Chronicles of the Bright Empire
Principality of Glass
The Principality of Glass was originally, in the distant and shrouded past, a single polity grown up in the ruins of an even older civilization’s great citadel – a long-destroyed observatory and record-keeping room on a high hillside beneath an often-clear dome of sky, overlooking the wide and fertile Plains of Glass.
The ruins, so go the legends, were very old even in those legendary days, and haunted by capricious spirits of light and darkness, fell beasts and ravenous vermin. When humanity first moved into the Plains of Glass, they found the ruins dangerous and not of much use for their mounted herder / hunter-gatherer lifestyle, but gradually, over many generations, the wise and brave rose up among their tribes, braved the City’s dangers, and brought back new wisdom and power, showing their people how to use what the ancients had left behind: the incredibly-strong shards of glass found throughout the city which were but fragments of ancient written tablets.
The first to survive the attemp, Lieron Sharp-Eyed, returned from the City mad, but literate and able to read and write – both the language of the ancients recorded throughout the city, and a hitherto-absent written form for the language of his people, seemingly springing fully formed from his fevered mind. Lieron’s writings are the first known written records by any human, ever.
Lieron Sharp-Eyed’s granddaughter Astal Windchaser rode back from her quest to the City of Glass upon horses made of roiling cloudstuff, carrying lessons for her people about how to find the signature in the stars to tell of the march of seasons, and how that keyed to the growing of plants for food.
From Dema the Left-Handed, questing to find an unbreakable glass sword among the ruins, the People learned that the hitherto-worthless hematite stones found in the hills around the plains could be smelted to make iron for weapons and armor and plowshares, far stronger and sharper than the bronze tools they then used.
The wisest and most ambitious vision-seekers of those early days learned magics great and small, and recovered all manner of arcane artifacts and treasures; but their names are best left unspoken.
And, the spiritual visionary who would eventually be known as Pontinius I stood upon the broken glass dome of the Observatory and, speaking unto the Gods through the guidance of a great Dragon, learned of the Pact that protects all mortals from the demons and spirits of the outer realms, and the role of mortals themselves in preserving that Pact.
Always, with each generation, the bravest continued to explore the always-perilous City of Glass while the rest put up small, stable villages nearby. The People of Glass gradually reclaimed the ancient city entirely. They also grew into a prosperous and knowledgeable civilization, in equal part due to the swift and passionate nature of their human blood and the occasional, fortunate discovery of new knowledge or magic within the City of Glass.