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The Interregnum was a pivotal time in Tethyrian history, when plots and assassinations and riots destabilized the entire country.
A number of wizards and their mercenary armies invaded Tethyr in 1333 DR attempting to create a new nation, which they would call Mulsparkh. Unknown to them, they were sponsored by Calimshan's syl-pasha Rashid yn Yusef el Djenispool and king Alemander IV of Tethyr who were hoping to kill Alemander's brother, the paladin-prince Rythan. Unbeknownst to either ruler, they were both doing the dirty work of the Twisted Rune who wanted revenge against prince Rythan for killing Jhaniloth Puiral. Rythan led a small army to meet Mulsparkh's the next year but Mulsparkh's mercenary armies, consisting of humanoids as well as men, destroyed Tethyr's force and killed Rythan in a battle known as the Battle of Nightflames. Objective complete, syl-pasha Rashid and the Rune ceased their covert support of Mulsparkh, whose armies quickly deserted, whereupon troops from Memnon annihilated any who remained, putting an end to the short-lived realm.
Now that his brother was dead, King Alemander could rule without him getting in the way. He implemented draconian laws that soon inspired dissent in the citizenry. Two of his dukes, the Duke of Dusk and the Duke of Suretmarch revealed themselves to be utter tyrants while others just became much more harsh in their treatment of subordinates. The persecution of the elves that had gone on for the last century intensified and the increasingly greedy crown prince Alemander V was taking advice from minor nobles that contradicted his fathers wishes seemingly just to antagonize him.
Rashid, in 1340 DR, began to plot with Tethyr's General Nashram Sharboneth to supplant king Alemander and deliver Tethyr into Calishite hands as it was during the Shoon Imperium. They were to incite riots against Tethyr's nobility and manipulate crown prince Alemander into starting a coup against the king so that Calimshan could cross the border and have its army act as 'peacekeepers'. General Sharboneth had been receiving massive monetary resources from Rashid for 7 years when he decided to betray the syl-pasha, promising land and titles to his officers if they supported him in the planned coup. One of the officers remained loyal to Rashid and told him of the double-cross whereupon Rashid convinced a Doommaster of Beshaba named Dlatha Faenar to hex Sharboneth's forces. Beshaba herself was accordingly incensed that Rashid would try and control bad luck so she plagued Calimshan with misfortune for the duration of the Interregnum so that its forces could not march north.
Crown prince Alemander began the coup in secret 6 weeks before the "Black Days" by killing 4 of his fathers 7 most loyal councilors. He executed 2 after accusing them of treason, had another poisoned and had the fourth pushed out of a castle window with planted evidence of affiliaton to the Zhentarim in his hand. A fifth councilor, who simply held the crown prince in contempt, was exiled for 2 years as his honour was above reproach. Prince Alemander began the coup proper at midnight on 12 Eleint 1347 DR. He and General Sharboneth stormed Castle Tethyr with their army and a host of riotous commoners, taking the inhabitants by surprise, asleep as they were after a night of revelry in honour of visiting nobles. Noone knows for sure all of the details surrounding the events inside the castle but when General Sharboneth betrayed prince Alemander everything started going wrong. A combination of the efforts of the Calishite agitators and the citizenry's anger at their treatment by the nobility coupled with the powers of the Beshaban high priestess Dlatha Faenar led to Castle Tethyr being burned to the ground over the next 7 hours. None of the nobility or royalty inside survived.
Ten Black Days of EleintEdit
With no king to stop them, Tethyrians continued their riotous behaviour, turning their attentions to the nobles who had mistreated them over the last 13 years. 13-22 Eleint of the Year of the Bright Blade was a time of chaos in Tethyr. Mobs of people roamed the country hunting and murdering nobles as well as anyone with a connection to them.
- In the first 2 days, the families of Queen Rhinda, Princess-consort Dhara and the Sakhars (royal merchants and cousins to Alemander IV) had all been murdered.
