The Arete family is one of the top 20 most famous families and the second wealthiest family in all of Battlemasterrea. The Arete family is originally from Riverholm, Atamara. At the time the Arete family accepted the responsibilities of nobility, Riverholm was the capital of Abington, the largest realm on the continent. However, the capital was moved to Stoneville as part of a peace treaty with Ash Sea Islands, Riverholm seceded from the realm, the Kingdom of Abington was overthrown by it's own general, and the new Republic of Abington dissolved into its respective duchies. While the family's official manor is still located in Riverholm, the family sided with Callisto in what became the Kingdom of Suville.
The name Arete is derived from the Ancient Atamarean (i.e. Greek) word "ἀρετή" (pronounced ˈærəteɪ), which roughly translates as "goodness", "virtue", or "excellence" and is connected with the notion of fulfilling one's purpose. The word, and thus the family name, shares the same root as "aristos", which means "best" and was used in the plural to denote nobility. This might suggest that nobility of the Arete family extends back into antiquity; however, all records of the family have been lost prior to their (re)emergence on June 25th, 2006. The family motto is
kratestho logon logoi kratousin humon
which translates from Ancient Atamarean as "Master your words, or your words will master you".
The Arete family has been involved in some of the most notable moments in the history of their realms and over time has become rather famous. Below you will find a few highlights of the familise involvment in history, followed by a more detailed look at the two most famous members of the Arete family.
|As the Marshal of the Army of Tor, Averyll commanded the field at the Battle of Lesthem, during which the heroic Pontifex Phear was killed. Averyll was subsequently elected as his successor, and her reign was the second longest in Toren's history.|
|As Countess of Washford, Aeryn founded the Aristoi Atamarism religion, which is one of the largest religions on Atamara and later become the official state religion of the Kingdom of Suville.|
|As Prophet of Aristoi Atamarism, Aeryn predicted both the Fall of Abington as well as the Birth of Suville years in advance.|
|As the Pontifex of Toren, Averyll was overthrown by her own Judge after the long-standing Toren-Ikalak treaty was betrayed by the ruler of Ikalak. Averyll's betrayer was later betrayed and lost his crown, and Averyll's usurper was later overthrown and fled the island.|
|As Prophet of Tor, Averyll predicted the destruction of the South East Island and all its inhabitants, Tor's revenge upon the world for betraying his choosen people.|
|After Duchess Callisto succeeded from Abington and founded the Kingdom of Suville, Aeryn was appointed as her successor as the Duchess of Suville and elected the as the realm's first Judge.|
|As the Marshal of the Army of Suville, Aeryn was Second-in-Command during the Cagilan Empire's invasion and successfully defended against their attempt to establish a colony in Narville.|
|As Queen of Suville, Aeryn defeated ASI and subsequently declared the first religious war on Atamara.|
Aeryn was first called "Beautius Maximus" by Duke Magnus the Mighty of Wayburg, who later founded the Kingdom of Caergoth. It quickly caught on amongst the region lords of Abington, and Damian Bedwyr in particular, who later became Aeryn's fiancee. However, the name has lost its popularity since the Fall of Abington. The nickname did remain in use amongst the Aristoi, whom value Beauty as one of the two principle values (and some even revere Beauty as if it were a god). However, she quickly became known as "The Prophet", not only amongst the Aristoi (because the name is also her official title as the founder of their faith) but also amongst some nobles from other realms and religions. This is mostly due to the fact that she correctly prophecized the Fall of Abington 326 days before it happened. On February 6th, 2007 (four days after she founded the Aristoi), Aeryn published "The Meter" which included a prophecy (entitled "Metacallisto" which roughly translates from Ancient Atamarean as "After Beauty") which stated: "There will be a queen of great beauty and utility, and she will reign over Abington most justly and harmoniously, and all will be good for the people of Abington for many years." Some suspect this to be Queen Armitage III, who was already in power when The Meter was published. She reigned over Abington longer than any other ruler, and Abington prospered during this time. The prophecy continues, "But if she comes to ruin, all that is ugly and useless will rule over Atamara, and the people of Abington will be scattered and forgotten." When Queen Armitage III resigned, her husband, Gauihu, was elected as her successor. Gauihu's reign was short, but during this short period of time, Abington quickly spiraled into annihilation: the Southern Federation was broken; Abington abandoned its last remaining ally; Abington fought a civil/religious war and two rebellions; three duchies seceded; the Kingdom was overthrown by its own General and replaced with a Republic; the former General / new Prime Minister fled the continent, and the remnants of Abington were conquered and divided up amongst enemies and allies alike. Abington finally fell on December 28, 2007 when Phlex Fantom, Aeryn's former liege and Abington's last ruler, immigrated to the Far East. The "ruin" spoken of in the prophecy is believed to refer to Gauihu's infanticide of his child with Armitage, in which case no other prophecy by any individual in any religion is known to have predicted an event of such magnitude so far ahead into the future.
