Peace of Ages
The Peace of Ages is an ancient peace treaty enacted in the years following the end of the War of the False Prophets commonly simply called the Great War or simply the War. The peace did not come immediately after the war ended but does mark the 1st year After War (1 AW) as it is recognized as being when hostilities were finally and truly ended.
Terms of the Peace
The terms of the peace were kept simple, deliberately, though carefully worded in the full text to avoid ambiguity. The basic idea was that no nation would attack any other nation except in self defense. If any nation attacked another nation without provocation or a direct threat they would be attacked by the remaining 9 nations. Further it would set up a neutral force to guard against any one nation having too much power over defending the others.
No nation shall attack any other nation unless in self defense. All nations are responsible for the conduct of their citizens, private citizens raising violence against citizens of another nation shall be considered to be acting on behalf of their nation and such actions will result in a violation of Article 1.
In the year 17 AW the provision is made for the Rose Council to determine that a nation has violated Article 1 through violence or oppression of foreign peoples living or working within their nations boarders.
In the year 29 AW the provision is made for the Rose Council to determine the a nation has violated Article 1 through violence of oppression of its own people.
All nations will come to the mutual defense of the others in the event that Article 1 is violated. This will not include punitive action, but defense only. A violation of Section 1 is not a reason to invade or otherwise attack a nation that is in violation. Nations may defend themselves, repel invaders, and secure their own borders but may not continue beyond that without violating Article 1 themselves.
The peace between nations shall be administered by the ruling body of the Rose Council and have no less than 3 representatives from each of the 10 Kingdoms. A senior, junior, and apprentice representative shall represent their nation on the council. The Rose Council governs the interaction between the nations, ratifies treaties, trade agreements, and other such interactions required for international work. Each government grants the Rose Council authority within their boarders to administer international affairs.
In the year 105 AW the Rose Council is granted limited diplomatic immunity within nations while in pursuit of their duty.
In the year 181 AW it is determined that the Rose Council representatives shall abdicate any potential ruling seat within any country.
Under the administration of the Rose Council the Rose Guard is established to fortify national defense of all member nations and settle / mediate disputes between nations. If an Article 1 violation occurs the Rose Guard will be dispatched on order of the Rose Council. They will take command of unified forces from member nations to defend against hostilities. Should an Article 2 violation occur the Rose Guard will form a neutral zone between aggressive parties to deter further violence.
The Rose Council is authorized to provide for punitive measures to be taken by the Rose Guard for violations of Articles 1 and 2 in the event it is needed. Local militaries and police forces should not engage in such actions themselves. The Rose Guard will further not employ the local forces in punitive actions to provide a buffer between aggressive parties during such actions.
Nations will allow the Rose Council to administer and command the Rose Guard within their boarders. The Rose Guard will not violate any local laws of counties they are in without direct orders of the Rose Council.
In the year 22 AW the Rose Guard was designated to be administered by the Ageless Ones under the direction of the Rose Council.
In the year 217 AW the Rose Guard was renamed to the Souls Templar following the departure of the last of the Ageless Ones. The Rose Council designates leadership for the Souls Templar among the council representatives.
In the year 231 AW the Souls Templar is granted policing authority to pursue criminal acts which cross at last one international boarder. Criminals acts are set by a nation under and complaint to the Rose Council. This does not preclude the possibility of a nation investigating crimes for another nation should crimes cross boarders, it simply grants authority for the Souls Templar to pursue such acts if becomes necessary.
In the year 241 AW to Rose Council designated the Souls Templar to be administered by the Grand Master elected through 3 trials involving the demonstration of the upmost skills in combat, bravery, and wisdom.
Aftermath of the War
After the war the 10 Kingdoms were decimated both agriculturally and economically, the armistice which ended the war was circulated among the 10 Kingdoms by messenger and took almost 2 full years before the fighting stopped. The terms were simple, the countries agreed to cease hostilities for a period of 3 years to allow economic recovery. During that time the powers agreed to pull their militaries back to the current lines of battle.
Following the armistice the Kingdom of Thaentis, Realm of Dusnain, and Kingdom of Braebar signed non-aggression pacts forming the Central Alliance. Smaller regions such as the Realm of Froqua and the Espary Fiefdom would soon become targets for border raids as nations began to divide the scant resources which remained. Particularly Dusnain and Baebar were both very poor in terms of unstable natural resources. Both had once had extensive mines of ores and industrial capabilities but had little in the way of food, medicines, and workers. Looking to expand Baebar targeted the Kingdom of Neskar and the Kingdom of Atresh for possible expansion.
