The Sword to Unite

The blog of the fantasy epic, The Sword to Unite

Lay of the Lore: The Areni Isles — August 21, 2017

Lay of the Lore: The Areni Isles

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.

Thanks for reading, and as always, be sure to subscribe for more content!

-Peter

The Song of Hadrian — August 20, 2017

The Song of Hadrian

Commissioned by Imperator Horace, composed by the poet Quintus in the year 67 2E to commemorate his late father and ruler, Hadrian I, who had died just a year before.

A Lion born across the sea

Upon his mother’s shoulder he did flee

From burning flame and dying kin

From the palace of endless sin

He fought with sword

He fought with word

Bravest of all from

Last of his father’s mighty line

O Blood of Eln and Erastrius

Together now for all time

Like a fountain

A source of mercy for all

Like a bard at the string

He composed our country

The Lion of Nacia!

The Dream of Being A Published Author — August 16, 2017

The Dream of Being A Published Author

This is a bit of a different article today, much more personal. It’s not the typical post history of a certain house or kingdom in the world of Yennen, Morthwyl and Erastrius, no this post is about my dream to make that world known to as many readers as possible.

Over the past year, I’ve begun my quest to write novels, at least as a passion for as long as I can. I’m still fairly new to the game and there’s plenty left to learn. I was so ecstatic when I clicked to confirm my order through BookBaby, the publishing service I used for The Sword to Unite, but now it feels almost like a bitter sweet moment. For all the work I put into the book, I felt I had almost wasted my time on it. Advice to anyone considering writing; you will feel like that at some point, but you have to push through it.

Like writing, the process of publishing is long and arduous, filled with typos and minutes spent pacing around your room trying to ignore the complete lack of logic in your last paragraph. It’s still my dream that one day I might get an agent, that one day that agent might find a publishing house willing to take a chance with one of my stories, and one day someone will pick up a copy of a book with my name on it and read it. Just that thought is so exciting, it really makes the process worth all the effort, the thought that someone genuinely enjoys something I spent the time to craft, minus a few typos of course.

Thanks for reading,

Peter

The Song of Stars — August 12, 2017

The Song of Stars

A traditional song of the Duxy of Freven, whose sigil is the tower Gelgeth (Star-Tower) upon a blue sky of white stars and two laurel wreaths.

Fair light upon stars

Burning like cold and endless flames

White as bone, falling like tears

 

Glistening like ice upon a sunny day

Gracing the height of the world

Ceaseless in their dance

 

Gelgeth (Star-Tower) will wane and fall,

Yet from the sky,

Be never dimmed in light,

You flame for the world, to see

 

Fair light upon the stars

Of gods and men, you shine equal on

The world content to sleep another night

Beneath your every burning gaze

 

Fair light upon the stars

Burn ye forever bright

For without your light

A world of dark and endless night

Geladhithel, Last Holdfast of the Silver Elves — August 2, 2017

Geladhithel, Last Holdfast of the Silver Elves

With the fall of Glanfech, the first kingdom of the Hlútrian, or the proper name of elvish people, was lost. The elves were divided, many chose to stay close to the ruins of their home, residing in the lake city of Evrand, while others went north towards the woodland realm of Lusani, where a great number of their people already dwelled. A small fraction departed for Antiquii, the ancestral homeland of the elves, where they devolved in technology and culture to a more primitive state, seeking harmony with nature. The fourth group of elves fled to the east, hoping to avoid the senseless brutalities ensuing in the west. Along the eastern coast of Yennen, they settled in the palisade of Geladhithel, which had been a minor border fort until this point.

The eastern elves became known as the Silver Elves, called this by the native men who marveled at their skill of smithing and art, for their steel was well made it appeared as shining silver. The elves built up Geladhithel, turning the earthen mud fort into a stone city with many walls and towers. The royal palace in Geladhithel became known as the Blue Star, for the blue tile which adorned the roofing of the keep. Here, the Kings of Geladhithel rose to power over the lands they had fought and journeyed for, yet they could never surpass the majesty of Glanfech.

In worship, the Silver Elves worship Duwel alone, believing all other gods to only be his cohort of angels and servants, not worthy of prayer. They take their sigil after Duwel's cloud, which supposedly fell over Rohiel, greatest of elven kings, and gave him the knowledge of the world.

Wars with the Dradanians to the north and Silverscale to the south bled the treasury and army. On Lake Fyrk, the Silver Elves had attempted to build a city similar to Evrand, naming it Lirfell, yet the city was burned and left to ruin by a host of Silverscale who sacked the city for its deposits of gold and jewels. After this, nearly a fourth of the Silver Elves population had been lost to war, and finally, the Sky Kings were forced into a peace with a heavy tribute of taxes to Silverscale.

Allied with Nacia for centuries, Geladhithel had begun to regain strength, and have finally paid off their war debts; wealth they intend to win back through martial power or cunning plot.

