To the southernmost point of Yennen, lay a set of islands known for their beautiful landscape and dark past. The Areni Isles have been the jewel of the southern lands for centuries as a landmark hub for any maritime commerce between the western and eastern halves of the continent. Founded by Bandabras of Barbany, a famous explorer of Lyrielian, or blood of elf and man as it is known. he sought to liberate himself from the shackles of his liege lord and so declared the Areni Isles as an independent kingdom.

Bandabras was a tall man, with a wide frame. His beard was blood red, stretching down to his chest in curls. Revered and despised by the same people, he lived larger than life, filled with ambition and a drive like no other. He set sail for Areni with a host of twenty warships, nearly five thousand men, women, and children followed his promise of a new life.

The islands were populated by a small native population that migrated there centuries ago, whom many scholars believe came from the south of Tanaria, a kingdom closest to the islands. Each island was divided amongst the native people, with no system of unified government. Bandabras was clever, deciding to win them over with diplomacy, rather than steel. At the Summer Isle, he arranged an alliance with the local king, marrying his daughter, Helia Fane. Soon, Bandabras had brought all the islands to heel.

His first actions as king of all of Areni was to assimilate the populations of his Lyrielian allies with the natives, adding the language and codified law systems of Lyriel while keeping the religion, known as Afel, the Lady of the Sea. Bandabras made it a key point to show the power of his people, building massive stone palaces and castle on each island so his legacy could outlast even his dynasty. When it came to his succession, Bandabras committed his greatest mistake, a mistake which haunts Areni to this day. Bandabras legitimized his three bastards, giving them each an island, leaving his trueborn with only the Summer Isle. As he lay dying on his bed, surrounded by sons readying their levies for war, Bandabras supposedly shouted, “to the Strongest!” as his final breath

Bandabran, the only trueborn son, isolated himself on the Summer Isle, shoring up his defenses and taking counsel from his mother Helia, who grew paranoid of plots by the bastards of Bandabras. The Isle of Calto, where the Autumn Palace resides, was taken by Thyngen, strongest and tallest of the brothers, most in appearance like their father. Melos, the island of the Spring Palace, was granted to Arioto, known for his good-natured spirit and diplomacy, born from his father’s affair with a Tanaric courtesan. The Comet, home of the Winter Palace, a dreary place of storms and rocky terrain where little grows, was given to Nasirian the Shadow, given the nickname tauntingly by his brothers for his bitter sulking at feasts and fairs.

Since their inheritance of the islands, the brothers’ descendants have warred with one another for the coveted title of King of Areni, though none have claimed the title, instead, they are locked in stalemates of bloody and costly warfare.

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-Peter