The Anarchy between 1556 and 1570 was a set of civil wars and conflict within the Holy Orenian Empire which occurred during the majority of John Sigismund's reign as Holy Orenian Emperor. The overarching conflict stemmed from the emperor's marked insanity and blundering with his powerful vassals, which allowed for inter-vassal rivalries and feuds to flourish and lords to feel disenfranchised with the Imperial state as a whole. It is also seen as a direct result of the Eighteen Years' War mere years prior, which drained critical manpower and saw a decrease in the authority of the Imperial crown after the death in battle of John I.
Containing numerous conflicts, political upheavals, and general unrest, the Anarchy is typically divided into three overarching events: the Third Rurikid Uprising, the Riga War, and the Krajian Rebellion.
Third Rurikid Uprising
The Rurikid Uprising (High Imperial: Ruricus Rebellio), from 1556 to 1558, was a large revolt of the native Avarites against the Holy Orenian Empire, ending with the destruction of the main Avarite city of Seahelm and the exile of the majority of the natives. The war resulted from the unwillingness of Emperor John II to grant the conquered island fully to the native population and henceforth autonomy from direct Imperial rule.
The island of Avar was conquered in the Eighteen Years' War by the Empire from the Grand Kingdom of Urguan. The Empire was originally supported by the natives led by the chieftain Sven Ruric, who despised dwarven rule over the lands. After the death of John I, Sven's cousin and Urguanite supporter Beo Ruric launched an unsuccessful rebellion in order to seize the island as an independent realm. However, with lack of Urguanite support and the reinforcing Imperial forces led by Henry Rothesay in support of Sven, Beo's host was destroyed at the Battle of Sunholt and Beo himself slain in the field.
Under John II's rule, the island was split into three administrative areas- Sunholt, stewarded by the knight Ser Acker under Adrian Rothesay; Ostavar, which was given to Lord Henry Rothesay as Count of Estavar; and finally Seahelm, ruled by the native population under newly instated Lord Sven Ruric and his son, Thomas Ruric. Tensions grew between the newly arriving Imperial settlers and the native population. Settlers saw the Avarites as barbarians, and rumors grew of the Ruric's suspected paganism. The natives resented the imposed centralized government and saw the colonization of Avar by Imperial settlers as wrongful and illegal.
It reached the breaking point when Thomas Ruric, with command of his father's retinue, arrived in Felsen to demand John II deliver the title Duke of Avar to his father and recognize Avarite autonomy. The Emperor refused, which led to Thomas leaving the city in anger. The Avarites then expelled all Imperial representatives from their city of Seahelm, which led to the Empire declaring a full state of war between itself and the natives.
In the beginning of the war, Sven Ruric quickly seized Seahelm from any Imperial control and its outlying regions, expelling or killing the majority of any Imperial citizenry that did not flee to the western side of the island. Avarites would come to hold around half of Avar completely under their control (the eastern half), with the remaining western half under the control of the General Henry Rothesay. Despite his ability to maintain a successful defense against the native marauders, he was unable to push or reclaim any of the former. Till Imperial landing upon Avar in 1557, the Avarites pushed up to Sunholt, however unable to successfully siege the castle.
Thomas Ruric, son of Sven, contributed a successful pirating ploy against the Empire, raiding the Istrian shore down to the Erochland marshes. The construction of the Avarite flagship Quadrinaros was completed by order of Thomas, the largest warship ever constructed in the modern period.
The Empire itself was slow to rally its forces. Original rivalry between Alexander, Duke of Courland and John, Duke of Carnatia led to conflict as who would lead the Imperial expedition to Avar. Alexander was chosen much to John's and his faction's dismay. With Felsen actively blockaded by Thomas, the Imperial Fleet amassed at the Imperial City of Riga. Meanwhile, Thomas had amassed the majority of all Avarite and allied ships, hoping to make one major push into Felsen and capture the capital before the Empire gathered its strength.
