Seven years ago, King Ruadan passed away quietly in his sleep. When he left us, he left a realm beset by foes on all sides. On the western plains, Gnoll hordes drove deeper into our lands with every raid. In the east, our armies were locked in the third year of bitter struggle with Jangovans in the mountain passes. Along the northern coast, the first tales of the Prince of Tides and his bloody rise to power were beginning to make their rounds. And, to the south, war raged across the Disputed Lands.
When Ruadan left us, we lost the unity that held back these, and half a hundred other threats for the past seven centuries. He left us with no heir to sit the throne of Amarand. He left us with the makings of a civil war.
Yet, instead of crumbling like the kingdom of the Titans, on whose ruins we built our cities and our castles, Amarand endured, because of the singular courage, wisdom, and strength of the young woman who became our queen—and the singularly loyal friends and companions who won her the throne.
When King Ruadan, her great uncle, died, ruling was the last thing on Lyrana’s mind. She had the strongest claim—through her great grandfather, King Jotharan—but she was only seventeen, and the late king’s nephew, Orias, had the support of most of the Great Lords. Yet, there were still those who came to Lyrana pleading with her to claim the throne; many saw Orias as a cruel and petty man, and certainly not kingly material. Lyrana refused to make a claim initially, but that changed on the Night of the Seven Knives.
Orias felt threatened by her stronger claim and sent seven of his best men to kill Lyrana. It was only by sheer luck, and the bravery of her protectors that she survived the attack. On the following day, she sent out messages to the lords of all seven provinces, declaring herself the Queen of Amarand, and so began the civil war against Orias.
It could have been a long, bloody conflict, but Lyrana did not want to cripple the kingdom in the winning of her crown. Rather than meet Orias in open battle, she sent her most capable followers in a series of daring secret raids, while simultaneously spreading word of Orias’ cruel nature among the common folk. When the time finally came for battle, his armies had gone months on cut wages and rations, thanks to the raids against Orias’ supply trains and garrisons, and the common folk were united against him. Even as he arrayed his men against Lyrana’s host—a third the size of his army—his own generals turned on him, and put him in chains.
He was brought before her and, though many called for his execution, Lyrana showed mercy and had him exiled. He was escorted to the border with just a handful of silver and a horse, and then the Rite of Expulsion—the most powerful banishing ward—was performed on him by the Council of Archmagi. As such, he will be struck dead by the ward, should he ever cross back into Amarand.
After a quick and efficient coronation ceremony, Lyrana began dealing with the threats outside the kingdom. The Jangovans were beaten back and forced to sue for peace when one of their high lords was captured in the fighting. The Gnolls were swept from the western borders when Lyrana marshaled the full strength of the rangers of the Borderwatch. When the Prince of Tides began his brazen attacks on the northern ports, the young Queen was ready; she sent a team of elite agents to pose as likely new recruits for the pirate fleet. They won the Prince’s confidence, and sent his bloody corpse to the bottom of the sea.
Today, Amarand is stronger than it has been since the reign of Pelaran the Good, three hundred years ago. The common folk are happy and fed; trade is robust; the roads and coasts are safe for travel.
Is this the dawn of a new era of peace, or is this the calm before the storm?
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