History of Aglarond
Ever since half-elves prevailed in the racial wars that tore the country apart over three hundred years ago, a monarch has ruled the people of Aglarond, starting with the legendary King Brindor. The Simbul has been Aglarond's queen for a little over fifty years, and during that time she has built up an informal hierarchy of trusted officers, civic-minded merchants, and noble allies who serve as a civil administration. The Simbul's cult of personality has drastically increased the monarch's ability to get things done, but she has so far neglected to formalize any of her appointments or arrangements, so her death or disappearance would signal the end of effective centralized rule in the country, at least for a time.
A Royal Council of powerful nobles and representatives from participating Aglarondan communities advises the monarch. Not all take advantage of the opportunity, preferring instead to chart their own course, distinct from that of Aglarond as a whole. The Simbul keeps her own counsel, despite what her advisors may have to say. They are not often privy to her larger plans for guiding the land's destiny. Instead, they handle the daily affairs of the nation. The council numbers thirty-three members, some of whom are the designated representatives of cities and towns, and others of whom are nobles with hereditary seats. About a dozen council members are close allies of the Simbul and part of her administration, but a handful oppose her rule and constrain her ability to do as she wishes.
Aglarond's ruler has traditionally chosen his or her own successor. Often this is the monarch's heir, but the last few rulers have not been related by blood. Since the Simbul has no children of her own, it's anyone's guess as to whom she might name to follow her. Given her penchant for disappearing for months on end, the Simbul has acceded to the council's request to tentatively name a successor. She hasn't been so foolish as to make public the identity of this individual, however. Instead, she has given magically sealed envelopes to several trustworthy Aglarondans (including her High Steward), to be opened only upon conclusive proof of her death. On several occasions in the past, various of the Simbul's sisters impersonated her during some of her absences (at her request, and with her later support of their ruling decisions), so proof of her death may not be readily accepted by Aglarondans.
History of Aglarond
The past of Aglarond is filled with strife, both from without and within. The nation has existed since the battle of Ingdal's Arm in 1065 DR. ruled by a line of mostly half-elven royalty until the Simbul came to power.
All dates in the timeline below are Dalereckoning (DR).
|-9800||Yuirwood settled by small numbers of green elves in the aftermath of the Elven Crown Wars.|
|-6950||Star elves begin to gather in the Yuirwood, leaving the other elven nations.|
|-6600||Yuireshanyaar is founded by the star and green elves.|
|-1250||Unther battles Yuireshanyaar for control of the southern Aglarondan coast. The Yuir are driven back into the woods.|
|-1076||Orcgate Wars: Yuireshanyaar pressed hard by orcs.|
|-900||Rise of Narfell and Raumathar. Star elves of Yuireshanyaar, foreseeing disaster, begin construction of the extraplanar refuge of Sildëyuir.|
|-699||Year of Moon Blades Clashing||star elves abandon Yuireshanyaar for Sildëyuir. Many wild elves choose to remain in the Yuirwood.|
|-255||Year of Furious Waves||Jhaamdath destroyed; some survivors settle in Altumbel.|
|-160||Year of Stone Giant||Narfell and Raumathar destroy each other.|
|-100||Year of Black Unicorn||Humans settle the Wizards' Reach. Jhaamdathan settlements dot Altumbel's islands, and Chessentans colonize a broad-stretch of coastline from Delthuntle to Laothkund.|
|400||Year of Blue Shield||Escalant founded on the Wizards' Reach by Chessentans.|
|482||Year of Blighted Vine||Delthuntle and Laothkund rebel from Unther, forming the League of Samathar.|
|504||Year of Eclipsed Heart||Unther begins a campaign to retake the Wizards' Reach cities, fighting the League of Samathar.|
|625||Year of Torrents||Escalant rebels from decrepit Unther, joining the League of Samathar.|
|677||Year of Resonant Silence||Gilgeam of Unther organizes an expedition to crush the rebellious Wizards' Reach. The Untheric fleet suffers terrible losses in a great storm and turns back without landing.|
|679||Year of Scarlet Sash||Unther recognizes the League of Samathar. Unther never recovers from the long, costly campaign to retain the Wizards' Reach.|
|756||Year of Leaning Post||Humans (mostly from the Wizards' Reach) begin to settle Aglarond's northern coasts in numbers. Velprintalar founded.|
|773||Year of Aurumvorax||Velprintalar and other towns of the northern Aglarondan coast unite as Velprin, a human kingdom with designs on the entire peninsula.|
|870||Year of Hooded Tracker||Woodsfolk and adventurers from Velprin meet the Yuir elves, who had avoided contact with their human neighbors for centuries.|
|900||Year of Thirsty Sword||Human settlers and green elves mix in the Yuirwood, giving rise to a nation of half-elves.|
