Chronicle 5 END OF EMPIRE

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                    the heft and the edge                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     26/5/2017 wkj fantasy
 

 

 

 

 

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AN EPISODIC HISTORY OF ASTERANOR

The count of years here follows the standard used in The Chronicle of Errensea where  dates are counted from the occasion of the Second Foundation of the Collegium Magi.  Dates prior to this event are commonly given as xxxxAF (Antare Fundatum); dates following this event are given as xxxxPF (Postare Fundatum). Dates Postare Fundatum are accurate; dates Antare Fundatum become less reliable the further we journey into the past.

END OF EMPIRE AND THE NATION OF THE SEVEN PARS

700

PF

MAPS EARNOR
SW

Opening of trade between the Ar’Andalans and Aegardeans.  It is a simple truth that while commerce is commerce and men should for comfort look to their income rather than worry about their morals mankind very often will let those morals rule all. So it was that when their friends and neighbours (once the Issakari but now referred to as the Sullinese) were so brutally attacked by the Masachean Imperial troops,  first of all the Matagordans offered to supply arms to aid the fight back, and then when the fight back failed they welcomed a portion of the people as refugees, and then when they could take no more refugees they suffered guilt that at no point would they consider sending an army of their own to face the Masacheans – and anyway that was a decision for the King in Garassa and he was in no way keen to begin a war with the Empire. Instead they situated a great force of men at all the most likely points of ingress and sealed the border.  But at the very least there was one thing the Matagordans could do and that was to refuse to make profit from the situation. No matter that the Imperial Governor of the South treated with the Aegardean King offering great benefits in trade with the Empire, the Matagordans would not allow it. The border was closed and not a bean nor a shirt nor an ounce of gold would cross it. And neither would any pig despite the ridiculously high fees on offer.

Of course this left the Aegardeans with some financial difficulty and it is because of this hiatus in the economic meckanick of the continent that Aegarde once more looked to the west and the ar’Andalan Empire. And this time the process began with gifts for the Emp Radis. What with the present incumbent of this title being fond of racing horses and the Valdesian bloodstock producing the most athletic of animals, this second foray into Sullinor went very well indeed.

 

716

PF

Lindis 4
Lindis 2

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Tumboll 3
Tumboll 1

The Battle of the Temples.  The origins of this battle lie surely in the machinations of the Biskop of the One Fathers. However as so much was done behind the scenes records of the dispute dwell only on the key events: the Condemnation of the Council Leader by The Twenty; the ensuing riot as supporters of the Leader called for the arrest of The Twenty; the drowning of the Leader in the very waters of the Aecumen and the attack on The Temple of the One Making. The complications that developed this bipartisan dispute into the multi-headed monster it became can be followed from event to event but let it suffice here to say  that it took strong intervention by the Wizards of Errensea to enforce a peace and to realize the true nature of the One Fathers. The Biskop Mandrak and the Collegium Wizard Resa Omdurani fought a duel of immense proportions and at the close the Biskop was keeping company with the lately drowned Leader of the Council of Lindis.

(A proposed history of this dispute was laid before the Gombret editors some few years ago but they failed to support the project seeing no interest among their readers for something they deemed to be theological history. In this brave new world of ours it seems that we are doomed to be slaves to a tide of philosophical correctness.)

It is worth noting that this is the first occasion of the Council of Errensea intervening with the use of Power in the affairs of another polity. Up until now the Second Foundation had been content to run the Collegium and by invitation only, to further the education of the peoples of Asteranor. Omdurani was the first Master of the Collegium to insist upon a martial training for every student.

 

The Black Magi of the Church of the One Father were of course expelled, once more, from Lindis, making their way eventually to the Island of Tumboll where two thousand years had brought the Temple of The God Present to ruin, and overindulgence in the Blood Rite had condemned the island order of the Blood Magi to a living death. With a new determination, and new blood, the Black Magi of Tumboll began much new building at this time under the direction of the Builder Priest Tolomarkus. It is suggested, though so far not verified, that it was in this building Lamuel’s chamber was made for the survival of the Holy Texts produced upon the island. Of Lamuel’s origin there is no mention – anywhere.

