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War of the Four Kingdoms

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Hamaskis

The War of the Four Kingdoms – Gallantaria, Femphrey, Brice and the Northlands – almost tore the Old World apart...[1]

The War of the Four Kingdoms was one of the most tumultuous episodes in the history of the Old World absorbing the kingdoms making up the entire north-western portion of the continent, primarily Gallantaria, The Northlands, Brice and Femphrey[2] with Lendleland also being embroiled to a degree.

Beginning of the ConflictEdit

The war began as a mass invasion of Gallantaria from Brice:

"Brice continued making threatening displays of its military might which fooled no one, until it suddenly attempted a mass invasion of Gallantaria in the year 175AC",[3] although some say the invasion, on Stormsday 1st of Close, 175AC, was of Brice.[4]

Brice was identified throughout its turbulent history as a nation continuously disputing its borders in order to increase its claim on natural resources, of which it had few.[5] There is every reason to believe that Brice's ambition were no different on this occasion and this is made explicit in later canon: "Though initially relations were cordial, the people of Brice grew jealous of Gallantaria's wealth and prepared an invasion."[6] What compounded the problem for Gallantaria was the immediate rising of military factions in The Northlands thus creating a war on two fronts:

"At the same time, rebellious subjects from the Northlands began encroaching into Gallantaria via the Cragrock Peaks. The War of the Four Kingdoms had begun."[3]

Although Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World makes reference to this being the start of the War of the Four Kingdoms, at this stage only three kingdoms were involved and even then, only two of these were independent, with the third attempting to assert independence. The Northlands, also known as the North Kingdom, was a subject state of Gallantaria. Although Gallantaria's northern borders were recognised as the Cragrock Peaks[7], it appears that it did have colonies in The Northlands who were subject to Royal Lendle.[8]

The War ExpandsEdit

The war soon expanded to include Femphrey and Lendleland. As to when they joined the conflict, we cannot be certain, although we do know it was quite near the beginning of the war:

"Next, Gallantarian colonies in the Northlands rebelled and sent an army down into their parent country to win their independence, and it did not take long before the nearby nations of Femphrey and Lendleland got caught up in these terrible events. Thus began the War of the Four Kingdoms".[6]

As to why these two nations engaged in the war is unknown it is reasonable to suppose that the growing power of Gallantaria must have seemed very threatening to its southern neighbours, and the possibility of curbing this growth appealed strongly to the Femphrean nation. It seems that Lendleland were not engaged in the war as the other participants. They are not named as one of the four:

"The War of the Four Kingdoms – Gallantaria, Femphrey, Brice and the Northlands – almost tore the Old World apart, but the four sides turned away from the abyss and made a fragile peace ..."[1]

The quote that tells us that Lendleland got "caught up in these terrible events" has led to some scholars questioning whether it was Lendleland rather than then Northlands that was one of the four kingdoms. Undoubtedly, Lendleland was in independent nation, whereas the Northlands were asserting independence but actually subject to Gallantaria. However, it seems that Lendleland being caught up in the events did not necessarily constitute them being one of the main protagonists. As well as specifically not being named as one of the four (see above) after the war, a speech was made by an antagonist at Ranter's Corner in Royal Lendle in which he said "We waste too much time trying to appease our neighbours ... We are clearly superior and should have won the war, were it not for that old fool Tantalon ... We must demand recompense from Brice, Femphrey and those rats in the north. Northlanders and sorcerers! Pah!"[9] This ranter notably does not mention getting recompense from Lendleland, suggesting that there had been a minimal level of engagement with them.

The Assassination of King ConstainEdit

ConstainTag

Constain and Tag in Narrow Pass

King Constain's first act was to immediately ride north to repel the Northlanders whilst despatching a separate force, including Hornhelm, to intercept the invaders from Brice. Constain personally led troops to defend the northern border of Gallantaria and spent the first year of the war doing so.[10] King Constain then ensured that he was satisfied with the fortified positions in The Northlands before returning to Gallantaria in the second year of the war. The royal party, including the Queen, made their way to Forrin from the Northlands. The route through the Cragrocks necessitated taking them through Narrow Pass at the eastern end of the mountain range. The party's guide was Baron Tag of Casper, who had offered his services himself. The Baron was a traitor. He had made a secret pact with the Regent of Brice, allowing him to take the throne of Gallantaria and keep most of his new kingdom intact, provided that he arranged for the death of the royal family. The Baron was successful in this matter, luring the King to the treacherous Narrow Pass in the Cragrocks where a party of rebellious Northlanders in his pay murdered the party with Tag dealing the death blow to Constain. Although Tag was self-proclaimed King, he failed in his bid to gain the throne after his act was exposed and he was forced to flee.

