|Etrandish Succession War of 718|
|Commanders and leaders|
The Etrandish Succession War of 718 - also known as the Brynatid Succession War, Tondbertid Civil War or Tondbertid Succession Crisis- was a civil war in the Kingdom of Etrand following the death of King Calder I of Etrand. Even though the conflict was won by Mythela, the legitimate heir, daughter of King Calder, her victory ultimately led to the downfall of the Tondbertids, as her husband King Bryant and his descendants ended up founding the new Bryantid dynasty.
While it is universally agreed that the war started with the death of King Calder of Etrand without a son - which led to his three brothers refusing to recognize his daugher Mythela as the true heir - the majority of historians now believe that there was much more to this war than just a succession dispute. Ever since the rule of King Cairbré I of Etrand, Etandish historians have been talking about the so-called "Late Tondbertid Decadence" - King Bourn, Calder's father was too busy doing music, designing buildings and sexually pursuing the palace's maids to be an effective ruler, while his son Calder was an incompetent tyrant who put a wedge between the royal authorities and the country's elite. An addition fact is, that before Calder's birth, Bourn's previous sons killed each other as a result of a fierce debate on who should be Bourn's heir - even before Bourn himself became a king.
As such, historians believe that the civil war of 718 was inevitable, and it was basically the last breath of the decadent and weakened Tondbertid dynasty, which was just begging to be replaced by a new, younger and stronger dynasty after having served as the ruling house of Etrand for almost six centuries. By the late 7th century, the Tondbertid dynasty has grown complacent, it was full of incompetent men - not just Bourn and Calder, but many of their relatives as well - who were more concerned with whatever entertained them than actually running the country. During that period of Late Tondbertid Decadence, Etrand was at it's weakest point, and it is a true miracle that no foreign power realized that and attacked.
Events leading up to the war
On 10th of Rasaalu, 718 AEKE, Calder became a victim of a hunting accident. The exact description of the events surrounding his death are unknown, but after his hunting accident, he suffered from internal bleeding which wasn't noticed until it was too late. At the time, his wife was pregnant, so Calder called the leading nobles to him, and forced them to swear loyalty to his would-be son. They all complied, but three days later, King Calder died, and his wife miscarried. His one and only daughter Mythela would be crowned the next ruler of Etrand, but Calder's three younger brothers - Kerlon, Symner and Zylf - refused to recognize Mythela as the new ruler, and so would start the Succession War.
The three brothers initially co-operated, steering public opinion against the Queen. Her father was a rather unpopular ruler amongst the nobility, so convincing a great deal of them to join this rebellion against her was not a difficulty. However, not every noble family was so adamant to join this rebellion - among others, the Margraviate of Steelhelm (House Osriking) and Earldom of Etrancoast decided to stay loyal to the queen, while most of the margraviates (Revel, Ehren, Switheud, Gusmoldenbert) tried to go for neutrality (only to be pulled into the war one way or another). Femben and Shlaudorf followed the example of Steelhelm and Etrancoast, but unlike the Osrikings, they made no co-ordinated efforts to actively move against the rebels, rather simply declaring their loyalty to the Queen and then going on the defensive against the rebel onslaugh.
While initially succesful at driving the loyalists out of much of the Etrandish heartland - forcing the Queen to seek refuge in Etrancoast, at the court of Earl Theuderic of Etrancoast in Yrvhaven. After this initially victory, the princes carved up the lands they occupied, each agreeing to focus on one specific direction to clear out the loyalists, with Symner focusing on the south, Zylf on the east, Kerlon on the north. This co-operation did not last - soon, almost immediately, they began to bicker and fight among each other.
But the loyalists were not asleep either - Margrave Offa of Steelhelm actively went on a warpath against the rebels, marching southwards with the oath that he will have the heads of all three rebellious princes for their treason. Margravate occupied territories south of his domain, forcing the local nobles to either join his loyalist cause, or be imprisoned for treason. The three brothers took notice of this, and temporarily put aside their own inner conflicts to join forces for the final time, to defeat Offa at the Battle of the Twin Hills.
A New Hope
After the defeat of Offa, the three brothers began bickering and fighting against each other once again.
At first, Symner had the upper hand - he acquired Grandfolk. Symner then was driven out of Grandfolk by the combined forces of Zylf and Kerlon, who soon found his head atop a pike. Zylf and Kerlon continued to bicker among each other, but Zylf - despite being the stronger one - had the disadvantage of having to fight a three-front war: with Kerlon, with a new rising threat, and with the Mythela Loyalists in Etrancoast.
One of the survivors of the Battle of the Twin Hills, Morthen Londbert took the remaining of the surviving Osriking bannermen, and marched north with them, to the Dwarven lands, convincing the Dwarves to free his brother, Ladislaus Londbert from the house arrest he has been enduring ever since one year before Calder's death. Because Ladislaus - who since has adopted a new name, Bryant - was very popular amongst the dwarves during his governorship, they happily freed him, and joined his loyalist cause. Hence, a mixed army of Dwarven militias and Osriking bannermen began marching south again, hungry for revenge.
Bryant, using his Dwarven militias and Mercenary Dragons, has managed to capture Steelhelm with little to no bloodshed. Zylf, paranoid about the recent turn of events, has made a truce with Kerlon, and agreed to unite his forces with his against Bryant. At the Battle of Morshu's Mill, the forces of Bryant have won a decisive victory against the forces of Zylf and Kerlon. During the battle, Zylf has decided to betray his brother, but most of his troops refused to act at the proper time, causing Zylf to be slain by Kerlon's forces. At the end of the battle, Kerlon found himself imprisoned too.
Bryant's victory at Battle of Morshu's Mill the did not mean the end of the Succession War - the supporters of Zylf and Kerlon continued the struggle under the leadership of Zylf's son, Brelon. who has besieged Yrvhaven, the capital of Etrancoast, last refugee of Mythela and her loyalists - Pirothea Nelvarryl would smuggle weapons and food into the city to prevent it from being starved out, and Mythela would also be informed by the information sent by Pirothea's spies.
Meanwhile, Bryant has managed to capture Grandfolk. After punishing the members of the royal court whom he deemed guilty, he continued his campaign at the East. Brelon, finding himself between two armies, surrendered and kneeled before the princess. As Brelon's siege was a failure, hiring the pirates became useless - nevertheless, the pirates still came and attacked. Bryant decided to absolve Brelon from the crime of high treason, but he would still have to pay for the pirate problem: stop the pirates or his demesne will be reduced to compensate for the damage the pirates cause.
After the war, Bryant restored the rule of the rightful Queen Mythela, who soon became the victorious nobleman's wife, making Bryant the new king. De jure, Bryant would only be a king consort and Mythela would be the queen regant, but de facto, it was the complete opposite: Bryant being the real king regant, and Mythela being a mere queen consort. Still, de jure, Bryant considered his own rule a continuation of Tondbertid rule, and did not declare the beginning of a new dynasty. That would be done by his son, King Cairbré I of Etrand, who retconned his father's rule as the founding of the Bryantid dynasty, posthumously promoting him to the title of founder of the new dynasty.
Even though the war was won by Calder's direct line, the long-term consequence was the loss of the Tondbertid dynasty's long-held honour of being the ruling house of Etrand - they became a mere house of Grand Counts. Even though the Tondbertids are working on slowly-but-surely regaining their former glory via marriages - after all, having been the ruling house for six centuries means a lot of prestige, even if they have been demoted to a House of Grand Counts - the new Bryantid dynasty is making sure they won't have the power to challenge the new order.