Artero (874 b.S.–833 b.S.) was the Caltharian king at the onset of the War of Ancyros in 846 b.S., which was fought between the kingdoms of Caltharia and Erpheronia. Born in Carmalad in 874 b.S., Artero is the second child and only son of Viocarvio and Marin Carzihmand. He married Verhnin, a daughter of the Duke of Salazar, in 852 b.S. Through his inability to rule his kingdom, Artero set off the decline of his kingdom into a state of poverty and instability. He was called “The Weak” because of his indecisiveness and excessive reliance upon his advisors, and later the rulers of the various duchies, to make important decisions for him. Artero also failed to protect his kingdom’s financial and military interests by signing the Treaty of Doovens in 843 b.S., which severely restricted his own power and imposed heavy taxes on the people of Caltharia. Artero remained king only in name, as the authority to make significant decisions after the signing of the treaty passed to the king of Erpheronia. He was unable to suppress the rebellion led by one of the dukes of Caltharia – Duke Mertogran of Cantollio – and was found guilty of treason and executed. Though married, he died childless in 833 b.S.
Despite his character flaws, Artero was a physically imposing man. He stood
nearly two and a half peds
tall and weighed almost two
pygges. He had blonde hair that he kept cut at shoulder length, and was fair
skinned so that he burned in the sun. Since
he often worried over the state of his kingdom, and his inability to do anything
about, he slept poorly; his face always appeared drawn and his eyes were always
red-rimmed. He wore the mantle of the King of
silver sleeveless cloak, embroidered with the coat-of-arms of
sword over top of a shield worn over silk
doublets and woollen leggings of extremely fine make) only when giving public
speeches or when he held court. When not in the public eye, he wore his riding
gear – leather breeches, a beige surcoat over soft dark blue doublet reinforced
with leather, and a brown cape. He wore soft, doeskin boots and always carried
Or’Injèrá – his
weapon. This ancient and powerful artifact
did not fully function in Artero’ hands, as he lacked the
sword’s companion blade,
Aél'vól. The powers and origin of the
weapon are described below. In battle, he
wore a blue tabard over a suit of full plate mail armour.
Artero walked with his back hunched, as he felt uncomfortable with his height, and rarely was able to maintain eye contact with anyone. His weapon, Or’Injèrá resembled a Kasumarii moonblade. The blade is slightly curved and very light, and designed for those with no real experience with a heavier blade. Though Artero was a powerful man, he preferred the weight of this much lighter blade. Inset under the guard was a single ruby, the only adornment present upon the weapon. Though made of plain metal, the sword was always reflective of the light and never rusted.
Personality. His weak-will, lack of confidence, and need to be liked by others were crucial to preventing Artero from making hard decisions. Artero, though a fairly intelligent man, always saw many perspectives in each argument, and the benefits and drawbacks to each. And since he did not want to make a decision that he felt might make others dislike him, he rarely decided anything, but rather allowed things to happen. Artero allowed his council to make decisions for him, and relied upon their judgement. This fault actually served him well for his first five years as king of Caltharia, as the council at the time of his coronation, which had been chosen by his father, were well-experienced and very loyal to the throne. However, within five years, the elderly council members passed away, and Artero had no one to rely upon to help him. The council’s obligations were taken over by the Dukes of Caltharia, who divided portions of the country, as each duke looked after his or her duchy with little regard for the kingdom. He was a great warrior, but his lack of decisiveness made him a poor tactician. Toward the end of his reign he grew reclusive, hiding in his castle in Carmalad, and allowed the Royal Guard and his Erpheronian “advisors” to make his decisions for him.
Biography. Artero’s Birth (874 b.S.). Artero is born as the second child and only son of Viocarvio and Marin Carzihmand in Carmalad, regents of the Kingdom of Caltharia.
Artero's Education (866 b.S.). The young prince begins his education in Carmalad, and also receives schooling in Doovens and Veltin. He is schooled in many fields, but not allowed to experience any real-life situations first hand.
