Aestivan League

The Aestivan League:

Southeast of the Republic are the lands of the League,
a collection of city states and small warlords that has been ruled by a
military council of seven generals for longer than Iridine has had its
Senate. Conditions in the states of the coalition are generally good for its
citizenry, but there are always those who would wander. The Aestivans are
known for caution and a national stubborness. Rather than explore and expand
further, the ruling councils of the past have drained swamps, chopped down
forests and even levelled hills in order to create farmland around where they
decreed towns would be built. Many of the best builders and engineers come
from the League's lands.

I will begin by stating that the information that I will set forth has not come to me by first hand experience, but by my schooling whilst still living in Aestiva. As these Histories chronicle over four hundred years of history, not every source will be completely reliable, and when I can, I will offer different sides to the same event, as to remain objective in my writings. I will use, as a baseline, the year of founding of Iridine as the beginning if the history, as the majority of those who read these Histories will be of Iridinian decent, or are living in Iridine presently.

Aestivan Geography

The Aestivan League is situated to the southeast of Iridine, in temperate
lands suited for farming and vineyards. Though the land around it can be
rolling or even rocky, the Aestivan League itself is carefully sculpted and
contained with a series of solid roads and bridges, with flat farmland lying
between. The Aestivan passion for order and determined effort have yielded a
very gently rolling, mostly pastoral setting in which to live. Low areas have
been built up, high areas knocked down, and the whole organized with an almost
machine-like precision to yield maximum benefit. Visitors to the land usually
admire the well-planned farms and roads, but return to their own lands
relieved to see a little chaos.

First, the lay of the land must be established in order to better understand the chronology of its people. The Republic of Iridine, commonly believed to be the centre of commerce of the known world, is located on the coast of the GREAT SEA. To the north-east lies Cinera, to the south, the vast mountains of the Parcines, and to the south-east, what is currently known as the Aestivan League.

Past the lands of the League lie vast wastelands and uninhabitable mountains, which few have ventured, and even fewer have returned. The League itself is divided into seven city-states, Aestiva, Haradun, Naeva, Prolos, Astyne, Prath, and Gniima.

Aestiva is located closest to the Republic of Iridine, and Gniima to the side of the wastelands. Long ago, Prolos and Astyne were covered in the rolling foothills of the Parcines, but have since been flattened for agricultural purposes. Prath if a religious city and bars entry to any but it's native inhabitants, so not much is known about it.

Aestivan Appearance

People from the Aestivan League are very similar in appearance to their
Iridine cousins, with a tendency, however, toward shorter and stockier stature.
They are all solid and strongly made, their durable bodies suiting their
stubborn temperaments. Skin color ranges from a medium olive, to tanned, to
brown, with eyes of black, brown or hazel. Lighter-colored eyes are not
unknown but crop up mainly from foreign blood. Hair color ranges from black
to light brown. Their features are mostly heavier and square, with a solid,
strong appearance.

The people of the League must be described in order to empathize with them and understand how they make their decisions. Aestivans at heart are a cautious people, who are known for their national stubbornness. To quote the annals found in the Great Library of Astyne:

"People from the Aestivan League are very similar in appearance to their Iridine cousins, with a tendency, however, toward shorter and stockier stature. They are all solid and strongly made, their durable bodies suiting their stubborn temperaments."

Aestivan Stubbornness

The Aestivans, as mentioned before, are known world-wide for their stubborn nature. Folk tales, plays, and songs have been written with this as a central theme, and in more times than not, the stubborn come out as the victors. One tale of such is of a man who had three sons. One day, the local magistrate told the man that he would have to give up one tenth of his land so that a new road could be built. But this man would hear nothing of it. On that day that the road builders were scheduled to pass through the man's land, he went out and lay down right in their path.
He lay there for seven days and six nights. His three sons, his wife, and even the whole of the road builders could not convince him to move. Finally, the Magistrate gave up and the man got to keep his land. This led to the construction of the first, and coincidentally last, crooked road in Aestiva.
As one can tell by the layout of their land, the Aestivan people prefer order to chaos. All of their territory is laid out between vast roads and is mostly comprised of farmland. Where there used to be mountains, ravines and swamps now lay nothing but some of the most fertile land in Midlight. Aestiva produces some of the best engineers in all the world, and this can be seen in the rock-solid structure of their buildings.
The Temple of Ereal in Monlon, which stood for over 300 years, is believed to have been designed and built by Aestivans, but both Iridine and Cinera flat out deny this, saying that it was their people the erected the Temple.

