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Tyrants Fall

You can't kill me! I am invincible! The prophesized ruler! Once your pathetic dream is burned to ashes, I will be unstoppable! My reign will last ten thousand years! You lot kill me? I AM A GOD!!!
— last words of Emperor Gordian
  On the fields of Andar, an ancient prophecy was fulfilled. On the fields of Andar, a monster was slain. At least if you believe the Feran priest's tales. Fact is that on a day in Iunis of the year 3229 DA, the last Emperor of Tarquinnia fell. Gordian the Tyrant, the man that held all Vardania in his iron grip died at the hands of the Young Falcon.   Although his death is a mere 5 years past, the story is told a thousand different ways. From purely factual to absolutely fantastical, every man, woman or child seems to tell a different tale. Even among those present doubt swells as to what really happened that day on a field of corpses. The bloody end Gordian received was quite fitting for the life of a man many consider to be the epitome of evil.


...And on that day two armies met on the plain of Andar, the number of men as uncountable as the grains of sand within a desert. The air was filled with fire and blood, the cries of anger, fear, and anguish ringing toward the skies...   ...On the seventh day of battle, the tide had turned against the Empire. Anis Moaranon, the Black Stag, had declared for Feranar, his knights crashing into the imperial flank and cutting through the mass of cultists like a knife. The enemy wavered and many among the faithful felt hope rise in their chest...  
Death itself.
...But then the ocean of men parted revealing a sight that had put fear into the hearts of men for millennia. The Legions of Tarquinnia, stone-faced iron-clad warriors, leading them a figure in black armor, his face hidden by a demonic mask. The Tyrant marched ready to break the Falcon once and for all...   ...As the knights of the stag clashed with the sons of the wolf, the Tyrant charged the Falcon. Alone he fought the fifteen of the Veil, shrugging of blow after blow, a monster of power and rage. Modrek, shrewd and quick, fell before his blade. Aladra the kind soul that held the group together, cut in half with a single swing. Tolran the Tall, a giant in height and strength, crushed under his boot. Dozens of knights, tossed aside like dolls as they charged to defend their future...   ...Hour after hour the battle raged. Arrows began to pierce his armor. Axe, mace, and sword tasting his blood. Slowing down, tumbling, he screamed at Henrik to stop his cowardice. To fight him alone. The fated duel that would determine Vardanias future for ages to come. But the Falcon did not heed his challenge, knowing his strength in numbers and tactics...   ...The Tyrant fell to his knees, his body broken and battered by hundreds of strikes. Henrik stepped forward, kicked his sword away and slowly removed the Emperors mask. A young face, not unlike his own, contorted in a vicious snarl, green eyes glinting with insanity...   ...The Tyrant was dead, the Falcons sword in his chest. His army shattered, his cult bled dry, the head of the snake cut off. In time his empire would follow him. But for now, as the sun broke through the oppressive shroud of clouds, the shadow at the heart of the continent seemed lifted...
  • Fall of the Tyrant, Saga of the Tyrants War -
  • Historical Basis

    All this all started with that damn prophecy.....Gods why didn't I listen to you Megran?... Forgive me old friend....
    — Adeon Vargan
    An exception among myths and legends, the fall of Gordian is surrounded by more rumours than most century-old tales, despite being barely 5 years old. Fact is that during late Calidan (Warm Time) of 3329 DA the Hegemony tried to force a decisive battle to halt the advancing Feran armies. Accurate numbers are hard to come by but one can say with certainty that more than half a million men fought, bled and died that day.   Much like most of Gordians actions, his final attack can be attributed to his crippling fear of his own demise. The Prophecy of Kandak, written over 1400 years prior, hung like a shadow over his mind. The tale of a Final War between Feranar and Tarquinnia, the duel of the Tyrant and the Falcon and the death of the Vardanian ruler. Over the centuries several rulers had fit the legends description in one way or another, but none quite like Gordian. From the circumstances of his birth, his life, looks and behaviour, the changes and conflicts that surrounded him and his family, every minor detail matched the prophecy.   Members of his court, those that survived the purges, tell that as he grew older his mind became clouded by his apparent fate. The already, as some would whisper, unstable youth grew obsessed with the prophecy. A fact that, in combination with the appearance and toxic whispers of the Odium Cult, proved fatal.   The disastrous Southern Campaign, which began the Tyrants War. The Battle of Kaurava, which broke the myth of imperial invincibility. The burning of city after city, excesses of the cult and terror against Ferans and Vardanians alike. The war that killed uncountable people. All of it in a manic desire to erase the prophecy.   All talk of prophecy aside, fact is Gordian XIII. Artanus died on the 21st of Iunis 3329 DA on the fields of Andar, leaving his realm and cult leaderless, his line extinct. The realm his forefathers had built over the course of 400 years followed nine months later, at the Battle of Chaironea.  
    You really think that farmboy would have ever traded his pitchfork for a sword if his home hadn´t been attacked?
    — Adeon Vargan


