The History of Britannia

VII: The Formation of Britannia

by Duodecimal Dragon

For three years, the vast energies unleashed after the destruction of Exodus sent shockwaves throughout Sosaria, wrenching the land and disrupting the ether. Two towns were obliterated by the troubled earth: Grey sank beneath the waves, and Devil's Gaurd was consumed by flowing lava. The towns of Fawn, Yew, Montors East and West, Moon, Death Gulch, and Britain survived. Displaced refugees and adventurous migrants built the cities of Jhelom, Skara Brae, Trinsic, Minoc, Magincia, Vesper, Paws, and Cove in the freshly explored frontiers and new isles thrown up from the unseen depths.

Map makers wrestled with the changed geography. The isle of Fawn slid beyond the north and became one of what are currently known as The Isles of Deeds. The Montors remained nearly in their previous coordinates, but now were detatched from the mainland, and were west of what is now Serpent's Hold, formerly a Montorian fort. The land of the City of Moon was torn from the mainland and drifted far to the west, to what is now called Verity Isle. Death Gulch was pulled further away from the mainland and was overrun by pirates, who renamed it Buccaneer's Den.

During the years of evil's absence, Lord British and his enlightened council devised a system of values, which eventually became the Eight Virtues. Once finalized, the virtues were set forth as moral rule. There were many who dissented, however, but they were in the minority and Lord British did not chastise or in any other way see to it that his opponents were denounced, punished, or harassed.

Lord British's most vocal opponent was the grandson of the Lost King, Lord Seildyn. Five cities loyal to him - Fawn, Vesper, Montor East, Montor West, and Magincia - were given independence by Lord British, in a compromise to prevent civil war. Those five cities united under Seildyn kept the name Sosaria, and Lord Seildyn established the capital in the grand edifices of Magincia. The cities of Jhelom, Britain, Minoc, Trinsic, Skara Brae, and Yew became part of Lord British's Britannia, ruled from his castle near Britain. Moon, Paws, and Cove remained neutral, and became places of cooperation between the two nations. Buccaneer's Den was, by nature, also neutral, but did not stoop to politics by declaring itself so.

The two kingdoms developed, and relations began to grow warm between them. In this growing era of prosperity, Lord British suggested that a permanent treaty of Peace be agreed upon between Sosaria and Britannia. The summit was set for the Ninety-Sixth day of the Eighth Year of the Fourth Age, in the city of Cove.

In Moon, a faction of mages who found the concept of complete Honesty unappealing reopened the debate, which in staying closed had assured the neutrality of the city. Their leader, Vaelek, was one of the leading mages in all of both Sosaria and Britannia. He argued for Moon to join Lord Seildyn. Within his own group, a younger mage named Erstam proposed founding a new city of mages, a refuge for those who did not want to choose Sosaria or Britannia. Nigel led the pro-virtues majority in that city, who wished to eventually become the principle city of Honesty and join with Lord British. Without mass support, Vaelek and Erstam soon began to quarrel against each other, and their movements became stagnant. With his position failing, Vaelek planned a desperate move to reignite the nearly dead rivalry between Britannia and Sosaria.

On the Ninety-fourth day of the Eighth Year of the Fourth Age, a cabal of mages led by Vaelek summoned nearly a dozen daemons to destroy Magincia. Vaelek's intended goal was achieved; the news reached the peace conference just as the two kings began negotiations. Enraged, Lord Seildyn declared war against Lord British and left the meeting for Vesper, to consolidate his troops. Pleas from Lord British were ignored, and he soon was forced to martial his own forces.


In Moon, Erstam threw his weight behind Vaelek, but shortly thereafter departed to investigate Magincia for personal reasons. Opposition in the Moon Mage Council, but for Nigel and his loyal friends who were suspicious of the attack on Magincia, fell silent. Nigel and his supporters were exiled from Moon, and the city proclaimed allegiance to Sosaria.