Artero Ascends to the Throne of Caltharia (854 b.S.). At the age of 20, Artero becomes king of Caltharia when his father passes away as a result of some undiagnosed illness. At this time, Artero is uncertain about how to assume leadership of the kingdom, as his father has not given him opportunities to gain experience in situations requiring leadership, diplomacy and negotiation. Artero assigns his fathers’ military advisor, chief steward and trade/foreign relations advisor to continue their service, and for the next five years the kingdom is ruled by his council. Unfortunately, the three men are well into their sixties and of failing health.
Artero Decentralises Power in Caltharia (849 b.S.). The last of Artero’ council of three passes away due to old age, and the indecisive king spends months considering who will replace them. The dukes of Caltharia come to him with a proposal to ease his burden by relieving him of his obligations to minor details of the duchies, which begins to erode his authority outside of Carmalad. Artero begins to draw resources from his military to help fund different projects proposed by the dukes of Caltharia. Training and equipment are not updated, and the Caltharian military become spread thin across the kingdom.
Dealing with Pirates (848 b.S. ). A man known simply as Lyeael'k the Crimson Berserker begins to raid and plunder merchant ships along the northern coast of Caltharia. For the next six years, Caltharian merchant vessels travelling from Veltin are terrorised. His new military advisor, the Duke of Salazar, counsels Artero to build a small fleet of five large, heavily armed ships to help protect his kingdom’s financial interests and remove the pirate threat. Erpheronian-Caltharian relations begin to deteriorate, as the bulky, easy-to-spot Caltharian naval ships often travel into water controlled by the Erpheronian.
Artero Gains Or’injèrá (847 b.S.). A traveller named Arakon mysteriously comes upon the blade named Or’injèrá – an enchanted weapon with unique powers, one of a five-piece set of equipment. This blade was created with the purpose of teaching its user on the subject of swordplay. A beggar steals the weapon from Arakon and sells the blade to a high-ranking officer in Carmalad, who, wishing to gain the favour of Artero, presents it to the Caltharian king as a gift. The weapon is ancient and its origin lost in history, but the Xeuá enchantments on the blade suggest that elves enchanted it. It may have been forged during the Age of the Anvil, or even earlier, and others rumour that Or’injèrá was used by the commander of the armies in the Battle of the Winds of Eckra the Cruel. Whatever the origin of the blade, Artero was unable to use all of its powers, as the blade must be used alongside its companion blade, Aél'vól. When active, the weapon fills the user's mind with knowledge needed to master swordsmanship and will instruct many users at once in the skill of sword-fighting. Since Artero lacks Aél'vól, the weapon’s magic is much more passive, so that though it helps Artero fight, he cannot use it to train or inspire others.
The War of Ancyros Begins (846 b.S. to 843 b.S.). A Royal Herald of Erpheronia is slain inside Caltharian borders by a group of marauders and thieves. The power-hungry Erpheronian king Myrwodin, who sought pretence to invade his weak neighbours for years, interprets the death of the herald as an open offence against his kingdom and declares war on Caltharia. Over the next three years, the much larger Erpheronian force overwhelms the divided Caltharian army, first north of the Goltherlon, and then north of Doovens. Not wanting the vast mines of precious minerals in the northern duchies in Caltharia to fall into Erpheronian hands, the king takes the field with the army stationed at Carmalad, and retakes Doovens, which is garrisoned by only a small Erpheronian force. This unexpectedly decisive response helps to temporarily boost the morale of the troops, who regroup and make a stand at Twinnean Peak.
Artero Loses at Twinnean Peak (843 b.S.). Artero’ poor tactics cause the devastation of one of his larger forces, which was led by the Duke of Cantollio, Jharl, father of Mertogran. Jharl is killed in the battle, and Artero and a number of influential nobles, including his military advisor, the Duke of Salazar, are captured. The Caltharian army is decimated nearly to a man – almost nine in every ten men is killed. These losses are too large to sustain, and Artero admits defeat. His military has been neglected, and he has no experience planning a war. His inability to negotiate alliances with neighbouring kingdoms leaves what little army he has alone and demoralised.
