The island of Tabrizia lay roughly midway across the inland sea, well astride the principal north-south trade route between the northern nations and their colonies and the southern Empire of Ilshar.
The island is about eighty miles long, but curved like a goats horn. The point is aimed north by north east and the base points east by south east. At it’s widest, the base, it is perhaps fifty miles wide, tapering down to about half that at the narrow end, the point.
The island is roughly bisected by a central spine of high rocky crags that are impassable except in one location. These mountains run virtually the entire length of the island and greatly limit travel overland.
The eastern coast is the most hospitable, here is found most of the settlements on Tabrizia. The two principal towns are Halacon, located on the north eastern coast and Red Sands, located on the eastern coast. The south and western coasts are composed mostly of swamps, jungle and cane brakes. The area is home to fierce animals, huge crocodiles and many fell creatures, as well as vicious bands of humanoids and, reputedly, cannibals.
The rocky crags that run the length of the island do not end when the sea overtakes the land. Instead the peaks become a chain of mostly barren, rocky islands that extend outwards from both ends of the island, stretching out for many miles to the north and east. Known to the sailors as `The Fangs of the Beast’ they have ripped the bottom from many an unwary ship. There are several safe channels through these hazards and the Emperor of Ilshar maintains a series of five light houses to mark the channels in the southern Fangs, while the Kings of Rhylos and Lystia, share the responsibility for four light houses in the northern Fangs.
Tabrizia has changed hands repeatedly during the last six hundred years, when it first appears in the history books. The population at the beginning of this period, the ‘Tabria’ appears to have come from the southern continent of Palador, perhaps as much as a thousand years before. At the time Tabrizia became of interest to historians, King Yulith of the now defunct Kingdom of Galagas, sent a sizable fleet of war galleys to seize the island because traders had reported great quantities of silver, gold, copper and pearls were in the possession of the natives. The Galagan army easily conquered the local population, and either enslaved the natives, butchered them, or drove them into the swamps.
The Galagans built the first proper town on Tabrizia, on the site of present day Halacon, and a small fortress to block the only pass through the mountains. They then began actively mining the rocky crags.
The hills of Tabrizia yielded silver and copper in great quantities, along with some gold. The coastal shallows, especially off the south eastern and south western coasts, were home to many rich oyster beds. The kings of Galagas profited greatly from the conquest.
Some hundred and seventy years after they conquered Tabrizia the Kingdom of Galagas was wracked by a civil war that left them weak and open to conquest by the Kingdom of Hestros. During this period of chaos the Caliphate of Balaghad, the direct ancestor of the present Empire of Ilshar took advantage of the confusion to land troops on Tabrizia and overrun the island.
Once the smoke cleared back in Galagas, the new king of the combined nations, Alfos II, began pressing his claim for the return of Tabrizia. When negotiations broke down a protracted naval war erupted between the rivals. This would drag on for over a decade before King Alfos had gained a sufficient supremacy to launch an invasion of the island.
The operation was for the most part successful. The Galagan/Hestros troops wrested control of the developed coast, as well as the mines, from the Balaghad garrisons. But they failed to take the fortress or drive their enemy completely from the island. The Balaghad forces retreated to the other side of Tabrizia and began to rebuild their strength.
For five years the two combatants engaged in a series of thrusts and counter thrusts. Amphibious raids and out right invasions kept the balance of power in a constant state of flux. The towns and mines changed hands several times. Most of the settlements were sacked by one or both sides on at least one occasion.
During this time period other events were conspiring to shape Tabrizia’s future. The Caliph of Balaghad had continued to expand his territories to the east and south. During that expansion his armies had come up against numerous tribes of humanoids. Fierce battles had been waged against these creatures, battles which had pushed the tribes deeper into the wilderness and left the Caliph in possession of thousands upon thousands of prisoners. One of the Caliph’s advisors, a eunuch named Osmunna, hit upon the idea of using these prisoners as mercenaries to fight the Caliph’s enemies in distant lands. Consequently a large force was sent off to reinforce the Balaghad troops on Tabrizia.
Meanwhile, King Alfos II died. His son, Ulric III, assumed the throne of Galagas/Hestron and immediately had to turn his attention to putting down a revolt by the Hestron nobles. Consequently he was unable to devote his full attention or resources to defending Tabrizia.
The Balaghad troops, reinforced by a veritable horde of humanoids, easily took the island, forcing the surviving Galagas/Hestron troops to evacuate from the beaches near Red Sand. With the island securely in Balaghad hands, most of the humanoids were loaded onto ships and sent elsewhere, to fight more battles until they were all used up or too old to cause trouble. Some however remained on Tabrizia. Several hundred all told had deserted and fled into the jungles and swamps where they would scratch out a living in contest with those remaining descendants of the original population. Their raids and depredations would prove a source of misery for all of Tabrizia for centuries to come.
