The second major conflict of the era known as the Gifted Wars came about due to the failed betrothal of young Magia Moro of Ismar to Hannibal II, lord of Shalona. When Magia fled with Hannibal’s son Hanin, they left behind a bewildered house, unable to explain their disappearances. Relations quickly failed between the two cities, eventually culminating in attacks on caravans from Shalona to nearby Renia, carried out by agents of Ismar.
Renian agents caught on about the truth of the source of the attacks and ultimately responded by reporting the transgression to the Torian command. With little room left for de-escalation, a reckoning was likely to come to Ismar’s door, similar to the one carried out against the rebellious forces of Iobina in the year 51 A4. What actually happened sent shockwaves through Caelon, ultimately inspiring many to consider rising up against their strict Torian rulers.
A Defiant Lord, a King by Might
When the Torian prosecutor arrived at the door of Ismar accompanied by a small contingent of soldiers, he was not received as per typical fashion. Rather than being led into the walls of the city and being hosted as per custom, they were stopped at the gate. Don Eldrio stood on the wall above and refused to come down, sending a clear message to Torian command that he would not answer for the accusations against him.
The prosecutor charged Don Eldrio on the spot with insubordination, formally removing his title of lord of Ismar by Torian law, pending trial. When the charges were cast against him and the prosecutor demanded he come with them immediately, Eldrio Moro gave the word for his bowmen stationed on the wall to dispatch the guards surrounding the prosecutor.
When all of the guards had been struck down, the prosecutor fled on his horse back to the White Walled City. Among the uncertainty that was left behind that night, Eldrio Moro proclaimed himself King of Ismar, independent of Torian command. His first command as supposed King was to prepare his newly acquired forces to fortify the keep and prepare for war.
Pride Before the Fall
While a response by the Torian command was assured after insurrection against the prosecutor’s guard, the biggest blunder of the response was to not treat House Moro as a more serious threat.
In terms of strategy for the response to the treason of House Moro, the forces that were assigned were roughly equivalent to the amount during the Rebellion of Iobina. Because the scenario was similar to the uprising there, a similar strategy was employed – surround and overwhelm the keep, starving them out until they are forced to surrender.
What was different about this response was that General Tonsior, the gifted soldier and son of the First Son, was away on campaign in the area now known as the Southern Tribelands at the time, leaving the command to Captain José Parido, a skilled warrior, but ungifted as he did not descend from the First Son. Capt. Parido was under strict orders to only answer with might and not fulfill any demands of righteous duel, as Gen. Tonsior did as a precedent.
When the scene played out similarly to Iobina and there came time to parley terms of surrender, the rite of duel was invoked by the supposed King Moro. Reminding Capt. Parido of his orders, his top men advised against it under no uncertain terms. However, it is said that pride got the better of Capt. Parido that day, and the terms of the duel were set.
An Unprecedented Victory
The duel took place in front of the gate to Ismar, surrounded by the Torian forces and watched over by the men of Ismar from the walls. For a normal man, Captain Parido was an excellent swordsman. Stacked against Eldrio Moro, descendent of the First Son, however, he was utterly outmatched.
The battle started as any other honorable duel – the men bowed to one another, they touched swords, and they chopped at one another. The swordsmanship was reportedly a spectacle to behold in and of itself, but when Capt. Parido seemed to get the upper hand on Eldrio, cutting his arm, the glove figuratively and literally came off.
Throwing his gauntlet aside and dripping with blood, Eldrio Moro placed his hands on the ground toward Capt. Parido. For a brief moment, it looked like he was yielding, but that quickly changed as the ground around him shook and then shattered underneath Captain Parido’s feet, throwing him into an enormous pit and slamming his head against a stone, killing him.
As the forces there murmured among themselves, Eldrio Moro famously threw his bloodied hand in the air, wiping the blood off of him with the tabard bearing the morning Sun, the symbol of his House. All looked on as they watched his mangled hand suddenly healed completely, not a scratch in sight.
Because of the terms of his victory against Captain Parido, he rightfully won for himself independence of the Torian chain of command. At this point, the claim of kingship was officially accepted, even though the city-state was tiny in comparison with the Torian Realm. The laws were upheld, and the Torian forces returned back to the White Walled City, an unprecedented, unexpected loss.
It would be the first of many victories against Torian command, and what many scholars claim was the true start of the Gifted Wars.