Thaelmar (1033 b.S.-955 b.S.) ascended to the Erpheronian throne in 980 b.S., but his reign was cut short in 955 b.S. when he was killed in a rock slide while supervising one of his many improvement projects. Despite his short reign, Thaelmar brought stability to northern Erpheronia through the many political and structural advancements introduced. While popular with the upper classes, the levies he exacted upon the peasantry led to a certain amount of unpopularity, even causing a minor revolt in Voldar. This, combined with his love for a Queen who had difficulty producing heirs, led to this undoubtedly important King being somewhat unpopular during his lifetime.
Thaelmar stood nearly one peds
and six handspans
in height and was stocky, a gift from his father, Erthis, who was a powerful
warrior. He possessed a rugged complexion and reddish-brown hair, which he kept
short. The Erpheronian King’s most noticeable feature was the mismatched colour
of his eyes – one brown and the other green. He spent much time leading forces
against orc attacks north of Thevelin during his
mother’s reign, when she was building the Northern Marks, and so became
accustomed to wearing full plate mail armour underneath very functional, durable
clothing with the bearing the Karovnean Eagle from
Erpheronia’s coat-of-arms. This
preference for the practical carried through even after he was crowned king – he
wore full plate armour in the field, or a blue and green tabard with the
coat-of-arms overtop of a suit of chain mail when he held court in
Voldar, and was never without his
Personality. Thaelmar, though both an intellectual like his mother, Queen Caralla, and a strategist, was well-known for his ambition and love of seeking out the unknown. Throughout his entire life, Thaelmar sought to see as much of his kingdom as possible, and in typical Erpheronian fashion, exploited as much of its resources for the benefit of his kingdom. His ambition often drove him to take measures that were unpopular with the lower and middle classes, whom he also viewed as a resource that could help him fulfill his goal of building Erpheronia’s status while filling its coffers. He spent several years leading military expeditions in the north, and so was known as being very hands-on and willing to get his hands dirty. Ultimately, it was his curiosity and ambition that many felt led to his demise, as he was killed in a rockslide while he was visiting an excavation site at a new mine that had not yet been made safe.
Biography. Formative Years (1033-1019 b.S.). Thaelmar’s mother, Caralla, had Thaelmar trained in history, mathematics, the arts and science during the first fourteen years of his life. Thaelmar became interested in geology as a boy, and learned much about the importance of precious gems and metals used for every day life.
Thaelmar courts Cathya (1018-1015 b.S.). Thaelmar was sent to Jernais to learn more about economics and military strategy. The man he learned from was the brother of the Duke of Jernais, and the uncle of a beautiful young woman named Cathya. Though Thaelmar spent only 4 months in Jernais, it was long enough for the two to fall in love. The coupling was seen as a good omen, as both were well liked by most of the common people of Jernais, Voldar and even Cemphira, where they spent a summer visiting with local landowners. The pair married three years later in 1015 b.S.
Thaelmar's first Posting: Thevelin (1015-1010 b.S.). After several orc attacks Queen Caralla finally found the support of her landlords for financing the defense of the North and Northeast. She sent Thaelmar, her firstborn son to aid the ruling Lord of Thevelin to organise and build up the troops. This way she showed her strong interest in the north and provided the king-to-Be with an opportunity not only to meet important people, but to socialise with lower ranks as well, which helped to avoid greater troubles later, when he became quite unpopular due to the raise of levies he put on the peasantry. His wife Cathya came with him.
Return to Jernais (1010 - 1008 b.S.) As the couple failed to have a child, Queen Caralla suggested the return of the couple to Jernais where they spent the first few years of their marriage. Caralla was sensitive to the fact that Cathya was close to her family, but she also wanted her ambitious son to develop a sense of the political situation in Jernais. As well, Caralla felt it would be a good place to begin raising a family. The couple failed to have a child until 1008 b.S., when Caeth was born, which ended rumours that Cathya was barren and unfit as a Queen.
