The Landless Knight and His Braves Companions
There were Jarin peoples living in southwestern Hârn by 1000 BT. After the end of the Atani Wars in the seventh century BT, the region absorbed an influx of eastern Jarin and Lythian peoples. By the first century TR there were several dozen tribes in the area. For the next two centuries a number of petty “kingdoms” rose and fell as warrior chieftains struggled for dominance; few states outlived their founders.
About 350 the Aleta tribe of the southern Eryn River valley unified under the chieftain Alash. Little is known of Alash. He is described as “…a gentle man, fond of beauty and harmony….” This assessment is speculative; it is likely that Alash was more pragmatic. In 356 he founded Aleath and the kingdom of Aleathia.
By 393, after annexations and conquests by Alash and his son Calin, Aleathia extended north to the Eryn River and west to Sarkum. In 429 Xuaka became the fifth monarch of Aleathia and embarked on an ambitious policy of expansion along the west coast, an area in dispute with the Corani Empire. When the Corani Emperor Laketta died in 443, Xuaka invaded the Empire, seizing Heroth. The Corani chose Mejenes, a brilliant military leader, as their emperor, and a bitter war began.
Xuaka was a skilled general, but the resources of the empire and the talents of Mejenes were too great to overcome. By 447 Xuaka was penned in Aleath while Corani armies ravaged his kingdom. He was forced to accept Mejenes’ peace terms, stipulating that Aleathia would be restored to its pre-war borders during Xuaka’s life but then be annexed by the empire.
When Xuaka died in 453 the treaty was honored and Aleathia became a province of the empire. During the hundred and twelve years of Imperial rule the region prospered. Many of the paved roads and stone bridges date from this period. Also during this time, the fabled city of Fenyrin was constructed by Workol the Astrologer.
The Theocracy of Tekhos
Aleathia escaped most of the disasters that struck the north during the mid-sixth century. As a result, the Balshan Jihad, which fed upon despair and unrest, had little success in the south. The Empire, however, was doomed. The end came in 565 with the fall of Coranan and the execution of the Emperor Medak.
The collapse of central authority caused chaos everywhere. In the city of Aleath, a republic was founded and attempts were made to create a unified opposition to the Balshans. Unfortunately, the Republic was unable to gather significant support. When Horahnam emerged as leader of the Theocracy of Tekhos in 568, Aleath’s fate was sealed. Seeking to eliminate any possible threat from the city, Horahnam marched south in 569. The fortresses in his path either surrendered or were overwhelmed and Aleath was soon besieged.
The Agony of Aleath
The city held out for three bitter years with no hope of relief. Starvation and disease reduced the defenders to desperation. When it was obvious Aleath was doomed, hundreds slew themselves and their kin rather than be captured. In the spring of 572 the Tekhosians breached the walls, and in a grisly orgy of butchery, rape, and pillage, massacred most of the remaining population. This atrocity was described by Horahnam of Tekhos as the “savage and righteous vengeance of Morgath”.
A few Aleathians escaped due to Rolin and Taryn of Melesen, brothers who had immigrated from Melderyn in 552. They operated a mercantyling business and owned a number of ships. When Aleath was besieged, they advocated a plan to escape the city by sea. One month before Aleath fell, 400 adults chosen by lot, and most children under twelve, boarded and sailed eastward.
Foul weather scattered the fleet and over half the vessels were lost. Many legends recount the fate of lost ships, and tales of sunken treasure scattered along the south coast of Hârn. Maps occasionally turn up purporting to show the location of a wreck. The most fanciful legend is that of the Halflings. Seamen tell of a race of half-sized folk who reside on an island in the Gulf of Ederwyn. It is likely that the origin of the tale was the shipwreck of some children during the Odyssey. The surviving ships gathered at Keboth Island where they were aided by the Sindarin. There they met Genin, a mage of Melderyn, and under his guidance they sailed east to found the city of Thay in 573.
Eladas of Kand “the Faithful”
The rule of the Theocracy was harsh and brutal. Thousands were impaled or forced into outlawry. Perverse Morgathian spectacles and executions become commonplace, and the tribunals and inquisitors that enforced the new order were greatly feared. Those of the old Imperial nobility that survived either embraced the Theocracy or fled into exile.
When the empire fell, Eladas of Kand, a deputy governor of Aleathia province, declared that without an emperor to dismiss him, he would serve until a proper authority appeared. When the armies of the Theocracy crossed the Eryn, Eladas declared his loyalty to Horahnam. He was allowed to maintain Edino Keep, but was never trusted.
For six years Eladas sheltered enemies of the Theocracy, and began to establish a small army of refugees in the Mimea Hills. In 575 Eladas was summoned before the Dyrisa tribunal to answer charges of heresy and treason. Knowing the inevitable result of such a summons, Eladas sent his family and retainers to safety in the Mimea Hills and calmly accepted his fate. He was tortured and impaled, and his mutilated body was thrown into the Eryn; clan Kand was declared outlaw.
