing in front of them. The first rank would shoot a volley at the charging enemy then kneel down behind the cover of the shields and reload while the second rank shot it’s volley. The lines fired by platoons, not all at once, this ensured that there where always loaded troops ready to shoot. Normally there would be a third rank of pike men behind the lines of crossbowmen. If the enemy had cavalry the pike men would present their weapons and form a barrier of steel that horses were reluctant to charge home against. In this encounter with the savages, the enemy had no mounted troops on the field. It would later be learned that the savages had no mounted troops at all.
As the Velitar formed their double ranks the natives began to chant and sing. Individuals came forward and began to sing solos in counterpoint to the group. The Velitar were at first puzzled, then amused. The troops began to guaff and finally laugh outright. One of the individuals, a young warrior by appearances, grew enraged at the laughter and charged the Velitar. At this the mass of the natives cheered but made no attempt to advance. The Velitar officer didn’t hesitate. The order was given and the bolts began to fly. The crossbows greatly out ranged the short bows used by the natives, who were well within easy shot of the Velitar infantry. These men were experienced soldiers, veterans of a dozen bloody battles, their disciplined volleys had mowed down thousands of heavily armored opponents and they made short work of the eighty or so natives in front of them.
No sooner had the last bodies hit the ground and the troops were reloading, then a second force of savages, numbering perhaps a hundred, charged screaming from the woods. The Velitar cavalry, which had been drawn up in reserve, charged the savages with lance and sword. The attacking natives slid to a halt at the sight of the mounted men, paused to stare, then turned and fled. The natives had never seen mounted men before and the shock of that alone was enough to route them. Most of the natives made into the forest, but about thirty were skewered by the horsemen. When the battle was over there were a hundred and sixteen dead natives with only one Velitar casualty, a broken arm from a fall from a horse.
Over the next nine months there were repeated skirmishes between the natives and the troops. The savages soon learned that in a face to face encounter on an open field the strangers would shoot them to bits. Velitar horse archers were particularly devastating. But in the deep woods, where visibility was limited and movement restricted, where ambushes could be laid and rapid retreat was easy, things were different. The natives knew the ground and were masters of stealth and concealment. Using hit and run tactics they tormented the Velitar, restricted their hunting and harassed the work parties.
The Velitar responded violently. Their wizards located native villages and working with the troops attacked them from the air and the ground. The savages had shamans and witch doctors, but they were outclassed by the sophisticated and powerful magics of a people long used to warfare on a massive scale. For every Velitar the natives killed, the clansmen killed ten or more of them.
So it was that when the clan finally reached the top of the cliff they had another war on their hands. Some eighteen thousand Velitar and perhaps a thousand Katalla finally climbed the road. The rest had died or left with Menakem Kudrun. Though the native population out numbered the Velitar at least three to one, they were divided into dozens of different bands and tribes, many of whom had ancient feuds of their own. Unable to present a united front against the invader the natives were driven back foot by bloody foot. There were native victories, but they were far too few to halt the Velitar, the end was inevitable.
The Claiming of the Land
When the Velitar finally reached the valley, their new King ordered the temporary fort at the top of the road to be strengthened and enlarged to defend the road. With the population still living in tents many thought that a waste of resources, but Wingstan was very aware of the vulnerability of the clan to attack from two directions. Not only could the ever present nomads attack without warning, but there was always the possibility that the army of Calbazar might come marching over the horizon. Many believed that Calbazar had given up on them, but Wingsten and the High Priest Calpernis knew better. The religious artifacts that were in the clans possession were enough in themselves to ensure an attack if the Empire ever learned of the clan’s whereabouts.
The Velitar settled into the task of claiming the valley. The area known as Gemmatus, or more commonly, `South Gate’ was the first land settled by the clan. Drunmore was the first city and capital of Velitrium. Here was built the first Temple to Mitra and the first monastery, the first College of Learning, and the first library.
As the clan pushed steadily north, contesting with the Jhensari for every yard, more and more towns and villages were built. Eventually the present capital, the city of Velitrium was constructed. The capital was moved here because it was a more central location and it was able to take advantage of the easier communications possible with Lake Aldin and the rivers flowing into it. Gemmatus became a Duchy along with two other areas, `Ferramentum’ and `Argentatus’ so named because of the gems, iron and gold found in each area.
In the reign of King Barren, in 149 the Jhensari were at last pushed out of the valley and into the northern forest. To keep them out King Barren ordered a great wall to be built across the narrow point of the valley. The King also created an order of Knighthood, called the Knights of the Wall, to defend the wall. The wall, called `Barren’s Wall’ still stands today, and the Knights still guard it.
