Chronicle 7 PROGRESS

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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.

PROGRESS

1980

PF

Haslem 7
Haslem 5

Tumboll 5
Tumboll 3

Haslem upon Tumboll and the Spell of the Song.    It is without doubt that Haslem arrived on the Island of Tumboll at the invitation of Bagran Redbeard, headman of the Anparite family. Blight had come on the residents of the great manse and no healer had found any clue as to the cause. It is a matter of record that Haslem’s response to the mystery was to recommend the closing of several, recently uncovered chambers beneath the house. Why the chambers had been uncovered in the first place and how their closure might help to defeat the blight are imponderable questions.  As previously mentioned the Island of Tumboll, by agreement with the Kings of Pars, Gothery and Aegarde, is currently held safe by members of The Council. Men and women involved in the taking of Tumboll during the War have mentioned passageways deep into the earth but none were allowed to venture in unless it were members of the Council and the generals involved in the attack and none of those have offered any description of what may be found there.

It is clear however that in the process of dealing with this problem of blight that Haslem discovered Lamuel’s chamber.  Anparite records reveal the astonishment of the family that not only could a room have been kept hidden in the walls of the manse for all the five hundred years of their residence, but that a man could live within it undetected for all that time! There had ever been rumour of a ghost haunting the ruins of the temple but sightings had been few and had rarely been believed. 

They describe a man of seeming middle age who stumbled at first with the words of their “Modern” Medean language as though he had little practice in the performance of speech. His clothes were of current design and some say of similar making to the many items gone missing over the years from the Anparite laundries.

That he held long hours of conversation with Haslem is also a matter of record. We stumble however over the content of those conversations. The Taprod, at our special plea to reveal some of that content, gave response in this manner: “All you need to know is that it was from Lamuel that Haslem understood the existence of The Song – not as a book but as a living thing. And that the Song could be...” and here he struggled for the correct word, or at least one that I could understand, “accessed, though that does not explain my meaning properly. It is launched,” he said. “Like a ship,” said I, but he shook his head impatiently. “It matters not. It was with Lamuel’s help that he invented the spell to launch the Song. The spell I used when I became Taprod. Haslem tied the two.” I inquired about the book of the same name. “The book was in part a simple rendering of whatever parts of The Song Haslem thought important. For the future. And in part it was a mechanic of delivering his message.  Will that do?” How to respond to that?    “Look,” he said, “Lamuel was ancient: there was so much to talk about, not least of it the role of the Keepers in all this. I can tell you it made Haslem very angry.” And that is all he would say.

 

1984

PF

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Lamuel remarries. The reader may well consider this entry hardly a matter for a historical chronicle but for those interested in the characters of the recent war it is worth pointing out that Lamuel, the erstwhile Black Magus of Tumboll and Haslem’s collaborator in the revelation of The Song of Ages, at his friend’s suggestion now departed the Island of Tumboll to seek a home in the Holy Isles.  He decided against taking up residence on Errensea, even though the Collegium
had, by Haslem’s recommendation, offered him the Chair of History. Instead he settled for the small and craggy Isle of Athel, buying a house on the edge of the main town of Beltomm. Practitioners of the Power on Athel were few due to the lure of nearby Errensea but Beltomm’s local healer had a power and intelligence beyond her need and Lamuel’s arrival and the knowledge of the past he brought with him were more than welcome. Gislaine by all accounts was a powerful, driven woman who attended to her duties with vigour and determination – a perfect foil for this quiet man of wisdom born of great learning. Lamuel was happy to accept her offer of marriage.

It has been speculated upon that the Lord Seama Beltomé is a descendant of this union.  It has been further speculated that a part of the inheritance of this line was and is a geas driving the carrier forward in his urge to confront all that is wrong in the world and then endeavour to defeat it. A letter sent to Haslem by Lamuel (now archived in the Escartine collection) mentions his indecision on this matter just prior to the birth of his first child Rowenna. The matter was forced by Gislaine saying that such an invocation was common practice in her family. We do not have Haslem’s reply to this letter but by further correspondence it seems obvious that Haslem approved of and actually assisted in the making of the geas. Whether this geas ran through all the generations of the family it is hard to say given the lack of documentation but many believe we should thank Gislaine for her intervention: without it The War of the Exiled may well have been brief indeed.

