War of the Crowns

The War of the Crowns (4452 – 4729) is the name given the three hundred year war fought between the Queen of the Blood, Lorissa Al’Thera, and her husband, Pathin Bharcov, for the right of the crown of Yarola’Sia. It encompasses numerous battles that have been the subject of songs and stories, such as the Battle of Lycopae, the Charge of Siannodel, the Battle of Tears, and the Massacre of Fools.

All historians seem to agree that the evidence is there for Pathin Bharcov entering into the marriage with the intention, from the beginning, of murdering his bride and claiming the throne for himself. Married for only seven years, a mere breath of time for the Elves, their marriage was rocked with controversy and dangerous “accidents”.

During this time, Prince Alurhon Al’Thera, the adopted brother of Queen Lorissa, was the loudest opponent of the match, though it has been speculated this was due largely to his own unreturned feelings for Lorissa. A union between the two would have been scandalous, but scarcely more than the union between Lorissa and Pathin, as Pathin married the young Queen not three weeks after his first wife, the Duchess Hannavae, was buried. It did not help matters that there were a few unsavory rumors circulating that Pathin was “unusually fond” of his daughter, Vhaolon, by that first marriage. Even so, Queen Lorissa was adamant in following her heart, and married Duke Pathin with all haste.

Prince Alurhon delivered an embarrassing toast at their wedding in which he insinuated the speed of the marriage was due to a hidden pregnancy, and so fell out of favor in court for the next few years. During this time it is said he became close with Duchess Vhaolon Bharcov, who confessed to him her belief that her father had murdered her mother to leave him free to pursue the Queen. She never would speak of his molestation of her, but while her father was married to the Prince’s sister, Prince Alurhon insisted that Duchess Vhaolon reside with him, and so gave her his protection during those few years.

In the second year of their marriage, the home of the Queen’s parents, Legorioe and Ameril Al’Thera, was set ablaze while the Queen was visiting with her newborn son, Petren Al’Thera. The fire took the lives of the former King-father and Queen-mother, as well as the newborn and very nearly the Queen. After this tragedy, Prince Alurhon was loud in his urgings for Queen Lorissa to discard her husband, for he insisted that the Prince Consort had been the culprit. However, there was insufficient evidence.

Queen Lorissa, frightened and grieving, clung more tightly than ever to Pathin, and was so wroth with her adopted brother that she would not even inquire as to his health after an attempt was made on his life the following summer. Meanwhile the Prince Consort, far from being a devoted husband during this difficult time for the Queen, took to beating his wife and carousing with the servant girls. He severed ties with the Dwarven kingdoms by sanctioning forced taxation on trade caravans coming into the kingdom, and insulted political envoys from the Kithra by serving them raw meat in bowls on the floor.

The Queen endured it in shamed silence, terrified and alone, until some years later when she finally heeded the warnings of her brother and declared her marriage null. There are vicious rumors that this is merely the public story given to save face. In all actuality, some say, she had begged her adopted daughter, the Duchess Vhaolon, to visit her, and during the visit she caught her husband forcing himself upon his own daughter. She was no longer able to ignore the awful truth of what her husband was, but did not cite this as the official reason, it is said, in order to save her step-daughter further humiliation.

Much of the capital, Enaryn, rejoiced at the news, for Prince Consort Pathin was not a popular man, many of the citizens having suffered under his rule. His own bloodline, the Bharcov family, was quick to disown him, vowing that they had played no part in his treachery over the years and sending the strongest and most able of them to volunteer for a personal bodyguard for Queen Lorissa. Prince Consort Pathin, for his part, denounced his wife as a whore, and made public claim that the child she was now pregnant with was not his own, but a servant’s get. He declared himself King and sought to rally the city to his aid, but found that instead the streets were lined with the Queen’s supporters, who tossed him out of the city in disgrace.
Unwilling to accept defeat, King Pathin sacked the surrounding countryside and used the funds to raise an army of mercenaries with which to lay siege to the city. Queen Lorissa was only just able to bring in armies that had been offered in support by her allies, the Dwarves and the Kithra, before the gates to the city were sealed and the War of the Crowns officially began.

While the city was loyal to the Queen, its people were not soldiers, and so were not prepared at first to fight against the mercenaries which King Pathin made ample use of. Employing the use of warriors from among the Drakiens, Humans, and Centaurs, all of which were viewed to have minimal trading ties with Enaryn and so present the least likelihood of defection, King Pathin launched unceasing attacks on the city. At one point he went so far as to poison the river and wells, a move which decimated the Queen’s troops, and yet cost the King dearly as well.

