The Histories, part I

The Founding of the League

By Jaena Darhton

I will begin by stating that the information that I will set forth has not come to me by first hand experience, but by my schooling whilst still living in Aestiva. As these Histories chronicle over four hundred years of history, not every source will be completely reliable, and when I can, I will offer different sides to the same event, as to remain objective in my writings. I will use, as a baseline, the year of founding of Iridine as the beginning if the history, as the majority of those who read these Histories will be of Iridinian decent, or are living in Iridine presently.

First, the lay of the land must be established in order to better understand the chronology of its people. The Republic of Iridine, commonly believed to be the centre of commerce of the known world, is located on the coast of the GREAT SEA. To the north-east lies Cinera, to the south, the vast mountains of the Parcines, and to the south-east, what is currently known as the Aestivan League. Past the lands of the League lie vast wastelands and uninhabitable mountains, which few have ventured, and even fewer have returned. The League itself is divided into six city-states, Aestiva, Haradun, Naeva, Prolos, Astyne, and Gniima. Aestiva is located closest to the Republic of Iridine, and Gniima to the side of the wastelands. Long ago, Prolos and Astyne were covered in the rolling foothills of the Parcines, but have since been flattened for agricultural purposes.

Second, the people of the League must be described in order to empathise with them and understand how they make their decisions. Aestivans at heart are a cautious people, who are known for their national stubbornness. To quote the annals found in the Great Library of Astyne:

People from the Aestivan League are very similar in appearance to their Iridine cousins, with a tendency, however, toward shorter and stockier stature. They are all solid and strongly made, their durable bodies suiting their stubborn temperaments. Skin colour ranges from a medium olive, to tanned, to brown, with eyes of black, brown or hazel. Lighter-coloured eyes are not unknown but crop up mainly from foreign blood. Hair colour ranges from black to light brown. Their features are mostly heavier and square, with a solid, strong appearance.

The Aestivans, as mentioned before, are known world-wide for their stubborn nature. Folk tales, plays, and songs have been written with this as a central theme, and in more times than not, the stubborn come out as the victors. One tale of such is of a man who had three sons. One day, the local magistrate told the man that he would have to give up one tenth of his land so that a new road could be built. But this man would hear nothing of it. On that day that the road builders were scheduled to pass through the man's land, he went out and lay down right in their path. He lay there for seven days and six nights. His three sons, his wife, and even the whole of the road builders could not convince him to move. Finally, the Magistrate gave up and the man got to keep his land. This led to the construction of the first, and coincidentally last, crooked road in Aestiva.

As one can tell by the layout of their land, the Aestivan people prefer order to chaos. All of their territory is laid out between vast roads and is mostly comprised of farmland. Where there used to be mountains, ravines and swamps now lay nothing but some of the most fertile land in Midlight. Aestiva produces some of the best engineers in all the world, and this can be seen in the rock-solid structure of their buildings. The Temple of Ereal in Monlon, which stood for over 300 years, is believed to have been designed and built by Aestivans, but both Iridine and Cinera flat out deny this, saying that it was their people the erected the Temple.

Now that the mindset of her people has been established, the history of the nation can begin. It is generally held that the Aestivans were a roaming group of mercenaries or legionnaires that came to settle in the temperate climate. While this claim can not be verified, it also cannot be disputed, and is held firm by all but a few Aestivans. Over the many years since, the city-states of Aestiva grew into powerful forces within the region. By the time of the founding of Iridine, and the proclamation of Tulca I as King of Iridine, the Six Cities controlled the lands of Aestiva. These were, and still are, Aestiva, Haradun, Naeva, Prolos, Astyne, and Gniima. However, at this point in time, no official organisation between the cities had been established. There were constant disputes and bickering over who held how much land and so on. In the fifteenth year after the founding if Iridine, the ruling warlord of Astyne, Gramna Holtus, was to be betrothed to the daughter of Jermol Frenna, ruler of Haradun.
However, on the day of the wedding, a Prolos traveller kidnapped the bride and returned home with her to be his wife. Both Astyne and Haradun were extremely put off by this and declared an all out war on the city of Prolos. After three short weeks of fighting, Prolos fell and Astyne and Haradun split the city down the middle. This arrangement, though, did not last too long, and Prolos was completely handed over to Astyne by the ruler of Haradun, as a wedding present.

For the next forty years, relative peace reigned throughout the city-states. But in the fifty-second year after the founding of Iridine, great hordes of barbarians attacked from the wastelands to the south and east of Gniima. Being a primarily agricultural area, the Gniimans had only a small defensive army, comprised mainly of volunteer farmers and villagers. Though they fought valiantly and to the last, they were defeated by the raging hordes. Naeva, the closest of the six city-states to Gniima sent in assistance in an attempt to liberate Gniima from the barbarians, but they too were defeated. For six long years, Gniima remained under barbarian rule, and its citizens were treated harshly and were basically turned into slaves for the ruthless nomads. What the people needed was a hero to unite the six city-states into an allied front and rid Gniima of the horrid barbarians once and for all. Araea Lowma, a general in Aestiva's military called together the leaders from the cities, including those from
Gniima, who sought refuge in Naeva. Lowma convinced the rulers of each state to join together and attack the barbarians in one massive assault. His plan was a success, and in the fifty-eighth year after the founding of Iridine, Gniima was finally freed. This alliance, though originally meant to be temporary, was such a success that the leaders unanimously decided to maintain the alliance and form what is now the Aestivan League. The League was to be run by seven generals, one from each city, and one elected based on military prowess or superior strategy. This is now called the Military Council of the League of Aestiva, and is based in the City of Aestiva, the capital city of the League.

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