|929||Year of Flashing Eyes||Chessenta rebels against Unther.|
|953||Year of Guiding Crow||Tchazzar of Chessenta attacks the Wizards' Reach cities. The League of Samathar breaks apart as the various cities fall to Tchazzar or make a separate peace with the warlord, becoming tributary states.|
|1018||Year of Dracorage||Tchazzar dies (or disappears) battling sahuagin.|
|1033||Year of Dreamforging||half-elves of the Yuirwood take up arms to resist the humans of Velprin. Border clashes grow bitter.|
|1058||Year of Spider's Daughter||Indrila Demaz becomes Queen of Velprin. Under the influence of her High Council, she marshals an army to invade the Yuirwood.|
|1059||Year of Broken Pillar||Indrila's army destroys a hastily mustered militia of half-elves and drives the Yuir deep into the forest. Brindor Olóssyne, the war leader of the Yuir, retreats and begins to build up his own forces.|
|1065||Year of Watching Wood||Battle of Ingdal's Arm. The Yuir defeat the human army and dictate peace to the human settlements of Velprin, forging a single nation. Brindor becomes first king of the new nation of Aglarond.|
|1117||Year of Twelverule||Chessenta begins to break up into rival city-states. The Wizards' Reach cities regain their independence.|
|1128||Year of Peryton||Brindor passes away. His son Althon becomes King of Aglarond and rules long and well.|
|1189||Year of Lynx||Althon the Old dies; his son Elthond becomes king.|
|1194||Year of Bloody Wave||Battle of the Singing Sands. Aglarond repels the first invasion of the Red Wizards, but Elthond perishes in the fighting. His younger brother Philaspur becomes king.|
|1197||Year of Sundered Shields||Battle of Brokenheads. Philaspur dies repelling another Thayan attack. His daughters Thara and Ulae share the throne, becoming known as the Gray Sisters.|
|1237||Year of Grotto||Aglarond and Thesk ally.|
|1257||Year of Killing Wave||Gray Sisters pass away. Ulae's son Halacar takes the throne.|
|1260||Year of Broken Blade||Halacar leads a rash expedition into Thay, where he is defeated in a complete disaster.|
|1261||Year of Bright Dreams||Halacar dies of poisoning; his sister Ilione, an accomplished sorcerer, becomes queen.|
|1320||Year of Watching Cold||Ilione, the last member of Aglarond's royal line, passes away. She leaves no child behind but names her apprentice, the Simbul, as her heir.|
|1357||Year of Prince||A Thayan army reinforced by fire elementals takes Escalant and Laothkund. Most of the Wizards' Reach is under Thayan control.|
|1360||Year of Turret||Tuigan Horde invades Faerûn; Aglarond sends archers to the defense of Thesk. The ancient fang dragon Nartheling moves into the peak of Umbergoth.|
|1365||Year of Sword||Thayan army marches on Emmech.Aglarondan griffonriders spot a second Thayan force moving toward the Shyvar Pass. Forces from Glarondar meet the southern Thayan army and force them back, then come around through the Tannath Gap and take the Thayans at Emmech from behind.|
|1367||Year of Shield||Simbul disappears for three months during the spring. Councilors begin to jockey for position, many hoping to be named the new ruler by acclamation. When the Simbul finally returns, she makes clear arrangements to notify the council in the event of her death.|
|1369||Year of Gauntlet||Thay launches its latest invasion attempt against Aglarond in the winter. Szass Tam creates a vast army of undead to cross the frozen Umber Marshes. The animated corpses crash like waves against the Watchwall but fail to overcome the fortification.|
|1370||Year of Tankard||Although the Red Wizards withdraw from the Umber Marshes, the battle is not over. As autumn falls, undead creatures trapped in the swamp claw their way out of the thickening muck. Without the leadership of the Thayans, they wander about aimlessly to this day, hurling themselves upon the Watchwall.|
|1371||Year of Unstrung Harp||zulkirs of Thay, tired of the incessant battles with Aglarond, offer a truce. The Simbul accepts with reservations.|
|1372||Year of Wild Magic||Brisk trade continues between Aglarond and Thay, despite Aglarondan wariness of the Red Wizards.|
"Loose" is a generous description of the governments of Aglarondan towns and cities. They are chiefly concerned with only one thing: staving off invasion by Thay. In many-ways, Aglarond is not a nation so much as a defensive league - one reason the people of Altumbel and many of the cities along the nation's southern coast consider themselves independent. With the rest of Aglarond between them and Thay, they are confident of weathering any Thayan storm. A lady or lord governs each Aglarondan community. Hereditary nobles hold many of these positions, while others are awarded by acclamation (whether given willingly, extracted by blackmail or force, or taken simply because no one else wants the thankless job). The chief duty of an Aglarondan lord is to represent the community on the Royal Council. Some eschew this to set themselves up as petty lords answerable to no one, but most take their duties seriously.