    If you were to look for any indicator on how hated Gordian had been, look no further than Falcon Day. Across the continent, across ethnic divides, religions and cultures the 21st of Iunis is a time of celebration. Millions take to the streets, to marvel at the great parades that traverse the cities, to enjoy the various stands that turn every street into a fair, to see the skies set agleam in every colour imaginable by fireworks. In every city, village and town people honour Henrik Andrael, the young man that, as the bards so eloquently put, lifted the shroud that chocked every soul on the continent.   If there are any who mourn the dead ruler, none would do so openly, the stigma of insanity being the lightest of consequences.
    Gordian the Tyrant
    Date of Setting
    21.07.3329 DA
    Related People

    Tyrants War 3329 DA
          Hegemony or Empire?   One noticeable oddity when studying Feran literature is the use of the title Empire, when in all other cultures it is simply referred to as Hegemony. It does not refer to form of government as the Hegemony is understood as The supreme power on the continent, be it an Ochlocracy or Absolute Monarchy. Empire is a propaganda term as the various hegemonies, especially the four Tarquinnian incarnations, are seen as the ultimate enemy of the Feran people. Its easier to paint this millennia-old conflict as the Evil Empire oppressing the noble Feran people afterall.  
  • Excerpt from Relion, Master of Words
    Tsk. Successful he was. Bastard did more damage to this land in a decade than all wars of the last thousand years combined.
    — Adeon Vargan
        Field of Corpses   Following the battle, the fields of Andar are said to have been covered by a layer of corpses seven feet high. It took months to build the pyres, the fires seen for hundreds of miles across the Heartlands. Even today one may find fields covered in bones and chards of armor, ponds and creeks filled with redish water and undergrowth made of discarded weapons.     Kandaks Tome   A tome of 600 pages, containing 83 prophecies written down by the wandering priest Kandak in the 19th century DA. Ranging from obscure or mundane to era changing, the events foretold in this book have always come to pass. 47 are known to have occurred already. Often written in vague language they may not always play out as envisioned by the reader. The most infamous prophecy is that of The Falcon Knight, which reportedly drove Gordian to madness.  
    Kendraks Prophecies

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    • 3307 DA

      14 /9

      Birth of Gordian Artanus
      Life, Birth

      The birth of Aemilian Artanus only son and heir.

      It was rather...strange. In the moment of his birth there seemed to be no sound outside. No animals, no people...nothing! Just silence. Eerie, suffocating. As if the world knew what had just been brought amongst it.
      - Allaria, royal wet nurse

    • 3320 DA

      12 /1

      Death of Aemelian IV. Artanus
      Life, Trauma/ Loss

      Aemelian IV. died peacefully in his sleep at age 76. The 19th Emperor had led the Hegemony for over 62 years. His death left both the realm and his family in mourning.

      Say what you want but when I saw him at his father's grave that day, he looked utterly human. Then again, some say that even Monsters can love.
      - Laren Quoron, Custodian

    • 3320 DA

      20 /1

      Coronation of Gordian XIII.
      Life, Milestone

      While the new ruler takes office immediately following his predecessor's death, any official coronation or initiation takes place eight days after. This tradition has been observed since the 2nd Founding, although its origins are lost to the Age of Twilight.

      All hail Gordian, thirteenth of his name! Vindicar of Tarquinnia, Socian of Rhomeia, Emperor of the Hegemony and lord of all lands between Dawn Wall and Great Divide. May his reign last long and be ever successful!
      - Megran Tarkain, Imperial General

    • 3321 DA

      7 /11

      Arrival of the Cult

      Ever since the devastating Divine Sunderring any religion/cult wanting to operate within the Hegemony requires official imperial approval and examination. Part of this is an audience with the Emperor, were the cults leader swears an oath to refrain from anti-tarquinnian propaganda. It is on this way that the Odium Cult arrived in Vardania...and sowed the seeds of disaster.

      Her eyes. There was something lurking in the depth of those orbs. It wasn't until it was far too late that both Megran and I realized just what we had seen, that sent fears icy touch into our very bones. There in those lilac pools we had seen it. Pure Madness...
      - Alum Quetar, Imperial Minister

    • 3322 DA

      1 /10

      The Southern Campaign
      Life, Milestone

      The Southern Campaign was the first major military action of the Tarquinnian Imperial Army since the Anonara Campaign in 3302 DA. Four Legions, 100,000 man under command of General Megran Tarkain marched south from Moira. It was planned as a preventive attack, to destroy the growing power of the Summer Kingdoms before they could become too much of a threat.   However, rumour has it that Gordian specifically planned it to wipe out the home region of his prophesised would-be slayer, in an attempt to escape his fate.

      It is due time we remind those arrogant knights, just who the true ruler of this continent is. Send out the Legions! March for Mir and Methlan! Burn Kaurava! Oh, and while you're at it don't forget to collect their heads. One for every noble house you wipe out should do it.
      - Gordian commanding Imperial General Megran

    • 3325 DA

      1 /8

      Execution of General Kethoris - Opening of the Northern Gates
      Political event

      As his reign progressed Gordian became increasingly paranoid of a potential coup by some of his generals, especially the War Council. At the same time the Imperial Army had been dealt several disastrous blows, losing several Legions in the process. To counter this he began courting the barbarian tribes north of the river Meis. When General Kethoris, Defender of the Northern March objected he was sacked and executed.

