The Marchguard Reborn
The island is called Maroester. It was discovered when Emperor Harphram of Vastlund sent a treasure fleet on a circumnavigation cruise in search of prospective client states. The halflings that dwelt on the island did not offer much as subject but there were many resources on the island, including gold, silver and mithril. It was not until the colony was firmly established that the first governor, a man named Margrave Angwin, realized just how dangerous the fey races that dwelt on the isle truly were. Goblins, elves and dwarves all opposed human colonization, but in the end the Emperor redoubled his efforts to pacify the locals. More men, more ships and more Margraves arrived until five competing houses with a full army each occupied the land. Even the occasional monster, giant or dragon attack could not shake the hold Men had on Maroester.
That situation held for some two hundred and fifty years, during which humans became completely entrenched on the island. In addition to the Vaslundians, folk from all over the Empire came to or were brought to Maroester. Most notable among these were the orcs. Considered savaged by the humans, orcs were ill treated and used primarily as labor and, when tamed, soldiers. Orcs were taken en masse from their own home island thousands of miles away and relocated to Maroester.
Approximately a century ago, the Empire suffered a rapid and complete collapse. In the space of a decade, it went from ruling Maroester with an iron fist, supported by constant trade and communication with continental Vastlund, to the last Imperial ship leaving the capitol port of Bishop's Gate. Shortly thereafter, the Margraves began to compete for supremacy, the orcs revolted and formed their own state and the fey races began to return from the deep wilderness and caverns.