Written by Merodach
A war waged between the two nascent powers in Arameia, the feudal lords and the Prelate, over control of the vestige empire. With their defeat died any realistic ambitions of the lords beyond a regional level.
With the Great Fire of 3896, the emperor of Arameia slipped away from public sight, and the administration of Aram fell on the shoulders of the Priesthood of Luxor. While the Prelate succeeded in rebuilding and asserting its control over the capital, vast swaths of the realm remained in the hands of feudal robber barons, of which the most powerful were Calvin Dagon of Dagonet and Daryl Valdred of Cape Verdet. With the feudal lords not sworn to the Priesthood, this dual-rule could only be temporary. The catalyst was the Golden Proclamation three years later. The then Prelate Adrian II announced that the emperor had agreed to cede imperial authority to Luxor, and his mortal representative. Disbelieving, the lords Dagon and Valdred demanded audience with the emperor which was promptly denied them. The two declared that the Prelate was holding the imperial line hostage, and with the coming of the new century, marched against Aram.
Since the Snake Wars, the citizen armies of the Empire had been gradually dismantled and substituted with feudal knights and their levies. This meant that the only forces sworn directly to the Prelacy was the one remaining legion stationed on the border of ogre lands and the handful of knights who had sworn their services to the Prelate out of personal faith or hopes of securing ties between the rising Prelacy and their families. The most notable of them was Ector Brightblade, the man who would rise to be the first of the Prelate’s paladins. Because of the hesitance of some lords to march against their own sons in service at Aram, Dagon and Valdred weren’t able to marshal as many men as he expected, but their forces still outnumbered the legion tenfold. And unlike the ill-equipped legionaries, these men were the cream of Arameian chivalry, battle tested and well supplied. Famed knights included ser William Breakstorm, bastard son of Calvin, and Anton Viktor.
The legion was called back from the frontier, but by the time they arrived, the rebels had already crossed the Coldwater. The battle of Coldwater Rush devolved into a rout the moment Breakstorm’s vanguard crashed with the opposing side. The legion avoided decimation only because of Calvin’s insistence that they give up pursuit to besiege Aram. Despite a brave defense by a hastily formed city militia, Aram fell within a month and Adrian was forced to flee with his followers and seek asylum in Capport. The sack of the city is still told in the stories, and the fires are said to have lasted longer than that of the Winter Fire itself. Victory was theirs… provided they could find the emperor.
Turning of the TideEdit
A month of searching turned up naught but imposters. Meanwhile, the intensive looting brought the fierce resistance of the cityfolk. Morale within the rebel camp plummeted, and many knights took to taking their share of the loot and deserting. Daryl wanted to pursue the Prelate and force him to reveal the location of the emperor, while Calvin thought to establish himself as a monarch. Breakstorm was forced to slay his father to stop him in his madness, but by the time the army marched out of Aram heavy seasonal rain had flooded the Coldwater River to the extent that it was impossible to ford. Adrian was not idle while the rebels diddled. By summer he had persuaded half the lords of the realm to take up his cause and taken Dagonet. When the rebels crossed the river, they found a fresh host before them and the legion behind. The ensuing Battle of Ashdown would be one of the bloodiest in the Prelacy’s history. The rebel Valdred was cut down by Ser Ector. Breakstorm rallied his knights for final charge that broke through enemy ranks, at the cost of thousands of lives on both sides.
Conclusion and ConsequencesEdit
The Prelate wasted no time in putting Dagonet and Cape Verdet, effectively half of what was then Arameia, under the direct control of the Priesthood. Anton, who had remained in Aram with a strong garrison, sought to make a stand only to be betrayed by his subordinate Andre Gaudin, who fled the city with its navy and set himself up as a pirate in the Slivers. Breakstorm fled with his men to the borderlands, where he believed—rightfully—that the Arameians would be unwilling to pursue with a large host and provoke Starkwater. They endure to this day as the Knights Alexian. The greatest consequence of the war is the establishment of the Prelacy as the undisputed power of Arameia. Though feudalism persists on a local level and knights remain the backbone of the army, the decimation of the noble leaders left the nobility with no choice but homage to the Prelate. While in exile, the Prelate blessed ser Ector and pledged him to a lifetime of service to Luxor, dubbing the first paladin.