Arthanos (ɑːr.θæn'.os, "ar-THAN-os") is a human kingdom straddling the northernmost Nikeya Bay of the Pilliastrin Sea where the Jarrek and Toritol Rivers empty into the sea, giving it a strategic location for trade. It is bordered to the northwest and north, along the Jarrek and Ustora Rivers, by the kingdoms of Erlosche and Oetahr. To the east it is bordered by the nation of Lontra and to the northeast by the kingdoms of Iquenya and Evalta. To the southwest, its neighbors are Ocellen and Thallinos, and to the southeast the kingdom of Bercanos.
Arthanos was first inhabited by the Artanii tribe of the Filardik people who claimed to be named after Artan the Bold, their Heroic progenitor, and then were conquered by the Palandrin Empire early in the Palandrin Age. The territory was known as Artanoston (Palandrin <*artan + noston, "district, region">) in the Empire, and, following the fall of the Empire during the Age of the Forsaken, the district was ruled under a number of different petty kings until the kingdom of Arthanos was officially declared a sovereign nation by King Caeradon following his defeat of the Erloschan host at the Battle of Eldoran Hill. At the end of the 14th century, the Dark Lord Azhthor conquered Arthanos, and the region remained under his rule until his defeat in 1585. The region briefly maintained sovereignty for the following century and a half until the region was annexed by the Alorréon Empire in the late 18th century.
Prehistory and Antiquity
It is said that the earliest human settlers of the region were led by a Heroic figure known as Artan the Bold, who, according to legend, "beheaded the Lord of the Moon Court and bore that head on his shield, Artan the Bold who led a mere handful of men against an entire army of centaurs to claim the hill where he built his stronghold—the very stronghold that serves as the king’s castle [...] in Faernotha." Artan was a known practitioner of Nelaetonism, swearing spiritual fealty to Netressa, the Great Stag, resulting in that animal being on the royal arms for Arthanos.
The Artanii tribes that inhabited the area following the Cracking of the World, living a primarily Bronze Age cultural lifestyle, were easily conquered by the Palandrin legions in the early Palandrin Age, and the region thrived as a Palandrin district as the sorcerers of the Empire began the early pilgrimages to Palkaromae, the Valley of the Gods, in order to fully master their sorcerous abilities.
When the Malefactor used the Orb of Death to create the undead and started the Age of the Forsaken, the region that would become Arthanos would be hit incredibly hard, and most of the cities at that time were all but wiped out, and the Malefactor built his primary stronghold at the meeting of the Jarrek and Faestan Rivers, the future site of the city of Darnotha. In the year 360, King Sheynar the Insatiable of Palandros led an army to destroy the Malefactor and clear the area of the major undead creatures, ending the Age of the Forsaken, and granted the lands of Tarodrilen (Arthanon <tharon>, "lord's" or "king's" + <raetlon> "realm held by a lord", from earlier Palandrin forms *tarond + *retelon ) to Sir Caeradon, weilder of the magic sword Steeltine and greatest hero in the defeat of the Malefactor.
Within months of the Malefactor's destruction, a horde of Eilashani horsemen led by Breanfald the Horse Lord began raiding and claiming territory in the lands granted Caeradon, resulting in several years of Caeradon and his knights maneuvering against Breanfald and his raiders. Appeals to support from King Sheynar of Palandros were fruitless, as Sheynar was busy consolidating his own realm. A series of battles led to the Battle of Eldoran Hill in 378, in which Caeradon and his knights and companions—Sir Aelwin the Indefeatable, Sir Jaer the Bold, Sir Dalaeth the Sorceror-Knight, Sir Sarum the Trickster, Sir Rodram the Clumsy, Sir Maerek the Silent, Sir Aeldon the Fierce, Sir Thaero the Stone Knight, Sir Therant the Fortunate, Sir Arvent the Swift, Sir Gel the Clever, Sister Thaesta of the White Lady, Lady Gallen of the Silver Delights—as well as a contingent of hrothar, defeated Breanfald's vastly superior force, and their forces either drove the remaining Eilashani warriors or forced them to bend the knee and pledge their support to Caeradon.
When Sheynar's forces arrived in Caeradon's new fortress of Faernotha, built at the meeting of the Jarrek and Ustora Rivers, to demand tribute, Caeradon sent them packing, declaring himself king of the new kingdom of Arthanos. Following Caeradon taking the Oath of the Covenant as sanctified by the Palkaran priestess Sister Thaesta, he, secured his reign through several military campaigns against Sheynar's forces over the next few years.
