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Rise of the Second Hegemony

Can't you hear it, Kethoris? Vardania. How she's screaming, howling and crying. Wailing under a thousand vicious bites. Tormented by the actions of a hundred petty lords. This land needs peace! And there's only one way to achieve it. The Iron Fist of the Hegemony.
— Nerva Coterian
  From the ashes of a burning continent rose a realm, unlike any the world had ever seen. Forged from the blood of a million soldiers and the corpses of a thousand nations, the Second Tarquinnian Hegemony ruled the known world for the better part of a millennium and brought with it an age of unprecedented peace, prosperity and advancement in all fields known to man.   But before the light of Tarquinnia could be brought to foreign shores however, order had to be restored at home. The scavengers fighting over the remains of the old order had to be destroyed, their petty realms washed away in a tide of steel.  

Continent in Ashes

  Vardania had been in turmoil ever since the First Tarquinnian Hegemony fell in 1485 DA. In quick succession the War of the Four Emperors, the Alevati Invasions and Dance of the White Rose devastated an already shaken continent.   In Tarquinnia, a series of corrupt and decadent cadet dynasties of the infamous Mecarian family succeeded each other in quick succession, their reigns as ineffective as they were short. In 1563, the High Kingdom of Feranar fell to infighting, its last real ruler falling victim to the blades of Ainach.   On the summer coast, the powerful realm of Nurn tore itself apart, Queen Ameris and her successors waging an internal war against the Daughters of Cybelle and the Rhomeian Colonies of the region (Ainach, Sur and Mir) were in open revolt against their former overlord.  

Northern Power

  While the south was tearing itself apart, a new power was rising quietly in the north. In 1561 a group of Warlords formed the Regerian Alliance, its sole purpose the reconquest of northern Vardania. Over the course of the next hundred years, they systematically destroyed the Barbarians remaining after the Alevati Invasions . Pushing beyond the river Meis, they began to construct a new series of fortifications, the Northern March. Protected from further incursions the Alliance set about rebuilding the devastated land.   For the most part, they stayed neutral, only repelling occasional border raids. This changed by 1650 DA when Nerva, former ruler of Chaironea, driven from his city by the Three Dynasties sought refuge among them. The shrewd politician soon rose through the Alliance's ranks and by 1654 joined its ruling council the Inner Circle.   Nerva had always been an enemy of the Heartlands corrupt rulers and now with the Alliances military power and several like-minded allies in the form of its ruling Warlords, he had the power to make his ambitions reality.  

Fall of the Three Dynasties

 
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by Creative Assembly
In early 1655 a border skirmish gave them the perfect opportunity. What began as nothing more than a scuffle between opposing patrols had escalated into a battle.   Within the week, the Alliance commenced an all-out invasion of the Heartlands. Five Legions, one-hundred and twenty-five thousand soldiers marched south.       The Dynasties mobilized over 250.000 soldiers to counter them. However, the mob made up of mercenaries and militias proved no match for the northern Legions. When the two armies met in the Battle of Munera they simply melted under the assault. Rebellion after rebellion tore the Dynasties power base apart, as the populace had had enough of their overlords decadence.   Within the span of three years, the realm ceased to exist, the last southern bastion falling in late 1658 DA.  
This is not as simple as repairing a few roads and replacing a few bureaucrats Nerva! This land is rotten to the core. It will take decades for it to recover.
— Aliea Lapin, Primarch of the Alliance
 

Second Hegemony

  The war, as it turned out, had been the easy part. Decades of infighting and misrule had left the Heartlands ruined. Restoration proved to be a daunting task. Luckily the Alliance had what many considered the greatest administrator of her age, Aliea Lapin. The land was rebuilt from the ground up, the old administration removed in its entirety. New provinces were created, cities rebuild, mines and farms reopened. Canals and roads, so long been left to rot were now restored.   While peace had been restored to central Vardania, its outer regions remained in war's iron clutches. Vardanias various powers seemed content with ripping each other part rather than focus on the new threat from the north. The Inner Council meanwhile began to plan new campaigns. In 1670 DA they officially declared the Second Tarquinnian Hegemony, a move that was akin to a declaration of war upon all of Vardania.   For the ease with which the Dynasties had been subdued had revealed the full extent of the weakness that permeated the entire south. And only fueled Nerva's already boundless ambitions.  

The Three Battles

  Following the declaration, the newly formed Hegemony launched an unprecedented military campaign. Across the entire length of the continent, Alliance forces began to assail their southern neighbours. Three main armies, each 100.000 strong spearheaded the operation. In the west, Majorian the Hegemonies Warmaster advanced against the Feran Kingdom of Ganis, while Atelius marched against their brethren in the east.   Finally, General Kethoris crossed the Mountains of Ash which frame the Heartlands southern border and invaded the Kingdom of Ironwood. Nearly twenty years of war followed, for while the Hegemonies armies were once again superior on the battlefield, their enemies proved far more tenacious than the Dynasties had been.   Siege followed siege, battle followed battle. The few untouched forests and farmlands now became ashen ruins. Guerrilla attacks took a huge toll on the Legions and some say that more people died in ambushes and raids than during the entire war against the Dynasties.   These were only slight setbacks however and with each month the Legions advanced farther and farther south. Their situation utterly desperate the various southern realms decided to throw their weight into a single final offensive. They would either drive their enemies back north...or die trying. In late 1689 DA, a series of three battles, while thousands of miles apart from one another took place on the same day. The 26th of Novem would change the course of history.  

