Queen of Aerenwe
Female Anuirean Noble
Liliene Swordwraith is the daughter of Duraend Swordwraith and Savane Halried, and so the niece of the former king, Laurens Swordwraith, whom she deposed. Laurens had become embittered by a series of failures and had turned harsh and even tyrannical. For some time, Laurens was able to hold power despite his failures and pitiless reign because the Swordwraith family is descended from Roele. The provinces of Abbatuor and Bellam successfully rebelled from Laurens and, after a period of banditry and lawlessness, joined the realm of Roesone.
Liliene saw the family condemned by the bad policies of her uncle and her beloved realm injured by these bad policies. To protect both her realm and her dynasty, she spoke out and advocated different policies before the Diet. Her speech was very popular and word of it spread widely. Perceiving the danger, Laurens had Liliene arrested and sent to the dungeon of the fortress in Calrie. The Diet continued to debate the issues raised by Liliene, and Laurens suspended the Diet, and arrested some leaders who advocated deposing him in favor of his niece.
This was the last straw for the people, and they began to take up arms in fear of a general repression by force. Laurens considered putting down agitators by force, but turned away and fled to Diemed. Liliene was acclaimed Queen of Aerenwe.
History of Liliene Swordwraith:
The old Queen Liliene Swordwraith was born about fifty summers ago, in a little town of the province of Calrie, known as Tuorval. When she was a baby, though, the title of Queen, or even her ‘surname’, Swordwraith, were just part of the distant future. Liliene was her name, and her parents were two minor nobles of the town, not even part of the family of the mayors of the town, the Ardruins. The young Liliene led a normal life in the middle of the low nobility of Aerenwe.
Dedicated to breeding horses and to overseeing the family trade interests between Tuorval and Calrie, her father, Hargaald Ghieste, and her mother, the strong tempered Eleanor, had little time for their child, not to mention to spend time with each other. Hargaald, a former ranger and member of the Scouting Units of the Erebannien, was a sad and lonely man, always moody and keen to remembering his old times in the Army. People in town kept calling him a hero, despite his silent demeanor on most of occasions. Eleanor, instead, was the head of the family, the spirit in the shadows. She kept family business intact, and even improving.
People in Tuorval had a bunch of rumors to share about Eleanor. First and foremost, that she had the essence of the gods in her, running strong and pure. Secondly, that she had some kind of relationship with Istyll Ardruin, the mayor of Tuorval and that Hargaald knew and consented with it. Finally that she was somehow descended from the Roele line. All three rumors were true, even though Liliene didn’t know about them.
Young Liliene was raised to become a noblewoman. Eleanor spent money and resources so that Liliene learned how to sew, how to behave, how to write and read. She quickly surpassed all her mother’s demands. But Liliene was much like her mother, and grew strong and free of mind and spirit, fighting constantly against the imperatives of her mother. She got even more beautiful every year passing, her charming presence more obvious to everyone, from the staff of the Ardruin’s to her parents. The son of the mayor, Vaesil, began courting her at a very young age, but instead of romance, a strong friendship bloomed, as each became the missing sister or brother the other did not have. From her time with Vaesil and his brothers, Liliene also developed a cynical sense of humor, not very appropriate for a child of her age. She also became tougher, as the boys would play hard with her.
Rumors of her mother arrived to her ears when she was nearly thirteen years old and fated to spend the rest of her life as some maiden in the Court at Caer Callin. Confronted with the evidence, Liliene first talked to her father, Hargaald, and queried him about the things people in Tuorval kept saying about Mayor Ardruin and Eleanor. Her father, at the shadow of the Dragon Bridge that crosses the river Fael, admitted the rumors were true and tried to explain her daughter about the true situation of the family. Apparently, Eleanor was a member of the Roele family line, indirect descendant of the long-dead Emperor and heir to a vast amount of money and possessions somewhere in Western Anuire, maybe Avanil or Tuornen.
