A' Soar History

From World of Charun

The Old Land has always been a cradle of civilisation. The elves were the lords of the land during the Second Age, until mankind claimed the region and founded the great nation of Elmwood. The realm stood nearly a millennium, finally falling to a mixture of political corruption and the rebelliousness found within the population. A few years before the end of the Third Age, Elmwood dissolved into several small city states, some noble attempts at rebuilding what had been lost, and others mere land grabs by those powerful enough. When greater kingdoms met their fate in the end of the Third Age with the Cataclysm, so did the smaller ones. The people of the region were scattered when they were fleeing for their lives, and the largest group sought refuge amongst the hills along the Fierce Sea coast. They became known as the Hillfolk a few decades later.


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Fearann

Cadman son of Brian, legendary Hillfolk hero
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Cadman son of Brian, legendary Hillfolk hero

After living a simple life in clans for nearly 4 centuries, a leader emerged in the shape of Cadman son of Brian. Merely a youngster, but with a grand vision of unification, nationalistic power and development, Cadman was to become the greatest hero and champion of the Hillfolk. He began slowly but surely climbing in political power and influence, rapidly advancing from a captain of the only Hillfolk settlement, Trade Town, to commander of the entire Hillfolk host. He instilled nationalistic pride into his kinsmen through grand speeches and leading by example - always at the frontline with his men, bleeding, eating and sleeping together with them. In addition to being a natural leader, he was a great tactician - both in the battlefield and on the political arena, traits necessary in order to prevail in the havoc that reigned in the Old Land in the 4th century.

After successfully defening the Old Land and the Hillfolk territory against the invading Kanjite in the Old Land Stand war during 364 IV, Cadman proceeded with his plans to forge the Hillfolk into one nation. He presented his vision along with a constitution written by him to the Comhairle in 366 IV and it was approved of by the elders only a week after. He had thus managed to realise what he had only dreamt of as a youngster: forging the Hillfolk into one nation - the Fearann.

In 367 IV, when the nation was still regaining its strength after the war, they were approached by the vampires of Narghal with an ultimatum that came to divide the nation in two. The Hillfolk were offered either destruction in battle or taxation in blood. Cadman's initial reaction was to empty Fearann on people, due taking up arms against the vampires was not considered a possibility. The refugees sought sanctuary in Atalheim, where they were provided for out of the nations' treasury, as well as through a large private donation from Hartman Brandeis, founder of the Old Land Company. In the end a decission was made by the Comhairle to accept Narghal's offer of blood tax through signing the Treaty of Ancestors. This development led to a never before seen scenario among the Hillfolk with the separation of kin. 11 clans under the leadership of Cadman broke free from Fearann in 367 IV, due they saw the terms presented in the treaty as unacceptable. When the rest of the Hillfolk journeyd back to Fearann, Cadman and his followers turned west of Atalheim and settled down. They formed the new realm of A' Soar, meaning "The Free" later that same year.


A' Soar

Cadman found himself in the midst of humanoids with only one fifth of his people by his side and an empty treasury. It didn't discourage him or any of the Hillfolk though. They began the construction of a new settlement that would become Cadbaile 5 eyars later in 372 IV.

With all the Hillfolk eyes on him, Cadman had every possibility to forge a nation of his liking. Instead of announcing the nation a monarchy with himself a king, he leaned on the old Hillfolk traditions everyone were familiar with. Each of the 11 clans were to have a Triath representing them in the Comhairle council that was to govern the nation. They in turn could elect a Marasgal to represent them and execute their decissions. The only major change made by Cadman was to have each Triath be elected by their clan for a 5-year period at a time.

At first there was no claims for separate clan territories, due everyone was occupied with survival. Farms were clustered together, effectively offering protection to the small population. Large amounts of time was also spent in preparing for a forthcoming attack from the Dhazzir, who had claimed the northeastern parts of the Old Land. Cadman was usually found there in the wilderness, far from the borders of A' Soar, overseeing the construction of trenches and siege weaponry.