Aestivan Culture

Those from the Aestivan League are ordered and rational in their everyday
thinking and actions…unless something or someone gets in their way. Then
their stubbornness in overcoming the obstacle is legendary. Aestivan
stubbornness is a source of pride to them and has been the subject of songs
and plays, usually with determination winning all for the hero. Aestivan
culture has also been shaped by their talent for engineering. They build some
of the most formidable and rock-solid buildings ever seen on Midlight, as
well as superior bridges and roads. This talent arose out of their need to
re-create the land around them into an ordered, well-kept country, despite
what mountains or marshes lay in their way. Aestivans are an earthy, ground-
based people, and their culture reflects this. Long after others have given
up on a seemingly hopeless project, an Aestivan will worry the problem
into a solution through sheer bull-headed stubbornness.

Aestivan History

The Aestivan League is purported to have a history as long as Iridine's, but
its constituents have only begun to keep written records in recent centuries.
What is known is that the Aestivan League's ruling council has always been
made up of seven generals who keep the land under strict organized rule and
are usually 'elected' for life, whether through prowess in battle or a talent
for superior strategy. Despite this military slant to life, the Aestivan
League has had few revolutions, and everyday life is not unduly harsh or
oppressive, being, in fact, better than many other 'freer' countries. The
people of the Aestivan League take to order, discipline, and duty as ducks
take to water, and thus, military rule is no hardship. It has been surmised
that far in the past, the ancestors of the current Aestivan people were
a landless company of soldiers, either a legion or mercenaries, who chose to
settle in what is now the Aestivan League and carve a permanent home for
themselves. No records exist to prove or refute this, though Aestivans are
inordinately proud of their military accomplishments, holding them up against
those of Altenes and Iridinians for comparison.

Now that the mindset of her people has been established, the history of the nation can begin. It is generally held that the Aestivans were a roaming group of mercenaries or legionnaires that came to settle in the temperate climate. While this claim can not be verified, it also cannot be disputed, and is held firm by all but a few Aestivans. Over the many years since, the city-states of Aestiva grew into powerful forces within the region. By the time of the founding of Iridine, and the proclamation of Tulca I as King of Iridine, the Six Cities controlled the lands of Aestiva.

These were, and still are, Aestiva, Haradun, Naeva, Prolos, Astyne, and Gniima. However, at this point in time, no official organisation between the cities had been established. There were constant disputes and bickering over who held how much land and so on. In the fifteenth year after the founding if Iridine, the ruling warlord of Astyne, Gramna Holtus, was to be betrothed to the daughter of Jermol Frenna, ruler of Haradun.
However, on the day of the wedding, a Prolos traveller kidnapped the bride and returned home with her to be his wife. Both Astyne and Haradun were extremely put off by this and declared an all out war on the city of Prolos. After three short weeks of fighting, Prolos fell and Astyne and Haradun split the city down the middle. This arrangement, though, did not last too long, and Prolos was completely handed over to Astyne by the ruler of Haradun, as a wedding present.

For the next forty years, relative peace reigned throughout the city-states. But in the fifty-second year after the founding of Iridine, great hordes of barbarians attacked from the wastelands to the south and east of Gniima. Being a primarily agricultural area, the Gniimans had only a small defensive army, comprised mainly of volunteer farmers and villagers. Though they fought valiantly and to the last, they were defeated by the raging hordes. Naeva, the closest of the six city-states to Gniima sent in assistance in an attempt to liberate Gniima from the barbarians, but they too were defeated.

For six long years, Gniima remained under barbarian rule, and its citizens were treated harshly and were basically turned into slaves for the ruthless nomads. What the people needed was a hero to unite the six city-states into an allied front and rid Gniima of the horrid barbarians once and for all. Araea Lowma, a general in Aestiva's military called together the leaders from the cities, including those from Gniima, who sought refuge in Naeva. Lowma convinced the rulers of each state to join together and attack the barbarians in one massive assault. His plan was a success, and in the fifty-eighth year after the founding of Iridine, Gniima was finally freed. This alliance, though originally meant to be temporary, was such a success that the leaders unanimously decided to maintain the alliance and form what is now the Aestivan League. The League was to be run by seven generals, one from each city, and one elected based on military prowess or superior strategy.

