The Unraveling

The Unraveling was a period of radical political upheaval in the Mercurian Empire from 232 A.I. to 238 A.I. that marked the end of the hereditary Emperors and a shift to a more modern system of government with the establishment of the Indoles Carta. The Unraveling began with a regional dispute in Bela Akvario which resulted in an international uproar and the departure of 33rd Regent of the Empire on a leave of absence from which he would never return. After The Regent departed, there was a bombing campaign throughout Old Hermertia beginning with possible attempted assassinations which eventually built up to full scale settlement destruction. As more and more people and places were targeted, an atmosphere of paranoia spread throughout the land during which time King Nao was assassinated by Lenier deChanel. It was during this time that there was the rise of what has been historically although controversially identified as The Resistance Faction. With a major attack of Gnosis by an unknown assailant, the Council of the Crowned met to discuss changes to Hermertia's political system. This council meeting ultimately led to the Imperial Project Trial of the Resistance Faction and the Great Exile during which the Emperor returned after generations of absence. The trial resulted in the banishment of the leaders of a number of different freeholds throughout the empire.

The modern era of Hermertia unfolded in the shadow of The Unraveling. Not until many of the Old World Kingdoms had settled and expanded in New Hermertia did The Unraveling truly come to an end. Much of the precious fabric of Hermertian lore and life was damaged in The Unraveling, but ultimately the new systems established proved more stable and balanced.

Buildup in Bela Akvario

The crisis began when Lenier deChanel proposed expansion into the northwestern swamp of Bela Akvario, where a flat isolated region provided the opportunity for the expansion of the Chenalian freehold from its initial settlement, Chenal. However this region was very close-by to Frailt, the settlement of another Freehold Lord, Gimpy I. Furthermore, in secret correspondence with The Council of the Crowned, it has been rumored that he expressed intent to annex Gimpy surrounding his lands and forcibly making him his protectorate. Lenier, in correspondence later made public, inquired to the Council about the legality of these actions. Whilst they advised him to make his intentions public, thus legal, the Council, notably the 33rd Regent of the Empire, informed Lenier they would support Gimpy and resist his efforts to surround him.

At the time Freehold Lords, then the title of Gimpy and Lenier, under the Settlement Policy, could build in unclaimed land as a way of strengthening a claim on the land for themselves. Chenal's settlements were experiencing considerably more economic growth than Frailt, which Lenier cited as a reason he should have a claim over Bela Akvario. There is evidence to suggest his growth was fueled by an illegal trade and acquisition of goods that could have rendered his claims invalid. Given their long historical establishment, the Council expressed that different peoples and regions will experience growth at differing rates over time and that the land in question should be reserved for Frailt's future growth. This coincided with the fact that Frailt was leaderless during this time, which Lenier took advantage of.

With the situation still developing, Chenal's continued growth was further cemented by the arrival of Kyra de Chenal from Gnosis and the population expansion that followed. Things looked to be heading for direct conflict until 'The Canal Agreement' was brokered between the two parties, whereby Lenier would restrict his builds to south of the Bela Akvario Canal and Frailt would have free range to build in the north.

Opposition to the Council

Lenier published his claims and publicly questioned the nature of The Council's disagreement with him and suggested he was unhappy with 'The Canal Agreement'. Lenier argued he had very similar claims to the land as Frailt, even though Lenier had access to southern lands for expansion whereas Frailt did not. These events helped him gain support from some realms and freeholds within Hermertia, notably including the Chaos Orcs in the north, who have a tradition of opposing the Council. Historically scholars have grouped Lenier, the Chairman of the GRHH, Governor Talin of Sothis, and Propret (the Orcs' leader) as The Resistance Faction. This group was a loose collective of dissents within Hermertia's diplomatic forums. Some like Talin were vocal but remained completely diplomatic until the Great Exile and committed no crimes, while Lenier and the Orcs were independently waging discursive wars against the established political order and are the most likely suspects to have committed the terrorist attacks that would soon follow. Chairman, Talin, and Popret were not linked to any crimes, and while they were dissidents, many questions why they should be categorized alongside Lenier, who was ultimately proven a criminal and deviant. It should be noted however that there was never an official alliance but it was subsequent events that drew these three closer and lead to the grouping. The core Resistance Faction was not alone in its opposition to the Council, as other voices had also joined the dissent. This sowed the seeds for divisions between the peoples of Hermertia and the great upheaval that would follow. After the Imperial Project Trial, it was the surviving leaders of this group that rallied to Casadia's secret call to arms against the Council.

There was much discourse about Lenier's claims in the public forums throughout Old Hermertia, with Lenier pointing to The Regent's support for Frailt as a too powerful Imperial influence over lands that he had no business in, even though the Regent had every legal right to intervene. Since Lenier's argument was on the basis of his legality, many saw his take that the Regent should not practice his own legal rights as hypocritical. This created an atmosphere strong enough for The Regent to decide to take a leave of absence opening Hermertia up to a test of its institutions.

Terror Attacks

As Chenal continued to develop and expand, a violent climax to the Bela Akvario Crisis seemed inevitable. The first violence came via an explosive trap set on one of the empire's Nether lines, claiming several Casadian casualties. As tensions peaked, several towns and cities throughout Old Hermertia became targets of terrorist attacks. Bombs were discovered in Frailt, Pumpkinport, Gnosis, Emerald Bay, Tidewater, and Sirius. Furthermore, with either intent of disruption of trade or assassination, further traps were also found throughout the empire's Nether infrastructure.

