Twilight of Alirium
Alirian Empire History
History of the Alirian Empire
At its height, the Alirian Empire governed more than half the continent from its capitol at Alirium. In the early days, the Alirians were known for being hardworking, austere, and determined. It was their talent for organization and negotiation more than military prowess that was the catalyst for the Empire’s initial expansion.
Once begun the expansion began to feed itself. Other, more militaristic peoples joined with Alirium, and their armies grew in both size and talent. Within only a couple centuries the Empire reached a point where few kingdoms could match the resources it could put into the field.
In a typically Alirian fashion, roads followed closely behind its armies. Merchants traveled the well-maintained miles of highway, often passing beyond into unconquered lands. Many was the country that became addicted to Alirian goods before it ever saw an Imperial soldier.
As the gold pouring into Alirium buoyed its economy, however, those with the cunning and power to take advantage of it achieved a level of wealth never before imagined. The Emperors and their courts fell into a state of decadence that would have shocked their stern ancestors.
After a time, conquest halted while the Empire warred with its greatest rival, the sea-power of Corvenon. However, though they held out for over forty years, the time for resistance for the Corvanians had long since passed. Even their considerable fleets could no longer seriously threaten the almost-limitless resources of the Alirians.
The Turning Point
With the fall of Corvenon, Alirium soon completed its conquests of the western half of the continent. It left only the frigid northern regions to their fiercely independent barbarian inhabitants. The Empire had made incursions into the north before, but had found the barbarians’ ferocity, mobility, and hit-and-run tactics difficult to counter. The Alirians decided that the gain was too small for the price the tribes would exact for the land.
This decision would ultimately prove fatal. It was also a clear sign of the passing of the old hard-working, methodical Alirian ways. The action demonstrated the leadership’s preference for doing what was profitable rather than what was necessary. Though the Empire would continue to expand for some time longer, the period stands as a signal of its accelerating moral decline.
Alirium might have settled down to consolidate and fortify its holdings. Unfortunately, after hundreds of years of conquest, it had become reliant on the influx of war spoils. Its western frontiers pushed all the way to the ocean, the Empire next turned its gaze to the east.