The Stone Throne was a nation that existed from approximately 300 BC until 245 AC. Founded after the gwerin rulers of the ancient Fanged Kingdom disappeared for parts unknown, the Stone Throne was the sole power in the Jungle of Fangs.
Founding - Cataclysm
The Stone Throne was the successor state to the Fanged Kingdom after the masters of that mageocracy disappeared for parts unknown in approximately 550 BC.
Ruled by the Isal caste as the chosen descendants of the masters under the watchful eye of the priest-bureaucracy answering to the Queen Ascendant, the center of the ancient Stone Throne was in the central and southern areas from Ar Salem Dolem down to Kel'al'ar and especially around Lake Thom.
Not much is known about those days outside of Ar Salem Dolem, as the priest-bureaucrats are loath to share information. What is known is that ruins have been found all over the Jungle of Fangs, depicting a complex, highly devout culture. There are hints that the caste system was not nearly as pronounced as it later became, and especially that the Ophidians were not the reviled and mistreated undercaste that they became later.
Cataclysm - Liberation
At the Cataclysm, the survivors of the Stone Throne retreated south to Kel'al'ar due to sudden increases in hostility from the wildlife in the central and northern areas. During the next 50 years, the traditional religion and caste system weakened; the religious beliefs were only kept alive due to the faithful preaching and obedience of the ophidian people.
Approximately two generations later, a group of settlers under the leadership of Hvang Ssa'ka rediscovered the holy city of Ar Salem Dolem, with the few remaining priest bureaucrats and the eternal Queen Ascendant. They founded Asai'ka (City) and revitalized the religious life.
At this point the caste system hardened into the system that lasted until the downfall of the Stone Throne, and the religious texts were edited to remove any mention of the role of the ophidians in keeping the religion alive during the dark times in the south. Instead, they were taught to pity and fear the snake-changed, especially in the southern regions.
By 150 AC, the Central and Southern Districts were functioning normally. Leadership of the Central District had been in the hands of Isal Hvang Ssa'ka, who had somehow prolonged his life beyond that of normal fang-kin, the entire time. The Southern District had a more tumultuous history, with dynastic turnover every few generations.
Starting in about 180 AC, the Northern District began to be settled slowly, starting with the fort-turned-city of Sha'slar.
From roughly 193 AC, the priest-bureaucrats under High Priestess Asa'lor began re-emphasizing the sacrificial rites. Over the next decade, they grew to include ritual sacrifice of dissidents, children, and other mortals on a regular cadence, not just at the high festivals every few years. All of this in service to the ancient demonic pact (see Queen Ascendant for more details). By 205 AC, these hideous rituals were conducted weekly, and the culture had grown to revel in the blood and degradation. Male sacrifices were often castrated and otherwise tortured as part of the ceremony, while women were raped repeatedly. Children were merely butchered, often flayed alive.
Leadership (205 - 245 AC)
Sal'zar, the Queen's Fang
After the Ascension of the Serpent Queen in early 206 AC, the former lord of the Northern District, Isal Prei Sal'zar, has assumed the role of Queen's Fang (king in all but name). He rules from beside the Stone Throne and, along with his wife, the High Priestess Laila'ssa, has reduced the bureaucracy to a minimum. Most of the ranking members of the priestly caste are new since the end of demonic worship in 204 AC and the Ascension (along with the purge that followed). Sal'zar's rule is harsh but fair. Members of the aristocratic and priestly castes pay for their expanded privileges with stricter rules of conduct and greater penalties for failure. Sal'zar is loved by the common people, especially in the Northern District.
He wears nothing but white, the color of shed snake-skin, the color of mourning. The rumor is that he is in perpetual mourning for his Queen, whom he loved more personally than religiously.
He passed away in 238 AC, precipitating the crisis that broke up the Stone Throne.
Lalia'ssa, the Queen's Tongue
Sal'zar's wife is the High Priestess of the Queen Ascendant. She was a former handmaiden to the Queen and is devoted to carrying out her vision for her people. She has spent the last five years reforming the religious life of the nation--converting the worship from blood sacrifice and perversions to a more symbolic and heart-felt worship of the Queen and the other gods of the Congregation.
Sal'zar and Lalia'ssa have a good working relationship and three children, but it is a well known fact that their marriage is one of convenience and politics, not love. Lalia'ssa has several open lovers; Sal'zar is mostly celibate.
Ssak'ka AKA "Dream-Lord"
Isal Hvang Ssa'ka ruled from the oldest of the three non-capital cities, Asai'ka in the Central District of the Stone Throne until the breakup of that nation in 245. He is an ancient half-elf, the oldest mortal being in the Stone Throne. As of 210 AC, he has been the ruler of this district since the Stone Throne came into being 130 years ago. The source of his long life is unknown, although he is known to be an alchemist of the highest caliber. He is known to be extremely unpredictable and quite possibly insane. He spends almost all his time in his tower laboratory. Those who displease him often disappear--rumor has it that they are taken to the tower and experimented on. He is a widower with two young children (other than those that are grown and gone). Since the death of his wife, Lady Kinlanna in the liberation of the Stone Throne from demonic worship, he has settled down and is making more attempts to govern his people sensibly. His behavior is still erratic and his temper is feared throughout the land.
The people of the district (especially Asai'ka) still venerate the name of Kinlanna--shrines to her have started popping up in corners. The priestly caste claims that she has not ascended--in fact, no evidence of her can be found.
After the breakup of the Stone Throne, he disappeared into "retirement", although most believe he died.
Lai Chea General-a
Chea General-a handled the day-to-day business of the Northern District. A hard, proud half-elf of about 45 years, she served under Fang Sal'zar from early in the Northern District's history. She cares a lot for order and is somewhat of a conservative socially.
Main Article: Fang-kin Culture
Main Article: Stone Throne Government
Main Article: Stone Throne Religion