History And Geography
History: The Continent of Guran has been relatively unchanged in the past five hundred years. One of the main constants is war.
Over eight hundred years ago, the continent was at peace and occupied by a unified race. In the north there were expert woodsmen, while in the south camel-riding nomads. They shared a common ancestry, and many economic ties. The war started, as far as people can determine eight hundred years ago.
Over a thousand years ago, the Ramalthians, refuges from another land, landed on the southern coast of Guran. With the help of magic users, the two parties were able to communicate. The plains-people agreed to give the refugees some land, seeing the value of another trading partner. They also offered to help protect the colony from the fearsome desert creatures.
The three thousand refugees began to tame the desert and settle a city, and by the same time next year, they had constructed a thriving port city. This was when the next shipload of refugees arrived, twice the size of the first. The Ramalthians asked the Guranians for more land, and more protection, and thinking this just to be temporary, the Guranians complied.
This went on for years, and the Ramalthians, forgetting the Guranians generosity, began to treat them with contempt, making unfair demands. They failed to remember that it was only by the Guranians graces that they had survived the first few harsh years.
Eventually, the refugees boatloads stopped. Over three hundred thousand Ramalthians now occupied part of the continent. Thinking themselves to be stronger than the Guranians, they broke off all diplomatic contact, and built a wall around what they considered their continent. Thinking that the Ramalthians would eventually come to their senses, the Guranians ignored them, thinking that the isolationist attitude would eventually wear off.
The Ramalthians policy did change. In one night of slaughter, a large detachment of their armed forces, which had grown to over one hundred thousand members, attacked the southern capital of Guran. They butchered the majority of the population, and used the loot to buy the swords of many mercenary companies.
Over the course of two hundred brutal years, they drove out or enslaved every Guranian south of the burnt line. However, when they tried to press into the forest, they found they couldn’t capture any ground, not with their opponents superior knowledge of the environment. When the Guranians pushed out from the forest, they found the enemy too dug in for them to oust.
Over the past five hundred years, there has been almost constant conflict on the border marked by the burnt line. For five hundred years the enemies have been in a stalemate, neither gaining or losing much ground.
The hourglass shaped continent Guran has several features of note.
The first is The Burnt Line. As near as any sage can tell, this line is precisely three feet wide in every point, and perfectly straight. It is of black earth, and all attempts to mark it utterly fail. It also marks a suddenly boundary in climate. On one side, there are deserts, the other forests of towering trees. The climate changes the second the line is crossed, and it is not unknown for features such as clouds to be stopped or appear from the air above it. The line is positioned in the narrowest part of the continent.
To the south of the line, is a vast desert. While the temperatures are never too warm, rainfall is rare, and all agriculture relies on advanced irrigation. It is inhabited by the Ramalthians, and they have done there best to make it hospitable, including creating rivers alongside all major roads.
To the north of the line is a great forest, known to some as The Forest of Eternity. The trees can stretch over three hundred feet tall, and there are many marvelous cities made entirely above the ground. It is populated by the Guranians, who know its every winding path and pitfall, and coexist with it rather than destroy it.