History of Gaullica
The first written records for the history of Gaullica appear in the Iron Age. What is now Gaullica made up the region known to the Solaria as Gaullia and the majority of the region of Transaventines. Solarian writers noted the presence of two main ethno-linguistic groups in the area: the Ammeni and the Gauls, the largest and best attested group, were Tenic people speaking what is known as the Gaulish language.
- 1 Prehistory
- 2 Ancient History (Before 426)
- 3 Verliquoian Empire (426 - 899)
- 4 Medieval Gaullica: A Feudal Verliquoian Empire (899 - 1407)
- 5 Early Modern Gaullica: The Empire of Gaullica (1401 - 1791)
- 6 The Industrial Era and Liberalism (1791 - 1900)
- 7 Modern Gaullica (1900 -)
Stone tools discovered at Chilhac (1968) and Lézignan-la-Cèbe in 2009 indicate that early humans were present in Gaullica at least 1.6 million years ago.
Neanderthals were present in Euclea from about 400,000 BC, but died out about 30,000 years ago, possibly out-competed by the modern humans during a period of cold weather. The earliest modern humans – Homo sapiens – entered Euclea by 43,000 years ago (the Upper Palaeolithic). The cave paintings of Lascaux and Gargas as well as the Carnac stones are remains of the local prehistoric activity. The first written records for the history of Gaullica appear in the Iron Age. What is now Gaullica made up the bulk of the region known to the Solarians as Gaullia and parts of Transaventines. Solarian writers noted the presence of two main ethno-linguistic groups in the area: the Ammeni and the Gauls. The Gauls, the largest and best attested group, were Tenic people speaking what is known as the Gaulish language. The Ammeni developed into the Amañeihiz, whilst the Gauls became Solaro-Gauls and then eventually Gaullicans.
Ancient History (Before 426)
Alongside the Solarian region of Transaventines, Gaullia covered almost all of modern-day Gaullica. It was inhabited by many Tenic tribes and peoples whom the Solarians referred to as Gauls and who spoke the Gaulish language from coast to the 'lands of Wazoii', according to Supernius. The Tenic founded cities such as Annemus (Verlois) and Sertelligala (Sartoux) while the Amañeihiz founded Solelia (Soleil Couchant).
Long before any Solarian settlements, Piraean navigators settled in what would become Gordeau. They founded important cities such as Montreyalis (Montroial), bringing them in to conflict with the neighboring Tenics. Some of the great Piraean navigators, such as Pytheas, were born in Montroial and would go on to scout out the coasts of antiquity. The Tenics themselves often fought with the Amañeihiz and Weranic tribes, leading to long lasting feuds and blood-battles between the people of the land.
However, the tribal society of the Gauls did not change fast enough for the centralized Solarian state, who would learn to counter them. The Gaulish tribal confederacies were then bested and defeated by the Solarians numerous times, in both offensive and defensive engagements.
Later, the Consul of Gaul — Gaius Auraleus Tiberna — conquered all of Gaullia. Despite Gaulish opposition led by Cerrontignearix, the Solarians would go on to defeat their resistances. The Gauls experienced a few, yet ultimately strategically flawed, victories but were ultimately defeated at Annemus in 52 BC. The Solarians themselves would go on to found cities such as Raydoneum (Rayenne) and Lavia (Lavelle) in the years after, consolidating their power in the region and beginning the process of Solarianisation.
Gaullica was divided into two separate regions; Gaullia and Transaventines. The Solarians displaced populations to prevent local identities from becoming a threat to their control. Thus, many Tenics were displaced or were enslaved and moved out of Gaullia. There was a strong cultural evolution in Gaullia under the Solarian Empire, the most obvious one being the replacement of the Gaulish language by Vulgar Solarian. It has been argued the similarities between the Gaulish and Solarian languages favoured the transition. Gaullia remained under Solarian control for centuries and Tenic culture was then gradually replaced by Gaullo-Solarian culture.
The Gauls became better integrated with the Empire with the passage of time. For instance, generals Tibernus Maximus and Amulius Vitruvius Ligur were both born in Gaullia, as were emperors Proculus Livius Hilarius and Caelus Sextius Noster. Emperor Lucius Titiedius Panthera also came from a Solaro-Gaullic Dynasty.
In 113 AD, during the Hilarius Coup, the province of Gaullia was almost universally in support of the candidate of Proculus Livius Hilarius for Imperator of the Solarian Empire, filing under the command of the Imperial Magnate Oedipus Magnus. The area repelled numerous raids from his competitors such as Gaius Vecundus and Legate Lanius and contributed the III, XI and XIV to the cause of General Hilarius. Following his victory at the Battle of Turen Hill, in southern Gaullia, Hilarius went on to solidify his control as Imperator by taking the city of Solaris.
The region of Gaullia underwent severe Tenic revivals in the late second century which was countered by the Solarian Empire with the appointment of Lar Vecundinus, a Gaullo-Solarian whom was a member of the Vecundii Dynasty of Tenic Tribes. His pacification process resulted in the marginal return and reshuffling of provinces, but also the forced destruction of some of the Tenic peoples unwilling to capitulate in what is known as the Massacre Upon the Blight - the 'Blight' being the nickname of a bridge in Verlois, in which the perpetrators were pushed off into the river below. Vecundinus was assassinated for his subsequent betrayal of his people and this led to the Woden's Day Uprising, recorded as either taking place on the 30th or 31st of January, 226 AD. The Uprising was put down, and the Tenics finally divided and subdued by Centurion Drusus Lurio whom took swift command of his legion to respond to the largest uprising south of Verlois, smashing them in the field of battle. Legend states that Lurio marched the main instigators of the revolt through Gaullia to one of the Tenic sacred groves and burned them in Wicker men to mock their gods.
As in most of the Empire, Sotirianity was vehemently persecuted - especially following the Laws on Religion which outlawed the practice of Sotirianity in public, banned clergymen from speaking of their faith and placed a tax on existing church buildings. These were reduced in their opposition following the rise of Emperor Honorious in 282. A Sotirian, known as Irenaeus, began his preaching in Verlois at this time. A powerful orator, a man of conviction and humble nature - he became Bishop of the city shortly following his rise in popularity. According to the accounts of Primus Fadius, Imperial Magnate at the time, Irenaeus healed the 'evil' within his daughter; an act that converted the man to Sotirianity. Because of the conversion of the Imperial Magnate and the rising popularity of the religion, Gaullia became a hotspot for the Sotirian faith to be founded. This has led to the conception that would be found in later history that Gaullica was the Daughter of the Church
Under Magnates Canutius and Quirinius the province of Gaullia was subject to the raids of Werani tribes and steppe-warriors from the west. Historians have pledged the highest intensity of this raid to have occurred on 419 AD, during the governorship of Magnate Quirinius and an incursion of steppe Marolevs from Nadronik. Quirinus, dubbed 'The Old Way', sought to meet the foe with legion and sword and initiated what became known as the Quirinus Protocol, a high military reorganisation, with Imperial permission, that redrew forces to become lighter and more rapid in the response of incursions. It additionally drew on native migrants' existing feuds with eachother for the local Solarians to play them against one another. The aim of the protocol was to skirmish with raiders and migrators for long enough before the proper forces could be arrived to definitely beat back the foe. Such engagements occurred at Lavia, Chellium and Dasconia. The Battle of Dasconia, in December of 419, saw the repulsion of the Marolevs and their War-Chief Bogdan. The battle was long and arduous and due to the wounds he took during it, Imperial Magnate Quirinius passed away. Following his death, the Imperial Magnate position fell to the young and promising individual of Cladius Gaullicanous; who would lead the province in the Solarian Empire's final years and subsequently form the self-declared successor state.