Dorea, The Masters of the Western Gulf — July 6, 2017

Dorea, The Masters of the Western Gulf

The Duxy of Dorea stands on two small isles of Nacia, known as Old Pelaga and New Pelaga. With the sigil of a golden seahorse upon a blue shield, they rule through strength and trade. Confined to the sea, their food comes from the ocean, with an impressive fleet of fishing ships able to supply the islands with a steady and wide variety of maritime delicacies. Their power resides in their massive navy, the largest on the eastern half of the world, and their economic connections with the Joint-Kingdom of Menidon across the Gulf of Gilmire, as well as the Merchant Princes of Krivich to the north. Even when Cato, previous King of Nacia, declared war against Krivich, Dorea maintained their trade relations.

In their first years, House Oleri, the lords of Dorea, were a noble family in the original lands of Nacia, on the western side of the continent of Yennen. Their ancestor, Boves the Brave, aided in the taking of the isle where Nacia now stands. Boves snuck into Old Pelaga, which was a thriving trade hub at the time. Disguised as merchants, he and a band of thirty knights, their order is alive today known as The Pelagean Thirty, took control of the city by morning, and handed the keys to Imperator Felix. In exchange, Boves was granted Pelaga as a personal holding, while the Imperator took the rest of the lands and titles.

When the Nacian Empire collapsed, House Oleri saved the royal family and many people of Nacia who had journeyed to the eastern coast. The Imperator’s host was closely followed by an army of barbaric invaders, and it seemed they would be cut down on the beaches. Using their navy at Pelaga, they ran a rescue operation which took only one day, saving nearly two thousand lives. For choosing to save their liege rather than let him die on the coast, they have been considered the most loyal of any vassals to the Kingdom of Nacia.

The current lord, Dux Festus, is an incredibly old man; a renowned warrior in his youth both strong and tall, he is now confined with a cane and cannot wear full armor without the weight overcoming him.

Tritania, the Hidden Gem of Nacia — June 23, 2017

Tritania, the Hidden Gem of Nacia

To the south of Vindorium, capital of the Nacian Kingdom, the Tritanian Peninsula thrives with culture and learning unparalleled to any lordship of the realm. Their sigil in the brown rabbit, representing quick wit and a creature common to their many fields and forests, as well as three mountains, to signify strength and fortitude as well as the three-pronged defense surrounding their city. The sun represents the enlightenment and purity of their folk.

Tritania has always been close to the court of their liege lord, often filling the role of steward, marshal, or close advisor, due to their superb education and gregarious nature. Publius, the current lord of Tritania, serves as Lucan’s steward and sees to the day-to-day running of the kingdom, as well as all foreign affairs. A man shrewd as the rabbit of his pendant, Publius is determined to keep Nacia unified in the face of adversity, which now comes from across the sea.

Publius has a host of loyal knights as well, notable amongst them is Sir Andreas of the Lockedwood, a grizzled war veteran both brave and cunning on the field. He saved Tritania and possibly all of Nacia from a southern invasion which landed in his homeland when he was but a lordling without knighthood to his name. The Merchant Princes of Krivich intended to flank around the south of the isle and march directly to Vindorium, choking the capital from the rest of the nation. They came with five thousand lightning fast lancers, to show their navy was mighty enough to support cavalry. This took their army directly through the Lockedwood in Tritania, where Andreas, in command of only five hundred mounted militiamen, seized the day.

Andreas ordered a chain stretching nearly four hundred yards to be secured deep in the Lockedwood. Andreas then took his detachment of cavalry and rushed forward from the woods, charging directly at the Krivich host. The Princes thought him mad, and so, copied the order to charge. In the moment before the horses broke upon each other, Andreas sounded for retreat and led his men back into the forest. The Krivich horsemen gave chase, but soon lost sight of Andreas’ smaller, more versatile army, but nevertheless, they charged forward at a blazing speed.

The Krivich host charged directly into the chain, sending men flying from their horses who shattered like waves upon rocks as they struck the hard steel. Many fled, while others were pursued by Andreas’ army and slain. Andreas forced the complete removal of Krivich forces of the south and was knighted by the king at that time, Cato, taking the sigil of an oak tree with a golden chain locked around its frame.

 

 

The Joint-Kingdom of Menidon — June 14, 2017

The Joint-Kingdom of Menidon

“Bonds Stronger Than Blood” The words etched on each minted coin from the Dweor holdfasts of the Menidish Mountains. This phrase rings true in the Joint-Kingdom of Menidon which was forged in a time of war and strife, where the survival of two peoples relief solely on their cooperation.

The Dweor of Baraz and the Men of Aradur had always had good terms with one another; the dwarves provided good steel and a steady supply of gold, while the coastal city of Aradur provided a thriving hub for trade in the region. In the later centuries of the SE, long after the collapse of the Nacian Empire, the ducal lords and merchant republics now ruling that land joined arms and sought to wipe out their main trade competitor, the Dweor of Baraz.

