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The History of House Alhambra

by Harri Mäki

First Years in Highlands

The Belcadiz elves arrived in the foothills of the Colossus Mounts in the middle of the 2nd century BC. Their leader at that time was a cultivated elder elf, Don Fernando Vicente Olivar de Guerra. They begin to build a new settlement, which they name Nuevo Alvar, to the north of River Vesubia.

De Belcadiz was one of the leading families amongst the elves. Their leader in those days was Don Leonardo de Belcadiz. He was as diminutive as all male amongst Belcadiz elves, but he had an authoritative aura around him. He had a steel grey goatee and drooping moustaches. His fiery temper had been softening by the age.

From the beginning the elves have problems with the humanoids of the Broken Lands and in AC 148 Don Leonardo was killed defending retreating elven hunting party from the mountains. His successor was his son Don Sancho. He was like a younger copy from his father only much fiercer.

In AC 178 Don Fernando dies at the age of 670. After period of mourning, the power struggle begins. Four families (de Guerra, de Fedorias, de Casanegra and de Belcadiz) dominate the proceedings, and there can be no clear agreement of a new clan leader. Strife breaks out amongst the factions. Don Sancho is unbending in his demands. He would not accept any compromises.

Many elves fear that the factional strife will lead to all-out civil unrest. Cries for compromise begin to build. In AC 180 an elven cleric, Don Juan Antonio de Caixas, begins to gain support as a compromise candidate for clan leader. Caixas however refuses the title, saying that clan needs stronger leadership than that limited position can provide. He wants to reinstate the ancient monarchy. Many elders are scandalised, but the idea is popular with many younger elves. Caixas continues to prove his leadership skills as the elders debate.

In AC 183 Don Sancho is poisoned. He had been the hardest opponent of compromise. His young (118) son Don Miguel instead is ready for compromise. He is inexperienced and doesn't want to continue strife with other families.

In AC 185 the unity is at last reached and Don Juan is named King over all the families of Clan Alhambra. The position is conditional: power is not absolute, he must confer with the elders on all matters before reaching a decision. The elders may remove a King from power under certain circumstances, such as abuse of power, provided it is also the will of the people. The crown is not hereditary, but rather shall pass to the most capable leader upon death or removal of the king.

During the next years Don Miguel get more experience until he is one of the most respected warriors and wizards amongst the elves. And when in AC 362 Don Juan dies in his sleep Don Miguel is chosen to be the next king.

Years went relatively peaceful; there were always humanoids but nothing more serious. Until in AC 535 when the elves met the southward pushing Flaems. The elves had known about the Flaems since they came to Highlands, but now they first time began to compete from same land. The Flaems had been fighting with all their neighbours since their coming to the Highlands and now they considered the elves only as a new threat. Elves had to retreat back to woods around the foothills of the mountains after only a couple of years of war.

The raiding went on for another couple of years. Then in AC 565 Don Miguel contacted the leaders of southern Flaem holdings and proposed a meeting. That was arranged at the meetings of Red River and Vesubia. Don Miguel sent his eldest son Don Manuel with his retinue to the meeting. The elves realised too late that the Flaems had set up a trap. The elves were seized and ceremoniously sacrificed in the holy fire of the Flaems. Don Miguel was of course furious for this betrayal. This is something that still burns in their memory and is very much the reason for their bad relations with the Flaems.

Thanks to Don Miguel's second sons Don Antonio's military genius, the less numerous elves were able to keep their positions against the magical might of the Flaems during the 7th century. There were not two peaceful years in a row during the whole century, but one must also acknowledge that one of the reasons that there was no peace was Don Miguel's want for revenge. At first he executed all messengers from the Flaems and when his councillors at last got him at the negotiation table he couldn't stand any demands from the Flaems.

At the beginning of the 8th century both sides were finally tired of fighting. In AC 702 they made a truce and the southern Flaemish lords promised the lands between Vesubia and Colossus Mounts to the elves. Don Miguel was relieved.

In AC 710 something happened that changed everything: the Erewan elves came to the Highlands from Alfheim. Their leader, Charan Erewan, immediately contacted Don Miguel and acknowledged his authority, asking permission to settle amongst the dark-skinned elves. The alliance between two elven clans was sealed in AC 712, when Don Miguel's younger son, Don Fernando, married Charan Erewan's sister Charlena. The two young elves had fallen in love immediately after their first meeting two years earlier, but it had taken some time to convince the leaders of the desirability of this marriage.