Furthermore, it is also speculated that Aeryn prophecized the founding of the Kingdom of Suville as well as Callisto becoming its Queen and declaring the Aristoi as the official state religion; however, no proof exists that Aeryn ever made such a prophecy. What is known is that Aeryn made a second prophecy on March 9th, 2007; that the second prophecy predicted rebirth of "the Abingtonian Spirit" (perhaps referring to a new realm of former Abington nobles on former Abington soil); that it would be marked by the coming of a "Messiah" (perhaps referring to the declaration of Aristoi Atamarism as the official state religion); and the second prophecy is also titled "Metacallisto" (which could also be translated as "After Callisto" which might refer Callisto becoming the Queen). However, the prophecy was never released to the public. Regardless, if the rumors are true, then the prophecy came true on November 10th, 2007 when Callisto seceded the Duchy of Suville from Abington, founded the Kingdom of Suville and declared Aristoi Atamarism the official religion. While the second prophecy remains sealed away in the Aristoi temple in Suville and accessible only by the Council of Elders, it is the second most enduring prophecy in recorded history (247 days), second only to her first prophecy. Hence, Aeryn became known as not as just a prophet, but THE Prophet.
Under the reign of Queen Callisto, Aeryn was choosen to be the judge of the Kingdom of Suville, Marshal of the Army of Suville and Duchess of the City of Suville. It was not long after Suville was founded that the Cagilan Empire, the new military superpower of Atamara, invaded. Their justification was that the Kingdom of Suville was nothing more than Abington under a new banner. Marshal Aeryn, working closely with her friend, High Marshal Taran Arylon, coordinated a strategy to defend both the Suvillian and Narvillian duchies. The strategy was successful, and as a result Suville established itself as a significant player in the theatre of war. Suville than allied with Caergoth and declared war against Ash Sea Islands (ASI), and Suville's borders expanded north to include the city of Stonevill. Unfortunately, there were still many nobles in Suville who sought to restore Abington to its former glory, including Aeryn's betrothed, Damian Bedwyr. Damian was appointed the Duke of Stoneville and immediately seceded from the Kingdom of Suville, declaring his new realm to be the new Abington. War immediately broke out between the two realms, and Stoneville was quickly reconquered. "King" Damian was captured and declared a traitor to the Kingdom, and therefore it was the duty and obligation of Judge Aeryn to execute Damian, her own fiancee. This changed her, becoming a far more cold and calculated version of her former self.
A treaty was signed between Caergoth and ASI, but Queen Callisto did not support it. Nevertheless, having achieved her goals and fulfilled her promises, Queen Callisto retired. Aeryn was than elected to rule Suville and resigned all her former offices. Queen Aeryn honoured the precedent set by Queen Callisto and continued to assault ASI. Eventually ASI was defeated, but Aeryn was not finished. Aeryn declared war on the entire Magnus Serpaensism church, the official state religion of ASI and the most powerful religion on Atamara. The war continues to this day.
Aeryn's sister, Averyll, is also a prophet, but her powers of prophecy are not as strong as those of Aeryn. Averyll prophecized that Toren would not be conquered during the Second Age of South East Island, that the traitors of Toren would be punished by Tor for their treachery (discussed below) in the form of a great earthquake that would plunge the entire continent into the ocean. She further prophecized that only the children of Tor would be spared from annihilation, and that they would create a new realm dedicated to Tor. Her prophecy came true: the South-East Island was destroyed while Toren still stood, and most of its inhabitants immigrated to Dwilight. They joined the realm of Springdale, and then began an exodus to the uncharted western regions under the leadership of Fisc Arylon (one of Averyll's former students) where they founded Everguard in the city of Valkyrja. Averyll was the last Pontifex of Toren, and therefore the last mortal to speak directly to Tor, the God of War; however, Averyll is far more famous (or rather, infamous) for her military tactics and political strategy. Before being elected the Pontifex of Toren, most of the nobles knew almost nothing about her, and she was entirely unknown in foreign realms. She had orchestrated several small military operations of tertiary priority, but after Paladin Primus Hackem had spent several months volleying unsuccessfully for Lesthem, Averyll asked that she be trusted with command of the field. Once granted, she immediately called for brutally looting, pillaging and burning the region into complete subservience, and she did not relax her tactics until the population of Lesthem was reduced to a mere sixty six of the original thirty four hundred peasants! For this, she became known as "The Butcher of Lesthem"; however, as much as both the peasants and nobles hated her for this, the tactic worked, and Toren was able to maintain control of Lesthem until the island was destroyed. Unfortunately, Taselak's last attempt to stop her brutal takeover resulted in the death of Toren's ruler, the heroic Pontifex Phear. Averyll successfully defended her takeover, but was unable to protect her ruler. In the same battle, Duke Cyperus, who was the favorite among the nobles for being Phear's successor, was captured in battle, and so Averyll was