Here it is, children. My magnum opus of this blog. Yes, even bigger than Kingbreaker. Why? Because I’ve spent friggin’ forever on this piece. And this is only half of it! Yes, it’s the Chivalry: Medieval Warfare lore and history of the Agatha-Mason Civil War! It’s a lot to cover and a lot to take in, but I hope this all translates well from mind to page.
At least, it had better considering all of the grief this put me through!
Oh well, I think it’s really cool anyway. I mean, of course I do, or else I wouldn’t have done it. I don’t DO non-cool things! Only things like reading way too much into a hilariously violent videogame! What else would you consider cool?
The story of blood and steel begins on the continent of Agatha where King Alfonso Argon has recently united, either via conquering or by negotiations, all other nations and cultures on the continent. The Kingdom of Agatha now stretches from the east to the west coast and is now more powerful than ever before. However, Alfonso was ill at-ease with the peace that came after the years of battle and war. Alfonso had a bloodstained history with the culturally different land to the southeast called Tenosia. He had crusaded there multiple times in his life but never was able to achieve a lasting victory. However, with his armies stronger than ever, Tenosia was once again in Alfonso’s eye. He aimed to defeat his ancient enemy once and for all.
Before the crusade on Tenosia begins, however, two figures enter Agatha’s history. One is Feydrid Kearn, a prominent advisor and general who has served the Argon family for decades. He was placed in charge of governing and managing the Kingdom of Agatha while King Alfonso and his heir and nephew, Danum Argon, were to be off to Tenosia. Feydrid’s northern and snow-covered ancestral home of House Kearn, Coldfront, became the de-facto capitol of the Kingdom of Agatha in place of the old Agathian capitol, which was the seat of the Argon family.
The other man was another distant relative, another cousin and distant relative, Malric Tarrowin. He was instrumental during Alfonso’s wars of subjugation, seeing them as a chance for the Kingdom of Agatha to improve its strength. Strength and power, both national and individual, was somewhat of an obsession for Malric. So, when Alfonso’s wars ended, one particular incident made Malric question the strength of Alfonso as a king and as a warrior. Barbarian tribes, native to the dense northern forests of the Agathian continent, were amongst the most powerful and adamant of enemies of Alfonso’s Agatha. Unable to make a definitive crushing victory
against the Barbarians, Alfonso eventually consented and signed a treaty with the tribes. There was to be peace between the two peoples, though the two realms were to remain independent of each other. Malric however, saw this as a wasted opportunity on Alfonso’s part. Clearly, the Barbarians were mighty warriors, able to stall the mighty Knights of Agatha until the latter conceded defeat. Alfonso’s pride stopped him from fully accepting the Barbarians into his new and united nation and thus, in Malric’s opinion, strengthening the Kingdom as a whole. Needless to say, when Malric Terrowin left alongside his king for Tenosia, he was sending and receiving secret communications with the tribes in the hopes of having them join the Kingdom of Agatha one day.
As Alfonso gathered his men on the southeastern shores of Agatha in the autumn of 1266, Malric continued his scheming. Or, to be more accurate, he started scheming anew at the behest of others. Malric was not the only man in Agatha who wanted to see the country grow as powerful as possible. He was also not the only man who thought that Alfonso’s return to Tenosia was nothing more than an egotistical power fantasy that could put all of the Kingdom of Agatha’s recent and hard-won success in jeopardy. The Mason Order, as they came to be called, followed Malric’s example and philosophies on matters of national and personal strength. The Order began swearing to his cause of dissuading King Alfonso and, should that fail, protecting the throne from similarly bloodthirsty and arrogant kings. During this time, a knight of some fame named Sir Teach also joined Malric’s Mason Order, becoming a part of his personal bodyguard. He would be instrumental to the Order’s cause during the coming civil war.
