by Max Barry

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An Early History of Finium


THE MARMORS

The Didone Kingdom was created by the Marmor Kings of northern Phryxia, It was composed of several key cities like most early civilizations. Its capital was at the ancient city of Chalazi and incorporated most of northern Phryxia and southern Ainia. The province was named after the ancient King Phryxo who founded the Marmor dynasty in 2200 BCE. While Chalazi was the political capital, they had a distinctly Amyri culture and the Marmor kings all imitated the lesser kings of Amyr and neighboring Falcovian Chael.

Didone wars spread the Amyri culture into the east, but never crossed the mountains into Durn. Even though the Didone Kingdom was the central political figure of the era and other kingdoms followed their example consistently, there were two principle rivals to Didone hegemony. The first is the modern Vale, where the Geraki tribesmen had established the Old Order of Banog long before the Didone city-states in approximately 2700BCE. This Order was semi-federal and had limited power projection, but they did resist Amyri culture and some Didone political influences. To the east, Chael was the Kingdom surrounding Falco and stretching to Didone borderlands around Amyn. Chaelic culture is a subset of Amyri culture with strong Petravoltan influences, which made them venerable to the Marmors and helped to avert conflicts to the east.

While the Old Order stretched from the Trapharean Ocean to the Durnish Mountains, the Didone Kingdom only reached Arcad when it was first created. This left the western frontier free of any unifying influence. It was a mixture of Low Gerakis in northern Morsh and the Aquenti villages of Prucci and Hallsind. Most of the best kept records are military orders written on stone tablets that detail the campaigns in this frontier, which was known to the Didones as Isychia. This is where the twelve Marmor Kings are identified and their respective reigns approximated.

Regions of the Ancient World

King Phyrxo officially founded the Didone Kingdom in 2200 when he captured Arcad from Aquenti traders. He was already an old man at this time, and it was his son and successor, Marmor Machairi, who would ensure the survival of the kingdom for the next four centuries. Marmor Machairi was the second son of Phyrxo, and though it is difficult to confirm, there is a long conflict over where Machairi killed his elder brother, or was elevated to the throne through happenstance.

Machairi stole the concept of a kingdom from his eastern neighbors, the Amyri Seraphs. The Marmors, along with most of their subjects, were Gnatus-Sera, a low-born Seraph group that spoke a less complex version of Ancient Finian. The concept of kingship was intimately related to the shared Petravolt-Amyri pantheon, to which local monarchs attributed their right to rule. Each of the major cities in Chael had a local deity and a local king. For example, Amyn itself worshipped the God Tromos, a brother to the King of the Gods Kyrios. However, the Gnatus-Sera did not create new deities when they emigrated from the Seraph heartlands, and instead shared the single goddess Dytika, who mystically stole the Sun each night and fought a battle with Anat each night. Since Dytika was the only venerated deity in the Seraphic West, Machairi claimed kinship with her through his father.

Ethno-Linguistic Groups

With the divine right to rule from Dytika, Machairi’s kingdom nominally included the entirety of the world west of Amyn. Actual rule was illusive and difficult to keep because, as records indicate, local warlords would pledge their allegiance to Machairi, but seldom followed orders or could be convinced to pay tribute. To avoid a long conquest, Machairi relocated the local despots to Chalazi, built them palaces, and catered to their luxury. This attempt to curry favor with his subjects was successful in part and earned him the loyalty of some of poorer cities. However, large cities such as Mindor proved difficult to bribe with mere wealth.

Thus, in 2168, twelve years into Machairi’s reign, he celebrated the winter solstice with lavish style. The winter solstice, the day in which Dytika was able to steal the sun so quickly that it would take Anat the longest to chase her down, was the holiest day of the year. It was said that Dytika herself would appear and bless her grandson Machairi, drawing interest from the entire Seraphic world, but the celebration itself would only admit the chosen few, all of them Machairi’s subordinate rulers. Once the sun set, Machairi ritually drowned all his guests and claimed that Dytika herself had appeared and proclaimed his victims unfit to rule. Many records exist of this event and it seems that special effort was made by Machairi to make it common knowledge that there was no kingdom but his own. This single event stretched Didone control all the way to the North Sea port of Crot, south to Konigsburg (then Vasilia), and west to Mindor. There were several rebellions, each of which was successfully put down, except for Orari, a Petravoltan city with a Gnatus-Seran ruler. Orari was burnt and the fields drowned, which left it in pristine condition for archeologists to discover later.

Finium Circa 2153

When Machairi died in 2153, his kingdom became known as the Kingdom of Dytika to the Amyri. However, in the Gnatus-Sera tongue, Dytika is “Deidina,” which is where the derivative Didone Kingdom originates. His son Grothia came to the throne adopting the prefix Marmor as a title. Marmor Grothia continued the expansion into the west, absorbing Hallsind into the kingdom. His armies did not, however, attempt to advance into Chael, which was as of yet still unfederated city-states, and it seems even invited Amyri scholars to his court. The Amyri brought with them new institutions including a more unified version of their pantheon. These scholar-priests were known as the Ena-nao and they brought with them a new sense of ethnic superiority. The Ena-nao taught that the Seraphs were Kyrios’s chosen people and that the Gnatus-Sera were a child race. Grothia became obsessed with the fear that his right to rule would be subverted by a Seraph and so he attempted to replicate Amyri culture in every way possible and even claimed that the Marmor line was Seraphic.

Grothia committed suicide in 2132 and left the kingdom in a regency of his alien advisors until his only son Chlomos could rule. Chlomos was raised in complete isolation and only had contact with the Ena-nao. Analysis of Chlomos’s remained suggest that he suffered from a developmental disability and so he never truly assumed the throne. The Ena-nao ruled in his stead and established a network of temples across Didone territory that spread their message of Seraph supremacy and the rule of Kyrios over all gods. After reaching puberty Chlomos was given a woman once a month until he produced a child, Siopilos.

Once Chlomos’s heir was secured, he was killed by an assassin that most believe was his unnamed Ena-nao caretaker. Siopilos is one of the most well-known Marmors because analysis of the purported remains suggest that Siopolis was female. It is impossible to confirm this and it even seems contrary to the Ena-nao’s male-dominated ranks, but if the remains in the Tomb of Siopilos are legitimate, then she was female. If she was female, then she was carefully disguised by the Ena-nao and her rule was never questioned on the grounds of her sex. Unlike Chlomos, Siopolis proved to be an exceedingly effective puppet for the Ena-nao, who used her to wage a war against the Aquenti villages to the south. Her campaign against the Aquenti was a complete success and absorbed their entire territory up to the River Kato.

Siopilos’s heir is a matter of controversy, because if she was female, it is difficult to be certain that he was her son. Siopilos’s wife, Asthenis, was full-blooded Seraph from Falco provided by the Ena-nao. Some scholars of the period suggest that the heir was the child of Asthenis and another Seraph or one of the Ena-nao priesthood, but given the infrequency of Siopilos’s public appearances, a nine month absence from the public eye would have been completely possible. Nevertheless, Siopilos’s successor, be he heir or usurper, was Aspida the Hammer.

