Qerrbalak

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Skrell come from the world of Qerrbalak, a planet with a humid atmosphere, featuring plenty of swamps and jungles. The world is filled with Skrellian cities which often sit on stilts.

Geography

Qerr'balak's landmass can be separated in three distinct entities : Two continents, separated by the Qo'rria Sea, make up for most of the habitable soil, while a large archipelago of isles spreads on Qerr'xia, the single ocean of the planet. Qorr'gloa is a small, swampy continent on which the skrellian civilization first rose. While many skrellian cities have been built on its coasts, the inner lands are mostly occupied by the aggressive and very territorial Ka'merr. The largest continent, Xi'Krri'oal, have been colonized by the Skrell early in their history, and makes up for most of the Qerrbalak population today. While it is still very humid, its size allowed for more various climates than on Qorr'gloa, ranging from the constantly snowy territories at its extreme south to more temperate, earth-like areas in the inner lands.

History

The first traces of skrellian civilization date back to around 20,000 BCE in the southern part of Qorr'gloa. Traces and artifacts from this time indicate the first Skrell were organized in sedentary tribes of gatherers, living off the rich vegetation of the swamps they settled on. The founding of Qarr'kloa, considered by many to be the first skrellian city, is estimated to have occurred around 14,000 BCE, gradually attracting the surrounding tribes who preferred its safe walls to the dangers of the region's fauna.

The first traces of writings appear around the same period, which give more insight on the organization of the city at the time; the first rulers of the city were the elders of the various tribes composing its population, and all decisions were taken as a consensus. During the next 2,000 years, Skrell spread across the southern-western area of Qorr'gloa. Several tentatives of colonizing the inner lands were done, all met with heavy resistance by the local tribes of Ka'merr, destroying settlements and killing, sometimes abducting the settlers. While the skrellian civilization spreads across the continent, the government stays centralized in Qarr'kloa, which soon creates tensions in the other cities, as their development comes to an halt.

Things keep worsening until, in 10,156 BCE, a coalition of cities declare their independence from Qarr'kloa, thus starting the first war in recorded skrellian history. The conflict lasted for nearly 70 years, deeply changing the political landscape as cities started forming coalitions on their own, sometimes even switching sides between the Loyalists and Separatists. Among the atrocities committed during the war, the first traces of slavery are to be noted, as some factions started coercing the previously feared Ka'merr into fighting for them. By the end of the war, most of the city of Qarr'kloa lies in ruins, and the Separatists force the elder council to sign a treaty guaranteeing their independence. Most of the cities form their own, independent government, but some of them preserve the coalitions they formed during the war, generally forming small groups of five or six cities working under a same government. This is also the time where the first Skrellian kings appear in some of them, even though most of the cities, Qarr'kloa included, are still ruled under the oligarchy they've previously used. From this point, any city newly founded is given independence from its previous home city.

The damages caused by the war deeply scarred the skrellian society. Thousands of Skrell died in the war and the reconstruction of their cities proved to be a gargantuan task, lasting for the next five decades. One of the inventions made during the war, the catapult, was proven to be needlessly destructive and its use was thus unanimously forbidden by the various governments.

The next millennium was much more peaceful for Skrellkind. The taming of some the Ka'merr tribes in the inner lands, and their subsequent enslavement by some cities, allowed the Skrell to spread on the northern coasts of the continent. By 9,000 BCE, most of the cities of the continent adopted the monarchic system that first appeared during the independence war, and the coalitions born from the same conflict had collapsed. While this millennium is still considered as a time of great advancement for the Skrell, it is still controversial to most of the modern Skrell because of the common practice of slavery (whose definitive abolition would only occur in the 43th century BCE) and the senseless expansion of civilization into the Ka'merr's territories.

The colonization of Xi'krri'oal starts in the early 7th millennium BCE, first starting with its western coast. Until then, most of the cities used to live in a relative autarky from each other, but the apparition of new resources and commercial partners suddenly pushed the Skrell to compete and collaborate in a fierce race to obtain monopolies on these newly found goods. The overcrowded cities of the old continent quickly emptied, many Skrell willing to try their luck on these new lands. To the surprise of all, tribes of Skrell were found in the southern areas of Xi'krri'oal and, while their technology was far inferior to their brothers and sisters', most of these tribes were assimilated into the new cities of Skrellkind in the following centuries.

