The Arkage were an ancient civilization that dominated large stretches of the River Sesh until their ultimate conquest by their rivals the Seshweay. Since that time, they have survived in the stories and the people of that region down to the present, making up a significant part of the population that founded the several later Seshweay Empires and eventually the Satar and Accan Exatais.
The Arkage civilization was located mostly along the southern or eastern bank of the River Sesh, bordering the Seshweay in the north, Serat in the south, and the Parda Hills and Senet Desert in the east. The largest city of their people was for a time Nestad, then Arkage itself, followed by Nikros and Jania. Another of their major ancient cities, Fakr, was destroyed in one of their innumerable wars.
Theirs was a desert state, initially confined to the fertile river valley that grew most of their crops until devastation of the Sesh Delta forced them to relocate the center of their empire into the Parda Hills.
It is impossible to tell the story of the Arkage without also telling the story of the Seshweay. Both the Arkage and the Seshweay were some of the first peoples in the world to use agriculture and live in cities, and each were located along the River Sesh -- the Seshweay to the northwest and the Arkage to the southeast. The Seshweay were initially the more powerful, though they were disunited, and had a strong xenophobic streak that led them to make war against all their neighbors, including the nascent Arkage people.
At the same time, a barbarian people named the Craknids invaded the riverrine region, and a complicated three-way conflict emerged between the disunited Seshweay, the Craknids, and the Arkage states, the most prominent among the latter being Nestad, which fell and was utterly destroyed in an early war, and Fakr, which occupied Seis for a time before being sacked itself.
Neither side was able to get an advantage in the early wars, but soon the Seshweay began to unify more tightly, and the Arkage in turn brought the Craknids under their control. New, massive slave armies were raised, and the two sides fought a brutal series of wars which ultimately exhausted both powers. Refugees from the conflicts founded the state of Jania, while Seshweay and Arkage both ignored the movements of barbarians on the western frontiers.
The Arkage produced a brilliant military commander, Craknus, who was able to defeat the larger Seshweay armies and carried the battle to the enemy's capital at Seis. However, all his gains were undone by a slave rebellion in his homeland. The Seshweay were able to recapture their lost lands, drive the Arkage back across the river, and were about to land a killing blow when something utterly unexpected happened.
The Satarai, a barbarian tribe of horsemen from the steppe, cut through every force that was put in their way and overran both the Seshweay and Arkage. Founding the Grand Satrapy of the Sesh, the new barbarian state proved short-lived, giving way to a unified Seshweay-Arkage state, the Empire of the Sesh. This whirlwind of political upheaval continued as this Empire, too, fell rapidly due to tensions among the nobility and the River devolved again into internecine struggles.
Eventually almost all civilization in the delta collapsed; the last Arkage state, Jania, relocated to the Parda Hills. It later reconquered the Sesh valley and founded a second Empire of the Sesh, but was brought down by a coalition of other states; the Delta was finally and firmly occupied by the Seshweay, who became the dominant group from then onwards.
The Arkage had a mobile, inclusive, but highly unstable society. They maintained a large slave underclass, which was the source of numerous uprisings, all brutally suppressed.
Little in the way of art or architecture has survived from the Arkage peoples. They had the world's first military academies, but no great halls -- even their murals and sculptures constantly seem copied from other peoples.
Their language is quite dead.