The fourth province or Duchy of Velitrium, extends from Lake Aldin north to Barren’s Wall. It is called the `Frontier’ and is still the poorest and least developed of the Duchies.
The next great crisis for the Velitar came in 211, when for seven years, during a period called `The Dark Years’, death stalked the land in the guise of a horrible and deadly plague. Thousands died, including the King, the royal family and the last descendants of the Lords of the Velitar.
A crisis of succession was upon the kingdom. Fear of civil war gripped the nobles. Across the land nobles began arming themselves, gathering troops and negotiating alliances. As the country girded itself for war other nobles, along with Church leaders and representatives of the people, met to find a peaceful solution. After weeks of negotiations a solution was hit on. A council of Nobles, Dukes and Counts, elected a new King. The man, Lublin Andorra, was an extremely popular individual, well educated, a proven warrior and with some noble blood. Andorra was elected king for life, upon his death the Council would elect a new king. It only remained for the Church and the people to approve the decision. The Church had been involved in setting up the process of the election so the Arch Bishop was expecting the delegation. He blessed the King-elect and went with the delegation to the Great Temple to present the King to the crowd. There was much trepidation on the part of the nobles. This was a novel solution to the problem of succession and they were uncertain how the people would respond.
Much to everyone’s relief the crowd cheered and acclaimed the selection of Andorra as King. Lublin Andorra was crowned the first elected King three days later. There were a couple of little issues to be resolved first. Traditionally, since the days of Vathak Wingsten, the King of Velitrium was also head of the Ancient Order the Knights of the Velitar’ (some times called the Knights of Velitrium). Andorra wasn’t even a member of the order, much less in position to become it’s leader. A day of hectic negotiations followed and finally culminated with Andorra being knighted and invested two days before the coronation. During the coronation he was also elevated to the head of the Knights of the Velitar.
Since that day in 218 when Andorra was elected King, the procedure has remained essentially the same. The Council elects a candidate, the Church approves him and the crowd acclaims him. He is knighted, if he isn’t already, and is crowned three days later at the same time assuming command of the Order of the Knights of the Velitar. The present King, Urien Gore is the twenty sixth elected king of Velitrium. The only times there has ever been a problem was in 507 when the then King Garatu Rostov attempted to change the system to a hereditary dynasty. He was known as `The Despot’ and was officially deposed by the Council. A new king was elected and a short but bloody fight followed. The new king, Soche Agata, hence forth called `King Slayer’ ruled until his death in 529. The other difficulty occurred in 621 when Aslon Klamath rigged the vote in Council and bribed the Arch Bishop to Bless him. The crowds acclamation was half hearted at best and when word leaked out that Klamath had bribed key members of the Council, civil war broke out.
The fighting dragged on for nine years, Klamath was killed in the third year and a new king, Valdesta Wofford, was elected. It was another six years before all the guilty nobles had been brought to justice and the new king was officially crowned. During that period Wofford ruled as king-elect.
The Great Rebellion
The present ruler, King Urien, has ruled since 740. With a reign of fifty nine years he is the longest ruling of any monarch. Forty seven had been the record prior to this. Urien’s reign has been both long and eventful. The Great Rebellion began in 765 and lasted till 768. Led by Duke Mulgrave of Gemmatus, it was an attempt on his part to seize the throne of Velitrium for himself. To that end he employed his own hauscarls, local militia troops that he duped and drafted into service, mercenary scum from the back alleys of every city and town in the valley, and most importantly, forces from Khun Dagra. Human mercenaries from the towns of Khun Dagra as well as hordes of Goblins, Hob-Goblins, Giants, Trolls and armies of undead zombies.
Mulgrave was a secret follower of the Dark Lore and particularly the powerful and dreaded `Scarlet Cult’. Using his connections with the Cult he began, in 745, a campaign of terror and intrigue that built up his own wealth and power, while at the same time laying the seeds for the battle to come.
Secret caches of weapons and supplies were placed in strategic areas. Bribes were paid, nobles and officials were corrupted. Those that couldn’t be bought or controlled were assassinated. As the time grew close bands of troops and Goblins were secreted across the countryside. Counterfeit money flooded the cities and towns in an effort to destabilize the Crown.
