Monday, November 14, 2011

Druth History Month, Part 2

(Previously, the area known as the Druth Protectorates was under the rule of the Kieran Empire.  A catastrophic mass-assassination sends the entire Empire into chaos.)

Now: The Rebellion, and the first two centuries of the new calendar (The "Free Era".)

The Rebellion

Duke Rizari of Inemar survives the poisoning incident, and flees to Inemar to raise support for himself.  He confides in the Inemar Civilian Governor, Oscana, to assist him, but Oscana misleads him.  Oscana was secretly a member of a resistance movement, and manipulates events to stage a rebellion to liberate Inemar.  He kills Rizari and takes control, defeating the local legionnaires with his small army, liberating Inemar.  Oscana is aware, though, that Inemar won't be able to stand alone once the Empire turns its attention back to them; he seeks allies in other Druth provinces.  Over the next several years, his influence grows through northwestern Druthal, as he and his allies  force out the Kieran presence.  By  31 BFE, Clwythnn Strongtree of the Waish Clans and Galena of the Acserian Church (the growing religion in the Futralian Protectorates) contact Oscana, and these three leaders form an alliance to free all the Protectorates.

In 27 BFE, after some minor victories in all three Protectorates, the three armies unite for a major victory in taking the city of Fencal away from the Kierans.  The toll is high, as a majority of the Acserian zealots are killed or injured (having led the first charge). Oscana's eldest son is killed as well.  Shortly after they take the city, they learn of an enormous Kieran Army marching south to reclaim the Futralian provinces.  Oscana pushes the army to intercept them and the Kieran legions are slaughtered in what is called the Battle of Blood Lake.  The Rebellion Army, however, is greatly weakened by these two victories.  Meanwhile, the province of Monim remains under Kieran control, and the civilian population is placed into work camps and many are executed.

As more years of fighting continue, the rebellion forces had pushed the Kieran front further back. Based on loose intelligence, all three leaders make a push for Mal Arengi, The Keep in Kellirac.  Other territories are sacrificed to allow a majority of the Rebellion forces to push into Kellirac.  In 21 BFE, the three forces lay siege to The Keep, and eventually take control of it, defeating the legions that were there.  The Kierans had been using it as a staging point for the next major invasion, so the victory was a major setback for the Kieran offensive.

Oscana and the other military leaders of Druthal return to Inemar, the center of the rebellion, to find a number of rich men who played no role in the war making claims on being the new Druth Nobility. They try to take control over the new nation, and attempt to remove Oscana from any seat of power. Their attempt fails, as the loyalty he has earned keeps the military forces on his side. He knows, however, that he needs their money to succeed, so he integrates these New Nobles into his plans for a free nation.

Tensions flare as the new Count of Thaneil pushes a patrol into the territory of the Ringfire Clan. The situation is very tense as members of the Warlords, specifically the Preceptor Mastak, steps in to cool it off.  Almost as soon as the situation is resolved, a Druthalian caravan near the Waish border that carries some of Thaneil's relatives is attacked and destroyed by an unknown band of raiders. Conflict between Thaneil and Ringfire explodes, and the Kierans hear word of it and takes advantage of the confusion to move into the area with troops.  They quickly establish dominance in the area, slaughtering the Ringfire Clan.  Clwythnn comes to the area to try and save as much as he can, but is forced to take a stand to delay the army (with only six other men by his side) while villagers escape.  Clwythnn is captured and executed by the Kierans. The Kierans begin a full assault on Druthal, using ships now to assault the northern and western coast, squeezing away the area that the Druth control.

The efforts of the Rebellion continue, albeit poorly, in Druthal and Waisholm.  The Acserians do not give very much support at this time, as the Kierans are mostly ignoring them.  Oscana is lured into an ambush in an effort to contact rebels in the strongly occupied province of Monim. He is captured and executed.  Upon hearing this news, the Druth resistance begins to crumble.  The Kierans offer a cease-fire to allow the Druth leaders to agree to a surrender that would give amnesty and power to the new Druth Nobility.

In 14 BFE, Oscana's youngest and last living son, Maradaine, takes control of the situation in Inemar, lambasting the Nobles for considering the Kieran deal. He unites the people, and, citing the vicious, immoral, murderous tactics of the Kierans, whips the people into frenzy. The Druthalians, now with Maradaine as their ruler, vow to crush the Empire completely.

