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Tome

Historia

H I S T O R I A
The History of the Aelyrian Empire

The History of the Aelyrian Empire
As Recorded and Compiled by
Ortorius, Imperial Court Chronicler
Xerxeon, Ambassador to the Xet Alliance
Odin Khrias, Professor of Imperial History


Contents


[top]Preface: The Task of Chronicling a Legend


How does one begin to tell a story filled with adventure, glory and majesty? How can one relate the tale of the rise of a great nation, the cataclysmic struggles of her people, and the amazing romance and magic behind every turn of event? This is the dilemma faced by all great historians of our time. Indeed, with every attempted recording of history there remains the trace of bias by the very fact that our senses are selective in perception.
How can the risk of Historical contamination or revisionism be averted?

The decision arrived by the Imperial Court of the Aelyrian Empire in 9916 was no simple one. Rather it evoked controversy, for the truth had been obscured in political propaganda for hundreds of years. The conclusion to the dilemma was clear - the invitation of multiple scholars of history would restore a sense of legitimacy and authority to the field of historical scholarship that had been largely damaged by multiple conflicting publications.

So I, Odin Khrias, stepped down as Imperial Chronicler and set my life's task to writing a fair and accurate history, as was ordered by my monarch and sovereign. Yet the more I progressed in revising my own works, the more I realized that I was inserting my own bias, geared at cleansing history rather than propagating it rightly. I realized then that even the attempt to create a neutral retelling of a tale is in itself a biased task, for it removes the just-earned glory and majesty obtained by the Aelyrian people.

And so, I sought to balance my quest for neutrality with two of the world's greatest historians from across Aelyria's shores.

Ortorius studied at the University of Aelyria under Professor Kalia and was an expert in historiography. His eloquence with words led to the recreation of the tale in such a marvellously fine manner that I knew then and there that few would believe its events transpired. Yet they all did, and they were truthfully recorded. But the problem of a neutalist perspective still remained.

Ambassador Xerxeon, a native-born Xetan sent to represent the Aelyrian Empire in Pysrapolis knew the Aelyrian people well and had studied the events unfolding from afar. His opinions were largely anti-Aelyrian and pro-Foreign, sparking the core of the controversy in the Imperial Court. Yet Xerxeon is a brilliant man who has studied political science, sociology and law, and has a knack for identifying patterns of development and outlining causalities.

That all three of us were very different people is a fact I cannot dispute. Yet it was our differences which gave birth to a history both truthful to the reality which it seeks to represent and accurate in its depiction of the personal perspectives involved. For while we are all mortal, and all we witness is secondary in nature, we have attempted to bring out a sense of primacy in this compilation so that it might be the grandest recording and the greatest work to illustrate the magnificence of a people with such diversity that they were united by ideology and common welfare.

And so, I present to you our most grand work - Historia.

Odin Khrias
Imperial Chronicler
Aelyria Prime, 9916

(Editor's Note: Ki' Ti-Ai and Elanara Al'lende are both to be commended for recovering lost fragments of this great work, feared destroyed at two fires at Lysandrya. Furthermore, Books 5-10 were uncovered due to the masterful find of the lady Senesthra.)

[top]Book I: The Pre-Aelyrian World

[top]Focus and Scope

Greatness is accomplished through a combination of inherent capacity, expressive power, and the sheer happenstance of nature's fortune. While history itself features prominently in most historical accounts, the third aspect is usually neglected or ignored despite the extent to which it contributes to the overall success of an individual or, more profoundly, an entire nation. The circumstances surrounding the rise of the Aelyrian Empire is the focus of this first book, because it affords an objective approach to examining the environment of the Pre-Aelyrian world as well as preceding historical events which advantaged the Aelyrians in their expansion and conquest.

One of the broader goals of this chapter is to present an analytical approach to answering some great mysteries behind the Empire's early expansions. We conclude that Aelyrian success can be attributed to the background factors and surrounding circumstances of the Pre-Aelyrian world; in this way the world itself was conducive to an Aelyrian conquest. In this spirit should the fortune granted by birthright and destiny be perceived as a true, potent determinant behind the Aelyrian Empire's future greatness.

[top]A Geographic Orientation: The Pre-Aelyrian World

While geography rarely changes with the tide of history, and while political boundaries are frequently adjusted to placate diplomats and governments, it remains increasingly important to envision an adequate representation of the territories discussed throughout this work with respect to their dynamic fluidity. In pursuit of this goal, various illustrations have been attached to these works and, while dubious and questionable in their artistic integrity, they serve the purpose of illustrating the various localities in question.

The world was, of course, not discovered and settled in its entirety simultaneously by all its various peoples. Yet, for the purpose of this explanation, we discuss the 'world' as being the currently established borders of the Aelyrian Empire and all surrounding territories thereof.

Yet even so, the world that we discuss has recently been found to be merely one-sixth of the planet upon which it rests by Aelyrian astronomers. Consisting of a large proportion of the continent Medonia (not to be confused with the Kingdom of the same name), and various islands and island clusters nearby, the territories discussed are roughly positioned north of the global divisor which has magnetically repelled land from its reaches.

[top]The Composition of the Pre-Aelyrian World

The known world itself has played host to a myriad of races and creatures with varying build, composition and competence. Yet it became the tendancy for those of like mind and body to join in labor with their similars, and as such, monoracial states were born throughout the world. To better symbolize these divisions, a map provides the earliest known period of complete continental colonization by non-Aelyrian powers.

[top]The Western Humans

The earliest traces of civilization, aside from the Ancient Aelyrians, originate in the far-west lands of Archaxetas, of which little else is known other than that its inhabitants were human-like and possessed mythic spellcasting abilities. Because of this, human migration originated in the west and had a clear 'eastwardly' path, sweeping down the Hysiatean Plains, down a valley of rivers, and into the rich, fertile crescent lands of Medonia, Daltina, and beyond.

[top]The Archaxetanians

These ellusive people had begun the quest of nationbuilding long before most other humans had, and the Archaxetanians are considered common ancestors of most human tribes and clans today. Having forged a loose confederation of principalities, sultanates, and city-states, the Archaxetanians ruled their empire with an iron fist. The Archaxetanian Family itself was a group of clan elders purported to head the empire; they monopolized the political, economic, and social life within Archaxetanian borders.

Because most humans are believed to have originated from Archaxetas, one theory of eastward colonization is commonly termed the Archaxetanian Expansionist Model, wherein human settlers and colonists expanded from the borders of the Archaxetanian nation and later, because of their distance from the capital and for their own welfare, later turned against their western masters. The Syndicate Model of Human Expansion, on the other hand, submits that a violent rebellion shook the internal borders of the Archaxetanian Empire sometime in the 8200s became the catalyst for a mass exodus of persecuted humans who had tried to oust the Archaxetanian Family from power.

In either case, the outcome of both models - namely, that the human kingdoms were founded by the descendants (possibly many generations removed) of the travelers from the Archaxetanian world - is a fact verified by archaelogical ruins, art, architecture, and tomes located throughout the region.

[top]The Kingdoms of Medonia and Daltina

Humans began to develop unique, regionally confined styles of culture and individual expression that were dramatically different from the 'Western Way' in the rich meadows and fertile plains of the midlands and the bountiful coastal areas of the southern shores. Originally part of the same migratory group, the Medonians and Daltinans parted ways because of a clear ideological difference during their journey: the Daltinan ancestors were deeply spiritual people while the Medonians preferred civil freedoms over a divine-right leader.

When Medonia was founded in 8321 by the first group of settlers, the city was built on a strict code of chivalry and honor, where truth and mercy were great virtues. This ideology remained prevalent as the Medonians continued to found other towns and fishing ports and created a primitive feudalistic structure where all land was owned by the King but parceled out to nobles who in turn pledged the support of their army.

This confederated relationship, traceable directly from the organizational structure of the centralized Archaxetanian Empire, created a highly hierarchical government but was also full of corruption and divisiveness. The Kingdom of Daltina, however, was built on a different principle and focused more on unity and spiritualism.

When Daltina was founded in 8329, the first druid temples were built within the city gates and a strictly ecclesiastic state was born. The King or Queen was both the head of the kingdom and the head of the faith, uniting the people behind the superior belief that they were divinely attuned to nature itself.
A brief skirmish eventually occured between the two kingdoms in the Medonia-Daltina War of 8335-8348, in which the Daltinan naval fleet defeated the Medonian triremes and siezed La Quista Isle off the coast of Medonia. An armistice was signed between the two powers, promoting peace, trade and open cooperation. Months later, the Daltinans would embark on an advanced colonization mission to populate as much land within their borders as possible as part of their 'divine path'.

[top]The Kalyran Incident

In 8476, the Southern Archaxetanian city of Kalyra broke out into rebellion. The rebellion was financed by both Medonia and Daltina, former rivals who considered their common threat to be a resurgence of Archaxetanian rule even though modern archaeologists and historians have come to realize that the Archaxetanian Empire was in no position to re-exert control over their rogue colonists who had founded the two prosperous kingdoms.
After four years of ruthless fighting, Kalyra and the surrounding forests and towns fought off an army under the command of Satrap Dresilius, an Archaxetanian warlord who had been paid well by his Emperor, Cyrus II, to suppress the rebellion. What ensued was utter chaos as Medonia and Daltina attempted to administer the Kalyran region jointly.

In 8481, Medonians and Daltinans fought over ideological issues in governing Kalyra such as the spiritual education of the inhabitants to the excessive privileges of the nobility. The two partners resumed their rivalry in a series of border skirmishes, but this enabled Yoresa, a young woman skilled in enchantment, to raise a rebellion against the Medonian-Daltinan rule. By 8483, both Medonia and Daltina had entered financial turmoil due to their wars and Kalyra had seceded to form the first popularly governed Western Human Kingdom.

The Kalyran Democratic Union remained autonomous because it cherished the notion of individual freedoms and self-rule. In 8488, all three nations sealed an armistice ending their conflicts and formally recognizing Kalyra as an independent state.
Further Reading: An Early History of Enamoria

[top]The Principality of Arakmat

Desert dwellers, the Arakmatans had founded a principality based on spiritual unity with the state, martial order, and a strict, disciplinary way of life. The Principality of Arakmat is unique in humanity's history in that many of the buildings and artifacts found in Arakmat today are not Archaxetanian in style, but appear to be more distinguished, expressive, and rigid, suggesting that the Arakmatan culture originally had limited contact with the Archaxetanians.

At the same time, many other cultural practices such as some linguistic patterns and cuneiform writing suggests that the Principality of Arakmat was not entirely without Archaxetanian influence. Yet any major influence it received was surely after the founding of the city of Arakmat by non-Archaxetanian peoples. Arakmat's history was uneventful until its first skirmish with expansionism.
Further Reading: History of Arakmat

[top]The Dorins

Dorins are intelligent, canine-like creatures. Whether through a source of magical trickery or a scientific experiment gone awry, the Dorin evolutionary pattern left these noble, gentle creatures capable of true sentience. Dorins built a sprawling desert-kingdom which bordered the Principality of Arakmat on the eastern border.
When the Dorin twin-cities of Zenith (finished in 8314) and Nadir (finished in 8396) joined together under a common banner, the Emirate of Zendir was born. Ruled from Zenith by an Emir, Zendir became a bustling center of trade and commerce throughout the western world, as nations as far as Archaxetas and even the Human Kingdoms sought to exchange goods in the rich bazaars and plazas of the golden cities.

In the summer of 8466, Prince Rigel Al-Hakaar of the Principality of Arakmat recognized that his kingdom was financially dependent on Zendir, for his proximity to the border required him to raise and maintain an expensive army to fight off the western hordes from violating his territory. These forces - sometimes under the encouraging auspices of the Archaxetanians themselves - were a constant threat to powers bordering the western lands.

In response the Prince devised an ingenious plan to slowly subvert the Emirate of Zendir. By installing spies called autraps in the palaces and marketplaces of Zenith and Nadir, the Prince obtained favorable and lucrative deals on the purchase of weapons and armour. Nevertheless, he still desired the firmer security of added income sources. By 8513, Arakmat had gained influence over all academic and economic institutions in the Dorin lands; it would take another seventy-one years - until 8584 - for Arakmat to formally topple the Emir of Zenith and the Shiek of Nadir through palace coups. In 8588, Prince Singel II Al-Hakaar was recognized as the first Sultan of the newly expanded Sultanate of Arakmat.
Further Reading: Dorins, History of Arakmat

[top]The Elves

A reclusive and secretive sort, the Elves of Sylrosya were tall, thin-limbed and delicately beautiful creatures possessing a great affinity to both nature and magic. Having constructed a confederation of tribes, these creatures lived in harmony with their environment and were rarely involved in kingdom politics like the other powers. However the Elven Cavalry, Archers and Infantry were renowned as an elite fighting force which jealously guarded the Confederation's borders from all outsiders, thereby increasing the mystery shrouding these people.
Further Reading: Elves

[top]The Northern Humans

Around the mid 8300s, a violent wave of migration came bearing down on the continent of Medonia from the Northern Sea before striking the northern coast with fierce attacks from warrior-tribes of humans. These 'northern humans' conquered and pillaged so relentlessly that whatever life existed before their arrival was entirely decimated. Although the Northern Humans arrived as several dozen different tribes, in the end the groups coalesced into several identifyable chiefdoms or feudal-like warrior kingdoms.

[top]The Hesparian Confederation

A loose union between various fiercely independent cities resulted in an uneasy alliance between the most powerful factions, thus creating the Hesparian Confederation. Named after the largest southern city, Hespax, which however did not become its capital, the Hesparian Confederation had rich spiritual and ritualistic warrior traditions. A proud caste of warriors from each city led the Confederation in the Alderstag - the ruling council.

[top]The Nesocratic Federation of Eunesia

One group which resisted membership in the Hesparian Confederation were the Eunesians, northern humans who had landed on a small island chain in the middle of an open gulf. Settled mostly by fisher-folk and light-shipping entrepreneurs, each Eunesian isle was also strongly autonomous and wary of centralized control. The Nesocratic Assembly on Olympia governed the federation and was extremely pacifistic - so much so that it allowed the Hesparian Confederation to plunder the fishing villages it held on the mainland in 8399, only maintaining naval superiority to counteract further Hesperian aggression.

[top]The Kingdom of Eutopia

From the golden city of Thyatis, a new human kingdom emerged and broke away from the barbarism of the Hesparians and their other neighbours. The Kingdom of Eutopia was based on the same chivalric code that the Medonians so cherished, but emphasized scholarly works as the premise to true nobility in addition to striking a balance between a sound mind and a strong body. The Eutopian Knights engaged in a series of historic quests in the summers between 8420 and 8433.

[top]Other Tribes

The other tribes were unable to forge unified states or kingdoms and thus remained adrift in continuous wars in the northeastern portion of the continent. Independently warring over constantly changing borders and boundaries, city-states engaged in constant conflicts and rivalries over the little land that there was, plunging the area into chaos. The largest city, Arkdün, became a restless city of crime, piracy and prostitution by 8471.