In 765 the battle began. Mulgrave’s forces moved north across the Lendalfoot River into Ferramentium. They seized the town of Leedale in the County of Leed, as well as the villages of Soubridge and the town of Girvan in the County of Girvan. Simultaneously a combined human and humanoid force struck north out of the Palood into Argentatus and seized the town of Lendale in the County of Lendale. From the Monar Mountains in the east three columns of humans and humanoids out of Khun Dagra marched on Argentatus. Two entered the County of Neuchatal, north of the Mingulay River, while the third stayed south of the river in the County of Lendale, seeking to unite with the force out of the Palood.
In the west a huge horde of humanoids out of the Mondalaith Mountains headed for the city of Glenluce and the Iron Hills and Dwarfdale. In the south Mulgrave’s troops besieged the Gates of Nygg.
The Scarlet Cult had succeeded in stirring up some of the Jhensari tribes and these attacked the Wall. Though these attacks were unsuccessful they did tie up reinforcements that the King badly needed elsewhere. Small bands of Jhensari infiltrated the forests in the east of the Frontier and caused much damage in hit and run massacres.
Mulgrave’s Hauscarls had, in the early morning hours of the first day, seized the barracks of the Royal troops stationed in Drunmore and other towns of Gemmatus. Denied these forces as well as reinforcements from the Frontier, King Urien was in a bad way. Scraping together every man he could find the King organized two scratch armies. The smaller one was sent to Ferramentium to aid Duke Glendall’s forces, the larger, under the King, marched into Argentatus.
Weeks of marching and counter marching followed. Village after village was sacked by the invaders and refugees streamed into Velitrium. The walled towns were besieged. Some would hold out for months but no relief was in sight and they fell one after another.
The first bright spot came from the Iron Hills. Despite overwhelming numbers the humanoids had been unable to break the defenses erected and guarded by the Dwarves. That siege would last for well over a year. Next was Glenluce. Over a period of sixteen months the enemy besieged and assaulted it on three separate occasions. Not only did the city hold, but on each occasion the forces inside the city, combined with the Royal army in the countryside, broke the siege with heavy losses for the attackers.
By the end of the first year the west was contained. The Frontier was also stable and the King was able to bring troops by ship across Lake Aldin. But the center and the east were a different story. Mulgrave’s army had succeeded in uniting with the Palood force and now held several bridges and fords across the Varsol. They occupied all of County Girvan, and most of Leed and parts of Corruna. The Palood troops held all of County Lendale and County Neuss. The Khun Dagra horde south of the Mingulay controlled County Auratas and was in contact with the Palood troops. They also held bridges over the Mingulay and were in contact with the two armies occupying County Neuchatal.
As the enemies settled down in their winter strongholds there began a six month campaign of small unit commando style raids and attacks. This was when the King’s Avengers really paid for themselves. Midnight attacks, firebombs, poisoned supplies and assassination were used by both sides. All the while the King rebuilt his forces.
In the spring of 766 fighting began again with a fresh round of Jhensari raids in the north. A column of goblins in Ferramentium attempted to thrust north through the County of Minfolin to take the Frontier from the west and give the Jhensari an opportunity. Somewhere in the Minfolin forest a force of several hundred Elves, Avengers and Knights of the Wall, ambushed the three or four thousand Goblins. The Royal force was aided by the King’s wizard, Mog-Sur and the carnage they wrought was gratifying to behold. A couple hundred Goblins made it back to the Mondalaith Mountains. They didn’t bother returning to the main horde in Ferramentium, they had lost their stomach for the war.
Mulgrave led his troops in a successful attack on the town of Varsol. The enemy was less than fifteen miles from Velitrium. Though no one realized it then, the Rebellion had hit it’s high water mark. Mulgrave was as close to Velitrium as he was ever going to get.
For three months after the fall of Varsol the King played a protracted game of hide and seek through out Argentatus. Mulgrave’s personal force was roughly equal to the Royal Army, but the humanoid hordes were almost twice the size of the King’s army. King Urien sought to trap Mulgrave or a portion of the humanoid horde in some favorable position in order to destroy it or at least maul it heavily. Mulgrave sought to pin the King long enough to bring all of his forces to bear and annihilate the Royal Army. It was during this period that the King and his Wizard conceived the following plan.
Determining that the only remaining source of reserves available was the garrisons on Barren’s Wall, the King sent most of his Avengers, divided into three groups, deep into the Jhensari forests. By attacking village after village they were able to draw hundreds of warriors north, away from the Wall. Employing hit and run tactics and expending carefully hoarded reserves of magic, the Avengers kept the Jhensari war bands hunting them for weeks. Meanwhile the King stripped the Wall garrisons down to skeletal strengths. He had the Knights and soldiers brought across the lake in ships, barges and hastily built rafts. All together the force consisted of two hundred and seven armored knights and eleven hundred veteran heavy infantry.