- By the end of the next 2 days only 2 Counts, Tuvos Akasi & Romar Miklaas, had managed to survive without fleeing but their homes were under siege and both would be dead by the end of the Black Days.
- The 6th day was the most violent and saw the most nobles flee the country. 12 hunted families managed to flee into Amn but in the lands surrounding Ithmong and Myratma the rest were slain, their manors and cattle ranches were looted and burned to the ground. Every surviving noble from the Mir Protectorate was drowned in the River Ith when a servant was bribed to reveal the location of their incognito wagon train trying to escape through Survale Ford.
- The last 4 days saw the mobs begin to lose cohesion as the remaining nobles had dispersed far enough afield to be too difficult to catch while the nobles who had not mistreated their people and those not swept up in the slayings dug in and waited for the mobs to return to their lives.
Of the 56 landed nobles (and over 100 lesser, titled nobles) only 2 dukes, a count & 5 barons survived the Black Days. Over 550 family members had been murdered and over 1700 commoners had been killed by mercenary guards or out-of-control fires.
- Count Vartan Thrynnar brought all of his tenant farmers inside the former duke's castle to protect them from the mobs and managed to break the first of the sieges against the building but was unable to ever control more than half of the dead lord's land.
- Baron Amir Raslemtar survived the Black Days but decided to flee before his luck ran out. Announcing his intentions he and his family were allowed to reach a port in safety once his duke had been executed. He sailed north for Baldur's Gate.
- Baron Dinos Akhmelere, a renowned elf-hater (and hunter), was slain by elves while trying to flee to Esmereltan.
- Duke Valon Morann, always an honourable man, was protected by his subjects after they had killed his barons. After 2 months, by popular demand, his duchy of Elestam seceded and he was crowned king of the new nation which would come to be called Erlkazar.
- The equally tyrannical heir to the Duke of Dusk, Nivedann Illehhune, gathered what men remained to him and his 3 surviving vassal barons to hold out in his castle which endured a 4 year long siege before the castle was breached and the inhabitants killed. 2 of his barons were killed trying to flee the siege a year into it, possibly under Nivedann's orders. The last baron, Nivedann's uncle, was killed during the final attack as the last true noble of Alemander's Tethyr.
The fallout left by the Black Days heralded mass emigrations, disease, numerous monster attacks and, of course, near constant warring among the various factions that emerged to try and fill the power vacuum. Over the next twenty years nearly 1000 individuals attempted to claim parts, if not all of Tethyr, for themselves. Northern nobles, wealthy merchants, mercenaries & adventurers were allowed to purchase land and titles in exchange for defending them from more despotic would-be rulers and the numerous monstrous bands that roamed the country.
The near constant fighting was only interrupted by events that impacted other lands as well as Tethyr such as the Time of Troubles where armies allegedly led by the Red Knight were very effective at putting down monster raids. The invasion of the Tuigan Horde saw many mercenaries desert to join the wealthier army of Cormyr, therefore providing a little peace for the peasantry. The discovery of Maztica caused most of the warring factions to put aside their conflicts and rush to build boats so that they could plunder the riches of the New World. None of these expeditions actually made it to New Amn however and all the effort and manpower put into them was wasted.
Goodly adventuring companies and the elves of Tethir played major roles in restoring a modicum of peace and justice to the land. The Company of Eight played the biggest role, it was they who successfully ended the siege on the Duke of Dusk's castle, they who stopped the evil "Duke of Ithmong" and his son from claiming the crown of Tethyr and they who spent their entire career aiding the commoners & stopping the despotic "carrion counts" & "robber-barons" from becoming too powerful. Others, such as the Knights of the Unicorn, Lathander's Lanterns, the Magis Mir, the Treantborn, Sune's Smile and the Knights Kuldar all strived to do what they could to solve the worst of Tethyrs problems. Most of the survivors were rewarded with land and/or titles when the crisis was over. A stern letter from queen Amlaruil Moonflower of Evermeet effectively ended Tethyrs persecution of the elves of the Wealdath after a few bloody skirmishes with woodcutters in the eastern part of the forest in 1364 DR.
