Sakarador stands at the crossroads of Agthor and the Free Kingdoms, and it's leader, appointed to lead the kingdom by the High Temple of Alantra, is tasked with difficult challenge of insuring that those crossroads remain open and peaceful.
A century after the fall of the fey courts, a family of enterprising dwarves lay claim to a stretch of open land a hundred miles southeast of Darkav pass. No one contested their claim, for the land was rocky and infertile. Worse, a deep river canyon cut the region in two, requiring days of travel just to journey from one side of the claim to the other.
The family that claimed the land, however, had a plan. With rising dwarven influence on the surface world, a desire grew for new northern trade routes that traversed the lands near the base of the Donarzheis Mountains. The dwarves believed that if they could bridge the canyon, they could establish a new, faster route from the plains of Agthor, through Darkav pass, and on to the many new kingdoms forming west of Darkav.
It took them three decades to complete their work. Within a month of the bridge's opening, the first caravans passed over—and the dwarves collected their first tolls. The kingdom of Sakarador was born.
Little more is known of this period in the kingdom's history. Ruins suggest the dwarves achieved great wealth, but with the coming of the Age of Darkness, Sakarador fell like all the other dwarven kingdoms of that era. During those dark years, the endrori occupied the kingdom and its capital. The bridge proved as useful to the Dark creatures as it had been to the dwarves, and the endrori rule there lasted well into the Age of Shadow. The last endrori fled the ruins just a few years before the arrival of the Alliance.
For decades the kingdom lay abandoned, although the bridge remained in use by the scattered tribes and villages that scraped a living from the high plains. This changed in 80 AC. In that year, the Alliance launched a campaign to drive out the remaining endrori around Darkav and seal the remaining Deepland entrances in the region. The bridge proved an important strategic resource for troops fighting the Hordes in the mountains. So much so, in fact, that the Alliance built a City Gate in the town that straddled the bridge to more easily bring in reinforcements from Norentor as needed.
When the last endrori fell, the position lost its primary strategic value, but the Alliance kept the gate in operation should they need it again. This proved the kingdom's undoing, for when the Cataclysm struck, the City Gate there exploded just like the gates across the rest of Aetaltis. Because of this explosion, every person within a thirty mile radius of the gate vanished. To this day no one knows what happened to them. There are a variety of theories, but the most popular is also the simplest—the magic disintegrated them, killing every last inhabitant of Sakarador's capital.
Once again, the kingdom and its capital lay abandoned, this time for nearly 300 years. The town fell to ruin, but the bridge remained.
Then came the return of Agthor and the birth of the Free Kingdoms. Suddenly, talk of the old northern trade routes once more drew the attention of merchants and nobles alike. In the year 410 AC, a cheebatan merchant house called the Five Gates Company took control of the bridge and the land around it. Although an avalanche had blocked Darkav Pass in 409 AC, the Company believed they could establish a new route around the mountains to the southwest by resettling the town around the bridge. Soon caravans and travelers were once more traversing the northern roads and passing over the bridge.
Unfortunately for the merchant company, their efforts proved a bit too successful. The promise of the trade route combined with the Sakarador's position on the border between the Free Kingdoms and Agthor drew the attention of both New Erinor and Hawk's Crest. If the routes grew more profitable, the bridge had potential as a key strategic military resource and both regions wanted control. A series of diplomatic negotiations followed, but it didn't take long for discussion to grow heated, nearly to the point of outright war between Agthor and the Free Kingdoms. Fortunately, at the last moment, an agreement was reached.
Neither side would control the kingdom. Rather, they would turn it over to a representative of the High Temple of Alantra to control as an impartial third party. The Five Gates Company wasn't thrilled, but they were able to negotiate terms to manage the bridge (and continue collecting tolls) in perpetuity. Rule of the kingdom meanwhile fell to Alaric of the Red Hearth, the second son of King Andalus of Kargalar (known more commonly as Red Hearth), a veteran warrior, and pious follower of Alantra. In 422 AC Alaric swore an oath to defend the kingdom and ensure that the bridge remain open to any who wished to cross. He took the throne a month later, but it remains to be seen if he can maintain the kingdom's neutral position.
Sakarador has a robust infrastructure with safe, well-maintained transportation routes. The temple provided the kingdom with the tools and people necessary to support a wide variety of government programs and improvements. The kingdom has a well-organized military with the resources they need to defend its people and the bridge. In particular, they boast a well-trained and well-equipped light cavalry that is skilled in fighting from horseback with spear and bow.
The kingdom's modern origins as the holding of a major cheebatan merchant company means that while the government officials King Alaric inherited are not actually corrupt, there is no end to backroom deal making, questionable payments that "absolutely, positively aren't bribes," and constant negotiation over every issue. The kingdom can enact new economic policies and adapt to sudden financial changes if it must, but it takes a lot of work and a host of committees. With its primary focus being the defense of the bridge, the kingdom only has rudimentary networks and resources available should they need to strike at an enemy from afar.
The people of Sakarador are very resilient and can overcome many of the hardships thrown at them. They are generally healthy and recover after suffering from war, plague, or famine if given a little time.
Thanks to the kingdom's modern past as a merchant holding, most of its people are fairly well-educated. Many people know how to read, and a few are schooled in other areas as well, including mathematics, the sciences, history, and literature. Wizards receive fair training, and the population has a reasonable appreciation of magic and the arcane.
The kingdom's new leader has brought with him his strong religious beliefs, giving Sakarador a solid set of traditions steeped in rich history to fall back on. In addition, thanks to the meticulous record keeping of the cheebat who ran the kingdom previously, knowledge is systematically passed down from one generation to the next, giving the people a wealthy store of wisdom to draw upon in times of need.
Very little of the Five Gates Company diplomatic corps remains intact after they turned over control to King Alaric. Although the kingdom's new diplomats have displayed moments of acumen, overall Sakarador has a poor reputation among other kingdoms. Criticisms range from a belief that it is little more than a glorified storefront for the Five Gates to King Alaric being a puppet of Agthor. It seldom emerges as one of the beneficiaries after engaging in critical diplomacy, and sometimes ends up suffering diplomatic setbacks. The kingdom has few alliances and relationships it can draw upon in times of crisis. It has little information on enemies or allies to give it an advantage during negotiations.
Join Tales of the Free Kingdoms
Sakarador is an official part of the World of Aetaltis, but it is also player controlled kingdom from the Tales of the Free Kingdoms interactive adventure game! Click here for more information on the Tales of the Free Kingdoms game!
To learn more about the World of Aetaltis, check out a full index of our past content posts here!
Art & Illustration
- Cartography by Nate Mangion