The leadership of clan Kand fell to the eldest son, Andasin. He trained a small army of desperate refugees and harassed the forces of the Theocracy. The Tekhosians made several attempts to eliminate him but failed due to rugged terrain and the friendship between clan Kand and the Gozyda tribesmen in the area.
When the Theocracy collapsed in 588, Andasin struck, seizing Ibonost from its Tekhosian governor in the first month of 589. He founded the House of Kand and proclaimed the kingdom of Kanday with himself as king. For the next decade, aided by the chaotic conditions of the Interregnum, Andasin extended his power.
In 598 Andasin felt secure enough to attack Edino keep, which was held by the warlord Taklar Zedabas. Taklar’s well deserved reputation for vicious brutality had won him the sobriquet “Ogre”, and he was one of the most skillful military commanders in the area.
Andasin, having lived at Edino, knew its defenses well, and his night assault in small boats across the Eryn River took Taklar by surprise. The battle for control of the keep was merciless; few of Taklar’s men survived. The Ogre of Edino was slain in the attack, cut down on the roof of the keep.
Following this triumph Andasin conquered or annexed much of the surrounding area. He was a genius at siege warfare and by 615 had isolated his only significant rival, the Morgathian lords of Dyrisa castle. In the spring of 620 Andasin marched to Dyrisa and besieged it. Dyrisa surrendered three months later, after its overlord, Asagran, was murdered by his followers.
In 622, Andasin, a devout Laranian, founded the Order of the Checkered Shield to defend northern Kanday. The order quickly attracted many members and within five years captured Quivum, Imiden, Ewen, Zerien, and Heroth for Kanday. About 624 Andasin began to decline into senility. He died in 627.
All of Andasin’s sons had perished in battle. His successor was his grandson Maradon, who took the name Andasin II. Unlike his predecessor, Kanday’s second king was more inclined to negotiation than war. He made alliances with the numerous petty states on his borders, including a second Aleath Republic, which joined the kingdom as a chartered freetown in 633. The Violet Mantle Palace of Arms dates from his reign. When Andasin II died in 654, Kanday was a strong, vigorous kingdom, firmly allied with its neighbors.
Andasin II never married. On his death the kingship passed to his brother Ashenan. King Arlun of Rethem seized the opportunity offered by the transition to attack Dunir, an independent ally of Kanday, but otherwise Ashenan’s reign was quiet and unmarked by strife. When he died after a five year reign the kingdom’s succession council gave the throne to his wife Arelora.
Arelora and the Five Year War
It is sometimes speculated that the motivation to make Arelora queen was based on an assumption that she could be easily manipulated. Although the first few years of her reign show little sign of her influence, she soon emerged as a skilled and willful leader.
In 661 the Thardic League conquered Moleryn, then a minor ally of Kanday. Arelora demanded the immediate withdrawal of League forces. The ultimatum was ignored and Kanday declared what has become known as the Five Year War. For the first two years, dozens of minor skirmishes took place and Arelora left the conduct of the war to her lieutenants. This resulted in a disorganized Kandian army being soundly beaten at the battle of the Teb Marshes in 663 and the loss of Ibonost, which infuriated Arelora. She took personal command of her demoralized army.
The sight of the diminutive fifty-two year old queen, bedecked in silver armour and making stirring speeches, rallied Kanday. After two more years of war she brought the League to battle near Eidru and inflicted an ignominious defeat on Colura, the Thardic Autarch.
With the League armies routed, Arelora took Eidru. A company of Kandian knights captured Kuseme when its defenders panicked and failed to close the gates. Only the Thard River checked Arelora’s advance. The League sued for peace, and in 666 the Treaty of Quivum gave Eidru and Kuseme to Kanday, while the League kept Moleryn. Ibonost was returned to Kanday. Both sides claimed victory. The remainder of Arelora’s reign was peaceful. She died childless in 676.
Andasin III’s claim to the throne was somewhat tenuous, being the son of Melise, the bastard daughter of Kubro, Andasin I’s second son. Melise had been acknowledged by her grandfather in 620 after Kubro was killed during a skirmish at Dyrisa.
Andasin III, deeply affected by Melise’s bastardy, was obsessed with his origins. He ordered an investigation, in which the heralds of the House of Kand provided evidence of his descent from the kings of Aleathia.
Ezar’s War, 682-697
In 682, the Agrikan Order of the Copper Hook attacked Kanday, besieging Imiden, which was relieved by the Laranian Order of the Checkered Shield. King Puril of Rethem supported the Agrikan aggression, and the fifteen-year conflict known as Ezar’s War (after the Copper Hook grandmaster) began.
