Reign of the Kings

Period Overview



The Last War of Powers left Anduruna a shattered slate - ideal for another round of rebuilding. The city developed for nearly two hundred years under the rule of kings. With regional rivalries denied open conflict, an age of grand intrigue and royal espionage reigned.

Even with all of the subterfuge teeming above their heads, life for the average Anduruna commoner underwent marked improvement during this time period. Homes, businesses, and city structures were rebuilt not just with zeal, but with honed, experienced skill. The architectural advances of the era leave behind their distinct imprint on modern Anduruna in the form of stylistic lineage, and even some surviving edifices. In addition to restored infrastructure, social developments made major strides.

Institutions and universities were founded for the aristocratic classes, and organized apprenticeships and trade guilds gave hope even to the lowest of commoners. With the continued solidity of agriculture and herding supporting society, more and more specialized careers began to sprout up, including the very first banks, trade organizations, and ocean-faring ships.

However, it wasn't long until the aristocratic High Houses and their selected kings began to deliberately overstep their mandate.

With ever more excessive taxes, tributes, and fees lavished upon the commoners of the city, tensions once again strained to the breaking point - and marked the last days for the kings of Anduruna.


Timeline



98 A.D.: With the conclusion of the Last War of Powers, Anduruna began to rebuild its shattered infrastructure. Although overt power use and conflict were deemed illegal, the authority of kings was still limited by the unspoken (and occasionally utilized) threat of stealthy assassination.

110 A.D.: The age of espionage begins. Denied open conflict, High Houses and districts employed a multitude of covert means to settle disputes and jockey for advantage in the developing region. Spying became ubiquitous, along with the development of secret ciphers, coded sequences of gestures for public conveyance of covert information, and advancing lock technologies struggling to keep pace with growing lock picking finesse. Disguises, invisible inks, velvet-gloved betrayals, lantern signals, back-alley bribes, and all manner of deceptions and stratagems flourished.

178 A.D.: Disagreements between High Houses of varying districts continued to occur, and diplomacy from the district-based king was often ignored. Intrigue, subterfuge, and assassination were becoming increasingly inadequate avenues of resolution. In a year where trade related disputes were fueling high tensions, a Talocan king invented a new technique for arbitrating: fallguard.

Rather than the king dictating all decisions and risk retaliation, the outcome of disputable policy would be staked on fair competition. Fallguard was the first official Anduruna athletic sport. Other pastimes and games were in practice, of course. Rim-roll was a popular test of strength and control, in which heavy-duty cart wheels were hurled down-field at targets of varying distance and resilience. Brutal ryuu-neko fighting tournaments were popular as well, with lucrative gambling fortunes to be made and lost. Intellectual games, though less thrilling, were also in use - like arcus eschec, the strategy game played on a circular rotating board. In the end, however, fallguard alone was adopted as the official Anduruna competition.

Played with two teams of eight players each, fallguard was held on a square field of seventy yards long by fifty yards wide. The field was run through with vertical pits and trenches about fifteen feet deep, with five more feet of mud at the bottom. The fall-pits were arranged symmetrically on the field, in a manner where it was possible to go from one end of the field to the other without the need to leap - but some areas were more open and some more limited, inducing strategic variety.

The teams had home areas on opposite ends of the field. The object of the game would be to score as many times as possible against the enemy team, highest score winning the game. A score was achieved by physically entering an enemy's home area. Of course, the enemy would try to prevent scores by knocking attackers into the fall-trenches and fall-pits, just as the attackers would be trying to similarly dispose of their opposition. Anyone falling would find themselves in mud and off of the game field - it was against the rules to climb back up within the field, players had to go through the provided passages to the edge of the field before climbing out, rejoining the game as quickly as possible under the circumstances.

It was against the rules to grip an opponent and throw them - players wore large, stiff padded gloves. Power use was of course forbidden during a game - the outcome would come down to the team's tactical skill, the strength and balance of the individual players, and the endurance of their efforts.

Each district would hold their own fallguard games throughout the year, sometimes settling minor local disputes - but the overall goal was to train and compile the best possible championship team for the annual Anduruna Fallguard Games.

The annual games were a tournament where champions would compete for the settlement of major political disputes in the open air, cheered on by their respective publics. The magnitude of victory, by points, would relate directly to the degree of the political compromise won.

