The Intrigues of the reign of Dures II in Arclands | World Anvil

The Intrigues of the reign of Dures II



      Within the annals of Aestis's history, certain eras stand out as periods of great turbulence and intrigue, where the fate of empires hung in delicate balance, and the actions of a few individuals could shape the course of nations. Such was the reign of Emperor Dures II , a pivotal chapter in the chronicles of the Vannic Empire, a realm on the brink of collapse.   Born into a time of strife and tension, Dures II ascended to the throne at the age of seventeen, inheriting an empire plagued by mounting internal conflicts. The Vannic Empire, once mighty and proud, found itself teetering on the edge of disintegration. The very fabric of society strained under the weight of division, as traditionalists clashed with visionaries, and the ambitions of rival factions threatened to tear the empire apart.   It is within this maelstrom of intrigue and conflict that the story of Dures II unfolded—a tale of family dynamics, political machinations, and a hidden secret that could shake the foundations of the Vannic Empire. As the second son of Emperor Trastian and Empress Lurena, Dures II was born into a world where his path to power seemed predetermined. His elder brother, Vastor, was groomed to be the heir to the empire, while Dures II lingered in the shadow of his sibling's anticipated glory.   However, beneath the surface of the royal court, a web of rivalry and ambition simmered. Dures II harbored a deep resentment towards his brother, driven by a sense of inadequacy and the belief that his own abilities surpassed those of his elder sibling. The tension between the two brothers would fuel a rivalry that would shape the course of the empire, while their younger sister, Silviana, harbored secrets of her own.   Amidst these familial struggles, an influential courtier emerged—Lady Katria, the aunt of Dures II. A master of political maneuvering, she became a guiding force in shaping the destiny of the empire, skillfully manipulating the young prince as a pawn in her own ambitious game. The ambitions of Lady Katria would intertwine with the hidden life of Silviana, whose artistic talents concealed her involvement in a secret order, defying the very will of the Keeper—the divine entity that sought to control the mortal realm.   As Dures II grappled with the weight of his family's expectations and the pressures of ruling an empire on the brink of collapse, he found himself at the center of a web of intrigue and conflicting loyalties. The stakes were high, and the choices he made would have far-reaching consequences not only for his own reign but for the future of the Vannic Empire itself.   In the following chapters, we delve into the intricate tapestry of the intrigues that defined the reign of Dures II. Through treacherous alliances, hidden agendas, and the emergence of a secret order, the story unfolds, revealing a world of shadows, ambition, and the quest for power. Join us on this journey into the heart of the Vannic Empire, where the fate of nations hangs in the balance, and the resilience of a young ruler will be tested like never before.    

A. Rivalry with Vastor

  From an early age, Dures II harbored a deep sense of resentment towards his elder brother, Vastor. While Vastor was being groomed to inherit the empire, Dures II felt overshadowed and overlooked by his family and the courtiers. He was seen as the "lesser" prince, destined to live in his brother's shadow.   As Dures II matured, his intelligence and charisma became evident to those who truly paid attention. He possessed a keen strategic mind and a natural talent for diplomacy, skills that far surpassed those of his brother. However, these qualities were dismissed by his father and the courtiers due to the traditional Vannic belief that the eldest son should inherit the throne.   The rivalry between Dures II and Vastor intensified as they grew older, fueled by their contrasting personalities and ambitions. Vastor was more conservative and focused on maintaining the status quo, while Dures II yearned for change and innovation. Their conflicting visions for the future of the empire set them on a collision course, with each vying for supporters among the courtiers and nobles.  

B. Lady Katria's Machinations

  Dures II's aunt, Lady Katria, was a shrewd and ambitious courtier who wielded significant influence within the empire. While publicly supporting Emperor Trastian's rule, she secretly nurtured her own aspirations for power. Recognizing Dures II's potential, she saw an opportunity to manipulate him as a pawn in her political games.   Lady Katria took advantage of Dures II's discontent and resentment towards Vastor, subtly feeding his desire for change and stoking his ambitions. She became his confidante, offering advice and encouragement, all the while subtly guiding his decisions towards her own desired outcomes.   Under Lady Katria's guidance, Dures II began to form his own network of loyal supporters within the court, rallying those who shared his progressive ideals and his belief in a future beyond the mountains. This further deepened the divide between him and Vastor, as they competed for allies and influence among the nobles and military commanders.  

C. Silviana's Secret Life

  Silviana, Dures II's younger sister, was more than just a talented musician and artist. Unbeknownst to her family, she led a secret life as a member of a previously unknown order that had emerged within the empire.  
The secret order, known as the Order of Dust, emerged as a result of the Keeper's interference in the affairs of the Mortal Realm and his war against the Fey and the Thaladic Graces. Founded by one of the Keeper's own envoys, who had grown as proud and manipulative as its divine master, the Order of Dust sought to seize control over human affairs and shape the mortal realm according to their own vision.   The envoy, whose name was Vesperan (who the chroniclers of the Order of Dust are unsure whether it was a Phalanx Grace or some other entity) had spent centuries in the Mortal Realm as an observer, carrying out the Keeper's will by sowing discord and undermining the Fey. However, as time passed, Vesperan grew increasingly disillusioned with the destructive nature of their mission. They began to question the Keeper's intentions and saw the potential for a world based not on harmony and justice or even on the Keeper's wars, but on order, domination and power.   Driven by this newfound belief, Vesperan turned against its divine master and chose to form the Order of Dust. They recruited individuals who had been disenchanted by the influence of the Phalanx Graces and Shuravai, seeking out those who desired a balance between mortal ambition and the preservation of the natural order. The Order of Dust became a clandestine organization operating in the shadows, manipulating events and individuals to achieve their own agenda.   The Enclave's primary goal was not to counteract the destructive influences of empire and religion, which the Keeper had intended to foster, but to harness them.   Silviana, with her artistic talents and persuasive nature, quickly became one of the Enclave's most promising members, believing that she could help her brother Dures to unite the Vannic Empire once more. She relished the opportunity to wield power and influence, seeing it as a means to reshape the world in line with the Order's ideals. Silviana's involvement in the secret order was initially driven by her desire for personal power, but as she delved deeper into the Enclave's teachings, she became genuinely committed to their cause.
    Silviana, driven by a thirst for power and recognition, embraced the teachings of this order and became a formidable manipulator in her own right. Her artistic talents allowed her to conceal her true intentions beneath a facade of innocence and naivety, making her an even more dangerous adversary.   Silviana's involvement in this secret order further complicated the dynamics within the royal family. While Dures II and Lady Katria were unaware of her secret life, Vastor suspected that Silviana was involved in nefarious activities. He embarked on his own covert investigation to expose her and, in doing so, sought to weaken Dures II's position and the influence of Lady Katria.   The revelation of Silviana's true allegiance would have profound consequences, leading to a dramatic confrontation between the siblings and their respective supporters, further fracturing the already divided Vannic Empire.

A Fire in the Heart of Knowing

  Our debut Arclands novel is available here. Read A Fire In the Heart of Knowing, a story of desperate power struggles and a battle for survival in the dark lands of Mordikhaan. 


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