Cladius led the Solarian legions in Gaullia to victory after victory from the migrations, firmly defeating the Marolevs for a final time at Ferleas Forest and was responsible for the Tourney on the Marshes, so called for the severe reliance of cavalry in three way battle between the a new Marolevs horde led by a War-Chief known as Preben, the Solarians and the Weranian tribes present. Following his victory, in which both opposing armies were routed and defeated, he doubled the garrison at Verlois, reorganised the administration system of the province and underwent the unpopular move of instituting a raise in taxes that paid for a repaving of the major road in Gaullia. His tenure went well, but it was obvious, as noted by the Bishop of Verlois at the time, that there was turmoil in Verlois' upper echelons of Solarian society. When news arrived in 425 that a great Werani tribesman had united his tribes for an assault on Solaris, Cladius rallied his legions and set off to meet this foe before he reached Solaris. The two forces clashed at a crossroads, a kilometre away from the minor city of Volantum in northern Solaria proper, resulting in The Battle of Volantum. The fighting was fierce and heavy, but the Legions of Cladius were forced to retreat. In their trek home they learnt of the fate of the Solarian Empire and, Cladius, as Imperial Magnate, is reported to have removed his sash of office, destroyed his ring of authority and discard his Imperial Rod into the sea once in Verlois. With the Empire destroyed and its capital sacked, Cladius discarded his title of Imperial Magnate and declared the independent successor state of the Solarian Empire; unofficially known as the Verliquois Empire.
Verliquoian Empire (426 - 899)
The Fall of Solaris and the Rise of Verlois
Following the sack of Solaris and the fall of the Solarian Empire, Cladius Gaullicanous was crowned Emperor of Solaria at the Cathedral of St. Denis in Verlois, having denoted it as the Imperial Capital once he had arrived. Legend states the now Claude Gaullica wept during the ceremony and had his Imperial Ring of Authority melted down, his velvet sash burned and he cast he rod into the sea. He began a series of administrative reforms, notably a furthering of his reorganisation of the administration and military wings of what remained of what he perceived as his Empire. Aiming to issue control across what remained of the Empire in the East; primarily the lands to the south, Claude Gaullica sought - and failed - to maintain civil order and unity amidst the provinces and discarded all attempts to maintain nominal control over the lands to the south of the modern day Verliquoian borders. All that remained of the imperial provinces under his nominal control were Gaullia and Transaventines; the latter of which was administratively absorbed into Gaullia and it became a single large province, encompassing most of modern day Gaullica and parts of Hennehouwe, Kesselbourg, Estmere, Werania and Wazóvia that were lost as time went on. Additionally, Claude issued out letters to the remaining legions not under his control before the fall of the Empire and informed them of his attempts to preserve Solarian unity; only one legion, stationed in the hinterlands on the border with Wazovia, answered his call and became the honoured XVIII Legion.
Despite these reforms and ambitions, Gaullia was not without problems. Raids from the Werani became more intense and fearsome, leading to The Northern March in July of 432 AD. Excerpts from Centurions at the time describe the patriotic fervour of the campaign; and according to Centurion Pilate an extract of Emperor Claude's speech came across as particularly moving to the troops:
"The City of Solaris burns and we, sons of civilisation and proud Solarians all, weep as the northern barbarian sits at his heath and prays to queer gods. No longer, we will bring to them the steel of Solaria and the determination of Sotiras Jesus; for we march as Soldiers of Sotiras in a land beset by the demons of old - but we shall not fail and we shall not falter; for the Angels imbue us with swiftness and speed and the Saints with clarity and confidence. We march to war and we march home as victors!"
- Pierre de Leslaux's A Collection of Letters.
Historical evidence for the size of the army is inconclusive; some sources pit it at 3 legions, others at merely a single legion. Regardless of the situation, the Empire first fought the Werani peoples as they marched across modern day Hennehouwe leading to three consecutive battles across the expansive plains of Vimy and the Zilverzee marshes. In addition to his obscure forces; sources indicate with him rode two Solarian Catholic priests, one of whom perished in battle against the Werani and the other whom parted ways once they reached the old Solarian town of Fenodinum. Claude's campaign and successive victories were not without their defeats, but they were not enough to tactically remove him as a threat - most historians regard the Werani victory at the -insert name here- as merely halting the inevitable, as Claude camped out his winter of 433 and began his campaign anew, it culminating with the The Siege of Catherbunum, modern-day Catherby, and its subsequent sacking and torching. Following this victory, the Emperor concluded that 'justice was done' and began a march back into friendly territory, leaving in his march destruction, pillaging and raiding.
Claude returned, according to Tithonus, in the spring of 435. Following this he returned to administrating roles. Here he ratified Solarian Law as the law code for his new Empire, additionally declaring Solarian as the language of the realm and began a successive amount of public works programmes; such as roads and sanitation buildings. Funds were often a problem for the early Empire and thus multiple legions were often disbanded only to be reorganised for campaign season.
The Emperor saw much of his reign preoccupied with the re-establishment of order throughout the expansive territories he was aiming to hold. Whilst he was campaigning in subduing portions of northern Florena in 466, a small confederation of Marolevic tribes, chief among them the Kasavars led by their king, Dragomir, invaded Gaullica. Dragomir's Marolevs encountered only token resistance of hastily gathered militia units. Until 448 they consolidated their hold on south-western Gaullica. The Battle of Biron in late 448 saw them decisively defeated by Claude, though pressing matters in the north -- revolts and incursions from Weranian and Tenic groups -- prevented him from dislodging them from Gaullica. In 452 the Marolevs were attacked by a confederation of Tenic tribes, chief among them the Amorii led by Mesillus. Dragomir appealed to Claude for aid, who agreed, and together the Tenics were driven back.
Dragomir travelled to Verlois in late 452 with Claude, where he was baptised as a Solarian Catholic, and was established as a client king. He and his people were officially given lands to settle, in return for service in the legions and for defence of the south-western border. Their Kingdom of Kasavie would be one of the first client kingdoms created by the Empire, followed only by Clallac half a century later, Gallenmark after it and -SwetanianSaxons- by the year 600.
Claude, however, did successfully see the final implementation of a proper state based economy that succeeded over the Solarian conquest based economy. Farms, mines, artisan-ship, primitive industry and trade were to flourish by the end of Claude's reign. Verlois, as capital, became a bustling hub of the arts, theology and philosophy. Claude's reign, marked by rebirth, conflict and rebuilding, was ended with his death on the 4th of October in 487 AD. Following his death, the Verliquoian forces underwent what is now named The Retreat from the North, in which Claude II abandoned the Solarian holdings in southern Estmere and Hennehouwe, recalling the legions to Gaullica and leaving the people to fend for themselves or to migrate south.
His son and heir, Claude, whom became Claude II reigned for a short while due to his age when he became Emperor for his father had lived an exceptionally long life. Historians of the era, such as Pierre de Leslaux, describe the reign of Claude II as "an eventful series of rulings" which included such things as the reallocation of the Senate to Verlois by 496, an aspiration even his father has failed to accomplish given pretender-kings and despots who had occupied the city of Verlois. It was only with the death of the princeps senatus, debated to be either Marcus Polus and Tertius Salonis. Claude II died, most likely of gout, and was succeeded by his son Dagobeot. Dagobeot's life time saw with it a great patriotic revival, as well as increasing dynastic problems within the former Solarian Empire. Because of this he conducted what modern historians have remarked as the Last Solarian Expedition, a series of progressive military interventions and conquests. Dagobeot's establishment of the honour driven system of military governors and, as remarked by Thessel of Artois, "men of high birth", to rule over far flung corners of the empire in his name, historians have noted, is the marking point for the beginning of Verliquoian feudalism and signifies the birth of the Medieval Kingdom.