After a decade, with no attack coming from the Dhazzir and a growing population, tension began to grow. The state treasury was poor, since the freedom of taxation found in the nation's constitution had led to few sources of income for the realm. The resources spent at unnecessary fortifications beyond A' Soar borders were also questioned and the old clan mentality began to surface in people. The Comhairle gathered and agreed on that A' Soar had to expand its borders so that each clan could claim a territory of their own, which would have to be done the traditional way by each clan - through combat and defeat over what ever humanoids lurked there.

It was decided in 378 IV that the largest clan and the one Cadman belonged to, Cnocfaire, would get the territory the town of Cadbaile lay on in return for having it act as a centre of trade interesting enough to attract foreign merchants who could buy Hillfolk goods.


Old Traditions Return

By 380 IV the borders of A' Soar had been expanded through Hillfolk willpower and blood, remaining the same ever since. Soon thereafter, in 383 IV, the practice of each clan sending 20 warriors for garrison duty was abandoned - even though it was regulated in the constitution. The clans prefered to handle the defences of their own territories, unless a situation called for the gathering of the Sluagh. The year after, in 384 IV, the practice introduced by Cadman in having Triath's elected for a 5-year period was abandoned as well. The clans wanted to have their Triath's selected through traditional means, rather than organised elections.

Cadman, who had the role of the Marasgal at the time, watched the unity he had worked for for so long get diluted, as his kinsmen succumbed back to their traditional clan-system. The idea of a centralised government was crumbling and his position as a Marasgal grew more unimportant by every day that went by. He soon came to the conclusion that even though he was still admired and hailed as the greatest hero of his kin, it was impossible to create a long-term change in the hearts and minds of his countrymen.

On Cadman's 50th birthday, in 390 IV, a great feast was held in his honour that saw many mighty and prominent guests. King Randvar and Queen Kathleen of Atalheim sat at his table, and it is said that they spent the evening laughing and talking about the old days. It was the last time Cadman met King Randvar, due he was killed in the War of the Northern Mark the year after.

As the clans had become more or less independent, Cadman's political influence had diminished into a more or less symbolic role. Being a living legend, but without a cause or goal to fight for led to him turning to the bottle. It was something he had always had in him, but greater goals and trouble lurking around the corner had throughout his past required his full attention. He spent his last decade in Cadbaile, where both locals and foreigners came to get a glimpse of the hero. On the days when he was representable enough he went to the tavern, where he told tales of the days of wonder, displayed his poetic skills or sang a song or two to the amazed audience.

Cadman donned his armour on a few occasions in order to aid his kinsmen, as in 395 IV when he helped the Sidheach clan defeat a large force of Buccaneers, and in 398 IV when he single-handedly hunted down a powerful necromancer stirring the undead in clan Biadhtach's territory. Cadman made his last performance in Cadbaile before an enthuastic crowd two weeks prior to his death in 402 IV. Even though he was in his 60s, had gained considerable amounts of weight and was generally at a very poor health, he is said to still have had the most beautiful of singing voices and a striking presence that filled the room with awe.

All Hillfolk who were able to travel attended his funeral in Hedon 402 IV, as did a retinue from Atalheim with the elderly queen mother Kathleen, her daughter Queen Frithr and King Goarus.


New Era

A new era arrived with the death of Cadman, who through his mere presence had represented the vision of Hillfolk unity under one nation. The gatherings of the Comhairle grew ever more rare and the position of the Marasgal held no political power at all. Clans minded their own business, provided for their own people and defended their own territories.

The Sluagh has been gathered only five times during the 5th century, out of which two have been to face unusually large hosts of Orcs arriving from Talewood, two to fight alliances of goblinoids and once to demonstrate the nation's military prowess for a Mubuluki emissary, who was believed by some Triaths to arrive only to inspect A' Soars capability to defend itself before a possible Mubuluki invasion. Peace has reigned during the largest parts of the 5th century though, giving the Hillfolk an opportunity to regain their strength and numbers.

Even though Cadman's vision of a grand, united Hillfolk nation failed, most historians tend to agree on that without him there wouldn't have been any Hillfolk left. Cadman guided and led his kin through one of the most turbulent times in their history into an existence where the two things he cared for the most survived: Hillfolk culture and military strength. It's an outcome that even Cadman himself would have called "decent enough".


More about: Hillfolk | Hillfolk Clans

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