Born from the ashes of the great Dwarven Civil war, Donisil is a country filled with the history of those that came before. Ruins scatter its hills, far more densely than would be seen in most other areas of Calsin. That the humans were able to rise up to defeat their dwarven overlords in the first place is no small feat… That they managed to stick together after the fact is perhaps far greater.
The dwarves were known for keeping slaves to work in their mines. Though the high elves despised the practice, there was little that they could do as the dwarves had struck an alliance with the dark elves, who were fellow slavers. The only other country in existence with free humans, Istinis, had already been the target of an enormous dwarven invasion. No one could, or simply would, challenge the might of the underground metalworkers. Captive humans, elves, minotaurs, orcs, even trolls and ogres, all worked together under the solid dwarven thumb.
Though the push had nearly wiped the last of the free humans from the continent, the dwarven invasion of Istinis was perhaps humanity’s only savior. The invasion was so successful that the dwarves found themselves with even more territory than they knew what do to with. It also left them with a much larger slave population than they were prepared for. The dwarven emperor of the time, Hartusic the Bronze, allowed his two leading generals to divide the land between themselves. The plan was to begin creating multiple dwarven states across Calsin, slowly solidifying the dwarven grasp on any and all life.
The two generals, Dirnor and Tornor, quickly set up nation-states in their honor. However, as the rest of the world sat back and watched, things deteriorated rapidly. Within two decades, Tornor and Dirnor mutually exiled each other from the Dwarven Empire. Both continued to swear allegiance to the Empire, and did all they could to impress Hartusic.
In the end, it was for naught. Despite the rulers’ best efforts, though, the slave population was simply too large. Cities were built above the ground to house the resident population. To keep an eye on them, dwarven soldiers began to live above the ground as well, and it wasn’t long before dwarven civilians began to follow.
Hartusic the Bronze, along with the royal dwarven priesthood, condemned the movement above the ground as an affront to the Internal Flame. The dwarves of Dirnor and Tornor made a few more attempts at building under the ground, but the area simply wasn't suited for digging. Tunnels would collapse, progress was almost impossible. Finally, the two dwarven schisms simply began building above the ground, hoping for forgiveness. This didn't work out well for them, and it wasn't long before the first armies from Taninor were marching over the mountains.
The slaves in the mines recognized the opportunity almost as soon as the war drums began to beat. The moment that dwarven troops left the mines to fight against their brethren, the uprisings began. Most were small, insignificant victories in and of themselves. Taking a refinery here, overthrowing a outpost there.
If the slaves had all known to work together, the war would have lasted a matter of weeks. As it was, many of the successful uprisings stayed completely hidden, even from other slaves. The newly free men and women continued to send out forged progress reports and supplies, to give the illusion that their masters were still in charge. In some cases, multiple free societies only miles from each other communicated back and forth for months, never realizing that they were speaking with other former slaves.
In the end, it was a human warrior named Aseron that led the humans to victory. After managing to escape one of the largest dwarven refineries in the country, he began to move from outpost to outpost, learning which locations were free and which were still under dwarven control. Once he had massed enough support, he led a massive attack against a key armory, giving the slaves the weapons they needed to fight back.
From that point, it was a long and bloody battle. As the primary dwarven empire collapsed around them, the power vacuum nearly allowed Tornor and Dirnor to flood back in, sealing their fate once more. In the end, it was only through pure courage and nearly forty years of bloody struggle before Aseron finally stood as king of the newly independent Donisil.
Built on the ruins of the refinery that Aseron himself escaped from, Ondsouous has been the capitol of Donisil ever since it was just a concept. The battle to destroy the refinery was one of the fiercest ever seen across the continent since the dawn of time, and is known to this day as the Battle of The Flame. Aseron finally managed to destroy the dwarven defenders after forcing a dwarven enchanter to cause a number of the powerful enchantments around the facility to backfire. The entire city collapsed in a flaming pool of lava, killing both dwarves and slaves alike. Despite the loss of life, the battle is seen as the victory that sealed the freedom of so many across the nation.
