History of Avanil

Anuire » Avanil » History of Avanil
It is often said that the history of Avanil is the history of Anuire itself. Though Avanese have often been accused of hubris and over-exaggeration, Avanil has indeed played a critically important role in the history of Anuire.
The story of the Avanese begins, as with most Anuirean people, with the migration of the Andu to Cerilia. According to ancient legend, the Andu were a warlike and nomadic race of tribesmen who wandered the grassy steppes of Aduria. Waging a constant battle against one another over the control of scarce resources, a pecking order emerged in which the five most powerful houses commanded the loyalty of the lesser tribes. Foremost among the five great tribes were the Anwe, whose leaders were accorded the title First Lord of the Andu.
When the Shadow stretched his hand across the face of Aebrynis, it was the First House that led the way into Cerilia and consequently became the house that claimed control over the richest land in Anuire. The First Tribe was also one of the few that did not fracture into dozens of lesser kingdoms upon the conclusion of the Flight from the Shadow.
When the Andu arrived in Cerilia, forest covered much of modern-day northern Avanil and the southern area that would eventually host the Imperial City. These woods were inhabited by elves, with whom the First Lords were quick to forge agreements, limiting human expansion and allying against a common menace: the goblins. Though the alliance of man and elf succeeded in driving the goblins out of their warrens in the Seamist Mountains, the Anwe were soon cutting down the woods and making war against the elves. Over the course of the next three hundred years, nearly every wooded area in modern-day Avanil was destroyed and thousands of elves were killed. Of course, the elves were not above atrocities of their own. In fact, the Anwe were the first targets of the gheallie Sidhe and Rhuobhe Manslayer.
After the elven wars concluded, the First Lords ruled over their lands wisely and well. The center of their power was Caer Anwehyr, the Fortress of the Anwe. Though a relative peace descended upon the Anwe lands, new troubles began to rear their ugly heads: Azrai the Shadow had come to Cerilia and began corrupting the highest echelons of Anwe society.
The most famous of the Anwe traitors was of course Prince Raesene, bastard son of the First Lord, often called the Black Prince and later, the Gorgon. After the First Lord perished and his eldest legitimate son, Haelyn, assumed the mantle of regency, Raesene and his ever growing army of followers attempted to overthrow him. The rebellion, known as the Reckoning of the Anwe, is commonly accepted as the first major battle in the War of Shadow. Haelyn, with the help of his younger brother, Roele, was able to defeat the rebellion and drive Raesene into exile, after which they and their army travelled about south-western Cerilia gathering a host to their side in order to throw back the advances that the Shadow was making on every front.
Of course, Haelyn and Roele were present at Deismaar and battled their wayward half-brother. It was there that Cerilian history changed. Haelyn ascended into godhood, Roele returned home newly blooded and Raesene, tainted with Azrai?s blood, made the frightful discovery of bloodtheft.
Within a year, Roele, moved by holy visions from Haelyn, began assembling the Anwe for war in order to build a new Empire. Roele?s conquests and creation of the Empire are well told elsewhere and need not be repeated here.
As the Empire grew, so too did the Anwe?s population. As the center of the new order, immigrants, armies, merchants and scholars migrated into the region. Soon, a city began to grow up around Caer Anwehyr. In time, both city and empire came to be known as Anuire.
In those early years, the Anwe lands were the personal fief of the Emperors, who ruled over them directly. However, as the Empire grew, the Emperor became increasingly pressed with the governance of the Empire as a whole and the maintenance of occupations in far-off lands. As a result, Boeric Roele, second Emperor of Anuire, granted the governance of all the Anwe heartlands but the City of Anuire to Avanlyr Roele, his nephew. Avanlyr was the son of Daulton Roele, Boeric?s younger brother, and had made quite a name for himself as an outstanding general at the Anuirean Empire?s frontier with Vosgaard. Avanlyr was noted for the dragon birthmark running up his neck and cheek, a sign of the powerful blood that coursed through his veins. Avanlyr?s descendents would eventually become a separate house, the Avans. Because of this ancestry, as well as their governance over the Imperial Province, as Avanil was often called, the Avans were accorded the title of prince.