elected in his absence. The election was very close, a mere 3 votes separated Averyll and Cyperus, despite his imprisonment. Anticipating discontentment, Averyll attempted to rally the Advisory Council to show a public display of unity and to limit discord to private correspondence. Despite her request to show unity, the Advisory Council actually initiated the public outcry against Averyll. To make matters worse, the realm's judge, Gheros, decided that, instead of punishing treacherous and blasphemous comments (in accordance with the Law), she held a referendum to recall the election. Gheros stated, "I would severely punish such behaviour against Pontifex Phear, but since it is Averyll, I will hold a referendum instead." Despite a clear lack of support from the nobles in power, Averyll won the recall, and by a very large margin. This ended the quarrel, but not the discord, and her enemies, both foreign and domestic, began to refer to Averyll as "The Tyrant of Tor". Eventually, rebellion broke out. Fisc Arylon led the Loyalists while the Rebels were led by Zellion and Hiddukel. Hiddukel had coordinated the rebellion with Cronos, the ruler of Taselak, the sword enemy of Toren. Ikalak, despite their alliance with Toren, refused to provide aid. Nevertheless, Fisc Arylon was able to defeat the rebels without the help of the Ikalakians. Unfortunately, General Hackem was unable to repel the Taselak invaders and several regions were lost. With the rebels defeated and deported, Averyll was finally able to rule without fear of enemies from within, and Toren began to expand its borders more than any other time in its history. A new treaty was signed with Ikalak, calling for greater involvement of future military operations, and things seemed to be going well. That is, until Averyll was betrayed a second time. This time, it was Maximus, the Prime Minister of Ikalak. He decided that his realm was strong enough to conquer the entire island without the assistance of Toren, and declared war without notification or warning. The nobles of Toren took this news as a sign that Averyll no longer had sway over the rulers of their enemies, and began to call for Averyll's resignation. Before Averyll could respond, she was betrayed a third time. This time, it was Gheros, Averyll's own judge. Averyll requested that no one join the Loyalists but rather to allow the rebellion to take its course in order to prevent the unnecessary casualties of a civil war. Consequently, the rebellion succeeded and Averyll was exiled from Toren. Gheros declared the realm to be a monarchy and became its first Queen. Toren was never again a theocracy. Hence, Averyll was the last mortal to serve as the Pontifex and therefore the last prophet of Tor. Her last prophecy, made only a few hours before the rebels succeeded in overthrowing her, was that her betrayers, Gheros and Maximus, would be punished for their crimes. Shortly after her exile, Duke Moonglum II betrayed Ikalak and seceded the entire duchy of Sandalak. Prime Minister Maximus was subsequently removed from office in disgrace. And Gheros suffered a rebellion of her own. She was overthrown by her own Duke Cyperus. Thus, Averyll's betrayer was betrayed and her usurper was usurped. Averyll's prophecy came true, and shortly thereafter, Tor destroyed the entire island. Averyll remained as long as she could on the land she had dedicated her life to, but ultimately immagrated to Dwilight to join the Torenist colony.
The fame of the Arete family grew remarkably fast during its first year: a total 20 points. Most of the family's fame during this time was the result of Averyll, who was not only the first member of the family to sit on a realm's council (by being elected as banker), but also served as her realm's ruler for over 100 days. She also acquired the greatest amount of prestige in that time, first by serving in the realm's military through many battles over many months and then publishing numerous books on military strategy. Aeryn has also contributed a great deal to the fame of the Arete family. She was the first member of the Arete family to accept the responsibilities of nobility, and not surprisingly, the first to be appointed to the command of a region. However, most of her contributions to the family's fame came during the family's second year, most notably by becoming the prophet of a successful religion. After the Kingdom of Suville was founded by Callisto, Aeryn was appointed as the Duchess of Suville as well as elected as Suville's first Judge. Alendru has also contributed to the family fame by being the first in his family to found a guild as well as sponsor an army. Neither proved to be very successful (the guild eventually closed and the army disbanded); however, when war broke out on the East Continent, Alendru's army was re-founded and quickly became the largest army in the realm. For not altogether unrelated reasons, Alendru was elected as the General of Ibladesh, but was ultimately killed in battle and thus became the first hero of the Arete family. Aaliyah was originally a commoner but eventually succeeded in collecting enough letters of recommendation to become a noble. During her life as an adventurer, she became well known for her exceptional sword skill.
Below is a table of all the fame points the family has received, along with the name of the family member credited with first completing the criteria for it. Please note, however, that understanding fame is a very uncertain science, and therefore, some of these points are more speculative, such as army sponsorship and sword skill, while other are more objective, such as region command and family wealth.
The Arete Family