West Marches - Copenhagen
Beyond the northern borders of the Queendom of Tyrbaldt, lies Aranië Anar, a grand elven nation of rich history and strong traditions. Reigned by an avatar of their god, it has remained a political and military figure of power throughout the ages, guided by divine will for unknown purposes. They have a long history of conflicts and alliances with Tyrbaldtic houses and dynasties, and played a significant role in securing the Regency for the Starsteel family in Tyrbaldt.
Aranië Anar was born with the faith of the Sun Emperor. The faith originated when first the Sun Throne was unearthed, entombed deep within a mountain. The dwarves that first found it, sensed its great magick, and sought to use it – but their nature was foolish, and could not contain the Sun Emperor’s vast power. And so, even after the location of the Throne had been found, it was left alone for many decades.
It was not until a group of curious elves made their way there, citizens of a fledgling nation that would soon become of the greatest empires in known history. They found the Throne, and as one took seat, he was beset by the Sun Emperor’s power. The mountain around them was incinerated, as the sun burnt away the rock, and all as one were they awestruck.
This was the ascendancy of the First Avatar, the emperor formerly known as Avalin. To him was revealed the truth, and he brought it on to his people, and took the first step in a march towards glory. He proclaimed the founding of the first of many provinces, naming it the Seat of the Emperor.
The Grand Crusade
This became the center of the empire, and the first of Aranië Anar’s provinces to be founded. Afterwards, the Emperor ordered his legions eastwards, to the plains that would come to be known as Talliria. Once the home of warring clans of orcs, the elves of Aranië Anar drove them away and dubbed the newly conquered land Talliria, or ‘Freed Land’ as it translates to in the common tongue. These plains turned out to be a poor fit for farmland, but were rich in minerals, and not long passed before the elves dug mines into the ground, foraging for metals to arm their ever expanding military.
Having driven away the orc hordes to the east, the elves now turned their eyes westwards, to the lush and green marshlands that lay there. Marching there, with a newly furbished army, they encountered many small human settlements, most of which were put to the torch. Military resistance was sparse, and not long passed before the humans were driven to flight, to escape the oncoming elven horde.
Then, the elves marched north, to what would then be known as Fallorhn. These were wildlands, covered in forests and marshes, and travelling through the terrain, taming and developing it as they went, was slow going. And it was not helped along, as sudden human aggression was shown near Tansargille, as kin of the humans driven away came back, to reaffirm their claim to those lands. However, this was the early days, when humans still lived in tribes, and they were routed by overwhelming numbers.
After the war against the humans, the Sun Emperor named his first two Grand Vassals. He titled them Vorosanya, and tasked one with the defence of the realm to the west, and one with the defense of the realm to the East. Now organized, the elves could return to Fallorhn and cultivate the land, taming the wild forests and the beasts therein, turning them to the Emperor’s purposes.
However, the orcs driven from Talliria had taken up residence near Fallorhn, and now posed a grave threat to the fledgling settlements therein. So another Vorosanya was named, this one to defend the north from invaders. Eager to please his lord, he gathered his armies and marched northwards, carving out the territory that he would name after himself, Eredahn.
Having reached a secure point, the empire’s progress slowed down. Now, having secured territories and influence in the region, infrastructure had to be built, cities raised. The Emperor named many lesser vassals, and entrusted each with a portion of the empire as theirs, to watch over and cultivate. He then set about raising his faith from the general understanding that it was, to a grand religion, teaching scholars and wise ones how to wield his powers, and how to act.
The grand crusade came to a halt. The elves turned inwards, and the fragile empire stabilized. Even as the first Avatar passed away, a second took his place. And a third. And many, many more, as the power of Aranië Anar grew. Until they again turned their eyes outwards.
The Second Expansion
Legions of soldiers, clad in gleaming metal, marched out from all borders of the empire. Wherever resistance was met, it was put down and scattered. Behind the shining legions came builders and settlers, to establish and secure a foothold for the elves in their newly conquered territories. To the west, they established Emoria; To the north they established Inserin. To the east they found yet more wilderness, inhabited by beasts and wildlings.
For a year the armies marched on, until they once more met the humans in battle. But these were different; Instead of hides and blunted weapons, they carried blades and metal armour. They wielded divine powers, granted to them by one Mairedd, and proved adept, if amateurish, in the arcane. And the legions of the empire ground to a halt.
The First War of Tyrbaldae
The Shining Legions of the Sun Emperor were thrown against the humans, eager to prove themselves to the Emperor, to bring down these primitives for the glory of the Sun Emperor. But no matter the numbers the elves brought to bear, the humans would not break; their numbers seemed to swell, with every soldier slain, and the elves found themselves being pushed back to their own borders. There, in fortresses and castles built ages beforehand, the legions could halt their retreat and make a stand.
Despaired, many elves consulted the Avatar: Could this really be the Emperor’s plan? To let them be bested by humans? But the Avatar replied in calm words, that all of life was brought here, so that they might endure the trials needed, to realise their potential and join the Sun Emperor’s Court. Even the humans, who among them had several individuals raised to such an honour.
