"In the beginning, there was one king. He ruled his nobles from his castle of yellow, and there were jousts and processions. However, the nobles- each of whom had there own symbols upon their coats-of-arms- fell into disloyalty and factionalism, and the kingdom dissolved into anarchy.
The land was soon invaded and conquered by two great kings – King Leonardo the Royal and King Draconic the Black. They were known as the Hidden Kings, for they were never seen by any but their most trusted advisors. Even by these, their names were not used, for they were referred to (when at all) as the Royal King and the Black Monarch. They ruled wide lands, with the land of the Black Falcons between; for the two kings were ever at war, save when they were met in tournament or joust, and often used different families of the Falcon men as mercenaries. Their other borders were surrounded by forests filled with bandits: the Men of the Forest in the realm the Royal King, and the Wolfpack in that of the Black Monarch.
These were the golden years of the land, as the two realms’ armies fought with each other and with the bandits, and knowledge nautical arts increased- it was a great age of voyaging, with each side building bigger and better ships (though if truth were told, the Monarch’s men had an advantage, drawing as they did on the manpower of the Falcons for their experiments
, culminating in the great Sea Serpent.)
But this idyllic time was not to last. When the Black Monarch was suddenly pronounced dead, it was revealed that he had dabbled in the arts of sorcery, to his undoing. For men say that it was his tutor, Majisto, that killed him by magic to take his throne. Certainly the Black Monarch’s Ghost
haunted the Dragon Empire ever after, and some say can still be found. A few men even say that the ghost appears on occasion colored blood-red, but most take this as the rambling of a few delusional people.
Nevertheless, the wizard brought actual dragons to the Empire, and made war all peoples, even the Black Falcons that had been his allies. The people of the falcons and the wolves were almost completely eliminated, mixing with the remnants of the Forest Men. For the bulk of this tribe had, in recognition of danger, seized most if not all of the kingdoms’ ships, fleeing- never to be seen again.
(It is said, however, that some made it to the land of Cipango, and served the Emperor there as his personal guard. If so, their tales of the dragon armies may have influenced the creation of some of this foreign prince’s siege engines. Others are said to have found new lands far to the west, and there reverted to savagery. More on this cannot be said.)
In this time of peril, the Royal King showed himself, and rallied the remnants of his people to victory. Victory, for the wizard and his troops were completely overthrown. Yet perhaps it would have been better if they had conquered. For Majisto was not the only sorcerer in those lands. Others had supported him, then betrayed him once in power. They led armies of mercenaries into the King’s lands, carrying the sign of the Bat. These frightful knights even threw down the King himself, and the last vestiges of the golden years fell with him. (The disappearance of the remnant of the Forest men, who had hidden in the darkest depths of the forest, was about this time.)
Even so, another king, Leo, rose to the challenge, repelling an invasion of barbarian Bulls. However, the last Kingdom of Knights soon dwindled to one man- Matthias, last of Leonardo’s line.
He sought out the last remnants of the peoples of the land, and gathered them to himself, for Vladek, the last (or so it was believed) of the evil warlords that had troubled them so had raised an army of knights under the sign of the Scorpion for a final war. Just four knights and twice that of crossbowmen the king found to fight for him, but with the help of an old hermit defeated the Scorpion invasion, and prepared to march on their own strongholds in the wilderness. As they did so, it was discovered that Vladek was not the Scorpion ruler. That place was taken by the mysterious Shadow King who, rumor said, had the help of another wizard of Majisto’s school. Wilder rumors also flew, of strange monsters and hidden warriors, and even of another barbarian invasion, from the far north…"