For nearly a month, there were limited skirmishes across the realm, never involving more than three score men; no town had yet felt a direct attack. But during this time, Lord Seildyn had been shuttling knights from the Montors and Fawn and mages from Moon to his command post at Vesper. From this foothold on the mainland, he laid plans on conquering Britannia. Scouts sent by Lord British reported the massive buildup, and so the regent began building his own forces on the northeastern shores of Lock Lake, since through that area any assault at the core of Britannia would have to pass. Soon Lord British learned of Seildyn's first objective: Minoc. British sent his army through the valley north of Cove and set up a defensive position on margin of the plains.

Meanwhile, Nigel found his way to the ruins of Magincia. He was apalled that at least the bare facts of the story were true - Magincia was destroyed by daemons. He and his group began searching the city for clues on who had done this. There was evidence that a handful of people had managed to escape; Nigel took measures to identify them while the others searched and sensed the rest of the city. Nigel knew that only a half dozen or so mages in Britannia were capable of summoning a daemon; he, Palomar, and Browning were among them, but he knew they would not have done it. At sundown, the deep orange of the sky combined with the soft, whispering sea breeze in the shattered ruins to lend an oppressively unsettling atmosphere. Nigel knew that it wouldn't be long before the unsettling atmosphere would turn into an outright haunting. It was shortly after sunset that the site of the summoning was found, on the south-eastern side of the ruins. Whoever had done the magic had also tried to hide it, but Nigel was an expert at reading the etheric impression he called magesign. He recognized this fingerprint, and now had the proof needed to stop the war.

On the dawn of the 132nd day of the Eighth year of the Fourth age, six dozen by seven score men stood on the plain south of Minoc, east of Vesper. Nearly the full strength of both Lords were brought to bear; Lord British intended to force Seildyn off the mainland of Britannia; Seildyn's eyes set on Minoc as a staging ground for a direct assault on his foe's castle.

Lord Seildyn knew he was evenly matched. His men outnumbered Lord British's by two thousand. However, Lord British's four thousand men knew the terrain better and were more well funded and armed. Vaelek began intoning enchantments and his mages began work as Seildyn's army started its advance. Lord British instructed his mages to prepare for the battle and ordered his army to take defensive positions until he gave the charge order. The two opposing cavalries remained behind the foot soldiers, the front line with bardiches lowered.

When the two armies closed to ten leagues, the charge was ordered. As was planned, the outer ends of British's forward line advanced more quickly than the center, forming an open V towards Seildyn's focused attack. Fireballs were loosed from the Britannian mages, landing in the centers of the Sosarian clusters. A volley of magic missiles shot back, felling many troops in the middle of the V. Amid the smoke and whistling noise, the two armies met. Shortly afterward, the two cavalries were unleashed. Throughout it all, balls of fire and ice flew, storms and dark clouds exploded over the battlefield, strange monsters appeared from nothingness, a score soldiers would fall suddenly asleep or a handful would drop dead. As the battle reached a fevered pitch, the ground began to tremble from mighty spells, and random openings appeared behind the lines of the two forces.

Smoke soon dimmed the sun, and the air reeked of blood, entrails, and brimstone. The smoke caused the noon-time light of the sun to turn to red, and so also did the water of the several small streams run red with blood. The Sosarians were now surrounded on three sides by the Britannians, but the Britannians were spread dangerously thin. Vaelek saw that the battle would fatally weaken Seildyn's army; they would not be strong enough to take Minoc even with a victory here. There was one chance he knew of, and so Vaelek withdrew from the forward lines, preparing a gate travel spell for his apprentice.

Vastly weakened by his efforts in the battle, Vaelek was just barely able to open the moongate, and he sent through it his youngest and least experienced apprentice, Jude, with a single item and very specific, but simple, instructions. Jude suddenly found himself at the moongate outside of Minoc, and went to the city, evading the gaurds with the simple spells he had learned so far. Once inside the town, he easily reached the center, and pulled the ghastly artifact from his backpack. Holding the skull high in the air, he shouted the reviled name of Mondain as loudly as he could.