According to legend, Caeradon also drove back Oetahran tribesmen, founded the city of Paltovae, founded the Paldeoneth Knights, defeated the Fae king Aldeon at Swordpoint Hill, and a number of other feats that scholarly examination can prove differently (Paltovae was founded a century after Caeradon died by King Oeln III, for example). However, it is known that after being granted the territory of Veodaelton (Arthanon, <veoton>, "bank of a river"+<aelton>, "remote land"), Sir Dalaeth the Sorcerer-Knight betrayed King Caeradon, killing him and kidnapping Queen Raesa, holding her in his stronghold of Tharkaelon (Arthanon, <tharson>, "magic, sorcery" + <kaelon>, "castle, fortress") for eight years until she was finally rescued by Caeradon's son (by a previous wife), Caladon.
The Plague Age and the Dailon Wars
With humanity weakened during the Age of the Forsaken and the subsequent plagues that ravaged, the Fae made another attempt to assert their dominance over the sentient races of Elemontia. Arthanos managed to stave off seven attempts to conquer the kingdom by attacks from dailon forces through 610-750, the period known as the Dailon Wars, and at last King Daverik II joined forces with a number of other Palandrin kings to take the battle into the Verdant Twilight and drive the dailons back once and for all. From 750 to the turn of the millennium, Arthanos gradually grew from the initial twelve duchies that made up the kingdom to annex both the kingdoms of Cormiros, Arken, and portions of Lontra and Thallinos.
Wars with Lontra and Ocellen
In 684, the death of Prince Ular of Lontra at the hands of Arthanon King Arvent IV resulted in a fifteen year conflict known as Ular's War, ultimately resulting in a joining of the two nations' royal houses and Arthanos ceding territory to Lontra.
In the mid-tenth century, tensions between Arthanos and Ocellen had increased to the point where Ocellen ostensibly assassinated aging Arthanon King Arvent VII. His son, Gealdrik II, was unpopular with the Arthanon nobility, and his attempt to rally his bannermen to assault the Ocellic capital of Foldrant resulted in the Ocellen beseiging and taking the Arthanon capital of Paltovae in 951 R.P. Gealdrik II ceded control of the entire duchy and fled to Faernotha. Within nine years of fruitless attempts to retake Paltovae from Ocellen, Gealdrik had angered the Council of Lords so severely that he was murdered in cold blood by his childhood friend, Duke Skeoth Aendar of Daraenos. Gealdrik's son, Arvent XI, assumed the throne, executed Duke Skeoth, brought the Council of Lords to heel and ended the war with Ocellen.
Arthanos was largely unaffected by the invasion of Elemontia by the Kadung Hordes, as their northern forces reached Thallinos before the Paldeoneth Knights defeated them at the Battle of Erlond and drove them back all the way to the Shattered Sea. However, the kingdom did profit from the wars as portions of Thallinos were conquered by Duke Paelash Pargil of Iseathos.
Oetahran Conflict And External Strife
In the mid-thirteenth century, the neighboring Filardik kingdom of Oetahr began a campaign against those they perceived as "wizards" due to a prophecy stating that a wizard would soon come who would destroy the world. This included attacking and killing Paldeoneth Knights, wisdoms, and even the Blessed among the priests of the Palkara as well as any true sorcerers who passed through these lands on their way to Palkaromae, and an extended campaign against the "sorcerer kings" of Iquenya. Through the latter half of the century, Oetahran knights swarmed into the lands of Valaenos ("North Guard", from Arthanon <faldo>, "north" + <fulaen>, "protect") in order to pursue their quest to rid the land of wizards and sorcerors, King Geoldren II demanded Duke Laron Belebrik to turn the Oetahran raiders—including companies of the Knights of the Black Bear, Knights of the Grey Wolf, and Knights of the Red Hart—out of his lands, defeating them soundly at the Battle of White Falls, the Siege of Atraelton ("Hunter's Reach", from Arthanon <atrumon>, "hunter" + <aelton>, "remote land"), and other skirmishes.
Meanwhile, corruption began to plague the Paldeoneth Knights, as more and more Shards of the Beast escaped the Stronghold of Taralon, and more and more Paldeoneth Knights began to sever their lifesworn oaths to the Order.