After five years of several battles, the Druthalians and Waish, thrilled by their many victories, push deep into the heart of the Kieran Empire, to set up a crippling assault on the Kieran city of Vedix. Once the city had been reached, the invaders realized that they had stretched supply lines too thin, and discover a serious weakening of morale. The Acserians calmly encourage their allies to pull out of Kieran, which they do. The retreat stops at the Waish/ Kieran border, and the Rebels wait for any sign of aggression from the Empire to renew their efforts. After a time, a contingent of Kieran diplomats comes to Maradaine, Galena, and Luthan Kinslayer with a treaty. After a quick period of deliberation, the treaty is signed. The Kierans immediately pull out all legions from the area to deal with a crisis on their eastern border.

A council of nations is established that respects national boundaries and sovereignty, but establishes them as a unified power. The council, however, discovers too many problems of culture to successfully integrate. The situation nearly erupts into war, when the council decides to save their fragile unity by dividing into separate nations, held together by a treaty. This solves the military problems, and the three nations begin to normalize relations.

Druthal spends many years determining structure of their own government, with long debates regarding the nature of independence and whether or not the various Druthalian Provinces should be united or separated. The end result is the documents known as the National Accords of Druthal, which lays out the framework of the relationships of the Provinces (now called Counties) to each other, the laws and regulations they must all adhere to and their fealty to the king, whomever that would be. There are many debates upon who should be king, but eventually Maradaine is chosen.
Parwyn Greyhilt, the Waish king, and Maradaine marry sisters, Rhyshel and Rhyshan Whiteground (daughters of another who stood with Clwythnn), hoping to strengthen the relations between the two kings.

First Century

Maradaine is crowned king, and the official declarations of powers, borders and titles in Druthal are made.  Maradaine proclaims that this is “The First year of a new, Free Era.”  Consequently, the Druth start a new calendar, and  Waisholm and Acseria follow suit.  The most surprising development is the arrival of Kieran emissaries who offer the official congratulations of to the new king.

The new nation of Druthal did not encompass all of the former “Druthalian Provinces”, as four of the southern ones which did not participate in the Rebellion establish their own tenuous independence.  Scaloi and Yinro both designate themselves as free kingdoms with their own rulers (Queen Adisala in Scaloi and Chancellor Deljean in Yinro).  Maradaine, eager to prove to his other lords the importance of respecting freedom, makes treaties with both nations.  The small province of Trelesca, south of Scaloi, is mostly ignored, as it has fallen into almost complete anarchy.  A handful of greedy, disenfranchised Kieran lords scramble to gain control over it.

A far more troubling situation brewed in Monim, which had never been relinquished of Kieran control, specifically by Duke Breialli and his legions.  Breialli was disgusted by the Kieran surrender to the Rebellion, and declared Monim to be the new seat of Imperial Regime, and himself as Emperor.  The local population had long since been imprisoned and enslaved in work camps.  Several imperialist nobles and deserting legionnaires left Kieran for Monim to become leaders in this new nation, with the region’s rich deposits of silver and gold being an added incentive.

Several years pass with little incident, as all the various nations rebuild and reorganize.  Farming and mining operations in Druthal slowly return to normal as the population builds back up.  The new nobles and landowners of Druthal prosper, as they hire the freemen (the title of respect given to the peasantry) to work their lands.  Slowly, prosperity comes to the nation.

The quiet of the early years of Maradaine’s reign did not last.  The Empire of Monim had focused its resources on building up its army.  By the year 13, the Monim army was ready to make its move.  They placed their great catapults and ballista along the shores of the Oblune River, their northern border, and sank every vessel in the river.  The various Counts in Oblune were unable to do much besides cease using the river (effectively decimating their trade routes.)  Word was sent to Inemar (and thus King Maradaine) requesting aid.  As these messengers were sent, the Monics marched into the counties of Kesta (formerly Fencal).

Maradaine put forth the call to arms to raise troops to defend Druthal.  The army had been all but disbanded, with each Count and Baron responsible for his own men.  Most of these lords felt the troubles from Monim were not their problem, and therefore sent no troops.

With the authority of the crown being tested, Maradaine sent every soldier in the counties of Inemar to the border of Monim.  The Warlords and Vanguard still held loyalty to the crown, though their numbers were now small.  This force pushed the Monics back to their border, and then the War Mages, who had also come out of seclusion on Maradaine’s behalf, cast dire enchantments on the border that would prevent armies from crossing it.

Maradaine tried to have the unhelpful lords arrested, but found that every one of them had acted with the bounds of powers and responsibilities that had been agreed to.  The only option Maradaine had was to form the Army of the King, a special force whose purpose was to “defend all of Druthal.”  The lords protested this as a violation of the spirit of the agreements of powers, although it did not violate the letter of them. 

