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Alternate Alphatian timeline AC 1011

by Geoff Gander

Spring, AC 1011: Another public demonstration, led by the Sons of Argonath, takes place in Witival, Frisland. Again, the demonstrators call for a severing of ties with the rest of Alphatia, and for a concerted effort to look after the needs of the people of Frisland first. Once more, they justify their call for independence by saying that the rest of Alphatia has always ignored Frisland. The Town Guard of Witival attacks the demonstrators with a vengeance, and many are killed. While many people flee, some are captured by the Guard, and are later executed, as an example to the people of the consequences of sedition. The anonymous leaders of the Sons of Argonath proclaim an end to peaceful protest, and pledge to restore to kingdom of Argonath, by force if need be.

In Shiye-Lawr, a council of the elven clan leaders meets. The increasing instability of Alphatia is discussed at length, the all present agree to close the kingdom's borders to all outsiders, in order to protect their own people. During the following weeks, all humans, dwarves, and halflings present in the kingdom are asked to leave, "for their own protection."

In Archport, Eadrin, a massive revolt is staged against the queen. Over the winter, Eadrin's army has crushed many revolts brutally, and several villages have been razed in the process - though this was not ordered by the queen. They demand that Eadra make all food in the kingdom freely available to the people, as food prices have increased so much due to scarcity that most families must steal to survive. Many sailors also demand that officer rations either be cut to the level of the common seaman, or some balance be reached between them. They also ask that all captured mutineers be freed from the dungeons. Eadra refuses to acknowledge these demands, and has a division of the Royal Eadrin Army disperse the crowd. The ensuing fight lasts for an hour, but in the end the army is victorious, using both superior arms and spells. Over a thousand protesters lie dead in the main square.

In Trollhattan, Limn, a dwarven trader from the neighbouring kingdom of Stoutfellow is attacked on the main street, and killed. The ambassador from Stoutfellow demands that the troll responsible for the attack be punished, the public opinion is in favour of the troll, Ub-zakk. The government of Limn issues a declaration saying that, due to the continuing food shortage, it cannot be held responsible if visitors from other nations are killed for sustenance, since domestic order is of paramount importance. Residents of Stoutfellow are furious, and all diplomatic contact between the two kingdoms is suspended.

On the Isle of Dawn, the cities of Ekto and Trikelios are attacked by a large host of Thothian soldiers. Quickly retreating to their defences, the armies of the city-states are able to hold of the first few assaults, but their common enemy has now overrun the countryside, settling in for a long siege. Thousands of country folk flee their homes before the Thothian advance, and within hours each city's population swells far beyond what it originally was. Messages are sent by magical means to Dunadale and Hillvale, pleading for aid. The Thothians, for their own part, do not anticipate this campaign to be very difficult; already plans are being drawn up in Edairo for the conquest of the rest of the Isle of Dawn, and the establishment of a Thothian Empire. While several thousand troops lay siege to Ekto and Trikelios, thousands more are already marching onto the Great Escarpment to claim it for Thothia, while others are heading north, towards East Portage.

Summer, AC 1011: While preaching openly in Anchorage, Harumaz is arrested by the authorities. Later, he is put on a public show trial, in which he is accused of fomenting rebellion against the Alphatian authorities. Within moments, he is found guilty, and is publicly executed. Before the executioner's blade descends, he screams, "The Will of Rathanos shall be done, may His blessings fall upon the free children of Jen!" Word of this event spreads like wildfire across Esterhold, and by the time it reaches the free Jennites east of Esterhold, they realise in their hearts that this is the sign they have waited for. As one, they proceed to ride westwards - a force of more than 30,000 horsemen.

In Skyreach, the Grand Council meets once again. They review their efforts to restore order to the continent, and they find that they have not been totally successful. The nations of the Isle of Dawn no longer respond to their inquiries, and Norwold is unable to secure a safe shipping line to Greater Alphatia, due to the increased presence of pirates in the Alphatian Sea. A resolution to increase Alphatia's naval presence in the west is discussed, but it soon become apparent that its armies are tied down in too many places, trying to restore order and ensure no fighting arises, to be effective. Magical means to increase crop yields have been successful in kingdoms such as Arogansa and Haven, but most of that produce ends up in local markets. Increased tensions in Frisland, Eadrin, and Stoutfellow also cause some concerns, not to mention the closing of Shiye-Lawr's borders. The Council comes to the decision that it might assert more control over the situation, and rule directly.