Aspida, known as the Hammer for his exploits in Accipiteria, now known as the Geraki lowlands or Morsh Province. Aspida was the first king since Phryxo to personally lead a campaign. Since he was already of age when he took power in 2082, which undoubtedly contributed to his freedom from the direct influences of the Ena-nao. Even though Aspida was no puppet of the Ena-nao, he was a zealot for their cause and believed himself to be savior of the Gnatus-Sera, the Gerakis, and the Aquenti. He called himself the Three Peoples King, but kept the title of Marmor, and allowed himself to be called the Hammer.

Didone Kingdom under Aspida

Aspida waged constant war against the Gerakis who he believed to be the lowest race. For thirty years he either put down rebellions or invaded fresh cities until he reached the Durnish Mountains. Beyond the mountains in the Vale the Old Order of Banog had collapsed and the great cities of the Vale were consumed with internal conflict, leaving the Gerakis of Morsh to the mercy of Aspida’s armies. Aspida reached the Geraki city of Untar and attempted to cross the mountains into Durn, but was repelled by the remnants of the Old Order. Aspida fell ill during a winter campaign against Vouno (modern Aspen) and died before he could return to the capital.

Aspida had many Geraki bastards spread out in Morsh, but his family in the capital was extremely small. He had only one wife who bore twins. Both of the twins were male and shared the name Ligo. One of them died of illness aiding Aspida in Accipiteria, but the other Ligo, suspected to be the younger, lived on in Chalazi under the watchful eye of the Ena-nao. The Didone Kingdom had now reached a natural equilibrium and encompassed the modern borders of Finium Proper. It was flanked to the west and east by the Durnish Mountains the River Karamenderes, and by the North Sea and the River Kato to the north and south. Its relationship with the Amyri was stable and the Geraki posed no threat in their disorganized state. Ligo’s reign is therefore a golden age of the Marmors.

Ligo built libraries in all of the core cities of the kingdom and became himself a great historian of his family. Many of the accounts of the two hundred years prior were written personally by Ligo. He reigned for 53 years, the longest of any Marmor and is by far the most venerated for his literature and policy. Ligonian legal theory seeped in the Serahpic East and quickly became the basis for common law across the region. His poetry, collected in the book On the River, is still studied in fragments as the basis for modern literature. He died in 1999 having unified a fractured kingdom into a unified state.

His son Ematha was educated by the Ena-nao like most of his ancestors, but it was not exclusive. He was also a pupil of Vathys the Teacher, one of Ligo’s confidants and the Librarian of Chalazi. Ematha’s reign was much like his father—politically solid and uneventful. However, Ematha became intensely interested in Chael and traveled through the country while the Ena-nao ruled. Chael was still a fragmented collection of city-states with no allegiances or obligations to one another, but unified by the influences of the Ena-nao, they suffered little turmoil.

It was during these travels that Ematha met Konta of Falco. Konta was a petty king that ruled the Falcovian country-side along with the Ena-nao. Ematha called him a brother king in a letter to his advisers and ordered a regiment of troops be dispatched to help Konta hunt down bandits. The regiment, a mounted guard unit from Morsh, pillaged their way across Havor causing infinitely more damage than the bandits they were ordered to hunt. They were followed by an army from Amyn lead by Pithikos, the foremost king of Chael. The army was conscripted from local farmers and was hardly functional

The circumstances are hard to ascertain, but the result was indisputable. The Marmor cavalry destroyed the Amyri force quickly and brutally. The only record that has survived was discovered in an Ena-nao temple, which implies that Pithikos demanded the barbarous regiment and Ematha refused. The ensuing battle brought Marmor influence directly into the internal affairs of Chael. Specifically, Ematha led a series of campaigns, brokered deals, and otherwise propelled Konta from a minor city leader into the King of Chael. His actual dominion included what is known as Falcovian Chael, which only ever encompassed the southern half of modern Chael.

Ematha died in 1944 with his mission incomplete, but he had inextricably linked Chael and the Marmor line. At the time of his death, Ematha’s efforts had expanded Konta’s influence throughout Havor. Much more is known about the internal affairs of Chael because the Amyri imported vellum from the Far East and they kept many more records. Equally important, in the west, the Middle Order of Banog was formed by coastal Geraki. This new order borrowed heavily from the Marmors and every tribe had a king, which the Marmors called “Petty Roi.” The Middle Order did not depend on divine right like their eastern neighbors and instead principled itself with the wisdom of age. It was not a true gerontocracy, but did have the Requirement of White Hair, which was an age floor for election to the office of Roi.

Ematha’s son Teichos was equally interested in the development of a unified Chaelic state, as we was educated by the Ena-nao of Falco. When he took power in 1944 he attempted to force Konta to swear fealty to the Marmors, which Konta refused. Teichos performed the same ritual that Machairi had a century past, ritually drowning Konta and all his sons on the winter solstice. Unfortunately for Teichos, the Falcovians had little respect for Dytika and he was forced to flee under cover of night.

Teichos was essentially a foreigner to the Marmor world and had difficulty even speaking the Gnatus-Seran dialect. Thus, once again, the rule of the kingdom fell into the hands of the Ena-nao. Teichos considered himself completely Seraphic and lost all the sense of responsibility that Marmor Aspida had cultivated in the monarchy. Under this lax and disinterested rule, the Ena-nao performed an ethnic purge of the government and military. Depictions of the event found artistically styled in Ena-nao temples show dozens of Aquenti and Geraki leaders drowned, sometimes in the blood of other victims. While the Gnatus-Sera were not offended by atrocities, it is clear through the art of the period that they suddenly became aware that they were a minority in their own empire.

Teichos spent little time in the capital and preferred to spend his time in neighboring Aymn. The rest of the Marmor line were educated in Aymn until Konta’s great grandchildren sacked the city. His reign was punctuated by periodic bloodbaths perpetrated by the Ena-nao and several rebellions in the south. Teichos died and was buried in Aymn and his son Entromos, named after the Amyri patron god Tromos, in 1921.

Didone Kingdom under Teichos

Entromos was an absentee king and made no effort to learn the language of his people. The Ena-nao reigned supreme. The one act that Entromos performed was to call away additional troops from Accipiteria and reinforce Amyn’s defenses against the advancement of Konta II and his Falcovian army. This left the western frontier vulnerable to the Middle Order, which had grown much larger than the Old Order. It now encompassed half of the modern Vale, twice the size of its predecessor. As the Ena-nao’s purges grew more and more frequent, the Accipiterian Gerakis grew more and more restless. In 1910 a major revolt lead by Sotiras of Isychia defeated the Marmor army in Morsh and lead to the incorporation of Accipiteria into the Middle Order. A world away, Entromos had no awareness of the scale of the conflict and remained in Amyn with his army, awaiting the arrival of Konta II.

