Araneth, the grand vizier Character in Yeia | World Anvil

Araneth, the grand vizier

Yaqud in Baztair in Yaqud Araneth, is certainly a quite fascinating and polemic figure in the history of Unhellion. For many it was just an evil figure who wanted to take power, deposing the current dynasty and create his own. His period as Voice of the King was the first of the challenges of the 7th Dynasty and set a precedent for how powerful and influential a man could become in the always complex government of Unhellion.  

Origins

  Araneth was born into a wealthy Sun Elf family in Unhellion. His father, Baztair, began his career as a civil servant with very good connections that had a prosperous career, being first elected as governor of the city of Phyryun and then of Aes Duloron. Because of this successes Araneth's father became really wealthy, allowing him to acquire large states near the fortress of Ba'ynn, one of the most fertile regions in Unhellion. Almost at the end of his life, Baztair obtained a seat at the High Court of Unhellion, that his son inherited once he died, thus Araneth impressive career began.   His fist role in the Kingdom's government and as member of the High Court was as supervisor of Coin, a office attached to the Minister of Finances and Commerce, where he improved the tax system across the kingdom, making it more effective. This success gain him an honorary mention by the king in the annual Assembly of Princes. Two years later, Araneth also proved himself as a capable commander when, as part of Enarphyn Goldenleaf's Army of the North, delayed the advance of the armies of the Olelian Theocracy during the 4th Olelian-Unhelli war. At the battle of Al Aralin, he led a cavalry charge of 1500 horsemen from the Golden Knights (a famous unit of the Royal Guard) and from the desert tribes of the Il- Azmayr, Mistud who broke the Olelian right flank made the rest of their army flee. This action and the bravery he showed gained him the respect of his commander and the kings of these two Desert elf tribes.  

Rise to Power

  These actions gained the attention of the Grand Vizier of the time, Ybnas Farani, who promoted him first to governor of Aes Duloron, where he made offerings and erecting an stele in honour to the goddess of Fire. Under his "rule" a new canal brought another plenty source of fresh water to the now thriving city. In his honour an statue of him used to adorn the beautiful square in front of the governor's palace. 40 years later, and by suggestion to Ybnas, he rose to the post of Commander of the Guard, who gave him quite a considerable power in the country. When Ybnas died in 521 AP the king named Araneth as the new Voice of the King and for over 40 years he dutyfully helped the king and appointed loyal civil servants that answered only to him, further enhancing his power.  
Araneth as Voice of the King by Callyxtus with Midjourney
  In 573 Araneth convinced the Il-Azmayr and Mistud tribes to go on a punitive expedition to Olelia, which ransacked the entire southern territory of the country, convincing the northern humans to pay an annual tribute to Unhellion. Two years later the Queen died plunging the king into a deep depression, that made him retreat for government affairs for a while. This was an excellent moment for Araneth who began gaining the friendship of most of the governors of the provinces, promoting donatives to those who were the most efficient managing their provinces, and also selling "favours".    

