Anaris Family/Delvin's Memoir
I arrived in Itorunt on the East Continent on 14 Feb, 2004. They were, at the time, at war with Ibladesh, and the war was not going well. Having heard from my cousin Ariana about the near-fall of Ikalak on the South-West Island, and how traumatic it had been, I resolved not to be caught in a dying realm, and left for the New World on the first of April.
There, I joined the realm of Melhed, which was having its own troubles. The ruler was Rubeus the Mad, who was destroying the realm with his insane policies and lack of care for the normal running of things. One of his policies was to have his fellow council members assassinated as frequently as possible, to make sure they were strong. Before too long, a rebellion was organized to oust Rubeus and replace him with someone who could actually help restore Melhed to some semblance of normalcy. Unfortunately, the man who replaced him was a member of a close-knit group determined to keep the power in the realm among their number. It was also around this time that Enweil began its crusade to force all realms on Beluaterra to adopt more democratic forms of government. There was some fighting, but Melhed knew it stood no chance against the juggernaut that was Enweil's military force, and capitulated. After a time, though, I became disillusioned with the leadership of Melhed. Along with several others, I decided to strike out for the southern lands, which were as yet unclaimed after the devastation of the First Invasion destroyed the realms that had occupied them. The plan was to take Irombro and move in on Eno, the largest, richest city on the continent.
When we reached the southern islands, however, we found another colony expedition already there, this one from Fronen. They were composed primarily of former Riombarans, whose realm had been destroyed in the invasion, after being crippled by treachery, and who had taken refuge in their close ally Fronen. Some of the other members of the expedition, seeing that they had little chance of founding a viable realm where they had hoped to, with all the competition around them, turned back, but I and a few others stayed. We were glad to help them carve out their restored realm here on the islands.
With the help of the History of Riombara, begun by Tan o'Kammar, I recall that we took Rines, then moved south to the mainland to take Irombro. Luz de Bia, which held all the lands west of the river, and from Grehk on west north of the mountains, was not happy about this, as they had claimed those lands as their own. However, at the time, they were not willing to pursue the issue to the point of open war. I do recall there being some treaty signed, which partitioned the lands of the Southeast in the manner in which they were then distributed: Riombara held Ardmore, Rii, Rueffilo, and Irombro, while Luz de Bia held Cagamir, Bolkenia, Eno, and, again, all west of the river. The treaty was signed under the threat of losing all that we held there to Luz de Bia's then-much-more-powerful military, and we could not risk a war against them at the time.
No, the first war I fought in in Riombara was in aid of our ally Fronen, against Mesh. Most of our army marched north to aid them, and we fought well. At some point during the war, though, our General was, I think, captured: I can no longer recall the specifics. A new General was needed, and it had to be someone who was in the area and familiar with the plans we were already following. I was chosen to be the new General.
Mesh was driven back, and Fronen thanked us for our help as we returned home. It was not long after, though, that our beloved ruler, Tan o'Kammar, fell gravely ill and was no longer able to perform his duties. RyanB was elected our new ruler. Sometime around then or soon after, we found that the size and frequency of the groups of undead spawning around us were increasing. We fought as best we could, but we were soon beginning to be overwhelmed. It was clear that this was the Second Invasion. The painful decision was made to let Rines go rogue so as to be able to feed our other regions—and this turned out to be a very dangerous decision, as the city once more lived up to its nickname "The Dark City," spawning many more undead than it had before.
During this time, I had moved from being the Baron of Rii, to being the Marquis of Rueffilo, to finally being granted the great honour of being the Duke of Irombro. I cannot recall exactly when each of these promotions occurred, but I do know that I was Duke of Irombro during the depths of the Second Invasion. Things started to become dire when the undead took Ardmore, cutting my city off from the rest of the realm. I sat in my tower at the highest point of the city, looking out over the lands around, often with my friend Rasputin Dolohov, who was then the Marquis of Rueffilo, for company.