Anrak

Beneath the walls of Anrak, where over 800 years prior the Prophet had led the Ferans into Vardania, over 140.000 soldiers had gathered for their last stand against the army of Atelius. Hour after hour saw blood flow in rivers as waves of Feran Men-at-Arms broke against the Legions. Arrows darkened the sky and shredded any soldier unfortunate enough to have no cover.   Finally, in the waning hours of the day, as the suns last rays painted the battlefield in their orange glow, Feranars Knights charged. Thundering across the plain, a wall of 30,000 iron-clad warriors bore down upon the Hegemony's army. Atelius simply unleashed his artillery and the dream of Feranar vanished in a storm of fire and steel.  
Melian Field
While the rulers of Nurn and Ironwood had been enemies for over two hundred years, the northern attack left them no choice but to ally. Gathering their last forces, they planned on relieving the city of Nirit which had been under siege by Hegemony forces before marching north. Kethoris, however, took the initiative and attacked them while encamped on a field near the village of Melia. Surprised and out of formation both armies were destroyed.
God's Hill
The Kingdom of Ganis had long been the dominant power in western Vardania and proved to be the hardest to subdue. Its last King, a Vardanian named Katherin gathered a host over 200,000 strong, managed to bypass the Tarquinnian army and march north toward the Heartland. In reality, however, Majorian had simply let him pass, secretly followed him and annihilated his army during an ambush among the southern hills.
 
Triumph
by zodlex
Following the destruction of their last great field armies, the southern realms simply collapsed and were absorbed by the Hegemony within the next few months. With no rival left, the Hegemony could focus on integrating the newly conquered lands. New provinces were established and the northern law code introduced. Tarquinnian rule remained rather light however, the people allowed to keep their faiths, traditions and in many areas even their administrations.   The Hegemony had no desire to fight a protracted rebellion and guerilla campaign again and so allowed the southerners a great deal of autonomy. A plan which bore fruit. The 1690s remained peaceful and slowly but surely Vardania recovered.   All ambitions of the Inner Council seemed fulfilled, even Nerva seemed content. They had restored order to Vardania. Reforged the Hegemony and pushed it to even greater heights. The entire continent answered to them. Cities began to grow again, trade flourished and the initial apprehension of the conquered turned too careful optimism as peace reigned over Vardania for the first time in over 300 years.   The peace would not last, however. In the west, across the Great Divide storm clouds were gathering...  
Vardania is in turmoil. Her lands are bleeding. Her children slaughter each other by the thousands and her wealth is squandered in petty conflict. But no longer! A new power is rising. Forged from blood, fire, steel and the ashes of the old order. The Hegemony will be reborn! The Light of Tarquinnia shall illuminate the world once more!
— Warmaster Majorian
Conflict Type
War
Start Date
1655
Ending Date
1700
Conflict Result
Establishment of the 2nd Hegemony. Unification of Vardania.
1655.jpg
by Darkseid
 
Peace? Don't make me laugh. I've known many people like you. All driven by the same insatiable hunger. Tell me where will it end? The Heartlands? The Reach? The far shores of the world?
— General Kethoris
  The Mecarian Dynasty   One of the most infamous families in Vardanian history, the Mecarians were the 2nd Dynasty to rule the First Tarquinnian Hegemony. Originally a military republic the Hegemony had developed into a monarchy under Honorian I. (1318-1335) and his descendants.   While the influence of the senate steadily decreased, a series of noble families began to emerge as the true power behind the throne. Chief among them the Mecarians. When Amelian I., last of the Alian Dynasty, died heirless in 1391, they had grown so powerful that no one contested the ascension of Toaris (1391-1402) to the throne.     His ascension is seen by many as the beginning of the end of the First Hegemony. Disastrous economic policies, corruption on a scale unheard of in Vardanian history and one military failure after another, shook the realm to the core. Increasingly unbearable taxes resulted in a series of uprisings beginning in 1450.   The rotten shell of a realm finally fell in 1485, when the death of Empress Hetaris (1479-1485) resulted in a succession crisis and the War of the Four Emperors.   While the mainline would die out eventually, a series of cadet dynasties would continue to rule the Heartlands until 1658.  
Their legacy outlived them. Even today the name Mecarian is synonym with greed, corruption and decadence.
— "Dynasties of the First Imperial Age" by Archivar Metarin
  Realm of the Four People   One of the strangest realms to ever exist on the continent, the Kingdom of Ganis rose during the general collapse Vardania experienced in the aftermath of the Alevati Invasions. Few things are known about the nation; it leaving few records behind despite being civilized.   What historians do know is that was comprised of all four major peoples of Vardania (Vardanians, Ferans, Mykarans, Rhomeion) and followed a strange syncretic religion, which incorporated aspects from all manner of cults.   The Kingdom was conquered by the 2nd Hegemony, following the Battle of God's Hill in 1689 DA.  
Assault
by Radman
  Mother of Vardania   The Second Tarquinnian Hegemony was created through Nerva's shrewdness, Majorian's military genius and Aliea's administrative magic.   At least that's what those not versed in the continents history claim. While the truth is more complicated, there is no doubt that the Hegemony could not have risen without Aliea Lapin.   A Vardanian of low birth she is first mentioned during her service as Master of Finance in various northern cities. Her skill in finance, administration and management was unparalleled, even poor backwaters becoming moderately wealthy under her care.   Through skill and hard work, she rose into the highest echelons of power, eventually becoming Primarch (First Minister) of the Second Tarquinnian Hegemony. It is thanks to her policies and actions that Vardania recovered from its two-century decline in a relatively short period.   Even two thousand years later her policies are studied and held as examples of masterful governance and she is revered in the same manner as Hideon the Builder.  
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by avvart

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Comments

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23 Apr, 2021 23:56

A wonderful article that was filled with information!. Just something minor i noticed. even poor backwaters becoming moderately wealthy under her care. I think you meant to say " Even poor backwaters became moderately wealthy under her care "