Entromos did not live to see the arrival of Konta II as they both died before the Falcovians could reach Aymn. Marmor Nikise took power in 1905 after spending his entire life with Entromos in Amyn. Once again, the king failed to involve himself in western affairs and constantly weakened the western frontier to fuel the defense of Amyn against Falcovian advance. Konta III reached Nikise and Amyn in 1903 and laid siege. Meanwhile, the Middle Order bore down on the Marmors in Isychia, freeing the Aquenti from Marmor rule. Nikise remained completely oblivious to the war, which he considered irrelevant compared to wars of the Seraphic heartland. When communication was cut off in 1903, Nikise had already entrusted the realm to Avathis, the High Priest of the Didone Eda-nao. The siege of Amyn lasted for five years broken by periodic forays to restore the waning defenders. When it ended, Nikise traded the life of his only son for his own freedom, which Konta III accepted along with a vow before Kyrios to never cross the Karamenderes again.

Exiled from his homeland, Nikise was forced to live out the rest of his days in Chalazi where only a select few could communicate to him. The language barrier prevented him from ever taking power back from his regent Avathis. The war in the west had stabilized now that the whole Marmor army had been consolidated, but it still drug endlessly on. In 1875 Avathis, confident in the supremacy of the Seraphic and Gnatus-Seran races, culled the remaining Geraki troops. The slaughter was swift and effective, but it unsettled the last Aquenti troops that stayed loyal to the Marmors. At the Battle of Hallsind, the last Marmor offensive, the Aquentis turned on the Marmors forced them into a broken retreat. The war continued until the 1867 as the Marmors slowly lost ground. By 1865 Chalazi was under siege and the Marmor forces were completely broken, but it took two years for the Middle Order to break through the walls of the city.

Finium Circa 1830

Nikise, convinced that he would never see Aymn again, committed suicide by drowning himself and all of his adult family. Three infant children were slaughtered when the Gerakis overwhelmed the palace, but the last child of Nikise, named Telos was kept alive. The Middle Order did not have the political machinery to maintain an empire, but they spent the next sixty years pillaging, slaving, and killing at random. The Order appointed a Roi to rule over the east, but did little else. Little by little, the Geraki tribes returned home.

By 1807, the Falcovians had united the Seraphic world under the banner of Ogios, son of Konta III. Under pressure from the Eda-nao of his own country, Ogios launched a crusade to salvage what remained of the Didones. The Seraphs were advanced well beyond the Geraki and drove the Geraki out of Chalazi in a mere five years. Ogios stopped his advance once he reached Chalazi because he saw that a war against the Geraki was unfeasible in the long term. Ogios discovered that the Geraki Rois had left Telos alive in the prison, so he waited two years in Chalazi while the Eda-nao salvaged their most precious artifacts and much of Ligos’s library.

In 1800 the remaining Geraki had regrouped in Arcad and prepared to launch an attack on Chalazi. At the winter solstice, Ogios burnt the city down with Telos chained in the center, exactly four hundred years after Phryxo had launched his attack on Arcad.

THE CENTURY OF MADNESS

The fall of Didone Kingdom marked the beginning of what is commonly known as the Century of Madness. It was a tumultuous period that destroyed much of the ancient world and left a chaotic world of tiny, belligerent states in the absence of the Marmors. The Geraki, after ruling and ransacking the country for sixty years, had finished their gradual withdrawal or assimilation by 1800. The Seraphs took no interest in cultivating the country, which left the Gnatus-Sera alone.

Within ten years of the Geraki withdrawal, the Middle Order was already collapsing under its own weight. At its height it included the entire Vale and Accipiteria, which proved too large for the decentralized fashion of rule. By 1780 the Middle Order shrunk to half its size, losing the southern Vale and Morsh and it completely dissolved in 1760. The Falcovian Kingdom collapsed in 1770 when Ogios died and split his kingdom between his three sons. Those kingdoms are the traditional boundaries of Chael, Amyr, and Havor provinces.

Warlordism ran rampant. Geraki tribesmen raided the western border and went by sea all the way to Mavros (modern Blackhall), which they burned to the ground in 1745. Though many kings claimed the right of Dytika’s blessing, none of them survived them claim. Any legitimate dynasty that formed was cannibalized by surrounding kingdoms. The only enduring government were the splinters of old Falcovian Chael, which were extremely insular and did little more than repel incursions into their territory.

Out of this disastrous period, Parafron the Magnificent rose to power. Parafron was an Aquenti businessman who traded with the distant Doxian Empire, far south of the Kato River. Doxians controlled rich copper mines that supplied the north with the weapons and utensils of contemporary life. The Geraki also controlled copper mines, but those were never exploited by their rulers to level of the Doxians, who built a vast trade network based on the precious metal.

THE AQUENT PROTECTORATE & ISCHYIAN ROI

In 1698, Parafron became the sole provider of copper to the Seraphic world, having slowly encapsulated the market by gaining favor with the Aquenti tribal leaders. These records are drawn from a mixture of Aquenti legend and actual tablets that seem to demonstrate that Parafron commonly convinced local leaders to forego the traditional tariff in exchange for blue emeralds, which were highly regarded by Aquenti, but easy for Parafron to purchase from Geraki lowlanders. The Gerakis, though they could have had considerable sway over this period due to their access to mineral rich regions, could not compete with the business-machine that Parafron had created. The system is now known as circular trade through which Parafron purchased copper and bronze from the south, sold the metal to the Seraphs in exchange from cereal grains, traded grain to the Gerakis for gems, and traded gems to the Aquenti for free access to their trade network.

In order to protect this web of investments, Parafron began to employ professional soldiers from around the known world to protect his caravans and merchants. These soldiers were armed with the finest bronze weaponry of the day, which made them extremely useful in staving off the constant threat of Geraki violence from the mountains. Parafron added a new facet to his business and began to sell protection to the Aquenti.

In 1686 Parafron began launching raids into the Durnish Mountains, attempting to eliminate the Geraki threat, unaware of the vast frontier that extended all the way to the sea. While his efforts were ultimately in vain, it made him a heroic figure to the Aquenti, who had intermittently been on the losing side of wars with all of their neighbors. This is when the term “ypérochi prostáti,” or magnificent protector, start to appear.

Hitherto, although Parafron had the means to rule the Aquenti, he lacked the appropriate social class of Paliá-gis. Even though much of the populace was engaged in merchant work distributing the goods of the world, they had a highly developed sense of property, which was mostly owned by the Paliá-gis. The men and women who owned the land were seen as elders and, though their villages were ruled by councils of elders, the resident Paliá-gis was the eldest elder, so to speak. However, by 1682, Parafron’s campaign to subdue the Geraki had yielded two vital instruments of the coming age; the status of Paliá-gis over his conquered lands and an independent source of copper.