But then Rueffilo was lost, and so was Rii. My people were starving. The undead covered the lands all around Irombro. And then at last, they breached the gates and flooded into the city, slaughtering its citizens. Still I did not give up on them; still I stayed, until there was truly nothing more to be done, and the undead controlled the city totally. At last, though, I knew I had to come back to the rest of Riombara—both because my city was lost, and because Prime Minister RyanB had disappeared without a trace. As I returned to Athol Margos, I was elected Prime Minister of Riombara. The date was the twenty-ninth of April, 1005.
Once I returned to Athol Margos, there was little that we could do. The undead surrounded us, and we only held the capital and its two adjoining lands, Cjelegy and Avengmil. We could only sit behind the walls of the city and hope to defend ourselves against the hordes that occasionally threw themselves at our walls. The hordes were still growing, though, until one day we sighted something on the southern horizon that made us all quail: an army of undead well over 2000 strong, traveling as a single unit. We called it "The Gray Lake," for when it was all assembled on the plains of Cjelegy, it appeared indeed as a lake. The Gray Lake marched back and forth across our lands, and finally the remaining peasants of Cjelegy could stand it no longer and declared that they were no longer a part of Riombara. For many days—it may even have been weeks—we lived in fear of the Gray Lake assaulting our city, for we feared we would not be able to stand before it.
Before it could attack us, though, we saw something remarkable starting to happen: little by little, some of the undead soldiers making it up were turning to dust. When it finally turned east and struck the walls of Athol Margos, it was weak enough that we were able to drive it off, though we could not yet destroy it utterly. This marked the turning point, and before very much longer, all the hordes had weakened, and we were able to venture outside our city and begin reclaiming our lands.
This was a relatively swift process, as they were all quite grateful to be under our protection once more. We pushed both south and north quickly, taking the city of Fwuvoghor with the blessing of its former holders, the destroyed nation of Voghor. We also retook Irombro, and took the rural lands of Bolkenia and Cagamir, which Luz de Bia had no way of holding, as their former city of Eno was still rogue, and they were struggling to retake their lands further north and west. Once more I refer to the History of Riombara, which reminds me that it was during this period that the city of Grehk seceded from Luz de Bia to form a short-lived realm named Midas Chia. As we were no friends to Luz de Bia, we considered supporting the secession, but we were also leery of openly opposing Luz de Bia—and if my memory serves, we were none too kindly disposed toward the leaders of Midas Chia, either.
Otherwise, there was a time of peace between the end of the invasion and the beginning of the Great War, during which we rebuilt and grew Riombara into a thriving realm. It was, however, not especially memorable, as times of peace tend not to be.
But during this time Luz de Bia, Enweil, and the new realm of Avalon founded in the mountains north of Fwuvoghor had formed a strong alliance, boxing Riombara in and cutting us off from our allies. Luz de Bia also transferred their capital to Grehk, on our very borders. This angered the Gods, who caused their leaders to be struck by lightning—but the Luz de Bians simply re-elected them and continued on. Then in May of 1005, Luz de Bia began accusing Riombara of violating the treaty that had been signed under duress before the invasion, for we still held Cagamir and Bolkenia. This was the spark that began the Great War, with Enweil and Luz de Bia both attacking at the same time. Fwuvoghor was the first to fall, with Enweil holding it against any possible aid from the North. We held off Luz de Bia's attacks in the south for a time, but with their capital bordering Ardmore, the keystone region separating our islands from the mainland, it was only a matter of time before they took it, splitting us in two. They took most of our southern regions after that, and our allies in the north were prevented from coming to our aid by Avalon. We were being whittled away piece by piece, with no help in sight.
Then, just when it seemed things couldn't get worse, Duke Marc Keithson of Irombro began to panic. He was upset that we were not sending soldiers to defend his lands—though there was obviously no way we could. His demands became increasingly shrill, and at last, he declared that if we would not help him, he would take matters into his own hands. Not long later, he raised his flag in rebellion, declaring the Duchy of Irombro to be the Kingdom of Irombrozia.
