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History – Daul (to 1395 NC)

A Short(ish) History of:

Daul, Kingdom of (The Nan River Kingdom)

Kingdom of Daul, borders as of 1395 NC.

The name “Daul” dates from some five centuries before the Norothian Calendar (500 BNC), and seems to derive from early Borean Leutian references to the dwarf-mined metal of the Mol range as “dull,” as opposed to the shining bronze arms and armor in use among Magdetchoi tribes of the period. The dull metal was of course iron, and with it the Boreans were able to carve out and defend their territories on the Boar River, a tributary of the great River Nan rising out of the Mols. East and West Borea (the two banks of the river) would become the heartland of later Daulic power.

By the signing of the Inbinea Accords (133 BNC), the Leutians of the Two Boreas (along with those of Sitl and Gesseney beyond the Mol Range, presently within the “Riven Kingdoms”) were ruled by the so-called Daul Council. The Council seems to have been a loose alliance of the most powerful clan warlords of the area, though it has come to be remembered as something akin to a forerunner of an Order of Knighthood. The Council was signatory to the Accords and under its auspices territories all along the Nan were “liberated” from the Magdetchoi and opened to human occupation (Wars of the Inbinea Accord, 133 to 18 BNC).

By the close of the Wars, the area of present-day Daul was divided under several different authorities: On the coast, the rocky and inhospitable peninsula now known as the Chirabis had been part of Ribinea, 2nd Province of the Ettacean Empire, since 207 BNC. In the west, Nanshea (102 BNC) and Chengdea (18 BNC) were made the 9th and 12th Provinces of that Empire. The highlands of Heftigkansteppe (now Heftiga) were occupied by Parnian Leutians who had moved south from across the Girdings, while the wide, fertile plains north of the Nan known as Lytchnanland (now Lyland) presented a microcosm of the surrounding territories. Lyland was settled in roughly equal measure by Borean Leutians from south of the Nan, ethnic Hasuks relocated during the Wars from the Dranner-Ghendal-Riddle theatre, and the Kantan remainder of the “Tanuk Stampede” (from 81 to 72 BNC) that did not continue north up the Nan into the future Tsardom of Kantantanalace. With the disbanding of the Daul Council following the Wars, the Two Boreas, Sitl, and Gesseney became known as the “Leutian Freeholds.” Apart from the Ettacean provinces, all of these distinctions were far more linguistic and cultural than in any way political. Yet the names of these lands as they appeared on early Ettacean maps, the first ever made of the region, went a long way toward defining what would be their political and futures.

The first three centuries of the Norothian Calendar were marked by strife on much of Noroth and Kandala, but the area of the Ettacean Empire’s influence generally remained peaceful. That changed in 333 NC with the Second Ettacean Calamity (the first being the destruction of Vod’Adia and the disappearance of the ruling Vodeki in the last year before the Norothian Calendar). In a weird echo of the Sable City’s fate, the capital city of Ettacea was destroyed by a sudden disaster that remains largely unexplained. The Imperial government was once again decapitated, though this time the provinces did not unite to elect a new Emperor. Instead the polities fractured, and war-hardened powers from beyond the Empire’s previous sphere of relatively benevolent influence took advantage.

In the lands that would later constitute Daul, the first consequence was the assumption of power in the former Imperial provinces of Nanshea and Ribinea by two able governors who unfortunately loathed each other. The two went to war and settled their differences in single combat at the Battle of Tumsted Village (337 NC), at which the Nanshean was victorious. The old Ettacean port of Ribin (now Larbonne) became the new capital of an enlarged Nanshea, known from this period the Nan, or Nannish Kingdom. Chendgea, now ruled by a Duke modeling his authority on the defunct Imperial writ, sought to stave off the threat of Nannish aggression by bolstering its own strength in a more peaceful fashion. The eastern borders were opened to settlement by heretofore nomadic Heftigans and Lylanders, with whose support the Chengdean Dukes held their own against the Nannish Kings in fighting that never truly reached the level of outright war.