In the same year Don Miguel and Charan Erewan also decided that the area was too crowded for both elven groups. Don Miguel proposed that the Erewan elves would move to the woods between Vesubia and Red River were only a few Flaemish woodcutters were living. Unfortunately Don Miguel didn't even bother to ask permission from the Flaems. So, immediately after the Erewan elves moved there, the Flaemish lords declared that the elves had broken the truce and began raiding again. Many raids were targeted against the Belcadiz elves and in AC 717 Don Antonio fell defending the city of New Alvar.

Don Fernando de Belcadiz

After Don Antonio's death Don Miguel withdraw himself from the government, he kept the title of King but gave actual power to don Fernando. The elves where now ruled by the new generation. Don Fernando was only 136, his wife Charlena 125, his younger brother Alfonso 62 and his brother-in-law Charan Erewan 175-years-old. They were all still young for elven standards. Don Fernando had been living all his earlier years in the middle of the fighting against the humanoids or the Flaems, but contrary to most other elves of his generation he was already tired of it. He was more mild-tempered than most other male elves of his clan. All he really wanted was peace, so that he could concentrate on family life with his beloved wife, Charlena.

At first it looked as though that would remain only as dream. He couldn't control elder clan leaders who wanted to avenge his brothers' deaths, so the skirmishing continued on and on for 13 years without any great gains for either side. Then in AC 730 settlers from Alasiyan and Traladaran lands changed the situation.

When the settlers came over the Broken Lands, the elves were at first wary of them. But then Don Fernando realised that if he established good relations with them, he could use them as a buffer against the Flaems. He met the leaders of the settlers and promised them a safe route through the elven forests to the more open areas at the river valleys, if they would protect the forests from the aggressions of the Flaems once they settled there. The leaders realised the motives of Don Fernando for making this proposal, but as they had no desire for either settling in the forests or fighting their way through it, they accepted the proposal.

The move was brilliant. The other elves were at first against it, but when Don Miguel accepted it they couldn't resist any longer. They also realised that the settlers were not a threat to them and that in the future fighting would continue between different groups of humans. They could now concentrate their troops against the humanoids.

The next years were peaceful for the elves. The settlers and the Flaems were fighting against each other and the elves were left in peace. Don Fernando kept good relations with the first generation of the settlers, but when the second generation came to power the relations began to deteriorate. Especially leaders of the Thyatian settlers demanded more support against the Flaems, so after AC 754 Don Fernando broke all relations with the settlers.

When Joachim Von Drachenfels sent his envoys to propose a unified state in the area in AC 762, Don Fernando announced that the elves had no desire to let the humans decide anything concerning their lands. They wanted to keep their independence and if someone tried to take it away from them, they would resist with arms. One thing that affected the decision was that Don Fernando and the other elven leaders recognised Joachim's thirst for power and didn't like it.

These were happy years for Don Fernando. There was generally peace in elven forests. Some humanoid raids happened but that was all. The only dark cloud was that he and Charlena didn't get a child. This was not a big problem for them because as elves they had all the time in the world, but anyhow after 40-years trying the thing began somewhat to preoccupy them.

The Forty Years War

When the all-out war broke between the Flaems and the settlers in AC 784, settler leaders again approached the elves. Don Fernando's answer was same as 20 years earlier: the elves didn't want to take any part in a war among humans.

Then in the spring of AC 786 Joachim von Drachenfels came in person to negotiate with the elven leaders. He was well prepared and used just the right arguments. He promised to recognise their independence at the end of the war and he also told them that this was a good opportunity, maybe the last one, to avenge the deaths of Don Manuel, Don Antonio and countless of other dead at the hands of the Flaems. Don Fernando was still against the war, but he knew that he couldn't control the younger generation led by his own brother Don Alfonso, the words of Joachim had also lit the fire in the heart of old Don Miguel. So Don Fernando gave away and promised his support to the settlers.

