Aeolia

Aeolia, in the days of Carlonia, was the breadbasket of the Empire, providing the majority of the food that sustained the imperial capital. Bordered by the Emerald Hills to the southeast, Mithra to the north and northeast, and Aleda and the sea to the west, Aeolia was among the Empire’s largest provinces, encompassing all the land north of the Torsine River up into the Aerine Mountains. It had three major cities, Baclia, Termila, and Hilford (of which only the last still exists).

History

Creation of Aeolia

After the Smaradine Wars, which brought the Emerald Hills under Carlonian control, the new province was raided repeatedly by the Sardolian League (the predecessor of modern-day Aleda). In response to these repeated incursions, the Carlonian king at the time, King Cardorius the Generous, tasked one of his friends, the weather mage Milonius son of Aeolus, with defending the Emerald Hills from invasion.

For the next three years, Milonius raised and drilled a great army, reported to have more than 10,000 soldiers and auxiliaries, primarily spearmen and heavy cavalry to repel the raiding Sardolians. Once his army was prepared, however, Milonius did not wait for the Sardolians to attack again, but led his 10,000 across the Torsine, defeated a Sardolian army, and razed Forrea, one of the largest Sardolian cities south of the Aerine Mountains.

Despite this decisive defeat, the Sardolian armies in the area still boasted roughly 50,000 troops under arms, and some of their generals agitated to meet the interloper in the field, encircle his tiny force, and crush him. The traditionalists, however, opted to evacuate their military to the mountain holdfasts, preparing to raid Milonius’s supply lines, forcing him to either retreat, allowing them to reclaim what land they had lost, or to bleed himself dry in useless attacks on their stone walls. The League’s dictator, Anation, is said to have declared, “This weather mage can call the winds to arms against us, and thereby destroy us should we be so foolish as to meet him under the open sky. But here in the mountains the winds must bow to the earth. Stone and steel shall oppose him and his, and stone and steel he cannot break.”

Whether Anation’s boast would have proved correct is unknown, however, for Milonius did not attempt to use his mastery of the wind against the mountain fortresses. Instead, as he approached each fortress he brought forth an unending downpour, flooding the mountain passes and thereby isolating each target in turn, while back in the Emerald Hills, his lieutenants and seneschals continued to raise more legions and send forth more supplies.

As the war dragged on, the lords of the mountain fortresses began to defect, one by one, traveling to Carlonia to pay homage to their new king who, in turn, confirmed their titles and lands. By the time Milonius’s ten-year campaign was finished, the Aerine Mountains lay under Carlonian control all the way up to the Sardolian Gap, and for his part in the conquest, Milonius was given the lands he had brought into Carlonia to rule and protect, with the new province named for its lord’s father.

Province of the Kingdom

Aeolia was one of the three most loyal Carlonian provinces, often acting as a bulwark against Mithranian rebels or Sardolian (or, later, Tisanian and Aledan) invasions. Its wide fields, fed by the Caeride and Torsine Rivers, were fertile and well-maintained, and thanks to the weather magic of the Lords of the Wind, it suffered from neither drought nor storm.

Although the Aerine Mountains of the northwest of the province always gave it ample defense against invasion from the sea, they did little to protect from the Mithranian wolf-riders, whose depredations were the main challenge Aeolia faced for the first two hundred years of existence, before the civil wars of the Late Monarchy. The Lords of the Wind never formulated a full solution to the problem of Mithra, mostly relying on occasional incursions into the Selenian Forest to weaken the feuding tribes, or on paying off some princes to fight the others.

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Imperial Province

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Fall

However, in ____ {FUNCTIONAL CALENDAR!?!?}, the previously pacified Mithranians rose against the weakened Carlonia, forming a loose alliance and attempting to carve out a new empire, seizing cities along the River Lytia and expanding into the Faemarks and Aeolia. Although this alliance would soon crumble under its own weight and counterattacks from Faerie itself, it did deal a death blow to Aeolia.

The Lords of the Wind, in response to the attack, sought to enact a powerful wizardry which the most prominent of them, Barkian, said would destroy the Mithranian threat for a generation. The details of the spell are still unknown, but it seems that they hoped to create a drought over Mithra.

Gathered in Baclia, a city on the Caeride a day’s ride east of the mountains, the Lords worked for thirteen days and thirteen nights before unleashing their dread power. What they unleashed, however, was not the doom of Mithra, but of their own lordships. Rather than falling on the eastern forests, the drought fell upon the wide plains of Aeolia, and the powers in the spell ran wild over its high mountains.

Famine spread rapidly through what had once been a breadbasket, as the newly formed deserts required too much effort to farm and the newly chaotic weather of the Aerine Mountains did not lend itself to agriculture. Over time, Aeolian culture evolved in three very different ways: some turned their effort into the earth, working the fields of what is now known as the Dead Lands. The city of Hilford, east of this blighted zone, began to trade along the Torsine River with the Dukedom {WAS IT A DUKEDOM?} of the Emerald Hills and other riverine states. And in the Aerine Mountains, the former Aeolians fled into ancient mines and fortresses, some abandoned since the defeat of the Sardolian League, and after years of negotiations, these formed the Chthonic Magistrate, under the mountains.

Aeolia

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