Anuire » Heartlands » Ghieste (duchy)
Arms of Ghieste now adopted by the province of GhiereArms of Ghieste now adopted by the province of Ghiere

As Roele expanded his Empire across Cerilia the lands that are now known as the Barony of Ghoere were once separate, closely aligned Duchies known as Ghieste and Bhalaene. These two Imperial powers had long been allied and dependent upon the other, and together the two realms seemed to exemplify everything for which the Empire stood.
Ghieste was composed of rich bottom land throughout her provinces of Tireste, Ghiere, Rhumannen, Bheline and Tornilen, and her fields yielded vast amounts of grain and other staple crops. Eventually tasked by the Emperor with keeping the Imperial Legions provisioned, the nobles of Ghieste soon became known for their skills of administration and distribution, and the Duchy quickly became the center of trade for the entire Heartlands region.
With the death of Michael Roele and the destruction of the majority of the Imperial Legions on the slopes of Battlewaite, the foundations of the Empire quickly began to decay. In Ghieste however, the loss of the Imperial Bureaucracy nearly broke the power of the Duke, and with the Imperial Legions decimated and scattered, the backbone of Ghieste?s political might was largely gone. Quickly, merchants of Ghieste sold and distributed their grain independently from the Crown and the Duke lost control. Seemingly overnight, the guilders came to dominate the entire trade of Ghieste, and within a few decades, the lesser nobility of Ghieste had grown rich and powerful in comparison to the Duke who led them.

[top]Rise of Ghieste

The following years would bring strife and war throughout Anuire as each realm struggled to maintain what little influence remained to them, or else scrambled to usurp it?s dominance over their neighbors. Age-old alliances fell apart, and friends turned to enemies as the nobles of Anuire quarreled over land rights and the succession of the Iron Throne. Ghieste had never been a military power; instead it?s strength lay in its trading policies and it?s sizable treasury, and in these matters, none of the regents would risk the enmity of the Ghieste lords.
By 85 MR nearly every realm within the Heartlands of Anuire was heavily dependent upon Ghieste trade and relied on Ghieste imports to feed their own populace. As such, Ghieste was largely left uncontested during the pivotal years following the collapse of the Empire. The duchy gradually grew farther away from the traditional values and teachings of Empire, and with each passing year, the guilders became more powerful and apparent as the trade consortia and guilds came to prominence and slowly replaced the influence of the nobles. By the late second century, the nobility of Ghieste had become little more than a collection of titled nobles scrambling frantically to survive amongst the wealthy trade guilds and merchant consortia which had arisen throughout the Duchy.
In 227 MR a large force of humanoids invaded the Duchy from the depths of the Spiderfell early that spring, and Ghieste was forced to call upon their neighbors in Bhalaene for aid in lifting the siege off their realm. With the help of Bhalaese, the Spiderfell forces were defeated by the autumn of 227 MR, and the realm of Ghieste was much indebted to their eastern neighbor. Thus, it was decided that Graeham Bhalaene, son of the Duke of Bhalaene, was to wed the eldest daughter of Duke Eldant Ghieste, the Lady Caerellyn Ghieste.
The marriage took place with all ceremony in Bhalaene and everyone expected a long and happy honeymoon. Caerellyn was called to share the crown and ducal dignity at an earlier age than any of her predecessors. At the time of her marriage to Graeham, she had scarcely completed her fourteenth year, a period of life when her education was imperfect, her judgment unformed, and her character precisely that of a spoiled child, and that she was gifted with precocious beauty and genius, which in her case served but to foster vanity and self-sufficiency. From her accomplished parents, the youthful Caerellyn inherited both a natural taste, and a practical talent for poetry, which the very air she breathed tended to foster and encourage. Almost before she entered her teens, she had composed a heroic poem. The result of the marriage was not a warm regard between the two realms, but rather the people of Bhalaene despised her and the people of Ghieste defended her.