Farther up the Nan River the Two Boreas were likewise forced to remilitarize by the threat of aggression, albeit from a very different quarter. Following the Second Ettacean Calamity, the western side of the Ay Peninsula, the southern Chirabis, and much of the Ghendal-Riddle river lands (including most of historic Sitl and Gesseney) were consolidated as “The Dragon’s Lands” under the direct rule of Ged-Azi, The Great Red Dragon. During the course of the Resurrection War (also known as the First Dragon War, 337-360 NC), many Boreans fought on behalf of their Leutian cousins in Sitl and Gesseney, allowing those two Freeholds to retain at least some of their territory south of the Mol mountains. Yet in truth, all four Leutian territories were likely spared complete devastation only by the Dragon’s turn to naval expansion in the Channel after 360 NC. The remilitarization of the Leutian Freeholds led to the forceful imposition of feudalism across the region, and rivalries between “nobles” who were at this stage little more than local warlords kept violence a daily reality even with the Dragon’s forces remaining quietly behind his northern frontiers. Many nobles coming out on the wrong side of disputes in the Two Boreas in turn led their followers across the Nan and into Lyland, where they established new areas of control over local populations.

For some three hundred years, the situation on the Nan south and west of its junction with the Ourre River (eastern border of Lyland) remained relatively stable, if frequently contentious. Meanwhile farther upriver and beyond, many of the nomadic Kantan peoples were gradually settling and establishing permanent territories, leading to a number of conflicts treated elsewhere. The significance for the lands on the lower Nan was only felt after the defeat of Chybi the Survivor, leader of the Eastern Kantans (Osskans) at the 2nd Battle of Tsitadel (666 NC). The Osskan Horde was driven west out of Kamendom to decimate the nascent settlements on the upper Nan, which were subjugated as the tribute-paying territory of Vranduk by 676 NC. The Horde continued across the Ourre and into Lyland where light cavalry tactics perfected over centuries of steppe warfare proved equally decisive. The Horde moved with impunity until pushing up into Heftiga, where indigenous steppe riders were able to give them a sharp repulse at the Battle of Jacarig Fields (682 NC).

Somewhat chastised, the Horde moved to consolidate their occupation of Vranduk and the eastern half of Lyland. While the Heftigan steppe clans and Borean “nobility” warded their own borders at a local level, it was appreciated by some in both countries that the weakened territory of western Lyland remained completely unequipped to stave-off any renewal of Horde aggression. In 684 NC a meeting is held in Bory (now Bouree), the Nan river port and loose capital of East Borea, at which the younger sons of several noble lines and clan chiefs together agreed to raise defensive works and mount patrols along the disputed Lyland/Osskan border. A name for the defensive compact is selected from the distant history of the region, and the Knights of Daul are reformed.

For more than two-and-a-half centuries the Knights maintained Lyland’s new borders and in time the Order came to administer the lands outright as Daulic Lyland. In 935 NC, West Borea’s support of Sitl in the 4th Dragon War (909-945 NC) led to the battlefield death of the Lord Mayor of Ferrholm, the nearest thing to a ruling prince of the area, and the Knights were invited in by Ferrholm’s widow to see to the defense of the region. Local lords opposing the plan were overwhelmed, and by 939 NC old West Borea had become Daulic Borea, jointly administered along with Lyland.

Meanwhile the lands controlled by the Osskan Horde were subsumed in the long wars pitting the early and ever-changing Kantan Tsardoms against one another. By the mid 900’s the old east of Lyland had been conquered by Parnistok, while old Vranduk (part of Ossvalace since 855) finds itself menaced by the victorious Tsardom of Preshvalace that emerged out of the Bolnan War (938-954 NC). Rather than accepting Parnistokian “protection,” the leaders of Ossvalace follow West Borea’s example of appealing to the Knights of Daul (who had only reformed in the first place to ward against the Osskans themselves). The issue comes to a head in 961 when Parnistok invades Ossvalace and is defeated at the Battle of Oakok in large part thanks to the knights. In the 980’s the Ossvalace nobility attempted to eject the Order and were themselves destroyed or driven out of the country, which the Order henceforth styled as Daulic Valeir (the old Leutian name for Vranduk).

