Recorded history of the world called Bengalis dates back hundreds of thousands of years. The earliest accounts of Bengalan civilization speaks of a time of great conflict between the Rakshi, a race of evolved felines, and the Shanlar, a race of evolved primates.
For centuries, the Rakshi and the Shanlar warred. Theirs was a religious conflict, in which the Rakshi gods were the enemy of the Shanlar gods and vice-versa. Priests and chieftains on both sides directed their armies against each other in a series of bloody tribal conflicts. Prisoners on either side were offered up as sacrifices to the gods, and were forced to endure torturous rites, ensuring a twisted, painful death on the parts of the sacrificed. In many cases, those wounded and left behind for capture would often slit their own throats rather than suffer the sacrificial rites that awaited them at the enemy tribe’s home.
The religious conflict continued for centuries, but as wars go, the people’s enthusiasm for more bloodshed began to wane. Only the most zealous of the chieftains’ warriors would fight, and that number diminished with each conflict. More interested in prosperity than conquest, the two races eventually ended their warring ways, content to live in their respective societies away from each other.
It is unsure when it happened, but history shows that at some point, the Rakshi and the Shanlar seemingly merged into one race. It is perceived that on the outlying fringes of each society, away from the centers of power, villages of each race perhaps merged together out of a mutual need for survival. Inter-racial mating was eventual and inevitable, resulting in hybrid offspring and the birth of a third species: The first true Bengalan
The news of this inter-mingling was slow to reach the religious centers of each race, and it re-ignited the old hostilities with apocalyptic results. That the two races could even stand to mate with one another, let alone produce offspring, was too much for the priests to bear. Both races were driven insane with bloodlust and clashed in one final, decades-long war that spelled the end for both Rakshi and Shanlar. When it was finally over, both centers of religious and political power were destroyed and all but a handful of each race lay dead. There was nothing left now but to join the outlying villages and try to salvage some form of life in the wake of the carnage that had taken so much away.
Over generations, the last of the Rakshi and Shanlar died out, leaving their hybrid descendants. These new Bengalans soon proliferated and within a few thousand years had repopulated the ancient lands of their ancestors. Over time, as years separated the people from their origins, new polytheistic religions arose. Soon, priests and chieftains began praising new gods and performing new rituals, albeit nowhere as brutal as those rituals in the ancient times.
As with all religions, though, these soon evolved into disciplines that demanded absolute adherence to laws and rules drawn down generations ago. Social evolution often renders religious law obsolete, at which point religion lashes out with laws, piety, and threats of eternal damnation to those who would swerve from the faith.
From a common religion arose many denominations. From these denominations arose seemingly separate religions of varying degrees of piety and extremity. Soon, temple cities began rising, collecting to them those who believed in their ways. The guidelines for religion soon became law, and in some cases the laws became absolute. Any deviation from the holy scriptures meant immediate excommunication, and eventually death.
Over centuries, the temple cities soon grew to theocratic empires. The priest leaders of each religion soon amassed more wealth and power than any other rulers in history. To them, the priest rulers collected certain people to act as acolytes for their temples and defend the cities to the death. This evolved into a caste system, where the acolytes and their descendants became destined to serve the priesthood as privileged vassals. Their families were cared for by the priesthood and paid handsomely in exchange for military and domestic service. Though subservient to the priesthood, these families were considered on a higher social level than the common folk. Eventually, they came to be known as Clans , and adopted names and coats of arms. These standards became the banners under which massive wars were fought between these theocratic empires.
Soon, the religious pretense of these powerful priests was forgotten, leaving in its place hedonistic sadists who ruled their lands with iron fists. They were soon known as Warlords, and thus began the age of the Great Clan Wars. For millennia, the Warlords would battle for control of lands, resources, people…whatever. If there was something to covet from another Warlord, then it was considered a holy crusade to claim it. The Clans, under the orders of their Warlords, would mass their troops and lay waste to the weak villages and towns on the outskirts of another Warlord’s empire. The males were often killed and the females and children were often taken as hostages. Depending on the lineage of those captured, their bloodlines were either assimilated into the Clans, or made to serve the Clans as Tachari, or slaves.
