In the Shadow of Griffin Mountain
A rugged and thinly-populated expanse of land, Balazar lies between the Elf Sea on the north and the Rockwood Mountains on the south. Its grassy plains and grassy hills support many herds of wild cattle and other such animals. Local barbarians and prides of smilodon hunt the herds.
The Elf Sea got its name from the First Age. The elves once grew wonderous shapes for trees and from them constructed magical ships and boats. From the Elf Sea they sailed northward upon the Argos River, and also portaged their boats from the Elf Sea overland to the Oslir River.
The forest which grew the boat parts was in the Balazar region but has since been destroyed, perhaps by Gbaji the Chaos God and his worshippers, or by Zorak Zoran, or even by some fire god.
During most of the Second Age trolls occupied the land. Some old ballads refer to this, and the Balazarings claim that their Founder himself conquered the trolls. Non-Yelmalions delight in pointing out that the trolls had already been exhausted by the elf wars.
The barbarians of the area are the Balazaring tribe. They trace their descent from the legendary Balazar, famous as a leader of a Yelmalio legion during the days before the Dragonkill War. He met, and wed, a local hunting nymph and they had three sons. Balazar marched to war with the True Golden Army while his sons were still boys. Like most members of that army he died in the Dragonkill War of 1100. Everyone knows that the sons quarreled afterwards for the inheritance and became dire enemies. Since that time there have been three tribal fortresses, housing the three kings of the tribes. The three forts are Dykene, Trilus, and Elkoi.
Third Age Balazar remained stable. Though area tribes might take over another’s citadel or steal a herd of swine, the balance remained despite the petty squabbles. The land knew no outside intervention, for it is worthless to people who prefer bread to meat.
Refugees sought help or hiding in Balazar. Once the Balazar army even showed its teeth to the Imperial Army. No Balazaring victories are recorded, though their army shared victories with other more civilized forces.
The few contacts with the Lunar forces whetted the appetites of the Balazaring kings for Lunar plunder. The royal dynasties competed to descend from their wild hill fortresses and raid away Lunar gold, cattle, and goods. They often lost, especially when local militia cavalry moved against them. The more skilled among them, the Rune Masters, sometimes succeeded.
In 1564 the Tarsh governor lost patience with the endless raiding and sent an army against the citadel of Elkoi. They seized it by a surprise assault and an impressive use of their overwhelming magic, then garrisoned it. Most of the Elkoini royal dynasty died, but the populace were well treated and coaxed to remain. Since that time it has remained a Lunar outpost, and is surrounded by a small agricultural population.