King Ethelred Madrigal; "Ethelred the Instigator"

King Ethelred of House Madrigal was the ruler of the Vaas City-state of Karthis, who was responsible for provoking the disastrous Karthic Wars.

Ethelred was an extremely proud Vaas ruler, who controlled much of the eastern Highlands region in the Fourth Age. He was famous for his temper and his extremely stubborn nature. These traits were to prove disastrous for his people.

In the year 536/4, the Iskari negotiated the so-called "Iron Treaty" with Lord Cochran Pike; a Vesten noble who then ruled the city-state of Pike's Ferry and the western Highlands. This treaty allowed the Iskari to colonize the Highlands region in return for generous taxes to be paid to the House of Pike.

When Ethelred found about the Treaty, he became enraged at a perceived violation of Vaas sovereignty; even though the treaty did not directly affect Karthis' territory. He immediately declared war upon the City-state of Pike' Ferry and ordered "death to all Iskari invaders."

The raids ordered by Ethelred grew larger and more costly, until they climaxed in the Battle of Crecy; which resulted in the death of the Iskari Crown-Prince Idris.

The First Karthic War

After the murder of Prince Idris, the Iskari reaction was swift and predictable. King Ilathrin Cyrenäe II of Iskandar amassed a huge army of 50,000 troops, sailed across the Iron Sea, and began a campaign to destroy Karthis. King Ethelred's meager forces could only delay their advance and score a few victories by ambush. For nearly a decade, the Vaas only harassed the Iskari forces, and there were few large-scale battles.

By 547/4, King Ilathrin and his army were within sight of Karthis and Ethelred had no choice but to meet them in open battle. The two armies clashed at Mudd River, and the result was a crushing defeat for Karthis. Its army was routed, and both Ethelred and his only son; Edmure were captured. The only bright point for the Vaas was that King Ilathrin II was slain by an arrow during the same battle.

Ilathrin's successor; Queen Isobel, quickly negotiated a one-sided treaty with the humiliated Ethelred. He would be freed upon the promise of keeping the peace. His son remained an Iskari hostage. This agreement became known as the "Treaty of Rheems."