Having secretly assembled this force the King at last allowed himself to be trapped along Lake Aldin. Near the village of Tralee in the County of Oesel the armies met. To Urien’s left and at his back was the water, to his right was an almost unscaleable rocky knoll which was held by a mixed bag of Dwarves, elves and human archers. In front of the King was Mulgrave’s entire force. All of his hauscarls, mercenaries and goblins together, over twenty two thousand strong. Against this the King’s army was around eight thousand, swollen by two regiments of green troops from the Frontier.
Urien anchored his line on the hill and the lake, then had the center bulge outwards like a bent bow. The best troops were massed on the ends, the green recruits held the center.
Though well leavened with veteran soldiers they would bear the brunt of the attack and the King planned for them to give ground.
For three hours the enemy hordes threw wave after wave at the Royal Army. Though the shock of the attacks drove the recruits back step by step they failed to achieve any penetration. As the troops retreated before the waves of howling goblins the defensive line grew shorter and actually got deeper and stronger. More and more of the veterans were able to come to grips with the enemy.
Finally deciding that the Royal forces were sufficiently weakened, Mulgrave committed the bulk of his reserves. These were his Hauscarls and the best of the human mercenaries. Behind this assault force Mulgrave threw all the remaining goblins, holding back only a couple squadrons of light cavalry for the pursuit when the Velitar were routed.
This is what the King had been waiting for. Once the armies were fully engaged he signaled Duke Sommel, ruler of the Frontier. From a concealed position, where they had waited all day, the reserves attacked. Mog-Sur had used his wizardry to conceal the reserves and he kept up the camouflage until the lead elements were less than a hundred yards from the rear of Mulgrave’s formation.
Those of Mulgrave’s troops who were in position to see, were shocked at the sight of four hundred and thirty five heavily armored knights mounted on heavily armored war horses, charging stirrup to stirrup with lances lowered. All two hundred and seven Knights of the Wall plus two hundred and twenty eight Knights of the Velitar, fighting side by side in formation for the first time in their collective histories. Behind them were some fifteen hundred crossbow armed heavy infantry.
A fully armored knight on his battle steed weighs in at well over a ton. The war horse, specially bred and trained just for this purpose, can charge at around twenty eight miles per hour. The cumulative effect of some eight hundred tons of steel, moving at just under thirty miles an hour, is utterly devastating.
The steel tipped avalanche slammed into the packed ranks of men and goblins and rolled over them like wind in wheat. Two thousand or more were trampled, impaled or hacked down before the charge lost it’s momentum. The shock wave of the attack spread outwards causing confusion and bringing the enemy attack to a halt. Mulgrave tried to recover. Humanoids lapped around the Knights in an effort to cut them off and isolate them. At this point the heavy infantry went to work.
Disdaining the few squadrons of cavalry in Mulgrave’s reserve, the infantry formed two ranks and began to give the goblins a painful lesson in the bloody effects of disciplined platoon volleys. Like clockwork the crossbows snapped and hummed and the enemy was mowed down in rows. Two charges by Mulgrave’s cavalry were shot to pieces before they got within two hundred feet of the crossbowmen. For fifteen minutes they shot into the roiling mass of confusion. Urien’s troops went on the offensive for the first time that day. Pushing back the fiercely resisting Hauscarls until those troops could feel the breath of the Knights steeds on the backs of their necks. The Knights were charging back and forth in small groups throughout the center of the horde. Sometimes breaking through to open ground only to wheel about and charge in again. A few had the misfortune to break out at the wrong place and were cut down by the crossbow volleys, but most had a wonderful time of it. The enemy was helpless against these mountains of armor, they were unable to organize an effective defense and they were completely demoralized by the apparent invulnerability of the Knights.
Trapped between the crossbow hammer and the anvil of the King, with their guts being torn apart by invulnerable opponents, the horde routed. The line of heavy infantry was not long enough to block the enemy in completely, so the fleeing goblins and men broke into two groups, one slipped out between the infantry and the lake, the other between the infantry and the hill. Once free of the death trap the routed troops spread out in a wide fan. Only the Hauscarls and the best of the human mercenaries held together and conducted a fighting withdrawal.