 

2048

PF

Haslem 8
Haslem 6

A new Taprod, a new direction for The Council of Errensea.  Haslem was getting old. Very old of course. His governance of ageing was such that he had already walked upon Earnor for 706 years. He explained to The Council of Errensea that he no longer had the strength to carry the weight of being Taprod. He presented to the Escartine at this time his Magicks Majoris, the which has since become central to the power of Errensea.  Within the Majoris he explains the process by which he became Taprod and how the transfer of that power might be achieved. Excepting Haslem himself at that time, Gorlan Degan was by all considered to be, by far, the most powerful wizard of Errensea. Also he had been a confederate of Haslem in the creation of The Oath that governed the dragons of the Dedicae, and in the making of Gothery. And so in 2048, with the agreement of the whole Council, Haslem took Gorlan into his chamber, and thence to another place, and the deed was done. It is difficult to say any more than that as knowledge of the spell is limited to members of the High Council and they are obliged to keep such knowledge to themselves.

What can be said is that at his inaugural speech one week later when he had recovered himself, Gorlan dedicated his stewardship, and therefore the actions of The Council, to the promotion of progress in Gothery.  Why it were only Gothery mentioned I do not know and would be pleased to receive instruction on this point.

 

2050

PF

Dirios 4
Dirios 2

MAP   NW

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First Rebellion of the Men of Oak.  Under the leadership of Cadarn  Fychan Lyndawr, and in response to harsh treatment of the Cymrais by the Kellinghalles, one hundred men declared themselves enemies of the state and took up a dangerous existence hiding in the northern part of The Lights (a range of mountains on the border between Terremark and The Hundred Kingdoms) but continually harrying Kellinghalle merchants on the Great South Road. They took whatever opportunities they had along the way to kill as many of the Duke’s soldiers as they could. Their aim was to destabilise the country but it was easy for the Duke to portray them as mere villains. The Kellinghalles were quick to believe him; the Cymrais less so. In 2050 with the ongoing success of their campaign celebrated and supported by their own people, Fychan Lyndawr decided that they could take the dispute to a new level by turning their attention to the smaller towns along the trade route. The Hundred Patriots as they had become known were eventually betrayed by Cymrais working for the Duke, and ambushed in the taking of Tannat’trevor. Although many of them fought their way out of the dispute, twenty were killed and fifteen were captured, and with those latter Cadarn Fychan Lyndawr himself. Duke Hadorgrim had them tied to posts in the Dyfilly market place. There his torturers worked on them to find out the names of all of the Patriots unaccounted for.  When their efforts proved unproductive the Duke himself stood before Cadarn threatening to amputate each of them to death one piece a day until they opened their mouths. Cadarn said: “As well set your axe to an Oak, for you’ll have no more from me than you’ll have from that tree.”  The Duke was true to his word but so was Cadarn, and his men with him, and not a word, nor yet a cry of pain did they give through all the days of their ordeal until they were dead.  The Duke called them outlaws and traitors; the Cymrais called those heroes: The Men of Oak. But that was the end of their rebellion.

 

2052

PF

Tumboll 6
Tumboll 4

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The Anparite Bloodstone and the Departure of Haslem.  It was not the case that the Anparites were getting any more violent in the course of conflicts than they had ever been. Wherever there was a chance of fighting anywhere, on the Masachean border, or as mercenaries for criminal Aegardeans causing trouble on Sullinor, the head of the Anparite family would be there wielding the great sword known as the Anparite Bloodstone. And they fought well too: never on the losing side, their reputation finding them all sorts of wicked employments. The current head of the family, Gris Hibron was only lately back from his work with the Kellinghalles (in their hunt for the survivors of the recent Cymrain rebellion) when Haslem arrived upon Tumboll. He chided Hibron in his own hall, before all his family, set a spell to send everyone present into a deep sleep and then stole away from the island with the Bloodstone in hand.

Where he went with that sword and what he did with himself thereafter is a mystery. Never again was Haslem the Great seen anywhere upon Earnor. Did he go to his death? No one knows.

 

Excepting perhaps the Taprod?

 

2104

PF

Tumboll 5

The Anparites abandon Tumboll. A malaise beset the family of the Anparites upon Tumboll not long after Haslem’s theft of the Bloodstone. Angered at that intervention by this great and famous representative of Errensea the elders of the Anparites swore never again to have dealings with the Council. And so no help could come to them from the wizards of the Collegium. Over the course of fifty years the population of the Island diminished. Finally Marion Anparas led the remnant of the family and their people to a new home in the Segyllin Part. The island was deserted and rumour of some unknown plague kept it so.