The Campaigns of Teofrik II
In 1340, King Teofrik II's son and heir, Teofrik III, rejected his father's plans to marry him to King Ular IV of Lontra's daughter Landra in order to end an ongoing border conflict with that kingdom. Teofrik III instead eloped with Raella Vaenor, daughter of Baron Haelon Vaenor of Aermon, and upon being disowned and exiled by his father, fled to Paltovey in Ocellen.
In 1343, Duke Arleman Coriman of Arken rebelled against King Teofrik II and was swiftly put down by forces from Valaenos. Duke Feolon Belebrik died in the Siege of Arkenmore, resulting in a restructuring of the northern duchies -- portions of Valaenos and Arken were granted to Rolaenor Rinhar who was named Duke of Valaenos, while Caelvestar Atruthir was granted the remaining lands of Valaenos and named Duke of Brinraelon ("East Hold", from Arthanon <eprinth>, "east" + <raetlon> "realm held by a lord").
The following year, the Council of Lords, on the initiative of the southern Dukes and concerned with King Teofrik's heir Teodorik's competency and temperament, petitioned the king to forgive and reinstate his son Teofrik III as heir. King Teofrik responded by gathering a small army and destroying the castle of Baron Vaenor of Aermon, his son’s father-in-law, and executing the baron. The Council of Lords refused to convene in Faernotha the following year in protest. In place of the scheduled King’s Progress in the Duchy of Daraenos, Teofrik responded by beseiging Duke Aendar of Daraenos, his own brother-in-law, while Prince Teodorik assaulted Duke Pargil in Isaethos. When the remaining dukes agreed to levy troops to support King Teofrik’s planned assault on Lontra, the seiges end, but tensions between the Council of Lords and the monarchy increased.
Using his 1352 King's Progress visit to Naelang as a staging ground, Teofrik II besieged the city of Paltovey with the intention of taking the city back "for the glory of Arthanos who built that city with her own blood and sweat." Despite young King Arden of Ocellen's entreatments for peace, Teofrik II continued to wage war along the Ocellen border for the next two years, while Teodorik led the Lontran campaign. In 1356, King Arden is able to break the Siege of Paltovey and successfully marches his forces to take the Arthanon port city of Arolang. Teofrik II and Arden sign a peace treaty, returning Arolang and the western coastline of Naelang to Arthanon control, and Ocellen promising the extradition of Teofrik III if he should be found.
That same year, Arleman Coriman's son Veliros, a Paldeoneth Knight, forswore his oaths to the order and, with other ex-patriot Knights seized his father's former lands of Arken, now Valaenos, and declared himself Lord of the Outlands. Lord Coriman then began raiding and pillaging neighboring Arthanon duchies, but when the Arthanon lords protested, King Teofrik II refused to mass his forces north, concentrating instead on maintaining his campaign in Lontra.
Azhthor and the Age of the Dark Lord
In 1363, while King Teofrik II was dealing with insurgent Duchies led by Duke Atruthir of Brinraelon and his war against Lontra, the Dark Lord Azhthor first made his presence known in Palkaromae, now renamed by him Dangoran, as the first reports of urthaki hosts attacking Iquenyan settlements reached Faernotha, and by 1368, the year Lontra finally surrendered to Teodorik's forces, Laryanda was sacked and razed and Iquenya was conquered by the Dark Lord. The Dark Lord then turned his attentions toward Arthanos, and besieged the Brinraelon city of Aetrathir in 1370. It was the efforts of Teofrik III's son Teofrik IV, who had been serving his grandfather's vassal Baron Maerek Devaerra of Chorich under the alias Sir Velletor, that resulted in the successful rescue of the survivors of House Atruthir and Rinhar from the razing of Aetrathir, and in 1373 Teofrik II abdicated his throne to his grandson, having reconciled with him years before.
Azhthor's campaigns were split between Arthanos and Oetahr, and both nations were reasonably successful at this time in maintaining a beachhead against the Dark Lord's forces, until a strong push to take the capital city of Faernotha by the Dark Lord finally succeeded in 1387. Teofrik IV and most of the Arthanon nobility were killed in the Battle of Faernotha, while Teofrik's brother Teonorik and his family were smuggled from the kingdom and fled to Alorré to live in exile. Within six months, Azhthor the Dark Lord had conquered Arthanos and began to use it as his staging ground for his conquest of Elemontia.
