A Brief Arangothian History
This covers the last 10-12 years in character history from about 469 to 482, and is meant to be used for the Nobility Schemes story line in the works. A refined version of it will be written for the history section at a later date.
BlkDragon & AngelSin
Main Article: The 'Alysian' Era (465-468)
The strife of the three princes against The Order of the Beady Eye left Arangoth without a strong central authority for decades. King BlkDragon and Queen Alysia "AngelSin" made what was a small fishing hamlet into their national capital in 465. The Northern Estates offered to confirm AngelSin and BlkDragon as monarchs in return for acknowledgement of their traditional rights, but their letter went unanswered from Drache.
The pair were only visible rulers for two years before entrusting the management of the kingdom to their Regent, The Raven, who himself soon became seldom seen in Drache, or anywhere else in Arangoth. Soon, BlkDragon and AngelSin disappeared forever. Appeals to the Raven frequently went unanswered. The Royal Legion and the Royal Navy disbanded for lack of orders and lack of pay. The Northern Estates looked to Perlim Larkspin, the Palatine of the North for leadership rather than the Raven.
The Return & Rise of Prince Arlok
Main Article: The 'Arlokek' Era (469-472)
Prince Arlok ul-Dorn returned from magical slumber in 469. After his identity was confirmed, he was offered the crown. His coronation was held in Evening Star of 469 (December 1999).
The South was afflicted by a a series of crises in the fall and winter of 469, including an unnatural mist that crippled Drache's harbor and a granary fire that destroyed much of the city's grain supply for the winter. With no apparent leadership to take charge, Lady Lorla Daranek invited a group of southern nobles, merchants, and religious leaders to form a council to address the troubles facing Drache and the imminent famine. They called themselves the Regency Council, and left a seat open for the Raven, should he return.
Shortly afterwards, Northern Arangothian armies restored order in a large part of Ruthmarna (which had been overrun by bandits).
While Northern Arangoth, Ruthmarna, and Eastern Arangoth all acknowledged Arlok as king, the provinces of Southern Arangoth, including Drache, did not do so.
Since it was not clear whether BlkDragon and AngelSin had abdicated or had only taken a temporary leave of absence, the South rebuffed Arlok's initial offers and refused to acknowledge him as the legitimate king.
The Regency Council's Fall
In First Seed (March) of 470, the elders of the Sresar Vale, upset by the lack of Valesmen on the Regency Council, gave their allegiance to Arlok in return for an agreement that granted them similar privileges to the Northern Estates.
Marcion ul-Fenduth Tagran Aldenbar, a cousin of Arlok, helped draft some of the new laws used in Drache, along with Lord Chancellor Bourne. King Arlok negotiated with the council and got them to accept his authority after conceding provincial authority, their own criminal code and jurisdiction over maritime matters as well as the agreement to live in Castle Black for at least four months of the year. Marcion didn’t like Arlok at first but accepted that a united Arangoth is a better Arangoth and pushed for the agreement. Despite the peaceful resolution, many remained unsatisfied.
Topaz Silverbow, serving a term as governor of Elvendeep, signed an accord with Arlok right around then, which made Elvendeep a province of the realm. Though Elvendeep needed Arangothian power to stand up against the Zul Kiran horde, this was very unpopular even though Arlok has done hardly any ruling over Elvendeep at all.
Drache's problems began to take their toll upon the Council's prestige. A plague in the Old City forced the Council to take the draconian policy of quarantining the sick inhabitants from the richer portions of the city. A fire, and later the Mist War prompted Councilor Reizeau to enact high taxes and tariffs to aid with rebuilding, to the outrage of the merchant community. The Council was often accused of being slow to act, and somewhat ponderous. Each member had an equal say and an equal vote, and long debates often arose over simple decisions. Due to the death or retirement of Council members, by 473, the Regency Council had been reduced to three members: Marcion Aldenbar, the Korthai lord Harlst Mhern-Lathvek, and Maximilien Reizeau, a professor at the Royal University with an anti-aristocratic bent.
The Vlorress Affair of 473
In 473, a petitioner approached the Council with an appeal for citizenship. Aridia Vlorress claimed to be a former vampire, cured of her affliction. The Magistrates of the Chancellery (the south's judicial system) initially rejected her application for citizenship. She approached King Arlok and appealed the Chancellery's decision, but he declined to review the merits of her case unless there was new evidence. Aridia was quietly encouraged to appeal the decision to the Regency Council, instead. Harlst and Reizeau voted in favor, and Marcion voted against since he did not believe that the Council had the authority, nor had any new evidence come to light since the King denied her appeal.
At the time, vampirism was hugely unpopular and the case was on everyone’s lips. The council voted to order the Chancellery to grant her citizenship.
The Chancellery was outraged, and the Lord Chancellor, Thomas L'Char Bourne, retired rather than grant citizenship to an admitted vampire. Instead of turning his title and authority over to the King or Regent, as the laws demanded, however, he empowered a council of his own Magistrates to succeed him. They shared his beliefs and refused to give Vlorress the oath of citizenship. Meeting secretly, the Magistrates' anti-Council sentiment ran high and soon the city was quivering with tension.