Under Mulgrave’s command this force, some four thousand or so, withdrew along the lake. This secured their one flank while their remaining cavalry screened the other. About half of the Knights and most of the heavy infantry pursued this force for hours, harassing them and trying to keep them off balance until the King could get organized enough to finish Mulgrave off. The pursuit was cut off by a sudden and extremely violent summer storm that gave Mulgrave cover until darkness allowed him to fully break contact with the Velitar.
The balance of the Knights and most of the remaining heavy infantry, along with a thousand or so of the King’s fitter troops, fanned out in pursuit of the humanoids. Until the storm brought a halt to it they rode down and slaughtered hundreds of Goblins, Hob-Goblins and renegade humans. To the Knights it was little more than a glorified fox hunt in which they rode down scarecrows. Thirty years later those that rode in the pursuit still refer to it as `The Great Hunt’. The Knights rode until their horses were blown, and then after a rest they went on again. For their part the enemy ran until they couldn’t run any more. After that they walked till they collapsed, then they crawled until they died. Such was the terror that the Knights inspired.
The Rebellion was over. Though it would sputter on for many months and it would be two years before Velitrium was completely scoured of humanoids, Mulgrave’s hopes were dashed. The Duke left eleven thousand casualties on the field at Tralee, another eighteen hundred were killed or captured during the `Hunt.’ Mulgrave withdrew with about forty five hundred men, and over the next two or three weeks managed to gather up another four thousand or so from the scattered survivors. But there was no question of capturing Velitrium, the `Dream’ was finished. The Duke led the survivors of Tralee back into Gemmatus.
Pursuit by the Royal forces was slow in coming. Urien had shipped the Wall Knights and garrison troops back across the lake within two days of the battle. He was afraid to leave the Wall unguarded any longer. Mog-Sur had reported that one of the three Avenger teams had been destroyed and that a second was heavily beset. Further, the Royal Army was in tatters. The Velitar’s victory, though decisive, was costly.
Of the eighty five hundred troops that had held the line at Tralee there were forty three hundred casualties. Further there were thousands of humanoids wandering the countryside through out County Oesel. Singly and in small groups they spread across the land, attacking small villages, burning farmsteads and terrorizing the countryside. A mounted force consisting of a hundred Knights of the Velitar, two hundred light cavalry and some two hundred mounted infantry harassed Mulgrave’s rear guard until he crossed back into Gemmatus.
In Gemmatus Mulgrave began to organize an evacuation. He knew that he could not hold South Gate against the Velitar, at least not indefinitely. His only option was to get out. The nobles that had supported Mulgrave now gathered their families and loyal supporters, and began packing everything they could carry, and burned, buried or hid everything else, and then set about putting as much distance as possible between themselves and vengeance.
At the start of the Rebellion Mulgrave had bribed, deceived and bludgeoned several regiments of Militia into his service. Recognizing the unreliability of these troops he had left them in Gemmatus as part of the garrison defending the Duchy. King Urien offered an amnesty to any militia that deserted the Duke and they did so in droves
The siege of Nygg was lifted and a force of two or three hundred goblins skulking along the edge of the Palood near Alfan, was destroyed.
In County Neuchatal the northern most Goblin horde suffered a humiliating and demoralizing defeat from a small band of farmers backed by a group of Druids. The `attack’ took place just before dawn and was conducted with the aid of a dust storm and two herds of sheep, a herd of cattle and a brush fire. Though the action inflicted few casualties amongst the goblins the effect, combined with news of Mulgrave’s defeat, caused mass desertions from both Goblin armies. Despite this there were still formidable enemy forces in the valley.
Thirty days after crossing into Gemmatus with his defeated forces, Mulgrave again entered Argentatus. The army that Mulgrave now led numbered over twenty one thousand. But some twelve thousand of these were noncombatant dependents. He had only seventy three hundred combat effective. The refugees headed east into the Monar Mountains, their goal was Khun Dagra, where they were guaranteed safe haven.
As he moved east across Argentatus Mulgrave’s force picked up hundreds of humanoid stragglers which he used to screen his column from harassing Royal cavalry. By coordinating efforts with the priests of the Scarlet Cult, the Velitar’s attention was distracted from the column by several attacks by the other Goblin armies. Several small but bloody holding actions were fought by Mulgrave’s Hauscarls and the combined efforts were such that the column of refugees ultimately reached safety in the narrow passes of the Monar Mountains.
