War of Annexation
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Also known as the "Thannish Civil War," this brutal and savage conflict raged between the years 1283 and 1289/4. The war was principally fought between the kingdoms of Rhodara and Orel; although several other nations were eventually drawn into the conflict.

ORIGINS


In the year 1264/4, King Radovan Mallistäer II of Rhodara was slain by the Vilzari during the Battle of Flint Harbor. The king had no offspring, and after a period of political turmoil at the Rhodaran court, a young noble named Gayorg Gwyharë was anointed to succeed the Granite Throne of Rhodara. At first, all seemed well with the new king, but after several instances of wanton cruelty, rumors began to circulate that the king was mad. Indeed, King Gayorg had been secretly using sorcery and worshiping the black arts for years. Worse, his growing ambitions were fueled by his almost total domination by Alokkair, who was ever trying to sow dissension in the West.

Gayorg's mad dreams of ambition and conquest were spurred by political events of the time. The king looked enviously at the neighboring kingdom of Orel; a nation that was both fabulously wealthy and very weak. In the preceding decades, Orel had fought its own civil war to gain independence from Eldara, fought against the Vilzari in the Incursion Wars, and fought a brutal war against Thûle. So to Gayorg, Orel seemed ripe for conquest.

THE WAR BEGINS


The War began in 1283/4, when Rhodara invaded the kingdom of Orel. The Orellians were caught almost completely by surprise and the Rhodaran army won several early victories. The Rhodarans captured the cities of Seaforth and Olthad, as well as almost a third of the eastern territory of Orel. Gayorg's Rhodaran armies were aided by thousands of hired mercenaries from Üthrar, orc mercenaries led a savage brute named General Karzai, and a large force of elite Kreskan Archers. In addition, the Orellian navy was kept at bay by the Thûlian fleet, which also landed armies on Orellian shores further west in the Gulf of Alesard. During the early years of occupation by Rhodaran forces, many unspeakable acts of theft, rape, torture, and murder took place. Much of the countryside was burned, and many thousands of people carried off as slaves.

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SIEGE OF ORDANA


King Robar Alesard of Orel had desperately tried to marshal his forces, but his armies were pushed back. Eventually by 1285/4, the Orellian capital of Ordana was besieged and the war became a stalemate. For nearly two years, the city of Ordana was under siege and many of its people starved to death. The city would have fallen if not for the actions of King Dareon Arellani of Eldara, who brought up his army and broke the siege in early 1287/4. The forces of Eldara and Orel then smashed Gayorg's armies at the crucial Battle of Heath's Dike in 1287/4; saving the Orellian capitol of Ordana from capture.

THE WAR WIDENS


The great victory at Heath's Dike changed the nature of the conflict. Soon after that battle, both the elvish realm of Melinarë and the kingdom of Alveron joined the war on the side of Eldara and Orel. Soon after, the Thûlians withdrew from the war, as well as the Kreskan Archers.

Eldara suffered terrible losses as well. In addition to thousands of her people killed, King Dareon Arellani was killed by an arrow in the battle of Keslyn. The lasting legacy of this terrible war was a lasting friendship between Orel and Eldara, a lasting bitterness between Orel and Gwynne, and the long decay of Gwynne into a dark tyrannical regime.

THE TIDE TURNS AGAINST RHODARA


The Rhodarans fought a bloody delaying action, fiercely holding Orellian territory for as long as they could. Eventually, by early 1289/4, the allied armies of Orel, Eldara, Alveron and Melinar crossed into Rhodara, pushing east toward the capital city of Ashara. Gayorg's armies grew smaller, as his hired soldiers deserted in droves, or simply surrendered in hopes of being spared. Finally, Gayorg himself rode out and made a stand with his army of hard-core fanatics and loyal mercenaries. This final climactic battle was fought at Keslyn. During the battle, both Dareon Arellani and Gayorg were slain. Gayorg's Melanthir sword fell into the hands of the Eldarans. In the weeks following, the city of Ashara was sacked and burned, and Castle Myrkur was taken by Orellian and Eldaran forces. The Granite Throne was smashed and the Rhodaran royal castle burned to the ground.

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AFTERMATH


After seven long years of theft, rape, and pillage, the war had reduced both Orel and Rhodara to shells of their former selves. The kingdom of Rhodara was completely destroyed, and out of its ashes came the new nation of Gwynne. The shattered kingdom of Orel was slowly rebuilt by the Alesard Dynasty.