During the next years the elves fought side-by-side with the settlers and the newly arrived Alphatian battlemages in every major battle. Don Fernando didn't personally take part in the fighting, he left the leadership of elven troops to Don Alfonso and Charan Erewan assisted by Don Miguel. At the battle of Braastar the elven longbowmen were decisive in guaranteeing the victory. To Don Alfonso, the battle was personally both a triumph and a tragedy. He slew alone the King Willem van Drees and six of his bodyguards. On the other hand, his only son, Felipe, was among the casualties. Also Don Miguel was slain in the age 723.

Don Fernando arrived in Braastar immediately after receiving the announcements of his father's and Joachim von Drachenfels's deaths. He took the leadership of the elves in negotiations leading to the establishment of the Republic of the Highlands, while Don Alfonso hurried home with his father's and son's bodies. The negotiations were surprisingly easy because everyone was looking for peace. The Flaems were so totally defeated that they had no objections against anything the allies wanted them to accept, so the settlers got the ownership of the lands they had already occupied and the elves also got the same recognition. Don Fernando also surprised everyone when he announced that the elves wanted to join the new republic. The composition of the new council was also Don Fernando's idea. The settler leaders would have liked a council were there were 1 Flaem, 1 Thyatian, 1 Kerendan, 1 Hattian and 1 elf. Don Fernando's opinion was that this would have been unfair for both the Flaems and the elves, so he proposed that there should be 3 Flaems and 2 elves instead of 1 for both. This was accepted after some negotiations.

Don Fernando and Charan Erewan took the elven seats in the council. They were present at the first meeting when Halzunthram made his coup and captured the council members. At first it seemed that everyone had submitted to his coup, but then the elves made a daring strike under the leadership of Don Alfonso and released the imprisoned Flaemish and elven council members. The Flaems revolted immediately and the elves declared their independence.

Don Fernando was disappointed of the human treachery and once again he wanted to take no part in what was happening in the northwest. Luckily for the elves, Halzunthram was interested in crushing the Flaems more than anything else and so they were left in peace. Only after AC 796, when Thyatians and Kerendans joined the Flaems in the rebellion, were the elves approached. Don Fernando was adamant the elves would have taken no part in the fighting unless someone attacked them first.

Don Fernando's opinion began to change only after Halzunthram enlisted the dwarves to his side in AC 804. The elves had had problems with them for two years already. The dwarves had been filtering through the Broken Lands since the gold findings in AC 802 and the elves didn't like them digging in their forested hills. The situation with the dwarves went from bad to worse, until Don Fernando announced in AC 806 that the elves joined the fight against Halzunthram. Again he left the leadership of the elven troops to his brother Don Alfonso.

The war went on for 22 years and the elven troops suffered great losses during those years. They were mostly fighting against dwarven and Alphatian troops in the southern Highlands. Don Fernando's greatest contributions were his negotiations first with Wilhelm von Drachenfels and then with Morphail Gorewitch-Woszlany. Without his efforts Morphail probably wouldn't have joined the rebels in AC 821.

The Republic of the Highlands

The negotiations after the death of Halzunthram were difficult for Don Fernando. His every instinct was against joining the humans in the new regime, but he also realised the advantages that it would bring to elves. They would have allies against the humanoids of the Broken Lands. The other point was that although he was sure that most current human leaders would be his friends, he couldn't be sure about the future generations. His brother Don Alfonso pressed him also very hard for joining, because he could think only its military advantages. But at the end in spite of everything this Don Fernando's decision was not to join the new republic.

When Don Fernando heard about Alexander Glantri's death at the hands of Vortram in AC 835 his trust in humans was nearly destroyed: it was the umpteenth proof that one could never trust them. He was saddened also because he had seen in Alexander the only man capable to hold the republic together. Fortunately his foreboding was erroneous.

When in AC 858 the Light of Rad decision was declared, Don Fernando had already changed his mind about humans. Friedrich von Drachenfels had contacted him and Charan Erewan in 856 and told them about the coming change. Don Fernando thought that reserving rulership to more intelligent people would lessen the chaos, improve the cohesion of the country and lessen the possibilities of wars. Unfortunately in this his foreboding went wrong. He decided to join the Glantri after the decision and Friedrich promised him a position in Council and status of Prince. He was never liked his position as king and he could get out of it. So when Don Fernando declared in 859 elves willingness to join the Principalities only Prince to object was Jacob Vlaardoen I. Don Fernando was given place in Council as Prince of Belcadiz and Marquis of Alhambra.