However furious I may have been, and however intolerable this action, there were practicalities of the situation at hand that prevented us from taking the action we would have preferred—namely, the reconquest of our rebellious province. Neither Riombara nor Irombrozia were particularly happy about it, but we had no choice but to cooperate against Luz de Bia if we wanted to survive.
Not long after this, another critical secession occurred: Dirrik Hobbs, Duke of Fwuvoghor, seceded from Enweil to found the Republic of Fwuvoghor, and declared his neutrality in the war. He had talked with me prior to this, and was deeply dissatisfied with Enweil's reasons for and conduct during the war. As a member of the Sungard, he believed that it was wrong for a realm to act so selfishly and greedily. This was the first step to breaking the blockade of our northern border. However, Fronen still fought against Enweil's ally Avalon, who stood between them and us.
This did not last very much longer, though. Avalon made the mistake of sending a large force south through Enweil to aid in an assault on Irombro, together with Luz de Bia. This gave Fronen the breathing space they needed to send the first wave of reinforcements through Avalon and Fwuvoghor to aid us. Our combined armies struck at Ardmore, but were defeated.
The second wave, however, enabled us to finally break the blockade in Ardmore that had crippled our realm and cut it in half. There was great celebration that day. Unfortunately, this victory came at a price: Luz de Bia occupied Irombro, preventing them from recruiting and slaughtering half their population before Fronen's advance forced them to retreat.
We were able to retake Ardmore then, but for some time thereafter, we traded possession of it with Luz de Bia. Their capital being in Grehk gave them a terrible advantage. We tried various methods, including luring their army into an ill-advised push into the islands, then cutting them off in Ardmore, utterly routing their mobile force, but they were always able to recruit enough in Grehk to prevent an assault from having a chance of success.
Eventually, though, after taking Glongin, we were able to breach their walls, though we still could not conquer the city. Our army sitting there prevented the Luz de Bian army from recruiting enough to be a serious threat for some time. With them suppressed, we were able to take Mio Dupaki, thus cutting off Grehk from the rest of Luz de Bia's lands. The city of Eno also seceded from Luz de Bia at around this time, founding the Kingdom of Alluran which was to become, in time, Riombara's staunchest ally.
Unfortunately, at about the same time, Enweil rejoined the war, and, worse, Irombrozia betrayed us, siding with Luz de Bia and Enweil in hopes of expanding into our territory (though I cannot imagine that Luz de Bia would have allowed them to survive, had they won). Not long thereafter, Duke Marc was captured in a battle with Riombara, and executed for his treason. Much later, I personally conveyed his body back to Irombro for cremation. It was a...strained meeting. Hireshmont Vellos was chosen as their new King.
Hireshmont was a plotter, and his plots soon took shape, in both the Republic of Fwuvoghor and Fronen. Fwuvoghor elected his fiancée, Retravic, as their new Prime Minister, and she promptly switched sides in the war. A rebellion in Fronen failed to do the same there, and the rebels were thrown out. In the south, the war was not going well, and we lost and retook Glongin and Mio Dupaki several times.
At length, though, we held them against Luz de Bia and Enweil's forces, and kept Grehk cut off from the rest of the realm. We still could not take the city, though, until after we had taken Bym and Kuugl, the Kingdom of Alluran had taken Bolkenia from Irombrozia, and the Republic of Fwuvoghor had taken Melegra from us.
Once we held Grehk, we offered peace to Luz de Bia: the first peace offer of many. It would have handed back Kuugl and Bym to them, with Riombara keeping Glongin and Mio Dupaki. They would not take it. In the following months, we took region after region from them, defeating them—and their Enweilian allies—in battle after battle, and after every region we took, we offered peace. They still would not accept it. They did offer their own peace terms: Luz de Bia would hold all lands south of the islands. In other words, "Surrender to us, and we will let you stop killing us."
This hubris was to be the death of them, though not at our hands. Before we were able to utterly destroy Luz de Bia, the first of the beings called the Necromancer's Servants began to appear. Riombara was swift to recognize that a new invasion was likely beginning, and we ceased our assaults on Luz de Bia (though they still would not agree to be at peace).