The years passed, and Maradaine found that his principles often ran contrary to the realities of what necessary to rule, as he had to struggle to keep the power-hungry lords in check.  In 38, knowing that his son lacked the intelligence or character to rule, Maradaine declared his close advisor, Corinath Baldas, as his heir and successor.  Maradaine died just a few months afterward.  Baldas took the throne, and the name Maradaine II.  He also declared that in honor of their former king, Inemar would now be called Maradaine.

Maradaine II (38-69) did not hold the principles of pure freedom that Maradaine did, and ruled harshly, shifting Druthal to an absolute monarchy.  His harshness was directed at the nobility, rather than the commoners, concentrating his efforts on reining them in.  Most of note, he instituted the Title Tax, which forced the nobles to pay annually for the privilege of their title.  Maradaine II was a skilled politician, so the nobility spent these years plotting against each other in an effort to curry his favor.

During his reign, Monim began its war with Yinro.  This results in a protracted stalemate; while the Monics had greater numbers and resources, the Yinrites had the advantage of terrain, knowing how to use the swamps to their advantage.

Maradaine III takes the throne upon his father’s death in 69.  While he tried to play the same politics as his father, pitting the lords against each other, his ambition was too naked and he lacked the skill to accomplish his goals.  Nor did he inspire loyalty in his advisors.  In 73, a group led by Count Blackshire of Hechard sent their forces into Maradaine and ousted the king.  Maradaine III fled to Kellirac.  Blackshire then formed a ruling council with eight other counts, in which they all held equal power.

After several years of the council government, the varying political agendas of the Lords of Druthal threaten to tear the nation apart, with counties waging war upon one another constantly. Desperate for a unifying figure, the council sends men to search Kellirac for King Maradaine III, in order to reinstate him as King.  However, they find that he had been killed. Unable to agree on one of their own number, they finally agree upon Lord Mastile of Sauriya, cousin to the former king.  In an effort to help re-establish Druthalian unity, he takes the name Maradaine IV.

Maradaine IV (79-97), feeling secure in his position, ruled harshly, even more so than Maradaine II. He put forth the idea that all lands and forces of the nobles in Druthal were actually the king’s, and the nobles merely had stewardship.  “All soldiers serve the king,” was his decree.  Under his rule, the orders of the Vanguard, Warlords and War Mages became reclusive, not wishing to be considered part of that service.  While no wars were declared during his reign, Druthal became prepared for it: increasing trop sizes, strengthening defenses along the border, building siege weapons, raising walls and garrisons.  Upon his death, Druthal was a nation ready for war.

Second Century

It was during the reign of Maradaine V (97-127) that the situation reached its boiling point.  In the year 100 an army from Kellirac began its march on northeastern Druthal.  The Kelliracs fought viciously, and the broil spilled over into Waisholm, drawing them into the fray.  Soon afterwards, the Kell forces withdrew, leaving the Druth and Waish fighting each other.  Druthal pushed hard into Waish territory for two years, until the Waish clans had a coup, resulting in a new king, Ullen Kinslayer.  King Ullen made concessions of land to Druthal to end the fighting.  Secure in this victory, Druth forces then concentrated in protecting the southern borders, as the war between the Monic Empire and Yinro continued unabated.  Scaloi annexes Trelesca with almost no resistance.

Maradaine V’s reign ends quietly with his death in 127, and his son becomes Maradaine VI.  Unlike his predecessors, Maradaine VI was a rather unassuming king, concentrating his efforts on improving roads and travel conditions.  Maradaine VI (127-140) also established diplomatic ties with the Kieran government. A number of treaties are signed between Druthal and Kieran, allowing trade and establishing ambassadorial envoys to be stationed in each other’s capital.  This gives the king the opportunity to send his son, the crown prince, to Vedix for a well-rounded education.  However, an incident involving Kieran dissidents results in the young prince being captured and killed.  Upon hearing the news, Maradaine VI closets himself in his private chambers, where he reportedly died of grief.  After deliberation on the part of the lords of protocol, the throne goes to Count Nerainu of Itasa, who decides to break with tradition and keeps his name as king.

King Nerainu (140-162) closed the Druth borders to Kieran trade.  He, as well as the two following kings of his line, Falsham (162-187) and Falsham II (187-204) ruled Druthal in a quiet, unassuming fashion that focused on building up cities and roads, protecting the borders and isolating Druthal from its neighbors.  During this time the south continued to be enflamed, as Scaloi joined in the war between Monim and Yinro.

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