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Old Feb 3rd, 2014, 05:28 PM
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The World You Knew...

A Brief History of Aspenar, and the World of AlenrilOnce, long ago in time ephemeral, the nation that came to be known as Aspenar was wild, untamed, and fraught with all manor of darkness. Mankind, and all the other races that dwelt upon the world had just awoken, and had no sense of purpose. High atop Mount Olympus, Zeus, the king of gods stood admiring his victory. For he had just vanquished the last of the creatures set upon him by his archenemies, the titans. After, he ripped apart the world they created, and in so doing, built in it's place the one that men now walk.

Man and his cousins were now just children though, and needed leaders. Some of the gods, such as Prometheus, the titan who had betrayed his brothers to side with Olympus, did their best to shelter the peoples of this land through knowledge. But the child of Zeus: Ares, had another plan entirely. Lying with a mortal woman, he conceived in her a son. This child was called Tor, having been born in times when names were simple. He was glorious by all standards. Handsome, powerful, and bred with an inborn will to dominate. As soon as he came of age, he knew of his purpose: to unite the lands under his law, and bring all mortal lands under his grasp. As he began his conquest, he was rechristened Vallen Tor Aspena. Which, in the modern tongue, translates to "Tor, Our Glorious One". Though, in time, the title was shortened. And when any remember him now, it is by the name Aspena, "The Glorious One".

For many long moons this half-god raged his wars, leading legions in bronze armor, moving all with a voice that brooked no opposition, and a hand that brought naught but death to his enemies. These armies were thousands strong, and led by his two greatest generals, and closest friends. First was the avaricious Wilhelm the Bloodied. He was a brilliant strategist and master planner, the likes of which has never been seen again. Second was the violent Lyrin the Dragonrider. Unlike his friends, the man was considered something of a coward. But with the power of his great winged beast, none could stand before him.

It was a dozen years before any marshaled a force capable of challenging this triumvirate. Ultimately, there were none that could defeat them, but several did try. The three greatest rebellions against his tyranny came from vastly different sources. The first, came from the wild folk of the far North. Brutal savages who fought with more hate than skill. Their armies were comprised of a melting pot from the hardiest of races. The raging orcs, the swarthy dwarves, and the hateful northmen. It was a trying campaign that was long, and set against the backdrop of the harsh Northern terrain. Wilhelm led some of Aspena's most lethal fighters there, men called the Iron Vipers, who still operate today in the form of a mercenary outfit. Eventually, the rebels were driven from their homeland and across the sea, forced to live in the inhospitable place known as Korhath. They never forgot this insult, and have always sworn to retake their home.

The second rebellion was led by the other great hero of that age. The champion known as Aaron Perry, Lord of Eastwall. A warrior simple of brain but strong of heart who sought to bring justice to wherever it was lacking. He stood against the overwhelming might of Lyrin's hordes for hours, leading a small band of villagers against the greatest fighting force ever assembled. And for weeks, they were winning. It took Lyrin some time, but he finally convinced Aspena to commit a full half of his forces to wiping the man's soldiers out. Lyrin was not a shrewd person, but he did recognize the threat that a person this compassionate and kind could cause to them as an ideal the people could rally behind. And thus, the bronze clad soldiers rolled into Eastwall, legion after legion after legion. Eventually, Perry was the last that stood, horribly wounded but still holding tightly to his pride. It was not until then that the coward Lyrin set his dragon upon the man to finish the job. Upon hearing of this bravery, Aspena renamed the town of Eastwall, Perryburgh, in his honor. And it is still thus called today.

The final threat was a relatively minor one. The great elfish sorcerers of the south had summoned up several being of shadow and malice to fight for them, promising these creatures horrible sacrifices if they could but protect the lands the elves held. In the end, Aspena himself took to the field against these demons. This is written of in the works of the elven poet Mhedros'Talva, as part of his epic work: Flight of the Southfolk.

Fire did he bring.
Ash did he bring.
Sadness did he wield.
Fury is his hand, and bronze is his fist.

Darkness did he fell.
Demons did he fell.
Our hopes did he kill.
Inferno are his eyes, and ice is his heart.


After this display of strength, the elves agreed to retreat to the island of Volganrim, across the sea like the northmen had before them.