As if fate provided a foil to Sir Teach of the Mason Order, the Agatha Knights were given guidance by a man named Finnian. As a knight of tremendous strength, ardor, and fame, he took it upon himself to come from his holdings in the north of Old Agatha to train aspiring knights heading to Tenosia. In a short time, he became a kind of local legend in the war camps, even earning the admiration of the Mason Order. However, Finnian’s loyalty to the Argon royal line was just as legendary as his skills he used to protect it. Thus, the Order never attempted to approach and recruit him into its ranks. And yet, Malric could not sit easy with such a charismatic adherent to the Argon line accompanying Alfonso to Tenosia- he would have likely put the Mason Order’s eventual goal of taking the Argon’s throne in jeopardy. So, Malric managed to convince Alfonso to leave Finnian behind on Agatha as an advisor to Feydrid. Reluctantly, Alfonso agreed.
The journey towards Tenosia passed without incident. However, Malric used that time to consolidate his forces and ensure the loyalty of his men with various contracts and oaths. Malric, however, was still hopeful that he might be able to persuade Alfonso from bringing chaos and destruction to the kingdom. Alternatively, if Tenosia fell without incident, that also would satisfy Malric’s intentions of making a sharper, stronger Agatha. Needless to say, he brooded and planned most of the way on to Tenosia.
At first, the sudden surge of Agatha warriors, led by Alfonso and Malric, seemed to overwhelm the Tenosian defenders. Alfonso’s distinct lack of subtlety meant that Tenosia was aware of his approach. As such, they attempted to defend their shores. And attempt they did, to the death. The Agathians could not be stopped for days after their landing. At every turn the armies of Tenosia rose to oppose the invaders and at every turn they were defeated. However, as the Agathians moved their forces more inland, the Tenosians became strangely and unsettlingly quiet. This was because the Tenosians were acutely aware of something that the Agatha Knights were also becoming aware of- the intense heat and constant sand of Tenosia made any going slow and arduous. This was particularly true for the heavily-armoured knights who were being cooked inside of their armour and found that their heavy horses could not take well to the difficult terrain.
Alfonso, however, was not swayed by the crumbling morale of his men. Indeed, the Agatha Knights managed to approach Jaburdan, the Tenosian capitol and lay siege to it. The First Battle for Jaburdan ended decisively and in Agatha’s favour. No Tenosian reinforcements arrived to alleviate pressure on the city and the whole city seemed suspiciously vacant. Although Danum approached his uncle after the battle, saying that the Tenosian’s bizarre token resistance mixed with the lack of an effort to reclaim their capitol meant that perhaps the Agatha Knights weren’t truly winning after all. He had some weight behind his argument, too. Not only was morale continuing to plummet despite the resounding victory at Jaburdan (which had become the command center for the Agatha efforts after its capture), but basic resources like food, water, and oil had all started to become scarce. There was no need for the Tenosians to follow the scorched-earth strategy of typical retreating armies- their desert lands did all of that work for them already. Needless to say, the cracks in the Agatha might were beginning to show and Malric was eyeing Alfonso carefully. He saw his countrymen dying slowly and in agonizingly from the sun, sand, and a bloodthirsty king. Not from worthy opponents, like Malric thought they all deserved.
Incidentally, Alfonso was about to give Malric and his men the chance to die gloriously in battle. Having heard his nephew’s very prudent advice, he understood the situation as one that he could still control. He decided to take the majority of his forces and attempt to provoke the Tenosians into open battle with him. After three days of burning and pillaging towns and villages, he was given what he asked for. A massive Tenosian host, far outnumbering the Agathians, crested three high hills and quickly surrounded Alfonso’s armies. The Tenosians gave no pause to the invader and charged immediately, at first using their fleet-footed horses to circle around the Agathians and harass them from horseback with their powerful bows. Hot, confused, demoralized, and surrounded, the Agatha Knights seemed all but doomed. However, Alfonso Argon the 3rd was not one to quickly lie down and die. He rallied his troops the best he could and charged forward in an attempt to break through the Tenosian’s lines. He was, however, struck down in the thick of the fighting, taking a halberd wielded by a mere peasant to the chest. The blow caved in his armour and sent him from his horse into a crowd of Tenosians. His cries of agony were said to be horrible enough to make even Malric Terrowin cringe.
