At the time the area already hosted a fortified fishing village. The Cedonese explorers reported that it would be "a great and sore task" to dislodge the locals as the harbor was "located on a difficult and rocky headland." In fact Zelkor is located on a vast plateau which has for centuries kept it separate from surrounding areas. Access is effectively limited to a few approachable harbors.
In the Sixth century Cedonese Emperors realized the strategic value of Zelkor and organized it as an Imperial domain, directly controlled by the Emperor and free from the local counties. Though isolated, the land of the Zelkori plateau was rich and well watered, and the city grew prosperous.
The rise of Zelkor as a trading and military post continued until the invasion of the Ice Demons. During the invasion, the Fortified city became the shelter for a number of important nobles, led by the rogue Cedonese Admiral Syndl Arracht.
Admiral Syndl Arracht, Baron of Thrimin, distant cousin to the Emperor, noble of Cedonia founded the Principate of Zelkor in the year 1281.
In the winter of 1278 a number of Cedonian military officers, so the story goes, met with the Vizer to the Emperor. These senior officers had for some time been in correspondence with the Emperors council and other important Cedonian lords. They informed the Vizer, as they had written in countless letters, that they feared that spring would bring an invasion of the goblins. Word had been circulating for the past two years that raids where increasing, and large numbers of goblins were reported in the mountains.
The Vizer listened to the men as they recounted their personal experience. All were, so the story goes, well regarded and brave officers. The officers completed their appeal, saying they had been sent by the commander of the Southern fleets, Admiral Arracht. They said that at this moment Admiral Arracht was prepared to embark soldiers from the Imperial capital and move them to the passes in the South. The officers produced detailed plans to shore up Southern defenses, and to deploy imperial troops to protect the population.
The Vizer bid the officers to return the next, day after his conference with the Emperor. Whether he actually presented the information to the Emperor or not, is lost in history. The officers, returning the next day, were informed that the Emperor would not allow Admiral Arracht to return to the capital with his fleet. The goblins were not going to invade, the Vizer informed them.
Within several months, these officers were in prison, or dead. The goblin invasion did not come in the Spring of 1279, and that Winter Admiral Arracht was ordered to return, without his fleet, to the capital. Admiral Arracht received word that he was to split his command and return North, in Mid-summer.
He refused to do so, and gave the ships under his command the option to head to the closest imperial port, or stay with him. According to Zelkori tradition, only a single ship of the admirals fleet opted to return, and the crew of that ship mutinied and replaced the captain.
The Admiral moved his fleet to Winter off of the coast of what is now East Torphan. He landed soldiers, and began to prepare an army from not un-supportive local lords. The emperor, hearing of this in the fall of 1279, declared the Admiral "no more, nor less than a base pirate, to be driven from Cedonia by the sword."
Whether the Admiral was preparing to defend Cedonia, as the Zelkori claim, or looting the coast for his own benefit, as the modern Cedonese claim, is impossible to know. The Admirals forces settled in for the last Winter of the Cedonian Empire. In spring, a large force of Ice Demons, burst through the feeble defenses of the Southern Empire, and moved towards the wealthier coastal cities.
The Admirals fleet fought a retreating action against the invaders, through what is now East Torphan, and through Tanimbar. Armies raised by the local Athelari welcomed the help, the only that they were to receive from Cedonian forces. The abandonment of the Southern empire enraged the Admiral, and the men under his command. When it became clear that they alone could not stop the goblin forces the admiral embarked his soldiers, and moved to sea. He evacuated a number of prominent families and important religious artifacts. Today the Cedonian version of the story claims that he looted the cities already burnt by the goblins, though this version is likely to cause a fight if mentioned in front of any Zelkori.
By any account, the Admiral arrived at the hold-out city of Zelkor, and was welcomed by the cities beleaguered defenders. On the Northern edge of Tanimbar, this city became a haven for refugees and the new home to the Admirals fleet. As the Dragons from Mir burnt away the remainder of the goblins, the Admiral was left with a city of thousands, and the only remaining sizable naval force in the Former Cedonian empire. He was also left with substantial quantities of gold, and a large force of armed men.
In 1281 Admiral Arracht became Prince Arracht the 1st Prince of Zelkor.
Almost half of the original inhabitants were soldiers and sailors from the Admirals fleet, and this martial tradition has remained strong. The Zelkori are militaristic to the extreme. A large portion of their language and social organization is borrowed from the slang of the navy. Neighborhoods within Zelkor are referred to by the name of the company of soldiers that they contribute to the Legion of the Muster, Zelkors provisional militia. It is also true that few Zelkori young men chose not to enter the professional navy of Zelkor, the Mariners.
Zelkor has maintained its independence in the face of the new Cedonian expansion by a combination of clever economic decisions, military preparedness, and geography. The Zelkori merchant houses offered no-questions-asked low tariff markets for merchants from Tanimbar, Vizinia, and Cedonia. At the same time the Princes have constructed an elaborate land wall, and fortified port for their capital. Border forts and constant military exercises, are believed to have saved the country from the recent Cedonian invasion of Vizinia. The Cedonian troops approached the border, only to be met by a sizable force of Zelkori soldiers parading along the border.
The current focus of Zelkor is to expand their economy to continue to be able to support the substantial expense of the cities defenses and naval forces. Rumor has it that the Princes treasury is still quite substantial, but diminishing as gold acquired during the goblin war has been spent to develop the city.