The History of Vanzenia

Vanzenia was founded at the fall of the Aurumian Empire. As orcs and other monsters began to encroach upon the edges of Tirenia, one group of refugees moved into the Vanzenian lagoon and established a new settlement upon the islands there.This made them safe from the worst of the war on the mainland, but it could not protect them from the air. The Vanzenians were terrorised by Excidius, a red dragon, who demanded tribute from them. They were saved by San Teodoro, one of the disciples of the Prophet. He killed Excidius, and then brought the holy word to the people of the lagoon.

In the years that passed, Vanzenia grew rich and powerful. Its isolation from the wars of the mainland meant that it could maintain its neutrality. Its people sank posts into the lagoon and extended their great city out over the water. making a thousand artificial islands divided by canals. Its ships traveled across the Middle Sea and established trading connections everywhere. The city grew rich selling salt, which it harvested from the lagoon, and from importing goods from Crescentia and Sahelia. Vanzenia's church also retained a large degree of independence from the High Ordinarch, and the Cathedral of San Teodoro became connected with the elected Doge, the ruler of the city.

However, there was a darkness within the city. Morignus, leader of the red dragons, had long had his eye upon the city where his sire had died. Over hundreds of years, dragons infiltrated the power structures of the cities of humanity. The disastrous crusades against Crescentia served to further destabilise the institutions of Tirenia. The Church was gradually co-opted and corrupted, so that it could not threaten the dragons again. When Morignus finally revealed himself, it was too late: the city had been conquered from within.

Since the rise of the red dragons, Vanzenia has become wealthier still. The red dragons have extended Vanzenia's rule to conquer many of its former trading partners, or to eliminate its rivals. Explorers are opening up new lands to plunder and despoil, and wealth is flowing into the city. The adoption of the slave trade has made Vanzenia fantastically wealthy, and the only cost has been the city's soul.

Recently, the plague struck Vanzenia, and spread from there to the rest of Tirenia. Thousands died, until Morignus quarantined those suffering from the plague on an island and then burned them all with his fiery breath. The plague has ended, and the city is starting to recover now, but its canals still seem empty sometimes.

Art: 'Miracle of the Cross at the Bridge of San Lorenzo.' Gentile Bellini, 1500.

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