The beginning of the Dark Years

  Later in 597 he himself commanded an expedition to the Confederation of the Dark Elves, effectively breaking a Peace Treaty signed 100 years earlier. For this expedition he gathered a quite considerable army composed also of quite a lot of desert elves from all the tribes.   At first the invasion was successful, but at the battle of Ys Amnon the dark elves held the Sun elf attack forcing them to retreat to their winter quarters, here due to the unexpecting cold, many desert elves perish because of cold temperatures. As spring arrived Araneth wanted to resume the campaign but the desert elf troops aside from the Mistud tribe, mutinied forcing him to sign a humiliated white peace with the dark elves. Because of this failure Araneth published an edict, supposedly in the name of the king, that banned all the desert elf noblemen, aside from the ones of the Mistud tribe, to hold any significant political office.   This deeply upset most of the desert elf kings as well as the sedentary descendants of some Desert elf families, like the Almayz. But as Araneth had the complete control of the regular army and the loyalty of most of the governors, they weren't brave enough to challenge the vizier. Araneth government became more despotic, placing and replacing governors at will, promoting friends to the highest offices of state, increasing the taxes to raise more money to buy the "friendship" of many nobles and worst buying the votes of the High Council of Unhelion. Those who disapproved his laws or edicts were "carefully removed" (aka imprisoned or disappeared without a trace). It was also said that during his campaign in the south Araneth adquired some dark magic books and that he was manipulating the mind of the king. The only voice powerful enough to challenge the Grand Vizier was the Crown Prince, Lothiel .   The prince was very popular among the common people of Unhellion. He was a handsome young boy, athletic and intelligent who cared about his people and was famous for its generous donations to the poorest of the capital. Also, some desert elf kings supported him in secret.   Araneth was jealous of him and sought to get rid of the prince or at least, silence him. So in 627 AP he devised a plan, he staged a fake assassination attempt on the prince during the procession to the Temple of Ahira that took place during every Howazd festival. Later he would convince the prince that it wasn't safe to go outside and he'll lock him in his chamber. This plot was a success but Lothiel was very smart and quickly realized what was going on and tried to flee but was caught at the royal garden trying to leave the upper castle. So Araneth send it to the dungeon. Somehow, supporters of Lothiel got informed of this and decided that Unhellion had enough. Among these supporters was Alathyn Almayz, grandson of the famous Farynn Almayz as well as his two children. In secret Alathyn send letters to most of the Desert Elf Kings and also to the Seris Emperor asking for help.   Late in that year, King Elbaith of the Amed tribe raised the Yellow flag of the King swearing to depose the tyrant and rescue the king and the prince. Quickly the El-Wayz, Banerion and Goldensword joined the rebellion and tried to face the Royal armies near Ethen Ush, but they were defeated, although much of their armies managed to retreat in good order. This defeat worsened the reputation of the rebellion and their ability to effectively depose Araneth. As for him, he was very confident that he could swiftly defeat the rebellions desert elves once and for all, convincing the other desert elves to join his cause. But it was during this time that a group of adventurers were sent by the Seris Emperor in secret... .  

His demise

  Yuya, the Seris adventurer and his friends arrived to Unhellion in 627 and quickly began helping the rebellion. They first helped the rebels to conquer the city of Ethen Ush, who made the Il- Azmayr flock to the rebellion as well as part of the Mistud. They also rescued prince Lothiel who in turn made most of the army switch sides and at the battle of Ba'ynn the remainder forces of the royal army loyal to the Voice of the King were destroyed with the rebels taken 4000 prisoners.   When news of this disastrous battle reached Ymhilean, the capital of Unhelion the inhabitants of the city rose against the "tyrant" tired of the high taxation and the famines that civil war had brought, they killed all the Mistud troops present at the capital and rushed to the Royal Palace. Araneth first tried to convince the royal guard to protect him, but the commander refused and ordered the guard to protect the king instead. Araneth tried to escape dressed as a servant but one of the pages of the king betrayed him and the mob took him out of the Royal palace and they beheaded him at the Lions Gate. His body was then paraded through the city and later thrown to the river, and his head was put on an spear and place above the silver gate with a sign that said: Here it is the head of the tyrant Voice of the King, we the loyal subjects of His Majesty put him to death, Long Live the King!. .   Two days later the prince and the rebel army entered the city, and it is said that the spell that Araneth had casted upon the king was lifted by a mage and the monarch restored to his senses. It is also said that among the papers at Araneth's office was a letter addressed to the High Council in which he declared the King as insane and the crown prince as a rebel and a traitor and therefore the Council should made him King.  

An ambigious legacy

Araneth was almost unanimously recognized as a tyrant by almost everybody. The reputation of the Mistud tribe was severely damaged after that, but they will regain the favour of the King and its people a century later during the War of the Great Call .   On the other hand, Araneth's reforms of the bureaucracy and the tax system were kept by the new government (although taxes were reduced).    
Children

Issue

  Araneth married Ytha Mistud, daughter of the king of the Mistud tribe. It was a political marriage that ensured the loyalty of the desert elf tribe. Together they have one daughter, Amali. After his assasination the life of Ytha and her daughter were pardoned and both returned with the Mistud family to the desert.  Ytha later married  Adub Il- Azmayr, the youngest son of the king of the Il-Azmayr tribe. Amali on the other hand married Arathel Goldensword, and played an important role in the War of the Great Call  commanding even an army of the Goldensword tribe. 

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Cover image: Araneth as Voice of the King by Callyxtus with Midjourney

Comments

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Nov 3, 2023 12:14 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

He started off so well but I guess power got to his head. D:

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet