the Deveran nations, only Kameron
rivals the abundance of natural resources lavished on the land of the
Azgar. Huge rivers teeming with fish meandered through great
swaths of grassland. Vast forests blanketed the hills and high
mountains surrounded their territory, protecting their fledgling
civilization from enemies to the north and west. Their sheltered, deep
water port excelled above all others in size, encouraging commerce
other nations to the extent that the Azgar began projecting their
linguistic, diplomatic and economic reach far beyond the ancient
fortress that had long been their home.
The Guardian Cliffs formed the traditional border between the Azgar
the Lithians to the north.
Successful trade made Southern Vulgate, the native language of the
Azgar, Devera's de-facto common tongue. Further, their ideas of
government by representation influenced even their enemies, and though
they eventually abandoned true democracy for the stability of a
corporate oligarchy, every Republic on Devera's continent owes its
origin to the principles set out in Azgaril's founding documents--an
ancient collection of laws known simply as "The Charter."
The Charter has influenced many nations outside Azgaril territory.
Central to the cultural
mind set prevalent among the Azgar was the precept that what they
considered moral purity leads to prosperity and success.
they believed that their societal affluence proved that the
democratic interaction among their many gods constituted divine
and blessing. All their moral values developed along these lines,
the Azgar began believing that their society alone promoted
goodness and equity. Human liberty, the birthright of all the
could not be extended to other peoples whose social orders did not
match the principles outlined in "The Charter."
Therefore, as the centries passed Azgar religion began espousing the
idea that national destiny lay in conquest. Azgaril leaders earnestly
desired to impose their views on surrounding nations, thinking that by
exacting their morally-superior form of government upon the enslaved
masses, they were emancipating men and women yet to be born from the
shackled subservience of other human systems. Any child born after
conquest was considered an Azgar citizen, despite his or her culture
origin, and as a citizen, qualified for every right granted
to native Azgar. All others remained worthy of servitude,
without hope for redress or compensation.
Liberation Pass, the gateway to the eastern lands of the Azgaril.
For many centuries, the democratic ideals of Azgaril society spread,
like their language, across the continent. As their institutions
progressively more militant, the Azgar adopted a view extending their
moral and cultural dominance to resource acquisition. As their economy
expanded, so did their need for fuel and raw materials. Since economic
growth was seen as an indicator of divine blessing, they denuded their
forests for fuel and carved huge pits into the ground in an insatiable
quest for mineral wealth. Once their own supplies lay exhausted, they
turned their attention to the surrounding nations, whose resources
could be expropriated and shipped overland by train, or on water by
barge, to the huge industrial complexes that developed along the three
major river systems in their native region.
To project power and defend their conquests, the Azgaril built
privately-owned armed forces whose allegiances belonged to influential
businessmen. Warlords sought commissions from these powerful corporate
monopolies to justify and preserve their existence, then subsequently
utilized their acquired military might to subdue threats to the
Azgaril national interest
essence, any resource-rich region whose people
resisted foreign colonization. This drive for conquest expanded
borders, preserved the national lifestyle from crumbling under its
excessive resource consumption, and unparalleled success reinforced
notion among individual Azgar that their gods condoned such policies.
The coast of Dark Crescent Bay
The rise of corporate power wielded considerable influence over
governance. Republican ideals remained enshrined in The Charter, but
the documents lost their authority over time. In actual practice, free
and fair elections were gradually displaced by a political system that
rewarded wealthy citizens who could raise enough money to buy power.
Although the emperor slowly lost the administrative control
characteristic of his position in early Azgar history, his position
soon overshadowed the role played by gods in the Azgaril pantheon. He
became the chosen representative of all deities, (though he was
by the Azgar Senate) and shrewd emperors enhanced their standing by
backing policies of certain corporations who were, by virtue of their
wealth and the power of their armies, more likely to succeed than
Severe erosion from deforestation, west of Marioch.
Thus, the democratic
ideals upon which Azgar society had been founded faded into
They became a nation of armies, every one of which named itself to
glorify the state, even though their existence depended upon
corporate sponsorship. Under the pretense of freedom, they
conquest, and in doing so, inspired both dread and loathing among