Incredulous, the elves walked from the Emperor’s Seat. ‘Humans had individuals raised to the Sun Emperor’s court? If so, what reason was there for this war, if they all were meant to serve the emperor in the end?’ One went back, and asked this of the Avatar. No one witnessed the words spoken, but the elf came back out a Vorosanya, to uphold and protect the empire’s south.
He rode out, and he spoke to the humans, brokering peace; promising riches in trade, and grand achievement by cooperation. He spoke well of the human deities, praising their deeds and accomplishments, and in the end won the favour of the human leader; A Princess Regnant by the name of Ossiria Starlight. The two entered together in a union, which led to the birth of the first Half-elf, and the end of the Starlight dynasty.
The Long Peace
Even after the Starlight family’s dethroning, the tenuous peace between the nations was kept. Trade was established, good being ferried across the borders, and elf and man became more acceptant of one another. It was also then that the elves made contact with the dwarves that resided in Tyrbaldt, who taught them much about the shaping and working of metals.
Many cycles passed, with the two nations in peace. And despite small skirmishes, misunderstandings, and unintended insults, the two nations managed to keep a good relationship. This was also the reason, that the one did not attack the other, when words of attacks in the western reaches of Emoria reached the ears of elves.
The Vorosanya of the West marched out, with his legions at his back, while many soldiers from across the realm flocked to the southern border, ready for another war with the humans. Demands were issued, and denials were the replies, and it looked as if there was no way about it but war, when the Vorosanya discovered that the source of the attacks were not the humans, but rather a nation of scaled creatures, that had emerged from the Peninsula, accompanied by humongous beasts of immense power.
The elves sought to fight them on their own, but found their forces being pushed back; that was when the Avatar issued an edict to send a request for aid to the humans. A diplomatic envoy was send, and the request delivered to a human general, who was wise enough to see the threat the new enemy posed to both elves and man. So he marched northwards with his army, and hit the enemy in the flank.
The battle was not won easily; all sides suffered unprecedented casualties, and these new enemies proved unwilling to give up. However, they were eventually forced back, away from the elven nations, and caught against the shoreline. From here, they fled out onto the sea, beyond the reach of the elven foot and human cavalry.
But despite the ease with which the two nations had worked together, this war would prove the end of their long-standing truce. The humans, angered by the losses which they’d suffered for another nations war, demanded reparations and territories, in return for their aid; the elves refused. And the human general withdrew, his armies too weakened to take on the elven armies and their reinforcements.
To avoid another such incident, the elves rushed to colonize this new land, naming it Kellahmir, in part honouring the human general, whose name had been Kellack, but also in the spirit of the elven word, Kellah, which means ‘Lost’.
The Cycle of Blood
The humans knew better than to attempt to invade Aranië Anar; the nations defences were considerable, and could not be bested by the human army. But neither did the elves have the numbers to invade Tyrbaldic lands, and the two nations stood, toe to toe for a long time. Long enough, in fact, that an entire generation of humans passed, and the humans named a new general, this one eager to make a name for himself. And war ensued once again.
Hundreds of thousands of human soldiers marched upon the elven empire. There, from the battlements, shone tens of thousands of armoured soldiers, each emboldened by their faith and devotion. Elf and man would once again engage into conflict, and the bloodbath that ensued lasted longer and cost more lives than any other confrontation in history.
In the years before, Tyrbaldt had grown threefold in size and numbers, and they far outnumbered the elves – but the elves had experience and skill on their side, and fought with the desparation of knowing, that if they fell, it would cost them the lives of their friends and families. Volunteers from both sides joined the armies in droves, feeding the crimson flames that lit the borders of both countries for three whole decades to come.
Birth of Starsteel
Some amongst the humans could not stand the sight of the war. A nobleman amongst them journeyed north, anonymously, and slipped bast the battlements, into elven territory, where he revealed himself to the elves. He sought a way around the bloodshed, to end the war that plagued and drained both countries; and the Sun Emperor agreed.
An accord was struck. The elves would withdraw to their inner fortifications, leading the Tyrbaldic armies further away from their home. Then, the human nobleman would strike, along with his allies, against the Regnant on the throne, the family of Brightstars. A Coup d’etat was staged, and the wartime dynasty was ended.
The elves then collectively held their breaths, to see if these humans would prove trustworthy, or would try to push onwards into elven lands. But no forces came to torch the villages; no legion marched over the fields and trampled them into the ground. And eventually, relations were once again rekindled and trade began again. A new peace, this one enforced by a strong alliance between the new royal family of Tyrbaldt, and the elves of Aranië Anar, blossomed, and the two nations began to recuperate from the decades long war. They did not get very long.
One day, the seas roared and waves as tall as mountains reached over the lands. Many drowned, and even more lost homes and possessions, as all seaside settlements were torn apart, and the lands was submerged for several miles inland. Cities and townships were thrown into panic and disarray, and it took many years before people were able to return to the ravaged settlements they had been forced to flee.
Scholars wondered what could have caused such a horrendous event. Mages applied magic to the issue, while clerics and diviners sought answers from the Avatar. But it remained silent throughout, simply saying; ‘Go forth, and see for yourself what caused the destruction of yours’.