Despite Mulgrave’s evacuation large Goblin and humanoid forces still remained in the valley. Over the next three or four months most of these withdrew also, but many bands of Goblins, Hob-Goblins, Giants and Trolls remained. It would be another year before these were destroyed or driven out.
With the Great Rebellion over and the invaders driven out, the Velitar set about rebuilding. Three fourths of the valley had suffered the effects of the war, tens of thousands had been killed or carried away to Khun Dagra as slaves. Tens of thousands more were homeless and hungry. Argentatus and Ferramentium had suffered heavy damage and much looting. Gemmatus, though only lightly damaged, had been extensively looted by Mulgrave’s forces. But the damage to Velitrium went far deeper than these physical manifestations.
Some thirty or forty thousand of the Velitar had revealed themselves to be secret practitioners of the Dark Lore. This from a total population of just under two hundred thousand! Included in this group were hundreds of Priests, Friars and Monks of Mitra. To a people that had long prided itself on its piety and mysticism this was a shattering blow to the collective psyche. Buildings could be repaired or rebuilt, even the lost population, some forty thousand either killed, carried away or fled, could be replaced. But pride of Faith and the Honor of the Velitar were irretrievably damaged.
There was other damage as well, less obvious perhaps but still severe. There was an enormous loss of trust and cohesion amongst the people. The citizens of Gemmatus, even the honest Faithful, of which there were many, have since been regarded with suspicion. The Church of Mitra lost much of its prestige and respect as well. This was somewhat retrieved by the Ecclesiastical Courts of Inquiry that thoroughly investigated each and every Priest, Friar and Monk, along with the Sacarium Guards. Several dozen secret followers of the Dark Lore were discovered and executed as a result. Today, thirty years later, these effects are finally being mitigated. It has taken two generations to ease the worst of these problems, but according to some authorities a new and perhaps more insidious effect of the Rebellion is only now bearing fruit.
According to Church and Secular law no man or woman may be bought or sold as a slave. The only exception to this is
Captives of War. By `Captives of War’ the law does not mean raids for the purpose of taking captives, but rather captives taken from a `legitimate and recognized Enemy of the Velitar during the course of regularly conducted military activities.’
When the Velitar arrived in the valley they had no slaves. The few captives that they had brought into the desert had either died, been killed or went with Menachem Kudrun’s group after the Revolt. The Jhensari have long been acknowledged as a, `legitimate and recognized Enemy of the Velitar as a whole’ but as a race they have proved resistant to enslavement. Any Jhensari above the age of five taken as a prisoner invariably suicides, escapes or attacks until killed while the very young quickly sicken and die. As a result of this the Velitar had no appreciable number of slaves at the start of the Rebellion. Following the Rebellion that changed.
Thousands of humanoids were captured during the fighting, especially after the Battle of Tralee. By the time the fighting wound to a close some twelve thousand Goblins and Hob-Goblins were being held in prison camps. These were used by the Crown as laborers to rebuild and repair much of the Rebellion’s damage. Eventually many were sold to Nobles, land owners and wealthy merchants for a tidy profit. Others were handed over to the various towns and cities and used to establish `Labor Chains’ to work on the nastier public projects. Several thousand were handed over to the Dwarves of the Iron Hills to become slaves in the Dwarves’ mines.
Most of these slaves have long since died off, but the war between Velitrium and Khun Dagra has never ended. As a result fresh captives are being constantly added to the slave population. Included in these captives have been many female and young humanoids, which were absent in the original captive groups. This has allowed a breeding pool to be established and has resulted in a permanent population of slaves in the valley. Today there are probably fifteen to eighteen thousand humanoid slaves in the valley. There is a small but thriving market for this population.
Many philosophers and religious leaders have decried this practice of breeding slaves. They say that it goes beyond the spirit of the law if not the letter of it. What bothers them even more is that not all the slaves are humanoids. Many humans were taken prisoner during the Rebellion and more have been taken since. Though the human slave population is not as large as the humanoid population, four to six thousand, it is growing. The antislavery people, a minority to be sure, argue that by promoting slavery the Velitar walk in the Shadow of the Dark. And it is only a small step from there into greater evil. Further, they argue that by allowing the captives to live as slaves the Velitar are fostering the Dark Lore rather than stamping it out as Mitra commands.
The Church, with the support of the Crown, has decreed that a child born of a human slave must be raised free. The slaves are of the Velitar and though the parents are followers of the Dark Lore the child is innocent of this stain. The law commands that the infant be taken from the mother and raised as a free born Velitar in another County.