Taphran is a modestly-sized nation in the Northwest of Orelisle. It lies on the northern border of Daugon and to the southwest of Marujai. Taphran also shares somewhat more-disputed borders with Faidor to the west and particularly the Arlaven Glades, part of the boreal Regenleif Forest.
This country remained a relatively humble and pastoral nation until the end of the Daugon Imperial Conquests two centuries before the current era. After the Conquests were ended, Taphran entered into a close alliance with their neighboring countries, including Marujai, Faidor, and the remmnants of Daugon.
Taphran's terrain is mostly oak and pine forests outside of their three major cities. The forests sprawl over rolling hills and spill into the shaded valleys between. Taphran's major exports are cattle and lumber, and their craftsmen are known for their skill in leatherworking.
200 years ago, during the waning days of the Daugon Conquests, Taphran rose from a humble city-state to the nation it has since become. With the wars against Daugon raging unabated, conflict reached into every aspect of life for the peple of Taphran. The tides began to turn when three young Taphran soldiers were forced into their first battle in the forest south of the wall of the capital city of Soven. As the battle began to turn badly against the Taphrani, with Daugon mages backing up their small, deadly force with black magic, the powers of the land turned in their favor. The three recruits felt power stir around them, as three of the Northern revered spirits appeared to them, granting a Primal Magic that bound the three to end the encroachment of darkness. Given access to the very currents of raw Elemental magic, the three recruits won the battle and in time, would go on to lead the Taphran troops in the battles to come.
With the blessing of the Spirits and the boost in Taphran morale, the Taphran forces slowly drove back the Daugon invaders, first taking back Watchtower Outpost overlooking the Segras Plains, then the Advance Garrison at Nantik Cliffs, and even lifting the retaliatory siege of the Taphran capital. After these victories, the Three Heroes of Taphran, as they came to be known, led a small force through the Daugon lines to the Daugon seat of power in the hills to the south. There, they came across a small force led by the Daugon prince Torin Ashrun, who, like them, had been blessed with the power of the Primal Magic. Upon his defeat, Torin admitted his doubts as to the motives of the Daugon leaders, and together, the four empowered ones crept into the Daugon inner sanctum, and discovered that a dark magic had been awakened by the Daugon governors, a magic that twisted their greed into insatiable desire for dominion. Seeing the Empowered spying on them, the governors sent troops after the four, who all barely escaped. Horrified by what he had seen, Torin pledged his forces to Taphran, and they formed a temporary alliance. With Torin's men at their side, the Three Heroes led the Taphran army in a great push to Daugon's doorstep, fighting tooth and nail for every step.
Upon reaching the Daugon capital again, the four Empowered faced the Daugon governors, defeated them, and broke the hold of the dark magic they clung to. Soon after, the battle was won. Prince Torin rose to power over Daugon, and formed a lasting alliance with Taphran that still stands. The rivalry still exists, but shows itself mainly in sport.
There were years of peace, but eventually, those years came to an abrupt end. A new enemy rose, a race of strange humanoid beings with dark eyes, lizardlike scales, and a similar magic to that of the corrupt Daugon governors in each of their terrible warriors. A small group of these cunning monsters ambushed the Three Heroes and their families near Nantik Cliffs, and all three lost their lives despite fighting a battle that scarred the very land, but their families escaped unharmed.
Years later, a descendant of Jared named Seth Kaizoak and two others came upon a hidden grove while retreating from a battle with the Aetorg, the same race that had attacked Taphran before and killed the Three. The guardian spirits appeared to them, and again gave a gift of great power. Against the Aetorg, only divine power of the skies could stand. Seth Kaizoak was joined with Randelnar, the wolf spirit of the moon. The others were guided by Ran'Tao, the Tiger sun spirit, and Rik'Athir, the Owl spirit of the stars.
