Relics of the Past
Arkhosia was not the first dragonborn empire-nor, many dragonborn proclaim, will it go down in history as the last. Even so, it stands as a shining high point in dragonborn history, the pinnacle of their civilization and a culture that, though long dead, still shapes its descendants. Every living dragonborn is in some sense an heir of Arkhosia, and carries both the pride of that ancient lineage and the burden of the fallen empire’s memory.
Arkhosia arose in the distant recesses of history, untold centuries before the rise of the human empire of Nerath. It grew from a confederacy of seven city-states united under the leadership of a single ancient dragon dubbed the Golden One. It expanded partly through conquest and partly through simple diplomatic outreach and trade. Many dragonborn city-states and even some tribes and nations of other races deemed it preferable to live within the secure borders of a powerful empire than to fend for themselves in the darkness outside Arkhosia’s borders. Arkhosia prospered for hundreds of years, taming the wilderness and expanding its trade and diplomatic missions to far-flung corners of the world.
That constant drive toward expansion soon brought Arkhosia into conflict with the other imperial power of that distant era, the diabolic empire of Bael Turath with its tiefling noble caste. Bitter wars between the two empires spanned centuries and wrought terrible devastation upon the world. The strains of the war brought internal conflicts to light within Arkhosia as well, partly manifested in the renewed strength of Tiamat’s secretive cults.
The fall of Arkhosia was as great as its accomplishments. The armies of Bael Turath with their devil allies defiled great swaths of the empire’s lands, swallowed entire dragonborn cities into deep caverns, or simply razed them to the ground. The Golden One was slain, and dozens of other dragon lords fell or were scattered into the wilderness as their grip on the land slipped. Bael Turath fell under Arkhosia’s relentless assault, but it took the dragonborn empire down with it. When neither side had the will or the resources to fight any longer, when the shouts and horns of battle were silenced at last, nothing remained of the two empires but scattered remnants of displaced populations and haunted ruins.
Few dragonborn still inhabit the lands at the heart of their ancient empire-lands that remain tainted by the evil and powerful magic that brought the empire low. Under later kingdoms, including Nerath, dragonborn were prohibited from gathering in large numbers. Yet many dragonborn still think of themselves as citizens of Arkhosia, exiles from a land that no longer exists but might someday be reborn.
For these dragonborn, Arkhosia is more than a memory-it’s a symbol of all that is great about their race. The empire’s glory was the glory of all dragonborn, but by extension its fall was their fall. As much as individual dragonborn seek to earn glory by their deeds. their efforts will never reach the heights of Arkhosia’s renown, unless and until a new Golden One appears to rule over a restored draconic empire.