[top]The Dwarves

As a species, the short, muscular, and sturdy Dwarves had a peculiar migration pattern which was never fully documented or chronicled. It is believed that Dwarves migrated from beyond the Archaxetanian Empire, from somewhere further west. However, the Dwarves could have also originated from across the seas or, less believably, through arcano-teleportative means. Nonetheless, the Dwarves erected an accomplished nation and advanced civilization focused around the sprawling city of Dargis. The Dwarven Kingdom of Dargis was renowned for its proud dwarven infantry, which consisted of the strongest and best equipped footmen on the continent. The benevolence of the Prendol Dargisti - the leading council of elders - guided Dargis into security and protection of its citizens.
Further Reading: Dwarves

[top]The Hybrid States

While we have focused primarily on monoracial states, not all of the continentals found multiracial unity disconcerting. A number of kingdoms, republics, and states were forged over the promise of tolerance, peace, and understanding for all peoples that wanted security and safety. Needless to say, this occured only in areas where not uniting with a different people would have meant destruction. For mutual aid and common defense, these realms were forged as a direct result of the threat of barbarian invasion from the north or the intervention of other states.

[top]The Republic of Luctadomum

Perhaps the most famous of these multiracial kingdoms is the Republic of Luctadomum, ruling from the city-state of Lux. Fishermen and expansive sea traders, the Luctadomans had perfected sailing as a profitable art and a practical means of defense. When the Great Lighthouse was erected in 8454, the Republic proclaimed to the world its intent to master the seas. Later it expanded its reach to a small group of volcanic and fiery islands off the coast of the northeastern peninsula.

[top]The Democratic Republic of Hriemalis

A different union consisting of the same races that comprised Luctadomum - that is, Northern Humans, Western Humans, Dwarves, and Halflings - was created in 8459 on the promise of military security. Fear of an invasion had led the Hriemalans to establish their city, Hriemalis, on the sea and erect great monolithic sentinels for coastal defense and a massive city wall made of titanium crystal.

[top]Empire of Khardra

Formed as a union between several struggling, darker races - Gnolls, Gnomes, Trolls, Halflings and a few Humans - the Empire of Khardra was a fragmented union where each town kept to itself and merely paid a small tithe for a common army, consisting mostly of the very feared Ogres. Benevolent enough, Khardra kept to herself and remained extremely isolated as each ethnic group was highly volatile and felt threatened by the other.

[top]The Duchy of Phondra

When Western Humans continued to migrate over the Khardran Mountains, they founded nations on the eastern coast of the Sherian Peninsula - named after the tribe of Humans who entered the region. The Duchy of Phondra was centered around the central city of the same name and was a mediocre state in some aspects, but had both military and economic success in many areas and was diplomatically extremely active.

[top]The Kingdom of Daittern

Daittern was composed primarily of Western Humans, Halflings, Gnolls, Imps, and other colorful sorts colonizing a mystic and enchanted city on the edge of the peninsula. A jovial and festive people, the Daitternians did not join with Phondra because of the great cultural differences between the two peoples.

[top]Orckish Assembly

Populated mostly by Orcs and Ogres, but also containing Imps, Gnolls, and Dark Elves, the Orckish Assembly was a loose conglomerate of war bands. Not so much a state as a force of nature, the Orckish Assembly remained contained by the very effective raids of surrounding nations.
Further Reading: History of Ire

[top]Circumstances

With the factionalised state of the continent, lack of communication between the major states, and only limited trade, any foreign power had a unique opportunity to interfere and turn the continent into its own domain. Only a force that had a policy of expansionism and incredible military vigor could ever dream of successful campaigns against the entire continent. In the end it took a shrewd people with incredible influence and the powers of espionage and diplomacy in combination with military force to forge an Empire.

[top]Book II: Origins of Aelyria

[top]Focus and Scope

The attributes pre-requisite for any great nation include the virtues of advancement, enlightenment and fierce clarity of cultural purpose. The synthesis of these elements produce a power driven by an ambition for success, even if that success is at the cost of others' liberty. Yet these qualities were entirely at odds with the character of the Aelyrians. On their rocky isle, the Aelyrian people were a backward sort, choosing to engage in mental exercises rather than the flexing of might and muscle. Highly divided within their own small island, the Aelyrians were peaceful and perpetually at physical rest.

History and mythology are at odds when it comes to an explanation of how these Aelyrians were borne of nature - the former seeking to find trace of physical evidence upon which to make a substantiative conclusion, while the latter leans on superstition and supposition. This work focuses on the tomes, scriptures, art, architecture, and concrete evidence in a cross-comparative study with religion and theology to produce a unique vision of the origins of Aelyria.

[top]A Geographic Orientation: Insula Coronae

Because any discussion of the origins of Aelyria will rely greatly upon an accurate depiction of the geographic environment in which these people grew and undoubtably evolved - if not physically, then certainly culturally - a brief discussion of Insula Coronae, the isle upon which these winged and majestic creatures rested, is integral to this study. Ruins and tombs have been carefully excavated by the Imperial Court to bring this account of the geography in a part of the Empire seldom seen.

The island, of course, was simply called Insula by its inhabitants and that word, in the ancient language which would eventually become the Imperial Tongue, in fact translates simply to 'island' in the Common Tongue. Yet the isle was no simple environment at all, for it had over twenty different climates on its shores and a varied elevation. Insula thus managed to contain within its narrow, ten mile radius all the weather conditions of the rest of the world. This very fact makes Insula extremely unique: for surely no other place on Telath is so harmonious with all the world's qualities.

Resting on the Great Sea - an ocean filled with waters as turbulent and violent at certain times as they can be uncanningly calm and enchantingly serene at others - the isle was quickly mapped and densely populated by the Aelyrians, who lived terrestrially despite their ability to navigate the skies. This assertion is founded on the evidence of their agricultural irrigation and farming patterns.

[top]Tribes and Families

Only several thousand Aelyrians ever inhabited the isle, but those that did claimed affiliation to a patria - a term not fully understood by today's scholars. Many believe that a patria was a family or a tribe of sorts. What further complicates these matters is that no Aelyrian ever made mention of a family, relatives or parents unless one counts the few tomes uncovered which mentioned Divine Logic as their ancestor - a contradiction in itself.

All references to a patria assume a common association between Aelyrians, but it is geographically confined. The term gens is used when Aelyrians] discuss a common association which transcends geography and instead focuses on spirituality and attunement between individuals. Without regard to the intimacy level of these associations, and for the purpose of discussion, patria is assumed to be a tribe, while gens is interpreted to mean a 'family' or 'household'.

While the gentes competed and interacted freely, the patriae, ironically, seemed to have been part of some sort of caste - for while they owned different lands, they had a complex hierarchical relationship predating the organizational drive so inherent in the Aelyrians. Members of each patria also seemed to have a corresponding and equally exclusive gens, although the two apparantly never consisted of the same set of members.

[top]Patria Ara, Gens Aether

While all Aelyrian artifacts, ruins, and objects are without date - as their material is so unique as to defy the common methods of archaeological dating - the most abundant art and architecture from the Ancient Aelyrian period is found at the heart of Mount Corona, that central spire which ascends from the core of the island. Corona, meaning crown, must have been a place of spiritual regard, for temples, altars, and shrines were erected throughout the mountain and are incorporated within the catacombs of today's Imperial Palace.

The Aelyrians who dwelled on Mount Corona identified themselves as Ara when plural, Arum when singular. Notably, they refer to themselves as neither male nor female, implying either that they view themselves as androgenous or neutered. This supposition remains uncertain, however, as even pure Aelyrians had gendered inclinations.

The Ara tribe was without a doubt the head of the Ancient Aelyrian world. Perhaps because their dwellings were the highest, it earned them a sense of respect and reverence uncommon to those living geographically lower, and surely flight was a proud symbol of mature power and heightened rationality in Aelyrian society. Perhaps, too, their ascendancy lay in their monopoly of the places of meditation and the very mountain where all Aelyrians would convene every brightening to share concerns and thoughts.

Gens Aether seemed to dominate the island, however, as its members were the most valued among Aelyrian society. They consisted of those with the greatest proficiency in their given skill, with a particular emphasis on what were called the Artes Doces, or Twelve Arts: Sutra, Poetry, Prose, Music, Sculpting, Calligraphy, Dance, Courtship, Drawing, Healing, Ink Painting, and the Arcane.

While it is known that the Gens Aether practiced the Twelve Arts and perfected them, no detailed mention of how to obtain excellence in them has ever been uncovered. Members of Gens Aether were judged on merit, regardless of Patria, and as such were considered the finest example of what all Aelyrians would strive to accomplish. There are several recorded incidents, however, where the Gens Aether challenged the Patria Ara over how best to lead the Aelyrians. Most disputes were usually internal, between Ara and non-Ara members of the Gens Aether.

[top]Patria Eler, Gens Ine

Considering most of the high drama and conflict in the Ancient Aelyrian society revolved around the Patria Ara and Gens Aether, most other Aelyrians were quite isolationist and tended to keep to themselves. The Patria Eler was a tribe which had colonized the rich hills and plains of the central isle, seeking to create an efficient lifestyle where the land was parceled out to those who could produce the richest yield.

The consequence of such dilligence was manifested in the Eler stronghold village of Oppidum, located a mile south of Mount Corona. Within this small town, the Aelyrians lived a lifestyle of scholarly pursuits, dedicated planning, and meticulous effort in organization, yet Patria Eler did not have the leadership or initiative that Patria Ara.

Mostly confined to Oppidum was also a small Gens, the Ine. Gens Ine consisted of Aelyrians who desired a life of discipline and refined logic. It was within the Gens Ine that the Tome of Reason was composed, and while most of it has decayed and perished, what does remain provides glimpses of a level of logical thinking that suggests that the Aelyrian people as a whole were without emotion at this stage of their development.

[top]Patria Retax, Gens Ala

On the outskirts of Insula, near the shores and beaches of the proud island of Aelyria, was the Patria Retax, a tribe of martial disciplinarians who followed the often misconstrued notion that the Aelyrians were the finest creation in the multiverse and that all other life-forms should be subjugated to the enlightened leadership of the Aelyrian people. The resulting society in the tribe Retax was devoted to might and warfare.

Retax was almost equally dispersed in small villages on the seas, tree-tops, and the cliffs or bluffs overlooking the ocean, with the largest clump at a village called Vacus, as if projecting a desire to grow beyond the borders of the Isle. The Oratio Proponis was a series of oral dialogues within the tribe and between the Retax and the other members of the Aelyrian society in which Retax argued for an expansion to increase efficiency and maximize utility throughout the multiverse.

Patria Retax was always on the fringe of logic, trying to justify illogical acts which seemed to go contrary to the mainstream desires of the rest of the Aelyrians - that is, to remain at peace with their surroundings and in harmony with life - and, instead, sought to use logic to expand and conquer, or rather, 'civilize' less fortunate folk. The Retaxan Plea before the Conclave is recorded and mentioned in several tomes and scriptures, but no date is affixed to this event.

Gens Ala was even more extreme, comprised of those members of all three Patriae on the island who desired radical change in the Aelyrian way of life. Gens Ala hoped to set standards, enforce them uniformly, and emphasised the collective over the individual. Consisting of warriors, priests, and clerics, those of Gens Ala perfected Arcana, although not to the same extent as those of Gens Aether, but sufficiently to be taken seriously.

[top]Aelyrian Physiology

While no texts directly discuss the physical composition of the Aelyrian people, careful excavations of the catacombs within Mount Corona reveal tall, slender, winged creatures. The corpses of these Aelyrians were clearly ones which had decayed, and thus appear to refute the argument that the Aelyrians were immortal. Yet in the Faith and even in the Triance, it is reported that the Aelyrian people had "endless life", and with it, "eternal power".

The long, feathered wings of the Aelyrians were the main distinguishing characteristics of these glorious beings. They were immense, sometimes spanning ten or fifteen feet when stretched. Yet, the bodies of the Aelyrians were well-built, usually no taller than seven feet and no shorter than five. Their appearance was largely human, with the exception of elongated noses, ears, and well-defined features. The phenotypical similarities between the Aelyrians and the Elves suggests a common ancestry, but it has been denied by elders of both race-successors.

Aelyrian internal physiology is mind-boggling. A three-chambered heart rests in the center, but no stomach or digestive system appears prominently. Moreover, an endless void within the bodies seem to echo a mysterious gap in both logical explanation as to how these people survived as well as how they evolved. The only possible, though hardly plausible, explanation is that the Ancient Aelyrians were indeed immortal and the lost of their immortality en masse drove them to their deaths, save for a few.

[top]Assertions

On the crucial issue of the Ancients' immortality history and mythology disagree. The Church of the Faith has maintained that the Ancient Aelyrians were immortal, omnipotent, and omniscient. While it is acknowledged that they were spawns of the Heavens, the Faith maintains that the Aelyrians were manifested in the very likeness of the Gods who reign over the Multiverse.

No historical document or text appears to verify or negate this statement. What is certain however is that architectural ruins in Vacus and Oppidum on the Isle of the Crown are undatable, suggesting that Aetherium - the golden metal used by the ancients to build their structures and cities - is in itself undatable, or that the Aelyrians had always existed, and that time had a different meaning for them and their culture. Regardless of which proposition is correct, it is universally acknowledged that the Aelyrians were strictly logical, well organized, and efficient leaders, held a great deal of Arcane power, and were a people civilized enough to rival even today's standards.
Further Reading: Ancient Aelyrians

[top]Book III: Early Aelyria and the Conclave

[top]Focus and Scope

An understanding of a people's structural composition is but the beginning to comprehending the finer mechanics of their history. The foundation for an intimate appreciation of a people's evolution begins with a close examination of their organization and methods of interpersonal communication. The Aelyrians were a people in name, not a nationality.

The Patriae and Gentes of Insula were born equal but became factionalised. Their isolation from one another was only eclipsed by the unchallenged leadership of the Ara Patria and the legendary exalted status of Gens Aether. To transcend the obvious divisiveness inherent in the different collective approaches to logic - which in itself explains the origin of the two unit types - there had to be some form of mediation between them. Hence, this book focuses on the first recorded events in Aelyrian history as the institution of the political body known as the Conclave.

[top]A Political Primer: The Conclave

Like all forums for deliberation, the Conclave was well-ordered; but given the Aelyrian penchant for organization, within this body this tendency was taken to its extreme. While the Ancient Aelyrians are thought to have been only several thousand in number, the Conclave grew from a delegated, representative body into a democratic forum for open discussion.

The Statutes of the Conclave, dated 7911, specify the constitution of the Aelyrian leadership. The role of Patria Ara as the eternal mediator of the Conclave was reaffirmed, and only a member from its ranks could ever claim to be the Speaker of the Conclave, an august and highly respected position. While modern political theorists would consider the title of 'Speaker' equivalent to a presiding officer of sorts, the Speaker of the Conclave had multiple key powers that raised his status above the others.

