Sunday, July 2, 2017

Valley Kingdoms: Empire of the Throne, the Fall

Wondering what the hell is going on with these blog posts? Well, head on over to this here post to get a general feeling for the Valley Kingdoms. If you'd like to read the other Valley Kingdoms pages, you can click the button up top or just follow this link to the index.

The Empire of the Throne
The Fall

Eastern tadunum armies at the Gates of Hrum
The Sifik Emperors expanded the influence of Sifhem beyond the mountains, colonizing the edge of the Eastern Steppe with roads, garrisons, etc. Imperial soldiery and civil servants stationed in what became known as the Hrumgae (the Lands Beyond the Hrum) were never required to serve for more than five years outside the Valley, lest they lose their connection to Yasivan. Sivanic temples were founded on the steppe, but the status of these extra-territorial temples was constantly under dispute at Medenva. This would eventually lead to the War of the Fire, which would encompass most of the empire in its bloodshed.

Archpriest Ruwan objected to the construction of temples for the Hrumgae soldiery under Emperor Varungath. He promulgated an edict stating that any priests assigned to those temples were themselves acting against the will of Ya. When the temples stood empty, and the fires unlit, there were riots in the Hrumgae. The soldiers demanded priests be sent to them to absolve them of their inhumanity.

Ruwan refused. The Emperor summoned him to Daredin and held him hostage in the Litha Palace, and contemplated bringing charges against him for treason. Instead, he forced Ruwan to capitulate and write instructions to assign priests to the Hrumgae temples, as well as appointing a High Divine to the Outremar. Immediately upon being released from the Litha Palace, Ruwan recanted the so-called Palace Writings. He issued countermanding orders, but by then the High Divine Ulcas was already appointed and residing in the Hrumgae.

Between the High Divine and the Archpriest, a fully-blown praxic dispute was underway. The Emperor obviously backed the High Divine of the Hrumgae. However, the nobility found in Archpriest a way to strike at the power of the Wizards, and the Great Thivatin. Outside of this purely pragmatic consideration, there was also deep religious belief motivating the resistance to the High Divine. Although the dispute did not become violent during Ruwan's lifetime, his successor was a much younger man -- the Archpriest Thibru.

Thibru immediately pronounced a declaration of anathema on Emperor Varungath. The Sifik Emperor replied predictably: he sent for Thibru to join him at the Litha Palace for a temple synod. Thibru went, but he did not go alone. He came with fifty chosen temple-knights and a retinue of thousands of faithful. When he met with the Emperor, the palace was surrounded by chanting, singing, bell-ringing penitents in white. Thibru sat before the Sifik Throne and smirked at the emperor, informing him that he was more than willing to go to his death for the Faith of the Fire.

The emperor obliged. He arrested Thibru and all his knights and had them executed moments later on the steps of the palace. The crowd erupted, predictably attacking the palace. The Sifik Emperor unleashed a wave of destructive magic against his own people, and open war was upon the empire. The War of the Fire lasted for three generations, on and off, and was only finally extinguished with the arrival of the Uvarun -- the people of the East.

Pressure on the Hrumgae settlements grew. Battles and engagements outside the Valley grew in number. The Archpriest Krulef ended the War of the Fire with a theological compromise and temple synod. The settlement was too late. The Empress Avatha died at the Gates of Hrum defending the empire from the Easterners. This began the Time of the False Emperors... which ended with the collapse of the empire.

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