During the 990‘s, the wide territories and diverse peoples now under the control of the Daulic Knights necessitates a reorganization of the Order into three subsidiary branches all swearing fealty to a single Grand Master. These developments are viewed with trepidation farther to the west, leading to a loose alliance of Chengdea and the still independent-minded clan chiefs of Heftiga. The Nannish Kingdom has also been growing in strength since the defeat of Doonish Channel Pirates in 907-8 NC had led to the full occupation of the Chirabis and the ancient port of Rosunda (Ettacean Rusundum, present-day Roseille). With control of both Ribin and Rosunda in their hands, the Nannish Kings of the Borrican dynasty benefited immensely from the boom in Channel trade that followed the 4th (and last) Dragon War that ended with Ged-Azi’s death (945 NC), and the resultant collapse of the Dragon’s Lands. By the year 1000 NC, the Chendgean Dukes had made formal recognition of the King of Nan’s authority, and both of these old Ettacean lands kept a weather eye on the increasing power of the Daulic Knights.

The 11th Century (1000’s) on western Noroth was marked by two great struggles, the so-called Wars of the Gods (1032-1099 NC) that in many places pitted Enneadistic believers against those still practicing the older ways of religious thought, chiefly “Rhuunish School” shamanisms. At the same time, the Great Kantan War (1040-1076 NC) at long last resulted in most of the contentious Tsardoms being united by one power as Kantantanalace, or “The People’s Kingdom of the Horse Peoples,” under a single Il-Tsar, Leksander I (the Great).

The course and results of these bloody contests were of great moment on the lower Nan, where the religious picture had always been factious. Open religious warfare was avoided chiefly owing to the influence of the long-extant Ostronanyan Church (treated elsewhere) which since 542 NC had been headquartered in The Cathedral of The Shield in the city of Ourresh, the river port where the Ourre joins the Nan. While rule over the city had changed hands many times throughout the course of the Kantan Wars, the Church’s inclusive practices remained influential both upriver and down.

With the conclusion of the Great Kantan War, the city was threatened by a short-lived successor-state to the shattered Tsardom of Parnistok that controlled the Kantan territories of Khorlyl and Kiroy. The Church petitioned the Dauls for aid in 1081 NC and swiftly received it from The Order of the Shield governing Valeir, though Church and Order forces alike found themselves besieged in Ourresh. As recounted in “The Ballad of Sir Segreyd,” one knight escaped into Daulic Lyland and summoned aid from The Order of the Hearth. The siege was broken, and with Il-Tsar Leksander’s final defeat of separatist forces in Kiroy by 1085 NC, the Dauls come to find themselves the de facto rulers of Khorlyl (the long-defunct eastern half of Lyland). The extension of Kantantanalace rule over Kiroy so alarms the Heftigans that they too petition the Daul knights, not for protection but for the recognition of the indigenous Order of Thunder as a Daulic Order.

Together, these issues result in the calling of a Second Council of Bouree in 1089 NC, hearkening back that of 684 NC, but which is afflicted by growing rivalries among the Orders and the simmering religious divergences raging elsewhere on Noroth as the Wars of the Gods. The final catalyst for a dramatic change among the Dauls is the arrival of a diplomatic delegation from the Il-Tsar Leksander, who is heartily sick of war after the bloody campaigns to unite Kantantanalace. The Il-Tsar offers treaties of Eternal Peace with the lands on the lower Nan, if only they can settle on someone with whom he can negotiate.

Deadlock among the Dauls is broken in unorthodox fashion, but one that respects the laws of the Orders as well as the warrior traditions of Heftiga and the Boreas. A tournament of single combat is held and the victor, Lawres (I) of Mont Noble (now Mont Royal) in the Heftiga is made the first King of Daul (1089 NC). The constituent provinces of Heftiga, Lyland, Khorlyl, Valeir, West Borea, East Borea, and Ourre (immediate environs of Ourresh and the west bank of the river) become the Six Duchies of the Kingdom, with Ourre as a Bishopric. “Eternal Peace,” is pledged with Kantantanalace, yet the Il-tsar is soon given cause to wonder as King Lawres I adds a Seventh Duchy to the Kingdom by sending forces across the Girding Mountains to seize the course of the Winding River in Orstaf (defunct province of Parnistok), styling the territory as Tordresia (1098 NC).

