ANDALORION Part II: The Book of Princes
Introduction and Background
The Book of Princes covers the period of time when the Danfalk first came into conflict with the Winarians. The religious and magical philosophies of each people were mutually exclusive. Eventually they would each produce a powerful wizard representative whose rivalry would erupt into war — the Mage War that is chronicled in the final part of the Andalorion.
The Danfalk were an aggressive people from the Targelon forests looking for new land to settle. They entered the Andalors in the region now called Fodeor, arriving in great numbers. Though they did not have the secret earth lore of the Winarians, their superior weapon and armour technology provided an overwhelming challenge to the Winarians.
From Fodeor, the Danfalk moved across what is now Raithmoor and into the Wellents Valley. Warthamel and Aydimmel were the first kingdoms they established in the Lancesor region. At the time, the Winarian kingdom of Gastonor was the primary power of the Wellents valley. Other Winarian kingdoms included Cothmel (now Crowlin) in the north, Marthlaw and Trowgavan in the west (now Arganor), and Falthet in the south. The Danfalk later moved westward into Belagor. The Winarians maintained their strongest hold on the northern and westernmost lands. These were less fertile and thus not attractive to the Danfalk.
As the Danfalk spread across the peninsula, they subjugated Winarians when they could. They accomplished this despite the fact that they were not a united people. Rather, they were disparate bands who gradually created numerous independent small kingdoms. The Winarian kings, on the other hand, all swore fealty to their high king, and were held together by the communication network of their magical priesthood. No single Danfalk king could do enough to disrupt the network for long.
Because the Winarians had acquired secret lore from the Cawglaw and occasionally used its mysterious power, the Danfalk cast them as an enemy of great evil. In truth the Winarians were ordinary men who found themselves in a difficult situation. Indeed, once in possession and command of the lore, they refused to use it except under the most extreme circumstances. This dangerous knowledge they relegated to the keeping of a select few. Otherwise, their philosophy supported communal sharing, peaceful coexistence, individual self-sufficiency, and government by wise elders. Under the threat of extinction by the aggressive Danfalk, the Winarians resorted to black Cawglaw magic after all, to even the odds. The tragedy is that despite their lore they were not, as a whole, successful in preventing the Danfalk from taking their best lands, but still retained their evil reputation.
The Book of Princes covers several tales of adventures as Danfalk heroes encounter the traps and guiles of Winarian magicians and villains. The stories illustrate the differences between Danfalk and Winarian attitudes toward honor, courage, life, and love.
Three stories are representative of the beginning, middle, and end of this period:
The Tale of Aran Arvaw
The first hero is Aran Arvaw, prince of Warthamel. The Danfalk at the time were relatively few in number and new to civilization. Aran's royal relatives could not see beyond their noses and spared no expense to suppress challenges to their authority through the use of superstition and fear. No undertaking could be made without their approval and without proper consultation of their seers. And since approvals required unanimous consent of each ruling noble, Warthamel stagnated.
The Danfalk had settled Aydimmel and Warthamel but the Winarians still held on to the Wellents Valley and beyond. The Winarian kingdom of Gastonor held dominion over the what is now southern Forlance and northern Lance. The Winarians were powerful and well-established, whilst the Danfalk were little more than raiders and thugs.
Aran Arvaw prince of Warthamel, exasperated with his peers, conceived of a plan in which the Winarian kingdom of Gastonor, an apparently invincible target, could provide cause to unite the spirits of the Danfalk.
Prince Aran used his charisma to pull together a warband. His wife the Lady Ellew tried to reason with him and keep him a home, but Aran was far too obsessed with dispelling the fears and doubts of his peers to hear it. He led the warband into Gastonor and scored major successes. After he had sacked the Gastonorian capital (near modern Scowerene), Aran Arvaw returned to his home in Errillerey at the head of a train laden with sacks and coffers of treasure and goods.
Rather than rally together and support him, his relatives instead became frightened and jealous. They plotted to be rid of him so that things would return to normal. One evening, Prince Aran Arvaw was beset by assassins and in trying to fend them off his sword broke and he lost his life.
Yet something had taken root in the hearts of the Danfalk. Prince Morgaw, Aran Arvaw's brother, later established the kingdom of Andwirdor where Gastonor was.
The Tale of Ganan Morgaw's Son
The second hero is Ganan son of the Morgaw King of Andwirdor. Ganan was a fool with a penchant for exaggeration and bragging. He led a warband against a Winarian bandit chief (former noble of Gastonor) but it was decimated in an ambush. Ganan barely escaped with his life.