The Speaker could issue a parate, that is, an order to suspend a session of the Conclave for any specified amount of time, during which no communication between the tribes or families could occur. If a Speaker noted any sign of illogical or irrational discussion, he or she could also impose an order of silence upon any Aelyrian, which deprived such a member of a voice in the Conclave for a limited time.

Yet, more practically, the Speaker was the moderator of procedure. He would act as chair and recognize members addressing the entire Conclave. No agenda or schedule was ever set for this body - it was commonly believed that all Aelyrians had a traditional way of holding meetings. In the Transcriptiones Conclavis, the collection of the Conclave Records, no agenda is ever printed. Such a tradition has been lost to culture, for it was almost certainly an oral practice in the Early Conclave. Only in the Later Conclave would the Aelyrians be faced with demanding concerns, and thus, meetings would begin with reports from throughout the Island and proposed responses to each report.

[top]The Legates and the Chambers

The Conclave was partitioned into six chambers: the Patria Ara, Patria Eler, Patria Retax, Gens Aether, Gens Ine, and Gens Ala. Each group would send three legates to the Conclave, as logic dictated, and it was traditional for these legates to include two of extreme opposing viewpoints along with a single moderate.

The Legates would vote within their own chamber on an issue before a majority vote would signify the stance of a particular chamber. Yet the chambers had different votes. Patria Ara and Gens Aether each received three votes, Patria Eler and Gens Ine received two, and, finally, Patria Retax and Gens Ala received a single vote each. So, for example, if Patria Ara voted in favor of a measure, it would count as three votes in favor, whereas if Gens Ala voted against, it would only count as a single opposing vote.

It was believed that because the moderate member of each chamber would sway the vote and thus the entire value of all collective vote values in a chamber, the two extreme opposing members of the chamber would use their skill in rhetoric to persuade and convince the rest. For hundreds of years this practice continued, producing brilliant negotiators and skilled diplomats.

[top]The Representative Conclave under Varelia

It is clear from the above discussion of the Conclave's system of deliberation that it served more as a forum for public discussion rather than an actual governing body. Most texts describe the leadership of Varelia, a female Aelyrian from the Patria Ara and, consequently, a member of Gens Aether, as the first stage of the Conclave's development. Seeking logic's promise of righteousness, Varelia served as Speaker of the Conclave from 7912 until 8146.

Nevertheless, the lack of authority given the Conclave also hampered its ability to enact its policies. Thus Aelyrians from all patriae and gentes came to use the floor of the Conclave to air any and all grievances ranging from border disputes to tribal influence, and even at times, such petty topics as compensation for materials or resources lost due to tribe or family competition.

Varelia's leadership did provide major innovations in the realm of procedure. The Transcriptiones Conclavis were well maintained and formed a public record of all discussions and sessions of the Conclave. Furthermore, Varelia insisted that warriors and scholars were to aid her in keeping the Conclave in order. These Ordentes, as they were called, were highly respected, for they could issue a gagging order on behalf of the Speaker - even when the Conclave was not in session. The consequences of these reforms would come to truly define the Conclave and its subsequent history.

[top]Varelia's Removal

In 8144, Legate Sremalis of the Gens Aether, but of the Patria Retax - a singular distinction possessed by this fierce Aelyrian with bold resolve - placed before the Conclave a motion to remove Varelia as Speaker, citing as justification that the Conclave had failed in its duty to unite the Aelyrian people. For surely, he argued, there were many who had joined the Conclave in the hope that it would bring an end to the conflicts and competition amongst the Aelyrians.

For many weeks, the Conclave agonized over this issue. Patria Ara maintained that Varelia was the epitome of an impartial moderator and her skills as a leader over the Conclave satisfactorally allowed all Patriae and Gentes to speak their due. Patria Ara concluded that Sremalis' motion was illogical because Varelia's actions did not warrant her removal.

Yet, Patria Eler and Retax disagreed - although citing logic, and that reason should dicate deliberation above all, they claimed that the Conclave's mission was to unite the Aelyrians on the Isle under a common mission though with due respect given to the individual's pursuits. Even if both Eler and Retax would vote against Ara, however, there would still be a stalemate of 3 for and 3 opposed to the removal of Varelia.

[top]Excerpted from the Transcriptiones Conclavis:

"Varelia of Ara Coronae never showed any weakness in her visage. She addressed the Conclave and moderated with all due logic the deliberation of her own demise, never illustrating any sign of debilitation as a result of the subject matter being discussed. While personal attacks might have been common in lesser lands, the Aelyrians argued the fundamentals of logic in a session which, running for eight cycles straight, proved that Varelia was impartial - but that she was also uninspired and indecisive." (A translation of the Transcriptiones Conclavis, 8144.10-Secundus)

The Gentes decided the vote, and when Gens Aether concurred with both Gens Ine and Gens Ala, though for their own, different motives (for Aether believed that action, not inaction, would form the basis of a productive and logical Conclave and that Varelia was without decisiveness, while Ine and Ala both hoped for a more radical Conclave), the decision was passed.

In the harsh cold winter of 8145, Varelia was disenfranchised as Speaker of the Conclave but permitted to serve an extra season until the Spring of 8146 to moderate the selection of a new Speaker. The thankless yet honored responsibility of moderating the Aelyrian discourse would fall to another within but a few months.

[top]The Conclave is Democratised

Few Aelyrians desired the post of Speaker, knowing that their personal - as well as tribal and familial - integrity would be heavily scruitinised by the public. The major competition over the post arose between Legate Sremalis of Gens Aether and Patria Retax and the Lady Sarstis, a newcomer to the Conclave chosen to represent Patria Ara and Gens Ala during the crisis.

Sremalis criticized the foundations of the Conclave, stating that it was exclusive and did not adequately permit an open dialogue between the Aelyrians. He never once played upon his own constituency's desires for unity, nor did he mention his distaste for expansion and elitist view of the rest of the world. Sarstis, however, maintained that the Conclave's institutions had not failed - for the removal of Varelia was sufficient justification for the health of its foundations.

Varelia, as Speaker Pro Tempore, dictated that the method of selection would be by open vote per capita, disregarding the power of the tribes and families, and thereby holding a public election in the most primitive sense of the word. Voting telepathically, the Aelyrians overwhelmingly selected Sremalis because of their desire for change, but because Varelia had not specified that the vote would be exclusively for only the post of Speaker, a massive campaign to fully democratise the Conclave also arose.

Patria Eler and Gens Ine both felt that only equitable and free representation of all individuals could bring about a just government with true authority; as such, they campaigned throughout the Isle encouraging all voters to attach a second vote supporting the Elerine Amendment of 8146 to dissolve the six chambers of the Conclave and errect a single chamber in their stead.

It is in the Elerine Amendment where the term Aelyrian is first used. It implies a unity of spirit, resolve of mind, and clarity of purpose. The etymology of the word itself remains unknown, but it is believed to be an amalgam of the names of all the Patriae and Gentes. Thus at the same time as Sremalis was elected Speaker, the Conclave also became a single democratic unit - injecting a previously unheard of level of chaos into its proceedings.

[top]Interpatriate Directives


The issue of inter-tribal disputes over territory and allocation of resources on the magical isle brewed discontent in the Conclave as soon as it convened once again. Sremalis, still overcoming the transitions necessitated by his election, began to pursue his agenda of unity amidst this crisis and drafted the Interpatriate Directives in 8167.

The Directives would dissolve the tribal boundaries and call upon the Patriae to share resources and collaborate on developing their artistic forms of expression - for there is no mention that the Aelyrians ever needed resources to survive, and thus it is assumed that the Aelyrians only used the natural resources of their island to errect their massive monoliths and works of art.

As many still feared the complete dissolution of the Patriae, the Interpatriate Directives were tabled meeting after meeting, and, when they finally did pass in 8170, they did so only by the thinnest of margins. In the aftermath, Oppidum and Vacus gradually began exchanging goods and people more regularly, with only Patria Ara holding themselves separate on Mount Corona and the Conclave Hall. And even so, soon even members of Patria Ara would travel and share their experiences with the rest.

[top]The Era of the Conclave

The Conclave was able to settle disputes between the tribes and facilitate discourse and discussion between the various groups of early Aelyria. Its expansion from a representative, oligarchical council into a democratic assembly was a struggle which pit two opposing philosophies of logic - a passive, conservative one that suggested that the Conclave's purpose was to moderate, while a more progressive interpretation of logic urged the Conclave to take initiative and lead.

Varelia's speakership over the Conclave illustrates the epitome of the conservative regime in early Aelyria as driven by the staunch traditionalists among Patria Ara. Yet her demise also indicated that a general dissatisfaction with inaction and indecisiveness had driven Patria Eler and Gens Ine to expand the Conclave so that it could involve all Aelyrians as a general assembly. No longer then would the purpose of the Conclave be to simply moderate discussion - it would provide unity and its speaker would exemplify decisive direction.

Sremalis, for all practical purposes, was a moderate in his approach. Hoping to unite the Aelyrians, his Interpatriate Directives formed the basis for a united Isle. This new focus would be tested with the subsequent catastrophes that befell the calm and gentle Aelyrian people. Sremalis' progressive desire to unite the people was undermined by his insistence that the Aelyrians remain on their isle and never embark on a plan of expansion. While the Aelyrians were omniscient and had accurate maps of the main continent without ever having traversed it, it would take a challenge to their very existence to drive them to expand.

[top]Book IV: Diana and the Liberation

[top]Focus and Scope

The first signs of advanced civilization consist of ideological unification and a centralisation of authority. The Aelyrians exhibited both of these qualities when they united under the banner of the Conclave and adopting the name 'Aelyrian' to represent all of the winged, angelic peoples of the Isle.

With the Aelyrian people's experimentation with unification and setting aside their ideological differences, the Ancient Ones on Insula entered into a new stage of their development. When the Interpatriate Directives forced the cooperation of all the tribes, Patria Eler and Retax found their identities compromised. Their differences, in turn, developed into a concerted challenge to Sremalis' speakership over the Conclave.

[top]The Invasion of the Cyraxians

A disaster of grand proportions befell the Aelyrian people in 8216. Whether this disaster was indeed the invasion of a demonic-like beast-people from another dimension, intent on enslaving the multiverse, or some other catastrophe - perhaps a natural or environmental one - what is certain is that the Conclave was suspended by Sremalis on account of the "disorder wrought by demonism".

The common tale from Aelyrian theology is that Jorel, the Fallen Archangel of Aetheria - the Heavens of the Multiverse - ascended into the skies in hopes of overthrowing Ioannes, the Sacred God and Creator of the Multiverse. His frustration brought on by the failure of his attempt compelled him to take the spirit of sweet innocence, Didis, and rape her. From this terrible act was born Meephos, the God of Emotions. Because the Aelyrians were the progeny of Ioannes' asexual union with the Multiverse that he had created, Meephos - under Jorel's guidance - sought to destroy the godly beings.

The Aelyrians lost their full grip on logic and began to experience the raging emotions which had heretofore been pent up within them. Those feelings which had been subjugated to reason waged merciless war upon their minds and set the Aelyrians into a maddened frenzy. The artwork of the time exhibits a strange change - from simple shapes and graceful diagrams into surrealistic depictions of turmoil.

The demonic Cyraxians were, according to legend, the purported agents of Meephos, sent to enslave the Aelyrians to their own emotions. Afterwards, they were to conquer the Multiverse itself and wrest Ioannes' creation away from him. Whether or not the Cyraxians manifested themselves as pure emotions, or as actual demons, remains unknown; yet the catacombs unearthed under Isle Corona show Aelyrians who had clearly died gruesome, body-altering deaths.

[top]The Rise of Diana

A young woman from Patria Ara changed the dark fate of the endangered Aelyrians. Her original name has vanished into the antiquity of time, but it is known that the young woman had a series of visions and distubing revelations. When she presented these to Speaker Sremalis, he turned to Gens Ala - which had begun to integrate emotions and logic - to interpret the visions. Later these visions would turn out to be channeled arcano-aether, which would empower this woman's transformation.

Clerics and prophets both witnessed this metamorphosis. The young woman - who then called herself Diana - claimed that she was an agent from the Sacred Three, sent to unite the decaying Aelyrians against the Cyraxian invaders. The name 'Diana' itself seams to mean "The Divinely Sent". Diana was quick and realistic. She knew that only by combat and warfare could the Cyraxians be driven back, and so she had Patria Eler and Patria Retax prepare their forces for combat.

[top]The Defeat of the Cyraxians

The Ancient Aelyrians prepared their Phalanx. The Aelyrian warriors in the Phalanx wielded long spears whose tips were focused with the Aetherium material to function as an anchor through which they might channel their thoughts. The resultant weapons, called Aetherpikes, were efficient and deadly, and aided the Aelyrian Phalanx to route the invaders and decimate the Cyraxian threat by 8255.

As the Cyraxians fled, they invaded the Great Conclave Hall and killed Sremalis as well as many of the Patria Ara, leaving Diana unopposed for leadership of the Aelyrians. The Conclave quickly dissolved when Patria Eler and Patria Retax began to wage war against one another, damaging greatly the townships of Oppidum and Vacus.

[top]The Kingdom of Aelyria

With a civil war looming over the island, Diana took harsh measures. She was Commander of the Phalanx, and immediately imposed martial law - ordering the army to destroy any Aelyrian that incited conflict. The very fear that their immortality could be harmed compelled the Aelyrians to control their passions and enter solemn isolation. The Patriae and Gentes reconvened in the now ruined Conclave Hall and deliberated over the future of their people.
Diana's decisive action and passionate cry for unity had saved the Aelyrians, and the grateful winged beings bestowed on Diana the status of Speaker of the Conclave with an overwhelming margin of support in 8257. Yet Diana had witnessed how divided the Aelyrians had become - the tribes did not obliterate one another only for fear that the Phalanx would intervene. The caste system of Patriae and Gentes continued to sap their individual strength, without being able to maximize the discrete skill each unit was supposed to uphold.

With the failure of the Conclave to take decisive action, Diana realized that its resurrection would only constitute a return to the divisions of the past. Those who believed her to be the reincarnation of a divine being urged her to dissolve the Conclave and proclaim Aelyria a Kingdom, with herself as its Queen. Reluctantly, and with a deep respect for Aelyria's democratic past, Diana eventually dismissed the Conclave and proclaimed herself Queen of the Kingdom of Aelyria in the summer of 8258.

[top]Queen Diana and the Sacred Three

Reigning absolutely, Queen Diana outlawed the Patria and Gens system, issuing her Edict on Meritocracy in 8260. In her edict, Diana outlined the reasons that the Patria and Gens system had contributed to the overall divisiveness of the Aelyrians and argued that individual merit - not collective interpretations or ideologies - should dictate a person's place and power.

When her rule as Queen was critized shortly thereafter by the remaining members of the Ara tribe in 8263, Diana issued the Edict on the Sacred Three. The three thousand page document outlined very logically the foundations of the Aelyrian people that had been carried down through the oral, religious tradition. Diana also acclaimed herself as a Goddess, and stated that the democratic principles of the Conclave weakened the efficiency and organization sought - and demanded - by Aelyrian logic.