The Imperial Fleet launched at early summer from the City of Riga. Thomas was unable to gather his fleet in time, having strung his naval forces too thinly to quickly reform his fleet. The two enemy fleets eventually met at Dogger Bay, the bay outlooking the City of Felsen, which led to the Battle of Dogger Bay. Using the number advantage compared to the Avarites and the speed of the Orenian vessels compared to the lumbering Avarite ships, the fleet was surrounded. The pinnacle of the battle was fought upon the dead whale carcass laying before the Quadinaros and the Orenian flagship HIM Princess Philippa. The Avarites forces were defeated, and the Quadinaros was destroyed.
The Imperial forces landed upon Avar in late 1557. Sven abandoned his campaign in Sunholt and amassed all his forces within his city. With the majority of his army dead or missing, however, after the disastrous Battle of Dogger Bay, Sven resorted to salting and burning the outlying regions of Seahelm, hoping to hinder the Imperial advance. In the spring of 1558, the Imperial Army made a daring assault upon Seahelm in the Sack of Seahelm, which led to a decisive Imperial victory. Seahelm was captured and ransacked. Sven escaped with the remainder of his armies and fled to the southern mainland. John II ordered not to pursue.
With Avar now fully under Imperial control, the Rurikid Uprising officially ended. However, majority of the Avarites which survived the war joined the forces of the anti-Orenian Dunamis mercenaries to the south, continuing to harass and pillage Orenian caravans and villages.
In Popular Culture
The Riga War, 1559 to 1564, was an internal Imperial conflict between the Carnatian League, made of coalition allies including the Duchy of Carnatia and the Krajian Hetmanate, and the Duchy of Courland. The war stems from Duke Alexander of Courland's decision to revoke the Barony of Kraken's Watch from Lord Britannus Vanir, in an attempt to solidify his claim to the duchy. Duke Alexander hoped to remove the claimants from his land in hopes of force-arming the House of Vanir back into banishment.
Following the end of the Dukes' War, the Duchy of Courland (Then typically called Vanaheim to the Raevo-Hansetian natives of the land) had been laid as vacant under the rule of King Guy of Oren, and later reinstated and granted to Percival Staunton (as Percival I) by John I. At the conclusion of the Eighteen Years' War, Percival's grandson Duke Andrew ruled, though not without rejection. Duke Andrew was the second son of the late Duke Richard (Who abdicated due to illness), and majorly disliked by his petty nobility and burghers. He was stained with a lacking charisma and blundering diplomacy, as well as his poor handling of his estates. Despite such flaws, Duke Andrew was known for a intense Orenian nationalism and fervent support in the Empire, added with a general desire for reform in the despotic-ruled duchy. These thoughts, and general sibling rivalry, led to his enduring bickering with his younger brother Alexander. Alexander, unlike Andrew, was known for his charisma towards the peasantry, gentry and petty nobility of the Courlander estates and his utter distain towards the Emperor John II.
By the 1550s, the rivalry between the brothers Andrew and Alexander (Called Anden and Aleksandr in the native Raevo-Hansetian tongue respectively) had become undeniable. Alexander had raised a host against his brother in hopes of taking the ducal coronet by force, marching against Riga. Duke Andrew, disliked by his petty nobility for his mishaps in diplomacy, stood without a proper army, as majority of his veterans left to join with his charismatic kinsman. He was pressed for forces, and pleaded with many of his neighbors for assistance including the Duchy of Carnatia, where he met and conversed with the then unlanded lordling Britannus Vanir. In return for manpower, Duke Andrew agreed to give the ancestral seat of Kraken's Watch back to the House of Vanir and Lord Britannus.
In a sudden twist of events, Duke Andrew's father in his ill-state supported Alexander's claim to the Duchy. Ashamed and disappointed, Duke Andrew committed suicide, leaving an unborn son in his wife and formally passing the ducal title to his brother. Lord Britannus, however, had already taken garrison of Kraken's Watch with he and his own soldiers, and Duke Alexander planned to meet him upon the field of battle. Before any true fighting could begin, however, the Imperial State called a peace meeting in the Second Diet of Saltstone, which declared that Lord Britannus' rule of Kraken's Watch is deemed legal, Alexander is declared the Duke of Courland over Andrew's unborn son, and Britannus would swear fealty to Duke Alexander as his liege lord.