Declaration of Doovens (843 b.S.). Artero and Myrwodin hold congress at Doovens, and Myrwodin, King of Erpheronia, unveils his ultimatum. King Myrwodin threatens to storm Carmalad and destroy the city unless Artero signs the declaration. It is rumoured that Myrwodin also threatens to use Artero’ head to break down the castle gates at Carmalad unless he complies with his demands. With no recourse to negotiate a better settlement, and fearing he will have no kingdom to rule, Artero ratifies the agreement. Power and much of the land of northern Caltharia is ceded to Erpheronia. The Caltharian king is reduced to no more than a vassal of the Erpheronian king. Contained in the declaration are the following key demands:
The Caltharians have to pay a very large sum in gold and supplies to Erpheronia immediately as well as high taxes every year to come, to compensate for Myrwodin's spending to raise troops, provide equipment and build ships and siege equipment.
Artero Hunts Down the Pirate
(842 b.S.). With the cessation of the war with
Erpheronia, Artero’ military
advisor pushes to have the Caltharian
king dedicate his diminutive navy to the hunting of the pirates whose raids had
turned northward in an attempt to avoid a fleet of the
Avennorian navy. Artero’ navy
surrounds Lyeael’k’s ship, and
kills everyone on board, thus ending Artero’ naval difficulties. The
unfortunate effect of removing the pirate threat is that the already tiny
Caltharian navy falls into disuse
and the ships are poorly maintained, due to the financial constraints imposed by
the Treaty of Doovens. Satisfied with his success, Artero falls under the
misconception that his kingdom has regained a measure of stability, and that he
has quelled any unrest that might arise from the signing of the Declaration of
Doovens. Artero becomes reclusive and cuts himself off from contact with
everyone, including the nobility that still support him.
Attempts to Quell Civil War in Caltharia (834 b.S.). Nine years after the signing of the Declaration of Doovens a civil war erupts in Caltharia. Artero has lost a great deal of favour, particularly in the northern duchies, and his army is nearly non-existent. He is unable to deal with the many, small, but well co-ordinated attacks by Mertogran’s rebel “army”. Everywhere in the kingdom, rebels capture Artero’s magistrates and tax collectors. All Artero is left with is the Royal Guard – not even a true army - that is now stationed in the capital of Caltharia. Artero remains in hiding when the rebels lay siege to the palace and demand that the king abdicates. Carmalad becomes a war zone for a short time until Mertogran’s rebels remove the few forces still loyal to Artero. The king’s Royal Guard defends against the siege for two months. During his seclusion, Artero goes through a range of mental and emotional states, beginning with delusion and denial, to panic and terror (during which time he nearly kills himself but is saved by his wife, Verhnin), and finally acceptance of what he has allowed to happen in his kingdom.
Artero Loses the Throne of Caltharia (833 b.S.). Artero is captured and Mertogran has him tried for treason. Before his execution, Artero asks to speak one last time to his people. He does not ask for forgiveness, knowing that time is long past, but that his people remain resolute when facing their enemy, and to recover the pride his failures cost them. Upon Artero’ execution, Duke Mertogran proclaims himself king and sets events in motion to regain Ancyros, the land Artero lost to Erpheronia.
Importance. King Artero “The Weak” is most well known for losing the throne of Caltharia to the Cantollion rebel, Duke Mertogran, which began the downward spiral of the kingdom of Caltharia. Due to a combination of indecisiveness, poor strategy and inability to negotiate with potential allies, he created conditions that left Caltharia vulnerable to Erpheronian attack when war was declared. Artero lost the first major battle to the Erpheronians, and instability increased in the kingdom as leadership changed hands to the Erpheronian king. In addition, the onerous demands of the Treaty of Doovens caused significant poverty in Caltharia, which culminated in rebellion. However, the ultimate outcome of losing the wars with their Erpheronian neighbours might not be considered by all to be completely negative. Once a proud militaristic society, the hardship of losing the War of Ancyros, which began with Artero's failures at Doovens and the civil war led by Mertogran of Cantollio, had a profound impact on a typical Caltharian’s lifestyle. Instead of being raised as warriors, Caltharians became masters of many crafts, and now have a much less regimented society than they once did. Their skills as artisans have created a demand by many for the products of their crafts in many large markets around the Sarvonian continent, such that many of Caltharian origin have made a significant fortune during their lifetime, and are highly regarded for those skills.