Recognizing her people's descent into emotion, Diana's Edict on the Sacred Three became a series of guidelines as to how all Aelyrians should comport themselves and channel their new-found emotions into creative energy in order to innovate new works and advance the culture of Aelyria. Of the greatest importance, however, was the Edict's implications for the Aelyrian government.

Diana argued that for the Aelyrians to preserve their way of life and to thwart all attempts at altering it from outside their government would have to provide:
A system of codified Law, where the rules of societal conduct would be public and common;
Laws which contribute to the individual and collective Order of society;
A system of enforcement which would be equally applied, regardless of rank, station or class, in order to secure Justice.

Now more commonly called "Law, Order and Justice", the Sacred Three in Aelyrian politics were but a reflection of what the Aelyrians believed governed the Multiverse, since Ioannes himself was believed to be a triune deity. Ultimately, any government that would provide the Sacred Three would become universal, for citizens patriotic to their institutions would defend them to the death.

Diana and her supporters further argued that the structure and goals of the Conclave ran contrary to the Sacred Three, for it created no public laws, did nothing to assure order among the Aelyrian people, and was a forum for discussion, not a court of justice. Diana further posited that only a government with a single resolve and with the powers to legislate, execute and enforce, could adequately apply the Sacred Three while remaining dynamic enough to encourage growth. It then followed that monarchy was the best - because most unified - form of government.
And indeed, Diana's government during this period was unquestionably a monarchy, since she reigned without answering to anyone. The Aelyrian Phalanx served her orders implicitly, and the Aelyrians were so relieved that they finally had achieved unity, safety and direction that they returned to rebuilding the Isle quietly and without any hesitation. It is clear that the 'personal' government established by Diana was a testament to her very inspired leadership.

[top]The Plague of Mortality

For reasons unclear and uncertain, the Aelyrian people contracted a plague which has subsequently been called the 'Plague of Mortality'. The plague appeared to affect the overwhelming majority of Aelyrians, so that while there were those who remained immortal, many began to die, apparently of old age. The terror caused by the apparant loss of their godly immortality compelled the Aelyrians to use their might to shield their isle.

Queen Diana, knowing that her people had to be focused so that order could be maintained and believing that Jorel and Meephos were the cause of this plague, she helped the construction of the Aether Altar in which rested a massive core of Aethergem. The Aethergem, she promised, would allow passage of thought, mind and matter between this reality and the heavenly planes in order to protect the Aelyrians' divinity.

As each era passed, however, more and more Aelyrians expired with it. At first the plague had taken just one or two an era; but by 8540 thirty or forty Aelyrians were dying each era. Unable to bare the burden of seeing her own people die, Diana performed an act of miraculous proportions. Placing herself before the Aethergem, she sacrificed her body to the heavens. Taking her own life, Diana's spirit publicly ascended into Aetheria where she said she would reign by the side of Ioannes as Queen of the Multiverse.

Desiring to protect her people, she empowered the Aethergem to speak on her behalf so that all future leaders of the Aelyrian Empire would rule by the divine right granted her. No Aelyrian had the ambition - or, perhaps, the audacity - to follow such a great woman. And so, in 8559, the Captains Michael and Gabriel of the Aelyrian Phalanx, who had not suffered the plague yet, gave their pledge to a joint regency over the Kingdom of Aelyria. It would take some centuries before anyone would perform the Rite of Ascension.

[top]Contemplation for the Crown

The Conclave had proven itself indecisive and incapable of governing - not so much because of its Speaker, although assuredly an assertive Speaker could institute unity but could not compel action, but because as an institution the Conclave was ineffective and inefficient. The Aelyrians, desiring efficiency more than the virtues that a democracy would represent, particularly at a time of such great crisis as the Cyraxian Invasion, or the Plague of Mortality, turned to a Monarchy.

Aelyria had been liberalised in two ways - first, by an introspective reevaluation of the nature of logic which saw the supremacy of logic erode in the face of the power of emotions; and secondly, by the establishment of responsible, reliable and above all unified government, for the Conclave was the antithesis of good governance as the successors would see it.

Queen Diana's reign has been justly immortalized by generations of bards and storytellers. She saved the Aelyrians from almost certain destruction. Her leadership inspired the driving ideology and religious dogmatic force behind Aelyria, and her political philosophy of stern, strong leadership with an emphasis an managerial organization, efficiency and instruction, founded a Kingdom which was prepared to face the world.

[top]Book V: The Interim Regency

[top]Focus and Scope

The foundations of a sovereign Kingdom of Aelyria had been set by the successful and lengthy reign of Queen Diana, who had saved her people from in-fighting and staved off the demonic hordes. Yet the new stability and unity of the state could not combat the Plague of Mortality which was slowly but surely wiping out the Aelyrian people. Despite the prosperity and security brought on the turn from a disastrous government to the leadership of a noble Queen, Aelyria seemed to be faced by a deciding crisis and now that Diana herself was gone without having instituted a secure method of selecting a successor. With the establishment of the regency of Michael and Gabriel in 8559, the future of the fledgling principality would once again be brought into question.

[top]The Arbitration of Succession

In 8614, Diana appeared in a vision to Michael and Gabriel in the Conclave Hall's Aethergem, which had since been fashioned into two large thrones for the regents. In her appearance, Diana guided and inspired the two captains to serve as Arbiters of Succession, and to find a third - a human from across the seas - to serve as a deciding Arbiter as well. It was the Goddess-Queen's command to charge the two regents with securing a successor to the Kingdom she had created.

The regents held a public forum the very day Diana appeared to them and explained the situation to the other Aelyrians. That Diana, whom many saw as a Goddess, desired a foreigner - and an imperfect human, of all foreigners - to mediate the selection of a new Aelyrian monarch appeared appalling to most; many believed Michael and Gabriel were delusional and that they had succumbed to the madness of emotion.

The Aelyrians were clearly omniscient, and had a full knowledge of the continent's geographical layout, but a lack of interest in others' affairs had made them ignore the historical events unfolding elsewhere. Thus when Michael and Gabriel flew across the Great Sea to the port-city of Hriemalis in search of a likely candidate to join the Aelyrians in their quest to find enlightened leadership, they had no inkling of what, or who, they would find.

[top]The Khardran War

When the two Aelyrians arrived on the continent, they were shocked by the savage barbarism that they saw around them - dozens of armies vying against one another for territorial control. They would later learn that in fact the continent was constantly embroiled in such wars as the many fiefdoms jockeyed for supremacy.

One of the foremost wars then ongoing pitted the orcs of Garde against the Kingdoms of Daltina and Medonia. In 8608 the Orc leaders of Garde led an ogre army south to the city of Khardra, which was the junior partner in the federation which comprised the Khardran Empire, and sacked the city for supplies, claiming that the Khardrans had reneged on the taxes they owed to the Orc lords. Afterwards, in 8610, the ogre-orc army moved further and invaded Hriemalis with the mission of obtaining a convenient coast for the creation of a trireme fleet.

The Kingdoms of Daltina and Medonia were both apalled and frightened by the success of this inhuman army from Garde, believing it a threat to themselves and to all of humanity. They put aside their lengthy rivalry and sealed an alliance with the purpose of crushing the Khardran Empire and rushing to the defense of the Hriemaliseans. The Dwarven Kingdom of Dargis, which had been plagued by Orcish mobs and brigands disrupting their trade, later also joined the alliance.

At its height in 8617 - as the Aelyrian visitors watched - the Khardran Empire would stretch from the Abe River in the east, to the Maevewood inside Daltina's borders in the south-east, touching the outskirts of the Dwarven capital of Dargis itself.

At first the successes were all on the side of Garde. In the next few eras the ogres put down the last smouldering human/halfling rebellion in Khardra and enslaved the population; because of this the term 'Khardran' came to apply not to the former residents of the city but to the very orcs and ogres who had decimated them. The army from Garde also razed the city of Hriemalis to the ground. By 8618, however, the tides of war were beginning to change.

The Ogres had committed grievous errors in their war, as the Aelyrians learned. Aside from ignoring both diplomacy and the profits that could be had from trade, the Khardran Empire had severely underestimated the influence of the Republic of Luctadomum. Lux was a massive trade city with connections across the continent. The invasion of Southern Luctadomum by the orcs and ogres prompted the Kingdom of Eutopia and the Duchy of Phondra to enter the Medonian-Daltinian alliance and declare war on Khardra.

With the help of the Phondran Knights and Eutopian Pikemen, the Medonian-Daltinan Crusaders liberated Khadra in 8621. The massive army marched on Garde and managed to imprison Grek, the Orc Chieftain who had masterminded the war. His execution was swift, and liberated the continent from the orcish threat. Yet the hope that the alliance leveraged against Garde could become the basis for a longer lasting collaboration among the disparate Kingdoms was not to be achieved. All the advantages that the immediate threat of annihilation had brought faded once the threat had ended. The Eutopians resumed their isolation, the Phondrans sought to establish themselves as trade competitors with the Luctadomans, and Medonia and Daltina returned to their rivalry.

[top]Baron Rynus von Oreskovich

One of the consequences of the Khardran War was that the city of Hriemalis was no more - its residents had become refugees wandering the wasteland of their once-prosperous republic. This band was led by Baron Rynus von Oreskovich, who had taken charge of this band after the elected Lord Defender had been executed by the orcs. The Hriemalans, disillusioned by the fact that their great wall of titanium had not been able to protect their city, came across Michael and Gabriel, who had remained on the continent during this period.

In a private meeting between the Baron and the two Aelyrians, the three concluded that only the power of the Aelyrians could restore fertility to the blood-soaked fields formerly inhabited by the humans. At the same time, Michael and Gabriel were certain that their meeting with Oreskovich was no simple coincidence and wished for the latter to join them as an Arbiter. Thus, in 8623 they arranged a pact whereby Rynus would travel to Isle Coronae and help in the selection of a new monarch while the Aelyrians would protect Hriemalis and help the citizens rebuild.

Upon arriving in Aelyria, the Baron immediately became enchanted with the region, her people, and the whole of the unspoiled island. By contrast to the emotional suffering of many Aelyrians, Rynus experienced a marked lack of aging while on the isle - perhaps as a consequence of his exposure to the energies of the Aethergem. The actual arbitration for the succession did not commence until 8674, over fifty eras after his first arrival. In the interim the Baron had so fully immersed himself in Aelyrian culture that he had become one of the winged ancients in all but physical form. In the meantime, his people were guided by the Aelyrian overseer, Dressus, and the construction of a new city for the Hriemalans began in 8632. Yet the greatest challenge for the reborn Kingdom would come from the intentions of the candidates for the crown themselves.

[top]The Regency Period

For Aelyria, the regency period was in itself a respite from the agonizing reorganization that came with Diana's rule. Many Aelyrians at this time came to consider their indulgence in emotions a biological imperative - unfortunate, but inescapable - and felt as if their fate were sealed by some sort of divine punishment. One clear advantage of the regents' exploration of the continent was that new ties were forged between the Aelyrian people and the Hriemalans, who had also been exhausted by conflict. This tie would become the beginning of an unlikely alliance that eventually would lead to greatness.

[top]Book VI: The Rise of Constantine

[top]Focus and Scope

The Kingdom of Aelyria had developed into a unique society. Paradoxically, mortality brought on by raging emotions and an eclipse of logic only heightened the apparant peace and tranquility created by the relative isolation and sense of timelessness on the isle. The Aelyrians continued to enhance their arts, and their magic sought to cure physical ailments and prolong life in the hopes that mortality could be avoided.

The regency of Captains Michael and Gabriel would come to an end with the co-option of Baron Rynus von Oreskovich as Arbiter - a mere human whose life had apparantly been extended dramatically by his exposure to the Aetheric energies surrounding the isle. Acquiescing to Diana's will, who by this time had temples and shrines erected in her honour throughout the isle, the Ancient Aelyrians turned to the new triumvirate to select a successor and a new sovereign monarch.

[top]Candidates for the Crown

Still with deep uncertainty concerning their future, the Aelyrians gathered in the Conclave Hall in 8674 to the sound of trumpets and bells. Captain Gabriel, Captain Michael and Baron Rynus von Oreskovich presided over those who would seek the Crown. Immersed in emotion, ambitious and driven leaders from throughout the villages and the rest of the isle hastened forward with the burning desire to lead the small nation to prosperity and glory.

Dressus, the Overseer of Colonia - the name that the Aelyrians had given to the lands of the Hriemalans now, at least nominally, under their control - returned to the isle upon feeling sensing that the time of the succession had finally come and proclaimed himself a challenger. Among many promises, Dressus called for the restoration of the Aelyrian refinement, calling it the basis of Aelyrian glory and domination. As a King, he stated, he would guide the Aelyrians to refine their sciences and magic, believing the mind, lifestyle and internal affairs to be the deciding factor in his people's future.

Inelia, one of the last-surviving matriarchs of the Patria Ara - most recognition of the tribes and gentes having been lost by this point - claimed that restoring democratic government would be the first step to undoing the 'Plague of Mortality' which had besieged the people so readily. Extremely unpopular, except to the few in her private circle, Inelia was a revisionist who attacked Diana's memory. She was commonly called a heretic.

Constantine, from the Retax, was an accomplished speaker for the village in which he lived, Vacus. He had worked hard to bridge the gulf between Patria Retax and Patria Eler by traveling between his village and Oppidum. An accomplished negotiator, Constantine advocated a policy of unification through which all dissent would be expunged from the collective. He claimed that in this wa each individual would have the opportunity to truly express his or her individuality to its finest, most perfect extent. Constantine was also known for stating that the Aelyrians were destined to "civilize the barbarian savages of the world".

[top]Constantine's Coup

After a simple surface interrogation of the candidates, the Arbiters seemed split - Michael favoured Dressus, Gabriel chose Inelia and Rynus supported Constantine. Even after extended interrogation, only Gabriel was moved to change his choice to Dressus - for the two Aelyrians felt that Constantine was too embroiled in emotion and passion, considering both his speech and manner equally offensive and bold. Rynus, however, published a small pamphlet in his own hand entitled 'By the Grace of Diana' (8679) which called for the Aelyrians to put aside their rigid interpretations of logic and emotion and turn to interacting with the civilised world.

With the arbitration thus at a standstill, in 8680 Constantine met secretly with Baron Rynus von Oreskovich and the two concluded a secret pact. Today, we know that the Concordance of Civility was a physical document signed between them - the immortal but emotionally torn Aelyrian turning to an immortal, yet clear-minded Human for support. It was an arrangement which plunged the isle into war.

Constantine and his supporters - mostly warriors from Patria Retax - accompanied him into the Conclave in the summer of 8680 to stand before the Arbiters and proclaim the dissolution of the arbitration and the regency. In its stead, he stood before the Conclave altar and, by the grace of Diana, proclaimed himself King of the Aelyrians. Constantine then named Rynus von Oreskovich his Prince and legitimate successor, to the astonishment of all. Yet this brought pleasure to many Aelyrians, who had grown to love and accept Rynus as one of their own.