And after these last peoples had been driven from his realm, Aspena looked upon his empire, and felt, at last, satisfied. There was no kingdom to match it, and he named it Aspenar, so that all kings fenceforth would know the land carried his name. For it was his blood and sweat and toil that had secured it. Unfortunately for him, he did not have long to enjoy his victory. On the day of his coronation, his two generals revealed their true colors. Despite being some of the first to rally to his cause, Lyrin and Wilhelm found themselves driven by a greed for power so strong that they could not resist attempting to take Aspena's rule from him. In the night, they fell upon him with sword and dagger, hatefully tearing at his flesh until there was barely enough left to call a man. The warrior who had survived a hundred battles lied dead in his bedchamber, murdered unceremoniously by his cohorts.

But a servant had seen the whole affair, and exposed their attempt to cover up the incident as a Korhathi assassination as false. The traitors were hounded to the ends of the earth, and the land was scourged to hunt them. For without their leader, the land of Aspenar was thrown into utter chaos. Lyrin was found after nearly a year spent on the run. He was mercilessly cut down in an alleyway. Broken, beaten, and desperately calling out for his dragon to save him, he was a pitiful figure at the end, and his dragon never came. Wilhelm on the other hand, was never found. It is a widely accepted theory that he lived out the rest of his days in anonymity, using his vast intellect to keep himself disguised. Though, there are some conspiracy theorists who put forth other, more extreme ideas that he couldn't resist the lure to control events even in hiding, and he manipulated the policies of the empire from the shadows until his death.

With Aspena dead, there was massive confusion as to which of his twin boys should ascend to the throne. The two men, Barl and Crayden, were both skilled warriors and excellent statesmen, and thus they had the public equally divided in their support. Eventually, the tension grew too high in the royal hall of Testrius, and Crayden fled across Aspenar, halfway to the sea, and founded his own great city, Craydenstrom. There, he created a great temple to the lord of the dead, Hades, and begged for the king of the underworld's blessing. It was unknown if these prayers were ever answered, but the war itself would not go favorably for him. Barl, during this time, took a page out of his brother's book and renamed the capital of Testrius, rechristening it Barlin, in his own honor, to try and stir up patriotism. The two kept in a sort of cold standoff for several years, but as both economies were on the verge of collapse, they agreed on a great final battle to be done with the dispute.

While Crayden led his forces personally, Barl's wife was near to birthing their child, so he sent one of his finest generals, the powerful warrior known as Gorn Helmringer, instead. The two armies met under the shadow of the great and terrible Mt. Redpath to have their duel. And as the fighting began, it was a bloodbath like no other that the world had ever witnessed. The roar and cacophony of the battle was like the crashing of ten million cymbals, and the death toll reached lengths like no other battle in history. And then...it ended.

No one living could truly say what happened, but when Barl sent his scouts South from Barlin to investigate, the found a scene more horrific and nightmarish than any they could have possibly imagined. The dead on the battlefield had begun to rise, snaring and devouring the last of the living warriors from both armies. Crayden himself had arisen as a great master of undead, a putrid vampire, and was consuming his former companions blood. Helmringer could not be found. Only three of Barl's thirty-eight couriers lived to return the message, and it was impossible to say what had forced the grotesque change upon the soldiers. This was a moment of terror for the world, and was the genesis of all undead on the planet. The clergy of Hades declared these things abomination, and ordered their extinction. The living's reprisal was swift and hateful, but they found the dead had already barricaded themselves in a city of their own making. This was hence christened Plaguemarch.

Ultimately, the killing fields of the dreadful town proved too much for even the mightiest of the Aspenaran heroes, and they were forced into a retreat. This became the foundation for the long standoff that exists today, with the creatures of darkness hidden within their hole, waiting for something unknowable. And on the other side, the people of the land, unable to root out this horror. In the wake of his brother's death and transformation, Barl was easily able to consolidate power. His first official act as Emperor was to turn the area under the church to Hades that Crayden had built into a massive mausoleum in honor of those who had fallen in the war, and in hopes that such a conflict would never consume Aspenar again.