      You...You cannot...These Barbarians. They laid waste to the north for centuries! How many died...pushing them back?! And now you're just letting them in!?
        Hrg. Even now you question me. I need soldiers for the war. And lately my imperials have become far to unruly. You served this nation well Kethoris. Now serve one last time...As an example for anyone even questioning my authority!
      - final exchange between Gordian and Kethoris

    • 3325 DA

      8 /14

      Meeting the Iron Wolf

      With the war going increasingly against him, Gordian begrudgingly recalled General Vargan from his post in the north and installed him as Supreme Warlord of the Imperial Army. The Iron Wolf was notorious for his brash tone and brutal honesty and there was rarely a meeting between him and Gordian that didn't result in a massive argument.   Nonetheless the decision proved wise. The war began to turn around again, as Vargan dismantled the Feran forces at every opportunity.

      It is common to bow before your emperor Lord Vargan.
        By all respect sire, I am here to turn this disastrous war around. Not get lost in court etiquette.
        Tsk my father may have allowed, even welcomed this tone General. But im not him. Remember well that a single dagger can kill even the most powerful of man.
        A message that his majesty would do good remembering as well.

      - exchange between Emperor Gordian and Adeon Vargan

    • 3327 DA

      12 /6

      Inferno Declaration
      Life, Milestone

      While always harsh, Gordians behaviour towards the latter half of his reign, became downright insane. When the city of Aprin hanged an important Official of the Odium Cult for murder and denied orders to support a Cultist Host, the Emperor had enough. He surrounded the city with his army, blocked all exits and then bombarded it with Incendiary Projectiles. The city burned completely to the ground. Tens of thousands of corpses send a strong message of what defiers and deserters were to expect.

      To anyone having any doubt about their loyalty, gaze upon Arpin. Its once mighty spires now burned husks, its markets, baths and libraries heaps of rubble. Its people, 60,000 in number are ashes. Now you know what turning against me entails. Be careful or one day you might see the continent ablaze.
      - Excerpt from the Inferno Declaration

    • 3329 DA

      14 /7
      3329 DA

      21 /7

      Battle of Andar
      Military action

      Despite Vargans best efforts, Gordians and the Cults meddling had enabled the Feran Armies to push deep into the Heartlands by 3329 DA. With an army barely a week from the capital, Gordian put everything into one final attack. Amassing a force 500,000 strong he intended to crush the Falcons Army and prove the prophecy wrong once and for all.

      In the end all this death, this destruction, the suffering, all will be worth it. You'll see father. You may think me a monster, like all of them do. But you'll see. The seed you planted; I will nurture. My reign shall see Tarquinnia rise to heights not seen since the Age of Wrath! And you will smile knowing father! Smile with pride as they sing our names to the high heavens!
      - words spoken by Gordian moments before the Battle

    • 3329 DA

      21 /7

      The End
      Life, Death

      The final hours of his life seemed to have robbed Gordian of what remained of his sanity. Seemingly fully believing the Odium Cults words he threw himself recklessly into battle. Slaughtering hundreds of soldiers he finally fell after two days of constant battle.

      And if I have to bath the whole continent in blood...You will pay! All of you will PAY!!!


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    20 Mar, 2019 16:35

    Well done! Great layout, use of illustrations, and content!

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    Master Redclaw123
    Elias Redclaw
    20 Mar, 2019 18:20

    If i could like this article, I would do three times, First for the artwork, second for the details and last and most for the beautiful combination of storytelling, prose and worldbuilding intertwined together. Like every single other article of yours, this article was one of the few on world anvil that managed to evoke my emotions on a gigantic level and enrapture me into reading this article. My most liked thing about this article would be a draw between the harrowing and hooking and the beautiful summary of the article. Not to mention the other details and such like the quotes and sidebar usage. Last but not least, this article was very concise, which i feel like an achievement in itself. I have no issues at all with this article tbvh. BIG congratulations and keep up the DAMNED amazing work!

    B.K. Bass
    23 Mar, 2019 23:06

    That classic "famous last words" quote at the top literally made me LOL, very loudly. Otherwise an amazing article both in writing and formatting. Love the in-world saga presented. Very epic stuff. Good job!

    27 Mar, 2019 11:17

    I enjoyed the way you moved between descriptive chronicle and expressive storytelling narrative. I always want to do that but find I can't maintain enough brevity to make it fit compactly within a tidy, easy-to-read article. I enjoyed your narrative summary so much so that the explanatory matter that came after it felt particularly anticlimactic.

    1 Apr, 2019 17:32

    This is an extremely powerful piece of work. Fantastic use of World Anvil features, great story, great information. Honestly I spent a good long time to ask any questions on the life of the emperor, but I just couldn't.   Great piece Darkseid.

    Check out my worldbuilding in the Ethnis Universe!