Eleanor had came to Aerenwe some years ago, seeking solace and rest under the leaves of the Erebannien. The tempered Eleanor, always strong, always calm, always self-controlled, lost all her nerves when she met the young Hargaald, a member of the local Scouting Unit and a promising member of the Aerenwean Army. Hargaald was also attracted to the noblewoman, even with knowing his commoner heritage didn’t guarantee any future for the relationship. Surprisingly, Eleanor decided to cast aside every class difference, forgot about her family and interests and decided to join her future, even though for a little time, with the silent Hargaald.
Fate then played its cruel tricks. Eleanor became pregnant just when she had decided to abandon Hargaald. She couldn’t stand his moody character any longer. After writing to her family to tell them about her situation, from the beautiful Crystalmiere in Shadowgreen, she received a reply she feared in her deepest self. Her family told her the heritage was broken; that she should remain in Aerenwe, marry Hargaald and lead a new life there. Her family couldn’t allow her noble line to be stained with the blood of commoners. She was not part of the family any longer.
Eleanor thought about all that, doubting if fighting for her rights would be wise. She knew laws would not be easy to bend to accept her case. Tired and worried about her pregnancy, Eleanor decided to stick with Hargaald and see what the future had for her in mind in the Erebannien. They married a little bit later, her pregnancy growing more obvious every day, and started to live a commoner’s life together in Crystalmiere.
Liliene was born some months later while Hargaald was on a scouting mission in Northvale, near the Spiritsend Swamp. Her father was badly hurt there, chasing a rampaging beast that caused dire problems in the province. His entire unit was nearly destroyed fighting the beast, some kind of spawn coming from the Shadow World. The King of Aerenwe, thankful with the unit survivors, gave large rewards to them. Hargaald Ghieste received some lands in Tuorval, up in the northern Calrie. Knowing he could not serve the Army properly any longer, he decided to follow Eleanor’s advice and move there to start a business of horse breeding. He didn’t know his following years would be spent regretting this decision, missing his former life in the Erebannien.
With the new life in Tuorval Eleanor started to take a prominent role in the family, leaving Hargaald to his private torture. She hired some staff to educate the young Liliene and started to lead a busy public life. She soon met Istyll Ardruin, the mayor of the town, and was attracted to the powerful man. Istyll was the right hand of King Callin, beared the title of Count and was also the General of the Northern Army of Aerenwe. He was an intelligent, severe and stubborn man, widowed since two or three years before Eleanor’s arrival and had three sons to raise, amongst them Vaesil, Liliene’s friend. It was just a matter of time, with Hargaald disconnected from reality, that Istyll and Eleanor, similar spirits, started a secret relationship. Eleanor’s husband knew about that soon enough. Sadly, that didn’t matter to him. Toying with the idea of joining the Army again, only Liliene kept him from doing so.
So that was what her father had to tell Liliene that fateful day under the Dragon Bridge, with the river Fael running calm and slowly near them. Liliene thought deeply about the situation and asked her father to leave. She wanted to go back to the Erebannien with him, to leave this life of falsehood and try to find her own way with a new beginning. This was exactly the kind of spark Hargaald needed to fan a fire.
So one night, without Eleanor noticing, Liliene and Hargaald went back to Crystalmiere.
Liliene then started her new life, as promised. She and her father got even closer, with the former Scout teaching her the secrets of the nature and the Erebannien, from the flaura and the fauna. She grew even more free-willed, and even more wise, strong and beautiful, her shiny silvery eyes filling every corner of the beautiful hamlet of Crystalmiere. Some say she met the High Mage Aelies once or twice in that time of her life. Neither ever acknowledges that if it is true.
What is sure is that the would be Queen met Ursula Diem in Crystalmiere some years later, when she was sixteen and they started a good relationship together. Ursula was a member of the Nesirie’s clergy in Aerenwe and had similar political ideas to share with Liliene. They both devoted their time to protect the Erebannien against illegal exploit and developed their abilities together. Then, a new idea grew in them. They had heard about mercenary companies, and even adventuring groups. Their idealistic demeanor idealized the romantic idea of traveling the whole Southern Coast of Anuire, facing tyrants and enemies, defeating beasts and creatures, ruining evil in every corner. After a secret visit from Vaesil, the son of the Count of Tuorval and deep friend of Liliene, Ursula and her convinced him to join them in the trip they were planning.