With the power of the moon wolf spirit, Seth set about driving away the Aetorg menace. Sometimes, he did so with the other two at his side, but the greatest tale of the war ended with Seth alone becoming the savior of Taphran. He and a loyal squad of soldiers left the safety of the Taphran lands, coming across and assembling the four pieces of the Mirror Shard Dagger, the key to the Door of Reflection that held the lands in bondage under foul Aetorg magic. They then journeyed to the nearby lands of Marujai, nation of mages; made their way through the dark glades of the nation of Faidor, and came upon the enslaved province of Daugon. Boldly freeing the prisoners of Daugon from their captivity, Seth and his Marujin, Daugonian, and Taphran forces freed Daugon and force the Aetorg into a strategic retreat
Seth did not stop there, but pursued the Aetorg back to their homelands. Once they were defeated there, Seth learned of the initial source of the Aetorg's power, and by extension, that of the corrupted Daugon.
The ancient race of dark mages known as the K'vesten had risen from hiding at the fall of the Aetorg empire, and were preparing to march on the world. It was found that they possessed an old relic called the Door of Reflection and would have been key to their victory had it remained open. As it was, however, the K'vesten were vulnerable.
Courageously, Seth pressed forward to the lands held by the K'vesten, in a secluded valley just west of Binturia. There, he fought his way through their stronghold, and eventually dueled with the K'vesten leader, the center of the magic-rich race's battle mind. On the ramparts of the stronghold, overlooking a twisted vista of swamp and dying trees, Seth struck down the K'vesten leader, and with him, the threat of both they and the Aetorg.
Seth returned triumphantly, and was hailed as the greatest Hero of Taphran. He eventually came to marry a lovely young peasant woman named Merili, who about a year afterward gave birth to a daughter who went on to become Queen of Taphran.
There were many subsequent years of peace and prosperity, during which time Taphran formed a Confederacy among they and their allies in Daugon and Marujai. The Faidor remained independent, but allied. As had been the case for many years, the humans bore only a wary, but peaceful neutrality with the elven villages of Arlaven.
Five years ago, Taphran underwent a coup, as a particular arrangement among two high noble families fell through. This was the final insult that one of the clans were willing to accept, and they subtly assassinated many of the royal family and heirs outside their own family. It was cunningly blamed on a recently-departed Talios delegation, whose negotiations had gone badly anyway.
In the years after the coup, Taphran's new leaders grew in power, and relations among the Confederacy became strained. The usurpers seized a small settlement across the Sparran Lake with a conscripted army, and placed taxes upon the Temples of the Spirits, which had become nearly silent, with the exception of Randelnar the Moon Wolf Spirit, of whom there had been no evidence at all since the coup.
In the early winter of the year 912, three years after the coup, a rebellion began to quietly form in Taphran, using the name of the young nobleman Elrik Kaizoak as a rallying cry. Just over two years later, in the spring of 914, the plans of the rebellion were put into action. They rose up, supported by the forces of the Arlaven Wood-Elves, the Butterfly-kin Court of the Valley, the Dwarves, and an elite band of mercenaries from Binturia. Together, the forces of the Resistance swept their way across field and forest to the Royal Palace, where the usurper King Henry Sentarel was defeated and imprisoned. The throne was returned to the Kaizoak line with the coronation of King Balan Kaizoak, and a tentative alliance was forged between the nations of Taphran and Binturia. Under the guidance of its king and the counsel of its new Prince Elrik and Princess T'Sarra, Taphran also mediated relations with other nearby nations, including the former enemies, K'vesten and the Aetorg.
After a time, the alliances within the Confederacy grew only stronger, and the nation of Taphran prospered under its restored leadership. The official dealings with Binturia faltered and fell apart, due to Binturia's wild nature and its existence in constant flux. Taphran did, however, form a strong economic, military, and friendly alliance with the Minotaur country of Kuragma, which continues to this day. King Balan is in good health and serves as a wise and popular ruler, and the Prince and Princess share a quiet, though undeniably comfortable life in the palace and among their people.