What was in contrast to the expectations of most Aelyrians was that the new King Constantine swiftly moved to declare a state of martial law. He, like Diana before him, also proclaimed that any dissent to his rule would be brutally crushed. Most of the Phalanxmen were immediately overcome with pride and patriotism at finally seeing decisive action taken. Both Michael and Gabriel were proclaimed unfit for duty because of their previous indecisiveness. Thus, the new King emphasized decision and action over clear cognition and meditation. This fundamental shift radically changed the social focus of the Aelyrian people.

Because the King now controlled nearly all the Phalanx and the other military forces, no one attempted to oppose his reign. Thus the arbitration came to an end in a bloodless yet nonetheless frightening and astonishing coup which placed the Kingdom of Aelyria under the control of a well-respected, but impassioned and controlling strategist.

[top]The First Coronation

In 8701, King Constantine performed the Rite of Ascension by standing before the Altar of Aetheria and professing his desire to be Diana's legitimate successor. Once the rite was completed and proclaimed orally as dictated by tradition, Constantine stood covered by the symbols of power as the voice of Diana echoed in his mind and related their significance.

The Sword of Ioannes was a crystaline blade which would ensure an unchallenged rulership, for it could defeat all those - mortal or immortal - that it would strike if wielded with honour and righteousness. The Shield of Diana was a kite of Tisanium that would ensure victory to the army which followed it battle was joined with a view to peace and ensuring the freedom of all unfortunates. Finally, Aslan's Armour was a golden, full field-plate of pure Aetherium which, when worn, would render its bearer invulnerable to all harm and increase the physical prowess of its combatant ten thousand fold.

(Editor’s Note: The existence of these weapons, as well as the reports concerning them, have remained in serious dispute as they have not been found among the standard possessions of the Imperial Treasury.)

Unlike Diana's ascension as Queen, Constantine insisted on the pomp and pageantry associated with a kingly ascension and called for meditation, relaxation and public discussions of his new regime - to the serious-minded Aelyrians, this was the equivalent of the feasting and festivities of most mortals. Hoping for a miraculous accomplishment of science or magic, the King expected the disease which afflicted his people to be lifted by divine providence. While this did not occur, his coronation placed his power on a firm footing and left his new subjects hopeful and optimistic concerning their ongoing conflict with emotion.

[top]Colonizing Colonia

To demonstrate his benevolence and decisiveness, Constantine immediately turned to the issue of Colonia - the first convert to the promise of Aelyrian leadership. The Aelyrians would provide the old Hriemalans much more than the simple protectorate that had been promised. King Constantine personally traveled to the lands of the Hriemalans with Prince Rynus in order to oversee the final stages of the construction of the city that would one day be called Aelyria Prime.

It should be noted that 'Colonia' in the Aelyrian tongue is, in its simplest literal translation, 'external dwelling'. For the young Kingdom of Aelyria, the lands of the Hriemalans would be their first home-away-from-home. For the defence of the city, Constantine ordered the construction of seven fortresses upon the outlying hill regions, and building began in 8715.

[top]Assessing the Period

The ascension of the new monarch, no matter if through divine will or by shrewd political trickery, greatly stabilised the volatile situation within the Kingdom of Aelyria. The divisions between the tribes and families of the Ancient Aelyrians began to fade as they became a true collective which nevertheless acknowledged and emphasized the significance of individual merit-based accomplishments.

Rynus von Oreskovich played a pivotal role in this transition. As a foreigner he was at first despised by the Aelyrians. Yet, Rynus' patience and willingness to live an Aelyrian lifestyle eventually won him the praise and acceptance of his new companions. His support of Constantine, while largely symbolic, prevented an outright rebellion in the face of the King's coup, for many Aelyrians felt that Diana's will was vested more in the foreigner than in their own captains.

Obsessed with involving the Kingdom of Aelyria to a greater degree in the outside world, King Constantine completed the diplomatic promise made by the regents to the Hriemalans. He also annexed them to his Kingdom in all but name. With growing uncertainty, the Aelyrians remained on their luxurious, magical isle while their king and prince oversaw the overwhelmingly human and hybrid population of Colonia creating the foundations for what they hoped would be the world's golden city.

[top]Book VII: Constantine's Conquests

[top]Focus and Scope

Aelyria had been transformed from an isolationist, xenophobic island without an interest in reality into a power with diplomatic interests in the outside world. The leadership of King Constantine and the fierce dedication of Prince Rynus von Oreskovich propelled the Aelyrian Kingdom into a new era of productivity and interaction. Yet the extent of King Constantine's control over his own emotions was uncertain and many on the isle - now called Insula Coronae, or Isle of the Crown, as a tribute to the monarchy which governed it - doubted that their King was free of ambition and lust.

With a fierce rulership that was characterised as "iron-fisted to the core" (anon, source: 8719? tablets on isle), King Constantine ruled the Kingdom via perpetual martial law. His word became law per dictum and the Aelyrian Phalanx, which had proven their prowess and resolve time and time again, engendered a feeling of security and safety among the citizens - most of whom were now the very mortal, and hybrid, Hriemalan peoples. Aelyria had colonized the continent during an ideal time - many nations were still in a state of economic ruin and internal chaos as a result of the years of hard warfare against the Khardran Empire.

[top]An Army to Uphold the Sacred Three

In 8770, when the Royal Court was established on the outskirts of Colonia, the city which was still under construction by the Hriemalans since 8715, King Constantine made it known that the future of the Aelyrian Kingdom was to be a "nation encompassing all peoples, where all are guaranteed the security afforded by the Sacred Three [of Law, Order and Justice]" (Address to the Court, 8769). To demonstrate his resolve to integrate individuals on the basis of merit, not race, and to counteract the lack of desire of his own people to leave the sanctity and over-glorified safety of the Isle of the Crown, King Constantine appointed a Royal Court consisting almost entirely of humans and halflings.

Noting that Captains Gabriel and Michael had grown disenchanted with his new, outward-looking regime and that the Aelyrian Phalanx under their command refused to fight except in defense of their own people, the King was determined to create a mobile fighting force to guard the borders of his newly-acquired lands. In contrast to the old, impermanent forces of farmer-warriors which still formed the backbone of the armies in many of the surrounding kingdoms, King Constantine ordered the creation of a permanent 'Royal Guard', consisting of the most physically fit or potentially prominent warriors. All men, regardless of station or stature, were required to serve in the military for at least ten eras.

This rudimentary draft made it possible for King Constantine to raise an army of thirty thousand troops - mostly from the outlying borderlands which had been greatly neglected by the royal overseers because of the immediate nature of the internal problems of the Kingdom. Lawlessness had become particularly prevalent along the borders with Daltina, Eutopia and Dargis. While understanding that the integration of the races on the basis of merit was essential to the creation of a new type of nation, King Constantine wrote in his treatise 'Establishing Instruments for the Sacred Three' that "no sooner would the ineptutide of unfortified races bring about the downfall of this kingdom than would an over-employment of such peoples" (8773).

Thus races which proved themselves to generally excel in certain activities - dwarven infantry and halfling cavalry, for example - were by default partitioned early in their training. Only in later stages of military preparation would less adept warriors be transferred to other departments of their interest.

The Royal Guard became in many ways a privileged place of employment, for King Constantine made certain that sufficient revenue had been established by taxing travel into and out of the Kingdom and used these funds to pay his soldiers. Professionalism in the Royal Guard was rewarded, and so each individual strived for excellence. Due to Aelyria's central position, the tariffs on trade by the King were especially lucrative; by consequence, the taxes levied on the Aelyrian people were mostly symbolic.

Consequently, Aelyrian gold crowns flowed in abundance and an ever increasing number of citizens, merchants and travelers came to Colonia to seek new opportunities for success. This rapid population growth allowed for an even larger army, and by 8783, the Royal Guard numbered over fifty-five thousand soldiers. King Constantine was eager to test the resolve of his new army.

[top]The Feudal Kingdom

Despite the growing prosperity of Aelyria, King Constantine wished his kingdom to be self-sustaining so as not to rely solely upon commercial revenue for its survival. In 8780 the Aelyrians, led by Cirea, magically fertilised the grain and wheat fields in the meadowlands of the kingdom, pouring their arcane energies into the ground to ensure that it would perpetually feed the citizens and always offer abundant and bountiful harvests.

King Constantine also stationed the Royal Guard throughout the kingdom and appointed division commanders to the post. These earls developed ambitions of their own. In this way the first feudal arrangement was constructed between these local overlords and their subjects. The Earls were given 'lordship' over the lands which they protected, and in return the King was assured of their continued loyalty and vassalage.

Recognizing that competition between the earldoms could greatly enhance production, the King offered lucrative titles and positions of power to those lords whose lands produced the most grain and other agricultural products each season. Likewise, King Constantine empowered the earls to pursue this goal "by any means in keeping with the glory of the Kingdom." By 8790, earls, counts, barons and dukes sprouted throughout the kingdom, each vying for the opportunity to acquire personal power and wealth, even though, in reality, the King maintained all the power and wealth.

A unique distinction must be drawn between the growth of feudalism in the Aelyrian Kingdom as opposed to the feudalism in other kingdoms. Whereas other kingdoms had many different regions, townships and hamlets which came together under a single monarch - and hence the power of each township's local lord predated, and was a precondition of, the monarch's power - the Aelyrian model differed in that it was the King who first appointed the nobles from within the army that he himself had originally created.

Thus Aelyria had a feudal social structure even while all power was still derived from the King, and it was not uncommon for King Constantine to dismiss noble families and dissolve fiefdoms for any number of official and non-official reasons. This set a dangerous precedent for Aelyrian government by contributing to its absolutist nature - the King had no check upon his power, and the entire Kingdom and all its people were subject to the decisions and desires of a single individual.

[top]The Luctadoman Strategem

Recognizing that the Kingdom could not come to dominate its competitors through agricultural abundance alone, in 8791 King Constantine called his Royal Court together in the nearly finished Court Hall of Colonia. The court Advisors of Agriculture, Defense, and Diplomacy met with the King and Prince Rynus; together they plotted a strategy to secure income through trade. While Aelyria continued to prosper because of its low taxation, the high trade tariffs made direct trade with Aelyria undesirable. Their considerations quickly turned to Aelyria's northern neighbour, Luctadomum.

The Republic of Luctadomum, led by a self-styled merchant-noble called a Doge and a council of elders (the Luctadoman Senate), was the trading and commercial capital of the continent. Ships and caravans pulled into the city of Lux regularly, and the income was able to sustain a garrison of ten thousand mercenaries who guarded against potential invasions of barbarians from Arkdün. Goods from around the continent provided superior goods and an atmosphere of open debate and learning in Lux. It was a prize ripe for take-over, however, since its garrison had been heavily hit by the war with the Khardrans.

Positioning forty thousand troops under the command of Earl Abesen of the Northumbrian Fiefdom on the border with the Republic, King Constantine sent Prince Rynus himself to meet with the Luctadoman Senate and their Doge to discuss terms for surrender. The eloquent and civilised speech with which the Prince addressed the Luctadomans was moving and compelled the representatives from Daltina, Medonia and Eutopia who were also present to immediately claim neutrality in the conflict and advise their ally that they were unable to assist their ally militarily. At the same time, each noted their Kingdom's desire to continue to have productive relations with whomever would control the rich port of Lux.

With the Doge rejecting any talk of surrender, Prince Rynus returned and joined Earl Abesen to lead the invasion of Luctadomum. Crossing the Abestat River (owned by Earl Abesen's family) which had up to that point acted as a natural boundary between Aelyria and Luctadomum, the Royal Guard plunged into the south of Lux. Despite several humiliating losses during the invasion, the Kingdom of Aelyria managed to occupy the port city in 8794. King Constantine arrived in the city and congratulated Earl Abesen and Prince Rynus on their operation.

While the Aelyrian pikemen fought well against Luctadoman forces, the dwarven infantry suffered a humiliating defeat against the Luctadoman wolf riders. The latter routed four dwarven divisions in 8794 just before the winter when the full occupation took place. The Luctadomans employed elfin cavalry in their charges and these also crippled the Aelyrian footmen. In the end, Aelyria's military had been reduced to fifteen thousand men and three thousand mercenaries who would remained in northern Luctadomum. It was not until the surrender of Doge Patrel Vingelhoff in 8795 that the mercenaries were discharged, though many of them recruited into the Royal Guard by Prince Rynus.

The crude invasion of Luctadomum demonstrated that the battle had been won by superior numbers and a well-structured offence made up of pikemen, which was relatively unheard of on the continent. Yet the Luctadomans had employed brilliant strategies of hit-and-run tactics against the Royal Guard which had left the Aelyrian forces debilitated and demoralized. King Constantine was furious that the victory had not been more straightforward and complete, and thus continued to labour to find a method by which to attract military talent to his ranks.

[top]Proclaiming to the World

Once Lux had been taken by the Kingdom of Aelyria, the King sent word to all traders and merchants that tariffs in the combined territories would be reduced - even lower than prior Luctadoman levels - and that taxation of the Luctadoman people would be heavily decreased. The noble families of Lux were stripped of their power and authority, and their riches were redistributed to the affluent middle-class which actually managed all of the business. Earl Abesen was appointed to lead the city and renamed it Abestat, after his own family, in 8798.

The openness and kindness shown by the Aelyrians to the Luctadomans proved frightening to the surrounding nations, for it indicated that a responsive leadership could counteract even the patriotism which was the backbone of a citizenry's loyalty to their rulers. The recollection of the Republic of Luctadomum faded with the banishment of the old doge and the senators - paid well for their retreat, they were nevertheless warned that any attempt to return would be heavily punished. The now-Duke Abesen, with the blessing of King Constantine, proclaimed Abestat to be a Duchy and a member of the Kingdom of Aelyria.

The fluidity and meritocratic ethic of the Aelyrian nobility appears to have been a political stratagem on King Constantine's part to attract the upper classes of the neighbouring countries. Merchants, traders and financiers flocked to Abestat and Colonia to invest in this new country, excited to obtain a title of 'power' within the quasi-feudal kingdom of the Aelyrians. The open trading policies enforced by King Constantine and the Duchy of Abestat created a massive increase in commerce, so much so that the Kingdom's coffers soon overflowed with crowns.

Quoted several times as having said that "the Golden City [Colonia] will govern the World", King Constantine was clear about his ambitions to continue conquest and expansion. Aelyrians - now a term used for both the winged creatures on Isle Coronae as well as all the subjects in the Kingdom - enjoyed a privileged lifestyle unheard of at the time: citizens regularly ate meat, had leisure time for exercise and basic education, and were not bound by hereditary notions of class or status. Colonia's population hit two million citizens by 8844, and Abestat reached nearly three million around the same time - numbers equally unheard of at the time.