Then the history becames a little more blurry. Liliene, Ursula and Vaesil travelled long and wide all the Southern Coast of Anuire, fulfilling their dreams. They upset some nobles, saved some others, and fought for the freedom of people all over the land. Roesone, Ilien and Diemed had no secrets to them. They were known as The Wraiths, for they always operated under secrecy, as spirits lead by the Hand of the Gods. Liliene was well known as the leader of the group, and started to be called The Swordwraith, since her sword was the terror of evil followers in the South.
Then South became North. The Wraiths received information about raiding groups of goblins in Dhoesone, causing deep problems and terrifying local villagers. Driven both by adventure and a feel for justice, and knowing the South was a little bit better thanks, in part, to their job, they departed for the North.
Once there they led their justice and freedom campaign once again, meeting Methis Arrowbane and helping him in his crusade against goblinoids. Later they even ventured into Tuarhievel, confronting some killers from the hidden gheallie sidhe and living to tell the tale. Liliene and the Wraiths came back to a village of Dhoesone after fighting the gheallie sidhe, along with some prisoners taken after the attack. One of them was Felmarine Siluvaniade, the leader of the raiding party of the gheallie sidhe and a wizard of some renown in Tuarhievel. He hated men and women alike.
Liliene didn’t understand how elves could hate humans so much. Being raised in the Erebannien, under the respectful tutelage of Halgaard towards nature, Liliene believed humans could be guided towards respecting nature in every aspect. Hatred coming from initiatives such as the gheallie sidhe didn’t help the situation. She spent a lot of hours talking to Felmarine, trying to understand his point of view and showing hers in exchange. Slowly, with months passing, she started to fell in love with the brave but racist elf. She suspected he was exactly in the same position. Both shared common points of view in many aspects, both enjoyed the same things, both had too much in common for their feelings to be hidden. Ursula and Vaesil knew something would happen really soon between the Swordwraith and Flemarine.
Felmarine didn’t want to show his feelings towards Liliene, but was forced to choose soon after. A group of the gheallie sidhe was sent to rescue the prisoners held by Liliene and the Wraiths. The mission was a complete success, sneaking inside the village in silence such as only elves can use and retrieving the prisoners from the building where they were confined. But Felmarine refused to leave. He decided to talk clearly to Liliene and try to find a way out of their strange situation.
The morning arrived when the villagers and the Wraiths discovered the elves of the gheallie sidhe had just vanished, leaving behind Felmarine as the only clue of what happened. The elf was interrogated by Liliene in privacy. They talked about the evasion in only the first five minutes. Passion then led the rest of the private “conversation”.
Not surprisingly Liliene and Felmarine started a stormy relationship, based on love and respect, but full of arguments and discussions. That marked the end of her adventuring career, with Liliene longing for a quieter life next to Felmarine and the elf making clearly a point against The Wraiths. Ursula and Vaesil understood their time with Liliene was over and decided to come back to Aerenwe to their respective duties, not without sadness in their spirits. Liliene and Felmarine bought a house in another town of Dhoesone and the future Queen of Aerenwe started her fourth life. First she was a child under the rigid mantle of her mother, then a learning and loving kid with the influence of her father. Later she was the Swordwraith, adventurer and justicar all over Anuire. Now it was time to be a lover and a mother.
Cole and Cale were born some months later, with the same appearance but different characters, reflecting both Felmarine and Liliene. The four lead a quiet and secret life, fearing the gheallie sidhe would go after their relationship and their kin. No one knew their true identities as they adopted the name Alweir. Felmarine even tried to disguise his true heritage to save their lives. He didn’t want to leave the north, though, even if Liliene begged for this repeatedly, since he felt that would be allowing their enemies to win too easily.
