Xian History

One hundred and twenty years ago, the largest fleet of refugees made landfall where Xian now stands. Comprised chiefly of men and women from the Ninefold Celestial Empire, they rapidly set about clearing the land of its current owners so that they might plant enough crops to see them through the winter.

Chief among the leaders of the fleet was the Mandarin Lammach, a mighty wizard who had foreseen some indistinct, impending peril and laid aside such magics as helped thousands of his countrymen escape with him to the west. His sorceries conjured up the great wall that still stands about the city, and his aid was invaluable in clearing the land and readying it for the rice crops. So quickly did he work that the fortifications were complete when the disorganized lowland goblinoids finally retaliated against the sudden intrusion.

The goblinoids were broken against the wall that Lammach had raised, and in response the wizard insisted that the offending tribes be wiped out utterly. He was as good as his word, and the last of the goblinoid tribes that had attacked the city were wiped out within five years. The city was cast into universal mourning when the high priestess of the last of the tribes managed to slay Lammach in a great mystical duel, just before she was overcome by the refugee army.

His death did not divide the refugees, however, and his exceptionally learned nephew was promptly acclaimed the new Mandarin of the city. An orderly and ruthless expansion followed, with small villages planted around the city and roadways built through the lowlands. In time, the mesh of villages and small towns would extend all the way to the foot of the western mountains, rich fields supplying food for the hungry mouths of Xian.

In the decades since, the Mandarin's hat has been passed down through Lammach's line, always to that descendent most adroit in his political maneuverings and most pronounced in his learning. Almost all the Mandarins have been wizards of some repute, yet none so great as their ancestor. The time it takes to engage in politics tends to prevent them from becoming more than passably skillful wizards, and there has been a time or two when some more sorcerously skilled candidate has tried to usurp the position. So far, such attempts have always come to naught.

Refugees from around the Isles have flocked to Xian over the years. The initial wave of exiles sought the city out for its comparative safety and security, whereas newer generations seek it as the symbol of former enlightenment and venerable wisdom. Training and opportunities not to be found anywhere else in the Isles can be had in Xian, and the vast productiveness of its fields brings traders from throughout the isles to exchange their wares for Ektaun rice. Of course, not all find the gold they imagine here, and more than a few end their lives miserably as thralls laboring in the rice fields or the brothels.

Presently, Xian is unquestionably the strongest city-state in the Isles. Its nearest competitor is in the cold rule of Nordheim, far to the northeast, and that land is too far to have much interest in Xian. Yet even in this present prosperity, trouble lurks beneath the surface. The population is starting to cut into the exports of foodstuffs that support the city's economy, and the growing sophistication and decadence of its citizenry leave it ripe for the inroads of the Red Tide's cults. And far to the west, the mountain orcs remember their lost lands, and plot yet to regain them.

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