 

1210

PF

MAP   SE

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The New Gothaeans and the Second Crossing of The River. Disintegration of tribal society during the years of chaos led at least to one wholesome development: the homogenisation of the population.  No longer were men likely to call themselves Medean or Parisi, Issakari or Belgae. They were more likely to say “I am a man of the south, or east or west, or a man of Francon, or I am Anshani.” But under the oppression of the Empire of the Blood, for the first time in a thousand years men once again looked to the old names as a rallying call, as a focus of revolt.  Mingling of the population might make it strange to claim allegiance to one ancient tribe over another but the traditional tribal regions at least were still known and so in the early 1200’s when the Esterdales rose up against the local commissary people explained that the “Gothae have risen to claim back their own.”  The Imperial response was predictable. A clinical cull of the supposed ringleaders and a punishment that involved the killing of children. It is not proven that the Collegium at this time sent Wizards into the central region but the bloodletting in the name of religion in this period had increased tenfold. It may be that in the enterprise of the New Gothae they saw a people ready to lead a wider rebellion. The rumour of the organization of these New Gothae seemed to precede the reality but in 1210 a fierce enough and numerous enough group of 2000 men attempted to eject the Imperial forces from the town founded as New Anshan, but more commonly known as The Riverport . Much of the town was damaged by fire in the course of this battle but in the end the New Gothae were victorious. It was at this point that people of all the Western Empire were supposed to rise up and join the cause, and bring an end to their horrific oppression. But they did not. And this allowed the Imperial Armies the time and space and the confidence to attack the Gothae once more. Being hard on the Riversea was the Gothaen’s only salvation. Though there were many killed the New Gothae and their families escaped across the Riversea and settled in and around the marshlands on the western shore (hemmed in, it has to be said, by unwelcoming Aegardean residents of the more comfortable parts of the plateau.)  It is suggested that at a secret meeting of the High Council the policy of interfering in the affairs of the Empire, in such a provocative manner, was deemed unlikely to produce any good result.

 

1342

PF

Haslem 2

MAP   SW

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Birth of Haslem the Great Born to Wilfreid Gortha and Brede Forlan, the first an itinerant magus and the latter an interpreter working with Sullinorean traders in the city of Garassa.  Neither made much money from their employments despite their learning and power, being rightly fond, according to Haslem’s own memoirs, of long happy nights of drinking, singing, dancing and late rising on the following days. Haslem grew up running through the morning streets of the Sinks, causing trouble and completely unchecked. His biographers have skated over this period of his life as though it was unimportant but the Taprod, for once, has been more than forthcoming on this matter. So much so that my colleague Buerka Sarayon has undertaken a promising new biography of the great wizard – publication to be announced.  I will say no more here.

  

1400

PF

 

Birth of Sandar Born Sandar Robert Sandis.  Sandar, according to the family history he was taught as a youth, was descended from a line of minor clan chiefs of the Medes. He was born into oppression as were all the people of Medea; his father was carried off to feed the temple fires when he was seven years old. His mother, Margoet Sandis, was a strong woman and keen to help others all her life. She instilled in her son, a sense of fair play, the need to stand up for what is right, the need to help his people.  In his early teenage years this upbringing caused him to be arrested by the Imperial Guard for throwing a stone at a soldier busied with whipping a youth who had stolen an apple. As a warning to him against further foolish behaviour, they carried Sandar off to the Temple to witness the Blood Sacrifice of a sheep thief. This appalling display, many think, gave him the adamant resolve he would need in his subsequent battles with the Empire.

 

 

1422 - 1426

PF

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NE

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Haslem 3
Haslem 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Medean Revolt . The full details of the Medean Revolt are available for popular consumption in the surprisingly excellent volume Downfall of Empire by Fel Awdrey, Astoril 3050, Gombret Press. In terms of producing a history of the entire age it would make more sense to licence use of Awdrey’s text in abbreviated form. I would suggest that the following list of events should form the basis of this section:

The Medeans - Sandar led a group of his peers, named by themselves after the Tribe of the Medes to which most of them claimed descent, on a destructive series of raids on the minor temples of what was once central Medea but was now referred to as the Misin Reach. This culminated in the firing of the Temple and Priests House at New Bacton. This incident marked out a step change in their campaign: the unlooked for deaths of the priests drew a vicious and murderous response from the Temple Guard throughout the region.  Sandar vowed to respond in like fashion.

The Deceit at the God’s Kitchen – when Sandar, fearing that his nascent rebellion had been infiltrated by agents-in-secret of the Masachean state, enlisted the help of the itinerant wizards of Errensea training. We will not delve too deeply into the techniques of True Sight and Illusion employed by the wizards but concentrate on outcomes: the purging of the traitors; the involvement of the wizards in the battle of Hannay Reaches.