The Last Solarian Expedition
Following the murder of King Oderic, a man of high standing in regards to the Solarian Empire, of the Cunisaci whom occupied much of the former lands that were Solarian Badawiya, Emperor Dagobeot saw it is an ample opportunity to strike to reclaim lands amidst the confusion of dynastic succession. As a result of the murder, both Oderic's brothers and his three sons all claimed to rule the state carved out by the warlord. Dagobeot instructed the high rising commander, Tacitus de la Croix, to sally with an army and fleet to land in the settlement of Achulia in the former Solarian province of Sepentria. However, as Tacitus prepared to sally forth his men, increasing instability in the lands of Luistana provoked a Verliquoian invasion in 501 AD, resulting in a capture of most of the northern kingdoms and duchies. The disunited semi-feudal kingdoms of the area were successively bested by de la Croix's highly trained civil army, which finally smashed the majority of Floren resistance at the Battle of Novum Carcosium in which he bested the combined forces of the Kingdom of Bavericia, the Kingdom of the Lesbaeones and the Kingdom of Novum Carcosium. De la Croix's campaign concluded in 503 AD, following which he took the IV legion across the Solarian sea, landing in the settlement of Achulia in northern Badawiya. Historians peg the figure, using Verliquoian records, that the force consisted of 15,000 Imperial Troops, a further 18,000 'barbarian' soldiers and 91 dromonds.
Tacitus' own records indicate they beached in Achulia on the 4th of October, 504 AD. After a quick siege of Adunis, they campaign began in earnest. Following this, he began an intensive campaign southwards, catching the forces amidst the civil war in the Cunisaci Kingdom completely off guard. The culminating Battle of Tervos saw the Verliquoian recapturing of the historical Solarian seat in the region. It was at this time that Emperor Dagobeot sent a missive to the city state of Montecara, asking for an alliance. Following the acceptance of the military alliance, both forces began the remaining campaign to defeat the two remaining contenders for the land of the Vendelic Kingdom; Ceros and Clovis, sons of Oderic. The two, Tacitus was informed, had made a risky peace in an effort to defeat him in the field of battle. The Verliquoian General instead offered Clovis, a reputed man of volting ambition, a position of increased authority and governorship in return for his defection to his side. Plutarchus, a scholar of the time, tells us:
"amidst the confusion of the Battle of Zers did the army under Clovis switch its banners, and with a mighty trumpet call did his camelry smash into the ranks of Ceros' lightly dressed spearmen."
- Plutarchus' Histories of Now
Following the Battle of Zers, Tacitus moved the remains of Clovis' army north, back to the city of Tervos, to serve as its garrison under the command of Centurion Archaus. Following a consolation of power and a request of reinforcements from Emperor Dagobeot, in which 12,000 men were sent to assist, Tacitus used them as supplementation for his casualties and as an extended garrison for the recaptured region of Sepentria. Tacitus spent a large portion of the years of 505 and 506 AD as maintaining order in the recaptured territory. During this time, Dagobeot had sent him orders to march on the province of Constellus. Having become allies with Montecara, a contingent force of the city's trained pike-infantry sallied forth under the command of Bonacorso Gritti, whilst the Verliquoian navy sallied under the ranks of Captain-General Donato Acerbi of Montecara. A two pronged assault was conducted, with the large Montecaran navy landing a portion of the Verliquoian army under Barthélemy de Rousselot in the coastal town of Hyppus, whilst General Tacitus de la Croix utilised old Solarian roads further inland to cut off fleeing enemies. Records indicate that instead, whilst the cities of Hyppus, Magnus Fersius and Nova Dergonus fell to Barthélemy, Tacitus engaged with an army sent forth by the :notMoors/Vandals: Kingdom of Terseponis. The two armies met upon the lightly wooded plains of Menta, where the battle was fought. Following a decisive victory, Tacitus back-tracked towards the city of Nova Dergonus, where he linked up with the smaller and more heavy infantry oriented army of de Rousselot. Both forces then united under the seniority command of Tacitus and marched further south, conquering and subjugating as they went along. By the end of 510 AD, the former Solarian region of Constellus had been mainly re-annexed by Verliquois.
Dagobeot, now older, halted his rapid campaigns and informed de Rousselot to become colonial governor of Constellus, giving him the title of Comte de Terseponis. Tacitus himself was devoid of such honour, but yet he remained loyal to his Emperor. In late 513 AD, however, Tacitus, now in his late forties, was instrucuted to take the island of Bokela, which was now ruled by the Free City of Savona. Using the Montecaran navy, alongside their own Dromonds, General de la Croix landed in the southern portion of the island, before quickly striking at the large port settlement of Cartho, initiating the Siege of Savona. Aiming to starve the city into submission, de la Croix utilised a cooperative method with the Montecaran commander, who strangled the city from the sea. However, growing impatience between both commanders led to a decisive assault on the city in June of 514 AD, in which the city fell to de la Croix's forces. With the island under their control, de la Croix begun the construction of a large fortress on a hill overlooking Savona. The fortress became known as Castrum Vinco, a large defensive structure that served to defend the interests of de la Croix.
Having earned the governorship and title of 'Comte de Savone', de la Croix was told that the campaigns had finished their goals and he could finally cease - to become the steward of the isle. Time was of the essence however and the ever ambitious general launched the largest gamble of his campaigns. Without waiting for royal decree, Tacitus de la Croix alongside Captain-General Acerbi landed in the coastal city of Genii in southern Etruria, storming it with brutal efficiency. Thus began the fifth and final segment of the Last Solarian Expedition, in which de la Croix began a bloody campaign towards recapturing the city Solaris. De la Croix was exceedingly careful in this campaign, sticking to a campaign of coastal capturing battling cities and armies of the Scallos and the Tibernii, who controlled the city of Solaris. The campaign itself concluded in January of 519 AD, in which the Siege of Solaris came to an end, with the banners of the Empire being restored to the Eternal City. Following this, de la Croix spent most of his efforts in forcing the capitulation of the city states of Poveglia and Accadia, both of which fell in the year of 521 AD. Following the capture of the land, de la Croix set about to marching east. Here he began a decisive campaign in subduing the southern Lusitan coastal cities, the navies of which had been assaulting Montecaran shipping, fulfilling the contract necessary for the Verliquoian-Montecaran alliance. In a joint effort with the Montecaran navy, the cities of Oriel, Vessala and Atmera were subdued in a decisive campaign from 522-524.
An Uneasy Peace
Following the successes of the Last Solarian Expedition, Verliquois maintained an extensive hold on the eastern segments of the Solarian Sea. De la Croix, also, had finished his march on the coastal city-states that had remained following the capture of the city of Solaris. Dagobeot died in 524, leaving in his wake an impressive imperial remnant. However, due to his focus on campaigns, the internal situation of Verliquois had begun to deteriorate. Amongst the furthest flung corners of the empire did local government and vassalisation begin to occur, creating the County of Tomont and the Duchy of Allier as client states of the Verliquoian Empire. Dagobeot was succeeded by his son Merovigin. The court scribe, a Montecaran named Ambrous, described the prince in his youth as:
"a great patron of the common folk, one not amazed by war and conquest and more focused on the sharp sounds of the lyre and the chirping of the birds."
- An extract from a royal diary.
Emperor Merovigin was less concerned with the ambitious campaigns of his father and was more concerned with domestic and culture advancement. He renovated the old coastal roads of Solarian Badawiya; improved the infrastructure across the empire and visited the city of Solaris - still a city within the Verliquoian possession - no less than three times. He took it as a personal quest to fund the arts and literature, bringing about an age of Solarian restoration in a culture sense during his tenure. A large library was constructed in Verlois, and monks were laboriously tasked with copying down the works in Solaris and bringing them to Verlois to expand knowledge. However, despite his reservations on war, the old Emperor was presented with an increasing amount of raids from the various tribes of the desert near the provinces of Constellus. Because of the nature of these skirmishes, land, towns and villages would rapidly switch hands between forces, leading to an eventual and slow Verliquoian retreat from inner-desert regions. Additionally, the raids led to the eventual lengthy and devastating Verliquoian-Arsanid Wars, vast clashes across the desert with no particular end that often involved the trading of land or the establishment of vassals and client states.
