The Western House Rebellion
War of the Circlet
As war began the Empire, so would war end it. Jealousy and sibling rivalry drove one of the princes of Man’at Etim to take up arms against his blood kin.
The Circlet of Mar Emril and Martalan’s Betrayal
In the twilight years of the Empire, Emperor Mar Emril commissioned one of the greatest artisans of the time to craft him a golden circlet. The crown was more than a symbol of authority; it was also imbued with a powerful enchantment that measured one’s worth and ability. The Emperor Pielias, Mar Emril’s grandson, had raised his sons to lead, to think of the people above themselves. At the end of his life, he could not bring himself to choose between them. So it was that he had the Circlet of Mar Emril choose the most worthy to be the next Emperor.
To the surprise of many, it chose none of Mar Emril’s sons, but his sixteen-year-old daughter by his second wife. Selahn Emril was thought to be weak of mind and spirit, and some generals of the army refused to bow to her. Ishtahan, her eldest brother, was the only of her siblings to agree to the Circlet’s decision. Martalan, Castalan, and Iben left the capital of Al Rashet and began raising an army as their father grew weaker.
The Last Empress
The night that Pielias passed to the next world, the rebels stormed the city. It was a long night of hard-fought progress to the castle, but finally the gates were breached. It seemed that Martalan and his brothers might obtain their goal, but in the great hall, Ishtahan killed Castalan and Iben fell at his sister’s feet and begged forgiveness upon realizing the futility of the conflict.
No amount of pleading could bring Martalan to bow down to a younger sibling that he saw as barely his own. He was cheated of his victory when reinforcements arrived from the Twin Bays outpost and broke the advance of his men through the city, forcing him to retreat.
Martalan’s Return and the Fall of Al Rashet
He traveled far, finding mercenaries and savage warriors to do his bidding, and years later returned with a dread host of thousands. It was in the spring of Selahn’s tenth reigning year, when her only son was born, that Martalan returned. War raged for close to a year, and there were few survivors. None of the siblings lived. Selahn died by Martalan’s hand, as did Iben. Ishtahan took Martalan’s life, and then later died of his own wounds as the city was consumed by fire and ice. Selahn’s son, Thiam, was spirited away by one of the Sisters of Aran. In the Northwest, he was raised, and the province of Marium became his dominion.
Al Rashet: The Lost City Found
The city of Al Rashet was not destroyed, but instead fell victim to a curse so profound that it could not even be seen or approached but on one day every twenty years. To this day, the city burns eternally with unnatural fires. Until a year ago, its streets and people were encased in ice, and abominations of death and hate walked free. Martalan’s death would have been mercy, but his spirit would not rest. For more than a thousand years he remained in the royal crypt, suspended by chains and bleeding eternally onto the grave of his father. It was by his will alone that the curse remained in place.
Now, a large contingent of Confluence Mages and Keepers of the Way have come to Al Rashet. After reports that the city had been found, burning like a beacon in the dead of night atop the mountain, they came from all over Tjara. What they found was both awe-inspiring and a horror to behold. The ice and bodies are gone now, though the fires still burn. Keepers fight hard against things that have come unchecked through the wildly fluctuating planar gate that the mages have yet to stabilize.