 

2250

PF

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Construction of the Blagdale Mill.  This was the first large scale spinning mill. Water powered. Unless consensus demands more detail than I can presently give, I do not propose in this history to dwell upon the scientific and industrial achievements of the Gotherian Nation.  However it seems impossible not to note this year as key in the development of that most Gotherian of institutions: the mass manufactory which has so changed the economy of the entire continent. For a lively brief history of the Gotherian revolution see Dibnah: From Water Wheels to Bobyboys – How Gotherian Industry Changed the World.

 

2380

PF

 

The Peace of the Smiths.  Gotherian industry in the area of spinning and weaving was mirrored by the development of ironworks. This concentration of manufacture was not universally applauded with many local smiths fearing for their livelihoods. Norbet Ragman, Chief Smith of the Palace of Astoril organised his fellow smiths in their daily remonstrations with the managers of the Heald Foundries in Dreffield. The town militia stepped in to restore order but in fact caused a riot. The dispute continued for several weeks and ended only with the death of three of the remonstrators under the wheels of a heavily loaded foundry cart. The agreement reached in the end saw a division of labour that ultimately made the work of Gotherian smiths less monotonous, though the same could not be said for the lives of the foundry workers.

One side issue in this affair was that many of the most skilled smiths were hired men from Pasargade in Masachea. The Peace of the Smiths encouraged the development of fine work by local ironworkers once busied only with shoeing and with nail making. The Heald family agreed to fund their re-education. Hundreds of Masacheans were employed to promote their skills in all the towns and villages of Gothery. Traffic and trade between the foundries of northern Gothery and the iron workers of Masachea developed out of this co-operation.

 

2451

PF

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The Reception of Doshan Tepe. The Peace of the Smiths led to the most settled period in the relations between Gothery, Pars and the Masacheans. A great deal of traffic in terms of trade and in technical knowledge brought with it an enthusiastic tolerance of the cultural differences between the nations. No matter that the people of Gothery and Pars were descended from tribes of great history their nations were undeniably young. But Masachea carried the burdens and the glories of its antiquity with heavy shoulders making it seem ponderous by comparison.  But those many years of uninterrupted development had left Masachea with science and skill far in advance of her neighbours. At this time the High Priest Cambyon, a civilised man, a painter and poet and philosopher of note was eager that they should all put the worst of their history behind them and look now to a future of peace and cooperation. In 2451 Cambyon sent out invitations to the great and the good of all the nations of Asteranor that they should come to a congress at his Palace of the Hare, the Doshan Tepe, set amid the cool hillsides to the north of Nai’vedya. Here he built three great pavilions each of them to house an exhibition of the great achievements of Masachean science in Alchemy and Engineering and Manufacture. This was a great spectacle for the people of the western states. Rulers brought with them the wisest and most energetic of their people and there was a great deal of interaction and commerce between all the nations.

It is suggested that it was at this great Reception that Iskandar 2nd of Pars, newly crowned, was approached by representatives of the Blood Magi of Lusk. It is a matter of record that Iskandar travelled to Lusk in 2453. And a matter of shame that he came back with a bride not at all to the liking of the Royal Houses of Pars.  She was Layala, a Princess not of Masachea but of the Kingdom of Halfi.

 

2476

PF

 

Iskandar Murdered.  The bald facts are that the King was found stabbed many times, in a closed room recently vacated by his Queen, down in the town of Ayer.   None saw his murder but the accoutrements of her art, the Queen being accused of witchcraft, were all about him; his blood pooled all around was on her hands; his last words condemned her.

Perhaps the Taprod, given his vantage, will one day explain the true story of Iskandar’s death. It is a fact that the Halfi people, migrated to Pars over the period of his reign, refused to accept that Layala was responsible and pointed to the machinations of Iskandar’s brother Ruhandar, always an outspoken enemy of the Queen. Ruhandar as the new King was responsible for continuous persecution of the Halfi people.

 

2501

PF

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Exile of the Halfi. A long story often told.

Let it be said here it is the opinion of the “Keepers” that while the 2501 Battle of Riverport was most certainly prompted by the actions of the pigman Porlick, the reported cannibalism and child murder did not happen and was not the reason for the Exile. Ruhandar simply hijacked the tale and used it to promote hatred of the Halfi, seeing an opportunity to rid the nation of the entire tribe.