What the Seraphs called Durn was known to the Aquenti as Synnefo and those lands served as the basis for Parafron’s empire. Using Geraki slave labor, Parafron excavated untold quantities of strategic metals used to arm his professional army, but now also a new slave army. A new cycle of trade had been created. Parafron’s professional soldiers from the Aquent raided Geraki camps and used the females as mine labor and the males as soldiers. The soldiers were marched to the Aquent, which fell almost bloodlessly to their favored son Parafron. He was not called a king like the hated Marmors of Didonia, but preferred the common people’s name for him, Magnificent Protector.

Having seized the region’s nexus of trade and with almost complete control of the bronze market, Parafron’s eyes turned to the fertile plains of old Falcovia. Between him and his objective lay the borderstates, the ruinous manifestation of warlordism and Geraki savagery. The former Roi was a remnant of the Stone Age, but it was nonetheless a vast, violent territory that could not be left unattended to. Parafron began his conquest in 1674, but died in 1678 before it could be completed. Parafron had several male children, but his generals, as well as much of the Aquent, believed that heredity was an instrument of the vile Gnatus-Sera and that their Magnificent Protector should be selected from among the new military class. Parafron’s general selected one of their own, Ischyros, to continue the legacy.

Ischyros was a competent general, but could not compete with the strategic genius of his predecessor. He had brought the borderstates to heel by 1660, but then turned his back on the Falcovian Kingdoms. The Kings of Amyr, Falcovia, and Chael gave Ischyros three giant bulls one of solid gold, one of silver, and one of bronze. The Aquenti Protectorate, as it is known now, was therefore called the Three Bulls Kingdom by the Seraphs. Those statues have been recovered are now on display at the National Museum of the Empire in Hallsind. Ischyros used the bulls as his standard and seal.

Ischyros began collecting tributes from the Falcovian Kingdoms and slave tributes from the Geraki tribes he had contact with. For the rest of his reign, the Protectorate settled into relative peace. Ischyros’s generals, however, attempted to overthrow him in 1658. They failed an attempt on his life that did, however, maim him and he was rushed in great secrecy to Durn. His generals proclaimed a new kingdom more aligned with Seraph traditions of kingship. A relatively popular public speaker was selected as the army’s puppet named Anoitas. There were six generals that served as Magnificent Protectors while Anoitas was given the new title of King of the Aquent.

Ischyros was effectively cut out of the empire entirely and unable to counter the popular belief that he was dead. He refrained from attempting to raid the Protectorate as he thought this would be the ultimate betrayal of the people. He died without further impact on the world other than the adoption of a Geraki slave as his successor, Heboca the Wise. Heboca was educated by his adopted father in the history of the world as it was told in the Aquent.

When Ischyros died in 1648, Heboca was the undisputed heir of a ring of tiny fortresses in the Durnish Mountains with protected his copper mines. Uninterested in seizing the mines or fighting a protracted war with a Ischyros, the Magnificent Protectors resumed trade with the Doxians to the South and left Heboca in peace. Unlike most Easterner’s, Heboca and Ischyros were familiar with the great secret of the era; Accipiteria was much larger than any of the other regions of the ancient world (Didonia, Falcovia or Ischyia). Heboca assumed that Accipiteria was roughly equal to the size of Didonia and Ischyia combined, or slightly larger than Falcovia (modern Imperial Chael). In reality of course, the land area west of the Durnish Mountains is roughly equal to the entirety of western Finium.

Heboca embarked on a mission to properly map the entirety of Accipiteria, which turned out to be a nigh impossible task given the rugged terrain and even more rugged populace. However, he discovered not only a vast wilderness, but also several civilizations that had lived in harmoney for centuries. The direct companions to Heboca were the terrible warriors known to him as Durnishmen. These were the foe that had repelled Aspida’s legendary efforts to bring the Gerakis to heel. Additionally, there were the disorganized, but peaceful Lowland Gerakis who defined the race to the Eastern world and had been the target of advances by the Marmors and now served under the yoke of the Magnificent Protectors of the Aquent.

Further investigation revealed four distinct societies beyond the mountains that had fought eastern encroachments on their territories, but had never communicated with great empire of the east. The land between the Columba and Durnish Mountains, now called the Great Vale, was home to a confederacy of tribes that were mostly hunter-gathterers. To the south of the vale, where the Sable Desert meet the fertile Vale, nomadic Martens lived, mostly shepparding folk. Finally, to the north lived two established cultures with their own settlements and governments. The Rennish Tribes had a network of coastal villages while Archonia, the heart of the Old and Middle Orders had a large, urban population.

They spoke a common tongue in addition to local dialects which hampered direct cooperation, but allowed the educated to travel anywhere west of Durn and find comfort. Diplomacy and trade were common, unlike the barbarous assumptions made by the Marmors and their successors. During the process of the great discovery, Heboca learned to speak not just the common language, but also many of the dialects that individual tribes spoke.

After twenty years of working through a web of intermediaries, Heboca traveled to Archonia. Along the way, he accumulated a great treasure of local artifacts and gifts from tribal leaders. Great crowds would assemble wherever he went to see he bodygaurd of pale-skinned Aquenti and to see his horses, which were extremely rare in the Vale. Everywhere he went he could directly communicate with the people and spent time learning their legends and histories. His fame became an irresistable tide and, when he eventually reached the ancient city of Akros, he was welcomed with open arms.

All that is known about Archonia and the Orders of Banog are records from Heboca’s great voyage. The Gerakis had no system of writing and relied heavily on oral tradition, but Heboca made an effort to record everything about the Geraki. It was Heboca that translated the Geraki high tongue into Seraphic glyphs, which allowed them to commicate at a level never before seen so far from the Seraph city-states. Heboca is known to the Geraki as Heboca the Teacher, though most historians have preferred Heboca the Wise.

In 1599 Heboca died peacefully, having spent much of his long reign travelling the wilderness in company of Archonian scholars. He had many sons and many more bastards, they littered the landscape, this was discovered because of his firstborn son’s order to hunt and kill them all. His son, Doethion, was not the temperate scholar that his father was and quickly burnt the bridges so carefully created by Heboca. After his Durnish mercenaries had finished scavenging the last of Heboca’s children, the Vale Confederacy occupied the small Aquenti kingdom overnight and quietly dispatched Doethion. The land was split up into tiny, petty states known as the Ischyian Roi and Accipiteria slipped back into peaceful disassociation. However, in every major city uncovered in ancient Archonia, there has been a great library bearing the name of Heboca. He is mentioned in innumerable myths and legends of all Geraki tribes.