Several years passed with peace in the Duchy, and both Alexander and Britannus were careful not to escalate tensions between the two houses. Unexpectedly, however, Alexander would send a small detachment of his soldiers during the celebrations of Saint Edmond's Day to Kraken's Watch, opening the gates and quickly capturing the castle from the drunken guards. With the bravery of the Vanir household knight Ser Asher Highwind, the Vanir family along with Lord Britannus and a sizeable portion of their men are able to escape the onslaught, retreating into the court of Duke John of Carnatia.
- 1558 - Storming of Kraken's Watch - Courlander Victory
- 1561 - Battle of the Curon Forest - Coalition Victory
- 1562 - Siege of Kraken's Watch - Coalition Victory
- 1563 - Battle of Westmark - Courlander Victory
- 1564 - Sacking of Riga - Coalition Victory
- The Treaty of Saltstone (1556) is signed, awarding Kraken's Watch to Britannus Vanir under tenure to the Duchy of Courland.
- During the celebrations of Saint Edmond's Day, Duke Alexander marches his army towards Kraken's Watch. With majority of the guard within a drunken stupor, he sacks and captures the castle in a quick siege. Lord Britannus flees in exile to the court of Duke John of Carnatia.
- The Second Diet of Saltstone is held by John II, Holy Orenian Emperor. The feud between Lord Britannus and Duke Alexander is deemed legal by the Emperor and the two sides sign the Pacta Conventa of 1559, allowing for a controlled conflict between the two feudal lords.
- Duke John of Carnatia and Hetman Sveneld of Krajia form the Carnatian League, supporting Lord Britannus' claim.
- Ser Fiske Vanir, son of Lord Britannus and one of the Heroes of Kal'Valen, is elected amongst the higher and lower nobility alike in the Carnatian League as their Lord Paramount.
- 1559 - 1560:
- Minor skirmishes occur upon the border of Courland and Carnatia, however the opposing main armies never face directly upon the field.
- The Courlander Army, spearheaded by the command of Duke Alexander and Ser Aymar Fournier, marches his main army into Carnatia.
- Despite being outnumbered, the Carnatian League's army, led by Ser Rickard Barrow, meets the opposing forces at the Battle of the Curon Forest. A decisive victory for Ser Rickard, Duke Alexander is forced to retreat back to Kraken's Watch.
- The Siege of Kraken's Watch occurs under the leadership of Ser Rickard, where the castle is captured in the successful assault. Duke Alexander retreats again to his capital of Riga, where he broods over his losses. Without proper leader the Courlander forces enter into an array of chaos.
- The Lord Marshal of Courland, Ser Aymar Fournier, is assassinated at the hands of his son Hughes with the help of Duke John of Carnatia and Petyr Barbanov.
- Tensions rise between Baron Britannus Vanir and Hetman Sveneld of Krajia after the apparent affair of Hetman Sveneld's son-in-law, Ser Jaromir, and Britannus Vanir's daughter Emma is revealed.
- The Hetman abandon the Carnatian League, now siding instead with the Courlandic forces.
- Dreadland forces now join in the war following the Hetman's flip, now fighting alongside the forces of Courland.
- Following a successful coup of Duke Alexander of Courland, the Treaty of Ambrosa is signed, putting an end to all hostilities between Courland and the Carnatian League. Lord Brittanus is placed as ward-father of Duke Percival II and firmly swears against all future conflicts. In return, Lord Britannus is officially reinstated as the Baron of Kraken's Watch with Imperial Letter. Ser Petyr Barbanov is released, unharmed, and returned to Carnatia.
- Following the Treaty of Ambrosa, Percival II flees to Felsen and gives the Carnatian League the keys to the city. The city of Riga is sacked, effectively destroying any opposition from Courland, and forcing the survivors to flee to the Dreadlands.
- During the celebrations of the victory, soldiers under Duke John of Carnatia attack Ser Jaromir, who is aided by some members of the League including Ser Camryn Lucimore. While he manages to flee, the boiling divide between the Hetman and the fellow lords reaches a climax as he declares war against the Duke of Carnatia. He is firmly denounced as a traitor by John II, which leads to him formally declaring independence in the Krajian Rebellion.