Malric, as it happened, was made the king’s banner-carrier for the battle and was quick to salvage the situation. He continued the charge forward, breaking through the Tenosian ranks and conducting a hasty and messy retreat back to Jaburdan. All the while, the Agathians were harassed by Tenosian horse archers and outriders. Hardly more than a quarter of the Agathians returned alive to Jaburdan.
The death of Alfonso Argon sent devastating ripples throughout the Agathian camps. Some of the more loyal members of the Knights of Agatha simply fell into despair and refused to fight on any longer. Others had the opposite reaction, arming themselves with whatever they could and becoming bloodthirsty at the thought of continuing the fight against the Tenosians. However, the large majority of the Agathian men remained stalwart and watchful as they fortified their gains, particularly Tenosia’s capitol. However, the men were not watchful for the return of the vengeful Tenosians, they were vigilant against their fellow man.
With Alfonso’s death and Danum struggling to rally the remnants of the Agathian troops and marshal them in Jaburdan, Malric Terrowin and his Mason Order found the perfect opportunity for the start of their rebellion laid bare before them. During the night, Malric and the bulk of his forces fled Tenosia by stealing Danum’s ships. They set a course back to the Agathian continent with the intent of converting the populace to their cause (and slaying or enslaving any of them who stood against the Order) and claiming the Kingdom of Agatha before Danum could return- if he could return at all.
While the majority of Malric’s forces left with him to return to Agatha, Sir Teach and a sizeable force remained on Tenosia. Sensing that Danum’s position was weak, given the exhaustion felt by many of the Agathian knights at that point in the Tenosian campaign, Teach was tasked with sacking Jaburdan and removing Danum’s head.
The Second Battle of Jaburdan initially seemed to go well for the Mason Order. They had the element of surprise, numbers, and preparation. It looked to be beyond a shadow of a doubt that Danum would fall and Malric would soon be uncontested in his cause to claim the throne. However, just as the Order approached the gates to the city’s royal palace, Danum lead a charge of his greatest knights. All the knights were unhorsed and given cover by the fire of crack Agathian archers. The sudden and withering offensive aimed to strike at the head of the Mason operation- Sir Teach. The Mason lines began to collapse under the stress of the assault and Teach was nearly cor nered and captured. Only by the sacrifice of dozens of Mason soldiers did their leader manage to escape.
After that initial battle which lasted the greater part of a day, ill-defined siege lines began to grow with each side holding roughly half of the city. Both sides fortified their sides of the city, albeit in a bit of a ramshackle way. Both Danum and Teach suspected that the Tenosians might return to take advantage of the Agathian Civil War (otherwise known as the Mason’s War, Malric’s War, and the War of Agatha’s Throne), but the Tenosians were perfectly content with allowing the War to take place within their ruined capitol in hopes that the conflict would utterly destroy both sides and they could reclaim their capitol virtually unopposed. However, given the intensity of the conflict with Jaburdan’s walls, neither side was aware of the Tenosian’s patience. As such, both Sir Teach and Danum realized that a total breach of the opposing side’s lines was the only viable way to escape Tenosia and turn back to Agatha. Danum surprised both his Knights and the Order once again by leading a daring nighttime raid only using lightly armoured men-at-arms and archers to secure the nearby docks which the Agathians had first landed at. Though a few handfuls of Agathian men remained behind to defend Danum’s retreat (they all eventually fell during the fighting, rather than surrender), the vast majority of Danum’s forces were able to escape from Tenosia and make their return back to Agatha. Sir Teach and his Mason Order, however, were left without sufficient ships to bring them all back. They would be stranded on Tenosia for a few more weeks as they assembled new ships out of the remnants of old ones that had been destroyed in the First Battle of Jaburdan.