At the first meeting of the Council Don Fernando was appointed to build a fort against the border of the Broken Lands. Don Fernando was not pleased with this, but he gave the supervising of the building to his brother. Elves surprised everyone when they announced in 861 that Fort Monteleone was finished.

Next year Don Fernando was chosen as Chamberlain of the Land. With this office he was happy. He was by nature a diplomat and an administrator and could now use his talents to their best for building new roads and bridges, and tending forests.

Personal Tragedy

Year 858 was a happy one for Don Fernando, for his son Don Carlo was born. Every elf was happy for Don Fernando and Dona Charlena, because their long efforts had at last born a fruit. Next two years were the happiest in their life. But then dark clouds began to gather over the Belcadiz. Something seemed to be wrong with their son. He had difficulties learning to speak and when at the age of 5 he could at last speak something, it was obvious that he wasn't mentally at the level of other children of the same age. Don Fernando and Dona Charlena were devastated when it was clear that their son wouldn't ever learn even to read. All this was kept secret to the outside world. They said that Don Carlo had a bad health so they didn't want to strain him by meeting with outsiders.

When it was absolutely sure that there was no cure for Don Carlo, Don Fernando was so devastated that he decided that his son should never meet other people. He took him to a secret place known only by him and some clan elders and afterwards announced that his son had died. Dona Charlena guessed what had happened and never forgave his husband that he did that without consulting her first. She was told later where Don Carlo was and given permission to visit him there.

Don Fernando hoped that they could give birth to another child to succeed him, but these hopes were crashed in AC 869, when Dona Charlena, on her way back home from a visit to his brother Charan, was slain in an ambush by some orcs. Don Fernando felt like his whole world was crumbling around him.

Don Fernando blamed his brother-in-law for his wife's death and broke all relations with Erewans. This hostility culminated in the division of the elven Principality in AC 884. During these 15 years, the Erewans were reduced to second-class citizens in the Principality of Belcadiz. There were harsher sentences for them, harsher taxation and so on. The division of the Principality was a hard pillow to swallow for Don Fernando and it broke his good relations with Friedrich von Drachenfels, but anyhow when Friedrich died two years later even Don Fernando couldn't say a bad word about him.

Don Fernando's Last Years

When Etienne d'Ambreville asked Don Fernando to give classes in the Great School of Magic after it was opened in AC 875, he was delighted. He could now find relief only in his work in Etienne's school. So it was no surprise that after d'Ambrevilles's disappearance in AC 896 he was chosen as new Grandmaster.

He now spent all his time in the school or in rare visits to his mentally retarded son. At first the new responsibilities seemed to revive him, but after AC 910 his state of mind began to worsen. He visited his son more and more frequently and everyone in School realised that every time he came back from Alhambra he was more depressed. Then in AC 912 he made a surprise announcement that he would give up his position as Prince to his brother Don Alfonso, which also meant that he would give up his position as Grandmaster. He went back to Alhambra and only two months later Don Alfonso announced that his brother had died at the age of 331.

In fact, Don Fernando hanged himself in his son's chamber. He had considered his life and seen it as a total failure. He had surrendered the independence of the elves to humans, he had caused the division of the elven Principality, and he had made everyone's life miserable. He couldn't stand it anymore. He also considered killing his son first, but in the end he couldn't do it.

Don Alfonso de Belcadiz

Don Alfonso was 257-years old when he became Prince of Belcadiz. He was in many ways the opposite of his elder brother. In his younger days Don Alfonso was quick-tempered, easily insulted, always waving his rapier at the slightest insult. Now he had somewhat calmed down. But anyhow he was more a warrior than diplomat or administrator like his brother had been. Moreover he had four living children so continuity was secured.

In his younger days Don Alfonso had led the elven warriors in retaliations against humanoids and northern neighbours when necessary. He had also been the warleader of the elven troops first in the war against the Flaems in 780's and then against Halzunthram. In those years rests his claim as greatest Belcadizian warrior ever. After the wars he had been his Brother's deputy in ruling Alhambra. After Don Fernando broke relations with Erewan elves, it was Don Alfonso who realised the oppression of the Erewans. He ruled the Erewan part of the Principality like a military dictator for 14 years. In fact, Don Alfonso never liked Erewans, who he considered as intruders.