The Travelling Word – when, after the success at God’s Kitchen, Sandar’s people took to the road, travelling separately or in small groups with the mission to spread the word of that first success far and wide throughout the Western Empire.

The Intelligences of Haslem – whereby the Lord Wizard Haslem Garrassin sought out Sandar with news of the coming Masachean response. Again the use of Sight and of Seekers need only be mentioned in passing, the key point being that it was Haslem’s intervention that allowed Sandar to keep one step ahead of his enemy and to plan his war more effectively.

The Ten Battles of the South – We will hope in the final version of this history to give the circumstances and geography of each of these minor battles but surely the main point here is to show how Sandar carefully created one region of revolt at a time, drawing in the Masachean forces and causing them damage, but leaving them no opportunity of retribution upon the common folk of those regions by moving quickly on to a new arena of confrontation. In this way he showed the people that revolt could be achieved without subsequent brutal suppression. By the time the Emperor Priest could provide major reinforcements to the Temple Guard of the West already the southern regions were roused against them.

The Battle of Tebbisford – the first major battle. It will be important to point out that although Errensea Wizards were involved openly they were not leaders but followers. Sandar required their help and he told them what to do. Haslem did not take part in the fighting but continued in his use of Sight to inform and assist Sandar’s choices. The shock of this complete victory over the trained armies of the Temple Guard was decisive. The Masacheans began to doubt themselves; the suppressed began to have hope. Worth noting too the help given to the Medeans by the Matagordans of Aegarde: a great store of arms was smuggled across the river and deposited at the Caves of Lascalle and so Sandar was able to properly arm his people.

The Demons of Lusk and the Reversal of Segeston –The role of the powerful Blood Wizards of Lusk is of crucial importance in this one great defeat for Sandar. Working in concert they made blind the Sight of Haslem and then brought into the world five demons. Sandar’s army scattered in the face of this threat. The irony is that in response to the demon-calling,  Errensea at last decided to send out its entire strength to join with Sandar and Haslem.

The Battle of Dinorlech –The Imperial Guard took the direct route from Nai’vedya through the Aristin defile and rampaged through the towns and villages of Skelldane in all arrogance, only to find that Sandar had deliberately drawn them into a trap at the Dinorlech Banks. With his finest soldiers floundering to their deaths in the quick-sands of the Oswynne this defeat was a mighty embarrassment to the Emperor Priest and pushed him into action more quickly than was perhaps wise.

The Battle of the Footings and the Advice of Polz –If anything is to show the wisdom of Sandar working with Haslem it is in the final forbearance of Sandar at the walls of Polz. It was Haslem who advised Sandar of the huge army of Masacheans (a combination of city militias, Temple Guard, and the remaining regiments of the Imperial Guard) massing in the south of Masachea ready to take the coast road from Polz into Apia; it was Sandar who decided against luring this army to meet him in the battlegrounds north of the Misium (where ancient Gothaen earthworks made for strong defences). Instead he marched his armies southerly at all speed, gathering greater force to him as they went. A vast army of men and women, well armed and confident and carrying an anger driven by hundreds of years of torment and grief, converged in western Apia so quickly that the Masacheans had hardly set out upon their march into the west. Sandar placed a large part of his force upon the coast road but sent also twenty thousand up into the Footings of the Hurgals. The Masacheans were not expecting the road to be held against them, still less the attack on their flank. Their generals were unprepared; they had no wizards with them. Each minor army within their ranks fought their own battles with no regard to pattern.  

The Masachean retreat to Polz after such a crushing defeat, with their enemy biting at their heels, was a ragged affair and by the time they reached the walls of the city their plight was desperate. If the Masacheans had not gained the safety of the city they would have been destroyed entirely. The citizens of Polz (and it must be remembered that Polz was in ancient times a city of Apia and not of Masachea) hesitated to open their gates, some arguing that it would be safer to deny entry to the remnants of the army and to claim neutrality, but the sheer size of the army in pursuit changed their minds. At least with the extra soldiers within their walls they might hope to extend their defence until help came. Sandar’s army settled itself outside the walls and awaited direction. But Sandar, supported by Haslem, wanted nothing of sieges; he wanted nothing of attack beyond the borders of his own country; he wanted nothing more than liberty and the safety of the people he called his own.  He spoke to the Masacheans in parley saying: “Take back your lives into the heart of Masachea and be thankful that Medeans know a word you have forgotten. Mercy. Think what that word could mean to you and your race. You live ever under the yoke of vile masters, and for that I pity you. But a yoke may be thrown off if you have the strength and the will. Look at this army before your walls, look at this people. Do you see any yoke upon them? There is none, for now they have freedom and they will keep it. Take this message to your masters and to that so called Emperor, that so-called Priest: if you have a notion once more to apply a yoke upon the Medean people, banish the thought. You will cross these mountains again at your great peril. Today, under this bright sun, we show you mercy. Do not risk a dark tomorrow.”

