The Gillthalis Uprising was a civil war in Thallasus between the forces of Contender Gillthalis Teres and Viceroy Melanday Teres regarding woman's ability to serve as viceroy and monarch of Thallasus. Scholars sometimes refer to the conflict as the First Thallasusian Succession War. Background After The Mishanter the Viceroyalty of Thallasus gained independence from the Rhyallian Empire. Viceroy Naltherian Teres successfully navigated the post Mishanter chaos and seventeen years later the realm's nobles proclaimed him king of the new Kingdom of Thallasus. King Naltherian established the kingdom as a very restrictive elective monarchy. The only candidates for the monarchy were Naltherians descendants, and the only elector was the current monarch. Naltherian bestowed his former title of viceroy on his second son Rithian, indicating he was to succeed him. Rithian further developed the Thallasusian succession system by introducing the rank of Contender. Contenders were those under consideration to be the next monarch. The monarch could select an unlimited number of Contenders. One of the contenders would be choses by the monarch as the viceroy who would succeed the current monarch upon death. Both the viceroy and contender title were permanent and could not be revoked once granted. If there was no viceroy at the time of the monarch's death, the realm's nobles would select the next monarch from among the contenders. Rithian created these reforms to allow the monarch to stretch out the succession process while maintaining limited control. The monarch could create a pool of contenders early, then wait and see which one developed into the best potential leader before naming a viceroy. This would hopefully avoid the kingdom being locked into a poor choice because the monarch acted too early. Rithian initially selected his eldest son as viceroy, but after his son's unexpected death the king passed over his younger son and daughter and chose his nephew Sazriel as the new viceroy, establishing early that succession would not always be from father to son. Sazriel's grandson Baraxis named his daughter Melanday contender when she was six years old. While some nobles were surprised, most considered it a harmless affection, since the rank of contender on it's own as just a sign of respect. As Melanday grew she excelled in the traits prized by Thallasusian nobles, becoming well educated and respected. She eventually married Donnic Cavrace, eldest son of the Count of Brightwater. On Melanday's twenty-four birthday, Baraxis officially named her viceroy of the kingdom. While many nobles were not surprised, some were shocked and concerned. These concerns were less focused on Melanday's competency, as she was widely accepted as skilled and capable, but centered around the fear that she would name one of her children as viceroy in turn. The throne would pass from House Teres to House Cavrace, and possibly merge with the County of Brightwater, strengthening the monarchy's power while weakening its prestige. The concerned nobles looked for an alternative, and soon found it in the king's brother Gillthalis. Named a contender by his father, Gillthalis had expected to be named viceroy instead of his niece. Eager for a chance at power, he joined a conspiracy with five counts planning to declare Melanday and illegitimate viceroy and install Gillthalis on the throne.
Beginning StageThe conspirators planned for a quick coup, using the royal guard as their instrument. The guard was made up of knights sourced from the nobles of Thallasus, so the five counts instructed their knights to eliminate Baraxis and Melanday, after which the counts would declare Gillthalis king. On the appointed day, the treacherous guards slew their king in his study, but they had not realized that Viceroy Melanday and her husband had left the capital that morning on a visit to Breachwood. The plan already in motion, the counts were forced to declare Gillthalis king and attempt to control the situation as best they could. Melanday received word of her father's murder on the road and she and Donnic immediately headed to Brightwater, where she proclaimed herself Queen of Thallasus while her father summoned his levies. Gillthalis' supporters were forced to call for troops as well. The coup had turned into a war. About of third of Thallasus' nobles backed Gillthalis, with most supporting their position by contributing troops. A quarter of the nobles supported Melanday, with another quarter paying lip service to her as the queen without contributing much support. The remaining nobles tried to ignore the war and wait for someone to emerge on top. One notable supporter of the queen was Gillthalis' second son Merrin. Like his older brother, Merrin has been named a contender by Baraxis when he was a young child. When the uprising began he denounced his father's actions and fled to join Melanday. The queen was understandably suspicious of his support and he spent the remainder of the war under house arrest.
Middle StageMelanday moved her court south to the coastal city of Cape Sethsron. The small skirmishes of the initial months of the conflict faded as the first actual campaigns of the uprising commenced. Melanday was forced to fend off rebel attacks against both Cape Sethsron and Brightwater. The loyalists were successful, with Prince Consort Donnic making a name for himself as a skilled commander, although losses were heavy. As fall turned to winter both sides settled into their current positions to wait out the poor weather. Feeling confident in his superior numbers, holding the capital, and having been on the offensive the entire time Gillthalis took little action during the winter. Melanday was very busy during the winter. First, she strove to make up for her deficiency in soldiers by hiring mercenaries. One of these groups, a company of Irikeenan infantry, would become the start of the Filasom Guards. She also issued a proclamation clarifying Thallasusian succession. She declared that the viceroy and monarch could be a man or woman, as long as he or she was a member of House Teres and descended from King Naltherian in the male line. She made it clear that no children she might have with Donnic could inherit the throne. As her children taking the throne was the major concern with her becoming viceroy, this altered the views of several nobles. Melanday let the nobles think on that throughout the winter, while planning one last surprise right as the spring campaigning season started.
End StageIn early spring, Queen Melanday led her reinforced army out of Cape Sethsron and headed north. Gillthalis did not expect her to go on the offensive, the force that he sent to assault Cape Sethsron ran into the queen's army before it was fully prepared. As she marched from her temporary capital, Melanday announced an amnesty for all those who had supported her uncle. The only exceptions were Gillthalis himself and the five counts that has ordered her father's murder. This offer, combined with her proclamation on the succession, caused most of Gillthalis' supporters to rethink their position. After a day of battle between the two armies, half of Gillthalis' army abandoned him, either defecting to the queen or just melting into the night. The queen met no further opposition on her march to the capital. There she settled in for a siege while ordering all loyal nobles to bring their forces. As soldiers poured in from across the country, the usurper's remaining supporters saw the writing on the wall. Defecting rebels opened the city gates and presented a fettered Gillthalis and two of the count conspirators to Melanday. The queen ordered their execution. She then dispatched forces from her ever growing armies to root out the remaining three counts who had fled the city. The last of these counts was defeated and killed just before the snow fell. After sixteen months, the uprising was over.
AftermathQueen Melanday kept her word and pardoned all other rebels. She ruled wisely and well for the remainder of her life, rebuilding the realm after the brief civil war. She gave titles to her children, but never attempted to make any of them contenders, choosing her cousin Merrin as her viceroy. After her death he succeeded her as king.