[top]Setting the Tone for Expansion

With an immense population and a continuous influx of new immigrants seeking new avenues for success and advancement not found in their own homelands, the Kingdom of Aelyria quickly became a major power in world affars - and with its hold on the richest trading port in the known world, an economic giant. In 8811, Lord Leland, the Court Finance Minister, reported that over two-thirds of all trade came from the former territory of Luctadomum, and the rich grain fields of the southern Colonia region were producing more than enough for profitable export.

Unwilling to immediately rush into global affairs, King Constantine, having remarked that "nation building is a communal task", ordered the settlement of a new city in Colonia, to be named Agerburg after the rich fields which would envelop it. In 8830, the King sent forth an army of around forty thousand troops to the borders of the Kingdom of Daltina and the Duchy of Phondra in order to protect the colonists along this uncertain front. This act proved to be a source of antagonism, however, between the burgeoning Kingdom and its two neighbours, who saw it as the first step in Aelyrian encroachment into their territory.

After Agerburg was established in 8831, and advanced settlement, road-building and irrigation commenced, King Constantine appointed Prince Rynus himself to oversee the prosperity of the region - ensuring that grain, wheat, rice and cattle would be produced in abundance.

[top]Observing the Conquests

Constantine's conquests were by no means just territorial ones. The establishment of a social order based upon meritocracy allowed for political advancement and individual prosperity based upon recogned achievements and rewards for excellence. Despite the possibility of political, social, and economic advancement, the fact that all power ultimately derived from the King assured the continued stability of the system and kept corruption in check.

One danger remained, however: this system provided for no accountability for King Constantine himself - although this certainly was not a pressing concern at the time. The King was intent on seeing his people prosper and creating a nation based upon the integration of the many races, which he perceived as having unique strengths that, when combined and organized, would create a disciplined and effective labor, merchant and military citizen force.

Colonizing Agerburg marked a declaration that the Aelyrian Kingdom was prepared to proclaim its brand of civilization throughout the world. The Kingdom of Daltina and the Duchy of Phondra did not take kindly to this political step, and the future of the Aelyrian diplomatic objectives seemed cloudy and uncertain, for the King's boldness in politics and social engineering had yet to be seen in direct military conquest.

[top]Book VIII: Candace and the Kingdom


[top]Focus and Scope

The Kingdom of Aelyria had flexed his military muscle in a risky and dubious operation in the conquest of Luctadomum, and the victory had wide-ranging repercussions. The colonization of Agerburg near the Aelyrian border with Daltina and Phondra increased the tension between the neighbours.

While some compared the growth of Aelyria to that of the barbaric Khardran Empire, the rich trade from Abestat warded away potential competitors to the Empire, the burgeoning Kingdom's strengths in trade and political institutions belie any parallel between them. People from Daltina and Phondra began to immigrate to Aelyria seeking the same prosperity and success in Agerburg that other races had attained in Colonia and Abestat. The consequent increase in prosperity, population and power would raise the Kingdom onto the international stage.

[top]The Border Raids and the Knights of Aelyria

In 8845, Prince Rynus von Oreskovich - now overseeing the growth and management of Agerburg and its rich fields - reported that Daltinan and Phondran forces had begun minor attacks against the defensive walls build by the Royal Army, as if testing for weaknesses. Yet both powers were still acting alone and were not united, affording an opportunity for Aelyrian retalliation and response. King Constantine took the opportunity to diplomats and ambassadors trained in the new arts of rhetoric and oratory to Daltina and Phondra.

The Daltinans and Phondrans, while impressed and amazed by the grace and charm of the Aelyrian representatives, were nonetheless not dissuaded from their campaign; each strengthened their resolve. The resulting conflicts would convince King Constantine to create an order of chivalry and bestow knighthood to those warriors and soldiers displaying the highest skill in both mind and body. The Knights of Aelyria, as they were called, engaged in a number of historic adventures between 8845 and 9093 into the heartland of Daltina and Phondra - erroding popular support for the campaigns against Aelyria and bolstering foreign opinion of the magical kingdom that could produce such men of valor.

The Knights, wishing to solidify their popular support, did not wage war directly against the Daltinan King or the Phondran Duke. Rather, they attacked those nobles who had treated their subjects poorly and thus created a rift between the Crown of each kingdom and the fiefdoms from which that Crown derived legitimacy. The citizens of these lands flocked to Aelyria joyously and the Daltinan and Phondran border raids ceased by 9024. By 9038, the Duchy of Phondra was embroiled in a bloody civil war between its two most powerful fiefdoms, and Daltina would be in open rebellion against its monarch by 9057.

The Aelyrian people, overjoyed with these victories, barely even noticed the death of one of their greatest statesmen. In 9093, Prince Rynus von Oreskovich passed away in his villa in southern Agerburg without completing his memoirs. The elder Prince had outlived any other human before him thanks to the power of the Isle of the Crown which he regularly visited in order to rejuvenate his youth and vigor. Yet even the great Aelyrian powers of Insula Coronae could not undo the fundamental mortality of the human race.

King Constantine credited the victory of the Knights of Aelyria to Prince Rynus' funding, and the economic welfare of the Aelyrian kingdom to his deceased companion. Declaring a month of perpetual morning, he had immense columns erected in Agerburg and Colonia to commemorate the human who had become Aelyrian in all but racial form. In 9102, King Constantine resumed his plans for conquest - but his ambitious drive was propelled not by logic, this time, but by the fervent desire to be reconciliated with the emotions he had so long repressed.

[top]The Occupation of Daltina

Having taken the death of Rynus very badly, King Constantine is said to have burst into tears and fly into raging anger whenever he was reminded of his partner. The King, who had been so accustomed to mastering the intricacies of politics, warfare and the kingdom, felt assuredly frustrated by his inability to grant immortality to the Prince. His sorrow and anger are said to have been his motive for his attempt to obtain Daltina by force.

Receiving counsel from the Royal Court that Daltina was by far the stronger of the two nations which opposed him and that an invasion of Phondra - which was currently embroiled in a revolution- would be most prudent for expansion, King Constantine instead established his Directive on Offense in 9102, citing that the stronger opponent must be eliminated before the weaker. The notion, contradictory to the strategies on warfare at the time, drew prolonged and contentious discussion among his advisors, but Constantine saw to it that the Court in the end supported his goals.

The King's desire to alter the way war was waged became a primary strategy in his expansion, and immediately he established diplomatic relations with the many other powers. A friendship and trade treaty was sealed with the Kingdom of Dargis and a non-aggression pact arranged with Eutopia, thus securing the northern border. The King also stationed an intricate network of defensive fortresses near and around Abestat to protect the city from the barbarian incursions of Arkdün; in the end, over twenty thousand soldiers were posted for border defence.

Having thus safeguarded the other borders of the Kingdom, in spring of 9103, King Constantine personally led the unannounced surprise invasion of Daltina. Over sixty thousand soldiers crossed the border and immediately overwhelmed Royalist forces, which were already fighting a challenge from two of the stronger nobles of the region. Realizing that the invasion would prompt the unification of the Daltinians against the Aelyrians, King Constantine played on the ambitions of the Daltinan people and forged a war pact with Duke Arctyl in Arconis. By 9105 Aelyrian forces had the city of Arconis in their possession.

Offering a baseless promise to place Arctyl on the throne of Daltina, Constantine gained a pawn in the invasion of the capital city itself. In the winter between 9105 and 9106, Arctyl's forces struck at defensive perimeters around the capital, while King Constantine led the main bulk of his army over the mountainous passes to attack the city from the northwest. Threatening to cut off trade with any nation that would aid Daltina, King Constantine successfully prevented the Kingdom of Medonia from involving itself in the war; to secure the Medonians' favour the King offered them luxurious trade and diplomatic incentives to align themselves with Aelyria. The failures of Khardra - that is, the misuse of diplomacy as a tool of war - were made ever so apparant when the Aelyrians marched on Daltina in 9108, formally occupying the mainland of the kingdom.

The isle of La Quista, however, had bartered for its freedom from Aelyrian occupation by paying an exhorbitant amount of funds in 'reparations' for the war. By 9115, La Quista would be reincorporated into the Kingdom of Modisia, but its distance from Aelyria and its relative weakness were sufficient to dissuade the King from acting immediately to preserve Aelyrian influence in that region. Queen Gwendolyn of Medonia, likewise, had raised an army of fifty thousand guards, knights and pikemen, and had threatened military action if La Quista were invaded by Aelyrian forces. Fortunately, a treaty of trade and good will was signed between the Kingdom of Aelyria and the Kingdom of Medonia, formally ending the war in 9116 and establishing benevolent relations between the two powers.

[top]Candace of Arconis

By the end of the War of Daltinan Occupation, over one hundred and eighty thousand soldiers and civilians had been killed on both sides, and Daltina was largely in ruins. The proud Daltinan Navy had either fled to La Quista or been set on fire by the retreating Daltinans, thereby smashing immediate hopes of Aelyrian naval supremacy in the Southern Seas. While many welcomed the arrival of the Aelyrian kingdom, there was also much suffering and poverty. The promise of civilization seemed eclipsed by the extreme ruin brought about by the costly war, and King Constantine recognized that the expedited battles he had engaged in had caused more damage than drawn out warfare would have done.

In the heart of the city of Arconis during the Reconstruction of 9185, a young noblewoman, the Lady Candace du Rose, became engaged with the Aelyrian occupation. Thus her political life was set in motion. Her family had been propelled to a position of leadership in Arconis when Duke Arctyl had died during the invasion of Daltina under the most peculiar of circumstances; now it fell to Candace to oversee the reconstruction of the region. In 9189 she was awarded the post of Duchess of Arconis and its outlying lands by a grateful King Constantine.

This half-elf, half-human woman caught the curiosity of many traditional Aelyrians who had not seen such fierce determination in a 'liberated' (i.e., conquered) person, and attributed her patriotism to her desire for prosperity and success - the same driving force which had given birth to the Kingdom of Aelyria itself. Duchess Candace moved to Daltina for a short period in 9190 to oversee the education of countless thousands - for education under the Kingdom of Daltina was only afforded to the rich or high class. Revealing her mastery over the magic discipline of Sorcery, Candace sought an audience with King Constantine to set a new agenda for the Aelyrian education system.

[top]Candace the Mage and Romancing the Throne

In 9192, King Constantine appointed Candace to his Royal Court as Royal Mage. The post was a post of prestige and power - it carried with it the responsibilities to oversee Aelyrian education, from the University of Colonia to the Abestat Academy. Performing research and experimentation from 9192-9195, Candace developed a rich curriculum based on physical fitness, mental discipline, and arcane awareness.

A unique social transformation began as a result of these educational reforms in the Kingdom of Aelyria. Hundreds of the well-educated could now seek advancement through research and scholarly works, not necessarily the nobility or the military. Described as a kind, compassionate and well-loved woman, Candace set her eyes still higher: she wanted to impact every single citizen of the Kingdom that she was certain would be destined to rule the world. In her work, On the Fundamentals of Arcane Mastery, the Sorceress advocated the creation of a society where everyone was proficient in magic.

After seeking funding from the many fiefdoms and houses throughout Aelyria, Candace was discouraged for no one seemed as eager as she to enact her vision. Her own fiefdom of Arconis could not undertake such a drastic measure which would require tens of thousands of gold crowns to construct a single academy. It was then, in 9198, that Candace started lobbying the King for the funding. Yet, unexpectedly, King Constantine and Candace fell in love.

Whether by enchantment or by the exertion of emotion from the logic-torn Aelyrian, Constantine proposed to Candace after a four-year courtship in 9202, and the two were betrothed for a year. In the summer of 9203 a wedding of immense proportions was thrown in Colonia, and nobles from all throughout the Kingdom and beyond converged on the rich fields just north of the sprawling metropolis. These same fields would one day be known as the 'Tourney Fields'. An immense tournament, banquet, ball and feast were held on the fields and throughout the city, as King Constantine married Candace and proclaimed her as his Queen.

[top]Queen Candace du Rose I

As celebrations throughout the kingdom continued well into the Autumn of 9203, Queen Candace began to set her domestic agenda in order. Spending nearly a million gold pieces on her education program, Queen Candace founded the Academy of Magic Sciences that very year in Colonia. The Academy was to be extremely selective and highly competitive, accepting only a few students who would learn in the classroom for one year before beginning a term of private study under a Master. Insisting that she continue to oversee the academy, no Royal Court Mage was ever appointing during Candace's reign as she assumed all such responsibilities.

King Constantine allowed his wife to oversee domestic affairs in education and magic while he personally reorganized the military and the Knighthood. The Circle of Knights, led by the famous Sir Kestrel, was created for the purpose of protecting the life of the Queen (the King was, after all, immortal) and to enforce justice throughout the countryside of Daltina.

The Dwarven Trade Treaty of 9208 established a strong exchange of raw materials and textiles from Abestat and large imports of finished weapons, armor and iron works from the Kingdom of Dargis, whose infantry was without comparison. The treaty, personally negotiated by King Constantine, forged a close relationship between the Aelyrian and the Dwarven King Rruddlen. This relationship would later grow into an Alliance in 9215 to safeguard the two kingdoms' interests - Constantine's lust for conquests, and Rrudlen's desires to establish a strong Dwarven economy based on trade in the heart of the continent.

Meanwhile, Candace encountered opposition from some of King Constantine's closest advisors, and, even more shockingly, she was not permitted to continue living on the Isle of the Crown. An Aelyrian Council of Elders, consisting of the several dozen remaining pure-bred Aelyrians, argued that Candace had usurped power without earning it justly, and the council severely condemned the young Queen for having moved to the Isle upon her coronation without having even learned the Imperial Tongue.

It is true that by this time the Kingdom of Aelyria had grown well beyond the Isle of the Crown and the influence of the Council of Elders had dwindled to an utter whisper. Yet the Queen knew that her popularity - and her intended social reforms - would die if she were not seen as a strong ruler: nobles of the time continually tested their limited powers in the hopes of gaining leverage over the Crown. Thus came the Queen's plan for the United Kingdom.

[top]The United Kingdom of Aelyria

After being expelled from Insula Coronae in 9217 while King Constantine was in Thyatis (Eutopia's capital) negotiating a border dispute - Queen Candace single-handedly called upon nobles throughout the Kingdom to converge in Colonia for a four-week conference. At this meeting Candace proclaimed that Aelyria ought to be united under a rule that could be reflective of all its people.

While she adamantly defended her husband's role in politics, Queen Candace argued that the Elders on the Isle were far too removed to govern effectively. She decreed that the Royal Court would assume only custodial, ceremonial and advisory duties for the Crown (prior to this time, ministers and courtiers in the Court wielded actual bureaucratic authority). She personally appointed nobles from across the political spectrum to a new council she immortalized as the 'Council of the Crown'. Members seated on the Council gained extreme prestige and wielded the actual reins of government.