The Eilitia Empire, in retaliation for the violation of the river, which had been home to some of their number, took vengeance upon the King by sinking a number of his supply ships, and convinced the Blue Drakiens, long their allies, to depart the service of the King. Even still, victory was well within his grasp. During the Battle of Lycopae, his mercenaries, led by Lord Faldred of the Drakiens, almost completely exterminated the aerial troops of Enaryn during a Sigil Night which proved disastrous for the Queen, and ensured that the Elves harbored a measure of respect for the might of their neighbors to the south.

It became apparent to King Pathin that Enaryn would never surrender, and so he set about building a second city on the banks directly opposite his former wife. Much to the disgust of Enaryn, and even many of his own supporters, King Pathin forced his own daughter to marry him, and impregnated her with what he hailed as a “pure heir”. Vhaolon was so devastated over this latest atrocity committed against her that she slipped free of her father’s guards and stumbled in a daze towards the river, presumably to drown herself.

Espying her from a tower in Enaryn, Duke Siannodel Ammaile rode out by himself from the safety of the walls, striving to reach the distraught woman before she could bring harm to herself. The forces of King Pathin took this as an opportunity to capture the Duke, thinking to torture him throughout the night within earshot of Enaryn and force the Queen to surrender. The Duke, however, would not cry out, and remained silent in his agony until dawn when the mercenaries, frustrated, pierced his lungs with a sword.

The forces of Enaryn, weeping with rage, rallied together at the young Duke’s bravery and rode out to attack the mercenaries, fighting them off and retrieving the body before it could be defiled. Though they were unable to rescue Vhaolon, the cries of reassurance from her kinsman did much to restore her sanity, and so it was that she resumed confinement, stronger in will than she was before. She was so struck by the heroics of Duke Siannodel, whom she had always believed loathed her, that she resolved to live, and find some way to aid her kinsman in ending the War of the Crowns.

Though Enaryn had made a brave showing, they were still in dire straits. Supplies had run out, and the walls were crumbling. Prince Alurhon begged Queen Lorissa to flee the city with her daughter (now a young woman), the Princess Bernalia. The Queen would not abandon her people, but agreed to make preparations for her daughter to escape. Ethendor, third son of an Earl that had fallen in the charge to rescue Siannodel, begged the Queen for the honor of attending her daughter, which she agreed to with thanks. Two days after the party set out, the Queen received news that they had been waylaid by King Pathin’s troops and that there were no survivors. Devastated, the Queen decided that if it was going to end, she would at least try and spare her people further suffering.

Taking with her a small escort of only three Dwarven warriors, she set out under a white flag to offer terms of surrender.

King Pathin proved treacherous, even at the end. Refusing to accept surrender, he declared that he would have the city burned to the ground and its inhabitants executed. Drawing a dagger, he stabbed Queen Lorissa in the stomach while his guards held off her escort. Duchess Vhaolon, enraged by her father’s actions and grieving for her stepmother, drew out the dagger and slashed at King Pathin’s throat, killing him. There was a great stunned silence, filled quickly with the sound of thunderous wingbeats. Boudra, sacred Dragon of Udele, arrived like some avenging spirit, killing King Pathin’s guards and making off with Queen Lorissa before her soldiers and Prince Alurhon could arrive.

There was some confusion following this. No one had expected the Dragon to come and it seemed now that, with Prince Alurhon only an adopted Prince with no legal claim to the throne, the Duchess Vhaolon would rule. She denounced her claim to the throne, however, saying she had never wanted to rule and only wanted a chance to raise her child somewhere he would not be faulted for his birth. After speaking with the nobles, then, it was decided that Prince Alurhon should be Steward of Yarola’Sia until such time that a successor could be found.

The mercenaries that King Pathin had raised, meanwhile, set off for home, doing considerable damage to the countryside as they went. The war had lasted a long time, by their reckoning, and some of them had even been born on the battlefield. A few of them, disgusted by the ruler they had served, begged forgiveness of Enaryn and offered to help rebuild the city in order to repay their blood debt. Steward Alurhon accepted, granting clemency to those who provided aid and wishing to put an end to the fighting which had so decimated his family, as well as the Elven nation.

One night of celebration was held to signify the end of the war before the city would enter into its mourning period for the loss of its Queen and Princess. On that night, Steward Alurhon met with the Dwarves which had provided the escort for Queen Lorissa, that their fate might be decided. For by the law of Yarola’Sia they had failed in their duties, and must be judged.

In the midst of these proceedings, however, Princess Bernalia and her new husband, Prince Ethendor, burst in, proclaiming that they lived still and that the bloodline of Queen Lorissa was not ended. Their coronation was immediate, their union blessed and loved by the people of Yarola’Sia. So it was that the city entered into mourning for the dead, but carried with them hope that their city would continue long after the War of the Crowns was a bitter memory.

Posted October 27, 2012 by Evoru

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