(As a side note: Though Osmunna’s policy of employing humanoid mercenaries was popular at court, and brought him much prestige and wealth, it would eventually be discredited. What occurred on Tabrizia would be a pattern repeated everywhere the humanoids were used. As a result humanoid populations cropped up in parts of the world where they had never before been known. These would become an ongoing source of anguish for later Caliph’s and eventually the Empire of Ilshar as well as many other nations.)
The Balaghadans would retain control of Tabrizia for almost three hundred years, leaving an indelible mark on the architecture, language and culture of the island. Though much of the Galaghan and to a lesser extent the Heston occupations is still visible, the Balaghadan influence is unmistakable.
Two hundred and eighty nine years later the political landscape had changed. The Caliphate of Balaghad had metamorphosed into the Empire of Ilshar. In the north the Kingdom of Galaghar/Heston had long been absorbed by the new Kingdom of Kintalia.
The Kingdom of Kintalia, in an alliance with several other powers, had been engaged in a decade long war with the Empire of Ilshar. The Kintalians and allies had done remarkably well against the Empire, to a large extent due to the military incompetence of the then Emperor, Salizar the Magnificent. After several humiliating defeats and general set backs, Salizar at last decided to make peace. After much negotiations the Emperor agreed to surrender several pieces of territory, a couple city states and a large chunk of cash, in order to have the foreign armies withdrawn and much conquered territory returned. One of the territories surrendered was Tabrizia.
Much had changed in Tabrizia during the last three hundred years. The silver mines were all but played out. Even copper production was down and no gold had been mined in over fifty years. The depredations of the humanoids had made pearl diving in the richest oyster beds a chancy thing at best and a plague and famine had decimated the population of the island.
As the Empire’s income declined it’s outlays in terms of fortifying, garrisoning and maintaining the island had increased. Consequently it was deemed a shrewd exchange to dump a marginally profitable territory like Tabrizia in exchange for restoration of the richer territories at risk in the east. The Treaty of Ostia, named after the neutral city in which it was signed, transferred Tabrizia to the Kingdom of Kintalia.
For the Kintalians, Tabrizia was a valuable asset in it’s grand plan to control the inland sea. Much money was invested into making Red Sands a first class harbor and naval arsenal. King Oslond I, had grand plans to make Kintalia the predominant power in the region, second to none and absolute ruler of the seas. For fifteen years he worked towards this end, which always seemed to be tantalizingly close. When he died, his son, Oslond II took over the dream. He too spent a fortune on his navy, his army and in a series of bloody but ultimately inconclusive wars with his neighbors. When he finally died, after twenty three years on the throne, he left his son, Holond, a virtually bankrupt kingdom. Holond and his heirs spent decades rebuilding Kintalia’s fortunes. One of the first budgets slashed was the Tabrizia naval yard.
Lacking a grand plan in which to be a cornerstone, Tabrizia quickly became a financial burden and the Kings of Kintalia began cutting back their commitments on the island. Red Sand’s harbor began to deteriorate, though merchant shipping, which had increased with the presence of the navy, still kept the town relatively prosperous. Halacon still produced some copper, as well as a bit of silver, but it was primarily a fishing and agricultural town. It’s only claim to fame was the presence of the Governor’s Palace. This palatial villa had been built during the height of the Ilshar occupation and was still well maintained when the Kintalians took over. Because it was the finest building on the island, as well as being convenient to a small but adequate harbor, it remained the seat of government on the island. By the time of the Korrilean Wars, the island was a political and economic backwater, garrisoned by second rate troops and important only as a stop over for merchant ships traveling across the inland sea.
Like many other kingdoms, Kintalia fell under the control of Korrilean. During that time a new governor was sent to Tabrizia. The Royal troops were replaced by Korrilean soldiers and a serious effort was made to bring some order to the island.
Amongst a number of projects undertaken by the new Governor was the repair of Red Sand’s harbor facilities and the construction of a new fortress to guard the pass. The old one, Castle Torr, was seriously obsolete and in a terrible state of disrepair. It being too large and expensive to maintain when a smaller fort with could do the job with fewer troops and for much less money. A vigorous campaign was launched against the humanoids and most areas of the East Shore were completely cleared of their menace.
After Korrilean’s death, the restoration of the ruling families brought the old regime to power in Kintalia. Korrilean’s governor was discredited, his soldiers sent home and the old Governor sent back to take charge. Things quickly slid back into their old ways.
Some things were still better off than before. The changes instituted by the preceding Governor had resulted in a substantial savings in Kintalia’s gold. This didn’t quite make Tabrizia profitable, but at least it was breaking even. However, one change has proven to be a problem.
When the new fortress, Castle Korrilean, was finished the Governor decided to destroy the old one, less it become a stronghold for humanoids or brigands. He lacked sufficient resources to totally destroy the complex and sent numerous requests for the materials to do the job. However, the demands of the wars on the continent had a higher priority and the Governor never did get the means to finish the job. Working with what was available, the engineers burned and slighted the old fortress but did not completely destroy it. As the Governor had foreseen it soon became a lair of evil. Today humanoids and brigands use the fortress as a base and hideout. Rumors persist of old, secret pathways that allowed the defenders to access the fortress unseen by an attacking enemy. These pathways, if they exist, are believed to allow small groups of humanoids to bypass the new fortress and gain access to the settled areas of Tabrizia.
