The War of Chains was a conflict between the Taghreb tribes, Soninike petty kingdoms and the Miezan Empire. Instead of uniting against a common enemy, the polities fought against each other and tried to use Miezans to settle old grudges. It was waged roughly 1500 years before the events of Book 1.
The Miezans arrived on Calernia through the Tyrian Sea, when one of their ships was blown off-course on Praesi shores. They were mostly treated as curiosities, taught the tongues of the kingdoms and made to tell tales of their faraway home. They seduced the local rulers by promising trade and wealth and were given a ship in Thalassina so they could return to their empire.
When they did return, it was with many ships and the intention of conquest. Though Praesi could’ve defeated them they instead warred on each other, thinking they could use Miezans to settle local grudges. This backfired spectacularly as eventually both Soninke and Taghreb were enslaved.
- Last time war paint was used in the East was during the War of Chains