The rival armies engaged repeatedly but without much effect along the northern border of Kanday. Neither was able to bring the other to battle on favorable ground. In 688 Puril broke the stalemate by moving an army by sea to Sarkum, then a minor ally of Kanday. The Rethemi quickly overwhelmed Sarkum and Hebon, but Puril was mortally wounded in personal combat with King Ranald Milaka of Gemala.
Puril’s death in 689 gave Andasin III time to arrange the marriage of his daughter Mirelael to Ranald Milaka, the deposed ruler of Sarkum, and secure the fealty of the petty states west of Aleath. His renewed forces besieged Sarkum before Kabe could arrive to take command. In 690, Andasin III recaptured Hebon but the king was killed in the final assault. Ranald Milaka, was heroic in the assault.
Now surrounded by Kanday, the minor kingdoms of Alatar and Mezant swore fealty to Andasin III.
Andasin III was succeeded by his eldest daughter Eriel. The Kandians rallied to the beautiful, charismatic twenty-two year old woman, and her visits to the besieging army at Sarkum are still remembered with awe. In 692, fire broke out in Sarkum castle and Kabe of Rethem was killed. The castle surrendered, but the war continued in the north. Kanday took Dunir in 693, but otherwise the northern frontier remained deadlocked.
Kabe’s successor Chafin I, determined to win the war by any means, instructed the Agrikan Order of the Crimson Dancer to assassinate Eriel. The murder was carried out in the last month of 694; Eriel was slain in her sewing room at Dyrisa. The assassin, Brenlyn of Shernath, was captured and implicated Chafin I in the crime before she was executed. This, in addition to the widely believed (and never denied) rumor that Eriel’s body had been mutilated, outraged Kanday. Eriel’s crown, adorned with Eladas’ Eye, a fiery black opal dating from the founding of the Kingdom, vanished and has never been recovered.
Mirelael, Eriel’s younger sister, came to the throne in a storm of fury against Rethem. Kandian armies captured Menekod and Selvos in the spring of 695, causing Chafin to sue for peace. The 697 Treaty of Selvos ended the war and established the present border. Mirelael devoted the remainder of her reign to rebuilding the shattered economy of Kanday and establishing peace. She was successful in both aims but the effort exhausted her. She died of a fever in 707, at only thirty-seven years old, and was widely grieved.
Andasin IV, Mirelael’s eldest son, succeeded his mother at the age of 17. Since coming to the throne he has often been influenced by the advice of his father, Sir Ranald Milaka, Earl of Sarkum. This was particularly true during the first years of his reign.
In 712 the Earl of Kuseme, Ernald Julor, sent a band of knights to assert control over two disputed villages east of Eidru. Kronas, the Marshal of the neighboring Thardic Republic province of Ramala, sensed an opportunity, and moved to challenge the earl.
Kronas’ supporters in the Thardic Senate made appeals for support of the Marshal. The fact that Kuseme castle (lost by the Republic in the Five Year War) is clearly visible from Coranan and linked to the city by Kobar bridge prompted the Senate to act and Kronas was ordered to retake Kuseme.
Kronas besieged Kuseme but moved the bulk of his army south to seize Eidru, forcing the surprised earl to surrender. The onset of a bitter winter ended hostilities but Kronas continued the siege causing great hardship in Kuseme. Meanwhile, negotiations were taking place between Andasin IV and elements of the Thardic Senate. The young king was eager to offer peace, and the Senators, wishing to contain the growing power of Kronas, also desired an end to the war. Andasin’s inexperience resulted in him offering both Kuseme and Eidru to the Republic in exchange for peace. A more skillful politician might have minimized the loss to Kuseme or even negotiated a withdrawal of Republican forces. In any event, before war could be renewed in the spring, peace was concluded between Kanday and the Republic.
The settlement infuriated the Marshal of Ramala and the Earl of Kuseme. Kronas believed that he could have conquered all of Kanday, and that the Senate had acted out of jealousy and fear; the earl believed that he could have withstood a lengthy siege in Kuseme, and that given proper support from his king he could have driven Kronas back across the Teb. Kronas was placated by granting him the offices of Marshal and Magistrate of the new province of Eidel, formed from the lands surrendered by Kanday. The earl was reduced to a single holding, Ohetis Keep, and the title of baron.
When the peace was announced the reduced earl was rumored to have made private accusations that the king had not honored his feudal obligations, and had shown cowardice in ceding Kuseme and Eidru. Many of the great clans of Kanday, particularly those holding lands along the Rethem border, were disturbed by the settlement of the Kuseme War. Some fear Andasin IV is too eager for peace and will give up anything to appease his neighbors. The fact that Lord Julor was not widely liked and was commonly regarded as a braggart has softened the feeling that Andasin acted too hastily.