At the time, it was unclear why these attacks began, with some speculating a lurking anarchist or previous infighting between the Orcs spilling over into the wider world. Later, it became clear that these attacks were tied into the growing disagreements between The Resistance Faction and the Council. It should be stressed that this was not a binary disagreement, but a culmination of the growing isolation of the Council and the alienation of many peoples of Hermertia.

Paranoia spread throughout the land as many settlements ramped up security with regular inspections for attacks. As the atmosphere became increasingly hostile, Lenier resigned his position and took a leave of absence in line with the Regent. Seeking to calm a tense empire, King Arjen took a stand and delivered two historical speeches calling for the empire to stand together in this dark time.

With both Lenier and The Regent absent, King Arjen's leadership stabilized the empire and peace returned once again. During this time many lands on the periphery of Old Hermertia experienced a strong economic and cultural upturn despite the terrorism. Many believed the worst of the crisis to be passed. Lenier returned to Bela Akvario, where he developed in the south of Bela Akvario in accordance with 'The Canal Agreement'.

After a mercannum, a new wave of bombings began. The worst attacks came in Gnosis, where a multitude of bombs were discoverd by Ser David Barrawin. Extensive damage was prevented by a communal effort of many leaders within Hermertia. The attack was so potentially devastating it spurred the Office of the Empyrean, replacement of power in Minerva upon the absence of the 33rd Regent, to become active in an attempt to help restore order to the increasingly chaotic land.

Whilst Gnosis was still in turmoil, King Nao was assassinated by an explosive trap that was later revealed to be planted by Lenier deChanel himself. This was a critical moment in the history of Hermertia, as a member of the esteemed Council of The Crowned had been directly targeted with a political motive for the first time since the Newlanding Crisis. It appeared as though nothing was sacred and everything would be targeted, leading to a critical summit at the Imperial project where the leaders of all the peoples of Hermertia were called.

The Return of the Emperor

Leaders from realms and freeholds throughout the empire were called to meet The Council at The Imperial Project. There, after generations of seclusion, the Emperor returned to restore order to the world. He announce a wide series of reforms including an end of many traditions and the forced imprisonment of lords who had arrived only recently to Hermertia. The Emperor claimed their involvement in the terrorist strikes could not be discounted, with later confessions confirming this to be true. After consideration by the Council, it was announced that these lords were to be exiled from the empire. In solidarity, the lords of Sothis and the Duroth Commonwealth declared that they should be imprisoned with the other freehold lords. Also of note, the leader of Elenya was invited to become a kingdom and join the Council.

The historical record is unclear on what happened next, as many conflicting accounts exist. Historians from realms within the Council report that these lords were escorted to the borders of the empire. Other accounts, such as the personal account of Antheron, suggest a very different outcome. These alternative reports suggest that the Council chose to execute the imprisoned lords; a position further supported by evidence that King Nao's successor demanded revenge of some kind against a number of the freehold lords for the death of his father. The night prior to their execution, Antheron and a handful of Casadian soldiers helped a few of the imprisoned lords escape. Antheron rallied an army of outcasts in Casad Vokh, intent on making war with the Council. In a curious turn, Antheron chose to march the army west after receiving word that the Casadian home cities had been abandoned. It is thought that Antheron invited the people of these freeholds to join him, though accounts from the time make it unclear how many joined his endeavor.

Economic Collapse and the Great Voyage

With the disappearance of many Freehold Lords, various areas of Hermertia went through a period of long stagnation and economic downturns. With little leadership to coordinate repairs, much of the damage from the terror attacks remained, leading to much a reduction in travel and trade. Many of the young folk in Hermertia who had grown up in this atmosphere yearned for a fresh start and opportunities away from the ravaged lands. King Nao's successor departed on a pilgrimage, feeling incredible guilt for his potential role in the possible executions of some of the resistance faction leaders. Nao was inspired by rumors and old maps from the scholars of Hyrnjandi that there might be a pass to the fabled “Lands of Plenty”. Fueled by a generational divide and the milieu striking the older residents of the empire, the youth were taking increasingly great interest in the fables and stories about this vast and unsettled “Land of Plenty”. The Imperials were thought to have abandoned their mining projects there when their homelands were destroyed, so it was assumed the land would have expansive room for true kingdoms to grow.

Following the return of the King of Perth from his personal pilgrimage, he and parties of fisherfolk and explorers claimed to chart a path to the fabled land through treacherous mountain passes to the South-East of the Chemical Straights and the Hyrnjandi. Kingdoms and realms from all corners constructed great fleets and offered their brightest, most curious, and bravest the chance to bring glory from Old Hermertia to the new lands, and to one day return with great strength. The 34th Regent played a critical role in promoting these plans and personally opted to participate.

The logic to the Regent was that only through humility, reflection, and glory could we regain the status that was lost in the Unraveling. The journey to found a new land was seen as a meditative step for the entire nation, much like individuals do when they are looking for personal or spiritual inspiration.

Little did they know at the time, but the land they would eventually discover was far more lush and bountiful than anyone had expected, just beyond The Corridorlands. This was truly fertile grounds for the rise of powerful nations.