Tales from the Inner Sea
The Armavine Civil War
No other event within the area of the Inner Sea has had such a profound immediate and long term effect as much as The Armavine Civil War, sometimes just referred to as the Great Civil War. This event began almost 330 years previously, and plunged the whole of the Inner Sea region into turmoil and previously unheard of levels of widespread violence. It was also the ignition of the fires of self rule and the birth (or rebirth depending upon who you speak to) of the majority of the modern realms and states currently in existence, who were either outlying Imperial Provinces, tributaries or Protectorates.
Most historians within the various nations have their own angle or slant on what happened during the 7 year long struggle, but there are key details and events largely agreed upon by most if not all documentarians. At the height of the Armavines size and some might say power, an Issue of Succession arose between the younger Prince Cavitrinus (the only male heir to the recently deceased Emperor Balvinus, born to one of his concubines) and his older sister Armanixes (the oldest female issue between Balvinus and his official wife Empress Kivillia). Custom though not the law of the time would normally have seen the oldest male heir take the throne but Kivillia refused, regarding Cavitrinus to be a poor replacement and a puppet under the control of the stronger members of the Quoria; she was unwilling to step down as Empress to make way for him. Kivillia favoured her daughter Armanixes, a strong, beautiful, capable, independently minded woman and openly backed her to become the new Imparioi (heir) and to take over when she herself died.
Whilst the exact events are unknown, it is widely believed that Cavitrinus, aided by several powerful lords, generals and leading citizens arranged for the imprisonment of Kivillia and her daughter. This didn’t go to plan and in the confusion and surprising level of resistance from the Imperial Guard (whose leader Tribunus Malvellek seemed to echo the sentiments of the Empress) Kivillia was slain by Cavitrinus’ supporters. The surviving Imperial Guard and Malvellek managed to spirit Armanixes from the clutches of the plotters and to the safety of the loyal city of Videssa in the north of the Empire (the birthplace of Kivillia and also Armanixes).
Over the next 7 years battles raged across the Empire, as supporters of either faction waged a bloody and protracted war against one another, with troops being withdrawn from the outlying provinces by both factions, resulting in many areas being left to fend for themselves. Most modern historians point out the differences within the leadership approaches of either faction, with a more streamlined and decisive style adopted by Armanixes and her general Malvellek against the more fractious committee wracked style of competing lords and Quorientes aiding Cavitrinus. The same historians (both honest ones of the time and even more recent revisionists) suggest that this difference allowed the smaller forces of Armanixes (who never used conscripts or levy troops) to outmanoevre and whittle down the larger but more unwieldy armies of Cavitrinus, who freely pressed unwilling and untrained civilians into his formations.
The way the war was waged by both sides caused the gradual change of public opinion over Armanixes and Cavitrinus with popular support for Armanixes inexorably growing as Cavitrinus’ diminished. Armanixes took prisoners, especially levy troops whom she freed after brief periods of imprisonment, and the professional soldiers she captured she offered a place in her armies if they swore an oath before their gods to her and the Empire. She also made sure the mistreatment and looting of commonfolk was stopped. Cavitrinus and his followers took no prisoners, regarding any who fought against him as imperial traitors and worthy only of death. His recruiting of a levy of farmers, tradesmen and commonfolk was also ill advised as their territories began to starve in famine due to unplanted fields and weakened harvests which in turn caused his troops to resort to robbing and scavenging from captured territories as a result of poor lines of supply and food scarcity. This lost any goodwill of the commonfolk, and it was common for the populace to resist their new conquerors in acts of guerilla war and civil disobedience.
The end of the war was signified by the Battle of the River Delthine 30 kilometres from the Capital Armarissa. This battle lasted 2 whole days across a long and disordered front, with a decisive victory achieved by Armanixes and Malvellek over the forces of Cavitrinus. Up until 3 days before the battle Cavitrinus and his allies had control of the capital but were drawn out by the presence of Armanixes’ army and the rising civil disorder within Armarissa making his rule there untenable. Cavitrinus committed suicide when the battle was seen as lost and escape was impossible, with the now immortal last words to his last loyal general “What’s one more death after all? I feel this is expected of me now, don’t you Sajorus?”. Armanixes took the loyal oath of many opposing soldiers after the battle, offering the ones who refused the right to commit suicide honourably, and extended her offer to General Sajorus (who had not been part of the original conspiracy). To this day much is made of Sajorus, for certainly his decision to swear loyalty to her swayed the minds of many soldiers who otherwise would have opted for death. In the end, less than 100 soldiers and officers committed suicide, and they were cremated with full military honours along with Armanixes’ own dead. General Sajorus would serve loyally and honourably for the rest of his years.
The war had left almost a million people dead across the Empire and beyond, but the deaths did not end there. At the age of 28 Armanixes was crowned Empress in the Capital 1 week later, and she immediately began to isolate and remove her enemies, with the Quoria being ruthlessly purged. During the war she had reformed her loyal Imperial Guard to become “The Fist of Armanixes”, taking both men and capable women into their ranks. They and her loyal troops began to kill and destroy the members of the Quoria who had openly backed her Imperial rival and other suspected enemies within the Quoria. The Quorientes and their families who had been directly linked with the death of her mother supposedly suffered terrible ends. During her rule she reformed many laws of the Empire with examples like changing the laws of the land to make sure the Imperial line would be traced through the Female in future and restricting weapons ownership and use amongst the commoner whilst protecting them from being raised as militia or levy forces. She also curbed the power of the Quoria, recognizing that it serves a purpose but also serves the Empire and the Empress first and foremost. The slavery laws were also reformed as well, allowing for more rights and opportunities for manumission. Due to the horrors that famine caused, she also made sure great municipal granaries were created to ensure that no citizen would starve in the Empire Beloved of the Gods.
The rule of Empress Armanixes the Third has been of such significance that the calender was adjusted and a new year One was begun. She married a nobleman called Rurius and reigned for 26 years, having 5 children before dying suddenly. Popular myth and legend is that Nerukata and Sensu called her to them to be rewarded with Demi-Godhood after a hard life of toil and struggle for her people, and to everyone within the Armavine Empire she is regarded as nothing less than a Goddess, revered and honoured over close to 300 years after her passing. The strength and power of the Cult of Armanixes is an indicator of that regard. She left a strong united Empire that was well run by a better bureaucracy, less unwieldy and more governed by the rule of law than previously. Her daughter Amaxiala succeeded her, enhancing her legacy and keeping a strong hold over the affairs of Empire. Statues to her are dotted throughout the Empire, often within Temples and Shrines of the Gods, and her veneration is perhaps strongest in the city if Videssa, where her Cults Great Temple, the Hama Armanexiad sits, and over 25 statues to her are scattered throughout that city alone.