The next year, 1099 NC, saw the beginning of the events that instigated Daul’s final rise to rule all the lands of the lower Nan. Unholy abominations from out of the Vod Wilds afflicted all adjacent lands, including the Nan Kingdom and Duchy of Chengdea, until the roving horrors were all either banished or destroyed over the long and terrible course of what is remembered as the Dead War (1099-1129 NC).

After horrific wraith attacks during the grim winter of 1110 NC, Chengdea appealed to Daul for aid as the rest of the Nannish Kingdom was already imperiled. The Daulic knights responded and were led into the Dead War by the King himself, aging though still formidable. In 1120 NC Lawres I fell in battle against what was reputed to have been a vampire controlling a Chengdean village, and was succeeded by his son as Montagian I. “King Monty” oversaw the final destruction of the undead monstrosities in Chengdea by 1124 NC, and the grateful Duke accordingly renounced all ties to the Nannish throne and swore fealty to Daul as the Eighth Duchy.

Though nearly as hard-pressed as was Chengdea, the Nan Kingdom refused outside assistance and it was not until 1129 NC that the undead presence in the kingdom was reduced to an occasional nuisance rather than a mortal peril. Great pestilence however followed in the Dead War‘s aftermath, and the kingdom continued to decline. In the 1150’s the Kirabin peninsula came under the sway of the Riven Kingdom of Sitl, and the Dauls fully recognized their neighbors’ weakness.  In 1158 NC the newly crowned King Douglac (“The Dark”) mounted a very short and decisive war, annexing the historical area of “Nanshea” as the Ninth Duchy of Daul and returning the area to its older name. The Kingdom of Daul from this time acquired the name of the Nan River Kingdom.

For the first time The River Kingdom found itself in position to have something of a naval presence in the Channel owing to its possession of Larbonne (Ettacean Ribin/Nannish Ellrabn) at the mouth of the great river.  The briefly free port of Roseille (Ettacean Rosundum/ Nannish Rosunda) was retaken (and renamed), and the Sitlese occupation of the Kirabin peninsula was used to justify the crown’s retention of the Rose River port as the personal property of the King. Possession of the two ports enriched both the kingdom and the kings for the rest of the century, particularly as the War of the Empires (1179-1260 NC) kept the greatest navies of the southern continent (Kandala) occupied with sinking each others merchant vessels, allowing those from the Norothian side to carry an ever-increasing portion of the rich Channel trade.

In the early 1200’s Daul was briefly drawn into the peripheral fighting of the War of the Empires, as a Karkan army was marooned on their coast by the betrayal of the Sisterian fleet transporting them. Daulic forces surrounded the Karkans after the brief Battle of Spotted Eel Fjord (1202 NC), and with the support of Aginta and Ayzantium were able to wring concessions from the Karkans before arranging transport for their stranded army back to Kandala. The admittedly small military victory fired the imagination of the young Daulic prince Ovander, who on his ascension to the throne (1223 NC) resolved to return Daulic arms to a glory the long years of peace had sadly denied them.

In 1225 NC King Ovander led overwhelming Daulic forces into Sitl, and to his chagrin the local lords capitulated almost instantly, offering to accept Daulic titles over their own lands. Sitl and Chirabis (the Kirabin peninsula) were quickly reorganized as the 10th and 11th Duchies of Daul, with capitals at Chevagia and Roseille. As Roseille was still a familial possession of the Daulic Kings, the title Prince of Chirabis would henceforth be held by the Royal heir apparent.

Ovander had increased his kingdom’s holdings, but not yet won any glorious victories. This was apparently insufficient, and the next year he pressed his advance into the heart of the squabbling territories known as the Riven Kingdoms, which since Ged-azi the Red’s demise in 945 NC had been known in some quarters as “the place where Empire’s go to die.”

The 2nd Riven War (1227-1242 NC) begins with the Daulic invasion of Gesseney, and a sharp repulse for Ovander at Dysler’s Farm (1227 NC). While the king withdraws his great cavalry force to gather more infantry from Daul, the squabbling petty kingdoms of the southwestern Rivens put aside their differences long enough to unite against the invaders. Renewed Daulic attacks brings more victories (notable at Barley Brook in 1228 NC) but only at great price, and each results only in more distant Riven powers entering the fray. The tied is turned at the Battle of the Minau Hills (1231 NC), when the arrival of ex-Illygarder forces operating from the colony of Serckspeos tips the scales against Ovander. The Riven Kingdoms will turn on each other once again for another decade, but Ovander withdraws his bloodied armies back into Sitl by 1232 NC.