The creation of the Council of the Crown is considered as the act that founded the first true Aelyrian legislature - though while the Royal Court did indeed hold power, nothing could be done without King Constantine's explicit consent. Queen Candace's new system marked a major shift in power - and attitudes - in Aelyrian politics, for members of her Council could issue commands within their own sphere of authority, not requiring the constant supervision of the monarchs. Likewise, the Council of the Crown bred ambition in the nobles, who viewed it as an opportunity to expand their influence over their fellow aristocrats and landed gentry and accumulate power.

In a direct challenge to King Constantine's absolute rule, Queen Candace had initiated an irreversible trend: nobles now had legitimate cause to advance their careers, and members of the Council of the Crown would command influence and potentially even challenge the Crown, although Constantine and Candace both saw to it that the Council worked mostly as a managerial force and constantly occupied its members with taxing tasks. In 9220, both King Constantine and Queen Candace had the nation renamed and the United Kingdom of Aelyria was officially born.

[top]The Era of Chivalry in Review

The Aelyrian Kingdom underwent an immense metamorphosis during the period termed the Era of Chivalry (8845-9246). To secure the country's security, King Constantine chartered the first order of knighthood, the Knights of Aelyria, which journeyed throughout the kingdom and enforced the laws uniformly while simultaneously performing acts of good will. The new body of adventures attracted immigrants from across the world and would eventually lead to the invasion of Daltina in 9103.

After the death of Prince Rynus, King Constantine began to show signs of eccentricity and developed an obsession with satisfying the emotions that he had thus far successfully suppressed. His marriage with the Lady Candace du Rose sparked a social revolution in both culture and education as the new Queen pursued an integration of magic and mundane teachings in Aelyrian institutions. The Queen's greatest impact on Aelyrian society, however, was not on culture but on politics.

The creation of the Council of the Crown and the disempowerment of the Royal Court signalled the first major power shift to the direct, absolute monarchy employed by King Constantine heretofore. Candace, threatened by the Council of Elders on the Isle of the Crown, created a new Council to act as her personal center for authority and assumed to lead it as its President. Indirectly, however, the Queen had given an opportunity for nobles to become career politicians, and thus she took power away from the Crown and placed it in the hands of bureaucrats with their own ambitious interests.

[top]Book IX: The United Kingdom of Aelyria

[top]Focus and Scope

The Aelyrian nation underwent significant political changes under Queen Candace, even though her primary intent was to safeguard her reforms in education. The pride of the few remaining Ancient Aelyrians had been wounded both by the Queen's decision to move the center of power away from the Isle of the Crown and by the apparant disinterest of the nobility in their plight. The Council of the Crown empowered its new officials to oversee specific areas of management in the United Kingdom of Aelyria – foreign affairs, defense, finance, internal affairs, and justice. Queen Candace's reforms also caused a decline in the power and prestige of the Crown coupled with a heightened awareness of their own identity and power within the noble class.

Yet ultimately a series of revolutions and civil wars toward the end of the Queen's reign would bring the kingdom to its knees. King Constantine would lose his grip on his emotions and fall victim to their strength.

[top]The United Kingdom of Aelyria

Queen Candace du Rose grew to become a charismatic woman despite her intrinsically retiring nature. She championed the arts and promoted the Academy of Magic Sciences extensively. Some of the greatest mages were produced during this era, prompting an increased curiosity from across the world in Aelyria's education system. Increased trade, immigration and commerce secured such economic growth that by 9228, Aelyria was the richest nation in the world, her coffers overflowing in gold.

The Council of the Crown continued to attract some of the most talented nobles.
Aristocratic families began to actively vie for Queen Candace's favor, as Candace was the President of the Council and, therefore, could appoint anyone she saw fit to serve to its five offices. King Constantine, who traveled frequently supervising foreign affairs, was not present to check the power of the nobility and consequently the nobles who once shook in fear of their monarchs began to develop ideas and interests of their own.

When King Constantine returned to Aelyria in 9230 he was severely fatigued. His essence had been under constant attack by the emotions plaguing his system. He submitted to lust with his Queen. The two produced an heir, Prince Aeronyl, whom many perceived to be the heir to the throne – despite the absence of any specific laws dictating successions, since King Constantine was believed to be immortal. Aeronyl, however, was half-Aelyrian, a quarter-Human and a quarter-Elf, and he was most certainly mortal. He lacked his father's ingenuity, but had his ambitions and would seek a career in the Aelyrian military.

[top]The Treason of Queen Candace

In 9241 King Constantine began an extended diplomatic mission and succeeded in bolstering the United Kingdom of Aelyria's interests abroad. When Phondra was about to unite after decades of civil war, and possibly challenge Aelyrian borders, the King sent an Aelyrian operative to infiltrate the state in what is often considered the first Aelyrian covert operation. The Phondran Objective placed a man of noble birth, Earl Jefean, as a challenger to the Phondran throne. The man, who was an Aelyrian citizen, had deep Phondran roots and was paid handsomely so that his private army could overcome King Elyas' forces. The operation was clearly a long-term one.

King Constantine also opened an Aelyrian Embassy in Medonia and trade increased between the two powers. The Kingdom of Modisia, paranoid about a potential Aelyrian invasion, signed a treaty of non-aggression with King Constantine in 9242, paving the way for productive relations. Aelyria gained a reptutation of benevolence, fairness and enlightened society, due in large part to the King's openness and calculated generosity.

King Constantine also instituted the Viceroy System in late 9242. This unique political model enhanced the power of the Crown and checked the growing authority of the Council. Viceroys were given territorial jurisdiction to oversee the activities of noble families and their fiefdoms and duchies. The growth of the power of the Council of the Crown was in large part stunted because of this move, and personal friends and allies of the King received the luxurious benefits of the Viceroyalty post. Many consider this the precursor to the first Aelyrian intelligence organizations.

In spring of 9243, while King Constantine was in Dargis conducting negotiations to extend the alliance with that kingdom, barbarians from the city-state of Arkdün invaded the United Kingdom and destroyed the defensive fortresses just north of Abestat. Viceroy Tor Tolitat, who first told the King this news, also revealed that he had obtained evidence that Queen Candace had supplied the exact military coordinates of the fortresses to the barbarian general Antediluvian.

Stunned and shocked by this turn of events, King Constantine quickly travelled back to Colonia. There he had Queen Candace arrested and interrogated by Viceroy Tor. Candace quickly admitted that she had supplied the information to the barbarians – and she revealed that she was also having an adulterous affair with the general Antediluvian himself. The added information sent ripples throughout the United Kingdom, and at the advice of the Council of Elders (the few remaining Aelyrians on the Isle of the Crown), King Constantine ordered Candace placed on trial for treason, adultery and conspiracy.

[top]Acts of Desperation

The small militia forces commanded by each private house of nobility was no match for the brutal and fierce barbarian armies which poured down from the north. The Royal Guard had been obliterated due to the aid that Candace provided to the barbarian leader Antediluvian, and the remaining Royalist forces numbered less than thirty thousand – fighting against a Barbarian force nearly eight times that size. In 9244, when Abestat was sacked by the barbarians, King Constantine's emotions impelled him into a furious act of desperation.

King Constantine ordered the evacuation of all eight million residents of Colonia underground, into an advanced and intricate tunnel network which had been constructed in the utmost secrecy. He split up his remaining armed forces into two units – a northern garrison of twenty five thousand which guarded the southern Abestat river bank to ward off the barbarians, and an escort batallion of five thousand guards whom the King would lead around through Dargis (an authorized border crossing) and Eutopia (an unauthorized passage) to swing into northern Arkdün and take the barbari city by surprise.

The king ordered that his wife remain captive and that she be placed on trial by the very Council of the Crown that she had created. Nobles began to deliberate that year and with overwhelming evidence against her, the Queen was placed under such intense scrutiny that, some say, it drove her to madness. Prince Aeronyl, torn by his love for his mother and his patriotism for his kingdom, decided to leave the Colonia undergrounds and take command of the northern garrison against the barbarians.

Constantine arrived on the outskirts of Arkdün in early 9245. The King had made a grievious and unfortunate assumption in his calculations. Instead of finding it empty of defenders, as he had supposed, the barbarian city held several hundred thousand wild barbarian warriors; in truth, the city was hardly like a city at all and more a military fortress. Flying a flag of diplomatic truce, the King jeopardized his escort troops and personally entered the city to meet with its barbarian leaders.

Antediluvian was leading the main barbarian strike force against the Aelyrian Northern Garrison, but his cousin Aeric, also known simply as the 'White Knight', was more than eager to meet with the King. After weeks of negotiations and discussions, Sir Aeric struck a deal with the Aelyrian King: in exchange a noble title and his own fiefdom, as well as military authority to raise his own armies, the White Knight would pledge allegiance and become a vassal to the Aelyrian Crown.

[top]Uneasy Alliances


By late Autumn of 9245 Aeric was proclaimed Duke of House Arkdün, now a vassalate of the United Kingdom of Aelyria. But the White Knight desired much more than simply his own fiefdom – unlike most of his barbarian brethren, he sought to be immortalized in legend and song. When King Constantine began his trek south to Colonia, Aeric was already busy amassing his troops. Using the training methods he had seen among the Aelyrians and his own tactical genius, Duke Aeric created a Royal Cavalry (under his direct command) and a Royal Defense Force, the second consisting mostly of ballistas, siege engines, catapults and other early artillery pieces.

Hoping to encounter the Northern Garrison defending the Aelyrian frontier from the barbarian Antediluvian's invasions, King Constantine was shocked when instead he saw a vast wasteland where the garrison had been stationed. The winter of 9245 was made even more impossible by one of the heaviest snowfalls in history, and travel through the plains of Agerburg was devastating. The Northern Garrison, it would later be discovered, had been utterly massacred by Antediluvian's forces, who had headed directly for Colonia and the Isle of the Crown.

The few elders remaining on the Isle of the Crown became obsessed with their antiquity and feared that the savagery and brutal, uncivilized nature of the barbarians would destroy their dream of an inspired nation. They therefore raised the defenses of the ancient isle by calling upon the Aethergem, that divine stone left behind by Diana prior to her Ascension into the Heavens. Whether a divine or arcane item, the Aethergem created extremely potent fields of energy that now made travel to and from the Isle of the Crown impossible. By this time, however, the Kingdom itself was near collapse.

By the time King Constantine and his escort troops arrived at Colonia, the rich wheat fields of Agerburg had been burned and sown with salt, rendering them infertile. In the chaos and growing fear Queen Candace had convinced her private guards to betray the Kingdom, arrest Viceroy Tor, suppress the Council, and fling open the gates to her adulterous lover Antediluvian. The details of how she came to do this remain generally unknown, but it is suspected that there were at least one or two other high-ranking traitors in the Academy that she had created. Nonetheless, when the King discovered that his 'golden city' had fallen into savage hands, he became enraged.

[top]Rebuilding a Dream

The United Kingdom of Aelyria had been reunited by force, and it was this martial resolve which would be manifested repeatedly over the next year. The nobility, elated that their King had returned but disgruntled that their voice in the Council of the Crown had been stifled, began to question his leadership. Open riots were not uncommon in parts of Abestat, while Daltina and Arconis, in sharp contrast, both held public demonstrations supporting the Monarchy. In all instances, Commander Aeric and the Royal Guard were swift in putting down all dissent.

By mid-9247 Colonia, Agerburg and Abestat had been physically rebuilt, but the spirit of the Aelyrian people had yet to return. With public confidence lost due to the trauma of witnessing a Queen turn upon her own people, King Constantine sought to revive a sense of public order and morale by traveling to the unspoiled lands of Daltina, which had remained resoundingly optimistic during the crises. It was there he met Michelle du Starkville.

Michelle was an elfin woman of noble birth, a Duchess from the Kingdom of Medonia, and remarkably strong-willed. Letters between the King and his Viceroys in Colonia who were overseeing the reconstruction and management of the Kingdom reveal that Constantine rapidly became intrigued by this woman's views. Highly educated and strongly motivated, Michelle confided in the king that she was hoping to defect to the United Kingdom of Aelyria - and to lead her entire duchy with her.

Michelle's compassion for the suffering of the Aelyrian people under Candace became her impetus to learn all that she could about the creation of the Aelyrian kingdom and its ideals. Yet Michelle was also a realist and as a professor at the Universitas Daltinae the Duchess created remarkable political models and institutional reforms which she hoped the King would eventually apply. Impressed by Michelle's vision for the Kingdom, the King sent her to Colonia to re-educate the viceroys and political bureaucrats in the Aelyrian capital.

[top]Enchanting Medonia


In secrecy, as would later be discovered through documents and tales, Duchess Michelle and King Constantine had constructed a plan to both safeguard the defection of House Starkville and, at the same time, annex Medonia it as part of the United Kingdom of Aelyria. The plan revolved around the well-known fact that the last Queen of Medonia, Gwendolyn, had been overthrown by one of her ambitious sisters, Julianna, in 9246.

Publicly, King Constantine entered the Kingdom of Medonia in early winter of 9247 to support Queen Julianna's new regime and offer her assurances of the United Kingdom of Aelyria's unwavering support. Privately, meanwhile, the King promised her military support for her government, which was already facing daunting challenges from the nobility. The noble houses of Medonia were incredibly prominent and held the power of veto in Medonia's Assembly of the Pnyx, a council dating back to the height of Medonian supremacy.

King Constantine finally persuaded Julianna with the false promise of making her his Queen and equal in the Aelyrian Kingdom. When Queen Julianna announced to her people her decision to merge with the United Kingdom of Aelyria, it sent shock-waves through the Pnyx. Nobles voted to depose her, but by then it was already too late. Commander Aeric and his troops had occupied most of Medonia and the leaders of the noble families which opposed Julianna and the unification with Aelyria were 'mysteriously' murdered.

Paranoia gripped the Medonian people. They could do nothing but submit to their new Aelyrian masters. King Constantine, however, remained in Medonia for nearly a year to establish personal trust with the Medonians. He built temples, palaces and shrines – not for the Aelyrians, but for the Medonians and according to their customs. He incorporated Medonian traditions throughout the United Kingdom of Aelyria, and spent much gold to refinance the corrupt Medonian economy and create new marketplaces and centers of commerce.

To solidify his rule, King Constantine and Duchess Michelle had arranged a final step in their plan. In the summer of 9248, Julianna was mysteriously murdered in the forests outside Medonia. Calling this an act of cowardice and treason against the queen, King Constantine imposed martial law on all of the Medonian nobles and dissolved the Pnyx, which had become largely ceremonial by this point. He implemented his own meritocratic government throughout the land, the thus the enchanting of Medonia was complete. Who killed the Medonian Queen remains unknown.

[top]The Rise of Michelle


When he returned to Colonia, welcomed triumphantly with parades, marches and festivities, King Constantine reviewed the remarkable work of Duchess Michelle. Viceroys had been given jurisdiction to appoint and re-appoint nobles as they wished, and these Viceroys were backed with the power of the Royal Guard under Commander Aeric. The Council of the Crown had been restructured and filled with those of common birth, thus diluting the power of the nobles still further.

