History of Dambrath
Hasifir, the current Queen of Dambrath, can trace her bloodline directly to the original queen, who took control with the blessing of the drow shortly after the defeat of Reinhar IX and his Arkaiun forces. Though the history of Dambrath's Crinti royalty is full of intrigue and betrayal, the same family has managed to maintain firm control of the throne for five centuries. Such stability does not ensure the current queen's safety, however. Many of Hasifir's cousins hold seats of power throughout Dambrath, and more than a few of them scheme to unseat her and rule in her place.
Despite its relatively threatening posture, Dambrath is decidedly standoffish with respect to other nations. The Crinti aren't interested in conquering anyone else - they enjoy the creature comforts of home too much to go off to war. But they recognize all too well that other nations might not be convinced of their disinterest, particularly because of Dambrath's relationship with the drow of T'lindhet. Thus they find it necessary to maintain a reasonable military force to dissuade those nations from acting on their fears.
For their part, the drow of T'lindhet feel the same way. They have more than enough business to occupy their energies in the Underdark without worrying about the goings-on above, much less the happenings beyond Dambrath's borders. As long as the Crinti continue to manage Dambrath's affairs effectively and keep a steady flow of goods passing between the surface and the Underdark, the dark elves are happy.
Queen Hasifir realizes that the Crinti are not the sole bastion of power in Dambrath, and she would like very much to change that situation. But she is wise enough to know that there is little to be gained, and much to be lost by confronting Ferla Treerunner in the Forest of Amtar or King Ghassis in the Great Swamp. Even chasing down the rebels hiding out in the Swagdar would probably put enough strain on her forces and weaken the country against invasion from the outside. Thus, she presents a remarkably disinterested face regarding these issues, believing that she can reduce their significance accordingly.
History of Dambrath
The history of Dambrath is a brief one. Despite its advantageous geography and relatively favorable climate, settlers took a long time to arrive here from other parts of Faerûn. The nation's short history can be broken into two main periods: the time of the humans, and the time of the Crinti.
|-946||Nar people of Shandaular flee the northern terminus of a two-way portal in Ashanath before the nentyarch's armies, leaving their king, Arkaius, behind to seal the portal. The tribes, now in the Council Hills area of the Shaar, adopt the name Arkaiuns in honor of their fallen monarch.|
|211||Year of Spoiled Splendors||Arkaiun tribes flee the Council Hills region ahead of invading Untheric and Mulhorandi armies and migrate southwest. They roam the grasslands along the southern coast of Faeriin, eventually settling along the coast of the Bay of Dancing Dolphins.|
|314||Year of Stammering Apprentice||trade city of Shantil (present-day Cathyr) is founded.|
|381||Year of Broken Chalice||Hazuth is founded.|
|423||Year of Velvet Night||Several tribes of Arkaiuns skirmish over territorial rights in the Wandering War.|
|467||Year of Four Winds||A hill giant dire wereape named Dermos the Proud emerges from the wilderness, claiming to be a manifestation of Malar. Dermos develops a fanatical following and orders the slaughter of all Arkaiuns who oppose him.|
|469||Year of Dusty Library||Dermos the Proud and all the members of his beast cult are slain at the Ambush of Blackrock Ridge.|
|545||Year of Pernicon||A warchief named Reinhar unites the various Arkaiun tribes into a single nation, thereby founding the kingdom of Dambrath. Reinhar names himself King Reinhar I.|
|546||Year of Rusted Sabre||Dambrath invades and conquers Luiren and subjugate its halfling population.|
|551||Year of Barren Chamber||Reinhar I conquers Estagund.|
|552||Year of Dead||Dambrath conquers Var the Golden.|
|553||Year of Gnashing Tooth||Dambrath invades Durpar and sacks several coastal cities, then invades Halruaa and occupies several Halruaan cities.|
|554||Year of Waving Wheat||King Reinhar I is defeated and slain in battle by the Halruaan wizard Mycontil at Sulaziir. The old king's son, Reinhar II, leads the army in retreat to Dambrath.|
|600||Year of Fire and Frost||Reinhar III and his two sons are slain by giants while hunting in the Gnollwatches. After a brief succession war, Reinhar III's nephew is crowned King Reinhar IV.|
