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Al'edat of Ethgan'tor

“The Al’edat, or the Ancient Age, of Ethgan’tor was a time when the wounds of the Kinslayer Wars were still fresh and their scars were still not settled. We were at conflict with our cousins, our world, and ourselves, still trying to find the place in the Multiverse where we belonged.”
– Elavander Alene, Historian to House Linalantava


Contents


[top]Preface


The twelve hundred eras between when the Esh’lahier settled in the city of Ethgan’tor and the death of the last of the generations that had migrated from K’Terak have been named the Al’edat, or the time of the old pains. Fresh from their desertion of the Kinslayer Wars, the first generations of Esh’lahier that settled in the Lauryllian Forest of Light began to establish their identity separate from the Vysstichi. They were still growing used to the dark elfin taint that, when it had manifested, had caused the permanent break from their lightborn cousins. It was during this time that their emotions were freshest and the most unrestrained, causing incredible highs and terrible lows. It was a period of legends and lore when heroes, greater than life, walked with the very gods. It was a time of chaos and confusion as the Esh’lahier struggled to understand their beings and this change wrought upon them.

The Al’edat was the time of their birth as Esh’lahier.

[top]Establishment of Ethgan’tor


The origin of the Esh’lahier as a race began in the era -2190 as a dissenting faction of the K’Terakian elfs that banded together to desert the Vysstichi cause during the Kinslayer Wars. This was the first time that more than just a difference in ideology had separated the “Pale” or “Shadow” elfs from the Vysstichi, with whom they had shared land, language, and culture. Though still carrying the taint of Meephos and Haya, the Esh’lahier would never have amicable doings with their dark-skinned cousins again.

After severely sabotaging the Vysstichi war effort, the Esh’lahier cut at it even further by making a concerted retreat from the Greater Elfish Basin to the continent of Medonia. There they established a separate, independent nation. While some Esh’lahier split off and wandered far, the greater part of the people settled in the Lauryllian Forest of Light and established the White City, Ethgan’tor, in the heart of the woods. While the city was still under construction, its governance was left to the individual family units. By the era -2187, the city’s foundations were in place and an official government began to form in earnest.

The negative experience the Esh’lahier had under the Trelorean and Vysstichi monarchies led to their initial establishment of an oligarchy. A council of the three heads of the houses Linalantava, Yeranthas, and Areth’ya was formed and given the task to rule the city as equal and impartial anyias, or ancients, just as they had during their pilgrimage out of K’Terak. Thus Lord Linelen Linalantava, Lord Belthanan Yeranthas, and Lady Aria Areth’ya were appointed permanent leaders of their people and nation at large.

It didn’t take long before factions formed around each of the Triad houses out of sycophancy and the natural Esh’lahien desire for power. Still, the Triad was careful to keep its power out of reach by limiting the status of nobility solely for their families. This did not, however, prevent the three houses from using their followers to undermine the positions of the other two houses. By era -1994, the position of all three anyias was growing precariously weak and Ethgan’tor, still a new nation on the map, was faltering due to the unrest that settled through all ranks of society.
Further Reading: Founding of Ethgan'tor, The Tale of the Esh'lahier

[top]Founding of the Monarchy


Though just a hamlet at best with barely over twelve thousand inhabitants, the city of Ethgan’tor found itself playing stage to extreme political maneuvering, barging, blackmail, and extortion. The malicious, cutthroat nature of the Esh’lahier came out and the Council of the Anyias was the only thing standing between the city and chaos. The great reputation and respect that the anyias carried were enough to keep any from daring to touch them which created a steady, unchanging head of the state so long as the anyias maintained their own tentative peace with each other. That brief time was quickly coming to an end.

In era -1923, the first blow against the Triad fell when the only son and designated heir of Lord Linelen of House Linalantava, Elrohir, and his bodyguards were found dead in a deserted alleyway in the city. Rumors spread that Ireth Yeranthas, a distant cousin of Belthanan, had played on Elrohir’s well-known pride and had challenged him to a duel which, through either respectable or underhanded means, had led to his death. True or not, the damage the stories did to House Yeranthas’ reputation was irreparable, forcing Belthanan to eventually retire from politics altogether and the house to move into relative reclusion, opting instead to spread their influence in the city through backdoor financial means.