In Trollhattan, Limn, many buildings outside the city walls are put to the torch during the night. As the residents flee, they are cut down by mysterious assailants. The next day, the total damage is substantial - one-tenth of the city has been destroyed in this manner, and over 400 inhabitants have been killed. King Drushiye of Limn issues a formal complaint to Stoutfellow, saying that the animosity of the dwarves towards humanoids is no secret, and that full compensation is expected. Stoutfellow reply is terse, "Know of what you speak, and know yourself, before making such accusations."

Just a few weeks after the attack, several villages in the kingdom of Stonewall are attacked by a band of humanoids. Although the casualties are relatively light, King Koblan of Stonewall demands an apology from Drushiye, saying that, as protector of humanoids in western Alphatia, he should account for their actions. No response is forthcoming.

On the Isle of Dawn, the Thothian advance is halted roughly 250 miles southwest of East Portage, where stiff resistance from Hillvalian and Dunadaler forces is encountered. Though the Thothian troops possess a greater number of mages and clerics, the defenders know the territory far better, and are able to use it to their advantage. After several hours of pitched battles, the Thothians are forced to pull back to the vicinity of Ekto, where the siege is still underway.

Fall, AC 1011: Waves of refugees from the Isle of Dawn begin arriving in the ports of Haven and Greenspur, saying that Thothian forces are gaining the upper hand against the beleaguered defenders of Ekto and Trikelios. Panic spreads among the populace of these kingdoms, as speculation about a possible Thothian regional superpower spreads.

In Archport, Eadrin, the royal palace is stormed by a great horde of peasants and sailors. Their number is three times that which was present in front of the palace during the last demonstration, and the soldiers who attempt to hold them back are quickly overwhelmed, and their weapons taken. Some wizards among the group use their spells against the defenders as well, aiding the cause of the insurgents. Within half an hour, and after many loud booms and flashes of light emanate from the palace, the battered and bloodied body of Eadra is dragged through the streets. The leaders of the rebellion, the Vanguard Council, issue a proclamation of their own. They say that the kingdom of Eadrin is no more, and that this land is now the Republic of Alerin. They also say that, as an independent nation, Alerin is open to peaceful traders from all over the world. Those wizards who supported the old queen are given one day to leave, as is Idon II, who was next in line for the throne.

Upon hearing news of the revolution in Eadrin, King Verothrics of Randel orders an increase in the number of divisions along the southern border. That border is also closed, and people from Alerin are forbidden from entering Randel. A private meeting is held between Randel's top officials, and it is decided that the Republic of Alerin could become a hotbed of instability for Alphatia. That, and the fact that it has declared independence, make the decision to prepare to invade easy. Many officials present state that Alphatia has been leaderless for too long. The new Grand Council is incompetent, and the various kingdoms are pulling away as Alphatia's neighbours take advantage of the situation. The time has come, they say, for Randel to lead the way and restore order to Greater Alphatia.

The queen of Theranderol, Eldrethilia, upon hearing of the revolution in Eadrin, also closes her kingdom's borders with that land. Seeing a chance to gain some territory, she privately issues an order to mobilise the army, and to bolster defences along all frontiers.

In Ambur, conditions are so bad that large portions of the kingdom's population abandon their unproductive farms and head south, in search of better lands, after unsuccessfully trying to cope with the worsened climate for two years. The northern regions of Alphatia are still hard-hit from the disaster of AC 1009 (as are other northern realms): Starvation is rampant, and many people are so desperate that the theft of food, and killing for it, is becoming commonplace.

In Esterhold, an Alphatian patrol is overwhelmed by a large host of Jennite warriors south of Faraway. A handful of survivors manage to flee to the city, and they report their encounter to their commander. Thinking that this is just another token raid that slipped by the forts, he orders a group of 200 soldiers to chase off the Jennites. Later that week, a lone Jennite warrior rides up to the city gates, holding a small sack. He drops it on the ground, and rides away before any archers of wizards can attack him. The sack is brought to the garrison commander, and, when he opens it, he finds a grisly surprise. In the sack lie the severed heads of the three commanders of Verdan's main eastern forts, and of the leader of the 200 soldiers he sent to deal with the Jennite "nuisance". Before he can react, frightened soldiers run out into the city, screaming that the main forts have fallen, and that an invasion is immanent. Within hours, panic paralyses the city, and the harbours are clogged with people trying to board whatever ships are present in order to flee the city. Many slaves take advantage of this situation to revolt against their masters. Since they make up roughly 80% of the population, many Alphatians are slaughtered before the city garrison can restore order.