After Don Alfonso became a Prince, he heard from the clan's sage, Don Rodrigo de Belcadiz, that his nephew was still alive. He was surprised but could visit him only after Don Fernando's death. His hatred toward Erewan elves only grew when he saw Don Carlo's condition. He blamed them for polluting the Belcadizan blood and immediately forbade marriages between the two elven groups. He never visited Don Carlo again and even forbade Don Rodrigo to speak of him. The only reason Don Carlo survived further was because Dona Leontina, Don Alfonso's wife, took a pity of him and took care of him, helped first by Don Rodrigo and then by his son Alejandro.

After taking a seat in the Council, Don Alfonso was elected as new Supreme Judge, much to his surprise. The previous judge Antonie Vlaardoen V was chosen as the new Grand Master and there was no one else who wanted the position. Don Alfonso was not happy with the situation either, he had hoped to become a Viceroy of some fort, preferably Monteleone. But he realised the advantages of the position and accepted it. He knew that with that position he could harass Erewan elves in Glantri City "legally". Aside from this, Don Alfonso proved a fair Supreme Judge, since he could take a neutral position in human politics; he also relaxed the laws somewhat as his chaotic nature demanded. In AC 937 he was also given a title of Warden of Marches, because of his superior war experience.

Don Alfonso also had one domestic problem: his oldest son Don Hippolito. From the beginning Don Alfonso saw that Don Hippolito would have been a disaster as a ruler, and Dona Leontina had the same opinion. But they didn't agree about who should replace him. They also agreed that their youngest son Don Ricardo was not capable either. Dona Leontina's favourite was the second son Don Diego, while Don Alfonso preferred their only daughter Dona Carnelia, with his husband Don Miguel.

In AC 985 Don Alfonso at last decided to settle the question. He called his family together and announced his decision to pass Don Hippolito. He demanded everyone to swear to honour this decision after his death. Don Hippolito understandably was furious for this and left immediately. Don Alfonso put the question of choosing between Dona Carnelia and Don Diego before the others. Don Ricardo immediately made known his support for his brother. But then came a surprise when Don Diego gallantly announced that he supported his sister and his husband Don Miguel to avoid more family quarrels.

Nobody at that time expected that Don Alfonso's death would come in six years. Don Alfonso's hot-temper cost him his life. In AC 991 he was challenged to fight during a court session and without much pondering he accepted the challenge from an unknown stranger. Only this time he met a better rapierist than he himself was. Don Alfonso was 336-years old when he died heart pierced in the middle of Alexander-Plaza. His killer vanished immediately after the deed was done.

Dona Carnelia de Belcadiz

Everyone was shocked when they heard about Don Alfonso´s death. It was so sudden and unexpected. Dona Leontina immediately announced that she had no claims to be a ruler and that she would retire to the Convent. After that Dona Carnelia called his husband Don Miguel back from a mountain expedition, but got no answer. After couple of weeks she realised to his great relief that she was now sole ruler of Alhambra at the age of 179. Her marriage with Don Miguel had been unhappy from the beginning and she didn't shed a tear for him.

Dona Carnelia was as shocked as his father when she was told about Don Carlo, now a 133-years old "cretin". Dona Carnelia chose to keep his cousin's existence secret as his father did. Some members of the family have a strange feeling that there is some great secret that is not told to them, but nothing has yet been discovered. Currently, only Dona Carnelia, Dona Leontina, and the clan's sage Don Alejandro know of Don Carlo's existence.


Leonardo de Belcadiz b.512 BC d.148 AC

Sancho de Belcadiz b.249 BC d.183 AC

Miguel de Belcadiz b.65 d.788

King of the Elves 362-788

Fernando de Belcadiz b.581 d.912

King of the Elves 788-859
First Marquis of Alhambra
First Prince of Alhambra
Viceroy of Monteleone 859-862
Chamberlain of the Land 862-896
Grand Master of the School of Magic 896-912

Alfonso de Belcadiz b.655 d.991

Supreme Judge of the Council 912-991
Warden of Marches 937-991

Carnelia de Belcadiz b.812

Vice-Queen of Monteleone 991-