Let it also be said that The Taprod himself, in something of a temper, has asked me to refute that opinion, insisting it is more a matter that interpretation of the events is at fault and that “your so called Keepers have not a right idea between them.”

 I can here point you towards the volume: Blood and Pigs: Docha, Anil; Errensea 3071. (An informed exploration of the history of Kyrussea and the Blood Rite.)

 

2680

PF

 

Rise of the SirdariThe enlightened liberalism of Cambyon became the paradigm for the role of High Priest of Masachea. While he was without doubt the head of state he was keen to give his attention to art and science and happy to appoint officers of state to take care of the daily governance of the country. Over the course of three hundred years the High Priests became more and more removed from the issues of politics and returned their attention to the spirituality of the nation. Of all Offices of State it was the Office of the Chief Secretary of the High Temple that carried the greatest power. The civil service ran the country with cold efficiency in the certitude that they had the blessing of the High Priest and also, by implication, divine approval. Dissent was not acceptable within government or out of it. The Temple Army was so often employed that the generals, or Sirdari, gained a seat in the Sarkaru – the executive council of the administration. The representative of the Sirdari quite naturally became known as The Sirdar.

It was Sirdar Honneske, the fifth of that office, who usurped the power of the Chief Secretary. The dissent of High Priest Cambyses 5th gave him his excuse. It has been suggested that Blood Magi gained influence over the High Priest after his election but some have pointed out that in choosing the name Cambyses he was signalling his support for what he saw as the true religion. When he sought to restore the Sacrifice of the Flesh the Chief Secretary rightly was horrified and suppressed the practice and the practitioners. Insisting that in this act the Chief Secretary had stepped outside the blessing of the High Priest and therefore had lost the approval of God, The Sirdar exercised a blow to the state and had all of the key civil servants arrested, tried (by the priests of the Temple) and executed by way of The Sacrifice. The High Priest was happy to give his blessing to Honneske as Sirdar of the Temple and de facto ruler of the country. Some very bloody years ensued.

 

2830

PF

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The Ten Thousand Swords. The contract to supply the ar’Andalan emperor with ten thousand swords forged in the foundries of Dreffield was the cause of much debate among all the nations of Asteranor. Trade between the Sullinorean Provinces and the city of Garassa was well established but was mostly limited to food product, spice and hardwoods travelling in either direction. Now with the so-called industrializing of Gothery a new range of desirable items became available in quantity to tempt the traders of Sullinor. But the fame of the Dreffield steel-making process, and the skill of the armourers Glavier and Fornum attracted the attention of the current Emp Radis, at that time fighting the first of his wars with the Scorpion Princes. Garassan traders brokered the deal, the Emperor was generous and the armourers were well pleased. But there was argument. The Council of Errensea fearing the future intentions of the ar’Andalans was steadfastly against such traffic.  The Sirdar of Nai’vedya made complaint that Glavier had a contract with the Masachean army abandoned in favour of the Sullinoreans.  The Partain King, Domnal 1st, sided with the Council. The Gotherian crown argued the case for freedom of trade. The swords were delivered, the emperor turned his attentions to the western parts of his empire and Glavier, Fornum and Company became the driving force behind the re-arming of Asteranor against the day that the Emperor might one day send his armies across the Sea of Birds - and in the process of which it became very wealthy.

 

2890

PF

Dirios 3

Dragons 6

MAP   NW

The Second Coming of The Men of Oak.  The memory of those fifteen heroes of the past was roused again almost accidentally.  One of the lesser Kellinghalle families had land in the north east of Terremark – close by the Draign Pass – a not much travelled route for it bypassed the northernmost entrance (or more pertinently – the northernmost exit) to the Dragon Reeks.  The Hustad family earned most of their living from the raising of sheep for wool and meat to sell in the capital.  One hot and sultry summer’s day by remarkable chance a pair of Dragons were caught in a mighty storm that discouraged flight into the Oathlands and some say blew them into the west along the pass. Others have pointed out that subsequent events led to the naming of these Dragons as Gogracha and Hadradag and that the latter was much involved in the War of the Song.  The suggestion is that Hadradag was even then chafing at the restrictions placed upon the dragons by The Oath – and whenever was a dragon afraid of a storm! The fact is that, whatever the cause, these two dragons found themselves in Terremark and terribly hungry. So completely did they destroy one of the Hustad’s mountain herds that only a few survived. With cattle and horse the dragon might not always consume the entire carcase but with sheep it was hardly worth their while spitting out the bones.  None saw this attack up in the hills aside from the two boys set to shepherding in the high pastures. These two boys were found at the bottom of a scar, their bones broken as though they had been thrown down from the heights. One boy was dead, the other near death; those who found him said that he spoke one word only: dråken – a Kelling word meaning “good-for-nothings”. Unfortunately the Hustads had taken to name calling the local Cymrais as “good-for-nothings” because they were so uncooperative and refused to work willingly for the estate. They had previously been accused of stealing sheep but only on a small scale. This theft of nearly a complete herd and the heinous and jealous murder of two Kellinghalle boys (albeit that they were from a poor family they were still seen as superior to any Cymrain) was considered an outrage.