Merovigin passed away in 549, leaving behind a smaller empire than his father had left him, but one that historians have argued was better connected through the focus on maintaining the infrastructure and education needed for such a vast track of land. Merovigin was succeeded by his nephew, Dagobeot II. An infant of 9, most of the imperial decisions were undertaken by the Lord-Regent of the Realm; Augusté Dessoix. Dessoix was a military general and administrator and spent much of his time aiming to influence the Emperor through his youth. Dessoix, additionally, often found himself at odds with the young Emperor's mother, Theresa and both often vied for control over the young monarch. The Lord-Regent won the upperhand when he became the personal retainer of the liege; teaching him the ways of war, and began to guide him on a path of combat. Such a path proved useful for the future. When Dagobeot came of age to make his own decisions, at the age of fourteen, the Empire was beset with increasing tensions in the province of Etruria. Alongside the now Imperial Commander Dessoix, Dagobeot II launched a relief effort via a naval expedition. They made progress in 556 AD, landing in the city of Leonos. The relief force, consisting as through Dessoix's letters as 18,000 men and a third as many horses, proceeded to make its way towards the city of Solaris, under siege by a renewed vigour of the kingdoms of the Scallos tribes nearby. The result as to when they arrived became known as the Relief of Solaris. The records of Julius III, Pope at the time, indicate that:
"The enemies of civilisation broke their fast at dawn, and forth came their siege engines of war, towards the walls of the Eternal City. It was high noon, the sun blazing high when the Lord must have heard our prayers. From atop Mount Calsvea, north of the city, came the thunderous hooves of a host surely inspired by an Angelic Host! Down charged the cataphracts of Solaria and the rest of her army in tow, and alas through the fierce fighting did the city of Solaris become relieved."
- Natalie Shoesmith's Popes and Princes
Dagobeot became a hero across the Sotirian world and was praised by Pope Julius III as "The Defender of the Faith!". Following the victory at Solaris, Dagobeot II passed possession of the city and its surroundings from Verliquois to Pope Julius III, essentially creating the Ecclesiastical States. In return Dagobeot II was crowned 'Emperor of Solaria', despite the title already held by him, by Pope Julius. Following this, Dagobeot gave the States a portion of his army, which settled in the land to bolster population, before beginning a slow retreat of all land on mainland Etruria. The principle island of Cartholadinum, however, was held as a Verliquoian possession. Dagobeot II left the island immediately and instructed Dessoix to hold the island as its new Governor. The Emperor returned to mainland Verliquois in 560 AD, having detoured across Florena and Badawiya to conduct campaigns and overseeing his Empire. The next four years of his reign were marked as uneventful by the court scribes. In 566 AD, however, it was recorded that the island of Cartholadinum had fallen under siege to a host of :enemies:. The information was delivered to the Verliquoians by their ally, Montecara, who informed them of the island's fall and the slaughter of the Verliquoian garrison.
The rest of Dagobeot II's reign is marked with increasing inactivity from the monarch. The records of Priests and Scribes seem to indicate that he entered a deep depression following the death of his father figure. Following this period, most affairs of the realm were handled by the rarely invoked Council of Three. Little happened save for domestic improvement in this period and the constant expanding and revising of Solarian Law. Despite living to the old age of 62, it is said that Dagobeot died of a deep melancholy. He was succeeded by his eleven year old son in 602 AD, Albert I, whom had been taught and instructed by the Council of Three in matters of kinship and rule. Despite their best efforts however, Albert I was much less authoritative than his predecessors. Following the Elevé Mutiny, Albert, at the mere age of 18, declared a further decentralisation of the Verliquoian state. All of Verliquois' non Verliquoian holdings were sub-divided into counties and duchies and holdings that were given to local rulers or the second sons of the nobility. A majority of Verliquois remained in royal hands, but this begun a trend that would continue - especially when some territories were not either, but ruled by military governorship. In 603 AD, another war erupted between Arsanid and the Verliquoian Empire. In these bloody conflicts Arsanid Armies managed to push the Gaullican presence off of Badawiya by 607. Albert and his Council of Three spent the next four years rebuilding a fleet and army, before assaulting the territories in 613. Under the command of Gilbert d'Asque, Imperial Armies managed to decisively reclaim vast tracks of the former provinces of Constellus and Sepentria. Following this victory, Albert conducted a pilgrimage to Solaris, as well as the newly liberated Holy Land, gaining him the epithet of 'the Pious'. Deeply religious and of a high conviction, he was none the less fraught with illness as he made his final voyage to the Holy Land, dying on the ocean in 618 AD.
He was succeeded by his son, Albert II, a man keen on his Empire's purse. He raised the tax rates numerous times, brought about a toll on the Verlois Road and became a generally unpopular monarch with a large sum of money. He intended on the further uplifting of the Empire's Badawiyan territories, importing spice and incense to the lands to plant and cultivate for Verliquois' own benefit. Having come to the throne in 619 AD, he merely ruled for a meagre 11 years before being struck off his horse during a tourney in Apuchila in Sepentria, dying as he impacted the dust. He was succeeded by the last of the Gaullicanous dynasty; his daughter, Catherine. Catherine was born blind and was merely nine when she came to the throne in 630 AD. Once again the Council of Three was invoked and her regency sparked much controversy, as many in the Verliquoian nobility felt that a new monarch should have taken their place, for a woman was of no strength to lead. Despite this, both the Bishop of Verlois and the Grand Marshal of the Realm supported her claim to the throne. Informed of all decision and taught to her best despite her lack of vision, she became a Empress in her own right. She, as reported by the Bishop of Verlois at the time:
"is one to take care to listen to her advice. She is not beset by a choleric personality, but is filled with the humours of sanguine and phlegmatic!"
- Medicine in Pre-Modern Gaullica
Catherine's blindness was viewed negatively across the Empire. Many marked it that she was unfit to rule, as she would be unable to 'see the signs' laid for her by God. She challenged her dissenters to come to Verlois, where she would prove to them she could see them for men or mice. As Empress of Solaria she was entitled to several commands, including Legatus of the Army, but this was resisted by several members of the military and nobility. This hampered their effectiveness in battle, especially during minor rebellions, raids and incursions both in the northern sections of the Empire and in Coius.
The Decline of Centralisation and the Rise of Feudalism
Following the death of Philippe in 729 AD, his son, Constantine, became Emperor. Constantine was a battle hardened warrior, famed for his spurs amidst many battles. He took it upon himself to reorganise the military of Gaullica; supporting the extensive civil army was taking too much from the coffers of the realm to be a functioning reality. Because of this royal lands were sold off to wealthy nobles and generals, setting in stone the concrete nature of Gaullican feudalism. Armies became more oriented on a system of levying rather than civic training, yet several core legions remained in the service of the monarchy. Royal lands were whittled, but still dominated the most of all land of the Empire. Royal lands, however, became more centralised as the use of the military governors became much less common under Constantine's reign.
Under Constantine, in 733 and throughout the remainder of his reign, Varangian raids became commonplace along the coast of the Empire. Following Gaullica's victory at a raid on Verlois in 739, Constantine organised the Verique - a bastardisation of the word Varangian - Guard. These were men of Varangian birth, paid into service as a royal guardsmen for the Emperor. They were famed for their tenacity, fighting spirit and loyalty. It is said that during the Battle of Ferso, where Constantine was required to face against an insurrection by a group of generals following the dismantling of the military governor system, when the Emperor was felled from his horse it was the Verique Guard who dragged him to safety and proceeded to win the battle in the name of their lord. Despite his death following the battle due to his injuries, this act of selflessness led to the securing of the guard as a constant force in the royal armies. Constantine's death proved exceptionally difficult for hereditary law; as all his children had died before him and he had no immediate family ties to Pevots; except for two - two cousins enrolled in the Solarian Clergy. In the ensuring confusion, Cardinal Francois became 'Cardinal-Emperor'. He served as Emperor of the Verliquoian Empire and a Cardinal at the same time. This was a political and dynastic manoeuvre to keep the throne within the bloodline of the Pevots for as long as possible. Francois oversaw extensive feudal reforms in his tenure as king. It was Francois who additionally created the first lords of 'Verique-Pays'- nowadays a region in the coastal regions of north-eastern Assonaire - as the first of the Verique Guard began to retire Francois offered them their land and gold in land across the coast. This created incentive for more of the guard, as well as the beginnings of a Verique colony on the coast of the Empire. Many of the Verique converted, especially when they served under Francois.
