Historical Background Information on the Invasion of Talama about a hundred years prior
Source 1: History Book written by Swynfaredians
Source 2: Collection of journals of Talaman witnesses
Source 3: History book written by Fumayan archivist trying to connect the dots.
What Started the War
Essentially, the Swynfaredians gradually aggravated the Talamans into reacting violently and then claimed to be the victims.
There was an anti-sorcerer rabble rousers in Talama never identified. It was later speculated that the rabble rouser was a sorcerer spy uses illusions or transmutation to take on additional identities. The anti-sorcerer sentiment morphed into mostly anti-Greymoria sentiment.
A lot of diplomatic incidents between Swynfaredian and Talama were spin doctored by Swynfaredian propagandists. The flashpoint event was party of Swynfaredian adventurers were caught and executed. Accused of murdering the king’s court wizard and a few servants and guards (ancillary to targeting the wizard). They were accused of attempting to kill a bunch of other courtiers.
Four sorcerers, a Greymoria theurgist, and a non-spellcasting stealthy warrior were captured by Talama's priest triumvirate and put to death.
Swynaredia called them innocent martyrs. Talamans called them war criminals and murderers.
The Fumayan historian checked on the background of the martyrs. Four of them were out of favor nobles. The theurgist was essentially a mercenary, and the party leader was a die-hard loyalist to the Queen of Swynfaredia. The Fumayan scholar's working theory is that the leader willingly sacrificed his life for this ploy and the others were set up as patsies.
What did the Priesthoods and Theurgists Do?
Greymoria’s Children, both in Talama and Swynfaredia backed the Swynfaredians actively. Most of the few theurgists that took the battlefield on behalf of Swynfaredia were aligned with Greymoria. Talaman wizards that did not swear an oath to Greymoria or give the Children a cash bribe got put on a list of names (along with their known addresses and magical abilities) and the list was handed to Swynfaredians.
Talama’s king had always aimed to create priestly triumvirate giving the priesthoods of Phidas, Hallisan, and Khemra equal footing, hence forth, Talamas alliance of these groups will be called the Triumvirate. Most of the Masks, Guardians, and Keepers within Swynfaredia sat out of the war or provided minor logistical and medical aid to the Sywnfaredians from behind the front lines.
The Triumvirate was the back bone of Talmans military defense forming a crucial part of their military’s leadership and raw power. After the war when the Swynfaredians drafted a peace treaty the Triumvirate signed it with only a few token Talaman secular leaders signing it. The Triumvirate was exempted from retribution for any supposed war crimes committed during the conflict. The secular Talaman leaders were not given this protection.
The Stewards of Korus and Tenders of Mera declared themselves neutral in this war, but they did try to help treat wounded and dispossessed people from both sides that they came across though they showed blatant favoritism to Talamans.
The Lanterns joined the war relatively late. Shortly before the war, a Lantern agitator was killed in Talama “while resisting arrest” and they were reluctant to fight on his behalf until tales of Swynfaredian atrocities started to trickle in. The Lanterns harried the Swynfaredians unsuccessfully for many years after Talama was officially annexed becoming all the harder when a large portion of the surviving Triumvirate joined their Swynfaredian leaders in return for some minor concessions.
Most Rovers of Nami were neutral in this conflict (a great many fleeing the area entirely), but one weather witch was very patriotic towards Talama and killed a lot of Swynfaredian soldiers before the Swynfaredians were able to bring her down.
Maylar’s Testers were conspicuously absent. At one point the Swynfaredians tried to claim that opportunistic Tester raiders were following in their wake, but this is largely believed to be a thin veil to deflect blame from their own wartime atrocities.
The Swynfaredia War Coalition
Almost every battle between Talaman soldiers and Swynfaredian soldiers that did not have a significant sorcerer presence, the Talamans dominated. Talaman soldiers were better trained, disciplined, and equipped than their Swynfaredian counterparts. For the most part, Swynfaredians neglect their management of their soldiers in favor of a magical focus. Rather than go into the minutia of this, the net effect is that the average combat pool of a Talama/Fumaya reservist is one die higher than a Swynfaredian reservist. (4/5 dice), the professional soldiers (5 dice/6 dice), and the knights tended to have 7 dice combat pools compared to the talon warriors average of 6.
The exceptions to this rule are House Gareth and House Fremiss B which have a military focus. Note historians don’t say their soldiers are elite or anything, but they are competent and adequately supported on par with their counterparts in less magical lands.
