One Equal Temper
A recounting of the past three years.
Much has happened in the past three years. It seemed minor at the time when a strange green snowfall covered Arx, three years ago. In the aftermath of the attack by the pirate king known as the Gyre, bizarre weather was easily forgotten, and few commented on it outside of the city of Arx. And while a number of white journals in the Great Archive can be found remarking upon the collapse of the clocktower at Heroes Home in the Ward of the Compact following that snowfall, relatively few have noted that much of the events of the past three years all seemed to follow an otherwise innocuous fall of a building.
Shortly after, emissaries from foreign kingdoms arrived in Arvum for the first time in living memory. The Sky Kingdom of Cardia, little more than a myth and a source of preposterously expensive fashion to most, arrogantly arrived in the person of the self-proclaimed 'Praetor of Arvum' Marcus Sulla. The Undying Empire likewise arrived in Arx for the first time in the Compact's history, with Emissary Zulana bringing word from her distant emperor in the fabled land of Jadairal. And so too did an emissary from Eurus arrive- one Falak'a'Sib, the Eye of the Prophet. Cardia and Jadairal, two competing factions far from the eyes of Arvum, pressed the Compact to choose a side and to emerge from centuries of isolation, and ally themselves with one continent or another. But the Compact under the leadership of King Alaric Grayson IV and the highlords of the houses opted instead to keep the Compact neutral and independent. And this seemed to be accepted by the foreign powers pressuring the Compact, more or less. Praetor Marcus Sulla's great warship withdrew from Arx's harbor, and has been spotted periodically in the Bay of Thrax. Emissary Zulana withdrew to the wilds of Arvum to establish her own Imperial province named Tongdjiyi, made up of Abandoned clans that swore fealty to her Undying Empire. And Falak'a'Sib remained an exceedingly strange individual seen incoherently ranting at individuals in the Lower Boroughs and leaving black sand on the ground as he passed. Many hoped life would return to normal, such as it was.
Then came the establishment of the Great Road project, to try to better unify Arvum with massive public works and make travel between the different domains faster and safer. It succeeded in the first quite admirably, but the latter was much harder won as many long simmering conflicts boiled over into border wars, purges of prodigals, and traditionalists trying to stomp out changes threatening their power. And from this growth, other conflicts followed. House Pravus upended the status quo with their attempt to conquer the Saffron Chain and waxing powerful enough to fundamentally change the Compact of Arvum. They were added as the 6th Great House of the Compact, the first such addition since the Compact was founded a thousand years ago in the fires of the Reckoning.
And with that expansion into the formerly unclaimed Saffron Chain came the danger of a new war. House Pravus attacked holdings by slavers from the Dune Kingdom of Skal'daja, a powerful city-state in Eurus. In turn, a powerful fleet was dispatched by Skal'daja to 'chasten' the Arvani, sailing towards the duchy of Sungreet in the Mourning Isles, the holding of House Helianthus. Helianthus, staunch traditionalists that had long been critical of the changes in the Compact and sought to slow and undermine those changes, offered safe passage and welcome to the Eurusi as fleets of the Compact led by the Faith's templars went to meet them, with a hope for peace but ready for war.
Peace was not to be, with the Battle of Sungreet seeing a thrall rebellion encouraged by the Faith's Liberators, House Helianthus suffering a schism as the Duke's son allied with the Faith, and the Eurusi landing and inflicting catastrophic losses upon the templars' forces only to be driven off in turn by other Eurusi swayed to support the Compact.
Duke Ivan Helianthus fled along with two thirds of the Eurusi fleet, presumably to attack House Pravus' holdings in the Saffron Chain, and leaving a bloodied and battered army of the Faith in control of Sungreet. A proclamation written by Duke Ivan arrived in Arx, denouncing the Compact's changes and challenging the noble houses over their acceptance of prodigals, neo-nobles, changes to the Faith, addition of a great house and abolishment of thralldom. He called upon the houses of the Compact to rise up and reject all those who embrace change, and spoke of rallying to a new banner. He wrote that the king of two decades ago, King Alaric Grayson III, was still alive and in Eurus as its Dune Emperor- and that warlord was now coming to Arvum to reclaim his throne from his son.
It will be a time of change and choices, and one that will test the temper of the Compact itself.
In the summer evening of July 13, 1013 AR, a falling star is seen streaking across the night sky just outside Arx. Some say that just outside the city was briefly illuminated, as if it had fallen there.