Under Francois the Empire underwent an extensive period of religious persecution; he organised extensive overseeing of conversion of hinterland communities as well as the forcing conversion or death on followers of Irfan in the south of the Empire; effectively ending their presence. Atudites however, were permitted but in terms of moneylending and loans were expected to act with no interest. If reports of interest were heard; sources tell us that:
"Often times, his Excellency and Majesty utilises the Verique Guard as a sort of... inquisitive personal force of investigators. Given full permission to act on royal authority, they 'investigate cases of breaches in Solarian law. Peasants speak of the time of dark, when roaming the streets with justice and authority do the Verique descend on homes of the criminals."
- P.C. Bobbie's A History of Policing
The Cardinal-Emperor was also notoriously famed for his partaking in wine, though was also noted by the court to be very abstinent in regards to sexual matters. Scholars have debated that Francois was most probably asexual, but also an alcoholic. Additionally, it was noted that Cardinal Francois was notoriously fond of tourneys and festivities; hosting no more than six royal tournaments and balls in the period of his reign. Despite his lavishness, it is reported that Francois was responsible for an increase in the wine and olive oil trade, having encouraged the lords of the realm to excessively begin their own vineyards in their estates. The Emperor also took advantage of the situation of the Sotirianisation of Glytter, declaring the first official ambassador the isles in 745 AD. The following year Francois was recalled back to the Ecclesiastical States and was replaced by the final of the Pevot cousins, Cardinal Urban was declared Emperor in line of succession through the Pevot's strong sway over the feudal lords, whom the Pevots had uplifted. Unlike his cousin, Urban was more a man of conviction. He ceased the religious persecution, but this did not bring back Irfan to the south. Persecution against Atudites stopped as well, but interest was still frowned upon immensely. Urban himself stepped down from the throne in 751 AD; abdicating in favour of Louis Soreinder, related to the Pevots - and the Gaullicanous dynasty - through a matrilineal line.
The vast dynastic transition and the Pevot's play for continuing power led to the rise of several large feudal domains; such as the County of Soccia, the County of Matroux and the Viscounty of Rugles. Louis I as he became known was the first of the Verliquoian Emperors to seek for an Empress outside of the realm. He married Ceolwyn, Princess of Embria in an attempt to solidify relations with the Kingdom of Embria in Estmere. Louis was famed for his religiosity and his piety, going so far as to occasionally starve himself and fast amidst the holy weeks. For his faith, he was gifted a ceremonial key to the city of Solaris - gaining him the epithet of the "Keeper of the Keys."
Louis was succeeded by his son, Louis II, whom was a staunch advocate of the re-Solarianisation of 'the lost northern territory'. Coming to the throne in 763 AD, he was quickly demanded to prove his mettle by instigating in Gaullica's assistance of the Kingdom of Gallenmark and the very 'Solarian' Duchy of Clallac in 783. Both of the empire's vassal states had been in turmoil for some time, with domestic aspirations of independence following the relative successes of the 'SwetanianSaxons'. Louis, determined to quell these insurrectionist ideas, marched to aid the Verlois-mandated rulers. Both states met with him, through representatives, at Bers. Whilst originally intending to bring both of these 'provinces' back into the fold, Clallac severed ties with the emperor in a heated diplomatic debate. Gallenmark soon followed, with revelations their pro-imperial leader had been killed. Louis' stalwart stature during the ensuing battle, was unable to bring about the decisive defeat he so required to reassert imperial authority. Regardless of this, the empire had annexed swathes of lands from its former constituent kingdoms in response to their disloyalty. These 'marcher lands', became further homes for Verique warriors. The independence of the Weranic-ruled Clallac and Gallenmark did not last long after their break from the empire, and by 788 had fallen to 'Hennish' revolt.
Louis led his forces back across to imperial land. Here he oversaw a cultural renaissance of the re-evaluation of the historical roots of the Empire. A great emphasis was based on Solaria's 'religious culture', through literature, plays and paintings. This indirectly led to surge of patriotism, and furthermore to extensive friction with the 'detached papacy' in Solaris. A cohort of the nobility instigated their own unwilling Anti-Pope in 797. The candidate was a bishop of the Empire, a Father Henri Erasmus. A famed 'priest of the people', virtually renowned across all Despite being held as an anti-pope, his own accounts seem to differ from the situation as presented by the Counts and Lords whom supported him:
"I see it with great falsity and grand turmoil that I have been appointed a title in a declaration that has bound me in shackles to my home and my city. I wished not for this to come to it; yet I know not of the intents or purposes of the power play instigated by these 'nobles'. I fear that for their play of power I will die, but if I must die for their downfall then I will. I fear no martyrship."
- Henri Erasums's My Confession'
The result of the declaration was widespread religious turmoil across Gaullica as priests rallied to the defence of the legitimate Pope in Solaris, whilst portions of the nobility rallied behind the ambitious plans of the instigating Anti-Pope. Records left behind the steward of Louis II declare that:
"The Emperor is ill. The realm is divided; for the church and the nobles are at the throats of each other in this grand power play of no true religious conviction. The Emperor tells me through hushed breaths that this could spell the end for the Empire; for the faith had served them for all eternity to this point. 'Cast down the nobility' he yells, but he squints in suspicion to Solaris and wonders what His Holy Father thinks of the daughter of the church invoking herself in such heresy."
- Medicine in Pre-Modern Gaullica
Turmoil reached its boiling point when Father Erasmus was inadvertently killed by the imperial forces sent to free him in the siege of Degars. His death, though unwarranted, was treated as a success by the imperials. Having dealt with this 'anti-pope', a campaign of rooting out the treasonous nobles followed. However, the peasantry, outraged by the death of a popular preacher, took matters into their own hands. A culmination of factors including the 'aloofness' of the nobility, bad harvests, and boiling tensions between what was slowly becoming a 'Gaullican' underclass and a 'Solarian' upper class pitted Louis II, now sickly and tired, against the peasants. Nobility were split between supporting their sovereign and supporting the people in exchange for concessions from Louis. Tensions had flared for a while, especially as central authority buckled under its own weight of an over-extended empire plagued with inefficient taxation systems. Louis met his organised foes on the open field, having managed to successfully rally the peasantry to his cause by lowering their own taxation rates, publicly praying for forgiveness (and being granted it by the bishop of Verlois), and ceding portions of imperial reserves to the people. Victory in battle was achieved, but whilst he had indeed bested his foes at the conclusion of the Battle of Veny, his own death in the immediate aftermath of the battle proved more fatal. Passing to his infant son, who was only crowned posthumously, the line of royalty entered a succession crisis until it was established the emperor's cousin would supersede his aunt. This ushered in the Berthelot Dynasty.
Duke of Vercingot, regent to the teenage Emperor Charles II, began to use his authority and position as a noble to secure privileges for his class. Futhermore, he especially strengthened his own position. With numerous engagements with the -SwetanianSaxons- resulting in land being acquired by the emperor, much of it fell to the friends and retinues of the Duke of Vercingot. d'Asper saw to it that each of the empire's subsequent expansions, as they pushed for more territory to the north, was to be given to those loyal to him -- and nominally the emperor. The influence he could exert over the young teen would go on to assist him much later on in his life, as Charles had felt indebted to the man who he felt had raised him. Their conquests of what is present day Aimilia, and the putting down of the sacking of Rayenne, resulted in an immutable bond between the two. Charles, who had been raised to be a soldier, was often head-strong and decisive in his battles, best exemplified by his condut during the reconquest of Sodden, in the Kingdom of Kasavie.
"The Emperor of the Solarians charged forth, in his mail of battle, spear in his hand. Amidst behind him charged through the Verique, as they are called, and noble Solarian soldiers all. One word echoed through their devastating push:'Élan! Élan! ÉLAN!'"
T.N.L's A History of Warfare
Another blow to centralised authority came with the establishment of the Duchy of Brou. Hieronymus II, King of the Kasavie, who had long been infatuated with Charles' sister, Bénédicte, swore fealty shortly after Charles' conquest over rebellious forces at Sodden. In 852, Hieronymous surrendered his title to the Emperor as King of the Kasavie and settled to become Duke of Brou in exchange for a marriage to Bénédicte. This saw the last of the long-established 'Client Kings of Verlois' fall, the only one to do so in a peaceful manner.