In the Year of the Wave, Zaranda Star purchased County Morninggold and all its noble titles from the Order of the Silver Chalice. She spent 2 years reinforcing her borders and her castle before going on a mercantile tour of Faerûn. When she returned in 1367 DR, nothing had changed in Tethyr and though she had to personally fend off some bandits, she ploughed straight on to Zazesspur with her essential and exotic foreign goods, demonstrating her compassion to the commoners and strength of arms to those who greeted her with hostility. Unfortunately, Zazesspur's Baron Hardisty impounded her goods and chased her and her fellows out of the city. For the next 11 months she lived among the local peasants, teaching them how to defend themselves against those who would abuse them. This of course led those in power to believe that she was raising an army and earned her many enemies. Her merchant group "Company of the Star" thus became the Star Protective Services mercenary group.
While in Ithmong negotiating a contract, a bribed traitor drugged Zaranda, kidnapping her and taking her back to Zazesspur before anyone knew she was gone. During the four days that spanned the end of Tarsakh and the beginning of Kythorn, Zazesspur was left in utter chaos as Zhentarim slavers were discovered under the city, a darkling army was unleashed onto the streets of the city, Baron Hardisty, a professed priest of Ao, was revealed to be an evil fraud and the children of the rest of the city's nobles murdered their parents. During the confusion & terror, Zaranda escaped Zazesspur's dungeons and, with the aid of an orog paladin of Torm calling itself Shield of Innocence as well as her friends, she ventured into the Underdark and defeated a deepspawn known as The One Below which was behind all of the mayhem. When she emerged back into the city, the people declared her their queen. She would only accept the adolations under the condition that all of the people of Tethyr would express the same desire and understand what she stood for. She spent the month of Mirtul helping to rebuild Zazesspur and in Kythorn she met with other nobles to plan her rise to power. By Flamerule, she began her tour of the country. Her first stop was the port city of Velen who greeted her as their queen on the merit of her reputation alone yet that didn't stop her from putting an end to threat of the pirates of the neighbouring town of Tulmene. Zaranda had gained the support of the entire coastal region by Higharvestide. Rather than travelling south to Myratma for the winter she took her followers to Ithmong when she heard tell of a new tyrant residing there with his own royal aspirations. Allied with the Company of Eight and with Star Protective Services swelling with new recruits from the coast, Zaranda's siege of Ithmong was short and nearly bloodless. She and her fellows wintered there, finding the populace exceptionally friendly leading Zaranda to declare the city Tethyr's capital under her rule in lieu of Zazesspur. She renamed Ithmong Darromar in an attempt to erase the city's ignoble past.
The Year of the Banner saw ogres and goblins swarm out of the Kuldin Peaks and Forest of Tethir. One half-ogre even managed to organise an army of mercenaries & bandits in an attempt to create a monstrous city at Survale Ford but his efforts were quickly derailed. Zaranda gained the support of Saradush after rescuing their leader from kidnappers and was officially recognized by Siamorphe as a rightful ruler, putting paid to any doubts Zaranda had as to whether she should be queen. Her next target was Myratma but she was long delayed. Once there she and her "Loyalist Army" found the city occupied by Yusef Jhannivvar, a man claiming to be of royal blood who refused to accept Zaranda's rule. He commanded a large force, including many magicians who rained destruction down onto the Loyalist Army. A month-long siege began and Zaranda's losses were staggering. Reinforcements arrived in the form of armies led by men who demanded noble titles in exchange for their help. Unfortunately these men had no tactical experience and their help only led to the deaths of more soldiers. Zaranda and three of her four surviving commanders were captured by Yusef. Two thirds of her army lay dead and that final third fled to Saharkhan to regroup. At the same time, all but one of the council of lords in Zazesspur broke their ties with Zaranda either to claim more power for themselves or because they were secretly allied with prince Yusef.