 

1426

PF

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Gundolph and the Castle of Ayer. Sandar returned from Polz fired with a determination to hold onto what they had gained. All of what he chose to name Medea was free of Masachean influence.  The temples of the Blood were dismantled gleefully, all remaining Priests or officials driven out and over the crossings of the mountains, not gently either though at Sandar’s insistence there was no murder. But Masacheans still held rule of the far north in the territory traditionally held by the Prydaisi. There a great force of Temple Guard had been stationed but its remit was mainly to do with making secure the pass in the Hurgals known as Kentreth’s Grave. For many lives of men the Blood Magi had sent their wizards and sorcerers and many unfortunate victims to explore its mysteries. This force, supplemented by cohorts of the Temple Guard cast out of Medea, were now arranged only to keep safe what they yet held. And in a way, there they confined themselves for there were no easy passes through the High Hurgals into Masachea and the Grave was no avenue to anywhere upon Earnor.

Sandar set a great force along the borders of this territory and commenced the building of fortifications wherever the terrain was appropriate. Castle Greteth was begun at this time.

But Sandar had not given-up on the oppressed Prydaisi. He doubted that he had the strength to come against such a large force set in a posture of defence – most of his previous battles had been conflicts in transit. His plan was to build a proper army of professional soldiers and to achieve that end he knew he must make all of Medea a proper nation with a government and taxes and laws designed for the benefit of all. Already he was seen as ruler de facto of the land he called Medea but Sandar wanted his position delineated by the agreement of all parties. Haslem took the lead in negotiating between people of the five main regions of Medea while Sandar and the great architect Gundolph worked upon creating a geographically central seat of power should the negotiations prove successful. They decided upon a prominent position on the river bluffs of the Misium at a place called Ayer. It was Gundolph who decided upon the hexagonal design recalling the order and industry of the bee hive.  The new nation would be no slack organisation.

 

1428

PF

Parts 2

MAPS   
NE
SE

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The Parcellement of Medea and the Foundation of the Nation of the Five Pars.  Haslem’s efforts had reward much more quickly than any dared hope for. Memory of the horror of Masachean rule was still fresh and none wanted ever to see the Masacheans return. 

But when the Masacheans left they took with them their system of regional governance: each region had been governed by an Archaku – the leading Priest of the Temple, and beneath him the priesthood on one side and a Commisar of State on the other. The Commissar had beneath him a Secretary of Monies who arranged taxation and a commander of the Temple Guard also whose role it was to enforce the Temple Law. From these spread out the same pattern at minor levels even out into the villages. At the more exalted end of this hierarchy all of the incumbents were Masachean born, but out in the villages local people held the positions of authority.

And so there was, after the defeat of the Masacheans, a void at the head of governance and a distrust of ex-collaborators at the bottom. But under Haslem’s guidance Sandar declared that though he may be pre-eminent in Medea he would parcel out authority and with it rights of land to five defined regions based on the Aegardean model. The regions would elect their own Governors rather than that they should be appointed by Sandar. Within very little time the governors of the Sullin Part, the Misin Part, Segyllin Part, Osterley Part and the Medean Part came to an agreement that together they would formally unite as one nation: The Nation of the Five Pars with Sandar as the first King. (Note that the word ‘pars’ in Middle Parsee did not mean ‘part’ but ‘county’ or ‘administrative area’.) 

