Atnas Laidakon's portrait, painted c. 1757
|Born||28 March 1716|
Heka, Isles of Velar
|Died||14 November 1784(aged 58)|
|Allegiance||Isles of Velar|
Atnas Laidakon (28 March 1716–14 November 1784) was a Velaran general of the eighteenth century, best known as the senior Miróist commander in Pelna and Retikh during the War of the Velaran Succession.
Background and early career
Born in Heka to a family of minor nobility, he attended The Academy at Qaina from the age of sixteen. His studies were financed by his uncle, Parthenopean banker Simnas Laidakon. He was praised by his instructors and considered the most talented graduate of his year. On his graduation he was given an officer's commission and command of a troop of horse in Styuno.
By the 1750s, Laidakon was in command of a fortress on the Trellinese frontier in western Pelna. He received command of the province in May 1757, and on 12 August 1761, at the recommendation of the Marquess of Teyra, he was granted seniority in the northern provinces and moved to Zarthalin, the chief city of Retikh.
Zarthalin was an exceptionally autonomous town within the Velaran kingdom, and the marriage of their queen Tarien to Elcmar IV of Trellin in 1737 had excited fears among the citizenry that Zarthalin's charter status would be annulled and its prerogatives revoked under Trellinese rule. In the 1740s, the city burghers had petitioned unsuccessfully to be granted independence from the "frightening and ill-boding union of our crown to the Trellinese tyranny." Elcmar did not particularly interfere in Velaran politics, however, and these concerns subsided somewhat over time. Nevertheless, Laidakon came to share the Retikan fear of foreign interference. Speaking to a meeting of Zarthaline officials in 1759, before his appointment as senior of Pelna and Retikh, he had promised to uphold their city's rights against any aggressor, and this pledge won him considerable popularity in Velar's mainland holdings.
Tarien died unexpectedly in 1769. Immediately there was panic throughout the kingdom, that Elcmar would name his daughter by his first marriage, Princess Azara, as his heir, rather than one of his children by Tarien. A delegation of Velaran princes travelled to Martheqa to seek a guarantee that this would not happen; among them was a Zarthaline prince. The delegation won no reassurance from Elcmar, and the Velaran nobility decided to appoint a rival for the throne: Prince Miró of Txir, a first cousin of Tarien.