Little known to all but a select handful, the battle of Mt. Redpath also awoke something far more powerful than undead. In the sleeping crevices of the mountain, the gods had imprisoned two of the last refugees of the war with the titans. The first was the horrific beast of unthinkable power, Typhon, who would have bested the gods in combat had it not been for the fury of Zeus' Lightning Bolt. This creature still slept, dreamlessly. The second was an even older and more enigmatic being: the quasi lifeform known as Father Regret. He alone remembered the shifting nature and malleable structure of the titan's world, and could not comprehend the static forms that held the planet the gods had created in check. To him, it seemed a nightmare, and a mockery of true life. For in the ancient world, all who existed had control to shape reality to their will, forming paradise from their own thoughts. Here, the Olympians had taken this strength from the mortals, and bestowed all power upon themselves. And to add insult, the gods had needed fuel with which to create their new world. While they had Regret locked away, they had also been using the raw, elemental nature of his life force to infuse existence with the 'spark' of life. But all the beings that were created in this manor manifested his sorrow, and were all too aware of their status as outsiders, (if not the reason for feeling so). And during the centuries that followed, this ancient one planned his recreation of the paradise he had known. Even if it cost the inhabitants of the new world everything. In his eyes, he was doing them a favor.

He gathered many followers to him, and these outcast beings came to be called The Hideous. Every abomination and monster with no reason to live embraced his cause, as did quite a few mortal beings. Here shall be detailed a few of the most powerful and most deserving of notoriety. The first and cruelest of Regrets counterparts was the amalgam of a being known as Marius Machiavelli. He had originally been a cruel and sociopathic young serial killer who's acts had attracted the notice of an ancient spirit of pain. When the spirit came upon him, trying to rule his mind, their souls, instead, merged into a single being. Though it still called itself Marius, the boy's own hatred for life was magnified by it's new companion. When Regret found him, he had been inhabiting a dungeon which served as both his home and torture chamber. Hearing Regret's persuasive offers, Marius finally understood why even to screams of his victims could never satisfy him, and took up with his new Father. After, of course, skinning all his remaining victims alive and placing them chained in front of mirrors to contemplate their own horrid existence.

Next to join him was a man of completely enigmatic history. If you asked the Widow what sort of creature he was, when he came into being, or what his purpose was, he would probably respond that he was more confused than you were. He was a wiley man, and also a monster beyond description. When Regret found him, he had been casually running an establishment which he called the Carnival of Doom. There, he would play nightmarish games with those unfortunate enough to stumble upon him, and the price for failure was usually staying in the Carnival for all eternity. But still, many would play willingly. The prizes he offered were too great to pass up for some brave adventurers. Curiously, he did seem to have a curious sense of honor. Unless the righteous truly insisted on braving his games, he would refuse them entrance. The wicked, however, he would welcome with open arms. Though he abandoned his Carnival to journey with Regret for a short while, he soon decided that he rather enjoyed this world, and the twisted souls it had to offer him. He therefore left the Hideous, but not before removing the tongues of several of Regret's other followers. He left a note stating:

The walls of the Carnival needed some new decoration. Hope you don't mind! Cya when I cya!
Widow


One of the strongest of Regret's legion, though, was the dreadful Vash Keldari. He was the product of a terrible deal between the great Luminari warrior, King Chase Keldari, and a manipulative succubus. The Luminari warriors had come from the moon as an invasion force many years previous. Chase had been the leader of the forces, and they had chosen to make their assault on the lands of Korhath. However, they found it defended by Aesir warriors elevated to divinity; Odin, Thor, and Loki, among others. Against such dreadful opponents, these aliens had no chance at all. Bearing a terrible grudge as he retreated, he swore vengeance on all humans and their allies. He pledged his eternal soul to darkness if he could be find a way to settle the score. Hearing his plea, a succubus came and lay with him, and months latter, a boy filled with darkness was brought before the disgraced king. Raised by his father, and fueled by his mother's infernal blood, Vash was a warrior with few equals. He took up the banner of the Hideous as a way to work his revenge.

The most mysterious of them all was a dark warrior who called himself Wrath. This man rarely spoke, but was utterly without equal in combat. It was as if he were truly immortal, and any wound done to him healed quickly. His body itself formed to any shape he desired, and there none, even among the Hideous, who could stand before him.

Others came, and they were legion, but it was always in secret, for Regret kept his children well hidden, until centuries later when his plans finally found their key ingredient.

In the small mountainous village of Varren, the god Zeus had buried his darkest secret. After millennia of delay, he had finally decided to gut his father, Cronus, and dashed open his belly. This was symbolic to the father of Olympus, as when he had been younger, Cronus had eaten all of Zeus' brothers and sisters. But looking at the intestines and gore, he found something utterly shocking...a baby deity.

