Centuries ago the eastern lands of Talislanta were not as you see them today, a unified empire controlled by the ruthless kang. It was a scattered collection of tribes of various races, some peaceful, some violent. As far as records show, it existed like this going back to the Great Disaster.
At some point one particularly warlike tribe, the Mazdaks, gained ascendancy and proceeded to dominate the rest of the eastern lands. Those who opposed them were beaten down until they either submitted or were destroyed.
The Mandalan people, seeing the futility of resistance, submitted readily. They became the passive servants of the Mazdak rulers, tending to their needs while secretly preserving their own way of life.
Around the year 48 of the New Age, the Mazdaks finally kill each other off, their innate nature being incompatible with long-term empire. Of course, the Mandalans who were scribing the messages for the illiterate Mazdaks may have helped things along by deliberatly changing a few meanings here and there. Thus the Mandalan people were free again, having preserved their way of life despite oppressive rule.
With the Mazdaks gone, other violent tribes were able to flourish once more. In the year 82 N.A. the Quan tribe conquered the Vajra, a peaceful and courageous race who capitulated when their nurseries were captured and their young threatened.
In the year 107 N.A. the Quan, relying on the Vajra's amazing engineering talents, forced them to dam the River Shan, which would have dried up the Coral City of Isalis, the only place the aquatic Sunra can spawn. Thus the Sunra were forced to surrender or face racial extermination. One month later the Mandalan city of Jacinthe is taken with virtually no opposition. To others, the Mandalan people seem meek and cowardly.
In the year 122 N.A. the Quan bribe the Kang warchieftans with money and positions of power in the new empire. The Kang were impressed with the amassed wealth, and became the willing puppets of the Quan.
In the year 188 N.A. a group of Mandalan mystics escape the Quan Empire and flee into the Opal Mountains. Most are slain by Harakin tribesmen and frostweres, but a few survive the journey and discover the Temple of the Seven Moons in Xanadas.
It is around this time that a change begins to take place in the Quan. It is nothing obvious or sudden, it occures over the course of generations. The once proud and savage race of bronze-skinned warriors begins to degenerate into soft, decadent pleasure-seekers. Sinking into a morass of perverse luxuries, the Quan even forsake their Gods, deifying themselves. The steady and constant care of the Mandalans may have encouraged this trend.
In the year 350 N.A. the first regular contact with the rest of the continent begins... a slave trade carried out by the Imrians.
In the year 383 N.A. the Quan send their armies north into Harak, hoping to establish a safe route to L'Haan, which is rich in blue diamonds and adamant. Fierce bands of Harakin, mounted on winged dractyls, oppose them every step of the way. Finally, the Kang commanders order their forces to withdraw, convinced that the prize is not worth the effort.
In the year 400 N.A. Xanadas, the great mystic founder of the Temple of Seven Moons and father of the country Xanadas, leaves his followers, vowing on his deathbed to return after visiting with the Gods. This is the beginning of "The Long Wait".
In the year 422 N.A. Kang forces turn back an army of Witchfolk from Chana. This is the beginning of the Quan Border Wars.
In the year 432 N.A. Saurans from the Volcanic Hills invade the Quan Empire. Mounted on armored land dragons, the saurans advance slowly but inexorably towards the capitol of Tian. Only the early onset of winter stops the saurans, the cold weather forcing them to return to their more temperate homeland. Immediatly after this disasterous incident, the Emperor of Quan orders his Kang commanders to undertake the swift construction of fortified border outposts and heavy siege engines as insurance against further attacks.
The following year, the Saurans return but are unable to penetrate the Kang's new and hastily constructed defenses. Dismayed, they return to the Volcanic Hills.
In the year 538 N.A. fierce Mangar Corsairs begin to harass the dragon barques of the Quan Empire.
In the year 611 N.A. the Silent Insurrection begins. In a very short time the indolent Quan are thrown down by their Kang warrior-servants. Seven years later the Kang molibilze a massive force against their old enemies the Saurans of the Volcanic Hills in an operation long opposed by the Quan, who has previously elected to hoard the Empire's wealth for themselves.
It is now 620 N.A. and the Quan are now nothing more than puppet dictators, controlled by the savage and proud Kang.
...and the Mandalans stand in the shadows, serving their rulers well.