Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Valley Kingdoms: Successor States -- Sifekgae, History

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.

Kingdom of the Throne

Royal Shield of Sifekgae

The Sifik Empire ended more or less officially in 971 F.V. with the Time of the False Emperors and the death of Empress Calia in the Battle of Arsenn. In the years thereafter, Sifhem spun apart and devolved between the control of powerful nobles or mighty wizards. A powerful religious backlash, however, prevented too many wizards from taking control; wizardry was seen, in most of the provinces, as being the mark of the renegade emperors. The election of Archpriest Arwas in 967 F.V. coincided with the issuance of a decretal marked Anathema of the Emperors. This decree set official Sivan doctrine on sorcery for a century: wizards were marked as the foes of Ya, and to have congress with one was to risk one's own humanity. Though the harsh effects of this decretal were to mellow over the following centuries, it set the stage to deprive mages across the Valley from their power (save, of course, in Medenleb). There were a handful of sorcerer-kings in the early period, but as the Temple of Yasivan gained more and more power with the crumbling of the states wizards found themselves unable or unwant to rule.

In 1015, a new wave of shipfolk swept into the Valley, and with them a series of attacks on old Daredin. By 1035-7, Daredin was abandoned by the nobility and the wizards who remained there. The Litha Palace stood empty, and the throne of Sifhem was transported to the much older city of Vabaten. This ancient Othan-founded city had a functioning council as it had under the Sifik Empire. The conquerors of Daredin and the shores of Sifhem, the new raiding-shipfolk, made their way to Vabaten for legitimacy.

This union of Vaben history and the might of the ship-folk gave the first King of Sifekgae, Izeid, a power-base on which to work. By promising to elevate the old families of Vabaten above Dariden and the other coastal cities (many of which were partly destroyed or looted by this time), King Izeid won over the preening aristocracy of Vabaten. He moved his vast treasure-hoard to Shalpirith and established his dynasty upon that isle. Izeid was crowned King of Vabaten, Shalpirith, and the Coasts in 1090. By the end of 1113 his son, King Nayash, had made inroads into most of the old Throne Provinces of Sifhem.

The leaders of Sifekgae began with King Izeid, though in his dead it was merely called the Kingdom of Shalpirith.

King Izeid, r. 1083–1109. Built the Kingdom of Shalpirith and extended it to the old coastal cities. Concentrated plunder in Vabaten and made it his capital. Married Uran of Medolin to secure the allegiance of the inland nobility.

King Nayash, r. 1109–1162. Second son of King Izeid. Disinherited his elder brother by plying his father with constant attention. Known as the Scourge of Sifekgae, united the kingdom and destroyed all the rebel lords in the countryside who thought of themselves as Imperial Sifik.

King Azar, r. 1162–1189. The Conqueror; brought new territories into Sifekgae and had his court minstrels and writers compose fifty ballads honoring his father and grandfather. Died childless, passing the throne to his sister-son, Izeid II.

King Izeid II, r. 1189-current. The current King of Sifekgae. 42 years old, having been born in 1168. Nearing the end of his days, but known as a scholar-king who has increased the influence of his court, summoned back a number of lackey-wizards to his side to serve as his courtiers, and made peace with the Archpriest of Yasivan, publicly doing penance for the misdeeds of his fathers.

Modern Sifekgae, the Throne Kingdom, is highly reliant on the settled descendants of those reavers, shipfolk, and raiders who came with Izeid and his grandfather Armaud to plunder the fallen reaches of Sifhem. These men and women have been installed as lordly families, overseeing estates of their own. Most of the great cities of old Sifhem have been completely depopulated or destroyed. The wealth of their vaults has been transferred to flourishing Vabaten, where the old Sifik nobility claim ancestry from Othan itself.

Sifekgae is the most powerful and warlike of the Kingdoms of the Valley, and though its satellite cities are still recovering from the plunder of three generations past, it is a kingdom growing in wealth and trade as well. The crowned basilisk has been adopted by the royal house, symbolizing the might of Izeid I and II, as well as the link to the Sifik past. Now that the old raiding nobility are firmly ensconced and those Imperial Sifik lords of old have come to identify themselves as Sifekgae instead of Sifhemish, King Izeid II has felt it useful to recall the glories of Sifhem as a culture -- indeed, it gives him a monopoly on wizardry and hegemonic rhetoric all over the Valley.

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