[top]Civil War

[top]Religious Strife and Guild Violence

As fate would have it, Ghieste was to host the Sword and Crown of 396 MR, and as the Anuirean nobility descended upon the Duchy of Ghieste, they were both attracted and repulsed by the impact of trade on the prosperity of realm. The values of Haelyn had been replaced by those of Sarimie, and this seemed a high price indeed for such prosperity. The realm lacked stability, order, and while it contained the wealthiest guilders and nobles, it also contained the poorest and most numerous beggars, thieves, and scoundrels. After the Sword and Crown, a cabal of nobles, including not a few of the surrounding regents, agreed to support efforts to prevent the temple of Saramie from expanding into their realms.
Another consequence of the Sword and Crown was the death of Duke Halmied Ghieste. Halmied was an avid hunter and a participant in jousts and tournaments. During a joust during the Sword and Crown, Duke Halmied was mortally wounded by the lance of Gabriel Montgomery, captain of the Ghieste Wolf Guard. The lance pierced his temple and, despite the efforts of royal surgeon Ambroise Paré, he died.
The duchy decended to his eldest child, Briende Ghieste. She had been married during the Sword and Crown to Graeham Tael Baron of Ghoere and nephew of the Duke of Bhalaene. Now, only a year later, Briende was Duchess, still only fifteen years old. The crown was so heavy that nobles had to hold it in place for her. Her uncle, Rhegor Ghieste, was appointed Chancellor to aid her, but it is considered that Graeham's uncles Vordhuine Bhalaene and Richard Achien may have held the real power in that period. Briende was loved by her people, but had always been a sickly child, and died only two years later in childbirth, at the age of sixteen. The child, Regien Tael lived to be raised his father, Graeham.
Briende was succeeded by her brother, Anphelan Ghieste, whose reign is known for the religious strife in Ghieste. A new temple had emerged in the trading realm of Ghieste, the Celestial Jewel of Sarimie. At first it was confined to the merchant and crafting classes, but as Ghieste became a trade center and very prosperous, the temple became more and more prevalent. By the time of the Sword and Crown in 396, the Celestial Jewel was dominant, and the temple of Haelyn which had been dominant in Ghieste since the schism of the Imperial Temple, Haelyn's Aegis had fallen into difficulty. The Grand Master Enrik Maricoere had received much support and encouragement from fellow temples and during the reign of Duke Anphelan, Enrik pushed back against the Celestial Jewel.
The Celestial Jewel and the guilds struck back with secret tactics, including fires in temples, whispering campaigns against priests, and theft of temple wealth. The temples of Haelyn responded with men on horseback who brought the same violence to the guilds in broad daylight. Throughout the struggle, Enrik pursued harsh punishments for the merchants and bureaucrats of Ghieste, for their crimes against Haelyn and the Empire were unforgivable in his eyes. When Grand Master Enrik chose to agitate the masses in the city of Ghieste, he threw a match on dry tinder. During this time the great guild houses of Traibien and Maesallier had an important marriage which brought together many leading devotees of Sarimie. Knights of Haelyn cut down Guild Master Norman Colignae and the people in town devoted to Haelyn took inspiration from the attack and took up arms and went into the streets. Though the followers of Haelyn were outnumbered, their doctrine taught courage and confrontation of danger, while the doctrine of Sarimie taught followers to hide their wealth for fear of its loss. Compounding the bad feeling was the fact that the harvests had been poor; the rise in prices and the luxury displayed on the occasion of the guild wedding intensified the hatred felt by the common people. For six days a mob ran riot burning the homes of merchants and wealthy craftsmen, killing them when they could and their families as well.
Physically, Duke Anphelan had never been strong, tending towards tuberculosis. The strain following the Massacres weakened his body to the point where, by spring of 404 MR, the hoarse coughing turned bloody and the hemorrhages grew more violent. He became bedridden and delusional,

''What blood shed! What murders! What worthless council I have followed! O my Sarimie, forgive me...I am lost! I am lost!"