In the way of immortals, Zeus immediately knew this for the dreadful realization it was. With his deific sight, he knew the babe to be his own older brother, preserved in the belly of Cronus. This child would ruin his entire right to rule, and plunge his established order into chaos. It might even cause the others to rise up against him. This, he decided was a secret that needed to remain buried. Therefore, he cast the child from the darkness of Cronus prison in Tartarus, up through the crust of the world, and to the mountains of Keldash. There, a kind old man named Thomas Jensen found him, and decided to raise him as his own son, already having two adopted children, it was an easy choice. Zeus believed he had at least bought himself enough to think, as the child would grow believing itself mortal.

The boy, who was named Rodrick by Tom Jensen, had a very difficult childhood. He had always felt apart from his brothers and father, and felt an outcast in his own him town, though he truly did love his family dearly. He also craved the love of a mother, and Tom's wife had already been dead for several years when the lad had been found.

Tom, it seemed had a great destiny laid out for him when the Fates had written his life. For all three of his adopted boys, unbeknownst to him, were children of greatness. The eldest, a boy who had always seemed just a bit off himself, and had refused to choose a name, went to study at the Temple of Domani, and became known as a great philosopher and warrior there. It later became known after his adventures were through, that this man, (who, in later years, has come to be known as He That Was), was in fact, the reincarnation of the great Domani himself, and that the universe was his father and mother. Though, that last part was unconfirmed. It was simply a belief he held.

His final son was a greatly built half orc by the name of Pahw. This child's history was long and treacherous, but in short, his parents, the rightful heirs to the throne of Korhath, had been pursued across the entire landscape of Aspenar by assassins. Later in life, he would assert his birthright, kill the current king in a trial by combat, and ascend to the kingship himself. This task was assisted by a man named Wolfgang. Who was, ironically, one of the assassins originally sent to kill him. In the present day, Wolfgang stills serves him as his bodyguard and right hand

One dark and dreary night, a fog fell upon Varren. Within it, the terrible forces of the Hideous, led by the mysterious Wrath, commenced an assault on the Jensen household. They fell upon them in secrecy and silence, and in the night, made off with the boy Rodrick. In the fighting, Tom Jensen lost his right leg bellow the knee, and Rodrick's adopted brothers were humiliatingly beaten. All three decided, along with the town council, that the brothers were the best fighters they had, and were most well fitted to going to retrieve Rodrick.

They therefore began a grand adventure that would see them travelling across the whole of Aspenar, battling all sorts of fiends and traps that the Hideous had left for them. Though details that historians have uncovered about this time are incomplete, it seems that they were forced to engage in mercenary work for some client who has never been named, but were eventually able to gain his assistance in locating the base of the Hideous, which was a vast underground cavern where they had been digging the past several decades.

The heroes Jensen did their best to fight through the warriors of the Hideous, but were eventually found out and captured. They were then confronted by the terrible presence of Father Regret himself, who explained his plans to reforge his own world at the cost of the current one, in hopes that they might join him. When they were shocked and appalled by his ideas, he decided to try a different approach. At that moment, Rodrick himself appeared before them, now entirely on the side of the Hideous. His ancient memories had begun to stir, but it was driving him mad. He had spent thousands of years trapped in the stomach of his own father, unable to move or escape, and had never belonged on the mortal world to begin with. He tried desperately to explain that he still loved them, and wanted their help, but the lads would have none of it. The child-god then stalked away, but not before revealing the true nature of their plan. The cavern had been dug so that they might find an ancient portal to the mount of Olympus itself, and there, steal the most terrible weapon in all of existence: Zeus' Lightning Bolt.

Soon, the Jensens were able to escape with help from an unknown source, and attempted to stop the vile plan, but were unable to catch up to Regret, Rodrick, Wrath, Marius, and Vash in time. The five leaders of the Hideous snuck within the realm of the gods itself and stole the great weapon from underneath the sleeping clutches of Zeus. With it in hand, they thought themselves unstoppable.

