The origins of Lacour and Kalousa are partly shrouded in legend and are largely thanks to two brothers. Their father, Myrnus, passed soon after conquering the ancient kingdom of Lacour, which was believed to be one homogenous nation – the first in the world. The Myrnans, a neighbouring tribal people, rapidly organised themselves under the Horse clans and Canoe clans and seized the whole kingdom. Instability followed as various tribal nations invaded from all sides. Myrnus managed to hold them back but ordered his followers to spread abroad via the canoes, which were ocean-worthy. This was largely to save the Kingdom of Lacour and Myrna for his three sons and to prevent his fellow warlords from fighting their claim. Myrnus died and his son Laddac decided to ally with some of his uncles and keep Lacour for himself, while Callad and the sickly Myrnac were to receive nothing. Callad mobilised the West and fought his brother successfully but the sheer numbers of his foes pushed him into a defensive position in the Heaven Steps, along the Halycon river and sea. The Laddac faction suffered innumerable casualties along this line especially against the Calladian phalanx. Going against the advice of his allies, Callad decided to abandon the fight and left for Kalousa. The rump state he left behind fought on but the War of Brother’s was over.
Kalousa was a huge coastal fortress built by the Fork Dwarves as a toehold in their gradual conquest of the coastal provinces and as a defence against the waves of canoe raiders. The 500 Dwarf defenders were not prepared for tens of thousands of Calladian troops, refugees and their families on fast canoes. Despite destroying many of them, it would be the first and last time the fortress fell and it became the capital of his new country. Thousands of Myrnans and Lacrenes had settled the coast east of Kalousa prior to Callad, prompting him to seek their allegiance or be destroyed. He managed to secure the neighbouring province but faced resistance further on with neutral settlers and Berm, as well as Slate. Slate was the most powerful of these and a warlord dwelt there that demanded Callad to leave, as it was his land to conquer or so Myrnus had decreed. The Slate Empire was declared and posed a serious threat to Callad as his three nieces who now ruled Lacour decided to ally with Slate and landed troops in Berm. The Berm war was vicious and reminiscent of the Brother’s War, with phalanxes fighting off masses of Myrnan cavalry and Lacrene infantry charges. It was a victory for Kalousa as Berm was to remain neutral along with the middle state; Lacour was ejected while Kalousa controlled the three eastern provinces. Slate expanded overseas to Terra Nova instead, while Kalousa began to develop after centuries of war.
Under the rule of the Three Queens, Lacour had high hopes but was far from utopia. They decided to divide the land in three against their father’s wishes and rule them separately, only to coordinate external relations like defence and trade. The tribal problem was immense and the worst was yet to come. A period of Reconstruction allowed the construction of the Highroad and its defences and a series of alliances were created with the settled tribal kingdoms from the time of Myrnus to preserve the status quo. Peace with Kalousa and Slate stimulated trade across the Channel and greatly helped the Three Queens acquire capital to pay for their defensive arrangements. The Orangii and the Terrible Triad Tribes began to attack the North East of the continent, forcing hundreds and thousands of desert and plateau tribes to move south to escape the slaughter. They came crashing up against the Highroad and despite holding well they managed to burst through in the west (dual pressure from the Proto-Oases and Ranjeeq from Laccai). The East held easily enough despite desperate attempts to break through while the Centre was much more flexible and Lacrene Cavalry were hugely effective on the plains. The body count was immense but more than half of Lacour was saved. The West had largely fallen with the exception of the capital; Laccai was occupied by the Ranjeeq and others while plague broke out in the East. The cities were rife with disease as troops returned from the front. Word of another wave almost broke the morale of the Lacrenes – Chaos had emerged in the NW in place of the hostile tribes!
The Chaos ripple effect was even worse than the Tribal one as it was more concentrated and struck a nation affected by plague. Chaos armies appeared along the Highroad and fought a number of pitched battles against Lacour and the tribes that had occupied portions of the line. Lacour was defeated in the field but the tribal bands managed to hold their own. A last desperate attempt to save Lacour was made north of Three Ports, with the help of Kalousa, Myrna and the Western patchwork countries Chaos was checked and retreated to the Highroad. An Orangii army wiped out a much large Chaos host far to the north of the Earth Mountains. Chaos forces held onto swathes of Viridian lowlands, valleys and Storm Mount in the NW. The Ranjeeq defeated the Chaos at Masoud but were sufficiently weakened to allow the native Laccai to rise up from Soukh and reclaim their country. After all the invasions, Lacour was in terrible shape and had many new minorities within its borders and a host of new neighbours in the W, N, NE and E. Vassalage was key to controlling what the Queens had left – a host of lords sprung up who rented their land to natives and tribals alike. They in turn owed their allegiance to the Queens ultimately, allowing for decentralisation and the emergence of an enriched noble class. High tariffs were risen up to protect Lacour from foreign competition.
In direct contrast to Lacour, Kalousa avoided war and developed itself internally. Agriculture was very difficult in Kalousa and a very delicate system of irrigated farming along the few viable waterways managed to feed the labourers, who supplemented their crop with grapes, which enriched them greatly. Kalousa City had huge amounts of room and people lived in relative comfort in what were munitions stores for the Dwarves. Fishing allowed for a surplus and a centralised bureaucracy emerged, mainly to manage the farms further east. The Golden Phalanx emerged to handle law and order, the border with Mid-Berm and supervise tax collection. The Red Cloaks were created later to train Kalousa’s burgeoning mage population, collect and create materials for the library and to defend the rights of the individual, especially women. These two organisations would later come to dominate the country and would have profound influence on the policies of the Kallad (Warlord-King). Trading with Lacour was important but farther contacts were constantly sought and links cultivated – Ankhara became an important early trade partner as well as Omera and the recently liberated Laccai Kingdom. Slate and Fork and other neighbours on land were treated with caution.