This is now called the Military Council of the League of Aestiva, and is based in the City of Aestiva, the capital city of the League.

Timeline

  • 136-201 EK — Long war with Iridine begins during the reign of Iridine's Tulca II.
  • 213 EK / 1 YP — Peace with Iridine. See Valstaron Martius.
  • 6 YP — The Aestivan League agrees to send emissaries to Iridine in the hopes of finding a peaceful resolution to the continuing conflict. A small faction within Iridine manages to assassinate the emissaries, and the war with Iridine resumes.
  • 15 YP — The Iridine army wins a decisive victory against the Aestivans at the Battle of the Legion of Oaks. Effectively ends the war against Iridine.
  • 19 — Four years after the Battle of the Legion of Oaks victory, a treaty is signed with Iridine, officially ending hostilities. (?? Aestivan League gains control of Astraea ??)
  • 100 — Aestiva loses control of Astraea to Cinera.
  • 159 — Relations with Iridine become tense, and deteriorate further after a visiting Aestivan dignitary is killed in Iridine. War is inevitable.
  • 162 — After several strategic victories, Aestivan advances are repulsed by Iridine.
  • 163 — The Iridine Senate and Aestiva sign The Second Aestivan Treaty. Popular support for the treaty is absent in the Aestivan League, and many are unhappy with the stipulations concerning trade with Iridine.
  • 215 — The Aestivan League joins the war with Iridine on the side of Cinera.
  • 217 or 218 — Aestivan General Narisse seizes the Monlon fort, destroying an Iridine cohort in the process.
  • 219 — Alliance with Cinera against Iridine reaches a turning point.
  • 233 — Cinerans assault the city of Monlon. Aestivans temporarily ally with Iridine to defend the Holy City. Sordo Calsuan awarded with the name Cinius for his valour against the Cinerans.

Aestivan Religion

Due to the close proximity to Iridine and their long combined history, the
Aestivan League has inherited Ereal as its chief and only god. Because of
the martial approach Aestivans take to life, Ereal in his aspect as soldier
and defender is most popular, much like the Altenes.

Before the first conquest of the League by Iridine, the League worshipped
several gods of varying degrees of warlike nature. Even their god of Healing
was known in the guise of a Field Medic, who would not hesitate to take up
the sword. Being long allies of Iridine has cooled much of the martial ardor
of former years, however, and Ereal has gained and holds prominence.

Aestivan League and Cinera

Astraea has long been the site of conflict. A prominent trading post, where three of the great nations of Midlight meet, Astraea serves as the hub of communication for most of southern Midlight. Included in this calculation are the barbarian tribes of the Kuramas and beyond.

The party that controls Astraea controls all of this wealth. Until Year of the Republic 170, Astraea was a possession of the Cineran warlord Hikteros. The Astraeans endured seventy years of harsh Cineran rule; prior to that, they had been a member of the Aestivan League, having been the spoil of war after the First Aestivan Treaty. And before that, they had belonged to Iridine since the Cineran defeat in YR 2… and so on, since the founding of Iridine itself.

The most recent capture of Astraea left deep scars. The Cineran warlords of the east, traditionally the most aggressive against the Iridine Republic, penetrated with their armies nearly to the foot of Monlon before suffering a massive collapse of their army east of the forest surrounding Monlon. The triumphant legions of Iridine drove the routed Cinerans all the way past Astraea, soundly defeating them and leaving no room for a negotiated compromise.

This humiliation resonates in the nobility of Cinera even today. Hikteros' son Trithos, one of the chief aggressors against Iridine in the current war, dispatched emissaries to the Aestivan League after hostilities were opened with the kidnappings of YR 207. The specific discussions between those forces are unknown, but it is generally accepted that Trithos used a combination of intimidation and enticement to draw the Aestivan League into the war. Captured in the great Battle of Monlon in YR 219, Trithos' central role in the war was not fully realized before he was thrown to the sands for the enjoyment of the mob. His death, and the sound defeat of Cineran forces, seem to have sowed the seeds of doubt among the Aestivans and has been widely attributed as a cause of the Aestivan withdrawal.

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