Without a clear heir, House Linalantava quickly fell into confusion as the younger generation vied for position. In the power vacuum left by Yearnthas’ retirement and Linalantava’s preoccupation, House Areth’ya was the clear victor. The Esh’lahier adored the Lady Aria since she had first led in the discovery of their city’s site and they nearly worshipped her after her creation and maintenance of the arcane wards protecting their city. Thus in era -1920, the crafting of a crown was commissioned from the greatest of the Esh’lahier jewelers to set upon the brow of the first queen of Ethgan’tor in the hopes that a singular legendary head would forever put the dissent to rest.

The coronation and the nation’s official shift to a monarchy were set for 34 Melora -1919, a brightening declared auspicious by the elfin astronomers. It was not to be. By 20 Immanis of -1920, Aria was already showing signs of madness from a curse she was said to have acquired while wandering the woods outside the city; by the second cycle of Ponutis, she had completely disappeared from public view and was presumed dead. The shadow of lycanthropy, the rumored reason for Aria’s downfall, would forever hang over the name of Areth’ya and bar them from ever being in that position of singular control again.

In the resulting gap stepped a very young Alasse Linalantava, a niece of Linelen who had been originally passed over due to her diminutive stature and personality. She was a devotee of Ioannes and had intended to spend her life in the god’s service at the city temple. On 2 Cyrxatum -1919, after spending the brightening praying at the temple, Alasse returned home and suddenly realized that a great physiological change had occurred. Previously, the Esh’lahier had resembled their Trelorean cousins most closely in their coloring as they had not lived underground for an extended period of time like the Vysstichi. Now, however, her once peach-colored skin and deep emerald hair had blanched into pure alabaster from head to toe.

At first, the physical change Alasse experienced was thought to be a curse or some arcane trick played by one of the rival houses, nearly sparking off another intracity conflict. As the brightenings went on, however, more and more Esh’lahier began to also radically change in coloring and appearance with their hair and skin turned shades of pale white and silver and their eyes mostly turning hues of brown. As the majority of the priesthood had experienced the phenomenon first, and the majority of those priests that were specifically devoted to Ioannes, it was thought that the Lord of Aetheria was the cause behind their radical change in a sign of his forgiveness and he had chosen to bless those closest to his cause first.

This set Alasse, the inexperienced and until now invisible child of Linalantava, to be the popularly-elected first queen of Ethgan’tor as Ioannes’ favored one. She was crowned on 18 Ioannes -1919 at the age of 238 eras. The Sunlight Crown was now hers: a circlet of three braided strands of silver set with the Joia Del’mada, a large, unflawed diamond Esh’lahien miners had found while excavating the city’s foundations. The fortunes of House Linalantava were finally aligned with the highest position in Ethgan’tor and the family was established as the first Sun House to denote their royal rank. House Areth’ya was called the Star House and placed second in prominence while House Yeranthas, with its tarnished reputation, was named Moon House and considered third in importance.

[top]Reign of Queen Alasse the Innocent


At her ascension, Alasse was still considered young in the eyes of the elfs and her powerful uncle Linelen quickly established a Regency Council that would govern Ethgan’tor in Alasse’s name until she came of age at 400 eras. The main figures in this council were Linelen himself, set as Lord Protector, and his sister and Alasse’s mother, Nessa Linalantava. They ruled Alasse with an iron fist; her quiet demeanor and unassuming personality was not fit to prove herself queen in her own right and thus many have called her reign “the age of Linelen” instead.

The Council of the Anyias still remained existent as the Lady Aria’s daughter, Linewa, inherited her mother’s position in house and government. Belthanan’s abdication from Ethgan’torian politics had made room for his son Carinsewe to stretch his wings and take his father’s place. Many, including those of House Linalantava, supported the belief that Carinsewe had been the true mastermind behind Elrohir’s murder and had used his cousin as a decoy to allow his own ascension to the position of anyia. This tale was staunchly denied not only by House Yeranthas but by the Lady Linewa Areth’ya as well, who devotedly defended her dear friend’s, and later lover’s, honor.

In the era -1897, the Lady Linewa Areth’ya and the Lord Carinsewe Yeranthas shocked the city by marrying, thus combining strengths of both Star and Moon Houses in one legal binding. In response to this perceived threat, Linelen made moves to consolidate his power as Lord Protector and began issuing a series of laws that came to be known as the Mel’timumen, or the Caging Decrees. The first of these laws forbade anyone to leave the walls of Ethgan’tor without explicit permission from the Crown itself. Business and legal contracts and the positions of city officials were also made subject to the approval of the Crown. Privately-funded armed bodyguards were disbanded and the single city militia, the Estralla Milecia, with loyalty only to the government, was established instead.