Ovander sought no further conquest, but his heirs long remembered the pain of seeing Daulic knights fleeing from rustic Riveners. The affronted dignity of the Royal line was displayed when 1277 NC brought the 1200th anniversary of the Ostronanyan Church, and King Bourian of Daul decided to only allow believers from the Kantan side of the border to attend the ceremonies and festivals in Ourresh if they paid for the privilege. The Kantan Il-Tsar Fedorik perceived the decree for the insult that it was, but the reaction of the ethnic Kantans living in Daulic Ourre, Khorlyl, and Valeir was even worse. For centuries an ethnically Leutian caste (the Ourregs) had dominated the hierarchy of the Ostronanyan clergy, and resentment had simmered among the many Kantans of the faith on either side of the Daul/Kantantanalace border. Bourian’s decrees inflamed a tense situation that became a conflagration after a pilgrimage party of Daulic Kantans was barred entry into Ourresh as they were taken by the Ourreg guardsman as “foreigners.”

For nine years both sides of the border were swept by ethnic violence among coreligionists, a period known as “Shanatar’s War” (1278-1287 NC). Neither Daul nor Kantantanalace was able to quell the frequent disturbances, for any movement of troops toward the afflicted region only brought mobilization from across the border. The violence would come to an end after a period of soul-searching resulted in the Ourregers renouncing their exclusionist policies, but the necessity of keeping Daulic forces nearby as a hedge against Kantantanalace prevented Bourian from addressing issues arising elsewhere in his kingdom.

North across the Girdings, the Daulic Duchy of Tordresia was not Ostronanyan in faith, but it was overwhelmingly Kantan. Imperfect and sporadic news from across the mountains caused widespread resentment against the Daulic barons and earls ruling the Duchy on the Winding River, and unrest began to brew. It was supported from elsewhere in Orstaf, much of which was at the time under the sway of the “Beaster” Druidic sect ruling from the old Parnistokian capital of Sanst Kiena. To the Beasters, the ethno-religious violence afoot on the Ourre brought to mind the Wars of the Gods (1032-1099 NC) that had been for more devastating inside the Girding Basin than they had in Daul.

In 1284 NC Ducal forces violently broke-up a pro-Khorlyl demonstration in the regional capital of La Trabon, and the Duchy exploded into the 2nd Winding War (1284-1287 NC). The Tordresian peasantry was supported from Sanst Kiena by the Beasters, and by their fellow Kantans of the vast Orstavian steppe, still living as semi-nomadic horse tribes. The Daulic nobles were isolated in their individual strongholds on the river while much of the country between them was dominated by roving marauders. Daulic Knights poured into the region through the mountain passes, but the weight of the Royal army remained on station around Ourre in the fear that Kantantanalace would seek to take advantage. The heavy cavalry of the Daulic knights was unable to act effectively in the hilly and wooded terrain of the Winding, and the Ducal government was forced to flee from La Trabon as rebel uprisings gripped the capital.

The close of Shanatar’s War in 1287 provided Bourian with the opportunity of reclaiming his recalcitrant northern Duchy, but he seems to have changed his mind after being severely maimed while hunting wild boar early in the year. Perhaps the King recalled that the Boar had been the shamanistic totem of the Borean people long before the rise of the Ennead, but in any case he seems to have decided to allow the Beasters in Orstaf to have their way. Three years later the rising Empire of the Code would take control of the whole of Orstaf (1290 NC), bringing the entirety of the Girding Basin under one flag for the first time in history. No serious attempt was ever made by Daul to retake the Duchy.

While the 13th Century was a net loss for the Kingdom of Daul, the 14th started out very promisingly. Historically-minded types on Noroth and Kandala have already the labeled the 1300’s as “The Miilarkian Century,” for it was at this time that the traders originating from the obscure islands in the midst of the Interminable Ocean began to ply the waters surrounding the two continents. Quarter Ports (The Miilarkian System is treated elsewhere) were established around both continents, and formerly local lines of trade and communication were joined together as a single thriving network.