While Heboca’s kingdom had come to calamitous close, the Magnificent Protectors of the Aquenti were still in their prime. They wielded absolute authority over trade and instituted a common law system enforced by municipal courts. Aquenti legal systems changed the nature of the ancient empires from suzerainty to actual rule. This is known as the River Law and some of its tenets, such as its underlying principle “the spring does not know the course of the river,” which means that individuals are held responsible only for their direct actions.

While their legal codes were different and better at maintaining their class structure, the Seraphs began to voluntarily adopt the legal systems of the Protectorate. While the Seraphs referred to it as the Law of the People, its structure is obviously borrowed from the Law of the River and some texts are word-for-word duplication. The Seraphs had developed not only a unified religion under the Ena-nao, but also a system of mutual recognition. Each city-monarch recognized every other monarch, which ensured the stability of the miniscule states.

DOXIAN MIGRATION

The system of rule and trade known as the Protectorate System lasted for two hundred years from the death of Heboca in the early 15th century to the late 13th when the Doxians invaded to calamitous effect. Doxians had traded in copper across the Sable Desert that marks the southern boundary of the geographic region of Finium for centuries. However, beginning in the mid-15th century, a shift in planetary rotation began to spread the Sable Desert southwards into the Doxian homeland.

The Doxians were a great civilization that predates the Seraphic world, but little is known about them now due to the mass exodus of Doxians to avoid desertification. Entire cities collapsed either from famine or emigration. The first migrations were identified in 1460 when a sudden influx of slaves caused the value of labor to fall dramatically in the Protectorate. At first scholars struggled to interpret the sudden change in the well-recorded markets, but it is now generally believed that Doxians would sell members of their family or clan into slavery to pay for their passage to and lives in the Protectorate.

It is estimated that 500,000-1,000,000 Doxians left their homeland for the Aquent, while an additional 200,000-500,000 slaves were sold during this process. Mass graves has been discovered at the southern border of the Protectorate where it seems that an additional 200,000-500,000 Doxians died during the passage or upon arrival. The number of slaves, based on their prices, almost doubled, and the cost of all labor suffered greatly. Not only did the price of labor drop, but the source of the Protectorate’s wealth—trade across the desert for resources and transport to the Seraphs—had reached an absolute end by 1390. The government and most of the people were broke, many of them starving due to the loss of Seraphic grain imports.

Swollen with people and bleeding money, the Magnificent Protectors attempted to reassert themselves with an offensive into Accipiteria, which was known to hold copper mines. The Magnificent Protectors borrowed money to pay for the exploit from Ena-nao temples, which were few, but operated as the banks of the day like most ancient societies. The Aquenti invaded the Ischyian Roi with an army of slaves and conscripts and, though they made a few gains, the heavily fortified states of the mountains required such a vast cost in human life that the Magnificent Protectors were forced to give up their war. The Ena-nao struck the first blow against them and looted several palaces, carrying off treasure stores to their temples.

The Magnificent Protectors were all killed within a year of the failed campaign and the Protectorate had collapsed completely by 1387. The Protectorate’s legal practices failed soon after and the local rulers were unable to retain control of the populace, it was complete anarchy in the south where the Doxians and Aquenti faced cultural and linguistic barrier. The north faired relatively better where the Geraki merely reverted to tribal government and the Gnatus-Sera were quickly under Seraphic occupation.

The Aquent remained only as a vague outline of the traditional boundaries of the region. Internally, the cities were ruled by warlords and the countryside was under constant threat of Doxian or Geraki pillaging. The Doxians spilled out into the rest of Finium where they were forced to roam endlessly. They have been called the Bane of Ischyia, the Dead Sand, and more commonly Zoyfs, a corruption of Notia Zoyfia or “Southern Vermin.”

ICHYROLITHIC REVOLUTION

The sale of Doxian slaves had the unintended consequence of spreading a new technology from the South that has forever altered the political and military status of the world. While the Seraphs had long build stone edifices to protect their cities, the rest of the Finian world used mudbrick constructions for their fortifications. Without the need for long sieges, the western empires grew and contracted rapidly based on the size of their fighting forces rather than their fortifications. It also made Seraphs invulnerable to their western neighbors as they lacked any form of siege tactics or machinery.

Doxian cities have been uncovered the desert that demonstrate their masonic prowess and it was little diminished by their captivity at the hands of the Aquenti. Stone walls sprung up all across the west, mostly in drystone construction, which was still popular at that time. Slaves were traded across the Karamenderes in large volumes as the Doxian craftsmen were taught the Seraphic style, then exported back to the kings of the Gnatus-Sera. More importantly, the Doxians were also purchased by the Geraki to fortify their villages. The Geraki Lowlands, which had always been easy target for the invasions of the Gnatus-Seran invasion became dotted with fortifications. Often, the tribes could not afford to build walls and opted for small fortresses or acropolises.

The change created a sturdy, walled peace for most of the world. The lack of armed conflict, coupled with many locations of strength also created a population boom across Finium and reinvigorated a world that had been under constant conflict for the past thousand years. Typically, the Geraki would raid any settlement of worth that bordered their territory or even the coast to a certain distance. The Geraki raiders, specifically those classified as the Durnishmen by Heboca, were suddenly at a loss. Without the constant stream of slaves, food, and treasure their strength dwindled even as their Lowlander neighbors were more secure than ever.

The complete revolution, the time from which the earliest Doxian fortifications are discovered to the last, took close to three hundred years to complete. It destroyed centuries of diplomatic interaction as vassals forsook their lieges, kings lost their cities, and the entirety of the Finian world collapsed into a cycle of devolution. The threat of war was so much dissipated by the fortification of the west that there was relatively little need for soldiery and standing armies were disbanded by all but the most influential of city-states.

LAUSTING KINGDOM

The conclusion of the fortification of west is associated not with the construction of the last walls, but the fall of the first. The great city of Mavros, the epicenter of the sea-trade in Finium had commissioned the construction of great wall to surround some of their undefended suburbs. It was by far the grandest undertaking of the period and construction started in 1122 under the rule of King Thalassa the Wary. The first section of the wall, built along the southern edge of the city, bordered the district known as the Gardens of Mitera. Ardashir, a prominent Doxian architect, was purchased for the price of a hundred bars of gold and ten hundred bronze braziers from King Plousios of Amyn.

The King of Crot, Vlepontas the Watchful, saw the wall as an obvious show of power from his principal rivals for the northern coast of Finium. However, Vlepontas was unable to match the naval power of Mavros, which is where the vast majority of both of their forces were allocated. Vleponats offered the fertile land on the Untar peninsula to Re’ah the Swift, one of the foremost chieftains of the Durnishmen. Of course, no longer able to compete as a roving force of marauders, the young Queen accepted the land as payment for the destruction of the Wall of Mavros.

