Fireborn: Dark Phoenix
League of Transarbina
[Map note: Transarbinan League members have pale green borders]
A mutual defence pact that’s endured for hundreds of years; the League of Transarbina is the latest incarnation of the political entity that began as the Arbina Alliance, 11 centuries before; initially an alliance of the most easterly nations that banded together to fend off the aggressive Empire, it has since grown to encompass all independent Transarbinan nations as well as a fair number of the grand island-states of Goralia as well – those that haven’t yet been absorbed by or voluntarily joined the Empire or the Republic already, of course.
In the early days of the Empire, Transarbina (as opposed to Cisarbina, the Empire’s heartlands) was one of the few regions of the world that the Uruk had already inhabited. The nomadic tribes bore a great deal of resemblance to the Empire’s precursors; but had little contact thanks to the Wastes of Arbina, the vast desert region occupying the centre of the continent and effectively barring easy travel – and preventing armies crossing.
The first Transarbinan Kingdoms were established prior to 500EI, as the Empire’s enemies fled westwards where their armies could not easily follow but where commonplace boats could reach if needed; in the north, these were mainly the northern Sheikhs who were being steadily absorbed into the Empire as province after province was seceded or conquered, and in the south these were rebellious warlords and chieftains who wished to carve out their own fiefs without paying heed to the God-Emperor Bartus.
For many hundreds more years these Kingdoms were left to expand more or less unhindered to claim all the Transarbinan coastlines, until the Empire – having consolidated all of Cisarbina under its rule – needed new territories, and did not have the naval technologies to send large navies over the sea to Encyronia. They began sending armies by ship around the Wastes, and invading the nearest Transarbinan territories.
The Transarbinans had little friendship with one another, but they remembered the Empire in their cultural memories, and their sages knew the threat it posed – and that they would suffer the fate of the northern Cisarbinan Sheikhdoms if they allowed the Empire to attack single colonies and nations at a time.
The Arbina Alliance was formed; its sole purpose to pool military resources to defend against the Empire.
For many years the battles raged; with the Transarbinans managing to hinder the Imperial supply lines well enough that the Empire could not maintain its footholds there.
A major turning point in the war was when Transarbinan explorers made contact with the Elves for the first time; and persuaded the Elves to intervene diplomatically. The result was not what any side had hoped for, with Elven emissaries killed and their ships sunk, in a situation so confusing that all sides disputed the sequence of events significantly. The deaths of their emissaries persuaded the Elves that the Uruk were too dangerous to be allowed to expand without limits, and the eventual result of that was the Treaty of Grelda, which recognised the existing Uruk nations’ borders and those of their colonies, but forbade all further expansion of borders.
Ironically, by the time of the Elven intervention, the Empire’s naval technology and economy had advanced sufficiently that the nation of Encyronia was becoming both a viable target and a dangerous rival, with the ability to block key Imperial trade routes; and attention had already started to turn eastwards. The even more ironic outcome, though, was that the powerful cultures of Transarbina – some of the world’s most diverse and oldest – were forced to curtail their ambitions by the Elves, the very allies they’d hoped would help them defeat the Empire so the Arbina Alliance itself could spread.
In the years afterwards, devoid of opportunities to expand their borders into new lands, the nations of the Arbina Alliance gradually turned on one another, trading borders and entering wars for supremacy in the ultimate zero-sum wargame. After seven centuries of consolidation (or lack thereof) some of the larger power blocs became philosphically inclined towards cultural and economic dominance, rather than militarism; and new strands of enlightened thinking began to emerge in the melting-point of cultures. From these proto-alliances and treaties, over the next two centuries, emerged the Trans-Arbina Economic Pact, the Arbina Free Trade Treaty, and finally the formation of the overarching controlling council, the League of Transarbina – formed as a direct response to the increasing aggression by the Cyraean Republic, and as a formal way to cement the alliances and mutual ties that had long become informally accepted.
In the modern age, the League of Transarbina is a hotbed of social, scientific, arcane, and economic innovation. Sizeable nations compete – peacefully – with their neighbours to attract wealth, investment, and modernity; the League is keenly aware that both the heavily socialist Republic and the unstable but expansionist Empire have eyes on their territories, and that both power blocs have more advanced technologies than the disparate nations of Transarbina can muster with their more limited resources. The result is a vibrant mixture of ideas and innovations that may yet bear fruit; Transarbinan sciences are richer and more competitive than the true major nations’, though whether this becomes enough to secure their independence against the forces of autocracy and communism remains to be seen.