Birth and Death of the Firstborn. (1008 - 1004b.S.) Caeth was born, which ended rumours that Cathya was barren and unfit as a Queen. However, he dies from fever. The effect on Thaelmar, Cathya and her family was profound and manifested itself in very different ways. Thaelmar drove himself to work hard at perfecting his weapons' skills, while Cathya’s mother fell into a deep depression and passed away soon after. Cathya, whose relationship with her father had always been close, was able to keep up her spirits as best she could until he died in 1002 b.S. Caralla intervened at this point, and forced Thaelmar to focus on his marriage, which was successful. The two rekindled their relationship once again.
Thaelmar’s second Posting: Thevelin (1004-999 b.S.). Again Thaelmar was given a military posting in the town of Thevelin. Though he had weapons training, it was here that he learned the art of soldiery. It was a difficult time for the couple, as his wife Cathya remained behind in Voldar with Queen Caralla. Though Thaelmar and Cathya were deeply in love, and were able to spend time together during Thaelmar’s occasional visits, rumblings in his mother’s court about Cathya’s inability to carry a child to term began again. Despite the rumours among the courtiers, and the advice from Caralla’s counsellors that Thaelmar divorce Cathya, the two stayed together. The town of Thevelin benefited from Thaelmar’s presence and connections with the wealthy of Jernais, some of whom took up residence there and started new bases of operating businesses.
Thaelmar’s third Posting: Ishmarin (998-985 b.S.). Thaelmar was stationed in Ishmarin for a time, but this time Cathya followed him. Rumours of her inability to conceive had begun again at the court in Voldar, so she decided, with Queen Caralla’s blessings, to remove herself from the tense atmosphere of Voldar to the more calming mood in Ishmarin. During this period, Thaelmar spent time with one of the surveyors in the area. He became fascinated with his childhood interest and sought permission from his mother to lead a survey group into the Warnaka Mountains. The group discovered a small, but rich source of iron and copper. The surveyor convinced Thaelmar that the Tandala Highlands might yield an even greater source of heavy metals.
Thaelmar’s fourth Posting: Astran (985-980 b.S.). The Erpheronian prince was stationed in Astran, but once again decided to leave Cathya behind as Astran was considered less safe than Ishmarin and Thevelin, for not as many new lords had settled there. Thaelmar brought the Ishmarin surveyor with him, and together they began surveys in the “safer” areas of the Tandala Highlands. They found large veins of iron in the south-western portion of the Tandala Highlands, but due to their remoteness, it was difficult to extract anything and transport it.
Thaelmar becomes King of Erpheronia (980 b.S.). Early in the year, word reached him that Queen Caralla fell ill – he returned to Voldar too late. Thaelmar’s mother, Queen Caralla passed away, and Thaelmar ascended to the throne. His coronation was rushed, as his intent was to leave Cathya accountable for affairs of state, but her poor treatment by the nobility, brought on by her inability to produce an heir, convinced Thaelmar to remain and allow others to continue his work in Astran.
Building the Eastern Marks (979-977 b.S.). Thaelmar’s first contribution to bringing stability to the northern mark was the building of new roads. The one between Ishmarin and Thevelin (present-day Nyermersys) was enlarged, between Thevelin and Astran an entirly new one built. These roads allowed troops to move much faster and facilitated the transport of goods. To be able to transport the ores and resources to the South, he not only improved the connection between Voldar and Thevelin, but ordered to build a new road from Astran to Voldar, north of the Thaelon.
Coinciding with this, mining began in the Tandala Highlands. Work initially was slow due to lack of access to supplies and labour, however by 977 b.S. as a result of financial incentives offered to merchants, traders and craftsmen to move to Thevelin and Astran, there was much more will by others, along with money, to complete the roads and settle in Astran, which experienced a rapid rush of growth as more people moved into the area.
Thaelmar’s Heir (976 b.S.). Thaelrin was born late in 976 b.S., which again, amidst rumours of Cathya’s inability to serve as Queen, brought with it new hope to the country. The birth was celebrated with some temerity by the members of Thaelmar’s court, however, as many recalled Caeth’s early death, and feared the same could happen with young Thaelrin.