While all of this was going on in Tethyr, a well-respected scribe in Shadowdale known as Lhaeo was informed by Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun that he was the rightful king of Tethyr, his existence as Alemander IV's second son kept secret by a powerful few after his birth in Silverymoon 33 years earlier. Khelben bullied him into accepting his destiny and when he finally relented, Lhaeo, now known by his birth-name of Haedrak spent the next 8 months studying swordplay and magic. He was granted a magically-enhanced pseudodragon familiar, the royal regalia of Tethyr and several other powerful magic items before his master Elminster bade him farewell, opening a portal for him to Voonlar where Haedrak began recruiting allies before teleporting to Silverymoon where he and his new companions started planning what to do when they arrived in Tethyr. He travelled to Waterdeep first where he was announce by Khelben and Piergeiron Paladinson as the last true scion of Tethyr. Many pledged their support of his cause and an army soon marched behind Haedrak and his allies. His forces arrived by sea and land in Zazesspur in Uktar to find a city divided. Bolstered by Tyrran paladins on a holy crusade to bring justice to Tethyr, Haedrak's army intimidated the splintered council of lords back into cohesion. Some people wanted to back Haedrak's claim to the throne but, trying to avoid more division, Haedrak made a public statement that he was not in Tethyr to claim the throne himself but to support Zaranda Star and encouraged everyone to do the same. He sent his ships to blockade Myratma and marched his army overland to join up with the last of the Loyalist Army before starting a second siege of the city.
12 days into the siege, prince Yusef, after killing her commanders, ordered Zaranda removed from Myratma, fearing this second army would free her and remove any advantage he had built up. He had a wizardess named Safana teleported her to the ruins of Shoonach, warding the immediate area from monsters, Safana tortured Zaranda for four days until she managed to escape deeper into the ruins while Haedrak gave a ring of teleportation to four elite allies who released all of the captured slaves inside Myratma, causing absolute chaos inside the walls. Haedrak used another ring to teleport himself, his familiar and a centaur named Timoth to wherever Zaranda was located. An ancient mythal disrupted the teleport and the trio were separated. Haedrak found Zaranda first, unconscious and about to be devoured by a hell hound. He killed the beast and healed Zaranda's injuries with potions. The four regrouped and Zaranda led them outside where they could teleport back to the siege line. Zaranda took command of the troops and maintained the siege into the new year.
Though weakened by the slave uprising, lack of supplies, befouled water sources and magically weakened walls, Yusef managed to keep his foe's main force outside the walls for 3 months thanks to his mages. News reached Zaranda that the situation in Darromar, Saradush and the Ithal Pass was rapidly degenerating. Realising that she needed to end the siege so that she could restore order to her cities but unable to do much more, she was relieved when a storm erupted on Ches 30. She had the druids and clerics in the army cast control lightning spells that struck the walls. A day and a night passed before 12 lightning bolts simultaneously struck the city barbican, levelling it and allowing the army to charge inside. Surprisingly, many slaves had survived the revolt and impeded the army's charge by attempting to escape through the same hole in the wall Zaranda's forces were using to enter. Yusef himself attempted to escape in the guise of a slave but he was discovered and eventually forced into single combat with Haedrak. Yusef was defeated but pulled a knife on Haedrak while he was asking Zaranda what she wanted to do with him. Zaranda shot a dozen arrows into Yusef, ending the battle in the eyes of those watching.
The Interregnum was over. Queen Zaranda was on the throne in Darromar and Tethyr expected a marriage of convenience between the queen and Prince Haedrak. However, the two had actually fallen in love and were married within 3 months. 1 month after that, the pair were coronated in the newly built royal palace. The ceremony was visited by a manifestation of Siamorphe who laid the crown on Zaranda's head.