The Black River Irregulars
NATIONS: Protectorate of Menoth
For years historians and politicians both have pretended the Protectorate of Menoth was not a nation of its own because the agreements that ended the Cygnaran Civil War left it technically beholden to Cygnar’s crown. Over time those obligations proved to be a farce, and now it is clear the Protectorate stands as the youngest of the Iron Kingdoms. Indeed, while older kingdoms like Llael have fallen, the Protectorate’s survival seems more certain with each passing year.
Caspia was divided in the aftermath of the Cygnaran Civil War. The larger, western portion of the city remained part of Cygnar, while the eastern portion across the Black River became Sul, capital of the Protectorate. This placed bitter enemies in close proximity, with only towering walls and a rushing river between their heavily armed garrisons. The rest of the Protectorate stretches east and southeast into an arid and resource-poor region adjacent to the dangerous Bloodstone Marches.
Sul-Menites practice a strict form of worship and believe their only chance of evading endless torment in the afterlife is obedience to the True Law. Priests and scrutators instill a terror of the clergy in the population, teaching the people to obey without question and to expect the lash for expressing the slightest doubt. Perhaps because of these harsh measures, the Menite faith has been in slow decline for many centuries, steadily losing ground to the more benevolent message of the Church of Morrow.
The recent appearance of the Harbinger of Menoth has provided the spark the Menites have long sought to revitalize their faith. This young woman emerged from an obscure town on the fringes of the Protectorate and displayed clear signs of miraculous contact with the divine, including the fact that her feet refuse to touch the unclean earth. She sometimes communes directly with Menoth and can speak his words. Witnessing her visage has prompted thousands of foreigner Menites to immediately convert and pull up their roots to relocate to the Protectorate.
Regular clashes between the Protectorate and Cygnar has long threatened the security of both powers, and these tensions erupted into open war following Khador’s invasion of Llael. The Protectorate took advantage of Cygnar’s distraction to initiate a long-planned great crusade. The Harbinger’s endorsement of this campaign filled the hearts and minds of the Sul-Menites with unprecedented fervor and a frightening willingness to sacrifice their lives for the cause.
Violence between Cygnar and the Protectorate of Menoth escalated to a crescendo in 605 AR when the Protectorate besieged Caspia. The Menites were repelled, and Cygnar counterattacked, breaching Sul’s walls to allow Cygnaran soldiers to pour into the city. Following a year of grueling battles, Protectorate forces eventually drove the Cygnaran invaders back and spilled through Caspia’s gates to march on Castle Raelthorne. Cygnar’s home garrison narrowly achieved victory, quieting the constant warfare between the two cities for a time but leaving a tenuous situation that could flare to open war at any time. Smaller skirmishes continue to transpire in the open lands outside Caspia and Sul on either side of the Black River, causing considerable hardship to those living in those embattled regions.
While the fighting in Caspia and Sul resulted in a stalemate, the Protectorate’s military efforts elsewhere have strengthened the nation. Its Northern Crusade in particular has met with great success. Those forces brazenly conducted operations in the Thornwood, burning the Cygnaran city of Fisherbrook before marching north to seize the fortified Llaelese city of Leryn, a center of alchemical production and one of the greatest fortresses ever built. This has become the seat of the crusades. The Protectorate has situated most of its military might in this northern region, hoping to extend its reach toward Khador and bring the Harbinger’s message to the large Menite communities there.