A shockwave traveled through the ether. Several of the most powerful mages on the battlefield passed out, and Lord British was wracked by a pang of nausea and fell to his knees. A vast, black cloud sprang from the north, over Minoc, and the westering sun was blotted from the sky, plunging everything into the darkness of night. A deep rumble rolled across the plain, and the thunderous noise remained for a half-hour. Illuminated only by the mage-borne fires and lights, the battle raged on. The Sosarians were now equal in number to the Britannians, and in many places the bodies were piled four deep. The dark cloud spread across the sky, flattening out, and soon a dusky-red, oily rain that stank of burnt flesh began to fall. Lightning arced constantly across the sky, and the wind rose to near gale force. And yet, the battle of Mage and Knight went on.

Lord British recovered and went himself into the battle, unleashing all the power left in him. Dozens of his men recovered their health, most because of British's magic, some merely from his presence. Deadly violet orbs of light sprang from Lord British's fingers, a murderous shout of rage rising from his throat. He knew what had happened to Minoc, and he knew who was responsible. One of those orbs found Vaelek, catching him unaware, and he fell dead; many other mages were killed as well. Lightning began striking among the Sosarian army, dozens more now struck dead. The remaining Sosarian mages, no longer having enough strength to last in the fight, fled; among them was Erstam, and he knew the battle was lost.

The sun, low in the late afternoon, now peeked below the cloud deck and spread a cold red light as though of a late autumn sunset throughout the realm. Also sinking low was the number of Sosarian troops. Now completely surrounded by the Britannians, Lord Seildyn gave his final command as he strapped on his armor and took up his sword - fight to the death. Lord Seildyn led the counter-thrust against the spearhead tipped by Lord British. Behind Seildyn, the remnants of his army were being defeated; only his generals and Honor Guard comprising his attack force. Lord British was down to six hundred men, but they now outnumbered the Sosarians six to one. Seildyn was felled by an arrow that blossomed from his forhead, and shortly after the sun dipped below the horizon, the last of the Sosarian Army was dead.

Traveling quickly from Vesper to Moon, Erstam spread the news of the defeat of Lord Seildyn. He gathered his allies and took several ships to the far south. After difficult persuasion, he convinced many Montorians and Fawnese to join him in leaving Britannia. His plan, which he persued more fervently after learning of his family's death in Magincia, was to take the refugees through the Serpent Pillars. Erstam and his fellow Sosarians vanished into the sea forever, and are presumed dead.

Two weeks after the battle, Nigel finally caught up with Lord British at Vesper and told him of Vaelek's treachery. With this news, the Sosarian cause was discredited, and it was not long after that that the few remaining citizens of Vesper, Fawn and Montor surrendered to the Britannian army. The conquered isles of Fawn and the two Montors were turned over to General Sentri, now named Lord of that province for leading those armies. He rebuilt the great fort of Montor into Serpents Hold, which was dedicated by Lord British in the name of Courage. He then ordered the almost empty cities of Fawn and the two Montors to be abandoned. Most of the citizens of those three cities went without complaint to the nearest towns, Trinsic and Jhelom.

The formerly fertle plains south of Minoc lay fallow for centuries; no wholesome plant would take root in the battlefield ever after known as the Bloody Plains. Minoc itself had nearly been leveled, and by all rights would have been abandoned had it not been for its strong-willed residents. Remote, foodless, and devestated, they took up Sacrifice as their virtue and stayed the hard path of rebuilding.

Now turned to the Britannian side by Nigel, Moon was admitted peacefully to the Empire. Nigel turned down the offer of rulership of that province, suggesting as a more practical choice one of the former mayors of Moon, Robert. A keep was built for him in the north of that province and was dedicated to Truth. In a move that was little more than symbolic, Nigel had Moon call itself the principle city of Honesty, and signified the change by refounding the city with a new charter under the name Moonglow.

A third keep was built in the far west, dedicated for Love. Inspired by Moonglow and Minoc, six other towns took up a virtue. Thus was Britannia united under Lord British. A year after the end of the war, Lord British sent out his call for a personification of the Eight Virtues, an Avatar to lead his people in a way Lord British was refused to, horrified by his own wrath on the Bloody Plains. The historic quest of this Avatar is detailed in the next chapter.

There is no Chapter 8, yet. Nor do chapters 1 through 6 exist (yet). I tried to make this story consistent with another History I read at the Dragon Press called "The Mage's Quest".

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