Within a year tensions were gain on the rise and skirmishes were already starting to pop up along the most contested areas between the new alliance of the larger nations and the outlying smaller nations. The war was fit to start again, this time focusing on what the central powers believed was their own way to survive.
Inception of the Peace
The idea of a lasting peace was not a new one. During the last years of the war many philosophers and even minor nobility had begun to talk openly about the need for a lasting peace. Several proposals in different countries had already been made even the Central Alliance used some of these as the beginning ideas for their pacts of non-aggression and later the alliance. As tensions began to rise there were significant movements in each of the 10 Kingdoms for reduced military spending and more spending on rebuilding / feeding the people of each nation.
The Fallen Star
In 2 AW as tensions were hurtling toward another and more devastating war. The Central Alliance was considering using conscription and forced service to provide the forces for renewed military efforts. Most of the soldiers had gone home to what was left of their farms, if anything was left. Crime was on the rise and Dusnain was the first to begin pressing any able bodied man between 15 and 30 into service, at first it was a punishment for crimes. As the other powers in the Central Alliance began to consider similar measures, a falling star struck into the valley between Dusnain and Braebar. The fallen star had landed just north of the Keep of Eternal Night and to the South-West of Wulfre Keep. It was said that it trailed strange blue-green fire behind it as it fell and a glow from inside the valley burned on for days lighting the clouds overhead day and night.
The event put a hold on military plans. Many within the Central Alliance feared it was retribution from Onos of the Old Gods for all the death and destruction. The movement for peace took advantage of this and argued passionately within the Central Alliance for renewed efforts for common ground, citing that for the Gods to take note on this scale could only mean the path of war would end in a final retribution.
In the following weeks all seemed quiet. All the world seemed to hold its breath, messengers went between all the Kingdoms wanting to know what had happened. Search parties from the Central Alliance finally reached the site where the falling star had hit, in the valley floor. They found a group of people, about a dozen or so. They had no name for themselves they simply said they were travelers. The armistice would have almost certainly ended early had it not been for the fallen star which brought them to Elder Soteria. The scouts returned to their masters with tales of metals which were impossibly light and stronger than the hardest steel. Further they cited that these people had some form of magic, able to conjure information out of thin air and voices from beyond to advise them.
Now focused on these tales the Central Alliance stalled its actions and instead worked to gain the trust and help of these travelers. Months went by and the three year term of the armistice was nearly at its end when these travelers acted. A representative went to each of the 10 Kingdoms with dangerous and fantastical magics, simply appearing out of pillars of shimmering light. When attacked their skin became hard like dark leather but stronger than any sword, axe, or mace could possibly hit. Some of the smaller nations listened to them, intently, but the Central Alliance did not. Though they had no strong love of each other they had even less love for intruders who came from the sky but would not bend to the will of the 3 royal families which ruled the Central Alliance.
Eve of Peace
No matter who attacked them, they would not bend. Nor would they kill. It became clear that the travelers had the power to kill but chose not to wield it. The smaller nations began to recover quickly, listening to the advice of the travelers on how to produce food, cure disease, and foster education. The pressure to the peace movement began to grow within the Central Alliance. The travelers were held up as examples of how peace does not mean weakness and how killing was not inevitable. It was said that the travelers could flatten an entire army without killing a single one of them. Fear as much as dire need finally drove the Central Alliance to listen to them. By now the armistice was about to end and the travelers persuaded the 10 Kingdoms to meet in the Valley of the Fallen Star (as it was now called) to talk. Philosophers, educators, generals, and even soldiers from the front lines were invited by the travelers to speak. Speak they did.
The Fae and Peace
It was well known that the Fae would not participate in the wars. They found themselves above it. The dwarves had retreated to their stone homes in the northern mountains while the elves retreated to the forests between Dusnain and Thaentis. Others of the Fae had done similar, the Gnomes, Halflings, Fairies, and all the others gave humanity a wide berth, patient in their places to wait for the fighting to stop. They had no love for the humans, except perhaps the Halflings who enjoyed most people of any sort, but they had even less love for war.
It was the Elves that first came to the talks in the Valley of the Fallen Star. Not to be outdone the Dwarves came after and then the other did as well. A peace of this magnitude was something none of them ever thought they would see. The travelers made no threats, simply argued for peace. Persuading night and day against the use of force unless it was absolutely necessary. Soon the Elves began to help mediate disputes as there were so many. Dwarves saw a need for their work and offered to help rebuild the war torn counties in exchange for being welcomed in the human worlds for trade. The others followed suit.