During this age of seeming madness, a new religious order began in the old temple cities. Pious Clansmen began preaching to the people that the gods, the ones the Warlords used to worship in earlier times, had abandoned the people in retribution for their descent into wickedness. At first, such talk was met with public humiliation and execution, but as the movement gained momentum in the lands of the Warlords, it led to even more bizarre and twisted forms of punishment. Entire families were put to death in macabre spectacles to which attendance was mandatory under pain of death. Despicable acts of torture and death were visited upon those who would speak out against the Warlords.
In the temple city of Ka’th’al, a core of believers learned to avoid detection and meet in secret, where they formulated plans to spread the word to all people, regardless of their origins or current caste in this chaotic society. Among these believers were Ke’an, Chu Su, Meth’a’Lal, Ten’Rha, and Angsv’El. Each were considered leaders of their respective religious orders in the cities of their births, and each slowly brought about changes in the minds and souls of the people. In spite of the massive executions and torturous whims of the Warlords, the belief not only endured, it prospered. Ka’th’al was soon overthrown in a religious crusade of the people and the Clans, overthrowing the Overlord and his family, condemning them to the same fate as that suffered by hundreds of thousands.
From Ka’th’al, the crusade expanded outward, claiming one Warlord’s territory after another until the last Warlord remained: The temple city of Nas’Reth, under the control of the House of Kol’Chan. The so-called ‘Army of the Gods’ marched on the city and engaged in the single bloodiest battle in known Bengalan history. Countless millions died in this last stand of the old world in the face of the new. When it was over, the last of the Warlords was slain and his line ended permanently. Once again, Bengalis was in the hands of the religious.
Here, the history gets a little murky in terms of what happened next. Legend says that the leaders of the religious movement all ascended to the heavens, borne there by heralds of the elder gods, who were still angered at the Bengalans’ warring ways. To allow the truly penitent a chance at redemption, the gods bestowed upon those taken to Paradise without dying the mantle of Patron . These would be the ones the people would pray to, for the people were still not worthy to completely worship the gods themselves. In reality, it has been assumed that the religious leaders were killed during the war and, so that their mythos would endure, the senior clergy representing each leader made the proclamation of holy ascension. In either sense, this event has been celebrated unto the present day as the beginnings of Bengalan civilization as it stands to this day.
With the end of the Warlords and the subsequent peace that ensued, many of the ancient Clans renounced their status in an effort to erase from the minds of the people any reminders of what once was. However, some continued their ways, more out of habit than conviction. Thus began an age of renaissance on Bengalis, where battles of might and steel were replaced by battles of wit and the rise of art, philosophy, and religion in society.
The Clans, for their part, played an important financial role in funding artisans and academicians. Through generous contributions of money and resources, grand centers for learning were erected as tributes to the pursuit of knowledge. Academies for astronomy, medicine, physics, chemistry, and all other sciences were heavily funded by the remaining aristocracies in the world. As well, the Clans also began their own training regimens, refining the art of hand-to-hand combat to a deadly precision. Each Clan specialized in one or more fighting forms, depending largely on what lineages made up a Clan. The arts were designed to take advantage of each lineage’s physiology to produce the best warriors. While there were few venues in which to put these deadly arts to the test in this new age, not everyone took to the renaissance happily.
The renaissance period was a time of great scientific development amongst the people. The use of fossil fuels as a source of power led to an industrial revolution that catapulted Bengalan society into the modern age. Soon, immense factories began producing everything from gargantuan sea-going vessels to small, combustion engine-powered vehicles. It was a time embraced by the people.
With rampant industrialization came improvements in manufacturing and resource usage, until fossil fuels were no longer required. Fusion reactors and other, less polluting forms of energy were found and developed in an effort to prevent an ecological disaster from claiming the world the Bengalans so loved.
Space travel came during this time, and the first planet explored by Bengalan astronauts was their closest neighbor, T’Challak. They were amazed to learn that not only was this planet inhabitable, it was already supporting its own form of life. These natives, dubbed ‘T’Challans’ in honour of this world, resembled the ancient Rakshi in physical appearance, and their tribal society was indeed similar to the ancient times on Bengalis. It was at this point that T’Challak was considered ‘off limits’ by the Bengalans, citing that any interference could devastate the world’s natural order and wipe out the T’Challan people.
Further exploration into deep space was made possible when the hyperdrive was developed and successfully implemented. Before long, Bengalis learned that it was not alone in the galaxy and soon became part of a network of worlds that spanned the galaxy: The Interstellar Confederation of Worlds.