The Royal Council meets once a month, so local rulers spend a great deal of time traveling to Velprintalar and back. Some live in the capital most of the time and come back every other month or so to report what's happening in the court and to check on events at home.
Those who have earned the Simbul's trust carry out most of Aglarond's administration. While the Simbul does not intervene in the selection or accession of council members, she is not above dispatching one of her apprentices or elite captains to act as her surrogate in a town, thus circumventing troublesome individuals. Some view the Simbul's willingness to ignore the council as tyranny and worry about the precedent she is setting.
Aglarond's relative isolation should mean potential enemies pass it by, but that hasn't been the case. A number of different organizations would love to see the downfall of the Simbul and her people. Four of the most prominent are described here.
The Red Wizards
The Red Wizards of Thay are by far the most consistent thorn in Aglarond's side. They have tried to invade at least ten times since King Brindor began his rule, and three of those attempts have come during the Simbul's reign alone. For more details on the Red Wizards and their plots, see Thay.
The Thayans have chosen commercial expansion over military conquest, but that doesn't mean they no longer covet Aglarond. Their desire to conquer this land stems from two reasons. First, the zulkirs believe they can't attack other parts of the world while leaving their western flank exposed. And while Aglarond may not have much of a navy, the Red Wizards would gladly clear-cut the Yuirwood to build one. They see Aglarond as the perfect base for further advances, providing Thay not only the needed routes and resources, but also a buffer against any retaliation from the western powers, which wound have to fight through the peninsula to reach Thay.
The current Thayan plan is to cozy up as close to the Aglarondans as the Simbul will permit. The zulkirs hope that the Simbul will be impressed by the benefits of trade and allow Thayan enclaves in Aglarondan cities. Then, when the time is right, the Red Wizards can attack Aglarond from within.
Cult Of The Dragon
The Cult of the Dragon has a secret cell in the village of Glarondar. These evil souls venerate Nartheling, the fang dragon of Umbergoth, and hope to persuade the wyrm to become a dracolich. Small bands of cultists regularly make the pilgrimage from Glarondar to the top of the icy peak, bringing the dragon news of the town and opportunities to enrich itself by providing information on caravans and patrols.
The current leader of the Glarondan cell is a half-elven necromancer by the name of Winn Kardzen (CE male half-elf Nec7). He is plotting an attack against the fortress at Glarondar by reanimating corpses in the Umber Marshes to simulate a Thayan attack. This is designed to draw the patrols from the Watchwall, giving Nartheling a chance to ravage the town while the army is off chasing decoys.
Sinister creatures from some far dimension, the nilshais are alien sorcerers who have constructed dark gateways into Sildëyuir, the extraplanar refuge of the star elves. Worse yet, some of the elven realm's portals linking it to the Yuirwood have fallen into the hands of the nilshais, and the invaders have dispatched marauding bands to scout out the ancient forest and learn more about the world beyond. The nilshais are contemptuous of Material Plane life and hunger for new lands to conquer; it is only a matter of time before they gather their strength for a major incursion, bringing madness and vile sorcery to the green haven of the Yuirwood.
The Sons of Hoar
The Sons of Hoar are a newly formed group that aims to peacefully remove the Simbul from her throne and install a "normal" person on the throne. In their parlance, "normal" means a high-born human noble of Velprin's old line, preferably one who isn't a spellcaster. This group plays on Aglarondans' natural distrust of magic, even that used by their neighbors. They want a real hero on the throne, one of the people, not someone catapulted to power through pacts with unnatural forces.
The Sons of Hoar have great support in the nominally independent regions of Aglarond, particularly in Altumbel and the Fang. While some of the Sons are cynical racists acting out of naked ambition, they have also attracted misguided idealists to their cause. The cold, hard core of the secret society plans a well-orchestrated coup to seize power over their homeland, while the rank and file believe their leaders are honorable. The leaders of the Sons are carefully feeling out the appointed rulers of every major settlement in the nation, convincing them to side with them or step aside for someone who will. They call for the oft-absent Simbul to give up her throne. When she does, they plan to install one of their own as ruler over a human-dominated Aglarond.