The princely title gave the Avans the same level of seniority and authority within the Empire that the archducal title gave to the Boeruines. The Boeruines were recognized as the Emperor?s most powerful duke, while the Avans were recognized for their closeness to the Imperial family and governance over the Imperial Province. This system led to all manner of problems between the two factions. Even in the earliest days of the Empire, the two feuded and competed for greater power in the Imperial Court. Over time, the rivalry between House Avan and House Boeruine escalated into open hatred.
The Avans were the Roele dynasty?s strongest supporters throughout the rule of the Anuirean emperors, always at the vanguard of the Imperial Legions during various wars. Despite their longstanding loyalty and close family ties, the Avans weren?t always the Emperor?s favorites. As the leaders of the Second House of the Andu, the Boeruine?s military prowess, rich lands and noble heritage gave them the ability to compete, sometimes subtly and sometimes directly, with the Imperial family. Despite the Boeruines? well-known ambition, the Roeles could never ignore such powerful nobles and so they were accorded every possible courtesy.
The Avans and Roeles reaffirmed their family ties through several marriages over the nearly 1000 years of Empire. Darien Avan, the current Prince, often points to this genealogical history when justifying his claim to the Iron Throne. However, the Avans were not the only bloodline to marry into the Imperial Family ? indeed, the most recent marriage between the Roeles and a vassal family was the union between Laera Roele and Derwyn Boeruine. It is through this marriage tie that Aeric Boeruine traces his claim to the Iron Throne.
While the Empire existed, Avanil was at peace. Consequently, most Avanese warriors fought elsewhere, at the fringes of the Empire. Avanese regiments made up a disproportionate segment of the Imperial armies and Avanese generals encouraged the Emperor to expand his borders. In particular, Avanese soldiers made up the greater bulk of those used in the colonization of northern Aduria. As a result, a large number of Avanese nobility were assigned new lands in the colonies, much to the consternation of several other families within the Empire.
The growing hatred between Avan and Boeruine would reach a nadir during the reign of Michael Roele. In 950 HC, Arwyn Boeruine began his rebellion against the Emperor, seeking to claim the Iron Throne for himself. By this point in history, the Empire was at its weakest, the consequence of a long period of decline following Alandalae Roele?s death during the Basarji Revolution. In Brechtur and Rjurik, rebellions against Imperial authority become common and the vassal states of the Empire within Anuire began to increasingly assert themselves. By the time Michael Roele ascended the Throne, the Emperor was left with but a few law holdings outside the Imperial City and the Imperial Armies themselves are nearly non-existent. The growing prosperity and population within Anuire not only led to a creeping sense of complacency, but also the beginnings of a new middle class, cities outside the rural fiefdoms and the growing power of the guilds. Because of all this, Michael Roele had very little with which to oppose the Boeruines and their allies.
However, Kier Avan, the Prince of Avanil at the time, full of hatred for the Boeruines and fearful of their ambition, threw his full support behind Michael. Once this occurred, several other Anuirean houses declared their support for the Emperor. Those that tried to remain neutral were eventually compelled by force of arms to give their fealty to Michael.
The War of Succession, as the Boeruinean rebellion was known, lasted for a brutal eight years. Much of the fighting was done on Avanese soil. Imperial and Boeruinean armies clashed relentlessly in the Aradwyn Gap and several times in the mountain passes over the Seamists. At one point, as Michael Roele?s army was campaigning in another part of the Empire in order to punish a recalcitrant noble, the Boeruinean army attacked across the Seamists in western Alamie (modern day Tuornen), putting much of the country side to the torch and advancing into northern Avanil. It was during this time that Caer Raine and much of northern Avanil was destroyed. The Boeruinean army had just begun a siege of Daulton when the Imperial Army returned and the Archduke withdrew back behind the Seamists.
Daulton would fall under siege once more at the end of the War of Succession. After a disastrous campaign in the northern Seamists, the Imperial Army returned to the City of Anuire to rest. Sensing an opportunity, Archduke Boeruine and his armies surged out of the Aradwyn Gap and marched quickly for the Imperial City. As he advanced, Arwyn Boeruine left a small force behind in order to secure his rear areas and besiege Daulton while his main force continued forward. Warned of the attack at the last moment, Michael Roele summoned the Imperial Army once more and met the Boeruineans at the Battle of Sorrow?s Field. There, the brutal civil war came to an end when Michael killed Arwyn Boeruine in personal combat.
