The two most powerful kingdoms in Northern Caelon, Vestilla in the mountains and Olenos in the Western hills, have a long and storied relationship that includes alliances and troubles alike. Until the Battle of Gelgadongo, it was uncertain whether the two kingdoms could put aside their differences long enough to stand together against the encroaching Warathi forces. The following is a brief history of the two Kingdoms.
Founding of the Kingdoms
While both Olenos and Vestilla are built upon the still-standing remains of two ancient kingdoms from ages long past, they were not officially declared kingdoms until the middle of the First Century of the current age. Settlers from the White Walled City began their outward expansion at the last few centuries of the Third Age, after the lands were deemed “safe enough” for people to seek their fortunes outside of the White Walls.
Early settlers naturally gravitated toward the standing remains of fallen cities, not only for the safety of their fortifications but also for their strategic locations. As was the case with many of the settlements, there were governors and mayors and other types of leaders, but none who sought to unify the surrounding areas like what would happen in the First Century, when the children of The First Son completed their expedition and saw the opportunity to lead new ventures.
Olenos was the first of the two cities to be declared a Kingdom in year 59 A4, with King Luken I declaring the kingdom “Olenos”, which means “Hilltop” in the old tongue. Similarly, in only a few short years in 72 A4, the kingdom of Vestilla (which means “armored”) was founded by King Ramón I.
The two kings were distant cousins, both related by blood to the First Son. There were no records of conflict during their respective reigns.
Fall of The White Walled City
In 460 A4, the White Walled City fell to Warathi hands. King Wa’rath the Conqueror, who had grown in power and notoriety in his southern realm, usurped the Torian prime consul there, ejecting from the city the entirety of the Torians who would not convert to his new religion. The fascinating circumstances of the fall of the city that Warathi now call Denegaz is a wealth of information to study, not to be covered in this article.
The important thing to note is that the event caused devastation among the non-Warathi kingdoms throughout Caelon, as the White Walled City was the central hub of the commerce – most trade routes were established, taxed and maintained through the capital. At the sudden loss, the satellite kingdoms experienced a time of disharmony.
First Conflict – Enter the Hillrunners
Not even 25 years after the Warathi takeover, Olenos and Vestilla experienced their first major conflict. Vestilla, led by King Alvito, attempted to unify the North against the Warathi invaders by force, after Olenos would not swear fealty to the kingdom. Olenos, led by King Luken XII, famously militarized the athletes in the city, called “hillrunners” for their adept skill at navigating the steep hillside, so as to give them a unique strategic advantage against potential Warathi or rival kingdom advances.
The strategy ultimately paid off, as a show of force of over 650 soldiers on Olenos’s doorstep was met by a pincer attack that resulted in a third of the Vestillan forces being wiped out and their commander, Prince Alvar, the younger brother of King Alvito, being captured. After many negotiations, it was agreed that Vestilla would give up 300 acres of woodland, as well as the second child of Alvar as a ward to Olenos, in a show of good faith for his return.
Period of Peace
Following the conflict between Vestilla and Olenos, there was a time of peace between the two realms, but each kingdom’s influence grew among the lands around them, consolidating power of several, much smaller houses, under the banner of one of the two kingdoms.
While the relationship between the two kingdoms was properly a peaceful one, even having established healthy trade routes between them, the two kingdoms were still on somewhat uncertain terms. The constant news of Warathi conquest to the South added to the woe of the kingdoms, and both worried about not being strong enough to withstand the attacks on their own.
The period of peace ended when word came to Olenos that Vestilla was making a show of force on the neutral lake town of Gelgadongo.
Second Conflict – At the Edge of the Lake
At the time of the second conflict, which occurred in 634, the bustling lake town of Gelgadongo was a strategic location for both kingdoms. The Academy on the lake was now renowned throughout the North as the central location to train lordlings from both sides on culture and military strategy. Because of this, both Olenos and Vestilla had interest in the city, which until this time remained neutral.
Word had gotten to Vestilla that Olenos was making a move to control the city by the lake, which triggered a response by Vestilla. A force of 500 armored men from the mountain kingdom was met at the edge of the lake by Olenosi horsemen and hillrunners.
While both sides suffered heavy losses, the battle ended with the Olenosi defeat. The conspirators in the city who wanted to see the town join the Kingdom of Olenos were hung, and the city became a near-protectorate of Vestilla, even though Vestilla allowed the city to remain independently governed. The fact that Vestilla did not completely cut off Olenos from the town was perhaps the greatest factor for the coming peace.
The Long Standstill & the Torium Factor
In the period that followed the Battle at the Edge of the Lake, both kingdoms began receiving emissaries from the city of Torium, which was the newfound capital of the Torian people, after they were forced to abandon their ancestral home.
Torian influence began to grow even further over time, each kingdom installing proper cathedrals in their cities and giving them limited power of law. At the insistence of the religious leaders, the two kingdoms maintained a peaceful mentality toward one another. They conceded that if the two kingdoms could not be unified in name, that they were best to stand side-by-side as independent kingdoms unified by the Torian church.
The Battle of Gelgadongo
A great, days-long battle was fought in the year 929 A4, at Gelgadongo. Over the centuries, the Warathi empire had grown significantly, taking over most of central and southern Caelon. The war came to a head when the Warathi forces pushed forth to Gelgadongo.
Vestilla immediately reacted to the invasion, sending their forces South to meet them. While they fought bravely, they were outnumbered and would have been doomed, had Olenos not shown up on the last day with their horsemen and hillrunners. Because of this, they were able to push back the Warathi invaders and usher in a new period of friendship between the kingdoms.
Union of the Houses
Dinisa Careso, the daughter of King Neban Careso the Fourth of Olenos, was wed to the son of King Francisco Ávalos I, signifying a true alliance between the two kingdoms.
One can only hope that the peace between the two cities will last for many, many years.