Over the years, the enormous crater in the ground filled up with water, a lake formed in the bowl. After the war ended, Aseron returned to the decimated location and built up the city around the water. To this day, it is considered one of the most picturesque locations in Donisil, and is a destination for many wealthy visitors from other countries.
Built on the border between Donisil and Taninor, this was the site of the last great battle of the war. Having held back both Tornor and Dirnor on the other borders, Aseron had his sights set on the capitol of Taninor itself.
At the time of the battle, Delorck was the site of a large weapons factory, manned by thousands of slaves. Years earlier when the uprising first began, the commander of the city, Governor Gurfed, had an idea. Rather than trying to keep word of the rebellion from his slaves, he told his army to talk about the uprising as much as possible, in the most jovial way possible. The slaves grew to think of the human rebellion as a great joke, and since it was so far out of the way, they never saw combat. As such, none were prepared to aide the humans when their rescuers drew up battlements outside the city gates.
Thus began a battle that lasted for months. It was the first time since Ondsouous that the humans had been forced to a halt. Hartusic the Copper, fearful of losing the entire empire, met with Aseron and forged a truce. The slaves from Delorck were released, along with thousands of prisoners from the remainder of the Empire. Hartusic also agreed to allow Donisil to retain control over half the city, providing an effective border between the two nations.
Easily the smallest of the major cities of Donisil, Dintin was the sight of a major dwarven agricultural operation prior to the uprising. It was one of the first cities to fall to the humans, though they managed to keep it a secret. Instead of simply cutting the dwarves off from their food supply, the slaves began tainting the vegetables and meats that were shipped off to the front lines. It wasn’t enough to kill anyone, but it made many dwarven warriors sick during battle, causing dozens of losses across the front lines.
Despite this great victory, the city would likely have been forgotten had it not been for its key strategic position. Located a mere fifteen miles from Ondsouous, its status as being overthrown was still unknown at the time of the Battle of The Flame. Aseron used it as a rallying point for freed slaves across the nation, and hid his warriors inside containers of food as they were shipped into Ondsouous on the eve of the battle. After Ondsouous fell, Dintin remained a primary staging point for several more battles. After the war, many of the soldiers moved back to the small community, as it had been home for much of the long conflict. To this day, it serves as a prime agricultural producer, providing many of the grains and meats consumed across Donisil.
During the war, many slaves found themselves uncertain of where to go after fleeing dwarven captivity. While nearly everyone with an able body went into battle, there were many who simply desired a safer life. With war brewing on the mountains and raging all around them, thousands of slaves flocked to the shores of the Inland Ocean, prepared to swim away if needed.
Instead of harsh waters, instead, the slaves found the welcoming arms of the merfolk. The men and women of the sea had no particular love for the dwarves, as the enchanters had captured more than a few of their kind, only to run experiments and put them on display in large tanks in the middle of their cities. The merfolk used their illusion magic to hide countless individuals, bringing them food from the ocean and ferrying them across the waters when needed.
Glidinrotdi was one of the largest of these merfolk safety camps during the war. At any given time, it housed more than five hundred slaves on the run from dwarven patrols. Following the war, the free individuals did everything they could to pay the merfolk back, eventually establishing a trade agreement that is still in place today.
The second-largest of the merfolk camps, Gorktindin was remarkable for its exceptionally precarious position. Following the defeat at Ondsouous, many of the dwarves fell back to a neutral point only miles from Gorktindin. After a few mishaps, the dwarves learned of the refuge camp, and quickly began searching.
In the end, it was perhaps only sheer luck and the pure determination of the merfolk that the escapees remained out of harm’s way. At the height of the war, it required over fifty merfolk to sustain the illusion that kept the hundreds of slaves safe. Despite constant patrols, the merfolk never once let it drop, rotating spellcasters on shifts to allow themselves rest and food. Several merfolk perished from exhaustion in the process, and are still remembered today in the city, in the form of monuments and a grandiose tomb.