Sailors set out. And months later, news returned, that new land was found.
Aranië Anar is made up of 8 provinces, each presided over in spiritual matters by a Hierarch, and one or more provinces belonging to the domains of a Vorosanya. The provinces are named as follows: The Seat of the Emperor; Talliria; Tansargille; Fallorhn; Eredahn; Inserin; Emoria; and Kellahmir.
The influence and lands of Aranië Anar is divided amongst a religious faction and a political faction, each having their own areas of influence. All citizens of the nation are bound by the ranks and political influence of the system, aside of those special few, named to be Arandur, or ‘Kingsfriend’. It is important to note, that titles and grants are not hereditary within Aranië Anar, and it is expected of the family of a title bearer to prove themselves worthy, if they wish for a chance at succeeding their forebear.
Political Titles are the titles bestowed upon those, that govern lands and cities within Aranië Anar. They are upholders of the laws in the land, develop and maintain its infrastructure, and perform other duties bestowed upon them.
Four Vorosanya are named, each upon the death of their predecessor, governing either the north, south, east or west as the penultimate authority. Each Vorosanya is the highest authority in lawful and military matters within their domains, only superseded by a united council of Hierophants within their lands and the Avatar itself.
The Vorosanya of the north claims dominion over Inserin and Eredahn; the South claims Tansargille and Fallorhn; the West claims Kellahmir and Emoria; and the East claims Talliria and the Seat of the Emperor.
An arani is the leader of several cities, usually presiding from a local metropolis. It is expected of Arani to preside over Tax collections, training of recruits and the well-being of the cities of the realm. To aid in this manner, Arani are aided by the local Roquen, who each preside over a city.
In addition to such tasks, the Arani are the military leaders of Aranië Anar, on a more local level. They are expected to maintain a standing force of soldiers, as well as the conscription of levies in times of war and need. In the absence of a Vorasonya’s command, Arani are endowed with total military command of their own forces.
Those who bear the title of Arquen manage the lands of Aranië Anar, taking care that each area provides the crops and yields that are needed. They are furthermore in charge of schooling arcanists and mages within their region, teaching them the ways of the arcane in the elven fashion – slowly and steadily.
Beneath an Arquen serve a number of Callo, caring for different regions in the territory, ensuring collection and transportation.
Roquen are elven knights, dedicating their lives to perfecting their martial prowess. One can only become a Roquen, by relying upon the abilities inherent in their body, forswearing arcane and divine means of empowerment. Upon the granting of one such title, the individual is given a homestead, located in the city that will be theirs to manage and maintain.
Callo are elves of knightly virtue, who wield the arcane, either as a primary means of prowess, or make use of it to compliment their martial skill. Upon the granting of one such title, the individual is given land to build an estate, as well as a small domain of influence, such as a small gathering of settlements or townships.
The Nämo are the judges of Aranië Anar, and is a title given to those that are allowed to carry judgement onto those who have wronged the laws of the land. Some remain stationed in one of the larger cities, while others travel amongst smaller villages, going where they are needed.
Religious title are inferred upon those, who practice and uphold the dogma of the Sun Emperor. They carry great influence with their word, and are considered authorities over the domains which they caretake.
Seven Hierarchs are chosen, upon the ascension of a new Avatar. Each Hierarch governs a province, acting as the highest order in spiritual matters within their area of influence; Within the capital region, the Avatar is considered the Hierarch.
Hierophants are amongst the ruling elite of the empire, and carry the role of ‘spiritual advisors’ to the Vorosanya, although all Hierophants within the domain of a Vorosanya carry as much influence as a Vorosanya.
Archael preside over a temple, and is tasked with the performing of rituals and prayers that are associated with the Sun Emperor’s
faith. Each Archael is chosen, based upon the most powerful Airëquendi within a temple. Archael serve directly beneath the Hierarchs, and are considered as owners of the temples they preside over.
Those that carry not with them the powers divine, that the Archael boast, are unfit to serve in the Sun Emperor’s temples. However, such individuals are instead allowed to serve through more mundane means. The Savi, that are strongest of faith and show the greatest and utmost devotion to the Sun Emperor, become named Serael. They are caretakers of the monasteries of Aranië Anar, where the dogma and law of the faith is taught to citizens of the empire.
The priests of the Sun Emperor’s faith, Airëquendi is a title bestowed upon any preacher of the faith able to wield the Divine Powers of the Sun Emperor. This covers Clerics, Druids and Paladins that adhere to the faith of the Sun Emperor. People of this title are preachers of the faith, and endowed with the privilege to carry out rituals and prayers in the Sun Emperor’s name.
Savi are the servants and adherents of the Sun Emperor’s faith, who are not blessed with divine powers. They populate the monasteries of Aranië Anar, and aid the common folk of the nation, while ensuring obedience to the dogma of the faith.
Those privileged few that are named Arandur, become exempt from law and politics, chosen by the Avatar to carry out duties that reach beyond such matters. The ordaining of any individual with this title is a rare event indeed, and only a few Avatar’s have ever raised more than one person to this rank in their time. Arandur rarely live long, often falling to the trials and tribulations they are exposed to in their duties to carry out the will of the Sun Emperor.