They attacked from the south after landing near Cragspire. Accounts taken from the Tomb of Re’ah in Untar report that the defending army had not deployed in defense of the outer wall and the Doxians, leaving them to be slaughtered. The battle was swift, but the siege was not. It lasted for two years, the Durnishmen encamped around the inner wall of Mavros and pillaged the outer city for the duration. Their plunder was piled so high that it was said to be the height of the inner wall. The siege may have lasted for years more, but a mutiny among the peasantry lead to the gates being opened. The slaughter was over in a day and Re’ah had won her people fertile land in the Morsh lowlands.

With his enemies dispersed, King Vlepontas attacked the ruined city of Mavros again with the objective of demolishing in its entirety. Mavros was sacked and Vlepontas proudly returned claiming that no two stones had remained atop one another.

The Lausting Kingdom triggered the Second Migration, or the Geraki Migration. Geraki left the mountains and flowed steadily into Morsh and adjacent provinces. Queen Re’ah successor encouraged Durnishmen to come down from Durn and occupy the many small fortresses that dotted the countryside. The modern title Ixion was created by Re’ah to describe the men who manned the thousands of minor castles in Morsh. While many Ixions did serve Re’ah or the Lausting monarchs that followed her, it was a patchwork kingdom with many holes and tears.

The lowlanders were culturally homogenous with their new rulers, but there remained an ethnic gap between the Durnish and the Lowlanders. What eventually became the standard fashion for determining one’s heritage was Petragennisi (“stone birth”). Birth in a caste was birth into privilege, while the common lowlanders were relegated to labor in agriculture or mining. A new artisan class was created by the Petragennisi analogous to the Aquenti gerontocratic Palia. Where Aquenti villages were led by a Palia-gis, the Lausting lord were known as stone fathers or Petrapatera.

THE SLOW WAR

Re’ah split her kingdom, which extended from the Potami to the Karamenderes, among her seven children. This resulted in a stalemate, but the third generation after Re’ah led to the chaos of the Slow War. The Petragennisi fought almost constantly and, although the period is oft romanticized as a time of political drama, they nearly killed one another to extinction. Hundreds of forts were left vacant without a stoneborn lord. The commoners were largely uninterested in joining the war whereas they were mostly left alone by the minute skirmishes.

One-hundred-seventeen unique claims to Re’ah’s kingdom have been identified on average per year from Re’ah’s death in 1098 to end of the period in 374. Over seven hundred years of constant infighting left the entire country weakened and near collapse. It was not uncommon for the Gnatus-Seran or Aquenti Kings to prop up one or another of the border Petrapatera, which lead to fringes of Morsh to be the bloodiest and most sparsely populated. Closer to the mountains, some castles stood with one family for the entire period whereas others on the border seldom could sustain a single generation.

While it happened slowly, the intermarrying of Petragennisi to Gnatus-Serans eventually spread the Slow War to the Kato river. Gnatus-Serans used petty disputes in Morsh to wage wars across their own empire. While it was nowhere as constant or as bloody, Genatus-Seran cavalry clashed over three hundred times on the Kitrinos Plain. The Seraphs remained complacent, however, and even disarmed to some extent. The destruction of Mavros left them isolated from the rest of the ancient world and piracy sapped the strength of the great coastal cities. It was also during this period that Saturne, then called Shani Grah, came to its current state of power.

Shani Grah was a small village nestled in the valley between the Khugar and Doxian highlands along the river of the same name. With Mavros’s navy protecting sea trade in the Bay of Zahal, land routes became the new essential tool of trade. Not even the Kato River, the artery through which precious metals left the south and moved east to the Seraphs, was safe from the threat of piracy. Shani Grah was the midpoint between the Late Poorv Dynasty in Bahani and the Seraphic center of Amyr. Practically all international trade, therefore, traveled through or took place in Shani Grah. The obscure village became the undisputed economic capital of the greater Finian region.

THE MOOSE KING

The Slow War ground itself to a halt when the last direct descendant of Re’ah’s sprawling lineage died in an inconsequential battle against his neighbors. Tychi the Unlucky fell from his horse in south-east Morsh and snapped his neck, dying instantly at the unfortunate age of seventeen. While the fighting continued, Tychi’s death marks the reversal of the slide into madness.

Quintus Solach was a general for the ailing Archonian state, which had been in a state of decay due to the migration of Durnish tributaries into the east. During a period of civil unrest that has been obscured from history the Citadel of Akros, the locus of royal power in Archonia, was besieged. Quintus Solach, a loyalist of the Middle Order of Banog, fled with his army when Akros fell. Since Heboca was long dead, there are no records of this period aside from those created by Solach himself when he arrived in Morsh.

Solach’s army arrived in Morsh in the spring of 370, four years before Tychi’s death. The Archonian army occupied an abandoned fortress named Mikron at the base of the mountains. He took the following year to prepare to invade Archonia again and resurrect the Middle Order. He returned triumphantly to Akros only to discover deserted rubble. The Middle Order was entirely demolished and the inhabitants of its capital had scattered throughout Metaxia. Defeated, Solach returned to Mikron with a fraction of his force, bleeding men to desertion.

Solach, a child of the Middle Order, believed that Accipiteria was ruled by the warrior-queen Re’ah and her mighty force of Durnishmen. When he discovered that the vast lowlands were tenuously controlled by a web of Durish Ixion he set about to restore the kingdom of Re’ah. While Solach’s army was small, it was still many times larger than any one of his neighbors and so his single fortress had snowballed into a dozen by the time Tychi died in 374. It is estimated that, at the time of Tychi’s death there remained about two hundred Petragennisi families in Morsh and another fifty Petragennisi Gnatus-Sera in Kitrinos. Yet, with only twelve fortresses under his command, Solach already was the most powerful warlord in Accipiteria.

At a rate of two occupations per year, Solach controlled thirty-two castles by 354. The explosive growth, while it was all along the westernmost edge of Morsh, excited a frenzy of nation building. Petrapatera formed councils and kingdoms and federations. Age old grudges were set aside, compromises reached, and privileges forgone. Five kingdoms emerged from this period, each of similar composition except for the relatively stronger Gnatus-Seran Protectorate of Kitrinos which included all fifty Gnatus-Seran Petragennisi.

Quintus Solach died in battle in 346 and left command to his adopted son and second-in-command Sextus Mastadach. While Mastadach was not the tactical genius that Solach was, he was competent enough to bring the weight of numbers against his enemies. Solach left him with command of forty-five fortresses, twice as many as the other Geraki and on level with the Gnatus-Sera.

Mastadach invented the concept of the Moose King in 341 after a major defeat at Geran. How Mastadach knew about Moose is difficult to say as they are not native to any region in or adjoining Finium. However, the Moose King was simply the solitary ruler whose right to rule came from natural might rather than divine will. In secret, Mastadach offered protection to the two remaining Geraki kings if they would turn over their subordinate Petrapatera. The two families, Tradimento and Sleale, agreed and gathered the remaining Petragennisi at the victorious battlefield of Geran. Mastadach personally slew the fifty-three Petrapatera who assembled to celebrate his ensuing defeat.