Unsure of their support among the usually neutral Royal Guard, Aldenbar rode north to report to Arlok and gain his support against possible treason, sparking fears among the Magistrates he might return with an army. Reizeau, meanwhile, met secretly with Lady Lorla Daranek, the council's founder, who had returned to the city. To his misfortune, he had also ignored Aldenbar's warnings and sent a stiff letter to the Magistrates regarding a presumption of theirs in dealing with foreign correspondance.
The treasonous elements within the Guard and Chancellery chose that night to strike. In what would become known as the 'Night of the Hunted Goose,' the Guard's Wharf-Commander, Tarn Harscorn and the Magistrate Lytia Seward arrested Reizeau in the middle of the Black Dragon Inn on trumped up charges of using the New City Guard to extort merchants. The scene became chaotic, with present Guards and Magistrates on either side of the conflict arriving and arguing. Before his arrest was executed, Reizeau had only the time to declare Daranek, by virtue of her title of Lady Overseer, a full Councilor and in charge of the city. He was then struck unconscious and secreted away to the Wharf by Harscorn, who in the process disobeyed a command from Guard Captain Von Stahl himself.
Harscorn had been newly transferred from the Border Watch, and had brought with him a number of fellow Watchmen; men loyal to him. It was this corps that aided him in fleeing with Reizeau to the Wharf, despite the efforts of his own Captain and the New City guard to stop him. There, the Wharf Guards rose up against the Council and even their Captain, shutting and garrisoning the Iron Gate. The mutineers even stole into the New City to burn the Guard's armory in retaliation for aerial surveillance of the Wharf.
The rebels' legitimacy was stripped away, however, when Magistrate Ketara Lyon's investigation of the charges against Reizeau revealed them as patently false. What is more, Seward's surrendered documents implicated the scheming merchant prince, Resque Maessen, in the extortion plot. Maessen had secretly organized a number of Drache's merchants to support the Chancellery, but they were outraged that Seward's files threatened them and expected them to give false testimony to support her charges. Alienated by Seward's rash behaviour, the coalition of merchants distanced themselves from her actions.
But the Iron Gate was still closed, and for a few tense days it looked like open war might break out at any moment within the city. To make things worse, a pair of vampires began a murdering spree, even while the Guards were occupied with the traitors within their own ranks. And to add further to the confusion, The Raven briefly returned to Drache and issued a plea for peace from Castle Black.
Into the standoff, Aldenbar returned to the city secretly and began inviting people to meet with him at the opulent House of the Silver Swan. He had been appointed as the new Lord Chancellor by the King, and was granted Royal Authority to disband the Council as unable to function, cancel the tax scheme, and appoint a new Sithire (Duke) to govern the South. With these powers, he secured the cooperation of the Guard, Resque's merchant alliance, Lady Councilor Daranek, The Raven, and the remaining Magistrates, who were also alarmed by Seward's treason.
Seeing their support crumble, Seward, Harscorn, and his corps of loyal Watch rangers fled the city and entered into exile. Reizeau was freed, but seeing the Council disbanded and Aldenbar in full authority, declared himself betrayed and bitterly exiled himself to Ethcabar, then to Myst.
The Two Sithires
Aldenbar met with several candidates, and eventually selected Nisa ul-Alathar Folvati, a noble with impeccable bloodline, to become as the new Sithire. Branth Truxton served as Nisa's Lord Privy Seal, a sort of secretary and minister without portfolio. Secretly, Branth was also the master of the Ninxek, Arangoth's network of spies and informants. Marcion busied himself with the work of the Chancellery and made no public intervention into the Sithire's business, but the Truxton family were vassals of the Aldenbars. There were no shortage of people who believed that Branth was the leash connecting Nisa to Marcion's hand.
Nonetheless, she developed problems with opium, and this was quietly concealed as long as possible. When the situation became untenable, Nisa abruptly resigned for reasons of health, and Arlok appointed Marcion as the new Sithire. He nominated the Magistrate Julius ul-Arduin Malbraxa to succeed him as Lord Chancellor, to which Arlok agreed. Marcion then stepped in, in her stead, finding himself in charge of a growing maritime power that’s chafing increasingly at having to pay taxes to what they see as a dead-weight monarchy.
BlkDragon and AngelSin had a very hands-on (and frankly autocratic) ruling style, and they curbed much of the traditional powers of the nobility in the south in favor of the expansion of Royal Authority. This is one of the reasons for the differences in legal traditions between North and South. Old-Blooded Northern aristocrats likely look at the Southerners as a bunch of avaricious upstarts willing to unravel every last scrap of tradition to make coin. Southern merchants likely look at the Northerners as reactionary and backward, and trying to stifle the South's economic growth to preserve their own power. Many Southern nobles would undoubtedly like an institution like the Northern Estates to have the ability to influence legislation and petition the king directly. The Northern Estates are likely very opposed to any dilution of their power.