The Summer Heroes
Wars of Blood and Fire
Hassuna’s present political and social system is a direct result of The Wars of Blood and Fire, which began in -1509 BR. Prior to the wars, Hassuna was ruled as a kingdom and supported by two principal noble families: Oria’vas and Burelah’ves. In order to keep the peace between the rival families, the Crown traditionally alternated between them. In -1509, however, a magical “mishap” leveled the royal tower of the Palace of Spires, killing the king, the queen-consort, and the heir, their eldest daughter. The only survivors of the royal family—because of their presence elsewhere in the Palace at the time—were two-year-old twin boys.
Both families suspected foul play and immediately blamed the other, but without a clear succession, attempts to impose a Regency Council were unsuccessful. Primogeniture dictated that the eldest of the boys should succeed, but the order in which they were born had been kept secret by the king and the queen-consort (to prevent attempts on the princess-heir’s life by deliberately muddying the succession waters). The two families each claimed one of the twins, ostensibly to champion their respective rights to the throne (hence the name, “The Bloodline War”).
The situation deteriorated rapidly and, in the latter half of -1509, isolated conflicts between the two sides erupted into open war. The influence and power of the two families was so far-reaching that entire institutions and cities began lining up behind one or the other, and lesser families began to use the conflict as an excuse to settle grudges and feuds of their own. The war was devastating and dragged on for over twenty years, with neither side able to gain the upper hand.
Natural geography had, in the past, more or less dictated the limits of the expansion of the elven kingdom, as the Great Rainforest to the north prevented most attempts at settlement. The Spine of the World, however, had been inhabited by dragons since time immemorial, and their periodic awakening usually required the might of the Hassunai to throw back. These perennial conflicts with the dragons hung like a specter over the Hassunai throne and usually inhibited monarchs who might otherwise have sought risky ventures to the north.
In -1488 BR, the War of the Dragons began. Finally alerted to the ongoing conflict in the elvish lands, numerous dragons swept down from the Spine to attack their ancient enemies. Whole towns and villages were laid waste, and the elven armies, beleaguered by two decades of warfare, were unable to do much beyond saving the largest cities.
In -1486 BR, after two years of ongoing harassment by the dragons, Hassuna’s countryside was a wasteland, but the Oriah’vas and Burelah’ves families refused all attempts at unity. The twin boys, now capable of leading in their own right, had been separated and instilled with a deep hatred of each other from an early age. This tactic backfired dramatically, as each refused to make peace with the other.
In the third month of -1486, the Alliance of Independent Mages was forged by Fyranil, Arch-Mage of Hassuna. Weary of war and tired of disunity, Fyranil declared the mages of the kingdom free of the noble families. Outraged, the two families—each led by their respective twin—held a secret summit to discuss the development. The nobles were betrayed, and Fyranil, along with a handful of his most powerful allies, led an assault on the meeting. Both twins were killed, as were the upper echelons of both families. Fyranil rejected the Crown—and had no claim on it anyway—and instead styled himself Arch-Mage and Leader of the Elven People.
A dramatic counter-attack, led by Fyranil and the Alliance and supported by the now-united Hassunai people, began to drive the dragons back, and by -1485 BR many of the lesser dragons had been slain. Desperate to end the war—not least because the vast farmlands of Hassuna that supported the cities had been ravaged—Fyranil challenged the eldest of the dragons, Roravantus, to a duel. The Great Duel was to end the conflict, one way or another, and Roravantus, bemused with Fyranil and vexed over the recent deaths of so many of his kin, accepted.
The Great Duel lasted for seven hours, and as the sun began to set, Roravantus swallowed Fyranil whole. While gloating in his victory, the elder dragon was torn apart from the inside, as a massive, searing blast of raw magic rippled through his existence. Fyranil—thereafter known as “Fyranil the Dragon-Slayer” or “Fyranil, Gripper of the Spine”—stepped out of the dragon’s carcass, bearing a piece of Roravantus’ spine, and ordered the remaining dragons to depart.
Following the duel, Fyranil enjoyed the undying loyalty of his fellow mages, as well as considerable popular acclaim among the rest of the elven people (though the remnants of the two great families still held some sway and were unhappy with him). By -1484, after about a year under his rule, Hassuna grew restless and unhappy. The winter had been harsh because of the devastation wrought by The Wars of Blood and Fire, and the infrastructure of the kingdom severely weakened.
Next: Great Elven Society