The Dark Races
It took another 3 years of talks, of rebuilding, of trade, and of listening to finally reach the point where the Central Alliance would talk about disarming. Up to that point there were skirmishes and it was clear they would be more than happy to let the peace fall if not for the pressure from even their own soldiers to try to end the war. There was still a problem though, Thaentis first brought up the issue but throughout the 10 Kingdoms there was agreement. The biggest threat to a peace was in the dark races. Through talks it had been discovered that Orcs, Goblins, and Ogres had been keeping the humans fighting during the wars. They sold weapons and even mercenaries to anyone who would pay. Further, the more humans fought each other the less of the dark races they fought. The Central Alliance would not agree to reduce their now impressive military forces and settle themselves with self defense so long as the dark races were such a threat. They could not trust that the dark races would not again manipulate their neighbors into war. The other nations would sign no peace and reduce any military force unless the Central Alliance did as well.
Talks stalled for almost another 3 years, it was clear that the travelers while not kin with the Elves also did not age like humans either. Many among the humans counted them as immortal, ageless, though the travelers said they were not. Tact that they appeared to be humans of great power who did not age gave them an air of authority even among the Fae. Near the end of the 3 years the Elves were the first to come up with the idea of banishing evil. The dark races had plagued everyone, legend told that the dark races had come through portals from another realm. The Elves proposed the dark races be banished back to where they came from. The other Fae agreed that such a plan was possible if they would work together. The travelers also agreed and proposed their idea to the 10 Kingdoms who all agreed that if such a Banishing possible and could be actually done, they would agree to reduce their militaries.
The Elves, Dwarves, Humans, Gnomes, and Halflings all came together unified under a goal of banishing the dark races from Elder Soteria. It was known that evil things came from the Dark Aether and thus they would banish the dark races into this realm. Further they would form wards of protection on both sides of the barriers between planes to protect Elder Soteria from their return. The travelers took a lead in this, showing the new Grand Alliance their ship, that sailed through the heavens. They took their ship and with the aid of the more skilled sorcerers of each race they placed figures in key places across different planes and even different worlds to place the wards. Elves and Gnomes worked on the magic to banish the dark races. Though it was the Elves who came up with the idea, the travelers pushed it forward. Enthralled by the idea that evil could be banished from a world and with new knowledge that was lost where they had come from.
Knowledge of magic now at their fingertips, hubris and folly would soon take their tole. The travelers had access to all the knowledge of magic they had ever wanted but had none of the experience gaining it that would temper the use of such power. Unaware fo the difference from how the travelers came to their own powers and the magic which they handed them, the Fae trusted the travelers to be wary of such magic. As concerned began to be raised the travelers pushed forward, sure they were right.
As the final pieces were in place. The wards went up and for a moment, a brief moment, the worlds of humans and Fae alike rejoiced! The dark races vanished first, banished into the Dark Aether. The Halflings were the first to notice something was wrong. Even as the dark races vanished others did as well, a handful of the Fae had vanished as well. The alarm was raised, had those been spies? Had the magic gone wrong?
As the questions were asked the magic snapped tightly into place, patterns of force wound through the runes and sigils which formed the wards. They worked, too well. The power flowing through the new barrier was intense and now like a rubber band had snapped came a second wave of magic. Several of the Elves died instantly as the magic hit, their bodies the only remnants as the other Elves were banished by the backlash. The Dwarves saw this as treachery and raised their arms to fight for those who had been their enemy for generations upon generations. Then the third wave came and the Dwarves were struck down where they stood, some died as with the Elves but most vanished, banished into the Dark Aether as well. The others soon followed. Finally after only a few days all that was left of the Grand Alliance was the humans.
Out of as much fear as awe the Central Alliance dropped its opposition to the peace within a week of the Backlash. The travelers were now becoming known as the Ageless Ones and raised to the level of demigods in the mind of the people. Rumors ran through that the Ageless Ones had been betrayed by the Fae and lashed out in a show of their true power to banish all of them for some unknown transgression. Others felt that the Ageless Ones were so powerful that they knew not what they did. Still more felt that they had done this on purpose to demonstrate their power and warn human kind to not disobey them again.
In the aftermath of the Backlash the 10 Kingdoms came together and using the pieces put in place by so many before them, crafted the Peace of Ages. A peace to last for as long as humanity did. It was signed by the 10 Kingdoms in the year 7 AW.
Aftermath of Peace
As the size of militaries were decreased, the Peace of Ages send many soldiers to their homes. While some nations provided for these soldiers, some did not and thus bandit groups were seen across the countryside throughout the first 300 years of the Peace of Ages. Some areas are known for such groups even in the modern day, though they are limited.