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After the six tribes arrived in Cerilia the Masetians settled along the southern coast, building mainly coastal cities. However one group moved inland to take advantage of a number of mines in a group of low hills in the center of the great fertile plain to the north of them. Over the next few hundred years the population exploded as they took advantage of the open plains around them.
They built a huge city in the hills and called it Tarva, a word which meant '"Gold" in Masetian [1]. Having moved away from the sea, the people began to find the sea-goddess Masela's faith less and less relevant to their lives. At the same time priests appeared in their midst telling them of a new God, Asrus [2], who would teach them how to use the gold & steel they'd been mining much more productively.
At first this new faith seemed benevolent and much better suited to their new lifestyle than Masela's. The clement climate of their new home meant that the weather was of little concern to them. They learnt how to make steel weapons & golden jewellery. After a few years this religion was well established in Tarva & the people had begun to covet. Their new faith had taught them not only to desire possessions, but had also given them the means to gain those possessions.
Tarva's territory expanded rapidly as they subjugated wandering clans of Vos, Brecht & Basarji, as well as subjugating many of the Masetian cities on the Sun Coast. By this point the battle of Deismaar was no more than fifty years away, and it looked as if the people of Tarva would form a major part of Azrai's army.
As the Tarvan's took Saria (a feat that relied mainly on the magic of one who would survive Deismaar to become known as el-Sheighul) & the Masetians fled to the Islands to regroup, opposition finally appeared to the Tarvan.
Sarim al-Yaousoun was a Basarji clan leader, and a military genius. Coming from somewhere in modern Binsada (the Basarji had spread rapidly over the plains) he united several nomadic tribes of Basarji who were in danger of being crushed by the Tarvans and started doling out a remarkable series of reversals to the Tarvans. Tales of his epic battles with the forces of the Western Commander of Tarva, a potent mage taught magic by Azrai himself, would have been campfire classics for the Basarji, had things gone differently.
Sarim organised his people into several fast nomadic armies. Capable of living off the land they could raid deep into Tarva & escape before the Tarvan legions could respond. Sarim's wife Karida was a Paladin of Basaïa, and wielded one of the few Holy Avengers known in Cerilia, the 'Farisan'. Eventually Sarim lured the majority of the Tarvan Army to battle (somewhere near modern Turin), thus enabling him to sack Tarva itself.
Unfortunately the surviving Tarvan mages, incensed at the destruction of their city, set fire to the plains. Since it was late in the year, the wheat was dry in the fields and the fire spread like, well, wildfire. A full half of Sarim's army perished, including both him & Karida, choking to death in the thick smoke. The Tarvan army attempted to strike out for safety but starved in the middle of the self created desert. The few that survived earned the name Corpse-eaters & fought in the van of Azrai's army at Mount Deismaar.
The destruction of Sarim's army, followed by the deaths of many of the survivors at Deismaar meant that little of this story is known in modern Khinasi. Few know even that there was an empire that covered much of the modern Plains States and beyond. The few stories of Sarim's genius are usually attributed to el-Arrasi, or leaders resisting the Anuirean invasion. Ironically the most accurate version of this story is preserved in Anuire, where stories of Sir Siraen & his lady Kaerin are popular romances. The story usually places the story in the East - often Osoerde or Coeranys, or occasionally in Mhoried (when almost invariably the Gorgon is named as the evil mage).
There are probably no more than 20-30 people born since Deismaar and alive today who have heard of the City of Tarva, and many of those don't know the full story. The nomads of the modern Tarvan wastes know to avoid the rare ancient temples of the ancient Tarvan's and the ruins of the city itself are taboo, not even to be spoken of lest old evils arise again.
Loose threads:
  • El-Sheighul is still alive (?) and out to cause trouble.
  • The Serpent is probably not from Tarva (it would be too predictable), but certainly visited there while young - it's possible that he studied there.
  • Tarva's treasure horde has yet to be found - supposedly it's out there somewhere in the wastes. The city was one of the richest in Cerilia's history, and its gold might prove a tempting prize.
  • Farisan is out there somewhere too (probably) a Holy Avenger - something that's not too common.
  • Something interesting probably happened to the Corpse-Eaters at Deismaar. Most would have died, but a few might have survived. Either that or some sort of summoning spell could summon them. Which could be nasty.

[1] Modern scholars generally think that the root of the name of the Tarvan wastes refers to the colour of the land. They're wrong.
Alternate transliterations might also be: Tarua, Thara, Darva, Dharva, Cserva or Tsarva depending on which language it's been transliterated from. When transliterating from Masetian into English Tarua is probably the best one.
[2] I'm going with the idea that the Tribes fleeing Aduria were fleeing the Shadow, & were unaware (at this point) of Azrai's name, so this obvious Masetianisation wouldn't have been noticed.
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