The Iornai Isles: A Brief History

Waves of Peace

The Morati or Iornaians lived in relative peace during the First Era. Seven tribes scattered across the mainland formed a union with the northwestern Morati tribe as its spiritual head. Peace birthed industry and innovation as the Iornaians formed the first working democratic government in which all citizens voted on substantial issues across the islands for the sake of the island's future.

The Iornaians were profoundly spiritual, and it was a part of every Iornian's pilgrimage to the mainland to scale the immense mountain at its center named Tse'set or the Throne of Spirits. Here it's believed that Rom and Vashti had descended from the heavens to reign justly over the world. Rom during the day and Vashti during the night. The seven tribes recognized the mountains virtue, and it was the staple of their peace to share the mountain equally. When the tribes convened, it is at the base of the mountain in a spacious building known as 'Iolam'no Rey' or Island's Heart.

The genocide of Dariesh

It was at the rise of the Second Era when the Ahiri had unleashed the Sacramanti upon the world in which this age of peace ended. The first victim of the Ahiri's conquest was the island of Dariesh in the Southern Iornai isles. This island was a part of the Niram tribe, one of the island's seven tribes, and preeminent supplier of brass and other metals mined from the assortment of southern islands that they controlled. It was an easy win for the Ahiri as few experienced soldiers guarded the island.

I watched as they razed the place I called home. The men were beaten and sliced like meat, while the women and children were burned alive. Ashes fell like the late summer rains, choking out the light of the sun. I was small then. I hid underneath the bodies of my family and fled to the sea.
— Dariesh Survivor, ~32 SE

The miners and civilians living there burned as Ahiri warships sprayed mistfire upon fleeing trade ships, markets, and homes. The surviving miners became captives of the First Flame, their labors contributing more bronze and iron to the Ahiri war machine.  The Genocide of Dariesh, as they would later call it, was a major point of contention during the next meeting at Iolam'no Rey. They rushed the meeting of all Iornai’s tribe’s leaders, resulting in far less battle-ready security forces to transport them. This was a fatal mistake. During their meeting, a radical Ahiri spy circumvented security and single-handedly murdered three of the seven tribe Chieftains. This destroyed the morale of Iornaians and set the stage for war.

Tides fall

The devastation of the Genocide of Dariesh and assassination at Iolam’no Rey drove the remaining leaders to band together hastily under the Morati flag. The Morati held the strongest standing army on Iornai aside from the Ahiri. Immediately, they turned to other sources of aid to assist in the approaching war. The Morati officials sent emissaries north to the fledgling Republic of Coriscia who would send relief forces and an army twice the size of the Iornaians. This became a turning point in the war and instigated future wars with other nations as Coriscia became a protectorate of the Isles, declaring it their “Jewel of the Eastern Seas.”

Army Sizes in the War of the Isles

Historical data extracted from the RCHA (Repulic of Coriscia Historical Archives).

Displaced spirits

The war put a great deal of economic and emotional strain on the people of Iornai. Mother’s dug graves for their husbands and sons en masse, filling Spiritual Gardens which act as graveyards. Family members fought over what little patches of dirt remained to be dug open for their loved one's body. A group of Rokotist monks offered a different burial ceremony in which they placed the body in a small boat and cast out to sea. An archer would fire a burning arrow into the boat as it traveled into the mists.
Another burial ritual that became more prominent was the burning of masks. The family would carve a mask in the image of their fallen loved one and after wearing it for a day while praying Rom or Vashti. At the end of the night they threw the mask into a fire which signified the burning away of sin, hoping it would bring their soul to paradise. They feared if the soul did not transcend that a god of death named “Azaezat,” consumed the face of the deceased soul, destroying it forever.