Aware of the growing chaos on the mainland, King Norlan of Qeodhar decides his kingdom would be better off on its own. Emissaries are sent to Thyatis, Heldann, and other nations, requesting diplomatic recognition.

On the Isle of Dawn, Thothian soldiers break through Ekto's defences, and proceed to rampage throughout the city. Defenders are hunted down and slaughtered without mercy, and shops are looted and burned. Even in this dark hour, stiff resistance is met on almost every street, and the Thothians pay dearly for every neighbourhood they bring under their control. Before the day is done, however, the banners of Pharaoh Ramenhotep XXIV fly above Ekto's spires. Of the 22,000 people living in Ekto before it fell, almost 8,000 died during the siege and subsequent conquest of the city.

Trikelios' defences, while heavily damaged from repeated Thothian assaults, manage to hold. What the defenders do not realise, though, is that Thothia has drawn a large number of its besiegers away from the city to finish off Ekto. The city-states have put up far more resistance than the Pharaoh or his advisers thought possible, and they realised that a victory was necessary to bolster morale.

Winter, AC 1011: The Alphatian city of Faraway finds itself under siege, as thousands of Jennites march northwards towards the Bay of Thorin. Any ship in the harbour that was seaworthy has already left the city, and those who remain are those too poor to afford passage, and the garrison. Although Faraway's defences are formidable, the defenders are too few to maintain order within the city. Outnumbered four-to-one by the Jennite slaves, they soon find themselves facing a full-fledged revolt, as the slaves, seeing a chance at freedom, try to aid their brethren outside by rioting. By midday, a group of slaves overpowers the guards at the main gate by sheer numbers, and opens the gates. Within an hour, the streets are teeming with mounted free Jennite warriors, who ride around slaughtering any Alphatian they find. Many buildings are set on fire, and anything of value is plundered. By evening, anyone who stood up to the Jennites has been killed, and those Alphatians who survived the attack, numbering less than 500, are bound, and led eastwards into Skothar's interior, for a lifetime of servitude as captured enemies.

Angered over continued Heldannic, Littonian, and Ostlander poaching in Qeodharian waters, King Norlan orders the few fighting ships he owns to give chase to the foreign fishermen. In the ensuing skirmishes, many unarmed fishing vessels are sunk, all hands lost. News of these conflicts reaches the other three nations, and they lodge formal protests with the king. True to form, Norlan ignores them.

In Shiell, Frisland, King Edjer "the Twisted", while strolling in his private gardens, is attacked by four cloaked individuals. Within seconds, they overpower his guards, and manage to stab the king several times before being forced to flee by palace guards. None of them are caught, but, later that day, a palace attendant finds a folded piece of parchment in the king's bedchambers. Recovering from his injuries, the king examines the note, which reads, "Argonath will rise again!"

In the western spurs of the Kerothar Mountains, the gnomish village of Haggem is attacked by a large group of spellcasting goblins. Initially the gnomes manage to hold off the attackers through the use of good tactics, but the destructive power of the goblins' spells soon inflicts too much damage on the town, and the gnomes are forced to flee.

Weeks later, the government of Stoutfellow issues a scathing letter to the king of Limn, blaming his kingdom for the attack on Haggem, and demanding that he turn over the goblins in question so that they might be punished. Queen Buthra of Stoutfellow also issues a private order to mobilise the kingdom's army, and advises the king of Stonewall to do the same. She declares that the presence of humanoids on Alphatia has been a threat to civilised folk for too long, and in the absence of central authority, actions must be taken to ensure that Limn never becomes a threat to anyone.

News of the fall of Ekto has spread all over the Isle of Dawn, and the leaders of Dunadale and Hillvale meet once more. Though Trikelios is reported to be holding out, spies report that, with Ekto conquered, more forces are available to lay siege to the city. Were it not for the aid convoys carrying food and other supplies from the two nations, Trikelios would surely have fallen by now. Even so, Thothia is bringing an increasing number of ships into the region, and some convoy ships have been destroyed. It is only a matter of time before Trikelios' own battered navy is no longer able to prevent the Thothians from blockading the city by sea. Scouts from both nations have also reported the presence of Thothian patrols further north; full-scale war seems inevitable.

The Alatian Islands, having weathered the chaos considerably well thus far, begin to cast nervous eyes towards nearby Thothia. Aeria begins a plan to bolster its military forces, signing a defensive pact with Aegos and Gaity in the process. Ne'er-do-Well proclaims itself to be a neutral state, wishing to take no part in the conflict it knows will come.