194 A.D.: Despite fears over the old Serapean treaty, some dreamkeepers moved south into the Eridu delta region to farm the rich land. No Extollo attacked, and the produce enriched the recovering Anduruna population.

243 A.D.: Calypsa, while harboring city king, raised tolls for a public aqueduct system. The toll received resistance at the onset, but a series of fallguard games procured the policy. The plans utilized advanced hydraulic technology, drawing on the Eridan river and the western water table to propel the naturally flowing system of canals. The final creation was a noteworthy advancement, and serves all the districts to this day. The Anduruna canals facilitate transportation, waste management, and crop irrigation: bringing the benefits of the river far beyond its banks and native districts. This success set a precedent for the use of levies and taxes at a citywide level.

276 A.D.: The office of city king grew in strength and authority, charging royal tolls on fallguard games, farming, produce, canal use, and more: inheritances, undergarments, water, land, properties, pets, medicines, carts, shipping, storage, gardens, graves, births, even going so unscrupulously far as to tax its citizens very earnings - making workers, in effect, partial slaves.

One advantage of the growing bureaucracy was an advancement in printing techniques. All the royal decrees and garnishments had to be announced and posted, and handwriting was proving inadequate to keeping up with the growing task. A technique known as ’method printing’ was created. A single page of writing would be cut-out by hand from a sheaf of heavy paper or clay - the ink soaked sponges would be mechanically pressed to the surface, to deliver ink through the cut-out areas and onto the surface of a parchment underneath. Then the mechanism could be raised, a new parchment placed under the press, and the ink-press immediately used again. Thus many copies of one decree could be made. As a side note, more writings saw publication, and books, eventually, came into vogue.

Struggling under the new financial garnishments implemented by the aristocrats, the lower classes began to grow disgruntled. Complaints circulated about while the farmers grew the food, the rich ate it and farmed the taxes.

With the royal lineage firmly controlled by the ruling High Houses, these taxes and fees wound up lavishly lining the pockets of the politically privileged. The peasant class was fleeced by the aristocratic, and driven to ever greater levels of poverty and unofficial forced servitude. Having no voice in the selection of kings, the citizens finally had enough. Angered, and spurred on by the suffering trade guilds, they enacted the Hunger Rebellion - refusing to sell their crops and produce to the High Houses or their servants, and clubbing any vendor daring to break the rule.

Abandoning royal currencies, the peasants engaged in a person to person bartering system, exchanging food and services with one another, free of taxation.

282 A.D.: Retaliation to the Hunger Rebellion ended with many stubborn commoners locked in High House dungeons. Other citizens exacerbated the Rebellion, and ceased farming altogether in protest. Soon enough, record low crop turnouts created a genuine scarcity of sustenance for all, from the poor to the rich. Outraged, the High Houses and current king commissioned soldiers to search the households of Anduruna and seize food. It was decreed that taxes were to be collected, not just in the form of money, but in the form of rations - and that each household was due to pay.

283 A.D.: Furious peasants finally reached a breaking point. High House soldiers were resisted with violent force, as riots swept across Anduruna. The king’s efforts to stomp out the riots only further enraged the starved and impoverished population. A full-blown populist revolution ensued as violence blossomed in Anduruna again. The bloodshed was intense, but limited: most of the commissioned High House soldiers had friends and family in the uprising, being hired commoners themselves. Furthermore, they weren’t paid enough to warrant dying for their masters. Soon the panicked aristocrats were left to deal with the raging mobs alone. Their mansions and palaces were trampled, and scores of privileged House personages were seized upon and hung.

It was the end of the High Houses of Anduruna; the sole surviving House members were those who stood out among their ilk as notably sympathetic and generous to commoners, or those canny enough to disguise themselves and slip away. Later aristocratic classes would rise on new winds of fortune, but never to the baroque heights of the High Houses. The grand lineages of yore finally met the end of their rule, the use of fallguard as a policy tool concluded, and the cycle of kings came to an end.

With the spirit of liberty and independence still fresh on their minds, the leaders of the Hunger Rebellion, prominent merchants, and guild magnates met together to draft a new system of governance for Anduruna - the Council of Seven.