|617||Year of Needless Slaughter||A mysterious bloating sickness kills one in ten Arkaiuns, including Reinhar IV.|
|647||Year of Wayward Heart||Reinhar VI ascends the throne of Dambrath.|
|716||Year of Reaching Regret||Silver is discovered in the Gnollwatch Mountains. The population of Herath triples in a year's time.|
|802||Year of Patchworked Peace||Miners digging for silver in the Gnollwatches just north of Herath break through into the Underdark and discover the drow city of T'lindhet. The drow, angered at this perceived invasion, kill the miners and begin raiding the towns and villages around the mine entrance.|
|803||Year of Reaching Hand||King Reinhar IX orders an expeditionary force into the mines to take the battle to the drow homeland. The attack is a disaster, and the humans are quickly driven back to the surface.|
|808||Year of Crescent Moon||T'lindhet drow kill nearly five thousand human troops in the Battle of the Shadowed Vale, just north of Herath.|
|817||Year of Deadly Torch||More than fifteen hundred drow are slain by wild elves in the southern fringes of the Forest of Amtar after retreating there from a larger force of human cavalry.|
|819||Year of Mendacious Page||Drow overrun the city of Herath.|
|822||Year of Wizard's Chalice||Prastuil falls to the drow.|
|825||Year of Silver Flagon||drow take the cities of Luenath and Maarlith.|
|830||Year of Ambitious Proposal||drow besiege the city of Shantil, trapping King Reinhar and his army on the peninsula to the south of the city.|
|831||Year of Deceptive Tongue||Betrayed by their allies, the half-elf priestesses of Loviatar, the Arkaiun people are defeated at the Battle of Crimar. Cathyr, the High Priestess of Loviatar, slays Reinhar IX. The priestesses agree to rule Dambrath on behalf of the drow. Cathyr renames the capital city in her own honor and becomes the first Queen of Dambrath.|
|973||Year of Emptied Lair||A horde of Crinti shadow marauders rides through the Nath Pass to raid towns in Halruaa, sparking a series of skirmishes between the two countries that lasts four years.|
|1023||Year of Pirates' Trove||Raiders from Estagund attempt an invasion, landing near Darmesh and marching west along the peninsula. Dambrathan forces defeat them easily near Hethar.|
|1035||Year of Falling Stars||Filina, the queen's daughter, slays Cathyr in her sleep and assumes the throne of Dambrath.|
|1040||Year of Lion's Heart||Cathakay, Filina's daughter, bribes her mother's newest paramour to murder the queen, then takes her place on the throne.|
|1094||Year of Crested Thrush||Cathakay engages a gold wyrm in battle above the Hills of Dead Kings and the two slay one another. The queen's niece, Melinith, takes the crown.|
|1116||Year of Empty Scabbard||Dambrathan navy corners and defeats a large fleet of pirates off the coast of Timarl. Thirteen ships filled with stolen goods go down in waters more than 200 feet deep.|
|1174||Year of Agate Hammer||Dambrath conducts a series of raids along the coast of the Great Sea, attacking and plundering the coastal cities of Estagund, Durpar, and Veldorn.|
|1211||Year of Crimson Crag||Queen Melinith dies of old age, and her daughter Ausitil assumes the throne. This event marks the first peaceful succession in the history of the Crinti.|
|1213||Year of Night's Peace||After a series of mishaps results in numerous defeats at sea, Queen Melinith recalls her navy and institutes a policy of isolationism for Dambrath that continues today.|
|1275||Year of Blade||Queen Ausitil dies in her sleep. The country is without a queen for thirteen days while Yenandra, the recognized heir to the throne, is magically unreachable at sea. Upon her return, Yenandra slays two cousins who are also active contenders for the throne and is immediately crowned queen.|
|1313||Year of Shattered Oak||Valraxaxath, a black dragon dwelling in the Great Swamp, rises and terrorizes the countryside for four days and nights before vanishing again.|
|1356||Year of Worm||Queen Yenandra, suffering the ravages of old age and disease, is willingly transformed into a spectral guardian by her wizard daughter Hasifir and several drow sorcerers. Hasifir assumes the throne.|
Dambrath is a matriarchal society ruled by a queen who also serves as the High Priestess of the Temple of Loviatar. The queen selects Crinti nobles to fill the other posts within the national government, including but not limited to the honglath (judges), the commanders of the military, and the senior priestesses of Loviatar's temples in other cities.