The Jensen brothers were distraught, and terrified that they would be unable to stop them from rewriting the world, though they still did not know how. After much research, they realized the dreadful intentions of Regret. He intended to unleash Typhon, the horrible moster trapped beneath Mount Redpath who could destroy even the gods, the last great weapon of the titans in the godswar. And now, without his Bolt, Zeus would be utterly helpless against it's power. In haste, the brothers ran to the Emperor, Barl VIII, and explained the situation. Thankfully, the Emperor listened, and dispatched his armies out to the mountain. There, they found the forces of the Hideous marshaling as well, readied for the army by some sort of spy within the Aspenaran government.

The battle that followed lasted for weeks, with the Hideous' terrible creatures, monsters, and spurned warrior gradually wearing down the forces of the empire. The Jensen brothers were among the first to lead Aspenaran assaults upon the darkness, and there earned their status as heroes. It was they who struck down the vile darkness of Marius Machiavelli, in full view of Regret, who was orchestrating his soldiers from the back of the battle lines. This collection of battles would eventually come to be known as the Hideous Wars, and many great heroes and villains fell. Not the least of which was Lady Rayna, a woman who had reportedly aided the Jensens against a flock of vampires, and who had been made High Captain Commander of the armies as a result. Even the mighty blade known as Breaker could not save her from the power of Vash Keldari and his lightning magic. The blade, as well as the office of High Captain Commander, were then transferred to Tarwyn Kent, a knight and chief of police who had also distinguished himself in battle. Here was where the battle turned, for Kent was every bit as stubborn and powerful as the great ox on his emblem, and he was able to hold the line for a great long while. If it was not for the losses his forces inflicted, the final battle between the Jensen brothers and the captains of the Hideous might have gone differently.

While many of the Hideous casualties could not be named, several notable warriors of primary noble houses fell. Here is a brief list detailing the most famous.

Reginald Stone, Duke of House Stone, Uncle of the Current Duke Alistair

Cynthia Ryche, Duchess of House Ryche, Niece to Barl VIII

Father Crane, Knight of the Silver Son, Priest of Hades

Balon Kent, Knight of the Realm, Son of Tarwyn Kent

Marcus Carrol, Duke of House Carrol, Father of Current Duke Benjamin

Renor Highland, Knight of the Realm, Quartermaster of the Iron Vipers.


The list, of course, could be greatly expanded, but these are the men and women of legends.

In a final desperate attempt to follow through with their plans, the captains of the Hideous pressed forward through the battle lines themselves. They tore through the opposition, but it wasn't bloodshed they were after. Rodrick especially was able to utterly annihilate his foes with the Lightning Bolt. Three of them at last made their way past their enemies and ran on toward the mountain. They were followed quickly by the Jensen brothers, who left the battle itself to Kent and his men. There, at the peak, they encountered Wrath, who had been the first of the Hideous they had met. No one knows what transpired there, but somehow, the battle was one of words, not blows. Without blood being shed, Wrath left them to their duty. Next, they found he who had set this all in motion, and was the cause of so much heartbreak.

Father Regret stood before them, at last in his true, terrible form. A great winged warrior unlike any that the world knew, and there, the Jensens and a few close follows battled him. It was a bloody mess of a fight, with close friends perishing, including a young elf named Annen, whom the party loved dearly. There is still a small grave near the tip of the mountain commemorating him. At the last through, Regret stood beaten and dying, with little power left. He laughed in their faces, though, and whispered that they had already lost. And at that, this ancient shade of a world long forgotten at last past from existence, perhaps to finally join his family and friends in a far off world where he could at last know peace.

Several of the Hideous attacked as soon as their leader had fallen, and the friends of the brothers stayed back to hold them off while the Jensens themselves charged deep into a cavern where Rodrick had run.

There, they saw their child brother in front of a great stone prison, containing the monstrous Typhon, whom, it was now obvious, was not just within the mountain, but made up the entirety of it's depths, and it's body extended even further underground. Rodrick had sympathy for them, but would not relent, believing that the gods and man deserved to be punished for what they had done, and it became obvious that in a fit of madness, he had already killed the entire village of Varren, and everyone they knew and loved, including their father, Tom.

For the sake of the world, the brothers charged, righteous fury burning within them. The battle was long and great, but there was no beating this god-child with the power of Zeus in his hands. Eventually, Pahw and He That Was stood broken and bloody, with no way to stop Rodrick. The boy then used the power of the Bolt to free the great beast from it's hiding place, and it rose with all the power of ages ready to break the world so that Rodrick might make it anew. But first, it's terrible power consumed the brothers Jensen.