Having arrived back at Agatha will surprising speed, Malric moved in secret while the rest of his Order landed on the Eastern shores of the continent. While the Order at large began spreading the news of the deaths of both Alfonso and Danum Argon and laying claim to Agathian land (under the guise of Agatha’s protectors, both against the Argon line’s sins and an “inevitable Tenosian counter- invasion”), Malric sought out his Barbarian allies in the northern hills and forests. The Mason Order were lacking in numbers in the early stages of the Civil War, so Malric found that the strong Barbarian tribes could help swell the Order’s ranks until more of Agatha fell under Mason control. As Malric predicted, all of the Barbarian Chieftains he had contacted previously stayed true to their words and oaths- they followed Malric and formally joined the Mason Order. The first objective of the newly-bolstered Mason Order was to lay siege to the remaining opposing power on Agatha- Feydrid Kearn.
From his castle, Coldfront, Feydrid took the apparent end of the Argon line with an entire handful of salt. Though he lamented seeing the subjects and people of Agatha distraught at the end of their warrior king and his heir, Feydrid secretly began moving to secure Agatha for himself. Feydrid knew he was the superior king and as such, he deserved to rule over the young Danum and the vicious Alfonso. The Kearn family had lived in the shadow of warmongering Argons for generations and Feydrid saw this as his family’s one chance to take what he thought was not only rightfully his but what was better for the people for Agatha. Feydrid was fully aware that, though a distant blood relation, three infant children lived in the far southwest of Agatha, beyond Stoneshills Valley. Yet, their lineage was hidden from the vast majority of the Agathian populace and their very young ages allowed Feydrid to turn his attention towards defeating the Mason Order. Having rallied the scattered and distraught Agathian home armies to his side, including the staunch royalists led by Finnian himself, Feydrid directed Agatha’s might towards the northern forests and mountains. The Barbarian tribes that lived there, Feydrid suspected (and rightfully so) would be a vital part of the Mason Order’s forces. Thus, he wanted to destroy that vital source of opposing manpower- especially since it lay so close to Feydrid’s own castle.
The Mason Order’s propaganda and rumours work well in demoralizing the Agathian troops on the continent and rallying additional support to Malric, who appeared to be the only legitimate heir to the throne. However, Feydrid Kearn understood that much of Agatha’s population probably would have preferred to see him placed on the throne rather than a tyrant like Malric. Feydrid believed that all of the Argon line had been wiped out, as did most of Agatha’s population, so he continued to rally the elite assets that would usually be under the direct control of the royal family. Feydrid promised something rather similar to Malric: a stronger Agatha by rejecting the bloodthirsty notions of the old Argon line- soon, many royal knights had had opposed Alfonso’s decision to crusade in Tenosia soon gravitated towards Feydrid’s cause. Additionally, Feydrid’s position as a skilled and powerful general of Agatha gave him an equal pedigree of military command to Malric. The final result was Feydrid’s new Agathian faction becoming an equal to Malric’s swiftly-burgeoning Mason Order.
By the time Feydrid’s forces reached a major stronghold of the Barbarian clans, they were a mighty force with a much-beloved cause in their hearts. The First Battle of the Outposts began early in the morning and ended in the scattering and defeat of the Agatha Knights three days later. The Knights were victim to the same hubris that doomed Alfonso Argon’s forces in Tenosia: difficult terrain, unfamiliar territory, and an enemy that favoured quick skirmishing as opposed to full-frontal assaults. Over the course of the three day battle, the Barbarians (who were assisted and advised by Mason strategists) struck at the Agatha Knights constantly. Their attacks were so incessant that many of the Knights succumbed to sleep deprivation on the last day, having been unable to sleep since their arrival and the start of the battle. Thus, as the Agathians approached the wooden palisade walls of the Barbarian stronghold, they found themselves surrounded and exhausted. Many of those that did not surrender were cut down. Many of those that surrendered joined the Mason Order. Those that did not join were enslaved. And yet, a group remained that defied all of the other fates- Finnian and his elite royalist knights, with Agathian regulars in tow, escaped into the woods and fled back towards Coldfront.
The Mason Order was eager, however, to eliminate any parts of the Agatha leadership it could put its blades to. So, within the course of about two days, Finnian and his men were surrounded in the ruins of a snow-covered village that rested in a small valley.