An army of some five thousand marched towards the mountain hold, led by a council of bankers and nobles funding the campaign. Immediately, the progress was halted for the remnants of Nacia; harsh weather in the mountains delayed the advance, and supply trains were poorly managed. This gave the Dweor enough time to send emissaries to Aradur, to beg the council of burgomasters to send aid. The council agreed to shelter the Dweor if Baraz fell, but refused any military support, as the fledgling trade city was garrisoned by a small militia which was rather poorly equipped.

Feeling defeated, the Dweor of Baraz fortified their keep and prepared for the worst. When the dukes and merchants arrived, the Dweor seemed doomed, for they had only two thousand volunteers equipped with generation old gear. By miracle, a single councilman, Tybalt the Brazen, arrived with a host of peasants numbering near ten thousand armed with billhooks and spears. Tybalt had resigned from the council in protest of the lack of aid to Baraz and went through the countryside rallying the common folk to his cause.

At the sight of this huge army, the merchant lords broke off their mercenaries, leaving the duke lords with half their strength for the battle. The Dweor rushed from their battlements and joined Tybalt, swiftly routing the diminished army and winning the day.

In retrospect, Tybalt was dubbed the Brazen for two reasons; first, he would have been imprisoned and tried by his own people for taking so many peasants away from the harvest season, which could have starved the country, second, he led an army of sick, old, young, and even some women. Tybalt’s entire army was a bluff, and the enemy fell for his deception. Even with greater numbers, Tybalt lost nearly a sixth of his army in battle, due to their lackluster equipment.

Tybalt returned to Aradur with his and the Dweor army, and strongarmed his way back into the council, swiftly removing his opponents and replacing them with men loyal to his cause. With the new burgomaster council, Tybalt signed the Treaty of Menidon, which combined the two kingdoms into an elective monarchy, of which he won the vote.

Since then, a council of one hundred, fifty Dweor and fifty Men, have elected their kings for life, always ensuring kings are picked by character and not race, though a bag of coins has been known to persuade some councilors.

The Company of the Shining Sword — June 9, 2017

The Company of the Shining Sword

The mercenary army, known chiefly as the Company of the Shining Sword, has been active for two generations of command and has seen battle across the entire world. A host of four thousand spears and swords, one thousand lightly armored lancers, and two thousand archers and crossbowmen, as well as some five hundred mounted archers with compound bows. A true glass cannon, the army is meant for strategy focusing on hit and run tactics, preferring to harass their enemy and keep a good distance away before striking and retreating to start the cycle again.

Founded by an exiled elven prince of Evrand, Tulmo the Once-Watcher, named for his revoking of the title of captain of the city guard at Evrand. Supposedly he had been taking bribes from smugglers and usurers, though many in his company and those of his family claim he was set up to cover a string of corruption in the council of that fair republic.

Either way, Tulmo was ousted from the city with twenty loyal guardsmen from the watch. Each of these men held the rank of captain granted instantly by Tulmo for their support, some of whom still hold it to this day as grizzled and old veterans of the company.

The first recorded instance of the company was at Kurithia, the city closest to Evrand. Kruithia had been besieged for months by their rivals the Ushamites, and it seemed the city would be breached in days. Suddenly, a company of some one thousand elves and a few hundred men charged the besieging camp in the dead of night. The camp burned in chaos and flame, quickly sending the Ushamite host fleeing out of fear of the savage host descending upon them. From the walls of the city, guardsmen saw shining blades glitter in the light of the flames, as the swords had been previously unused and were completely untarnished.

After the siege, Tulmo was granted a king’s fortune by the oligarchy, and word quickly traveled across the world of a new mercenary company looking for sliders of fortune to bolster their ranks. As part of his reward, Tulmo was knighted by the council, and granted his personal coat of arms, a red hand holding a shining steel blade upon an orange shield, still used to this day as the company’s sigil.

The Wolf in the Vineyard, House Vandarian —

The Wolf in the Vineyard, House Vandarian

Dating back centuries, House Vandarian has ruled the Vine Marshes of Nacia since their birthing as a cadet house of the imperial family. Stewards and masters of statecraft, the patriarchs of Vandarian are as powerful and ambitious are they are wealthy.

From their palatial home at Laprisil, wine and gold flow from the port, as well as the roads connecting to the other major cities of the isle.  Once their castle was to the western border, though it sunk into the marsh in a severe storm, trapping and killing near half the living member of the family at that time.

Now their leader, Rollo the Bloodless, makes his way to the capital to meet with the newly appointed king, Lucan. Rollo is wise beyond his years and was treasurer to the king’s father, Cato. Rollo’s visit brings both relief and fear, for the memory of Achea is still fresh in the minds of the common folk and nobility alike. A tale few dare speak…

 

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