History of Cote d'Azul
A Nation in Transition: The Troubled History of Cote d’AzulThe Mittinuk, a people in shadow.
The story of Cote d’Azul begins with the Mittinuk People, an race of seafaring wanderers thought to have found their way to Cote d’Azul from Eastern lands by way of sturdily constructed bamboo raft some two thousand years ago. All but extinct now, the Mittinuk left little indication of their presence for modern researchers. Archaeological excavations have uncovered few relics: shattered pottery, obsidian daggers and beads are all that is left to tell their story. What scarce historical record can be established for the presence of the Mittinuk indicates that they were few in number, and that their disappearance was – historically speaking – abrupt. Scholars theorize that they may have been overwhelmed by disease or starvation, or perhaps destroyed by war, either between the tribes themselves or in conflict against later Mwange colonists. If the latter is true, then the ancient Mittinuk may have been the source of Mwangi legends describing the Mukkukarari, a race of diminutive cannibal demons thought to dwell deep beneath the earth of Cote d’Azul.The Early Mwangi Colonists, and the fall of Amtokrabi.
Approximately five hundred years ago, Cote d’Azul was again the target of colonists, this time Mwangi adventurers from the nearby Southlands. An advanced people capable of great artistry and stonework, these colonists left their mark upon the island in the forms of numerous stone ruins, temples and mysterious dolmens. Prosperous for nearly three hundred years, these settlers were ruled by a series of Priest Kings, the names of whom are all forgotten but one: the last Priest King, Amtokrabi. Mwangi legend remembers him as a bloodthirsty tyrant fond of ritual sacrifice and beholden to unmentionable dark powers. According to Mwangi elders, Amtokrabi’s wickedness grew so great that eventually the gods themselves were compelled to act against him, sending a cataclysmic storm that devastated the kingdom and killed every last man, woman and child. While the factual accuracy of this is debatable, Cote d’Azur apparently remained uninhabited by Mittinuk or Mwangi for nearly three hundred years. Such was the strength of Amtokrabi’s reputation that even now the Mwangi consider the island cursed.The Chelish Colonization, and the darkness of slavery
Two hundred years ago an expeditionary party commissioned by House Thrune of the Cheliax empire and led by the exile sea captain Jean Baptiste, formerly of Galt, set upon the shores of Cote d’Azul. Impressed with the island’s bountiful coastline and plentiful sugar cane and tropical fruit, Baptiste sent word to his diabolical masters that Cote d’Azul would be an ideal territorial holding and a great source of valuable trade goods to the North. After consulting with the forces of Hell, Regent Queen Abrogail told Baptiste to begin the construction of a settlement. Baptiste and his party anchored, and after laying the foundation for their colony, traveled to the mainlands and there enslaved several score of Mwangi men, women and children. Their treatment under Baptiste, now the duly invested Viceroy of the colony of Cote d’Azul, was barbaric beyond measure. Colonial records remember Baptiste as a sadist second only to the legendary Amtokrabi in the sad history of this island. During the first year alone, mortality rates among the slaves were nearly 50 percent. Baptiste was eventually poisoned; accounts differ as to whether this was done by one of his staff or a vengeful slave. He was replaced by Kelvan of Thune, a man equally as callous as Baptiste, but possessed of a keen administrative sense. Under his leadership, Cote d’Azul became a prosperous investment, supplying Cheliax with boatloads of sugar, rum, fruit and seafood. Colonists from Cheliax began to settle the island, and soon its green expanse was dotted with plantations and small villas. While life for the Chelish was good, the slaves and their descendants suffered even more horribly than before. The island’s petty nobility delighted in torture and diabolism. In desperation, the slaves themselves were forced to turn to their own dark magics for protection, developing a syncretic religion based equally on the religion of their captives and the ancient folkways of their own people. They called it Vodu.Secret Societies of Cote d’Azul, Vodu and the Mwangi Uprising
The Mwangi slaves were not permitted to socialize or celebrate their own traditions, so in order to escape their masters’ eyes, they developed an elaborate system of ruses and code words to hide their true intents. As these grew both more successful and more complicated, secret societies were born to preserve the Mwangi’s secrets and provide aid to fellow members. These secret societies drew their power from both the Vodu belief system and a mutual hatred of their Chelish tormentors. A confederation among them was organized by a slave named Francois Kukk, and after several years of stowing resources, secretly training to fight and developing the power of Vodu, the Mwangi slaves rose up against their would-be masters.The Night of Masks, and its aftermath
On a quiet Autumn night approximately ten years ago, Kukk and several hundred of his co-conspirators took to the streets armed with sickles and axes and wearing fearful masks representative of the Vodu gods. After taking over Chateau Yves, one of the largest and most prosperous plantations on the island, the masked men spread across Cote d’Azul, burning out the Cheliaxian colonists and killing all that they could. After the Masked Men seized control of most of the island, those remaining colonists sued for peace, agreeing to vacate Cote d’Azur via boat with whatever they could carry on their back. Kukk and his comrades celebrated their victory, making haste to spread word among all the slaves that they were free. However, this victory would not last.Cheliax conflict, and the end of fighting
Queen Abrogail the II, granddaughter of Queen Abrogail, would not stand to lose such a prosperous colony. Over the next decade, Abrogail made Cote d’Azul the site of a protracted and bloody guerilla war between the Mwangi rebels and their colonial oppressors. To make things worse, the confederation of the secret societies fractured, leading to infighting and warfare between the clans. Eventually, with the financial and military assistance of Galt, a country with its own history of rebellion and a sense of camaraderie with others in similar plights, Cote d’Azul repelled Cheliax for good.Cote d’Azul today
Cote d’Azul has taken great steps toward stabilizing and rebuilding its society. Its major towns have been rebuilt under the leadership of its Revolutionary Council, and the small island nations now enjoy friendly relations with many Northern countries, among them Gault. However, although this is currently a period of stability for Cote d’Azul, problems do remain. Many of the island’s factions see the nation’s relationship with Galt as exploitive and a form of economic slavery. They point toward the trade gap between the two nations, and also resent the island’s growing number of Gault-owned businesses and residences. Also, infighting still continues among several of Cote d’Azul’s secret societies, and corruption is rampant within the nation’s leadership. The common people of Cote d’Azul suffer from poverty, starvation and crime. Vodu continues to remain a strong influence on the island, with citizens living in fear of the powerful Bokors: evil Vodu priests who supposedly have the power to raise the dead. Northern visitors to the island can expect to receive a wide variation of reactions from its inhabitants, from open hostility to poised indifference to extreme kindness and hospitality, largely depending on where they travel. While it is true that Cote d’Azul has made a great deal of progress in the last few years, it is far from a safe or predictable place. But for some, this isn’t a bad thing.