The current Queen of Dambrath is Hasifir Hazm'cri (LE female half-drow Wiz12/Clr4 of Loviatar), who - in defiance of custom - was a powerful wizard rather than a high cleric of Loviatar when she took the throne. Her selection came as a surprise to her subjects, who fully expected her mother Yenandra (LE female half-drow Rog3/Clr10 of Loviatar/scourge maiden 3), the so-called "Pirate Queen," to name one of Hasifir's sisters as successor, since both were clerics who shared their mother's taste for sailing and pillage. But Yenandra was visibly failing from both old age and a wasting disease that baffled Dambrath's clerics. In exchange for the throne, Hasifir offered her mother a spell that would allow her to choose the manner and time of her own death, bind her to the land she had ruled for so long, and weave her name into undying legend.
With the help of a circle of drow sorcerers and the blessing of Loviatar, Hasifir transformed Yenandra and her favorite horse into a spectral guardian and a nightmare, respectively. Now, during the dark of the moon, the people of Dambrath often report seeing a beautiful Crinti rider and her horse, their eyes glowing with red light, moving soundlessly across the countryside. Now called the Nightmare Queen, Yenandra is both loved and feared, as she was during life, and the red lights of her eyes have become a common sight in Dambrath.
Upon taking the throne, Hasifir was forced to accept the role of High Priestess of Loviatar as well as the crown. Thus, she began clerical training and has proven an apt enough student, though she has to rely heavily on advisors within Loviatar's church to perform the more important ceremonies until she is proficient enough to do them herself. Thus, her clerical advisors wield considerably more political power than Loviatar's secondary priestesses normally would.
Crinti duchesses and baronesses hold traditional and hereditary seats of power in Dambrath's various cities, ruling the urban centers and the lands around them with the support of the honglath and the local temple of Loviatar. Though the honglath hold trials and pass judgment on criminals, the duchesses and the temple are responsible for enforcing those rulings and meting out the punishments. In Dambrath, governmental processes' are tightly intertwined with the tenets of the Maiden of Pain's faith - each compliments and supports the other across many facets of daily life. The three components of the political structure - the nobility, the honglath, and the temples - function as a set of checks and balances for one another. Because the queen derives her power from the support of these groups, she takes care to ensure that she has the full backing of at least two of them on any given issue.
From the Crinti's point of view, just about every other government or power center in southern Faerûn is a potential enemy - if for no other reason than the general hatred of drow and their kin that pervades most of Faerûn. However, this xenophobia has waned to some degree with Dambrath's emergence as a valued trade partner in both sea and land commerce. Because of this commercial potential and the fact that Dambrath has shown no signs of hostility in a number of decades, a cautious peace reigns between Dambrath and its neighbors. Still, the chance of sudden conflict keeps the leaders of each country eying the others nervously.
Of all the nations with which Dambrath has engaged in armed conflict in the past, its neighbor to the west is perhaps the least, willing to believe that the Crinti desire peace. The Halruaan wizards are suspicious already because of their keen fear of invasion by nations greedy for their magic, but they particularly distrust Dambrath, since both the Crinti and the Arkaiuns before them have given the wizards good reason to doubt that peace can hold. Even today, despite Queen Hasifir's official stance of neutrality, Dambrathan privateers sometimes prey on Halruaan merchant ships, and Crinti shadow marauders regularly ride into the Nath to harass and raid Halruaan citizens there. Yenandra sent emissaries to Halruaa on more than occasion to assuage the wizards' concerns, but she secretly enjoyed watching them bristle and bluster about her lack of control over her own people.
Since Queen Hasifir's ascension to the throne, the Halruaan wizards have grown more concerned about invasion because of her intense interest in magic. Rumors suggest that she plans to unleash new spells upon her western neighbor, including some acquired from drow sorcerers, to gain access to the fabled Halruaan magic. Worse still, some of the more ambitious and unscrupulous members of Halruaa's growing cult of Shar have begun to wonder whether Crinti magic might speed their ascent to power. Though all Halruaans are insular and somewhat xenophobic, the corrupting influence of the Shadow Weave might sway the emerging sorcerers in their midst to seek dangerous new alliances with their Crinti neighbors.
The wild elves living' in the Forest of Amtar constitute Dambrath's only stable elf population. The Trunadar are dedicated to battling the drow of T'lindhet to ensure that, the forest never falls to the dark elves the way the rest of Dambrath has.
Though few other elves have any interest in setting foot inside the country's borders, they would not be sorry to see its Crinti power structure crumble into ruin. But the elves returning from the Retreat have little interest in moving against Dambrath directly, since they have far too many other crises to contend with (such as the drow invasion of Cormanthor). However, if the Arkaiuns were to rise up against their oppressors, more than a few elf adventurers might be willing to aid the cause of freedom.