The disastrous encounter did not stop him from pursuing other foolish adventures. Ultimately his advisors gave him false information about the bandit. Prince Ganan fell into another ambush and died without ever lifting his sword. The bandit chief took the weapon and broke it over his knee.
The Tale of Ulgar Invarth
The third hero is Ulgar Invarth, Prince of Aydimmel. His story illustrates how the Danfalk kingdoms struggled to unite even as the Winarians consolidated and strengthened:
Once the Danfalk stood strong, pushing aside their enemies [the Winarians] with little resistance. The enemy scattered, were killed or enslaved, subjects of the mighty Danfalk lords. Strong castles stood testament to their strength.
But while the Danfalk sat on their laurels and the children of great heroes gloated over the victories of their fathers, the Winarians slowly gathered their strength. From their ranks, a powerful wizard named Ain-Down rose up and lent his wisdom to the high king. The Winarians were about to experience a resurgence of their former glory.
In the time before the birth of Row, the king of Aydimmel sent young Prince Ulgar to an imperial school in the far south. Thus Ulgar grew up educated like most lords, but knew nothing of court politics until he was older. The Sunray Sword had not yet been forged, but the problem of uniting the Danfalk was an ever-present one. Perhaps the events of this story prompted Fothnow to invent that weapon as a solution.
So on his maturity Ulgar returned to Scowerene with an outsider's view and some radical ideas of how to solve problems. The one man he learned to trust was the court wizard of Aydimmel, who is known to us now as the Wizard of Vidar. Ulgar constantly bickered with other kings, but eventually his father married him to one of their daughters. However, Ulgar already had a “true love”: the Lady Clarew. He solved this dilemma by adopting the practice of southern nobles: he kept Clarew as his lover whilst living a platonic married life.
The Danfalk were being threatened by developments in the Winarian north. The lords of Aydimmel and their allies in other Danfalk kingdoms were preparing for war. Ulgar, due to Vidar's influence, sued for peace. Vidar wished to see the Winarians defeated, but not at the cost of uniting the Danfalk.
The peace between the Winarians and the Danfalk did not last long. Ain-Down suspected Vidar's involvement and sent his minions to ambush a Winarian band and leave evidence that would place the blame on the Danfalk. Responding to this treachery, the Winarians launched an attack that left a Danfalk village in ruins. Now there would be war.
Despite Vidar's secret efforts to against him, Ulgar Invarth united the Danfalk into a huge army and assailed the strengthening Winarians. Nevertheless, the wizard of Vidar had his way: before the battle he cast an evil spell upon Ulgar Invarth. In the battle, the hero's sword shattered at an inopportune moment and he was slain unmercifully.
The wizard of Vidar, often referred to simply as Vidar though that probably is not his name, was a Danfalk wizard. His motivations were and continue to be primarily political. At the end of the Book of Princes he established his private realm east of the Castwith Forest. Vidar would like the Lancesor and Fodeor region to remain weak; he will use the Winarians to enable this; he is a rival of Ain-Down over the magical economy of the region, so he simultaneously helps put artifacts into the hands of Danfalk magicians whilst working to keep them from having too united a voice. Thus, the Winarians have a high king, but the Danfalk have many kings with no central figure. However, like the Winarians, the Danfalk do have a council of warlocks from each kingdom to guide them, thus they share a common religious organization. Every Danfalk king dreams of becoming a high king, or at least of their inheritor of achieving that goal. Vidar would have none of this.
Ain-Down was a Winarian wizard descended from the first mortal taught the runes by Owen. His aspirations went much further than politics. Ain-Down desired to become a god as all good wizards should, and continually sought the power necessary to accomplish this goal. This meant accumulating artifacts and lore without attracting the attention of the gods who might want to stop him. There was precedence for this, as earlier mortals who had learned the runes and become very powerful, were subsequently struck down by paranoid gods jealous of their power. To this end Ain-Down manufactured distractions to keep the gods fighting each other. Ain-Down hid amongst the Cawglaw in their warrens. He assumed the shape of them, lived like them and became a great leader of them. Thus he inspired the Cawglaw to build the tower of Parth-Num. Now he is usually referred to only as the Wizard of Parth-Num.
In another version of the story, it is said that the gods became aware of Ain-Down's ambitions. Mowlana came to visit him and attempted to convince him of his folly. Instead, Ain-Down argued and the goddess became angry. She transformed him into a bird-like humanoid. At that point he hid amonst the Cawglaw.