The Krajian Rebellion, also known as the Axis War, was a global war that lasted from 1565 to 1576, although related conflicts began earlier, including the Riga War. It involved a majority of the nations within Vailor-including the great powers of the Holy Orenian Empire and the Dreadlands-eventually forming two alliances: the Imperials and the Axis. The Axis powers was consisted of numerous nations and factions that had been attacked by the Empire previously, either as an act of defense or aggression. Many of these nations saw the Empire as a threat to their survival, and wanted to completely dismantle it and its institutions. The war lasted for 11 years, but was mainly consisted of smaller skirmishes on either continent of Vailor as opposed to major confrontations.
The conflict was one of multiple World Wars launched against humanity, and is also the only World War to ever span across two realms, from Vailor to the Isles of Axios. The Imperial victory led to a renewed sense of patriotism within the Empire, alongside a growing pro-Humanity view. These shifts in ideologies also resulted in immense aggression against the members of the Coalition that were not destroyed, including the War Uzg, as what many Imperials saw as punishment for attacking the Empire. These growing hostilities would ultimately result in the War of Orcish Submission, which saw to the destruction and dissolution of the War Uzg.
The Riga War had radically altered the political landscape of Oren, with the defeat of the Duchy of Courland and the defection of the Krajian Hetmanate. Meanwhile, the victorious Carnatian League had gained territory, and the Duchy of Haense was newly formed. Despite strong efforts by the League to prevent a Courlander insurrection, the war's aftermath still caused anti-Imperial nationalism throughout the Hetmanate and Courland.
Courland however, refused to admit defeat and marched its army, recently reinforced by Krajian cossacks and Dreadlandic marauders to the Westmark river, engaging with the Carnatian force at its banks. Courland's victory reinvigorated the war effort within Riga, and support for the war rose, as many Courlanders saw the conflict as a fight against tyranny and oppression. The Emperor, however, was more than displeased by Courland's use of Dreadlandic soldiers in their most recent fight, and immediately ended the war, declaring it an official victory for the Carnatian League.
Duke Alexander, infuriated by the Emperor's decision, would secede from the Empire, crowning himself as King of Courland. Alongside the recently crowned King Sveneld of Ruska, he would become one of many signatories of the Declaration of the Southern Axis, officially starting the largest World War in the Fifth Empire's history.
- Following its victory at the Battle of Westmark, the Duchy of Courland secedes from the Holy Orenian Empire, forming the Kingdom of Courland.
- The Hetmanate of Krajia follows suit, also rebelling against the Empire to form the Kingdom of Ruska.
- Vailorian Assembly of Southern Axis Powers, or the Southern Axis in Opposition to the Johannian Monarchs, is formed, consisting of multiple nations and factions spread all over Vailor. The Coalition is headed by the Principality of the Dreadlands, ruled by Prince Daniel.
- The Grand Kingdom of Urguan breaks off from the Axis Coalition, declaring its neutrality in the conflict.
- A Carnatian and Imperial coup d'etat succeeds, and the capital city of Riga is taken from King Alexander and given to his young son, Percival II.
- Minor skirmishes occur all over Vailor, and the newly settled Isles of Axios, with both sides earning multiple victories against the other.
- Members of the Axis coalition discover difficulty in finding resources to fuel their war effort.
- The Treaty of the Northern Union is formed between the Holy Orenian Empire, the Grand Kingdom of Urguan, and the Dominion of Malin.
- Emperor John III launches a naval invasion of the Dreadlands. Upon arrival, the Imperials find that the town has been abandoned and demolished, with its inhabitants nowhere to be found.
- The Holy Orenian Empire declares its victory in the Axis war, taking the former lands of the Dreadlands for itself. Emperor John III forms the Province of the Dreadlands, making Prince Charles Henry the governor of the lands.
- King Sveneld is forced into exile, where he dies. His lands are returned to the control of the Imperial crown.
- Ruskan refugees flee to the Duchy of Haense, increasing the likelihood of Duke Peter receiving the royal pedigree.
- The House of Staunton is removed from nobility, and are banished from the Empire by Emperor John III.
- The High Elves are subjugated again, with multiple Imperial overseers put in place to prevent another rebellion.
- Uruk marauders begin enslaving Imperial settlers within the Dreadlands, raising anti-uruk mentalities in the Empire.