The last and most significant decree of the Mel’timumen was the establishment of the Appointed Tier. This gave six more houses in positions of lesser nobility and granted them limited powers in the governance of the city. The Dollen Yaarn, a council consisting of two members from each of the Appointed houses, was set up subject to the authority of the Council of the Anyias and then finally to the Crown. Families seeking to find position in the Appointed Tier had to have the prior approval of the Crown.

Through this act, Lord Linelen Linalantava formed a private power base that would prove strong enough to permanently keep his family in the position of Sun House. He utilized the clause of the law to set up only those devoted to his own interests in the positions of the Appointed and thus nullified the threat of the combined strength of Houses Areth’ya and Yeranthas by essentially controlling both the upper and lower levels of government, giving his young rivals little room to politically maneuver.

What Linelen overlooked was that that the heirs of Areth’ya and Yeranthas had time on their side, while his was growing short. In -1765 at the age of 928 eras, Lord Linelen Linalantava passed quietly in his sleep as the last of the original anyias; Lord Belthanan Yeranthas had predeceased Linelen by nearly twenty eras. The age of the Triad had ended. The city of Ethgan’tor was now left to a generation for whom the Kinslaying Wars was but a distant childhood memory.

With Linelen’s death, Nessa Linalantava, the queen’s mother, tried to fill her elder brother’s place as the new Lady Protector but her reign was short-lived. Having always been of fragile health and mind, Queen Alasse sickened with a malady of the stomach in the spring of -1660, and by the fall of that same era she died in the grip of a fitful fever. During the months of her illness, Queen Alasse’s mother had vainly attempted to force her daughter to designate herself as heir, but in those last brightenings of her short life, Alasse found the will she had previously lacked. Summoning her last remaining strength, she rose from her sickbed and, in the presence of the Regency Council, named her cousin Earender Linalantava, a nephew of Linelen by his younger brother, as the next king of Ethgan’tor.

[top]Reign of King Earender the Valiant


Earender Linalantava was crowned king late in era -1660 in the newly-finished Tiri’yaana en Ethgan’tor at the age of 354 eras. The high priest carried out the ceremony under the auspices of the gods, declaring Earender to be their chosen representative for the Esh’lahier on Telath. This title defined the entirety of Earender’s reign, as the young king proved to be wise beyond his age, devoted to the Aetherian pantheon, and a gracious, charismatic ruler: a far cry from the muted example that the previous Queen Alasse had set.

Having never been close to his cunning uncle Linelen, Earender instead took the route of moderate reign and lesser control over his government. One of the first acts of Earender’s reign was the abolishment of the Regency Council. He then moved to rescinding many of the Mel’timumen. Much of the prerogatives Linelen had kept for the Crown alone Earender instead delegated to the control of the Dollen Yaarn, thus allowing the lesser ranking nobility to control the basic governance and business of the city. Earender also reestablished the powers of the Council of Anyias, setting their word as law second only to that of the Crown itself.

King Earender was quite close to the Lord Carinsewe and Lady Linewa, having been among their childhood playmates, and quickly repaired the damage that his uncle’s political maneuvering had done to the relations among the houses of the Triad. The king even stood as godparent to the son born to the new combined line of Yeranthas and Areth’ya, a child that stood to inherit two-thirds of the power in Ethgan’tor and who many thought would be the next king, considering Earender’s unmarried state and clearly displayed fondness for his new godson.

For a time, Ethgan’tor was peaceful. The divided, delegated approach that King Earender took to governing had quelled the power-grasping natures of the Esh’lahien houses and allowed the city to flourish. Trade was established with outlying Lauryllian villages. The hamlet quickly grew into a city as the Esh’lahien continued to establish their position as an independent satellite nation, having dealings with the outside world only when business demanded it.

It was late in the era -1249 when trouble came to Ethgan’tor again. Stories that Vysstichi had also migrated from K’Terak to the Medonian continent had begun to circulate as early as -1900, but none in Ethgan’tor had considered them a serious threat. The Esh’lahier trusted to the anonymity of their location and the strength of the arcane wards, mazes, and other protective devices they had woven about their city’s entrance. This is not to say that they were lax about their defense; from the very beginning the Esh’lahier had trained a formidable fighting force for the protection of their city against any and all intrusions from the outside.