Troubles in the Tandalas (975-966 b.S.). Excavation began in the western range of the Tandala Highlands, after initial surveys of the region show that heavy metals (iron, copper) were present in the area. War broke out with the tribes of orcs in the region. Previously, the orcs had been the aggressors, moving into Erpheronian territory during the reign of Thaelmar’s mother (Queen Caralla) and grandfather (King Caeth). This time however, it was Thaelmar who has moved into lands that were traditionally under the orcs’ control. These wars, though not long-lasting, were brutal and many lives were lost on both sides.
Building Astran Castle Keep (965-962 b.S.).
Thaelmar pushed forward with his expansion in the east, not wanting to lose the
momentum he has built by finally removing the presence of the
orcs immediately north of Astran. Thaelmar
imposed many demands on the Lords of the northern lands to further fortify the
region by improving keeps and guardposts. These demands required some heavy
taxation, particularly of the lower and middle classes in
Erpheronia. The original castle
keep at Astran was constructed at this time, which incorporated many of the
features seen in the current fortress – the “Guardian”.
Protests in Voldar (959 b.S.). Immediately after Thaelmar instituted new property levies on properties owned within the city of Voldar, there was a brief uprising in the city of Voldar. Though the city guard quickly put down the riots that followed, some of the merchant class were targeted and their businesses destroyed by fire. One merchant was even killed while trying to protect his property. Thaelmar had some of the rioters prosecuted and two of the more influential leaders of the uprising were executed for treason. Some of the tax burden on the less wealthy was eased, which helped to lessen the resentment among the lower class, but Thaelmar was less popular with his people from this time until his death.
Testing the Northern and Eastern Marks (959-956 b.S.). The roads between Voldar and Thevelin and Voldar and Astran were completed, as were newly built, additional guard posts along the new boarder protecting roads between Ishmarin, Thevelin and Astran. This line of stone towers, each of which could house a small contingent of soldiers, also had room to hold supplies for an extended siege, and were placed strategically above aquifers to provide a source of drinking water. Later in 956 b.S., a small orc incursion occurred at the town of Astran, and was easily repelled. The orcs attacked as the Erpheronians mining north of Astran began to encroach upon more lands previously held by the orcs. The orcs attempted to destroy three more guardposts between Astran and Thevelin, but each time they were turned back. This line of guardposts became known as the Iron Wall.
Thaelmar’s Death (955 b.S.). Thaelmar sent forces north to clear out a significant portion of the region immediately north of Astran. Surveys were conducted and again the area was found to be rich in iron. During one of his visits to one of the excavation sites, Thaelmar was killed in a rockslide. The throne passed to his son, Thaelrin, in 955 b.S.
Importance. Thaelmar’s contributions to the settling of the northern and eastern regions of Erpheronia were numerous. Additional new settlements were founded and built up in these areas, including the village of Thevelin (later Nyermersys). As the Erpheronian kingdom increased in size, the Eastern Marks were established with Astran as the central stronghold in the eastern region of the Tandalas. The line of guard posts joined by a road network between Ishmarin, Thevelin and Astran formed what has become known in the northern world as the "Iron Wall". Thevelin provided protection to the west and along the Teiphra, while Astran guarded the eastern region to almost as far as the Adanian Sea. This road network allowed for the movement of troops as well as goods between regions, encouraged trade in raw materials (mostly metals from the Warnakas or Tandalas, and grains from the Vale of Kalir) down the Teiphra River to the eastern coast of Erpheronia. It also provided merchants and craftsmen with security and financial opportunities to entice them to take up residence in Thevelin or Astran as living costs decreased in the north.
With the influx of money into the area, a number of the southern landholders began to purchase land in the north, so even the areas north of Thevelin and Astran became settled. These northern areas became integral to the supply of commodities and metals to the southern region of Erpheronia. Furthermore given the intensification of military presence in the north, these northern cities later became a training ground for new soldiers, who could be readily moved and transported to the south if required.