Avanil would barely have time to recover before Michael Roele perished in the Gorgon?s Crown. A period of protracted civil war enveloped Anuire after the Emperor?s death and Avanil was at the center of it all. The various Anuirean factions recalled their armies from the Empire?s possessions throughout Cerilia and Aduria in preparation for war. The war was not long in coming.
In 2 MR, Kier Avan began stationing troops in the Imperial City ? ostensibly to maintain order. Derwyn Boeruine, the new Archduke of Boeruine, once married to Laera Roele, Michael?s eldest sister, believed that his line had the greatest claim on the Iron Throne now that the Roeles were gone and so grew concerned that Avan would use his proximity to the Imperial City to coerce or overpower the Chamberlain. He therefore assembled a large army and marched upon the Imperial City. Though Imperial Law made the use of the Imperial roads open to all, Avan refused to allow Boeruine to cross his territory. The Avanese army met the Boeruineans at the Aradwyn Gap once more at the Battle of Redwater Cross. Though Derwyn forced the Avans into a retreat, he was left with insufficient numbers to press the attack, so he retreated to Brosengae and returned home.
Later that same year, large scale rioting erupted in the Imperial City as armed supporters of Avan and Boeruine clashed. The timely arrival of the last remaining Imperial Army, the Ninth from Rjurik, allowed the Chamberlain to expel these partisans and restore some order to the Imperial City.
In 3 MR, Boeruine again invaded Avanil, this time through Rhaelic?s Pass in Vanilen. Again Avanil was ready and this time defeated Derwyn and forced his retreat. The Avanese armies pursued the fleeing Boeruineans all the way to the Elfwash River but heavy losses and the hard, exhausting campaigning took their toll when the elderly Kier Avan died. The Avanese, disheartened, fell back to their own lands.
This pattern continued for nearly twenty five years. Attacks, counterattacks, probes and feints stretched on endlessly. Each new campaign season brought with it some new battle and tremendous loss of life. Even Derwyn?s suicide in 10 MR did little to stop this cycle of violence. Both sides, convinced of the superiority of their own claims to the Iron Throne, grappled with each other relentlessly.
In 26 MR, Michael Roele?s chamberlain, Aedan Dosiere, passed away. Aedan?s son was widely perceived as a weak man, incapable of keeping Anuire?s factions from bludgeoning each other. Sensing a new opportunity, Aerin Boeruine, the son of Derwyn and Laera Roele, launched an attack on the Imperial City on the first day of 27 MR (1000 HC). Securing the loyalty of a number of the College of Sorcery?s Ruling Council, Aerin hoped that his entrance into the City would be relatively unopposed.
This betrayal, however, was soon discovered by the other members of the Council, who moved to stop their rogue colleagues as the Boeruine fleet came into view over the horizon. The ensuing battle ended with the tower of the College blown apart and fully six of the Council's ten members dead. As for the Boeruinean attack, it was repulsed after a great battle following a valiant defense by the Imperial Legion and some assistance from the forces of Avanil.
The Battle of Anuire marked a new escalation in the post-Imperial civil wars. That one act destroyed whatever inhibitions the warring factions had left and they began battering each other mercilessly, leading to untold loss of life. Over the next fifty years, Avanil and Boeruine would continue the bloodletting throughout Brosengae, Taeghas and western Alamie. Villages and towns were razed and whole provinces put to the torch. In this carnage, some began to whisper that cults of the Vos gods were springing up, encouraging partisans on both sides into ever greater atrocities.
Finally, in 90 MR, the situation reached a head. In that year, agents of the Avanese prince snuck into Seaharrow and stole the legendary relic known as Haelyn?s Rampart. The Prince, Arlen Avan, then used the shield in an attempt to claim the Empire. As he strode into the Hall of Iron Throne itself, claiming that his possession of the artifact gave him the authority to sit the Throne, the relic vaporized the Prince and then disappeared, never to be seen again except in rumor and legend.