After the death of Duke Anphelan, his uncle, Rhegor Ghieste, who had been Chancellor these eight years succeeded as Duke. As Chancellor, he had been involved in coordinating with the guilds and the Celestial Jewel of Sarimie. He had been involved in plots against Haelyn's Aegis, though did not participate in any violence. When he succeeded as Duke, he tried to reconcile with Haelyn's Aegis.
However, Haelyn's Aegis was undergoing its own schisms. While the followers of Cuiraécen appreciated the firm way the Aegis dealt with its Sarimite rivals, its position regarding the schism of the Western Imperial Temple and Impregnable Heart of Haelyn form the Orthodox Imperial Temple disturbed the Militant Order of Cuiraécen. In 403 MR, the Militant Order of Cuiraécen elected their first Grand Master.
In 404 MR, Rhegor signed the Edict of Beaulieu, granting many concessions to the Haelynites. His action resulted in the guild activist, Elamien Traibien, forming the League of Sarimie. After much posturing and negotiations, Rhegor was forced to rescind most of the concessions that had been made to Haelyn's Aegis in the Edict of Beaulieu.
In 408, the Duke's youngest brother and heir presumptive, Trevan Ghieste, died. Under traditional law, it was unclear whether Regien Tael, heir to the Barony of Ghoere or Carilon Bhalaene Duke of Bhalaene and descendant of Caerellyn Ghieste was the proper heir.
Rhegor hoped to produce offspring and end the question, but the death of Trevan put the courts of Ghoere and Bhalaene into motion. One critical question was the Baron of Ghoere, Regien Tael. He was a great magnate in Ghieste, and embracing him at court with favor and preferment would grant security, but would create a serious problem if, as Rhegor hoped, he produced his own heir.
Regien was forced out of court. Rhegor built up an alliance against Regien and conspired with other nobles to reduce his influence. An increasingly thwarted Regien began to fear arrest and trumped up charges of treason. Backed into a corner, he finally resorted to armed hostilities in 410 at the First Battle of St Albans.

[top]Rise of Ghoere

The First Battle of St Albans was relatively minor in military terms, but politically was a complete victory for Ghoere: he had captured the Duke and returned himself to complete power; the Chancellor, Lord Gerald Nottsvale, was dead; and the troops available to Ghoere were revealed to be superior in quality.
Ghoere and his allies regained their position of influence, and for a while both sides seemed shocked that an actual battle had been fought and did their best to reconcile their differences. With the Duke humiliated, Ghoere was again appointed Chancellor.
After the first Battle of St Albans, the compromise of 410 enjoyed some success, with Regien remaining the dominant voice on the Council for some time. The problems which had caused conflict soon re-emerged, particularly the issue of whether the Regien Tael, or Carilon Bhalaene, would succeed to the throne if no child reached maturity before Rhegor died. Rhegor refused to accept any solution that threatened to risk disinheriting any son he might someday have, and it became clear that he would only tolerate the situation for as long as the Baron of Ghoere and his allies retained the military ascendancy.
In 412, Rhegor went on royal progress in the uplands, where the duke and duchess were popular. Rhegor's advisers suggested no return to the city of Ghieste where the merchants were angry at the decline in trade and widespread disorder. The duke's court was set up in Rhumannen. By then, the Lord of Rhumandale was emerging as a favorite of the royal court. Rhegor then began to dismiss the appointments Regien had made as Chancellor, while Regien was appointed to a diplomatic mission to Tuornen. Disorder in the capital and banditry along the Maesil River were growing, but the duke remained intent on protecting his own position, with the duke introducing conscription for the first time since the Empire. Meanwhile, Regien Tael married Gavriel Tirese, a family with connections to the merchants, including her uncle, Mearces Tirese considered in the city of Ghieste as the champion of the merchants.
In hindsight, Tuornen was not the best place to send Baron Regien. He had friends there, including the Tuor family, who encouraged him to return to Ghieste in force. in 414, Regien was resolved to finally restore his rightful place in the Ghieste court. Regien raised a force in Tuornen lead by his friend and captain, Marc Tuor. At the Battle of Blore Heath in Tireste, a large Ghiestean army failed to prevent a Ghorean force under the Baron Regien from marching from Ghoere Castle in Tireste to link up with Mark Tuor at Maeren's Crossing, where the forces from Tuornen were landing from their brief journey up river. Shortly afterwards the combined Ghoerean armies confronted the much larger Ghiestean force at the Battle of Stunder. Backed by the Militant Order of Cuiraécen who had taken the side of Ghoere, they marched north. Duke Rhegor led an army south to meet them. The Battle of Stunder proved disastrous for the duke's forces, and aided by treachery in the duke's ranks, the Ghoerean army was able to defeat the duke. Following the battle, Rhegor fled to Bhalaene.