Outnumbered and exhausted, Finnian and his men quickly became the stuff of legends as they became whirlwinds of untouchable steel. Their blades cut swiftly, their arrows found their marks, and the Mason blows simply glanced off of their armour. There was nothing supernatural about the Battle of the Ruined Valley, however. It was Finnian’s leadership and the fusion of conviction and desperation was what led the Agathians to victory and allowed a powerful faction of elite knights to survive and live to fight another day.
As the primary force of the Mason Order began to lay siege to Coldfront, now further bolstered by the rest of the Barbarian tribes that had at first refused to join Malric, Malric made for the Terrowin ancestral seat, the Citadel. The imposing volcanic stronghold became host to hundreds of enslaved Agathian. They were primarily sent to toil in the mines and natural forges underneath the stronghold proper. At first Malric had only intended, at first, to use political prisoners and Agatha Knights who were captured to run the mines and forges. However, it quickly became obvious to him that additional manpower would be needed to keep the beating heart of the Mason Order war machine alive and beating. Thus, Malric authorized roughshod acquisition of additional slaves from towns and villages near the citadel.
Following the defeat of the Agathians in the mountains, the newly-reinvigorated Mason Order moves towards Feydrid’s castle of Coldfront. For weeks, the castle remains under siege. With the Order occupying the east coast and with the countryside in chaos, Feydrid’s stronghold is cut off without the chance for reinforcement. The First Battle of the Outposts had drained most of Feydrid’s strength that was immediately available to him. The siege was long and brutal, but Feydrid remained resolute. Having crowned himself the Royal Protector of Agatha before the first Agatha counter-offensive, Feydrid was a king in all but name. However, as he sat waylaid in his castle and left the countryside to ruin, support began to deviate away from Feydrid and more Agathians started to join the Mason Order. However, about four weeks into the siege, a messenger managed to slip through the Order’s siege lines and reach Feydrid. It brought with him the news that not only was Danum Argon alive but he was moving by ship with great speed towards the eastern coast of Agatha. Feydrid, already distraught at his current situation, burned the note in his hearth. For a week, Feydrid forced himself to forget what he had learned about Danum- if only he could defeat the Mason Order before Danum arrived, the common people and lords would follow him instead of another member of the warmongering Argon line.
However, one week later the rumour of Danum’s survival had somehow managed to grow, despite Feydrid’s tight lips. Eventually, Feydrid could no longer deny that even if the letter had been a fake and even if Danum was long since dead in Tenosia or otherwise, the common soldiers and citizenry were clamoring for the young Argon. Even Feydrid’s most trusted noble lords and advisors began
to profess that seeing the Argon line continue would behoove both them and the realm. Thus, Feydrid finally conceded with himself, there would be no way he could keep whatever crown he might gain. So, he sent a letter back to Danum, promising to lend his strength to the young Argon upon his landfall. With that, Feydrid rallied the rest of his men and attempted to flee from Coldfront in his small fleet of ships. However, Feydrid’s indecisiveness and pride proved to be his downfall, as the extra week the Mason Order was given to continue the siege on the castle was enough for them to finally make a breach using their siege towers and battering rams. Malric had demanded Feydrid’s head before the Siege of Coldfront had even begun. He was not disappointed with the results. After storming the castle courtyard, Feydrid Kearn, the usurper of the crown and so-called “Royal Protector of Agatha,” met his head along with all of his royal guardsmen in one final clash.
Finnian Guld and his elite knights did not take part in the final battle, however. Unable to move through the Mason Order siege lines and naval blockade, they waited for the opportune time to strike and contribute to the battle. During that time, a number of sympathetic peasants put up the knights and even helped to bury their dead. As it happened, the messenger that was bearing
Feydrid’s message of support to Danum Argon was intercepted by the knights as the messenger stayed the night in the area. After conversing, Finnian started to lead his knights eastward, not only with the intention of assisting the heir to the Argon line, but also serving as a bodyguard to the messenger. Finnian had sensed that the common people were turning against the Royal Protector and he began to see Feydrid for what he truly was- a usurper. Thus, the decision was clear to the knights and they left, eager to see the Argon line live on.
