Turmoil Between Crowns
This name is given both to the decade of internal schisms under the rule of the last Rax overking, and to the civil war which followed Ivid’s ascension. The Turmoil Between Crowns includes the decade of internal schisms in the Great Kingdom during the reign of Overking Nalif, as well as the civil war that followed the ascension of Ivid I.
In the Common Year 437, His Celestial Transcendency, Nalif of the House of Rax, Overking of the Great Kingdom and Hetman of all the Aerdi, was murdered. The last in a line of congenital half-wits who had occupied the Throne of the Sun, he was little mourned by his subjects. However, his death marked the beginning of a civil war that tore apart the Great Kingdom and changed the face of the Flanaess forever. It was known as the Turmoil Between the Crowns.
Before Nalif’s blood had cooled, his cousin, Prince Ivid of Naelax, Herzog of the North Province, declared himself the rightful overking. Prince Galssonnan of Cranden, Herzog of the South Province, set himself in opposition to Ivid, denouncing him as a regicide and kinslayer, and famously declaring that Ivid would come to the throne only over his dead body. His words proved to be prophetic.
Bloody civil war erupted as Aerdy was sundered between the Naelax in the north – backed by the House of Torquann and the mighty hosts of the Church of Hextor – and the Crandens in the south, supported by the Houses of Rax, Garesteth and Darmen. The matter should never have been in doubt, but Galssonnan was a courtier rather than a general and although he could forge political alliances, he could not give them victory on the field of battle. Even then, Ivid’s forces were dwarfed by the manpower that Galssonen and his allies had at their command. However, in the Church Armies of Hextor, Ivid had the best trained and equipped fighting force in the Great Kingdom. The Herzog of the North also showed no qualms in supplementing his might with orc, gnoll and hobgoblin mercenaries from the Rakers.
So it was that after years of fighting, the fortunes of war had shifted in Ivid’s favour. In early 446 CY, seeing which way the wind was blowing, Prince Malchim III, the Lord-Mayor of Rel Astra, switched the support of his city and that of House Garesteth to Ivid, paving the way for the Naelax armies to enter Rauxes unopposed. The halls of the Imperial Palace ran red with the blood of those Rax princelings who were too feeble or lack-witted to flee, as Ivid’s Companion Guard roamed from room to room, slaying any who fell beneath their blades.
When Ivid finally entered the palace, he ordered the Throne of the Sun to be smashed and distributed to his soldiers for firewood. In its place, he set a new seat of power, one that would come synonymous with the rule of the Naelax overkings – The Malachite Throne
After a century of misrule by the increasingly decadent Celestial House of Rax, the other nobles of the Great Kingdom agreed that another Rax ruler was unacceptable. Overking Nalif was the last of the Rax line descended directly from the overkings. A flock of misbegotten cousins, exiles and ne’er-do-wells of Rax could lay some claim to the title of overking when Ivid had Nalif assassinated in 446 CY, but after a century of hopelessly ineffectual Rax rule all of the royal houses agreed that another Rax overking was simply unacceptable. Ivid I of the House of Naelax proclaimed himself overking immediately and plunged the Great Kingdom into civil war.
The church of Hextor enthusiastically supported Ivid’s cause, lending their church armies to the effort. With few exceptions, no simple picture of the role of royal houses in the civil war can be given. Most of the House of Naelax allied with Prince Ivid. But a few of his cousins – who disliked and distrusted him – did not. Among the competing houses, the House of Cranden opposed Naelax, as did many elements of the House of Garasteth and the remnants of Rax. But in all houses princes were busy using the civil war as a cover for settling old scores and attacking their in-house rivals, thereby increasing the discord of the era. Ivid certainly had some such princes assassinated; the blame would be laid upon their own blood for this, increasing within-house divisions and making opposition to him less organized.
Alliances shifted during the war, but the decisive event was the decree of the House of Darmen in CY 449 to back Ivid’s suit wholeheartedly. This wealthy and pragmatic house believed Ivid was coming out ahead, so the house sprang a surprise with the sack of Rel Deven in Harvester of that year and a series of brilliant lightning strikes aimed at securing provisioning for the coming winter.
Their armies allied with those of Naelax to secure the central lands of the Great Kingdom, and the war was won. In Planting, CY 450, all houses agreed to accept Ivid as overking, and their leading princes paid homage along the Great Way in the Parade of Crowns. The House of Naelax was triumphant.
Much knowledge was lost during the Turmoil Between Crowns, including the charts and records of the expeditions of House Atirr. As a condition for accepting his rulership, the rulers of North Province, South Province, and Medegia required him to give them virtual autonomy over their lands. House Cranden attempted to ally South Province with the Iron League, but this ultimately failed. Most priests of Heironeous left the kingdom or were marginalized in isolated areas, speeding the Great Kingdom’s decline into evil. The fiend-summoning of House Naelax, unusual at the time of the Turmoil, eventually became commonplace among the kingdom’s nobles.