The Kingdom of Daul allowed the establishment of a Quarter Port within Larbonne in 1294 NC, and the geography of the River Kingdom proved a natural fit to the traders’ interests. Most major cities and productive regions of Daul were located on the Nan or its tributaries, and the city at the river’s mouth was a natural hub from which the whole kingdom could to business with the wider world. Furthermore, all of southern Kantantanalace was dependent on the Nan for easy access to the sea, for the vast Gornya Steppe divides it from the heart of the Il-Tsardom on the Tsever and Dnieda rivers far to the north, which feed into the perilous Cold Seas. Daul was in an excellent position to benefit from attachment to the Miilarkian System, and during the early decades of the 1300’s the River Kingdom thrived economically as it never had before. Daulic wine from Chirabin vineyards became a coveted luxury in Far Western and Oswamban lands of which no Daul had ever heard.

Relations with the Miilarkians did not come without price, for linkage to a vast network meant that distant events could have far-reaching effects. In the 1330’s three separate wars fought across northern Kandala briefly became enmeshed via the economic links connecting the wide-spread territories of Aginta, the Ajma River, and the Martan peninsula (The Three Wars, 1335-1341 NC), which in turn curtailed trade all along the Channel coast of Noroth. Daul was brought briefly into the civil strife of Aginta, when a joint demand was made with Doon that the Agintan crown recognize the Avilidan rebels, who enjoyed the tacit support of the Miilarkian Quarter there. King Hobraro reacted with a declaration of war and a short-lived invasion of Doon, while the young King Hughes I of Daul embarked on a costly naval-building program with visions of his own cross-Channel invasion dancing in his head. The Daulic navy was still under construction when the Three Wars wound down by 1341, and its great cost would prove a serious burden as Daul soon became embroiled in a land campaign on Noroth.

In 1339 NC Sanst Vyetchec became a Quarter Port, linking the Cold Seas’ coast of Kantantanalace to the Miilarkian System. In order to bolster the growth of the new port, the Il-Tsardom moved the trade of its southern provinces off the Nan altogether, forcing merchants to caravan their wares across the vast Gornya Steppe to the Dnieda River and Sanst Vyethcec. Though the loss of Kantan trade on the Nan was hardly crippling, Daulic nobles up and down the river had become accustomed to their piece of the revenues from tariffs charged on foreigners using the Nan. They loudly demanded that Hughes take action, particularly as their own taxes were supporting to the King‘s program of naval building that was seen as something of a boondoggle further up the river.

Hughes had little wish to challenge the vast nation to his north, particularly not while he was eagerly planning a naval assault on Aginta. When the Agintan War concluded in 1341 NC before the nascent Daulic navy could even join it, Hughes hunted around desperately for another use for his expensive project. He settled on a plan that would employ his navy, potentially open new markets, and avenge a perceived black mark on the honor of both his country and his family.

Hughes had settled on the idea of launching a second Daulic invasion of the Riven Kingdoms, but not with the impetuosity and vague planning of his ancestor Ovander. Hughes took three years to carefully prepare the ground for his assault, making alliances with the rulers of certain Riven Kingdoms to help him achieve his aims, aims which were far more specific than his ancestor‘s quest for glory. Hughes plotted the seizure of the Riddle River from the port of Brebaru upstream to the Bifurcation, which would have given Daul a bottleneck to control trade on the Dranner River above. And the attack on the port would further allow Hughes to employ his fledgling navy.

The course of the 4th Riven War (1344-1359) is too tumultuous to relay here in full, but the results for Daul can be summarized as bad. The port of Brebaru was taken early on, but large Daulic armies again became bogged-down deeper into the Rivens, and Hughes’ carefully crafted alliances proved fleeting, or even mortally dangerous for his Kingdom.  In 1347 the Dauls’ ally Molok attacked the Kantan colony of Therasho, the territorial integrity of which had long been guaranteed by Kantantanalace. Though neither monarch wished for a wider war between the two countries, honor demanded certain reactions. Kantan forces entered the Rivens to chastise Molok, but Daul refused to abandon their allies. Raid and reprisal across the Ourre fired the tensions still simmering in that area since Shanatar’s War, and the treaties of “Eternal Peace” that ushered in the Kingdom of Daul’s creation in 1089 were at last put by the wayside.

