By Dasdi Hollen
During the Early Ages of Aegeroth, when the many isles were still mostly isolated and before the formation of empires, the mountainous island of Dwymar fractured. A unique event in Aegeroth’s history, this event not only came to define Dwymaren history, but also its religions. In truth, this piece will be equal parts historical analysis and study of religion, for on the two islands that once made Dwymar, the fracturing is equal parts major historical event and core tenet.
Before we continue, a quick aside should be made on terminology. Officially, Bokal is the name of the larger remaining island, as determined by the Empire, but those that live there continue to refer to their home as Dwymar. To avoid confusion with the pre-fractured landmass, this work will refer to the larger island using its imperial name of Bokal. Kaplin is the only modern name of the smaller island, and therefore that is the name we will use for it.
Dwymar, largely untouched by outside forces, consisted of several tribes. In the West of Dwymar, made up of sprawling plains, the tribes were primarily settled and agricultural, while to the East, where the land became mountainous and dry, the tribes were nomadic. It was in the Western tribes where the modern-day religion of Bokal first formed, the Cult of the Carver. This cult believes in a rogue god who left the Council of the Gods to create independently, making Dwymar and the dwywem. The dwywem are one of two sapient species that lived on Dwymar, the other being the sardina.
Overtime, this religion grew in dominance within the agricultural tribes, leading to the invasion of other dwywem tribes to the East. These were done in the name of the Carver, who the faithful believed wished for his created people to live under one government. This would eventually become the case, with all the former dwywem tribes united under one kingdom’s flag. Peace would exist for a time between the Dwywem Kingdom and the purely nomadic sardina tribes, but it would not last.
There are arguments regarding what caused the escalating conflicts between the Dwywem and Sardina. Some historians, mostly from Bokal, argue that the Sardina tribes repeatedly raided the more prosperous kingdom, while others, mostly from Kaplin, claim that the kingdom increasingly used religion as a casus belli to take over territory belonging to sardina tribes. In reality, both explanations probably bear some truth.
Regardless of the cause, eventually the sardina, unable to defeat the superior technology and military organization of the Dwywem Kingdom, had been forced to the Eastern most tip of Dwymar, a land of steppes bordering the Bokali Mountains that dominated Dwymar, and at this point it had become quite clear that there were serious pushes within the kingdom to drive the sardina from the island entirely. However, at the Eastern edge of the Bokali mountains, a fracture began to form between dwywem and sardina territory. Dwywem forces present on the sardina side of the fracture were withdrawn by the Cult of the Carver, and sardina still travelling through lands on the dwywem side joined the tribes on the other side of the fracture. Contemporary accounts don’t reach consensus on how long this state of Dwymar lasted for, but over the next few weeks the fracture deepened, and Dwymar split in two, with the larger portion becoming Bokal, the home of the dwywem, and the smaller portion becoming Kaplin, home of the sardina.
Immediately following the fracture, the dwywem and sardina set about trying to explain what had happened. On the Bokal side of the fracture, the dominant narrative was that the Carver, upset that the Council had intervened in his creation by placing one of their own species on his island, split Dwymar to return control to himself. Of course, the Alfar Empire would soon invade Bokal, starting the Imperial Ages and guaranteeing that Bokal would be cosmopolitan for the rest of its days. Rule by the Alfar Empire would also slowly weather away at the authority of the Church, until it completely collapsed during the interim of independence Bokal experienced during the Drifting Ages. Today, faith in the Carver is extremely individualistic and spiritual in nature, and although most Dwywem still attribute the fracturing to their god, they consider it a more altruistic action, as opposed to the divine equivalent of an artist throwing out his easel because his neighbor flecked paint on it.
The primary religion of Kaplin was actually created after the fracturing, which is from where the island draws its name. Kapo, named after its chief deity, worships a pantheon of gods, with the titular Kapo being seen as the one responsible for fracturing Dwymar in order to free the Sardina tribes from Dwywem hegemony.
Some in the scientific and historical communities, including myself, propose a third theory on the fracturing, being that a freak geologic and oceanographic event caused the fracture, and said fracture just so happened to line up roughly with where political boundaries were drawn. It is important to remember that the fracture was not immediate, and large scale immigration happened upon the discovery of the fracture, which could explain why it aligned so perfectly with man-made geographic boundaries.
Whatever the actual cause of the fracturing, it is impossible to deny the massive effects it has had on history. Both Bokal and Kaplin have unique religions revolving around the event, and their separation has led to them developing into two very different societies. Bokal is a long time member of the Alfar Empire, and although it is still primarily agricultural it is by no means a breadbasket, with it being more famous today for its works of art and grand architecture. Kaplin is probably the most isolated place in Aegeroth, having little interaction with the outside world except for sporadic appearances by explorers, scholars, traveling merchants, and pirates.
The Fracturing of Dwymar is an event unlike any other in history, and one that is unlikely to ever repeat. History is defined by the shifting of the islands, but nowhere else has one island become two, creating a unique microcosm of change and continuity within the larger whole of Aegeroth.