King Calhoun I of Etrand
|Main • Tropes|
Coin based off Calhoun's portrait. Unlike other kings, his coins were not based off how he looked during his reign - the coin was modelled after the looks he had when he was younger.
|Birth||3th of Eregamandil, 748 AEKE|
29th of Randametta, 809 AEKE|
61 in Artograchian years,
63 in Terran years (at the time of death)
|Father||King Cairbre I of Etrand|
|Mother||Muyian of Artaburro|
|King of Etrand|
|Predecessor||King Cairbre I of Etrand|
|Successor||King Orlonius I of Etrand|
Calhoun was born on 3th of Eregamandil, 748 AEKE, as the eldest son of King Cairbré and his wife Queen Muyian. Due to his status as the eldest son of the King, rather than being sent away to be educated at a foreign court or an academy from childhood, his parents personally oversaw his upbringing - while his father was busy with the business a king usually had, his mother Muyian spared no time to make sure her son becomes a paragon of knowledge and literacy - by the age of 14, he was fluent at Wood Elven and Classical High Elven in addition to his native Etrandish. Only after he reached the age of 12, a private tutor would be hired to train Calhoun in the art of swordsmanship, and another one to teach him the basics of warfare, but his mother would still be the main contributor of his brain's contents.
When he was just 14 years old, he got betrothed to his own niece, Hió of Artaburro, the daughter of Prince Saran of Artaburro, his mother's older brother. The marriage ceremony between Calhoun and Hió was held on 12th of Edhealasse, 768 AEKE, when Calhoun was 20 years old, and Hió was 23.
At the time, he was getting somewhat frustrated that he had no land to rule over and nothing to do with his boredom, which is why his father reluctantly appointed him as his own marshal. As such, Calhoun's main responsibility was to maintain the peace of his father's rule, suppress any potential revolts and oversee the state of his army - which may sound impressive at first sound, but it involved more boring paperwork and calculation of statistics than actually leading troops into battle. There were not even any battles to begin with - during the reign of King Cairbré, Etrand was at constant peace. Calhoun may or may not have been also the captain of his father's bodyguards.
His first-born and favourite son, Bryant the Fair was born on 15th of Naurnaara, 777 AEKE. His second son, Orlonius was born on 16th of Anarlosse, 784 AEKE. He also had three daughters, Salvia (born on 19th of Eregamandil, 782 AEKE), Kethia (born on 31th of Tyelcartel, 787 AEKE) and Ottilia (born on 30th of Anarkalina, 789 AEKE). Out of the three daughers, only Ottilia would survive infancy.
On 12th of Urnulina, 789 AEKE, King Cairbré died, leaving Calhoun to rule Etrand - it is said that because of Calhoun's unstable mentality, the dying Cairbré did not deem the 42-year old Calhoun very fit for rulership, but did not wish to offend him by naming one of his younger sons the heir, so he left Calhoun in the hands of his advisors, who, despite what they promised to Cairbré, quickly resigned after Cairbré's death, giving complete power to Calhoun. Just after his father's funeral, the still-grieving King was already being bombarded by King Cael'mus of Froturn and Queen Cairi of Dragoc on proposals to improve relations between the three kingdoms. While Calhoun was willing to take steps to secure good relations with Cael'mus and his Froturn, he was rather suspicious of Cairi and her Dragoc, and informed her that he would continue his father's religious policies and would not let druids to convert Etrandish citizens.
During the first five years of his reign, he often met personally with Prince Saran of Artaburro, a long-time personal friend of his father, the older brother of his mother, and also the father of his wife. Even after Saran died in 794, good reltions between Etrand and Artaburro remain intact - the older sister of Calhoun's wife Hio, Gina became the new ruler of Artaburro, maintaining strong ties with Etrand. Despite conflicting views on religious policies, it is said that King Calhoun of Etrand and King Cael'mus of Froturn got along - at least nominally, early on.
Back in Etrand, Calhoun's rule favored the clergy and the knights, especially the Knights of the Blood Red Light. A few new knightly orders were formed during Calhoun's reign, and would receive strongholds from the King as donations, all of them personally funded by the King. Under his rule, gradual expansion into the marshlands in Southern Etrand continued - for the first time, he sent missionaries to the Lizardmen, inviting them to come out of their marshlands and live in Etrand. While this project of his was a failure, it is not to say that he was a failure in religious policies: he donated considerable amounts of money to the Inquisiton and Earls Theuderic and Tassilo of Etrancoast to help them to combat the pagan remnant.
