Veapra: History and Rumors
Veapra's ancient past is shrouded in mystery. The only inkling of what the island once was comes from the oral traditions kept by the centaur and liontaur clans. These oral traditions are difficult to come by and often fraught with hyperbole. Not only are the truths in the stories distorted and sometimes forgotten over time, but as clans wax and wane so too do their own stories. If scholars had access to the various stories from the original clans, they might be able to piece together the original history of the isle or something close to it. As matters stand, much of the history of Veapra is disjointed and limited in scope; up until a few hundred years ago, most of what was known revolved around clashes between warring clans of centaurs and the liontaurs.
Around the time of the 9th century, the lycanthropes from the Pack on Caesin were systematically hunting the satyr and centaur clans into extinction. Seeking sanctuary from the predation, a large part of the centaur population on Caesin made the journey across the sea to Veapra. Their makeshift rafts and boats landed on a beach not far from what today is called the Hoof Encampment.
At the time, the Hoof Encampment was inhabited by the Ravenhair clan of centaurs; a particularly violent clan that worshiped a dark god and engaged in strange sacrifices. The coming of the Hoof clan from Caesin was seen as an invasion of their lands and the Ravenhair clan immediately went to war.
Unprepared for the violent greeting, the Hoof clan fought back with a bitter determination; they had just fled their own homeland, having been driven out by the lycanthrope and minotaur menace there. Years of combating such deadly creatures had toughened the Hoof clan and honed their skill as warriors. They were better prepared for a war than any of the clans on Veapra, who had for the most part lived peacefully for more than a few centuries. The Hoof clan bloodied the nose of the Ravenhair clan and as the Ravenhairs fled from the battlefield, the leader of the Hoof clan must have realized that if his people were to survive in this new land he needed to make an example of any who would come against them while they established themselves.
The Hoof clan was ordered to pursue the Ravenhair clan, which they did with suitable vigor. They chased them back to their camps and destroyed them and usurped their lands in one fell swoop.
Word spread quickly amongst the other clans of the island that a powerful force of centaur invaders had destroyed the Ravenhair clan. With the power of the oral traditions amongst the clans, the stories of the battles became epic tales of heroic valor and struggle against what many clans perceived as the evil Ravenhair clan. The stories even rivaled those told about past battles with the noble liontaurs.
Hesitantly, the leaders of the other clans came forward one by one to meet the conquering invaders, hoping to stave off their own clans being destroyed but also in part to see these mighty warriors. The leaders of the Silver Grove Clan, the Windracer clan, the Shell Lake clan, the Grass Lake clan and the Silvermane clan, as well as leaders of several other smaller clans, all came forward as a group to meet with the Grovemaster of the Hoof Clan.
That meeting, which is still spoken of in centaur legend, occurred but a day's journey north of the River of Depths in an area that the Hoof clan centaurs named "The Modrigon Grove". Centaur stories tell of the legendary meeting:
"The softly lulling grass, bowing to the slight breeze that carried across the green sea, was disturbed by the words of greeting of all the proud centaur clans to the warrior chief of the invaders. The mighty clan that with fervor and power smote the evil god of the Ravenhair clan and crushed the sons of that clan under steel hooves.
Here in this sacred place was born a nation where many swore the words of binding to join with the Hoof clan for the betterment of their clan and the peace promised by the invaders.
With the binding of the words the light was set free and the winds carried them to all parts of the beloved home."
Verse 117 of "The Modrigon pact" centaur recital
Life moved on for Veapra, and the centaur pact broke down over time as rivalries and feuds stirred up problems between the clans. Thing continued like this until a new threat unveiled itself on the island around the beginning of the 11th century.
It was at this time, within the Reptile Woods, that the shaman of a tribe of najashanian stumbled across a means of summoning creatures into his realm. This shaman unwittingly called forth a creature from the Pits of Endless Strife. Deals were brokered and before long the creature returned with many followers. They worked with the Black Claw clan of najashanian, training them and building up their strength, and ultimately helped them to assimilate many of the other najashanian clans of the swamps.
Once they were ready, the najashanian began to make forays from the Reptile Woods into the lands of the centaurs and other fey. For many years the centaurs ignored the warning signs of the threat of the Pit creatures and the najashanian but it soon became obvious to them that something had to be done about this new menace. A combined force of Pit creatures and najashanian had succeeded in wiping out several groups of pixies and two smaller clans of centaurs that shared the lands around Horseshoe Lake with no trouble at all and were gathering their strength to extend their reach further.
Finally, the Grovemaster of the Hoof Clan, an older centaur simply called Lighthoof, called the clan leaders together at the Modrigon Grove where they devised their war strategy to combat the Pit creatures and najashanian. Also at this meeting were several liontaurs who were summoned to attend so that the centaurs could ask for their aid in the battle to come. After alliances were made it was decided that they would draw the combined enemy forces into a confrontation at a shallow section of the River of Floods near the Reptile Woods.
Challenges were issued and plans made as the enemy set up camp within the warm shelter of the tall cypress trees of the Reptile Woods. Across the river from them sat the centaur army with a few satyr recruits, several pixie groups, and a number of other fey creatures as well as several units of the powerful liontaurs. The Grovemaster had chosen the time of battle to be close to the spring floods, hoping that if the creatures overwhelmed them the floods would soon end any plans for further advancement and give the centaurs time to regroup. The opposing forces met, and as the battle raged the centaurs and their allies took a heavy toll, but were able to decimate the najashanian. At one point it looked as if the remaining najashanian and Pit creatures would pursue the centaurs as they retreated back across the River of Floods after the week-long series of battles came to a close. However, the river water started to rise'just as the Grovemaster had anticipated'and their enemy was forced to withdraw its battered army into the forest.
The centaur army regrouped at the Hoof Encampment. Their losses had been many and they feared the coming of the summer when the waters of the River of Floods would recede and their adversaries could once more come forth. It was during this uncertain time that Grovewarden Thunderhoof, a mighty warrior, hand selected a group of trusted centaurs and one night left the Hoof Encampment with the goal of entering the Reptile Woods and dispatching the leaders of the Pit creatures.
The Grovewarden, six other centaurs, and the two brave liontaur warriors he took with him were never seen again. It is commonly accepted that they were successful, though, for when the floods receded the enemy armies did not reappear. Their fate was unknown, but rather than keeping the orators of the centaur tribes from weaving stories to incorporate into their oral history, it only spurred the centaurs into composing incredible stories of the imagined battle within the forest'stories that live on and are recited eagerly at gatherings to this day. The stories of Thunderhoof's Chargers are numerous, varied, and hugely entertaining.
Since the battle at the River of Floods, the najashanian numbers have waxed and waned over the years, but no creatures resembling those from the Pits have ever been seen within the Reptile Woods again. Skirmishes and small battles between the centaurs and najashanian still occur, but not on as grand a scale as during the war.