Fall of the Warlock Kings
The largest and most powerful empire to exist in Afyon prior to the rise of the Great Kingdom, which is perhaps now the equal of the Dragon Empire at its height. At 1400 years old, the Dragon Empire of Kydon Kail is the oldest of the empires, though it exists more in name than any other way. Founded by dragonborn settlers from across the Dragon Sea, led by the legendary Seven Dragons, the early years of the Dragon Empire saw rapid, almost unopposed growth all up and down the eastern coast of Afyon, and the founding of cities and settlements in great numbers. Slightly more than a century after the founding, the land was divided into seven provinces, one given over the dominance of each of the Seven Dragons, with a dragonborn Emperor reigning over all the lands, in theory at least, from the city of Kydon Kail. Clashes with the dwarves of the city of Lughan, with the Starbreed of Oriel, with the Chan Empire across the Black Mountains, and with the orc nomad tribes of the north quickly settled the Dragon Empire into what would be its nearly permanent borders. As the Seven Dragons grew older, and became less interested in mortal affairs, more and more power came to rest in the Emperor (or Empress, for there were those as well) and in the bureaucracy that was centered on Kydon Kail. The other two pillars of Kydoni power were the Church of the Winged Mother, the Dragon Goddess Tiam; and the army itself. These four pillars held up the Empire for as long as they were able to work together, which was as long as the Seven Dragons maintained any interest in the Empire at all. For hundreds of years armies surged forth to conquer, only to be beaten back by alliances of all the outside powers which would break up after the defeat of their greatest foe. The ships of Kydon Kail, from the great port of Ullien Kail, commanded the seas for centuries, until the upstart navy of Viir took even this leadership position from the Empire in great wars four and five hundred years past. As one after another of the Dragons died or withdrew, the factions of the Empire found themselves more and more able to compete for power and influence, and their enemies more and more able to nip away bits and pieces of the Empire. In the last couple of centuries, as the last of the Seven returned across the sea to the final fall of the great Dragon Realm of Rhu’alan, the Empire broke out in civil war and rebellion. Humans seized the northern lands of Dorian Tal; the Starbreed colonized the deserts of Dalian; orc raiders roamed the northlands with impugnity. The Emperor became more and more a figurehead, his power limited to the area immediately around Kydon Kail, his fleet rotting away in the harbor at Ullien for lack of funds, his priests scheming against him, and the nobles who commanded his armies each claiming their own fiefdoms. The rise of the Warlock Kings only hastened the end of real power for the Empire, as in city after city Vicars of otherworldly powers seized control and influence. Now, in all the lands that were once Kydoni, there is still lip service to the rights of the Emperor, and all the great nobles, who call themselves Kings and Dukes, Counts and Vicars, still come to the crowning of a new Monarch. But none of them send their taxes to Kydon Kail any longer, and none of them provide troops, or officials, or aid of any sort. The thinnest of ties still bind the seven provinces together, and some Emperors dream of restoring their ancient rights, but none are able. Kydon Kail itself is still a grand and imperial city, the wonder of the continent, but there is no strength to it save for it’s Vicar, and now, in these last year, even she has bowed down to a foreign power, vassal to the Great King of Carnelian, who himself came in the season of his conquest to bow before the Emperor, and pay to take his crown and robes out of hock, and then leave him to his dusty palaces and dreams of the great past. And yet some say that in the desert edge south of Kydon Kail, a great dragon has been seen, and that the Empire will rise again.