Following Azhthor's destruction in 1585, the direct descendant of Teonorik, Daeven Laestrom—one of the heroes in the final days of Azhthor's defeat—declared himself King of the renewed Arthanos and led the descendants of Arthanon nobility-in-exile, as well as former subjugated Arthanon subjects, to scour the lands formerly held by his ancestors from the remnants of the Dark Lord's army, led by the Panak Walektus. Arthanos struggled to wipe out the remaining urthaki and other forces, and by the time Daeven's great grandson Gealdrik V finally defeated Walektus, the Alorréon Empire's forces soon swarmed in, killing Gealdrik and forcing his son to submit to the Empire three years later in 1688, and Arthanos became the Duchy of Artaine, a Tributary Nation of the Empire.
In 2182, Paelrek Teodanath assumed the title of Duke of Artaine and was immediately summoned to court to swear fealty to Emperor Denreulle X. Duke Teodanath arrived in Tirliede within a month, but refused to appear in court and swear fealty to the Emperor until the Empire acknowledged the increasingly organized and dangerous raids by urthaki hordes coming from Dangoran. Following an incident with his wife Chaera, the Duke was banished from court and returned to Artaine to rally his own forces against the urthaki.
For most of its existence, Arthanos was a constitutional monarchy with a feudal structure, with vassals swearing fealty to a liege lord, ultimately swearing fealty to the King of Arthanos, who in turn derived much of his authority in accord with the Council of Lords. Upon assuming their title, Arthanon kings swore the Oath of the Covenant, usually to either Naeloth or Vantha (though not every Arthanon king swore the Oath to one of the Alkar; it is said, for instance, that Teofrik II swore the Oath to Skadoth), and not every Oath sworn performed the full ceremony—particularly among (but not limited to) lesser landholding nobility—and therefore was not a true Oath.
Arthanos is one of only two monarchies of Elemontia (the other being Lemmorae) that was ruled by a single dynasty for the entirety of its history as a sovereign nation.
The feudal breakdown of Arthanos
Arthanos was divided into twelve districts, initially ruled by Dukes from houses descended from the knights-companion of King Caeradon. These were:
King's Hold, with its capital, Faernotha, the original seat of King Caeradon and ancestral home of the royal House Laestrom. After Paltovae was taken by Ocellic forces in 951, King Gealdrik II restored Faernotha as the seat held by the Crown, where it remained until the city was captured by the Dark Lord Azhthor in 1387. When Arthanos once again regained sovereignty in 1585, King Daeven IV restored Faernotha as the nation's capitol. The duchy of Tarodrilen was held by House Laestrom from 378 and the founding of the Kingdom until 483, when King Oeln III officially moved the capital there until his untimely death of the Grey Plague later that year, and then again from 951 until 1387. Between those dates, Tarodrilen was held by House Aendar.
Woodwatch, held by House Pedivar in Etrasalae. Founded by Sir Gel the Clever,
East Guard, held by House Tilgan in Artaelon. Founded by Sir Aelwin the Indefeatable,
King's Guard, held by House Aendar in Darnotha. Founded by Sir Jaer the Bold,
Summitwatch, held by House Gerofer in Leskamon. Founded by Sir Arvent the Swift,
West Guard, held by House Kaelest in Kaelreton. Founded by Sir Sarum the Trickster,
Westmarch, held by House Pargil in Otaethurn. Founded by Sir Aeldon the Fierce,
South Port, held by House Mortorik in Arolang. Founded by Sir Therant the Fortunate,
South Reach, held by House Endogar in Chovratonas. Founded by Sir Rodram the Clumsy,
North Guard, held by House Belebrik in Aetrathir until 1343, then by House Rinhar in Arkenmore. Founded by Sir Maerek the Silent,
River Reach, held by House Daerodos in Raelthir. Founded by Sir Dalaeth the Sorceror-Knight,
Later restructuring changed these initial Duchies, which at one time or another included:
Ruling Cliff, held by House Coriman in Arkenmore. Founded by Sir Paelash Coriman,
East Hold, held by House Atruthir in Aetrathir. Founded in 1343 by Duke Caelvestar of House Atruthir following the restructuring of the Duchy following Duke Coriman of Arken's rebellion and Duke Belebrik of Valaenos's death without an heir.
King's Port, held by House Laestrom in Paltovae. Founded by King Oeln III,