The Horsemen of the Apocalypse
The following period in Gaullican history was dubbed 'The Crisis of the 9th Century' by modern historians. It marked a period, from Charles' return from war to the death of Philippe II, of intense inactivity from the Emperors of Gaullica. Charles retired following his war conquests and ventured not much further than Verlois for the rest of his life. The Court Physician, Hector d'Ursbe, notes that:
"His majesty is increasingly paranoid, for he claims he sees spirits amidst the halls and will not leave the palace. The night is filled with ravenous screaming, only silenced, we are told, after a night with her majesty. His Holiness, the Bishop, claims that this is a mere way of partaking in a 'rapid succession of sin'. I am not sure. I have taken for his majesty to down all his meals with wine, to clear his cranium, and have prescribed him a routine to keep his humours in balance...
"- Medicine in Pre-Modern Gaullica
Modern scientists and historians believe that Charles was in fact affected with PTSD. He lived in such a state for the remainder of his life, until he died, in 855 AD. He was succeeded be his youngest son, for the eldest had perished amidst a hunting trip in the south of the empire. Emperor Philippe, donned the linguist, was a man of cultural appreciation over the matters of state. His perspective of the man his father had become, he interpreted, was the evils of power on man. As a result Philippe spent his time, much like his father, within the palace. He was a studious man, a man obsessed with theology, historian, philosophy, language and the sciences of mathematics and alchemy.
Yet the desire for peace and tranquility within the Empire was shortlived. Turmoil in Coius had seen a warlord amass a huge swathe of fighters, migrants and horsemen that had pushed through the Arsanid Empire and almost destroyed it in the process. By the 860s, what was only known to the Verliquoians as 'The Horsemen of the Apocalypse' had pushed imperial armies aside, crushed through towns, and had taken over the Imperial Provinces of Constellus and Serpentria once again. Philippe's indecisiveness over whether to counter attack in coordination with the remnants of the Arsanids or to turn the Floren coast into a 'wall' led to competing influences within his court, which did nothing to prevent the raiding along the coast of the empire by the Tagamics during the late 860s and 870s.
By 876, two large hosts had landed in Euclea. One, led by the son of Chanyu Ekkin, Salan, struck across Florena. Their assault was unprecedentedly quick as their armies were mostly composed of nomadic horsemen. Their capability for decisive maneuvers and well-coordinated assaults overran many defences and left my cities without a sustainable supply to food, and so surely the Empire's presence in Florena quickly diminished.
The Empire managed to maintain a foothold on the base of the mountainside, occupying old castra and building new ones. Twice did the Tagamics aim to break through the choke-points, once at Escarabjosa and once at Cencera. The Verliquoians' held the position in both accounts, yet by the third the Tagamics found no garrisons in their defences for the remaining legions had returned to the mainland, as per the command of Philippe I, now Emperor of Gaullica for Charles had passed away in 878. By the summer of the same year, all last pockets of Verliqouian resistance had capitulated or fled and across the mountains did the battered legions of the Empire reorganise. As noted by Philippe in his diary:
"we are beset by the heathen to our south; for their conquests of old Adunis were not but a taste for their dining experience of war. I fear that perhaps we are doomed, hath we lost our faith in Jesus? Hath the lord stopped listening to his people? What hath we done to deserve this fate? Or is the Lord God merely testing us; for it is the duty of man to fight in the name of his Lord and yet here I stand in nought. These 'Apocalyptic Horsemen' approach like an engulfing wave; but we shall become the shore that breaks the water."
- Numerous, Recollections of the Monarchs
A status quo was held for a period, minor skirmishing was conducted across the mountain paths and coasts but no real fighting. This was until 888 AD, when news spread of a rising force marching north. Philippe rallied his armies, levied his vassals and called upon his neighbouring states to come to his aid - "for the enemy of civilisation crept across the mountains". Surprisingly to all Verliquoians was the response from the Hennish States that had succeeded their former vassals that came to their aid. The two armies finally met, decisively, at the Battle of Sessonis in the spring of 879 AD. The forces of the battle are supposedly recorded by the scholar Paul Abbadie, whom some sources indicate was present at the battle:
"T'were a war for civilisation. The armies of the Solarian Empire stood at 38,000 men, many of her forces garrisoning the nearby settlements. The Tagamics had more than twenty thousand of our numbers; yet for when the Emperor called for aid the brutish but the honourable heard our call; the banners of the Hennish rose against the sun and all amidst the field, some twenty thousand men in all. This brought the numerical advantage down, for the forces were caught amidst even odds. The King of the Petois fell amidst the field, a blow most foul to the hearts of Sotirianedom; yet for the valiance of the Emperor's own son Constantine did the Tagames cavalry collapse and crumble. These sturdy horsemen turned their tails, bringing forth their speed and strength to the impending battlelines. King Gerard of Varenland too proved his worth, leading forth the pincer movement that enveloped the Tagamic foe and the combined presence of their Emperor Philippe, and the image of the Virgin Mary upon the sky, whom halted the break of day to keep the light amidst her soldiery, brought forth the heart and courage of twenty thousand more score men and the friends of civilisation won the day; pomp and splendour in their field. Kings were fallen, Chieftains were slain and Kings were made upon the battle for the fate of the world."
- Paul Abbadie's Half a Life of Battle
Following the victory of the Eucleans, the routed Tagamic army was pursued to the mountains, mercilessly assaulted by advancing cavalry. When they had reached the southern Floren coast, few remained, and were mercilessly hounded back across the Aurean Straits to Badawiya, where Philippe conducted invasions alongside the new regional power: the Irfanic Heavenly Kingdom, which had been fighting the Tagamic states in the region. Their coordinated efforts saw to it that the Verliquoian Empire did regain almost all of its pre-invasion territory, including the sacred city of Adunis.
Yet, meanwhile, a second Tagamic horde had been rampaging across southern Euclea. This army was met at Solaris in an immense battle in 881. Present at this conflict were not Imperial Soldiers, but levied armies of nobility across the Empire who had been rallied to the cause by Chloé, a peasant girl who had risen to fame upon her recollections of visions from God that the city of the Vicar of Sotiras was undersiege by the forces of Pestilence, Famine, Death and War.
Chloé's rousing prowess and luck in battle led her to best numerous warbands of the Tagamics during the 870s and early 880s, before she reached the siege of Solaris and aided the legendary Pope Paul III, the eponymous 'Patron Saint of War', in the defeat of the Tagames outside his city. Their besting of the invaders was so decisive that the Chieftain's followers quickly abandoned him, fleeing north and west into north-western Euclea.
Despite becoming known as the 'Heroine of Sotiriandom', Chloé's actions weakened the authority of the Solarian crown immensely. Many nobles had seen themselves act unilaterally and with success, emboldening many throughout the reigns of Philippe's successors. Despite the Emperor's attempts to attach Chloé's success to his own reign, by flowering her with gifts and giving her land, the damage she had inadvertently dealt to the empire would resonate throughout the remainder of its existence.
Arciluco Swears Fealty
The devastation wrought by the Tagamic Hordes throughout their rampaging of southern Euclea was not completely dealt with by the forces of the empire on Chloé. The latter had encountered units from the state of Arciluco, which like the Verliquoians, considered itself a successor state to the Solarian Empire. Both states had existed in relative apathy of each other, indifferent to their conduct and claims in what historians argue is a matter of 'collective apathy.' The Verliquoians, some argue, had no interest in waging war to lands beyond the Aventine Mountains in Etruria, and the forces of Arciluco were simply not able.
Yet, things changed as the Tagamics fled west past the Aventines and in their wake raided, sacked and pillaged Arcilucan territory. Their ruler, Celiu, called upon Philippe to aid him. Philippe agreed, asking in return for the aid he would give for the "unity of the Solarian people." Whether Celiu knew that Philippe was asking for fealty is an unknown, but when the matter came to ahead as both Verliquoian troops and supplies travelled across modern day Etruria and south of Croan, it was clear to many that the relative isolation either state lived in from the other was soon to end.