[top]Succession War

The Duke Rhegor of Ghieste, was now desperate and threw himself into the camp of the Bhalaenese. Rhegor, with no offspring, and now his duchy occupied, elected to invest Carilon Bhalaene as his heir in order to enlist the duchy of Bhalaene in his war against Ghoere.
In the light of this military success, Regien Tael, Baron of Ghoere, moved to press his claim to the throne of Ghieste based on the fact that the duke had fled and suffered loss of regency. Of the counts of the realm, only his in-laws, the counts of Tiresre openly supported him. He and his wife Gavriel Tirese entered the city of Ghieste with all the ceremony usually reserved for a monarch. The Estates were assembled, and when Regien entered he made straight for the throne, which he may have been expecting the Lords to encourage him to take for himself, considering the disdain with which they held Rhegor and the respect Regien had among them. Instead, there was stunned silence. He announced his claim to the throne, but the Lords, even his allies, were shocked by his presumption; they had no desire at this stage to overthrow Duke Rhegor. Their ambition was still limited to the removal of his bad councilors, and their own acquisition of the primary offices of the realm.
The next day, Regien produced detailed legal analysis to support his claim based on his descent from Briende Ghieste and was met with more understanding. The Estates agreed to consider the matter and accepted that Rhegor had abandoned his realm, but by a majority of five, they voted that Rhegor should remain as duke. A compromise was struck in Erntenir 414 with the Act of Accord, which recognised Regien as Rhegor's successor, performing the Ceremony of Designation. Regien accepted this compromise as the best offer. It gave him much of what he wanted, particularly since he was also confirmed as Chancellor of Ghieste and was able to govern in Rhegor's name. The Act of Accord proved unacceptable to the court of Bhalaene, who rallied to Rhegor, forming a large army in the north.
In 415 MR, Dukes Carilon and Rhegor performed their own Ceremony of Designation, but in the city of Bhalaene, and then marched back into Ghieste. Regien left the city of Ghieste soon after with Marc Tuor to consolidate his position in the north against Bhalaene's army, reported to be massing north of the city of Bhalaene. The two forces maneuvered through most of the fighting season, unable to gain sufficient advantage to risk battle. Regien had been accustomed to having superior troops, devoted to Haelyn, and properly trained, while his enemies had inferior troops, devoted to Sarimie, and hastily raised. At the begining of Sehnir, Region put the army into winter quarters to watch the Bhalaenese at Sandal Castle near Wakefield at Christmas 1460. Although outnumbered by more than two to one, Richard's forces left the castle, attacked, and suffered a devastating defeat at the Battle of Northampton in Emmanir.
422 Baron Regien Ghoere of Tireste won a decisive victory against the Duke of Bhalaene at the Lionsgate Pass in southern Danaroene.
Following his victory there, the Baron Regien Ghoere claimed the ducal mantle of Ghieste for himself.
The years following the war saw Baron Ghoere secure his new lands. The Baron?s success lead to a surge in interest in the Militant Order of Cuiraécen.

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