The Swynfaredians had two generals and two armies. Essentially one army represented House Numaness
and their allies. The other army represented House Goirsonad
and their allies. Towards the end of the war, the Talamans realized that the two armies were barely speaking to each other and they never really reinforced the other faction when threatened but they discovered this weakness, it was too late.
There was an anti-war coalition in Swynfaredia, but they didn’t do much but complain about the war including most of House Kovenoth
. The war went pretty smoothly so the Swynfaredian doves got politically sidelines for decades to come.
After the war, Numaness and Goirsonad feuded over who to install as the leaders of the newly conquered land. At least five dragonbloods died suspicious deaths as well as a few high ranking squibs. The most hotly contested lands were the ones with magic fonts on them. Also, there was a literal gold mine that was hotly contested.
Some Talamans retreated from their homeland and settled in Fumaya while others fled into the Border Baronies
. There was one very bloodthirsty sorcerer that wanted to kill Talamans but he got assassinated shortly after the war and the Lanterns claimed credit for his death. For the most part the Swynfaredians only actively hunted Talaman nobles.
The Swynfaredians control a puppet state in the Border Baronies, Uwchradaredia
. Uwcharedia is a dumping ground for favored squibs who can pretend to be powerful in their little slice of Borderlands. This group tried to catch Talamans that fled through their territory. Most of the other Borderlanders nominally sided with the Talamans. The Borderlands has a lot of exiles and fugitives among them and it’s a national pastime to waylay bounty hunters and government agents that poke their nose in the Borderlands. More than a few Swynfaredian agents who went into the Borderlands hunting down fleeing Talaman nobles disappeared there.
Note that the petty kingdom of Altudaredia
is founded by a Swynfaredia exile, but relations between Altudaredia and Swynfaredia are not warm. Alturdaredia had no love for Talamans but they wouldn't lift a finger to help Swynfaredia.
The most famous pair of Talama exiles was a princess (the last surviving direct heir of the Talaman king) and her bodyguard whom she fell in love with. Storytellers love to tell tales of their heroic exploits. The two established the Barony of Love, and their descendants ruled the barony for about a century until orcs and goblins killed their grandson who was either a very poor ruler, or a good man undermined by Swynfaredian spies, or he was a poor ruler undermined by Swynfaredian spies leaving the realm ripe for an orcish assault. The dwarves didn’t want to tolerate an orc Barony on their doorstep so they took out the orcs and installed the Barony of Bats in its place.
A lot of Talamans were tried and executed for war crimes after the war, but these were mostly trumped up charges to remove nobles with inconvenient land claims.. There was an incident towards the end of the war when the Talamans were short on supplies and ended up executing many POWs out of expediency but for most part, Talamans did not commit many real war crimes.
Dragonblood nobles rarely were involved in attacks against the civilian populace, but the Swynfaredian’s soldiers were not very disciplined. The Numaness coalition army ordered his soldiers to take efforts to not harm civilians but they did not prosecute violators very hard. The Goirsonad coalition actively encouraged looting and turned a blind eye to soldiers raping civilians.
With three major exceptions, the dragon bloods did not normally directly target civilians.
There was an invoker in House Fremiss A that liked using civilians for target practice. Officially he died from an invocation miscast, but all appearances suggest that another Swynfaredian invoker fragged him.
There was a Fang Warrior in House Gareth who killed elderly civilians ostensibly to help ration food supplies in the region during the winter, but he seemed to be wanting to move a bunch of Swynfaredian farmers there instead. He disappeared without a trace after the war, but the Lanterns claimed credit for his death.
There was a Numaness noble that tried to coerce Talaman soldiers to surrender by threatening their families. Talaman soldiers managed to capture him and torture him to death before the war was over. He was the highest profile dragon blood to die in the war.
-The Guardians (priests and holy warriors of Hallisan) were 99% certain that an invasion of Swynfaredia is imminent.
-The nobles think the odds of Swynfaredia invading are 50%, 50% symbolic saber rattling. Some of the nobles are pissed that the Guardians have moved all of their resources to the southern border and left the northerners to twist in the wind for the random monsters, goblins, orc raiders, and assorted brigands in the north.
-The civilians are just concerned. No one wants war on their doorstep. Enemy soldiers are likely to rape and pillage. Allied soldiers are not likely to rape and pillage, but they are likely to "requisition" food. Civilians have started hiding food stores.
-When Swynfardia invaded Talama 120 years ago, they killed every wizard they could find. The wizards of Fumaya were warned. Some of them are very concerned, some of them are very unconcerned.