Though Danum did expect to see Feydrid Kearn’s ships arrive to bolster his fleet, the young heir knew that he could not wait to allow the Mason Order to further fortify their positons in the coastal cities. Therefore, under cover of nightfall, a raiding party landed on the shores near the city of Hillside. In a lightning-quick offensive, the beacons in the city’s watchtowers were lit and the main force of Danum’s fleet arrived on the Hillside shores. Surging forward, the heavier Agatha Knights, this time lead by Danum himself, crushed the remains of the Mason’s defenders and even used the city’s ballistae to sink the Mason’s retaliatory fleet.
Due to the vast majority of the Mason forces being occupied with bringing the Agatha countryside to heel and constructing fortifications for their territorial gains such as the old Agathian capitol city and the ruins of Coldfront, there was no able force capable of retaliating against Danum’s victory at Hillside. The day after his victory, Finnian Guld and his elite knights arrived in the city. They immediately swore fealty to Danum and apologized profusely for the wrongs they believe they inflicted on the Argon family by siding with Feydrid. Danum, still ignorant of Feydrid’s ambitions, was at first confused but then told the knights to rise from where they knelt and accepted them into his royal guard. Shortly afterwards, Finnian relayed to Danum all that Feydrid had been planning, even when it was clear that the infant heirs to the Argon through were still alive- to say nothing of how Feydrid continued his bid for power even after learning of Danum’s survival. Danum understood, gravely, that the Kearn family had been living under the Argons for generations, always serving as a powerful family, though even Danum claimed that even Alfonso knew that the Kearns would even eventually one day try to usurp the Argon throne.
With this knowledge, Danum approached his soldiers and the people of Hillside. He publicly damned Feydrid’s power-mongering actions, though he did mention some praise he had for the man. Despite his ambitions, he fought to repel what was essentially a foreign invasion of the Kingdom of Agatha. Danum wished for the message of both his condemnation and praise (as well as Danum’s own survival) to be spread across Agatha at all due speed. As the messages spread, the coastal cities, only lightly defended by Mason troops, were quickly overturned by uprisings of the angry and patriotic citizens. As clever as he was brave, Danum also provided a burial for his uncle Alfonso, though his corpse still lay mutilated in Tenosia. During the funeral, however, Danum also damned the foolishness of his uncle and how his warmongering nearly ended not only the Argon line but the Kingdom of Agatha as a whole. Danum vowed to set himself apart from his father, Feydrid, and Malric. He altogether became a king for his people and for restoring peace through law and justice rather than conquest, trickery, and brute power.
Within about a week, Danum’s forces were swelling with eager volunteers from the east coast and from scattered villages in Agatha. However, Alfonso’s wars of conquest and the Tenosian crusade had left most of the Agatha military drained for numbers and resources. As such, Danum knew that he could not send his full force to reclaim the most important part of the captured lands- the northern coast, including the old capitol and its surrounding lands (usually denoted as Old Agatha)- as well as defend the rest of the continent from falling under Mason control. Thus, Danum split his forces into two- he would take half of his armies to the southwest, across the flat Agatha heartlands and down into Stonehills Valley. Danum wanted to draw most of Malric’s forces away from the siege of Old Agatha and from his power base in the Terrowin Citadel. Stonehills’ Royal Palace was a great symbol of power and majesty to the Agathian people and with Old Agatha currently under Mason occupation, it would be an enormous gesture of power to the Argon line if the Palace could be claimed and defended. The other half of his forces would then quickly recapture the occupied lands and start turning more and more of the people of Agatha back to Danum’s side. Accompanied and guarded by Finnian Guld and his knights, Danum set off towards Stonehills Valley.
Whoo boy, this was truly a piece of work. Not only coming up with the lore and the pictures, but then manufacturing a narrative out of almost nothing but assumptions and leaps of faiths. But was it worth it? Completely. I mean, it’s finally (getting) done!
Good luck, you braver writer folk (and don’t do Lorequests like me. They eat your lives!)!