 

1434

PF

Tumboll 4
Tumboll 2

The Anparite Crusade and the taking of Tumboll. An odd episode of this period was the faux crusade undertaken by the Anparite family. Failing to gain re-election as Governor of the Segyllin Part Blorca Anparas became unpopular in his constant sniping at his successor. The more he complained the less he was liked by his neighbours. Eventually the constant bad feeling caused Blorca to consider migrating his entire extended family (as was his right whether they liked it or not). But he knew that he would have to provide some impetus for the move or he would find too many arguments against. The Island of Tumboll had been untouched by the Medean Revolt and there the Black Magi still held to their Temple, though in not so great numbers now as in the past. Blorca condemned them as brothers of their erstwhile oppressors, condemned them as evil and asked why they should be allowed to continue in their evil ways.  And then he led a force of Anparites onto the island to oust them.  To say he was surprised the task was achieved so easily, without the least wizardly response would be to suggest he was ever a man to doubt his decisions. But the Black Magi, defeated long before, capitulated quickly and agreed to leave the Island. The family took up residence upon Tumboll and became wealthy by selling all the gold they had stolen from the departing priests.

 

1435

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The Relief of the Prydaisi Homelands and the end of empire. At last Sandar determined that his strength was enough to complete their war against the Empire of the Blood.

Sandar’s reign was premised upon the creation of an army: as in Aegarde the King’s key role was the defence of the nation. And so his first task was the institution of the six armies of Pars under the governance of his six best generals. He made these generals Lords of the Pars to emphasize their authority. In later discussions regarding the future of the nation and the need for Succession the consensus was that Sandar would be succeeded by his first offspring, male or female; after that succession would pass down to each first child, but if there was no offspring then rule would pass to a sibling of the King or Queen; but if there was no sibling living and no offspring then the Lords of the Pars would come together to decide upon a new King from within their ranks. Succession among the Lords of Pars would proceed as with the King. To this end the families of the King and of the Lords of Pars were made Royal Houses. And as each Lord was a commander of an army of Pars then those armies would become attached to the Royal House. Thus Sandar’s House was The Royal House of Sandis (the i was rarely voiced and so eventually the name contracted to Sands) and his army was the Army of Sands. The six original Royal Houses were Sandis, Re’arden, Althoné, Temoran, Astimmon and Forlandis.

There were two battles and one siege in the course of this final war. The purpose was twofold: the relief of the Prydaisi people and the ejection of the last of the Masacheans from what had been determined to be Partian soil. The war was swift, the Masacheans outfought and outnumbered and the Prydaisi swift to join in with just retribution. But Sandar would not have the Masacheans killed (if they were not Blood Magi) and made many thousands of normal Masacheans prisoner, to be ejected at the borders with much the same warning given at the advice of Polz ringing in their ears.

 

In Masachea this event became the final tipping point that resulted in a change of governance for the nation. Ever since the Medean Revolt, the ejection of the Masachean state from all of Medea and the Advice of Polz, dissent within the country had been growing. It was as though eyes had been opened by the strength of the Medeans, eyes that could now see the sheer horror that was the basis of the Empire. Those shown mercy in the retreat from Apia questioned the unforgiving nature of their priests. Common people began to despise the Blood Magi and their observances. In response a new understanding of the state religion was formulated in the temple city of Zorost by those wiser priests who could see which way the wind was blowing and who preferred to create an ordered change rather than become subject to a change they did not like. It was not an easy period: the Blood Magi were powerful in themselves, and for some time yet they had command of the armies. It was the final ejection of the Masacheans from Prydaisi territory that changed things. Embarrassed by such an abject defeat, embarrassed that they could not generate any form of reply, the generals of the armies decided it was time for a change in leadership. All together they turned upon the Blood Magi, killing many of the lesser powers but ousting the rest, impelling a large number to remove themselves, largely unmolested, to the City of Lusk.

The new High Priest brought an end to the practise of the Blood Sacrifice and declared in 1438 that the Empire was no more. Masachea had first been made by God into a Holy Nation not an Empire and that is what it would be again.

 

1436

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Trials of
Haslem

The Nation of the Seven Pars.  By the end of 1435 a new Treaty of Foundation had been set out to bring the northern lands and the Prydaisi people into union with the Nation of the Five Pars but unexpected representations made to the King and the Royal Houses by the Apian leader Aldo Baldi delayed the process. The Apians felt they were too small a nation to remain independent any longer. Now was their chance to become a part of something greater.  There were voices of contempt among the established Five Pars for many saw the Apians as a weak and unworthy people but Sandar took the lead in condemning those voices. If they were weak then inclusion within the Nation of Pars would make them strong. And so new documents were drawn and on June 10th 1436 they were ratified and with the addition of the Norberry Part and the Apian Part the Nation of the Seven Pars was born.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wilf Kelleher Jones
A Song of Ages