During that winter of -1249, however, a band of Vysstichi was caught on the outskirts of the White City’s arcane wards, having been confused by the intricate labyrinth the Esh’lahier had wrapped about Ethgan’tor. Though the Vysstichi were found without weapons, the ancient wounds and mistrust separating the two elfin races were great and the Esh’lahier brutally questioned, tortured, and then finally killed the entire band. Those members of the militia responsible for the interrogation reported that the Vysstichi had left a larger encampment of their kindred just a brightening’s ride from the city’s walls. They had broken off to scout for a suitable location to form a permanent settlement.

The news of Vysstichi so close to their borders unsettled the Esh’lahier. Recalling the tales his parents and uncle had told him of the cruelty of the Vysstichi during the Kinslayer Wars, King Earender’s heart burned with a righteous anger and obtained the blessings of the priesthood at the Tiri’yaana to destroy all the rest of the intruders. The king personally led a contingent of two hundred skilled warriors out in the direction passed on by the interrogators, intent on killing any and all Vysstichi they found. With him rode Lord Carinsewe Yeranthas and his young son, Amras, while the Lady Linewa stayed behind as she was heavily pregnant with their second child.

The specified location was deep in the heart of the woods and far from any habitation. Even now, the details about what actually occurred are a matter of great debate and scrutiny. When four brightenings had passed without their return or a word of news, the concerned Anyia Linewa Areth’ya sent out another group of twenty militia to find the king and his companions. Within half a brightening, they returned carrying the bloodied body of King Earender along with most of his guard, including Lord Carinsewe Yeranthas and his son.

The guards reported that the king had evidently been ambushed by a much larger force. Strangely-feathered arrows and wounds from jagged-shaped weapons seemed to indicate that the attackers were foreigners, leading to the presumption that the Vysstichi had struck first. At the time, few questioned the guards’ testimony; the remains of the king and his guard were enough proof that a treacherous disaster easily attributed to the well-known Vysstichi nature had befallen their beloved leader. None pursued the matter further, which left many questions for investigation by hindsight.

Distraught with grief and overwhelmed with a desire for revenge, the Lady Linewa Areth’ya, against the better advice of the physicians due to her pregnant state, called any and all Esh’lahier to her side to avenge their king, her husband, and her eldest child. The Ethgan’torian elfs mustered in great number, with nearly every able-bodied adult man and woman taking up arms ready to eagerly follow their remaining leader into battle against those that had so dearly harmed them.

This holy crusade never left the city. The excitement and duress of her great emotional turmoil had fatal effects on the Lady Linewa’s health. A brightening before the date set to march from the city she bled out and miscarried her unborn child. The only offspring of the legendary Aria Areth’ya lingered on the mortal plane for another cycle before she finally succumbed to fever. The Lady Linewa Areth’ya died twenty one brightenings after the death of her king, her husband, and their heir. Thus in one single fell swoop, the entire upper hierarchy of the city of Ethgan’tor was gone, leaving the city to fall into near-chaos once more.

[top]Reign of King Dinendal the Silent


By the end of -1249, Ethgan’tor was in utter disarray. A century before, King Earender had established his godson Amras Yeranthas as his intended heir, a move that had earned him the derision of his house of Linalantava and put yet another wedge between the houses of the Triad. With the death of both king and heir, however, the succession became the primary concern of all three families. In typical circumstance, the Council of the Anyias would have ruled until a suitable monarch was chosen, but the untimely deaths of both Carinsewe Yeranthas and Linewa Areth’ya had left the council vacant as well.

Into this emptiness stepped the Dolla Yaarn. The powers of the Appointed had been greatly bolstered by the acts of King Earender and thus their eyes began to turn greedily to the once-impenetrable position of the Triad. A young lord of the Appointed house of Lyniara, Galanthil, had inherited the famed fiery personality and tempestuous disposition that had so characterized his ancestors. In public conference, the Lord Galanthil protested the right of the Triad to have sole occupancy of the Sunlight Crown and the Council of the Anyias, declaring that the Triad had failed in their duty to lead Ethgan’tor and, for the betterment of their people, must be supplanted. Before his voice gathered too great of a following, it was silenced by yet another mysterious assassination in the streets. The newer nobility claimed the Lord Galanthil a martyr; the established lords declared him a traitor. War between the new and the old was looming on the horizon.

Though they had been bound by marriage just an era before, with its disintegration the families of Yeranthas and Areth’ya quickly parted ways as they found their desires for self-preservation quickly at a head. The leadership of House Yeranthas was inherited by Lady Narmolanya, a younger sister to Carinsewe, and House Areth’ya was controlled by Lady Tariel, a niece to the Lady Aria and cousin to Linewa. The two new anyias had little love for each other and thus the peace brought about by the union of Carinsewe and Linewa was completely forgotten.