With the whole of Morsh under his control, the Moose King Mastadach was content to die in peace thirty years later in 310. The Kingdom of Re’ah had successfully been reunited in sixty short years by the tactical genius of Solach and Mastadach’s ruthless diplomacy. It is important to note that iron was developed and fully integrated into military tradition along with a uniform language system. It was no longer difficult to communicate across borders or linguistic differences. While the wars were being fought in the west, the Seraphic heartland was blooming into a philosophically and economically complex society that defied all precedent. That was, of course, until the Oir attacked.

OIR OCCUPATION

The Oir were undoubtedly the most powerful military machine of classical era. They landed at Relas in 313, a trade ship driven ashore by a band of pirates. Relas was a relatively minor settlement, driven to poverty by piracy and by the Poorv’s hatred of its large Petravoltan population. The Oir were under the command of a state salt merchant named Almyros. While it was not itself an invasion, Almyros had the ear of important Oir Assemblymen. Letters recovered from his house in Relas revealed that he thought the Seraphs a “soft and lazy people” who could be conquered with a single regiment of Oir Panolplia. While the Assembly did not immediately act on the recommendations of Almyros due to their wars in Transaimatochysia. Two years later, however, they dispatched an army under the command of General Sharir.

Sharir’s force arrived in winter of 311 and camped at Relas until the following spring. Their heavy cavalry swept through the surrounding countryside. Every decade after 310, reinforcements would arrive and a new campaign would be launched. Sharir was joined by three other generals, each launching a new invasion. By 260, the Oir controlled all of Chael, Amyn, Falcovia and the southern half of the Gnatus-Seran Kingdom. The eastern edge of Falcovia, but not Falco itself, remained under the control of a Seraphic puppet state. The lords of Shani Grah, called Saturne by the Oir, negotiated a treaty with the Oir. Since the Oir were occupied by skirmishes with the Moose King’s army, they were willing to negotiate with Shani Grah. However, no other treaty was ever negotiated with any other ruler. The Oir believed in total domination of all peoples, which they pursued zealously in the west.

While Shani Grah was spared the wrath of the Oir, the Lowlanders were not. In 250, the Oir invaded the 2nd Lausting Kingdom. The Moose King, Decimus Battach, was a tribute to his people. The campaign lasted from 250 to 200 BCE and seventeen generals were executed by the Oir Assembly for gross incompetence. Since the Oir outnumbered the Geraki on an average of 3-1, the length of the war was a testament to both the stability of Doxian walls and the ingenuity of Solach’s successors. These were no match for Yadaq the Breaker. Yadaq did not besiege castles, he assaulted them all directly. The death toll was high and Yadaq was replaced three times, but reinstated after the effectiveness of his tactics and willing to sacrifice his troops was revealed each time. Yadaq also tore the fortresses down in his wake. His front line forts remained, but there was nothing to occupy or reclaim for Battach’s men. In 200 BCE, Fort Mikron fell and Battach was executed; the Oir had won Finium.

TORPOR REBELLION

In 410 AD, the Oir were in decline along with the Poorvs in the far east. They had already lost many other provinces to internal unrest, but the Finian Ixion were more willing to trade sovereignty for their small satrapies. Thus, long after the occupying armies had been reduced to the very barest minimum, the Oir continued to earn their taxes and tributes. The Torpors were a powerful family in Kitrinos that controlled Mindor, a major trade hub. The Torpors were Aquenti who ruled over Gnatus-Serans and had sided with the Oir early in their conquests of the south. Many Torpors fought wars on behalf of their overlords against their Pertagennisi neighbors in Lausting.

Simol, a prominent officer in the Oir cavalry rose to the throne of Mindor in 408 at the age of forty along with his wife Maria the Doxian. His sister, Helena of Relas was married to Achulandes the Oir, another prominent officer. In 410, the Dhahabi died and the entire region looked expectantly to Achulandes to assume the office as supreme ruler of Finium. However, the Oir Assembly appointed a bureaucrat from the Oir homeland, sending ripples of shock and disappointment through Finium. The Ixion of Finium saw Achulandes as one of their own, especially since he was related to the popular Torpor family.

Achulandes and Helena fled Relas and sought support from Simol and the Torpors. Simol, already made restless by the weakness of the Oir governors, was quick to agree to a coup. The Torpor cavalry moved swiftly and rode from Mindor to Arcad to Mizier. The Gnatus-Seran king of Amyr, Philip Uvarov, allowed them to pass through without besieging the city. Thus Simol seized Relas with almost no violence and installed Achulandes as the Dhahabi. The Oir, anxious to retain control of one of their largest overseas colonies, agreed to accept Achulandes as Dhahabi if he would make an example of the Torpor rebels.

Simol, advised of his ensuing arrest and grisly demise by his sister, fled Relas and returned to Mindor along with Helena, her infant son Hurin, and his two sons Geor and Willain. Achulandes pursued, but found his path blocked by Philip Uvarov and the towering walls of Amyn. Achulandes attempted to negotiate passage through the city with Philip, but Simol secured the city by sending his young granddaughter Ismene the Jackal to Philip as a bride. Achulandes besieged the city and vowed to kill anyone who protected the Torpors.

Unfortunately for Achulandes, Simol was already busy gathering allies to his small army. The Aquenti were an excellent source of ready rebels, and by 412 40,000 men had joined him. Philip’s defense against Achulandes also proved to be a source of inspiration for the rest of the Seraphs who supported Amyn with supplies. After three more years of siege, Achulandes gave up and returned to Relas where he died the following year.

The Oir Assembly, willing to pay any cost to secure Finium, sent three Panoplian Armies (150,000 men) to Relas under the command of General Fiddatan in 416. He ignored Aymn, which he considered impregnable and marched north through Sule and Baer, which were less fortified. He could not, however, cross the Karamenderes without risking the wrath of the Petragennisi Ixions of the Lowlands. Thus, the war and the rebellion ground to a stuttering halt until 417 when Simol led and army of 100,000 through Amyn to attack the Oir from the south. The Torpor army was crushed completely and Simol himself died in the battle.

Geor and Willain withdrew, having sustained substantial losses, and Fiddatan crossed the Karamenderes. Free from the boundaries of Kitrinos, but still cautious, Fiddatan wintered in Geran while the Torpors regrouped under Geor in Mindor. Willain, however, crossed the mountains into the Vale, searching for allies. Willain found little order in the Vale, Metaxia was completely chaotic and the Rennish refused to even meet him. Thus, he was driven to the Martens, the Doxianic people living the scrublands bordering the Sable Desert. While Fiddatan besieged Mindor, Willain was leading an army of Marten across Metaxia, headed towards the passes near Mikron where Solach had crossed into the lowlands.