The campaigns which began in 889 saw the Tagamics driven further west, and eventually north, by the Verliquoian and Arcilucan territories, ended by summer of 891. In a shocking turn of events for the Arcilucan noble class, Celiu travelled north and east towards Verlois, where he swore fealty to who he now called 'Emperor of Solaris.' Celiu, in return, became 'Duke of Arciluco', and was free to pursue events in his own territory as he had before.
This shocking display of power did mitigate some of the damage dealt to the reputation and prestige of the office of the emperor, as imperial territory had indeed expanded. However, in Arciluco, the nobility was far from pleased. Many had felt betrayed by the subservience they now paid to an 'emperor so far away'. Despite their shared religion, minor liturgical differences and traditions that had evolved in 'relative isolation', also played a factor in the displeasure of the local nobles.
Medieval Gaullica: A Feudal Verliquoian Empire (899 - 1407)
War of the Cross and Crescent
Constantine II's reign was uneventful initially and he married into one of the more prosperous cousins of his. The Emperor ruled a relatively peaceful time in mainland Verliquois. However, only four years after ascending to the Solarian Throne, in 902 AD, news had spread to the Verliquoian court that their original friendship with the Irfanics against both the Tagames and the Arsanids was deteriorating rapidly. Constantine was initially unaware of what to do. His indecisiveness led to a stagnation. However, with many advocating that the Imperial armies had faced the hordes of the Arsanids and so could face a band of unorganised rabble, he was forced to act. Yet critiques rebuked that the wars with the Arsanid Empire had whittled Verliquoian strength indefinitely and thus the lands of Serpentria and Constellus needed reinforcement.
The VII Legion was mustered, to reinforce the III and XI legions already present in Constellus and Serpentria respectively. On May 12th, 903 AD, did the grand armada of Verliquois' fleet, her dromonds and galleys and cogs of war sail from her lands. They landed in the settlement of Hyppa, south of Adunis. By this time Verliquois had officially declared war on the Irfanic Heavenly Kingdom and sallied to the aid of the city of Adunis, under the governorship of Magnate Quellos Consciere. Fentois Marcel, a scribe attending the campaign, places the numbers of the Imperial Army at 23,000 infantrymen, 9,000 cavalrymen and 'innumerable archers'. Records indicate that Constantine struck at the rear of the army besieging Adunis, freeing the city by February of 905. From here he struck along the peninsula, liberating minor hamlets, castles, forts and towns that had been overrun. His darting across the land ended in 909 in which he returned to Adunis in preparation for defending a siege. Defences were dug outside the city, moats and redoubts and cavalry spikes and minor walls and the city became a turtle amidst the sands. In 910 did this planned siege come, when Irfanic armies under the command of :insert name here: encircled the city. A starvation attempt was their goal, sitting outside of range of the cities defences. A stalemate erupted; until the month of August of 910 AD. The commander of the Heavenly armies was said to have died of a sickness that had broken amongst his camp and Constantine took the initiative. Bandaging his wounds beneath his armour, he led a cavalry charge out of the city, thunderous hooves all. Guy d'Adunis writes:
"a sortie had not been expected by the forces of the Irfanics, nay, nor did they expect for we soldiers of Sotiras to marshal the tactics of the Arsanids to our south. Cavalry archers, to ward away their camelry from our own horses. An envelopment of cavalry, who's monstrous speed was supplemented by heavy infantry that emerged from our stalwart gates to face the foe. Casualties were high on all fronts, but we so petty soldiers of Sotiras won the day and we knew then that the Lord had smiled upon us."
- Damien Sene's Gaullican Counts and Courts
The war in Coius remained relatively quiet and uneventful, yet no peace was signed. In 913 Constantine himself died of sickness, though some claim he was assassinated, in the city of Adunis. With most of his other commanders dead, save for Count Tellese Arstoyel, the Verliquoian army fell into chaos. Before damage could be done to the city the Count had ordered a retreat for the unruly nature all was descending into could not have been coped well. He retreated south, arriving in the city of Apuchila in the following months of the winter of 919. Here he bested his foe, a vanguard of the Irfanics, in an indecisive victory for the empire.
At home the crown had passed on to Constantine's daughter, Annabelle. When Annabelle was informed of her father's death she immediately levied soldiers from across the realm, to supplement the civil army Verliquois had. Off they marched to war, landing in Sarcel in Constellus in 923 AD. Here she linked up with the remnants of her father's army, still under the command of Count Arstoyel. Annabelle led the combined armies into a series of inconclusive battles across the coast; either on the attack or on the defence, against :insertgeneralhere:, ranging from pitched battles to minor skirmishes. In the largest of all the engagements, the Battle of Bosona in 929 AD, it is written that Annabelle was dismounted off of her armoured steed and joined in ranks with the common infantry; leading them to hold their position against three waves of cavalry and lighter armed infantry. Her capability in this battle to keep his infantry centre from capitulating earned her immense respect from the nobles. The Verliquoian armies however proved to become too exhausted and despite their relative successive at preventing the Irfanics from earning a decisive victory, ground was still being lost. Despite the vast array of soldiery at her command, the much lighter and more mobile forces of the Irfanics would often outmanoeuvre or out-pace her army, still oriented around its heavy infantry core. This led to a gradual retreat, descending back down towards the fortified city of Sarcel in 931 AD. Here they repulsed an attacking army thrice before being broken by the fourth siege attempt. Many Verliquoian soldiers fell, including Annabelle's brother Clovis and her second youngest son Thierry. The Empress however managed to escape from the siege, alongside a small portion of the original landing force, by way of the intervention of Admiral Olseo, whom had arrived slightly before the siege and managed to ferry the survivors back to Verliquoian Florena.
The 930s and the 940s remained a period of naval warfare against the Irfanic for the Verliquois. Such naval engagements as the Battle of Savona Bay and the Breakthrough of Point Pallas saw the Imperial Navy to make some headway, but Irfanics raids alongside the Floren coast often tied the hands of Imperial Admirals. The alliance with Montecara had ended and thus their navy came to no rescue throughout the fighting; in a few occurrences the Montecara navy even fought alongside the Mumims. The fighting came to Euclea first in 945 AD following the Irfanic victory over the remnants of the Arsanids in Coius. They then built a navy of transport ships that crossed the Aurean Strait and landed on the southern Floren coast. Whilst Verliquoians had been busy bolstering city defences and garrisons for an impending invasion; they were not prepared for the Ifranic invasion of the city of Baterno - a coastal settlement upon the arching peninsula of Florena. The Siege of Baterno was a short lived kerfuffle within the grander scheme of the Verliquoian-Irfanic Wars, but it marked the point of Irfanics landing in Euclea. The Empire's resolve however was not to be questioned at this point, and within a year the city had retaken in the exchange of the Irfanics isolating the Empire from Montecara and their occupation of Bokela.
Following Annabelle's death, she was succeeded by her son. Charles III, of the Carbonneau, came to the throne at the age of 20. Successfully groomed by both his father and the increasingly more powerful Dukes of Assonaire, Charles came to the throne as a man whom was ready to be Emperor. The beginning of his reign was marked with an immense catastrophe. Approaching by courier, a letter arrived at the Royal Court with the seal of the Duke of Assonaire, at the time it was the famous Guillaume d'Assonaire. The letter itself, as portrayed in the museum section of the Palais Gaullice, declares:
"Your most graceful majesty. Through my own work I have discovered a great plot, one of unprecedented insanity. I first questioned myself of the legitimacy of this information, perhaps assuming the man whom had discovered it was afflicted with some sort of moon-sickness. Yet when the priests and physicians told me of his clarity, my core was shaken. I have discovered this, 'Crisis of the Counts', as it were. Several lords, rabble-rousing, reactionary hooligans, under the command of the Viscount of Rugles, have been plotting against you, my liege. They aim to usurp you of your power, to increase their own. To see the royal domains whittled to nought and their own lands to double, treble. The men of Assonaire, nay, Gaullica, are ready to strike in advance."