Following the example set by their founder Lord Belthanan, House Yeranthas withdrew from medding in public politics and instead capitalized on its financial investments and behind-the-scenes bargaining with the other members of the Ethgan’torian nobility. This allowed the house to stay out of the potential armed conflict between the Triad and the Appointed as a spectator playing both sides. House Areth’ya, however, was brought under heavy criticism for their possible complicity in the death of Galanthil Lyniara and their security was seriously threatened. The Anyia Tariel and her family members fought back, ignoring the decrees of the Mel’timumen and establishing their own privately-funded guard for their own protection. Many of the other nobility followed suit in preparation for the outbreak of civil war.

House Linalantava was one of the many to respond in kind. Capitalizing on their continued possession of the crown, the Sun House called upon the loyalty of any and all Esh’lahier to defend their rightful leaders. To this end, Dinendal Linalantava, a younger brother of Earender and the last of his generation, was named as the next king. His hurried and impromptu coronation ceremony was held under heavy guard in early -1248. From the start, King Dinendal was a reluctant and wary ruler and knew well that he had been crowned as a pawn in his family’s dynastic games.

With the monarchy cemented in their grasp, House Linalantava moved to secure it further by utilizing their tremendous resources and political clout in Ethgan’tor to arrange the timed assassinations of four of the heads of Appointed houses that had originally aligned with the Lord Galanthil Lyniara. They were careful to point the evidence for the deaths at House Areth’ya publicly, although few believed Areth’ya’s guilt privately. This, combined with the miracle of Aelayan Sion’detal, consolidated House Linalatava’s position, silenced the Appointed houses’ clamoring, and headed off any beginnings of civil war.

Aelayan Sion’detal was a young priestess of the goddess Carmelya serving in the Tiri’yaana. It was in -1240 that she claimed she had been visited by the goddess and promised miraculous powers through a kiss Carmelya had left on her cheek. This story was further proved by her ability to heal plants, animals, and even the sick and injured with just a physical touch. Aelayan went on to publicly declare that Carmelya had visited her again and warned that House Linalantava was the gods’ choice to rule and any who spoke against their authority would answer to Aetheria.

This threat of divine wrath managed to stay the violence in the city of Ethgan’tor. Coincidentally, within a few months after the priestess Aelayan’s announcement, her house Sion’detal was established as one of the Appointed to replace one of the families that had supported House Lyniara’s rebellion. They were staunch adherents to the interests of House Linalantava. Aelayan Sion’detal was set up as high priestess to give them permanent control over the city’s religious life.

The reign of Dinendal Linalantava had survived its worst test intact. King Dinendal was an unassuming man and, by nature, more content as a scholar than a leader. He left most of the city’s governance to the Council of the Anyias and the Dolla Yaarn. For now, they managed to put away their private grievances to work to restore order to the city, bringing back a semblance of the peace of the time of King Earender.

King Dinendal, who had ascended at the age of 754, was already old by elfin standards at the beginning of his reign. The last eras of life were marked by a fragile peace as the Ethgan’torian noble houses settled back into their positions. In -1001, at the age of 993, the last of the children of the legendary Linelen Linalantava, Belthanan Yeranthas, and Aria Areth’ya died in his sleep. The Sunlight Crown passed on to Dinendal’s son and Linelen’s grandson, Teleperien, the first king to have been born in Ethgan’tor and not K’Terak. King Dinendal had outlived the Anyias Narmolanya Yeranthas and Tariel Areth’ya and thus left Ethgan’tor fully to those to whom the city had always been home: the third generation of the independent race of Esh’lahier.

[top]Conclusion


The death of King Dinendal, the last of the Esh’lahier that had lived in K’Terak, ended what became known as the Al’edat, the ancient age of Ethgan’tor, when their memories of the Greater Elfish basin were still fresh and when politics were ruled by the hard-learned lessons of the Kinslaying Wars. The Aeternian taint blotting their soul had no better proof of existence than in that time. Security and peace were only bought with blood and chaos, both the currency of the time. It was, however, the formative age of the Esh’lahier as a race: a history that would forever shape them as a cunning, intelligent, stalwart people that could overcome anything, including their own beings, if necessary, and succeed.

[top]Credits

Written by Charybdis.


Created by Charybdis, April 26, 2011 at 03:34 PM
Last edited by Charybdis, December 25, 2015 at 12:08 PM
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