The Kanto-Daulic War raged from 1348-1352 NC, and eventually led to a loss of territory for both countries as a theocratic buffer state called The Shield Lands was carved out between them under the auspices of the Ostronanyan Church, costing Daul all of Valeir, much of Khorlyl, and all but a tiny swath of the high Ourre river that retains the name of the old Bishopric but hardly amounts to a barony. Daul fared a bit better in the Rivens, where in 1352 a sharp defeat was delivered by the heavy Daulic cavalry on Kantan light-horse pinned in a box canyon (Battle of the Turrian Highlands), but the victory only turned more Riven powers against Daul as they seemed to gain the upperhand. In 1355 NC Daul was forced to withdraw its depleted forces from the Rivens altogether, turning the administration of Brebaru (renamed Kanalborg) over to a foreign Order of Knights known as the Albatrossers. While Daul retained privileged trading rights in the city, the region was by then so devastated that any gain was negligible, and scarcely worth the massive damage inflicted on Daulic armies.  King Hughes passed away in 1359, leaving a weakened and widely-resented Kingdom.

Daul’s condition was apparent to others. Though the tri-partite (Ruby Crown, Ayonite Church, Dragon Cult) government of Ayzantium makes any sort of “national” action problematic for that country, the region that was once the Dragon Lands of Red Ged-Azi still had the potential to prove formidable. That fact was displayed in the 1370’s, when a dispute between merchants in Daulic Roseille and those of the capital of Ayzant City, concerning a boatload of turnips, led to saber-rattling on both sides of the border. The dispute drew in the Ostronanyan church in Roseille and Ayonite shrines in Ayzantu, and the Prince of Chirabis (Daulic heir soon to be Hughes III) launched a naval raid which to everyone’s great surprise savaged the western Zantish fleet.

Sensing weakness, Hughes II launched an overland attack through the soggy Ghendal bottomlands between the two cities and Kingdoms, and in so doing displayed more of the rashness of his ancestor Ovander than the careful planning of his father. While the Royal and Ayonite factions abandoned Ayzantu at the approach of the Dauls, the invaders were met in the bottoms by Zantish peasants under the red dragon-tail banners of the Ged-azi’s Cult. On the Ninthday of Ninthmonth, 1379, an inconsequential stream known locally as the Icheroon became a grim scene of slaughter as the cream of Daulic chivalry wallowed in the mires and were butchered by Zantish peasants wielding scythes and threshing flails. King Hughes II fell there, as did many of his highest nobles who had led their household forces personally.

Though Hughes III succeeded his father, for the last sixteen years much of Daul has been wracked by local struggles over Ducal and baronial titles, though fortunately the always contentious Ayzant government has been unable to take full advantage. The Royalist and Ayonite factions did manage to cooperate long enough to capture Roseille in 1385 NC, while the fear of renewed Kantan aggression kept the new king and his reconstituted army in the north. The old principality of Chirabis fell to Ayzantium by 1392 NC after long and bitter fighting on the rocky peninsula, during which the Daulic navy acted mainly as privateers out of Larbonne to harass Ayzant resupply of their forces. The Daul King’s forces were  gathered in Chevagia to stand between Roseille and the heart of the kingdom on the Nan, from which place they were able to turn back several uncoordinated Ayzant thrusts.

In 1394 the Daulic navy gathered in Phohish waters, meaning to break up a concentration of Ayzant vessels in Roseille. Fearsome storms wracked the Daul fleet (for which the Priests of Ayon took credit), opening the way for an Ayzant advance out of the Chirabis along the coast, and still Hughes refused to leave Chevagia. Ayzant siege was set to Larbonne early in 1395, with the defenders reduced to holding only the citadel by the autumn.  So stands the situation as of this writing, with the old Ettacean Duchies of Nanshea and Chengdea wondering if their King has left them to their fate.

 

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