Faced with this loss of prestige and exhausted from endless warfare, Avanil and Boeruine agreed to a tentative peace. The agreement, the Treaty of Anuire, ended the worst of Anuire?s civil wars. The treaty?s signatories also reached an agreement with the Chamberlain that allowed Avanil, Boeruine and Diemed to assume partial stewardship over the Imperial City. Thus did the open warfare for control of the City come to an end and some level of protection was guaranteed to the Anuirean capital in the absence of the Imperial armies.
Following the Treaty of Anuire, Avanil entered into a period of weakness and decline. Arlen Avan?s successor, Raenwe, was an ineffectual prince who spent more time in the debauchery of his court that he did ruling. Burdened with the accumulated debt of nearly a century of war, the prince?s councilors were forced to sell off many of the Principality?s assets. Indeed, when the Duke of Alamie began pressuring Avanil for territorial concessions, the councilors were forced to relent; ceding Nabhriene, Elevesnemiere and Tuor?s Hold to the Alamiens (these provinces are located in modern day Tuornen).
In 117 MR, Raenwe died, leaving the throne to his son, another Arlen. When the most powerful of Raenwe?s councilors, Lord Moergan, the Count of Avarien, attempted to assert his authority over the new prince, he learned to his sorrow that Arlen was made of sterner stuff. Arlen quickly had Lord Moergan executed and dispatched his army to seize all of the councilors? assets. The remainder of the council fled to the countryside, where they put forth one Arendael Avan as a claimant to the throne. A brief civil war ensued in which prince Arlen swiftly emerged victorious. The rebellious courtiers were captured and executed, while Arendael Avan and his successors fled Anuire. Arlen Avan rebuilt Avanil, rebuilding its strength and re-establishing its prestige among Anuirean realms.
Throughout the next several centuries, Avanil was on the rise. Within the realm, the merchant and middle classes became firmly entrenched and the old practice of serfdom died away. Peasants won the right to move into new lands or even into the cities and a new class of yeoman farmers emerged. New religions emerged in the great centers of trade and learning, allowing the faiths of Sarmie and Avanalae to take hold. Despite these changes, the Princes were careful to maintain the supremacy of the feudal order. As such, Avanil went down the same road as Ghieste, which came to resemble a Brecht realm, rather than an Anuirean one. The faith of Haelyn remained strong and the power of the nobility was unquestioned.
Between the end of the major Anuirean civil wars and today, Avanil and Boeruine fought a number of major wars and countless minor ones, though none of them approached the civil wars? level of ferocity. The last major war was over fifty years ago when the Prince Veladan Avan, ?the Sword Prince,? took advantage of Boeruine?s long running decline by securing the allegiance of Brosengae. The Sword Prince?s armies battled across Anuire, helping to repulse a Gorgonic attack in Mhoried, inflicting crippling losses on the pirates in the Straits of Aerele, repelling an emboldened Rhuobhe Manslayer and participating in Taeghas? numerous succession wars. It was during these succession wars that Boeruinean and Avanese armies clashed, resulting in the death of the Archduke, the Lord Borric Boeruine. The Archduke?s death marked the end of Boeruinean influence in Taeghas until only recently.
The Sword Prince was also responsible for increasing House Avan?s influence in Diemed and dispatching armies to Mieres in order to restore order there. Veladan took upon himself the authority to appoint the colony?s governors.
When Veladan died in 526 MR, he left behind a powerful realm that was stronger than it had ever been before. The Sword Prince?s eldest son, Darien, ascended the throne and continued to build on his father?s achievements and make them his own. Avanese influence expanded into Tuornen and masses of nobles in Taeghas and Brosengae began to defect to the Avanese cause, believing that it would bring them closer to someone who seemed destined to take the Iron Throne. In the last 25 years, Darien has managed to secure the loyalties of Brosengae and Taeghas as vassals and has all but taken over the rulership of Taeghas. Though he inherited much from his father, Darien has amassed a greater portion of wealth and power than any though possible. Today, Darien Avan lords over the most powerful realm in Anuire and seems poised to ascend the Iron Throne, finally achieving the dream of the Avan dynasty.

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