The site of the final battle on the eastern front of the war, this is where the humans finally struck a peace with the dwarves of Tornor and Dirnor. A former dwarven fortress high in the mountains, it was one of the most well-defended locations in the entire country, and had been a source of contention for much of the war. The Empire managed to take it early on, but lost it after its soldiers stationed there became too ill to fight. It was subsequently reclaimed by Tornor, and remains on the border of Tornor to this day.
The battle for Intirist was one of the most unique of the war. Aseron himself was unable to lead the attack, as he had become trapped behind enemy lines at the time. Given the lack of a leader, a man named Bartholomew stepped up to lead the assault. After a failed attempt to storm the city by force, Bartholomew interrogated several captive dwarven prisoners until the existence of an old set of mines was revealed. The dwarves were then forced into slavery themselves, digging a tunnel down into the mountain to intersect with the mines.
The slaves were then easily able to capture the fortress, as they came charging up behind dwarven defenses. Instead of simply slaughtering the troops, though, Bartholomew forged a peace treaty with the commander, Tuskiric. The action called for a cease of hostilities between the two nations, which was promptly heeded. When Aseron finally returned, he was furious, and exiled Bartholomew as punishment for not simply destroying the dwarves. In the future, when Aseron finally acknowledged that they could never have won a two-front war, Bartholomew was restored as Aseron’s second-in-command.
Isnouto is one of the cities in Donisil that was founded after the war had long ended. Far from any borders or key strategic positions, no one had ever even thought of building a city there until the country of Distisil was forged many years later.
Distisil in and of itself was unusual. It was forged, not from the fires of war, but simply the desire to expand. Following Donisil’s official formation, Aseron sent troops south, into land that had never properly seen the hand of civilization. Though they didn’t get along well in the jungles, they found a perfect, nearly untouched land to the south of the Inland Ocean. Aseron realized that he couldn’t rule such a large area by himself, and sent Bartholomew down to found the new land. Isnouto was originally little more than a trading post between the two countries, eventually swelling into a much larger city as both nations grew.
Located in the heart of Donisil, Ontovatgo was the sight of an enormous dwarven sub-capitol. Ruled by governor Lurkfed, it was perhaps the second-most important city in the entire area.
While the slaves raged across the country around the city, Lurkfed spent every last ounce of gold that he had fortifying the city. Located deep underground, as all proper dwarven cities are, he booby-trapped the entrances, harnessed legions of goblins deep in the mines, and prepared for a great and spectacular battle.
The battle that he was hoping for never came, as Aseron knew that he would be unable to take the city with the forces that he had at his command. Instead, he had his armies capture hundreds of wild animals, from deer to bears, and release them into the caves.
The animals promptly tripped every trap that Lurkfed had set up. While none of the traps were particularly devastating in and of themselves, having them all go off at once shook the ground from the Inland Ocean all the way to the mountains. Had legions of slaves marched in, they likely would have moved slow, with caution, taking many casualties before finally reaching the city. The animals knew no such restraint, and caused every single entrance to collapse in the space of five minutes, trapping thousands of dwarves inside.
When the dwarves finally managed to tunnel out over a month later, over half the city had died from starvation and dehydration. Aseron mercifully allowed the survivors to remain alive in prison camps, before returning them to the Empire at the end of the war. The infrastructure of the camp became the foundations of Ontovatgo as the now freed men and women sought homes to live in.
One of the smaller cities, Rotdelto was the only other major city not born from the Dwarven War. As trade began to circulate across the country, roads were laid across the nation. Dedicated workers laid cobblestone down, forging paths through the prairie. Eventually, many of those roads intersected, five paths all coming together.
It wasn’t long after the stones were laid that a particularly intelligent trader, a woman named Rebecca, set up a small shack at the corner. She would go hunting across the plains, bringing back meat and plants, and then sold them to passing caravans and travelers. After a time, she was joined by a man who set up a small inn, to allow people to stay the night on the long journey between cities.
It didn’t take long at all before a proper town sprung up around the crossroads. To this day, Rebecca is remembered for her contributions to the town. Many of the female human children are named after her, and many of the business around the area sport her image.