During the Korrilean wars, the Empire of Ilshar saw an opportunity to regain some of it’s lost lands and prestige. The current Emperor, Salizar VII, repudiated the Treaty of Ostia. This means that a Ilsharan invasion could come at any time. So far there has been no indication that such is in the works. Many believe that Tabrizia is still too much of a financial burden to be worth invading. They say that this Salizar is to crafty and cunning to waste his resources on such a useless piece of real estate. Others argue that Ilsharan pride will precipitate the attack. They can’t live with the thought that Tabrizia was taken from them and honor will demand that it be restored. It’s only a matter of time, or so they say.
The Government of Tabrizia
Lord Pallus Nestros is the Kintalian Governor of Tabrizia. From the Palace in Halacon he is the ruler and overseer of Tabrizia. To support him he has three companies of Royal Soldiers and about a hundred personal men at arms.
Lord Pallus has four principal aides in running Tabrizia.
Sir Tomas, Secretary and Steward. Sir Tomas handles most of the day to day paperwork for Lord Pallus.
Sir Denras, Commander of Castle Oslond (formerly Castle Korrilean)
Sir Alban, Commander of the Red Sand’s garrison
Sir Kolb, Sheriff of Tabrizia (In charge of the countryside and villages, tax and customs collection.)
The three companies of Royal Troops are from the 2nd Battalion of the Alshan Regiment drawn from the Kitalian countryside. (The Alshan Regiment’s Depot Battalion is in Kintalia. It’s 1st Battalion is a Border Defense Battalion.)
2nd Company, Medium Infantry with scale, helm, medium shield, battle axe, spears and darts. This is the main garrison force at Castle Oslond
3rd Company, Medium crossbowmen with scale, helm and pavise shield. Medium Crossbows, axe and broadsword. This company is split, 60/40 between Red Sands and Halacon. The bulk are at Red Sands.
4th Company, Mounted Infantry with scale, helm, small shield. Light crossbow, spear, broadsword. Primary force assigned to the Sheriff for patrolling the countryside.
Although each company is nominally a hundred men strong, in reality they average between sixty and seventy. So instead of 300 troops, the Royal contingent is about 195.
Lord Pallus’ men at arms, numbering 100 are, mostly, Gallenic Barbarian mercenaries hired to bolster the Lord’s personal fortunes. Most(70+/-) are in Halacon (they out number the Royal Troops) the rest are split between Red Sands (20) and the Sheriff (10). All of them have mail, medium shield, helm, three ahrk throwing axes, a fighting spear and a broadsword.
There remains a population of Tabria on Tabrizia. They live, mostly, on the west side of the island in the swamps and jungles. Living as hunter/gatherers and from coastal fishing. Their existence is as much rumor as fact to the ‘civilized’ peoples of the east coast. They are considered (falsely) to be cannibals and (correctly) to be head hunters.
All told there are probably about 3500 to at most 5000 Tabria left on Tabrizia, out of a population that at one time was at least ten times that if not more.
Though the Tabria never built cities of stone, they did build temples and tombs carved from the local sand and lime stone. Their villages were built of brick and mortar and a few traces of their old roads and walls remain on the surface. (Under some of the buildings of Red Sand are remains…) The most visible remains of the Tabria on the east coast, is the complex of irrigation ditches and canals, lined in cut stone and bricks, that are maintained and used to this day by villagers on the ‘East Shore.’ Though there is no memory as to who actually built this essential infrastructure.
The Tabria gods were a degenerate remnant of the Zamoran Gods, a left over of the Zamoran Empire from which the first human inhabitants of Tabrizia had come. One facet of this religion was the ‘Bird God’ a corrupted variant of the Zamoran Falcon Headed God of War. Tabria Clerics (Shaman) to this day venerate the Great ‘Gharkack’ Birds that are one of the apex predators of Tabrizia. The Shamans seem to have the ability to summon and to some degree, control the Great Birds, directing them to attack their band’s enemies.
As in many parts of Solista, the term ‘Goblin’ on Tabrizia represents horrid, monstrous, violent creatures of nightmare, and is used to categorize the ‘common’ Goblin, the Haeb or ‘Hob-Goblin’ and (often) Ogres as one group. And while peaceful civilized and cultured Goblin populations are found (today) across much of Palador, the Goblins of Tabrizia are firmly in the nightmare camp!
The people of Tabrizia are in a constant state of low grade warfare with the Goblin races that occupy parts of the West Shore. The villagers of the East Shore contend with Goblin Raiders coming down from the highlands that, at their best steal livestock and pillage crops, and at their worst, kill, kidnap, burn and loot.