Geor was forced to abandon Mindor and retreat south to Thorad by 421. During the retreat, Hurin was recaptured by the Oir and was returned to Relas where to remainder of Achulandes’ family lived. The war again slowed and Fiddatan split his force in two. One half besieged Thorad while the other half attempted to recross the Karamenderes to cut off retreat to Hallsind from Thorad. Fidditan was also under pressure from the assembly to bring the war to a close as soon as possible, but the major fortifications and waterways of the Northern Aquent were proving too cumbersome. Thus, leaving half of his force encamped around Thorad, Fidditan led a campaign against Lausting.

Fidditan conquered Morsh relatively quickly and then collapsed on Ainia with their defensive forces attacking simultaneously from the east. The campaign was unremarkable, almost textbook typical of Oir offensives with the exception of the Battle of Sulea. Reinforcements traveling from Relas to Sule to support the invasion of Ainia wandered south into Phryxia. King Philip marched his full army to the Karamenderes along with his wife Ismene. The small Oir troop was surrounded and driven into the river. While the battle was of little strategic consequence, oral tradition transcribed from the periods describe the queen eating the bodies of still-living Oir in the aftermath earning her the epitaph Jackal. This earned the Torpors a great deal of respect from the Martens, who venerated jackals.

Geor was able to extend the siege of Thorad due to Fidditan’s campaign in Lausting, but Battach was finally forced to surrender in 430, the war again focused on the Torpors. Fidditan himself won a seat in the Oir Assembly and the war was left in the hands of General Alkalb, the commander of Thorad’s besiegers. With a reinvigorated force, Alkalb forced Geor to retreat once again, this time to Hallsind. Unfortunately, Geor died during the journey and his son Sterwin took command of the ailing rebellion. Hallsind was their last refuge, but they did receive supplies from the rest of the Aquent which supported their war.

Willain’s war in Metaxia had also taken a turn for the worse. The tribal Vale Confederacy, though they were close to losing the war, had entered peace negotiations with Muhkran, the high elder of the Martens. Muhkran had already seized Selo, the only city of note in Metaxia and was willing to end the war. In order to keep Mukran fighting for the Torpors, Willain promised Hurin’s daughter Maria of Relas to him if he joined the war against the Oir. With the marriage Willain also guaranteed Muhkran a kingdom that stretched from the Rennish Coast to the plains of Kitrinos. Muhkran agreed to this arrangement and continued to fight the Vale Confederacy until their surrender in 432. Sterwin’s forces were growing thin due to starvation and desertion, but several small uprisings in Lausting had diverted some of Alkalb’s forces back north, which allowed his tiny force to be rehabilitated from the south every few months.

Agrippa and Maria of Relas escaped Relas about this time and sought refuge in Amyn with their kinswoman Ismene. Agrippa, an orator of great success was able to bring other Seraph kings into an alliance with the Torpors. While they were mostly cautious in leaving their cities, the massacre of many great Seraphic houses was still within living memory and thus served as a catalyst to their inevitable rebellion. Thus, Finium was united under the joint rule of the Seraphs, the Torpors, and the Martens. Lausting was still in chaos, but had a large occupying force of Oir based in Untar. Untar also served as the principle source of supply for the Oir in Hallsind since the unification of the Seraphs had severed their connexion to their capital in Relas.

In fall of 434, the walls of Hallsind were breached and the Martens crossed the mountains into Morsh. The Martens severed the Oir supply chain and Alkalb was completely surrounded by enemies. Thus, before he was able to completely occupy Hallsind, he retreated North in hopes of restoring their route to the sea. A large body of Seraphs under the command of Isaac Uvarov was already marching towards the main Oir force. The Martens occupied Geran and managed to fend off tree Oir assaults. Alkalb was anxious to reach the coast before winter and expended the lives of his men indiscriminately. The Marten defense of Geran, however, supplied the Seraphs with enough time to arrive behind the Oir. Caught in the middle of two forces, Alkalb surrendered in 435.

The Torpors, though they were the originators of the rebellion, no longer had the strength to maintain the Finian Empire. They therefore allowed each of their allies to retain their sovereignty. The Uvarovs became the kings of the east, the Martens controlled the west and the Torpors barely expanded their rule at all in central Finium. Sterwin Torpor was made the new Dhahabi, but the title was completely without power. Worse still, Sterwin was without a male heir, having only one daughter, Maria Torpor.

REIGN OF THE TORPORS

Maria did not inherit the title of Dhahabi from her father when he died in 450, but was allowed to control the small kingdom they had conquered in the Aquent. While she did not have any real authority, she gained the support of many of the Seraphic and Geraki Ixion by giving them the newly fashioned title of Tor. The Tor were akin to the Ixion except that they swore allegiance to the Torpors specifically. Maria was able to extort such loyalty by giving ever Tor a Doro Oplon, or “gift of arms.” The Doro was composed of an Aquenti horse, a steel sword (typically reforged Oir weaponry), a Doxian slave as a squire, and the Right of Atsali. The Right of Atsali allowed the Tor to claim titles.

Atsali was fundamentally a new way of determining noble status, replacing the old Petragennisi. Most lords in the west preferred to use the title Ixion and still determine their class by the Petragennisi. The Seraphs, however, lacked a uniform system of law in determining their status. Since so many noble houses were extinct, many lords were merely commoners elevated to noble status out of necessity rather than birthright. Thus, many new Seraph lords came to Maria seeking confirmation of their right to rule, not to mention the horse, sword, and slave; all of these things were symbols of righteous rule. Tor became the uniform title across the east and in the Aquent, though many Seraphs merely called themselves Tor without ever being granted the title at all.

Maria did not marry and chose instead to adopt a daughter to continue the Torpor line. Muriel the Pure came to power in 476 and followed the paradigm of her predecessor; she granted title in exchange for the oath of loyalty. This allowed the Torpors to remain relevant as many Seraphic officers were Tor, even though the actual Torpor army was a fraction of the size of either of their neighbors. The brother of King Jarobe of Aymn, Vulor the Unchaste, sought the title of Tor in 479 to secure his status as a general in the Amyri military. Muriel, however, disliked Vulor greatly as he was known as a violent, malevolent man and so he was denied status as a Tor. Vulor’s brother quietly granted him the title of Tor, but it quickly became known that he had failed to secure the blessing of Muriel. Vulor entreated the queen twice more, but was denied again and again. Sometime in 482, Vulor kidnapped Muriel and molested her. He left her for dead, but she was recovered by other men seeking the title of Tor and eventually recovered from the attack.

Muriel gave birth in 483, but refused to recognize her own son as either a Torpor or a Tor. Enok, the Torpor of Grossule, which was the section of Hallsind that Muriel was found in, was allowed to inherit the kingdom, but the family died out. The Torpor line was instead known as the Grossule, which continued to this day. The Torpor line also carried a unifying influence between the Seraphs, Aquenti, and Gnatus-Sera through the title of Tor which often lead to complex and contradictory alliances based on the common loyalty to the Torpors.


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