Years passed. Liliene used her knowledge of horse breeding and started a business in Dhoesone. Cole and Cale grew strong and determined, just as Liliene and Eleanor. They developed abilities as magic users and learned to fight with Liliene and to cast spells with Felmarine. Felmarine toyed with the idea of going back to Tuarhievel to join the army after apologizing for his time with the gheallie sidhe.
Then tragedy struck.
Tuarhievel once again was under threat by Gorgon troops. Knowing his homeland was in danger, Felmarine decided to follow his instincts, joined the army to return as a hero to defend the elven realm. Liliene asked to come as well, but the decision was difficult to make, since the elven army wouldn’t possibly accept a human in their ranks and Cole and Cale also needed protection while Felmarine was away. The twin brothers, now fifteen, asked to go with his father as well, but Felmarine wouldn’t allow that. Liliene remained with them, waiting patiently as did so many other women. The war raged between the elves and the Gorgon, but finally ended. Yet Felmarine never came back. He got killed, not by the Gorgon’s minions, but by the gheallie sidhe. He died a hero for his country and an example to his kin. He died too soon for Liliene and their sons.
So the Swordwraith decided to go back to Aerenwe, mourning her loss, with nothing tying her to Dhoesone and the North. The twin sons came with her to the South, along with Methis Arrowbane, her friend since the adventures they had together with the Wraiths.
The situation in the South, though, was far from better. The King of Aerenwe was Rickard at that time, the son of the deceased benevolent King Callin. Rickard was a tyrant who kept the land under an iron grip, with taxes crushing the commoners and traders and a harsh justice to defend his claim. Hangings and beheadings were something normal under his rule. Soon the land divided between the followers of Rickard and the rebels that tried to resist his whims.
The country was deep in civil war with every Aerenwean siding against his brother. Father killed mother, son killed daughter, neighbor killed neighbor. Blood spilled across the fields and no one was there to work for food. The Swordwraith then returned as a forced hero, seeing how the situation had worsened in her absence. With the help of her sons, Liliene contacted every ally she had in Aerenwe: Hargaald, who had organized the Rangers into a militia to defend the Erebannien against the King’s Men; Ursula, who lead the resistance from Nesirie’s followers of common background; Vaesil, who had rebelled against his father (now married to Eleanor) to lead the younger nobles of the land. Soon the revolution started.
Liliene, backed by her friends and sons, had the support of half Aerenwe. The other half was controlled by coin and fear of King Rickard. At first the military might of Rickard seemed to win the game. Only faith, honor and possibly the feeling of doing something historical kept the rebels alive. At the Battle of the River Fael, just some miles away from where Liliene was raised, the fate of Aerenwe was decided. A brilliant surprise charge led by Vaesil against his father, the general of the King’s army, with the help of the Queen’s Rangers, as they were beginning to be known, under the guidance of Hargaald and Methis Arrowbane, crushed the loyalists. Meanwhile, and knowing the chance couldn’t be passed, Liliene started a long siege to Caer Callin, forcing the army of the enemy to divide. People rebelled against the King some days later inside Calrie. Soon Rickard only had a bunch of followers to defend his claim. The Tyrant fell to his own people, dying in the final assault at Caer Callin.
History tells the rest of the tale. As a hero, Liliene Swordwraith, as she was now known, became the first Queen of Aerenwe. She soon started the innovative politics that has led to the solid Aerenwe that today lives peacefully in the South of Anuire. Her long-time friend Vaesil became Count Vaesil. Cole and Cale remained as advisors to the Queen, and all three hide their true parentage. Ursula was proposed as the leader of the Eastern Temple of Nesirie, but she refused the position to Maire Cwllmie. Methis Arrowbane was appointed as leader of the Queen’s Rangers and received the title of Marquis of the West. Hargaald, who had died at the Battle of River Fael, was buried at the private cemetery of Caer Callin, showing Eleanor that his commoner heritage had finally led him to the Palace of Calrie itself, even after death. Liliene’s mother and Vaesil’s father were judged and found guilty of several crimes under the rulership of King Rickard, and both were cast out of Aerenwe.
Now years have passed and Aerenwe faces new times and peace to defend. Only time will tell what future has reserved for the aged Queen Liliene and her kin.