- Palais Gaullice, A History of Letters: Espionage in the Feudal Era
This occurred but two years into Charles rule, occurring in 948.
Charles, whom had been raised by the Duke, was initially indecisive. On one hand he is said to have believed the words of the Duke, yet on the other his own informants had reported nothing. The straw broke when Charles, under pressure from the concept that this 'Crisis of the Counts' portrayed, sent his brother Guy into the lands of the Viscount of Rugles with a warrant for his arrest and questioning. The Viscount, Émeric, had Guy held in his castle for the insolence of the terms of treason. Before royal word, Guillaume d'Assonaire besieged the castle to liberate the emperor's brother. And thus begun Gaullica's Crisis of the Counts which divided the realm into a civil war. Whilst most vassals remained loyal to the crown, several, including Libre, Siche and Garche struck down their banners and stood with the Viscount of Rugles. The Duke of Marvigne too did rally his men for the Viscount, but he was quickly bested on the field of battle by Dukes of Marron and Vercingot.
With the news of Guillaume having put the castle of Émeric to siege, Charles brought forth the soldiers of the Royal Domain, but did not move to the siege. Instead he and his forces marched north, linking up with several levied armies from the County of Anezin. Doubling back, the Emperor took to fighting the combined armies of Siche and Garche upon the hills near Mestes in The Battle at Mestes. The battle saw the Emperor triumph against those usurpers, but his executing of the Count of Siche led to an immense backlash. Jérémy Baudelaire, Count of Siche, was seen by his fellow members of the nobility as having acted honourably due to being married to Émeric's sister. Because of his rash action, the Count of Tourny, Égide Genest, denounced Charles as Emperor and cast up his banners against him in an act of defiance. Serge Mesny, the Duke of Allier, too did declare against the Emperor. The Crisis of the Counts was now in full swing and amidst the confusion in 949, with armies of the Royal Domain and the County of Tomont having besieged Allier, Guillaume d'Assonaire had breached the walls of Rugles and killed Émeric in addition to freeing the Duke of Parné, Guy. Thus, in the words of Guillaume's scribe:
"With one fell swoop in a breach, was this 'Crisis of the Counts' over. Guy was freed, restored to his seat on the hinterlands of Werania and the Emperor had bested the best of the rebellious lords. Immense gifts were due to these loyal lords and stern warning issued to those whom stood by and watched."
Palais Gaullice, A History of Letters: Espionage in the Feudal Era
Lands were divided following the end of the defiance against the Emperor. Assonaire, Tomont and other such lords were rewarded with divided land of the usurping and rebellious noblemen. The most handsomely rewarded was Guillaume of Assonaire, the master manipulator whom had instigated the whole scheme in his favour. Guillaume however could not live on the fruits of his labour and he passed away on the way back to Assonaire along the Verlois road, so it was his children whom inherited the works of his ploys and schemes.
With the rising feudalism, factionalism and political intrigue of the era, a secondary force of reactionary fervour arose during the time of the Verliquoian Empire. The Imperial Senate, which had relocated to Verlois during the fall of Solaris in the 5th century, had remained as a neutered political authority. Often regarded as little more than a rubber stamp for actions, a herald of legitimacy and nothing more than a place for nobility and powerful families to send unwanted sons. Whilst originally a forum for powerful noble, military and mercantile families to congregate and advise the emperor, it had fallen to nothing more than what some called 'a speaker with no voice.'
The Senate had played inconsequential roles in the history of Verlois. Often times it was rarely consulted or convened, and had become mostly filled with the sons of nobility and feudal lords, as opposed to the historic patrician families of Solaris. Yet following both Annabelle's charter agreeing to what would become the basic tenants of a feudal system and the increased pressure exerted on the emperor by the demands of his vassals, as was the case of Guy d'Assonaire, several individuals within the Senate in Verlois grew increasingly worried over the possibility of the empire falling into the hands of a powerful warlord.
The loss of territory to the Irfanics, including the Holy City of Adunis, had cast doubts amongst large sections of the ruling classes of the Verliquoian Empire. Charles III was sickly and old, and his son was not viewed more favourably:
"The Emperor's son was overweight and unwilling to partake in what made a man a man in the context of the time. He was very much unlike any potential ruler the Verliquoians had witnessed at the time. The fact that we have several pieces of literature calling on his sister to replace him goes to show you how dissatisfied the ruling class was with him."
- Natalie Shoesmith's Popes and Princes
When Charles III passed in his sleep, his son was crowned as Charles IV. He had a betrothal with the daughter of Duke of Vercingot, but he had this annulled and married the sister of the Duke of Tomont, Garnier Vauquelin. Much of the Imperial household considered this a working of the Duke himself, a close personal friend of the former Emperor and a secondary father figure to Charles IV.
Unbeknownst to all but a select few, a group of Senators calling themselves the Impérialistes conspired to replace Charles IV with his sister Jehanne, in an attempt to solidify imperial control over their own affairs and assert themselves, and the Senate, as a legitimate political force to counter the aspirations of power-hungry nobles. Yet their original plan would not come to fruition, as during the Great Plague of 967, Jehanne died of the illness.
On the morning of the 11th of March, 971, as Charles IV convened a symbolic opening of the Senate in preparation for the Easter Celebrations in Verlois, the Impérialistes conducted their new plan. They imprisoned the Emperor in his palace and ruled in his name, utilising bribed elements of the Imperial Guard to perform these actions.
The Impérialistes faced imminent rebellion across what would become Florena, as the senators from those provinces rejected their usurpation of power and rejected their intentions to neuter aspects of the nobility. The de-facto leader of the group, Alexandre Seyres, would expel them from the senate house and appoint replacements, but their supporters and friends at home; nobles and marcher lords, would rally to their rejection of the senate's attempts at recalling authority.
Seyres and his co-conspirators utilised existing allegiances with the Emperor to their advantage, threatening him and his family if nobles would turn on the capital. Their hold on the Imperial Capital held for over twelve years, during which they fought insurrections across the empire, staved off sieges and were able to manipulate the Emperor into signing decrees reinstating several of the privileges and powers held by the senate during the hay-days of the Empire and the Republic before it. However, their twelve year control over the nation ended, abruptly on a morning in August 983 when the imperial guard (who up until that moment, we presume, were paid off by the senate) assassinated Seyres and opened the city to pro-imperial factions, led by the Duke of Tomont, to retake control of the city. Historical records show that the day before he died, Seyres gave a speech to the senate indicating that he was aware of the conspiratorial efforts against him. What has been called 'The Eulogy of the Republic' is best attributed to the words of R.E.Public.
"It is with heavy heart that I concede to the efforts of those who would see this house belittled, bullied and burnt. Our attempt, my friends, Senators of the Empire, has failed. For twelve years we have attempted to control and steer this nation away from the clutches of an oafish tyrant more concerned with dinner than denier. For twelve years we have seen our empire buck and heave at the declarations from Verlois: some states have ignored our plans and decrees, some have raised their arms against us -- Florena, that barbaric land is filled with banditry and squabbling barons, only a few loyalist holdouts remain. For twelve years have we turned this institution from a minstrel show to the puppeteer it was designed to be. And yet, I am afraid we have failed. Word has reached my ears of plots and schemes and conspirators aplenty against us. And I fear my place is not long left for this world. But I have one consoling fact, one truth they could never remove from us. The Senate is I, and I am the Senate. The Senate is Us, and We are the Senate. And better men will look upon us, history will judge us, and see the good we intended on doing. And the good we have done."
- R.E.Public's Gaullican Republican Tradition
With Seyres' death the Impérialistes found themselves leaderless, in a hostile city and their faction dissolved. Whilst the Emperor himself might not have been particularly bothered, the forces who had come to liberate him took their vengeance. Many members of the group were exiled, executed or forced to renounce their allegiance to the cause. The Duke of Tomont had them swear in the Senate House to prioritse their allegiance to the Emperor and the Empire, and to recognise that their own authority was subservient to the emperor. Their creed became inherent in the oaths sworn later on throughout history amongst early senators in the Constitutional Monarchy.