Borgen Hustad in a fury gathered as many men of like mind together (generally those who thought they had been victims of alleged theft) and took their vengeance upon the Cymrais.  Many young boys were killed and many of their parents too. Duke Frode found that he could not condemn the Hustads without offending the various powers in the country and so decided instead to support their claim for recompense for the sheep lost. And that meant heavy, and viciously obtained taxation of all the Cymrais people.  The fact that none of the missing sheep were ever found was not seen as relevant to the case.

It took a special plea by the Dderwyddon (Cymrain wise-men) to the Council of Errensea to bring Collegium wizards to their aid. The taxation was brought to an end only when the wizards revealed the truth behind this disaster. The dragon Dagraeda was now old and had come near to his long sleep but still he was considered pre-eminent among his kind. Hearing of the predation of the younger dragons he condemned their actions and undertook to speak the true version of the events to the Duke in Dyfilly. It was well he had communicated his intentions in this parley to the Collegium wizards for he was by now the greatest and most fearsome dragon. In taking with him gold from the beds of Hadradag and Gogracha he looked to have made amends with the people of Terremark but as that gold was kept by the Kellinghalles and none given to the Cymrais it most certainly did not bring peace. Also it is worth considering here whether it might not have been the humiliation of Hadradag that caused dissent among the younger dragons leaving them open to the idea that the Oath might one day be broken completely.

The Cymrais were powerless to claim any recompense for the deaths they had suffered but that powerlessness led some among them to think that now the time was come for a second rebellion. The Dderwyddon cautioned the hotheads to take a long view and not act before they had the strength to succeed. Bledri Druce Iorweth, son of the chief of the Dderwyddon, took it upon himself to begin in secret a fighting order dedicated to the ousting of the Kellinghalles from the Dirio’sdarfod. They named themselves Men of Oak in memory of The Fifteen.

Of course the last word of the dying shepherd boy was much debated thereafter but all sources now seem to agree that rather than seeking to condemn the “dråken” Cymrais, the word he was struggling with was “draksu”. We might translate that as backflow or backdraft. The boys had been accidentally swept off the mountain by the wind of the dragon wings. It is unlikely that the dragons even noticed their presence.

 

2949

 

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Birth of Seama Beltomé.  The Taprod has insisted that it would be to no benefit for mankind to provide any entry giving the history of Lord Seama Beltomé. I welcome the advice of my colleagues.

 

2067

 

 

The Kraken of Great Spurl.  Again, I have been asked to omit this story...

 

3027

 

The Prologue

The Randalan Strategy.  I think that here we can briefly explain that in order to soften up the defences of  Asteranor before a proposed invasion, the Emp Radis’ agent, Tarangananda-uh-Bib insinuated himself into the Collegium Magi. Learning of the institution of the office of Taprod he determined to take that power for himself.  Had he succeeded in becoming Taprod it is a moot point whether he would have in fact followed his instructions from the Emperor and signalled the beginning of the Andalan invasion. Such power rarely is matched to any sense of subservience. The fact is that by the vigilance of Lord Seama his attempt came to nothing and Uh-Bib was ejected from the continent.

But he would return.  Somewhere in the course of the following five years he undertook to discover a copy of The Song of Ages.  It is suggested he corrupted the apprentice of the Keeper of Bulidzhan in order to achieve this. That apprentice was known as Chaldonie. Uh-Bib rewarded Chaldonie with a knowledge of sorceries far in excess of anything he would have learned at the hands of the Keeper.

 

3057

 

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The War of  the Song begins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wilf Kelleher Jones
A Song of Ages