TantalonEdit

Constain had left no heir and it appeared for a short while that the kingdom might implode with the Knights of the Inner Council variously vying for power. However, Sir Duke suggested Tantalon the aged but wise Sorcerer of the Court, become Regent. He was without political ambition, and turned out to be a brilliant strategist, his battle plans (and wizardry) having been credited with altering the course of the war.[11] Even so, the war lasted a further two years.

Battle of MallagashEdit

This was an engagement involving Gallantaria and Femphrey[12], and potentially one of the major foundations for Gallantaria's strong position before the Treaty of Peace. It was at this battle that the veteran Captain who went on to defeat Voivod, almost lost a life and death encounter with the Femphreans.[12]

Battle of SkynnEdit

Hornhelm

Hornhelm rides into Battle

In around 178AC the Battle of Skynn took place. Although details are vague, it is known that this was the major engagement of the war. The leader of Gallantaria's forces was Hornhelm. He lost his life during the battle, but his leadership and bravery is credited with winning Gallantaria the day. Such was the importance of the battle that a tavern in Royal Lendle is named after this battle. Certainly, after two years, Gallantaria's power had been established, and the Battle of Skynn cannot have been much before this, because Tantalon was still coming to terms with Hornhelm's death when he was devising his twelve tasks.[13]

Treaty of PeaceEdit

TreatyPeaceTantalon

Tantalon after signing the Treaty

The Treaty, signed in 178AC ended the War of the Four Kingdoms. It was negotiated, agreed and signed by four nobles representing the nations Gallantaria, Brice, Femphrey and The Northlands. The official signing took place in Royal Lendle[13] and the ceremony was therefore hosted by Tantalon, the Regent of Gallantaria at the time. The window of peace that this Treaty opened, enabled Tantalon to turn his attention to home affairs and to design a grand adventure quest which in turn would unearth a successor to the throne of Gallantaria. His aim was to do this within a year of the Treaty, because his experience suggested that would be the lifetime of the Treaty.[13] However, this was a rare instance of Tantalon being wrong, because the peace endured.

AftermathEdit

The war is remembered as having been long and bloody and it has been described as a senseless waste of life.[13] It hailed the end of the dynasty of Orjan the Builder in Gallantaria and ushered in a new age. It left the nations in the north-west of the Old World in a poorer state, although the fiscal impact was such that it put an end to conflict for a number of years.

Brician War CriminalsEdit

Although there were doubtless war criminals on all sides of the engagement, it was those from Brice that stood out at the forefront, marked as enemies of the states and hunted down accordingly by bounty hunters. Consequently, the majority were apprehended, tried and convicted before too long had passed.

It is suspected that, of the very worst of these, there were originally at least seven, according to the words of one bounty hunter: "For years I have been looking for seven arch-fiends in the service of Chaos; six are now behind bars; but Gruul, the seventh and most evil, has always eluded me."[1]

Karam Gruul was high in the Brician ranks, holding the title of Inquisitor General and doing all he could to prolong and exacerbate the war; ensuring all the while that almost none knew what he looked like, and keeping his darkest practices unknown to all but fewer still. He layed magical fire-traps along Brice's borders that claimed hundreds of lives, dragged even greater numbers to his dreaded Tower of Inquisition, purged the peaceful Bricians and any general that might oppose his will; and sent thousands to their miserable deaths without so much as making an appearance on the battlefield himself.

So hated was Gruul by the other nations that one of the conditions stipulated in the Peace Treaty was that he be brought to justice, but despite claims from the Brician king that Gruul had perished in the Last Battle, many continued to search for him, collecting believing that this was a lie. Thankfully, he was eventually captured and dragged to Royal Lendle, where the Ruling Council and the leaders of Femphrey, Brice and the Northlands tried him over the course of an entire month, finally convicting him to spend the remainder of his accursed life in jail by unanimous verdict.[14]

See AlsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Moonrunner - p.??
  2. Legend of the Shadow Warriors - 227: "... three Femphrey warriors, veterans of the War of the Four Kingdoms ..."
  3. 3.0 3.1 Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World - p.??/88
  4. The Fighting Fantasy 10th Anniversary Yearbook - p.196
  5. Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World - ??/33
  6. 6.0 6.1 Legend of the Shadow Warriors - Background
  7. Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World - ??/34
  8. Legend of the Shadow Warriors - p.??: "Gallantarian colonies in the Northlands rebelled and sent an army down into their parent country to win their independence."
  9. Legend of the Shadow Warriors - 137
  10. The Tasks of Tantalon - p.???
  11. Legend of the Shadow Warriors - p.?? (Hugo Montpeilier, Court Essays and Observations: Two Decades of Royal Decorum)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Legend of the Shadow Warriors - 227
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 The Tasks of Tantalon - p.???
  14. Moonrunner - 99

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