More importantly, parks, fountains, gardens and plazas had been constructed throughout Colonia and the outlying lands by Duchess Michelle. She had personally funded the creation of these places of peace to re-envigorate the Aelyrian people after the chaos and uncertainty of the recent period. Having already acquired Aelyrian citizenship in the annexation of Medonia, Michelle was widely seen as a domestic heroine and social savior.

King Constantine and Duchess Michelle began a romance. Travelling to the Isle of the Crown, she greeted skeptical elder Aelyrians by speaking in the Ancient Aelyrian tongue. Mastering Aelyrian culture, Duchess Michelle had relentless spirit and eternal energy, both in her romance with the King and in her affairs at state.

Michelle became the First Councillor of the High Council in early winter of 9248 and received from the Council of Elders the position of Steward of the Isle which made her responsible for overseeing affairs on the Isle of the Crown. Having won the confidence of the people, the admiration of the few remaining pure-bred Aelyrians, and the love of the King, Michelle was poised now to ascend as the King's new consort and become the woman who would forever change Aelyria.

[top]The Legacy of the United Kingdom


Queen Candace's creation of the United Kingdom had been largely symbolic until the arrival of Commander Aeric and his brutally violent but remarkably disciplined troops, which kept the kingdom far more 'united' than anything else had done. Yet the treachery and adultery of the Queen created disdain among the nobility and disillusionment among the people. These negative sentiments were only confirmed in the invasion of Antediluvian and his barbarians from the North.

It was not until King Constantine reunited the Kingdom and reaffirmed the principles of the Sacred Three – Law, Order and Justice – that Aelyria had the opportunity to heal. This opportunity was fully realized by the young but remarkably shrewd and politically capable Michelle du Starkville. The United Kingdom would be remembered as an era in which the Aelyrian state overcame countless obstacles, not through the solidarity of its people – as it had during the period of the Aelyrian Kingdom – but, rather, by the skill and capacity of a few remarkable people risen to power and authority through the Kingdom's meritocratic system.

Ultimately, Michelle was brought into the spotlight at the end of this era by gaining the approval of the Ancient Aelyrians who still remained living – most of the ancients had been dying from an unknown phenomenon probably associated with the deleterious effects of emotion within their logical beings. As First Councilor and Steward of the Isle, Michelle began construction of a new palace in the winter of 9248. This palace, she hoped, would house the Ancient Aelyrians and their King, acting as an everlasting monument to the greatness of the Aelyrian past and evoke the promise of an even greater future for the Aelyrians.

[top]Book X: Birth of the Empire

[top]Focus and Scope

The Aelyrian people had built a state based upon the lofty principles of civilization and enlightenment manifested through culture, education, and intelligent expression of the mind and the heart. The whole kingdom was horror-stricken by the treason of their first Queen Candace, but their faith in the monarchy was restored when King Constantine used his skill in diplomacy to persuade the competent Aeric to turn the tables on the invading barbarians from the North. Yet, despite her king's charismatic mastery over the art of the spoken word and compromise, Aelyria's foreign affairs was in a state of chaos.

With the annexation of the Kingdom of Medonia, those nations not yet under Aelyria's sway began to perceive the United Kingdom as an aggressive nation capable of any act which would increase either its coffers or its borders. Unlike the Daltinan occupation, which had been orderly and welcomed by a majority of Dalitinians, the Medonian occupation upset the status quo and created much dissent between the people and their leaders.

[top]The Council's Reconstruction


In mid-winter of 9248, King Constantine and Duchess Michelle wed, united in a ceremony presided over by the same Archbishop Lancaster III who had wed the King and Candace. Yet right before the coronation in which Michelle was to assume the throne as Queen, the ceremony was interrupted by a wing of guards who placed both the King and Michelle under arrest in the Imperial Palace. The guards announced themselves as Conciliar Guards under orders from the Council of the Crown's President Pro-Tempore, Lady Panesa, who was acting outside of her authority as the rightful First Councillor was now Michelle herself.

Correspondence and documents of the era indicate that the Council of the Crown had been outraged at the occupation of Medonia by Aelyrian troops and viewed it as an uncivilized and duplicitous act. Within two days, the Council announced that it would begin a Reconstruction of the Kingdom. It later became clear that President Panesa had in fact been bribed by a militant wing of Medonian separatists to take this action.

The royal couple furious. Michelle sent secret messages via pigeon and dove from the Palace to the mainland. In Colonia, the messages were received and decyphered by Viceroy Tor Totalitat, who, in the wake of the arrest, had assumed a function which would later be described as a 'regency'. Within the week, the Viceroy and a detachment of Royal Guard apprehended the Council of the Crown and arrested all of its members on the charges of high treason against the King and conspiracy to overthrow the government.

In an address before the nobles and prominent citizens of the United Kingdom, King Constantine and his wed but as yet uncrowned wife, Michelle, explained that the interests of the Kingdom were to continue its mission of enforcing Law, Order and Justice throughout its borders and ensuring that no foreign power was ever capable of upsetting the Sacred Three. Michelle was even being called 'Queen Michelle' by some chroniclers of the period, although it should be noted that no coronation had yet taken place.

[top]The Treaty of Garde and the Policy of Contained Appeasement


In early 9249 King Constantine and his uncrowned Queen Michelle traveled to the city of Garde. The city was held by in conjunction by the dwarven Kingdom of Dargis and the Kingdom of Eutopia per the terms of the Truce of 8621. The monarchs were interested in becoming involved in the international community on a far more active level that previously. By 9250, over a year after the beginning of negotiations, Constantine and Michelle convinced the two kingdoms of Dargis and Eutopia to share management of the city of Garde with the United Kingdom of Aelyria – which, at this time, was more often called the 'Kingdom of Aelyria' in colloquial speech.

Yet these negotiations were not without their cost. The establishment of the Treaty of Garde of 9250 represented the first calculated, multi-national attempt by the other kingdoms around Aelyria to pursue a policy of contained appeasement. It was King Starphyre of Eutopia who crafted the ideology of granting Aelyria certain diplomatic concessions in the hope that it would enable other countries to gain time in preparing their own defenses against what was, without a doubt, Aelyrian military aggression.

King Starphyre's plan, while widely popular, had an important flaw – the Kingdom of Aelyria under the ambitious direction of King Constantine and Queen Michelle was already poised for military hegemony, as was already clear from its bloody annexations of Phondra and the Sherian Peninsula, as well as the swift and harsh take-over of Medonia. Yet the monarch, although they had fended off a potential coup from the Council of the Crown, were unable to stop wide-spread rebellion within their own borders.

[top]The Calm Before the Storm

In 9253, two years after Aelyria had been granted a full seat in the Garde Assembly, a small group of disgruntled peasants in Medonia began a riot against the Aelyrian occupation and attacked the local royal garrison near the city of Medonia. King Constantine acted swiftly in ensuring that the rebellion was put down. Soldiers in this operation did not discriminate between children, women and men, as the revolt was widespread among the commoners. While the operation ensured local stability, the excess of force caused alarming shock-waves to resonate throughout the world.

To appease the Medonians, Michelle and Constantine adopted the Family of Stone – a popular, philanthropic noble clan hailing from northern Medonia. With the adoption of Lady Alyxandrya of Stone, the two Aelyrian monarchs hoped that the Medonians would see the seriousness with which they took their stewardship over the new territories and the peoples therein. Ironically, it was not the Duchess Alyxandrya who became popular among the people but her husband, Duke Roland the Stone. In summer of 9253, Duke Stone won the Aelyrian Tournament in all categories and impressed the Royal Court so greatly that a spontaneous decision ratified both Duke Stone and Lady Alyxandrya as Prince and Princess and heirs to the Throne.

Yet the marriage between Duke Stone and Lady Alyxandrya was not altogether harmonious. The duchess enjoyed flirtations with other men, perhaps out of delight in the jealousy and anger it sparked in the Duke. Soon rumours of scandal began to spread in the Medonian portion of the royal family. King Constantine enlisted Duke Stone in the Royal Guard and posted him far from the Palace while Queen Michelle trained Lady Alyxandrya[ in the arts of diplomacy, politics and the sciences.

The period between 9253 and 9255 is widely considered one of uninterrupted prosperity. The trade treaties and diplomatic prestige gained through the United Kingdom's involvement in the Garde Assembly – Aelyrians often called this body “Our Assembly”, or at times “Our Commonwealth” on account of how much they dominated it – was a definitive boon. The extended trade which these treaties created bolstered the Aelyrian agrarian sector while giving new importance to urban life. In late 9255, the city of Port Constantine was chartered to be a military sentinel and trade city on the high seas.

[top]The Elven Rebellion

The marriage between Duke Roland the Stone and the Lady Alyxandrya came to an end in 9255 around the time of the great Northern Caravan. King Constantine finally granted an annullment to the couple. It was about this time that Moonstone appeared at the Aelyrian court. Moonstone ac Silrosan was a high noble of elven lineage and hailed from the far-off Elven Confederation of Syl. A prince among him own people, Moonstone had offered his services to the Palace as an administrator and a diplomat.

Encouraged by the Medonian people's positive reception of Prince Moonstone's leadership and initiatives for peace, King Constantine appointed him to the post of Chamberlain – a largely diplomatic role – in the Council of the Crown, over which Princess Alyxandrya was at the time operating as President Pro-Tempore (so as to stem any future 'reconstructions' or 'reforms' from that politicized body). Little did the King and Queen suspect that a romance would blossom between Alyxandrya and Moonstone, culminating in a marriage in the winter of 9256.

Yet the happiness of both the union between Alyxandrya and Moonstone as well as the joint-adoption of the two as Prince and Princess of Aelyria was overshadowed by rumors of a sinister plot against the Crown. Queen Michelle's spy network, the Selrak'rya, uncovered dissent in the Council of the Crown. Ambitious nobles whose desire for power had long been denied had apparently found an ally in Moonstone, and, later, in Alyxandrya herself. Years afterward it would be discovered that Moonstone had always intended to gain revenge for Aelyria's massacre of Medonia and the supposed summary execution of her final Queen, Julianna.

When Moonstone and Alyxandrya denounced the Crown in the Second Council Reconstruction Statement of 9257, King Constantine and Queen Michelle were quick to react. Martial law was immediately declared throughout the entire Kingdom, and the Council of the Crown was dissolved. Prince Moonstone and his new bride, however, both escaped apprehension by fleeing to the Great Forest in Medonian territory, where a small rebellion had been stirring against the Aelyrian occupation.

While this rebel group was small in number, it did receive aid from two major forces — the financial backing of disgruntled Medonian nobility and citizenry, and the morale and military support of the elves from the Syl Confederation, forever loyal to their Prince. This first time involvement of a foreign power in the internal affairs of the United Kingdom of Aelyria was unprecedented and became a source of tremendous fear for Aelyrian loyalists. Terming the revolution an 'Elven Rebellion', because of Syl's intervention, King Constantine and Queen Michelle deployed Commander Aeric and Viceroy Tor Totalitat as martial and administrative supervisors, respectively, over Medonia[, with hopes of quelling the rebellion.

By late autumn of 9257, attempts at reconciliation between the rebels and the royalists proved unsuccessful and all negotiations broke down. Tor and Aeric both joined in a winter invasion of the Great Forest – a move that broke with the customs of both the Medonian clerics as well as to the practicalities of warfare – and issued warrants for the arrest and capture of Moonstone ac Silrosan and Alyxandrya of Aelyria. Moonstone, recognizing that no real victory over the Royal Guard was possible, called the rebellion a “Final War for the Kingdom” and convinced many of the disgrunted Medonian nobles that an exodus would assure them victory in a seemingly impossible war.

[top]The Kingdom of Coldmoon

King Constantine and Queen Michelle withdrew to the privacy of the Imperial Palace on the Isle of the Crown, where they worked to ensure that the regional nobility would never again be invested with power enough to fuel any future rebellions. Meanwhile, all save three houses of nobility from Medonia were arrested and incarcerated for treason against the Crown. The cruel treatment of the elves and humans in the Great Forest of Medonia by the Aelyrian Royal Guard that followed the arrests became infamous throughout the continent. The ones that escaped were Moonstone and Alyxandrya's Coldmoon, the Princess Fana's New Kingdom, and a small group of former Pnyx assemblymen-philosophers who called themselves Atlantis, or the 'The Far-Enlightened'.

All three houses went their own way, and oral tradition speaks in detail of the three successor-kingdoms. The Atlantis faction settled in an underpopulated region under the protection of Darsilius the Archaxetanian Monarch, far to the east. The New Kingdom started off nomadic but finally settled along the northern border of the Kalyran Democratic Union. Its future is shadowy, as it continued to depend on the countries that would host it. Moonstone, however, had allies and patrons that promised him more than just land.

Coldmoon's settlers fled to the north, past Dargis (which had pledged aid to Aelyria in apprehending any fleeing criminals but failed to intercept the stealthy elves of the Coldmoon clan) to the Southern fertile crescent of the Syl Confederation. There, Coldmoon built its first city and a Palace to house Moonstone and Alyxandrya. It would take the Coldmoonians nearly half a century to complete their preparations and secure the semi-independence and sovereign authority necessary to become a full state, but in 9306, the Kingdom of Coldmoon was proclaimed with King Moonstone ac Silrosan and Queen Alyxandrya ac Silrosan as heads of state.

The implications for the establishment of the Kingdom of Coldmoon are endless. For the first time in Aelyrian history, a group of dissidents had been able to escape justice (and defy the Sacred Three), and flourish as a sovereign, successor-nation, its very existence a challenge to Aelyria. There was no doubt of the great animosity of Moonstone for King Constantine, but the Kingdom of Coldmoon was in no position to put this hostility into action. Nonetheless, its very existence established a dangerous precedent.

[top]Birth of the Empire

By 9258, most noble houses which had opposed the Crown had either fled the Kingdom of Aelyria or been captured. King Constantine and Queen Michelle had both learned that it was the efficiency of the meritocratic, skilled, professional administrators – such as Commander Aeric and Viceroy Tor Totalitat – that kept the nation united in times of crisis. The needs of the governed had to be met through local functionaries responsible directly to the Capital, Colonia.

And so, it was decided in the late, dark winter of 9258 that the structure of the United Kingdom of Aelyria must be modified to support the new aims and goals of the monarchy. In the retention of skilled citizenry and the simultaneous maintenace of Law, Order and Justice, accountability and responsibility had to be made universal. The new political system of Aelyria would have to be selective yet inclusive of all its citizens.

Editor's Note: The Original Manuscript excavated from Lysandrya ends here.
Lord Khrias' work was damaged in the fire of 9912, rendering the rest of its works useless. The Aelyrian people are indebted to Lord Khrias' life, spent in the service of Knowledge.


In Memoriam
Odin Khrias, Esq.
9601–9912
Further Reading: A Primer to the History of the Aelyrian Empire, Epic History of Aelyria, The Interregnum

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Original write-up by Kaelon. Minor edits by Mimesis.


Contributors: Mimesis, Kaelon
Created by Kaelon, February 22, 2008 at 03:47 AM
Last edited by Mimesis, May 7, 2016 at 08:28 AM
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