The Path of Penance
General Island History
General Island History
- Over 1000 years ago: the Kugyo Isles were not even named as such. They were not part of the Empire, settled only by barbarian tribes of varying races. Though there were many tribes, often named after their totem animal spirits, they were collectively referred to as Savages. Hence the Isles were called the Savage Isles.
- Over 800 years ago: Ancient records suggest that the Empire attempted to colonize the Isles sometime before the Flight of the Dragons, but that the ill-fated revolution ended the fledgling colony. It is believed that the citadel that would come to be known as the Oubliette was constructed in part at this time.
- Over 600 years ago: the Empire found use for the Savage Isles. During the Warring States period, the Empire desired to exile its criminals. Exiling was useful in ending blood feuds, and in removing enemies whose killing would prove unwise, or unwanted. The Empire began to transform the ancient citadel into a prison, but for unknown reasons, quickly abandoned that plan. Instead of making a single structure, the Empire chose to turn the entire island into a prison. The Guardian Watchtowers were built to magically contain the exiles. This is when the Isles were given their current name Kugyo, after the native word for penance.
- Over 500 years ago: Precious mineral deposits were discovered on the Kugyo Isles. These metals and gems were needed as the Empire continued to expand on the continent. While the Empire planned to utilize this new resources, they needed a plan to deal with all the exiles on the Isles. Many were pardoned, forgiven of their or their ancestors crimes. For those that were deemed unforgivable, the abandoned citadel was fully transformed into the Oubliette. Many people of the Empire flocked to the Isles in search of their fortune. Following the miners and engineers, artisans and other skilled entrepreneurs joined the population of the island. Towns and cities grew during this time and the people of the Kugyo Isles gained a reputation for independence in the rugged wilderness.
- Over 300 years ago: the Isles were at the height of their prosperity. Many grand cities rivaled those on the continent, the Emperor even had an estate in the land where he once sent exiles. However, this opulence brought a terrible price. Unknown to the Empire, the thousands of small islands on the outskirts of their territory were populated by giants. These massive creatures’ greed drove them to invade and the Thunder War began. By the time the Empire was able to marshal its forces and send the giants cowering back to their island homes, much of the Kugyo Isles were leveled. The Empire had needed all of its strength. Even the defenders of the Oubliette were pulled from their posts. The great prison itself sealed, its prisoners left to die. The once great cities had been leveled during the struggle. Many who had come in search of riches gave up their dreams and returned to the continent. Only the most resilient remained to rebuild.
- Over 150 years ago: the mineral veins began to dry on the Isles. Some miners, desperate to maintain their livelihood, dug deeper than any had done before. In doing so, they released a terrible evil onto the islands. The miners broke through to a subterranean Underworld populated monstrous creatures and the merciless drow. Again, the Empire came to the aid of its citizens and the War of the Dark was waged. Great prices were once again paid to throw the creatures of the Underworld back and collapse their tunnels so that another invasion could never be mounted.
- Over 100 years ago: a terrible plague gripped the islands. Perhaps borne by the subterranean fumes from the Underworld, a sickness struck down from one-third to one-half the population of the Isles, especially targeting the young. With the mines dried, the war costs, and now this new plague, the Empire decided it was time to withdraw from the Kugyo Isles. To preserve the honor of the Empire, a single Sorcerer-King and garrison was left to watch over the islands from the city of Gem’s Harbor. After many years, the labors of clerics, druids, and their spirit allies, as well as the deep cut to the population, the plague finally ended. It was during this time that the Blossom Banquet tradition began. If a child was able to make it through his or her formative years (twelve for humans), a grand feast was thrown to celebrate the child’s survival.
- Over 60 years ago: perhaps encouraged by the plague-weakened situation of their enemies, the goblinoid races of the Isles attacked under the banner of Gulak One-Eye. Once thought relegated to a nuisance status, the goblinoid races had thrived during the plague years. Their attack hit like a hammer, decimating much of the garrison and killing the Mask of Gems. Even with one of their Sorceror-Kings killed, the Empire did not render aid as they once had. The Mask of Gems having been relegated to a position for weak leaders, the Isles as a drain on the Empire’s resources. The mask itself, fortunately, was not lost. A new Mask of Gems rose to the position and rallied the remaining population. In an odd coalition where sorcerers and citizens spoke and fought together on equal terms, victory was won. Gulak One-Eye was slain, his own coalition of monstrous humanoid tribes scattered to the winds. The Goblin Wars had concluded.
- Over 50 years ago: the small town of Peace’s Blessing was founded by refugees of the Goblin Wars. In this settlement children were born and raised that would come to shake the Empire to its foundation.