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Karstus is a city in the Kingdom of Eris. It is one of the oldest established cities in the land and by a small margin the largest city, though not the capital, of the Province of the Karstlands

Karstus is situated on the southern edge of the rocky Karstic Plateau and on the banks of the Life of the East river. It is ruled by the family Ranance under the Lords Harnce. 

Origins[]

Karstus was a large town by the standards of the Pre-Empirical Period, accounts from that long ago are rare but the Uikarii tribe were said to be a huge tribe who dominated the area 'east of the great mountains and west of the great water' so it is reasonable to assume that their capital was at Karstus. 

The Ancient Empire's Invasion set up three Lordships in governance of Eris. Accounts are in conflict over whether Eastrock or Karstus had the honour of capital of the Lordship of Salt and Stone but it is most likely that the premiership went back and forth depending on the ruler or that there was no properly declared capital and that both cities wanted the title and claimed it. Nonetheless in their typical fashion, the Gyolians took a local population centre and turned it into their own. The Empirical Period saw an era of unprecedented growth within Karstus city and its high stone walls were constructed then.

Independence and further expansion[]

During the Collapse of the Empire a mere forty years later, Karstus was the site of one of the first localised rebellions against Gyolian rule. The rebels were led by Yuickas Karstyn who ended up as ruler-elect of the now free city. With a large population and the security of stone walls, the first city-state then Kingdom, of Karstus established a regional hegemony. 

While outside power was being put over others, inside the city the Karstyn's were ruthlessly gaining power over their own. The culmination of their rise came in their declaration of a Kingdom with a Karstyn King. 

The city was besieged numerous times during wars with the Freehold of Eastrock and the Lordship of Summer but never fell. Eventually the Freehold, the main regional challenger to Karstusian power, was crushed and the Empire of Karst declared. The city became the capital of the new Karstic Empire and grew even more. 

Fall and Decline[]

Aenan Sarcrus' invasion of Eris was swift and brutal. His unforeseen alliance with the Lordship of Summerwood left a lethal enemy right on the Empire's doorstep. Though the Empire had expanded hugely north and west and even eastwards, it had never really defeated the Lordship or taken any substantial land to the south. The Capital was dangerously exposed. 

At the Battle of Dunmoughlin the karstian army was put to flight by a numerically inferior Sarcrusian force. Shortly afterwards the city of Karstus was surrounded by the same Sarcrusian army. The Silver Legion, Aenan's original 5,000 built their trademark artillery with frightening speed with scavenged wood and iron and within a week the city walls were holed in numerous places. 

The Fall of Karstus occurred on the seventh day of the siege. Summrish levies were sent in first to take the arrow fire and silence the bows on the city walls. Next marched Aenan's 2nd Legion. At that point the city had basically fallen. In the streets Karstic Phalanx Formations met their match with the Legionnary Shieldwall Formations of Sarcrusian style infantry. A desperate charge of the Emperor's elite Cataphract Cavalry reputedly slew a thousand of the Summerwood knights but the city was nonetheless taken, sacked and the Royal Family put to the sword.

Most of the inhabitants of the city were able to flee through the northern gate which Aenan purposely left unguarded but thousands still died in the confusion. Districts of the city were burned, buildings damaged and nearly all goods looted or destroyed. 

After the Sack of Karstus, many inhabitants left the city with nothing to stay for. Throughout the Sarcrusian Conquest, Karstus became less and less of an milestone settlement. It's stone walls remained breached for a long period of time but still stood. The Decree of Summron Lordship was the only document stopping Summerish expansion into the area around Karstus though the city did see a brief period of rule under the Lordship. 

Stablisation and the Ranances[]

After the conquest, the Karstlands became the most fragmented and anarchaic places in Eris. Official provinces were established in the North, Riverlands, Vale, Hilte, Seaholds, Summerlands and Royallands but Karstia was deemed Terra Desolata, hard to rule and not worth properly ruling. Karstic phalanxes combined with local knowledge of areas and the karstic landscape helped karstian forces many times numerically smaller inflict horrific casualties on invaders. A patchwork of local lords ruled various areas, though gradually some of these lords began to dominate. The Ranances were lords of a large swathe of land to the north-west of the city and were rapidly expanding. Around a hundred years AS they marched on the city and seized it from the weak collaboration of merchants who ruled it through a council. Repairing the walls, they declared it their capital due to its security and potential. 

Under the Ranances the city did not really grow much but decline was halted and a large part of the city fully rebuilt. By the time of the War of the Ninth Succession, Karstus was an important enough stop off point for any traders operating on the Life of the East. 

War of the Ninth Succession and Karstic Revival[]

The Harnces of Matrohb Castle in the north-westernmost corner of the karstlands had been growing increasingly in power. When the Civil War broke out, the Harnces supported King Saen and with his support managed to rally nearly all the other karstlords under his banner. The Ranances were longterm rivals of the Harnces and refused to bow. Multiple skirmishes were fought and the Harncian army advanced on the city but all the time putting out that they did not want to fight.

News came that the a Royal Army of King Aureon was out to reconquer the Karstlands to his cause. The army contained thousands of Summerlanders and was led by a Cartus. The Summerish were seen as the ancient enemy by all karstians and the Ranances finally consented to join the Harnces. 

As the mantra goes, at Millmount, under a high sun, a united Karstian army defeated an army of the pretender king led by their ancient summerish enemies. 

Millmount was fought just south of the city and was a crushing victory for the Karstians. This began a period of karstian nationalism and following Saen's victory in the war, the Province of the Karstlands was created under the Harnces. 

Mostly at peace and part of a legitimate province, Karsus attracted much trade and grew massively. Its proudest moment was the passing out of Defford in population size in the 225 AS karstian census.

Trade[]

The majority of the trade that passes through Karstus is goods to/from the Great Nations to/from the peaceful barbarians along the life of the east. The city has a thriving dockside. Karstus is the major stopoff point between Summerwood and Eastrock. 

Some of the trade is road bound however. There is a rough but straight road from Karstus to the Ironcastle, the western entrance to the Vale. Goods along the Great Water bound for the Vale and Glens tend to take that path. 

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