This was not the end for them, though. A mighty shade of the ancient monk Domani, along with Tom Jensen, and Annen the elf, appeared before them in a cloud of white and offered them one final chance. The universe itself was rising up against the power of Typhon, and had enough energy to give them one last opportunity to stop Rodrick. It could pull back the veil of time a few minutes, and give one of them the strength necessary to defeat the boy. This would be at a terrible cost, though. One of the brothers would have to sacrifice himself in order to offer that power. In his final act of compassion and love for the world, and for both of his brothers, He That Was offered himself to eternity, and allowed his brother Pahw to become the Lord of the Beyond, bestowed with all the greatness that the universe had to offer him, and burning bright with pure energy and magic. With all of this, and wielding Mjonir, Hammer of Thor, saddened though he was by his brother's passing, he ventured back in time to the moment before Rodrick had opened the prison, watching both his former self, and his brother, fade from reality.

The battle then was incredible for all to behold, the two of them flying high over the heads of the those battling bellow, out among the sky and the stars and back down beneath the earth, and teleporting across the vastness of the continent they had called home. This cost many lives in the crossfire, and whole cities were laid waste. The devastation that the battle caused was nigh on impossible, and much of the land itself was ravaged by their power. Farmlands, forests, plains, icecaps, and rivers were all decimated. Pahw did his best to avoid harming anyone, but there was no avoiding it. Victory would be dearly bought for the land of Aspenar, for much of what kept them safe was no lost.

But finally, victory did come. They had at fought made their way back to the battlefield at Mount Redpath, where the Hideous were at last, utterly defeated, except for some who fled such as Vash Keldari, (his current status is unknown). And all the warriors of the realm saw with their own eyes as Pahw, with tears forming, at last struck through the last power that Rodrick had to offer, for even with his last energy leaving, he would not surrender. It was there with a mournful cry that Pahw crushed his own brother with the force of a mighty hammer swing, rupturing his organs and utterly crushing nearly all his ribs. And with the weapon of a god, he felled a god.

As Rodrick lay there, dying, his mind finally came back to him. It was a terrible sight, for he at last knew what he had done in full, and all the deaths he was responsible for. With his last dying breaths, he begged for forgiveness, and swore he loved Pahw with all his heart. But Pahw was too broken hearted to respond, and sadly, the lad passed in silence. But on the whispers of the wind, it is said, one could hear Tom Jensen telling the boy to take his hand, and Rodrick whispering back...

I'm ready, dad.


And hence, Pahw Jensen was known to all as the man who had both saved, and broken, the whole of Aspenar. But in the celebrations and joy, one vital detail was forgotten: The Lightning Bolt. It was somehow stolen, despite the fact that it is well known that only the gods, or the descendants of gods should be able to wield it. All in the armies were questioned, but no one knew what had become of it. It is one of the defining mysteries of our age.

Pahw went North to Korheim, there to reclaim the kingdom that belonged to him from a dark usurper, but little communication is to be had with the northmen, so all that is now known in Aspenar is that he won this victory, but still has ambitions in the South.

The Empire, though, was given the monstrous task of rebuilding. All knew this would take generations, and much of the land used to grow their food had been scorched by godsfire. It was onerous, and wretched, but all agreed it was better than the world itself ending. They put themselves to work, and though it was taking many years, they were well on the path to recovery when tragedy struck.

Nearly eighteen years to the day after the War of the Hideous, a lone assassin of unknown origin struck, deep in the royal court of Barlin, and murdered the Emperor, Barl VIII. It was by his strength of will alone that the world had been progressing, and without his leadership, everything collapsed. No one knew whence the killer had come, and he immediately vanished after his work was done. Trade ceased, bandits rode, and all manor of chaos reigned upon the people. Outside of the lands controlled by the greatest of Dukes and knights, only strength permitted one to rule.

The Great Council of Barlin knew that a successor had to be named, but not consensus could be reached upon who was deserving. Barl had left no children, it is oft believed he was either barren, or proffered to company of men to his wife's bed. His closest blood relative was only a boy of eleven at the time, and many distrust the lad's uncle, who it is said, is easily bribed and corrupt. His wife had no taste for rule, and when her husband fell, she said she cared not if the world burned, and devoted herself to the Church of Artemis, swearing off men for the rest of her days.
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