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SETTING



I. FREEDOM

In 2023 A.E. we were conquered by the Tenebran Empire. For two years we were cogs in the imperial machine. We were reduced to numbers in our imperial passports.

In 2025, in Belitsa, hope was rekindled. We gathered covertly to prepare the rebellion, and elected a joint resistance leader, a man of the people that everyone could get behind. Thanks to the concerted efforts of the insurgents, a weapon of old was reassembled, which could penetrate the shield protecting imperial Governors.

When the Weapon fired and the white tunic of the Governor of Belitsa was stained red, war began anew. But this time we knew we would win.

Months passed and the unity and intent of the Resistance remained true. Governors fell one after another, hit by the international unit holding the Weapon, known as “The Flying Squad”. Rebellion guerillas throughout the lands chased away Тenebran armed forces and administration alike, and dealt with collaborators. 

Then Tenebran reinforcement arrived, bringing terror, winter and snow. And so the Winter War began. We continued fighting, united and determined. We fought in forests, on mountains, in the plains and in the sea, fighting not only them, but also the cold. And we won. All remaining Tenebran forces were driven out. We had our freedom but the cost was dear. The battlefields were covered in red and the stains remained visible even after the snow melted – a grim reminder of the price we paid.

2. THE MUGLIZH CONFEDERATION

After successfully expelling the Tenebrian forces and liberating our territories, statehood was reinstated in the known world. Provinces regained their dignity as empires, kingdoms, knyazdoms, earldoms, and other dominions. A glance at the map, now adorned with various colors anew, fills us with well-deserved pride – but also raises a subtle eyebrow.

Almost in the heart of the map, a new entity has emerged: formed of not merelyone or two, but ten formerly independent territories. This collective formation bears the name ‘Muglizh Confederation.’ Its origins remain unknown, though it is more or less certain that the ten territories joined forces for their united struggle for liberty, and its subsequent success paved the way for further cooperation, culminating in the formation of a confederation, coalesced around Muglizh as its main or original unit.

It can be safely concluded, that at least for the moment the Muglizh Confederation harbors no aggressive intentions toward neighboring or farther countries. Practical constraints would prevent it from immediate aggression after the grueling war in which the Confederation actively participated itself, and it would have nothing to gain from it except disgrace. Supporting this theory is a letter dispatched to all state offices by the Confederation Council – an eloquent, yet somewhat pompous missive that can be distilled to a simple ‘hello, we are here.’

While intelligence efforts strive for more information, the full picture remains elusive. We know that none of the territories comprising the Muglizh Confederation appear to have noble lineage. We know that this is not a scheme orchestrated by any of our existing states. Instead, it genuinely looks as an authentic, grassroots organization of local common folk. 

At the Confederation’s  helm stands a figure known for their role in the local liberation struggle – a person who lost an eye in battle against the Tenebrians, earning the moniker ‘the One-Eyed,’ yet who proudly claims the title of ‘Count of Muglizh.’

3. A COLD WAR

In the aftermath of the war for independence, the world finds itself at a crossroads, and tensions soon acquire the name “Cold War”- a metaphor encompassing both conflict and peace, and evoking memories of the Winter War, while reflecting the newfound chilliness among the allies.

Nobody actively sought this situation, nor did anyone intentionally provoke it. The common enemy briefly united disparate factions, erasing old rivalries, grudges, and dismantling long-standing stereotypes. However, with the departure of the Tenebrians, memories resurfaced, and we once again view each other through preconceived notions.

The war itself transformed our kingdoms and domains. It forged them into stronger entities but also instilled ruthlessness. To safeguard their identities and rally their populations, many clung fervently to their ideologies or religious beliefs. These became defining markers, distinguishing one country  from another. Nations were born. 

Preparedness became essential. Each nation vowed not to initiate another war, yet doubts lingered about the intentions of others. Acts of espionage surfaced sporadically, alleged saboteurs were apprehended. At the same time, relations between the nations could not be cut, as that would lead to major economic problems and crises. Maintaining commerce was crucial. The international meetings became an arena of a complicated dance including  mutual accusations and power struggles, but also a lot of situational alliances and hypocrisy.

4. THE ARMS RACE

There was another crucial aspect to the Cold War, intricately tied to political and economic complexities.

Following the assembly of a new lethal weapon capable of eliminating Tenebran governors while preventing their resurrection, an international group of operatives received the task of neutralizing enemy officials. Simultaneously, they had to safeguard the weapon, ensuring it remained beyond the control of any specific nation.

Deliberations about its fate began even before the Winter War, yet no clear consensus emerged. These discussions merely highlighted the divergent opinions regarding the weapon’s destiny. Amid the Cold War atmosphere, the existence of this enigmatic technology fueled mistrust. No one could be certain that others weren’t secretly working to replicate and enhance it. Consequently, many if not all nations embarked on precisely that path.

This marked the inception of a resource accumulation and an arms race. Significant efforts were invested into deciphering the technology – whether scientific or magical – underpinning the lethal weapon. Some nations aimed to duplicate and mass-produce it, while others sought to develop even more potent weapons based on its principles. Even those who didn’t actively desire such power recognized that possessing it was a matter of self-preservation.

Simultaneously, nations ensured they maintained sufficient conventional weaponry – a replacement for what was lost during the war of independence. “Sufficient” meant having more than their neighbors and potential adversaries while supporting a large enough standing army to use them.

Despite the evident adversarial consequences, this pursuit also bolstered economies and spurred technological advancements.

In this precarious balance, nations grappled with the dual imperatives of survival and supremacy.