While the Skrell were relatively united culturally until then, the Skrell from Xi'krri'oal started behaving quite differently from their siblings. So far, on Qorr'gloa, the growing lack of space and resources, along with the various dangers inherent to their environment, made the Skrell a very ascetic society, more interested in efficiency rather than actual extension. On the other side, the vast, resourceful and peaceful lands of Xi'krri'oal let the colonists be much more lenient in their use of the environment and in a few generations, a large cultural gap was created between the two groups, the Skrell of the new continent started considering their brethrens as too moralistic and careful, while they themselves turned to an hedonistic lifestyle. As a sign of rebellion, the cities of Xi'krri'oal even authorized catapults to be built for their armies, a decision unanimously criticized by the older cities.

The active trade of the early days of the colonization between the continents soon came to halt, and both societies grew independently from each other. While the Skrell from Xi'krri'oal had access to a large range of resources, they did not try to make the best of it, and technological progress slowed down in most areas. On Qorr'gloa, however, the privation of Xi'krri'oal's resources pushed the Skrell to strive even harder, in order to compensate for what they had lost. Similarly, while the Skrell of the old continent knew the dangers of war and the need for cohesion, the skrellian colonists were regularly caught in small conflicts for one resource or the other.

By the middle of the 3rd millennium BCE, the two continents displayed completely different civilizations. On Qorr'gloa, the Skrell had become highly advanced, starting to develop tools prefiguring their soon to come industrial revolution and having adopted the current caste system still used to this day in order to better organize their society, both in natural resources and manpower. On Xi'krri'oal, however, the situation was dire : while the population expanded greatly, no tentative was made to use the local resources in a better way, and the small conflicts that used to be the norm turned to large-scale wars for the control of vital areas. While most of their technology was still akin to the human 12th century, their weaponry constantly grew to more extreme extents, making heavy use of gunpowder and chemical products such as the Krra'mo'gal, which could be compared to the greek fire seen in the human Middle Ages.

The situation truly explodes with the coming of what the modern Skrell call the War of the Qrri-Qerria, lasting from the 24th century to the 18th century BCE, as the various City-States of the continent suddenly started to try to conquer each other, quickly forming and dissolving kingdoms. The most famous of them is the kingdom of Glo'morr Krrixi who, starting from the city of Mi'qoxi, conquered most of the northern area of the continent. The result is catastrophic : Over the centuries, tens of millions of Skrell die, either from the war itself or its consequences : Famines are frequent and illnesses quickly spread as the archaic Skrell do not have the knowledge to cure them. Entire cities are burnt to the ground and, according to some of the most alarmist Skrell of Qorr'gloa of the time (the cities of the old continent did not choose to intervene in the conflicts, in fear that they would reach their homes), it was only a matter of decades before the entire continent would be deemed unfit for skrellian life. In the southern part of the continent, a chemical fire started by one of the belligerents soon got out of hands, and is said to have burned for three whole years, wiping out the largest forest of the planet.

Eventually, by the 18th century BCE, the various wars would come to a halt, as the kingdoms collapsed, the surviving population revolted and the resources became so scarce that fighting over them would just have been proper insanity. Only then did the Skrell from Qorr'gloa decide to intervene. Indeed, the situation on the old continent was stable enough so that they would be able to provide Xi'krri'oal with food and seeds to rebuild everything they had lost. The reconstruction took nearly 700 years, during which the surviving Skrell of the scorched continent slowly adopted their brothers' culture, now conscious of the dangers of their ways.

From this point, the Skrell know a long period of relative stability. Most of the tensions on the political stage are mostly due to ethical and methodological divergences in the scientific field, and are generally settled during long debates organized by a City-State or another. Around the 9th century BCE, the Skrell know a new jump in their technology, as the Industrial revolution spreads rapidly across the City-States, and Xi'krri'oal is able to catch up on the technological advances of their brethren. While there is no centralized government on Qerr'balak, most of the cities form a homogeneous entity on the political and cultural landscape, and the Skrell feel no need to impose a global political structure that could disturb the status quo, as it did thousands of years ago.

As the colonization of space starts around the first century BCE, Qerrbalak reaches a Golden Age, as most of the production of goods is transferred to the colonies, while it itself becomes a center of philosophy and ethical research. To this day, most of the skrellian colonies still look up to it in terms of social organization and moral positions, even though the Skrell's homeworld has been encountering new issues in its last centuries of existence.