Calhoun was also the patron of various artists, poets, composers and theologians who dedicated their works in support of the Church of Titanius. The fact that he sponsored writers who immortalized and heroized the Human tribes who have defeated the Wood Elves during the Great War was the source of tension between him and Queen Cairi of Dragoc. During the final years of his life, he revived the "Fathred cult " that was started by his father Cairbré, which in turn made King Cael'mus of Froturn disappointed. The friction between Calhoun and Cael'mus eventually culminated in the Etrandish intervention in the Froturnish Civil War of 809.
The revival of the Fathred cult is said to be part of reconcilation with his nobles after the infamous Carolus Conspiracy in 804 when the most hot-headed of his vassals conspired to kill Queen Hió to "liberate the country from the elves' deception". Because both the former and the present queen were elves many believed that a new elven ruling class is being formed. During the incident several members of the queen's escort were butchered but Hió managed to flee from the blades of the attackers. Calhoun feared to incite a civil war, only punishing the ringleaders and making several gestures towards his vassals, ensuring their position within the kingdom.
In 809, rumours of a conspiracy against King Cael'mus of Froturn came into the light. The High Elven king began arresting suspected conspirators, but many escaped to Artaburro or Etrand. The Hierophant sent a letter to King Calhoun and Grandmaster Gaius Frostang, who accepted the call to arms - the king sent an army led by his eldest son, Crown Prince Bryant.
On 15th of Urnulina, 809 AEKE, near place where Fathred's troops once beat the High Elves, Bryant's army met face to face with the High Elven army led by Consul Sim'vara in the Battle of Ancestors Field. Despite their valiant performance, the Etrandish troops were defeated, Crown Prince Bryant himself was wounded. The prince never recovered from his wounds, and would die half-a-year after the battle.
King Calhoun sent an letter to King Cael'mus, apologizing for his son's "unauthorized" actions and ensuring him of their everlasting friendship.
On 13th of Randametta, 809 AEKE, Crown Prince Bryant died from poor health, leaving his father Calhoun ultimately heartbroken and grief-stricken. Devastated, Calhoun fell into a deadly depression, refusing to eat, drink or go out. His health rapidly declined, and although he wasn't bedridden, it was reported that he coughed blood and "became unable to speak like a proper human, his voice turning into a barely intelligible guttural growling that sounded more like a sick dog than a human being". No one could comfort him, he would just sit or stand silently, staring into the endless nothingness. Not even the best clerics could cure him, or find out what was wrong with his body. His wife Hió wrote that "my husband was having terrible nightmares, seeing the faces of his long-dead father, his long-dead mother, his recently deceased son and himself in his nightmares. He refuses to eat, drink or even walk. He just stands in one place for hours and stares into the nothingness, muttering or growling out nonsense".
On 29th of Randametta, 809 AEKE, King Calhoun succumbed to his broken heart and closed his eyes for the last time, never to open it again - he was said to have died of a broken heart, at the age of 63. His second son Orlonius inherited the throne.
Chroniclers noted that while King Calhoun was by all means a good king and a good person - both as a statesman and as a family man - he was clearly not the most stable ones out there. It is said that even the dying King Cairbré was somewhat worried about the prospect of the mentally somewhat unstable Calhoun inheriting, despite Calhoun being 42 years old at the time of Cairbré's death.
Even before he became king, he had to deal with the loss of two of his three infant daughters. In an age where peasants are struck by all kinds of pestilence, where not even the royal family is safe from the various curses and diseases that lurk in the shadows, one shouldn't be surprised about infant mortality, yet the king was different - he was completely devestated by the loss of each of his individual daughters.
The loss of both of his parents at the same life left his depressed for at least a year, which he tried to hide from everyone.
The Carolus-conspiracy of 804 was another hit on his sanity, and the loss of his favorite son Bryant in 809 was the last straw - he died two weeks after his oldest son.
Many believe that the late king's excessive clinginess shown towards his family was a mental illness.