The Ranger Crisis
|The Ranger Crisis|
|Event Name||The Ranger Crisis|
|Dates and Times||295 AC|
|People Involved||Regalian Empire, Eronidas, Teledden|
Since the fall of the Allorn Empire, southern Westwynd has been a mess concerning demographics, borders and political conflicts. In 295 AC, this brewing conflict would come to a head when lands nominally held by Teledden principalities were logged by Ailor who were nominally part of the Regalian Empire. While the cause behind what is now called the Ranger Crisis is largely unknown due to the amount of finger-pointing involved by all sides of the conflict, it boils down to core ideas of Ailor expansionism, Eronidas aggression and Teledden traditionalism. Despite the conflict being short-lived, it still featured a severe death toll, horrendous war practices, and the potential for drastic escalation only averted by the actions of the Regalian Empire. The conflict is not considered a formal war, merely a punitive act that went awry, but it still played a role in the outbreak of later conflicts such as the L'Elvellen War.
The fall of the Allorn Empire was a bloody, chaotic affair brought about by a loss of Magic which crippled the Archmages, Mages, and even the general Teledden population of the imperial power. The geographic reshaping the Cataclysm and Wildering brought also did not help, and it took decades for the myriad of successor states, often small principalities, to recover to an acceptable level. In the absence of that power, many Ailor and Asha slaves rebelled, achieving freedom and streaming to southern Westwynd. Where the Asha had the Ashal Islands, the Ailor would establish multiple small states along the coastline and inland, toppling several post-Allorn states in the process. By the time of 150 AC, the Daendroque Ailor dominated southern and mainland Westwynd, and despised the Teledden states nearby. However, a new player had entered the region some time ago, and was now on the rise. The Eronidas invaded shortly after the Allorn Empire fell, and conquered a huge swath of western territory while others went north into Westwynd, founding Kezzeret Sabu. When the Regalian Empire reached the region, they scooped up all of the Ailor states, and pushed for the gradual expansion of local territory. The Regalian Pessimism forced a lull in these activities, but when the Chrysant War began, trouble started.
The forests of Dassara had long been held, theoretically, by the Teledden. In the decades after the Ailor states in southern Westwynd had formed, this buffer of land had been allowed to thrive, the territory overgrown thanks to the freak explosion of nature caused by the Wildering. The region was largely unsuitable for settlement due to this untouched expanse of nature, and had become a sort of nature preserve respected by the Teledden. While occasionally used for resources, it was largely left alone. But, as the Ailor began to expand into the area, the Teledden calls asserting their claim grew vociferous. They stated that not only was the region theirs by ancient claim, dating back to before the Ailor were even a sentient Race, but also because of the ruins of Allorn cities which lay within the area, and Teledden colonies, while minor, still sat within the forest. La Frontierra slowly devoured this forested region regardless, as the rebuilding and maintenance of the newly revitalizing Regalian Navy called for a vast supply of lumber. Eventually, the Teledden had had enough, and nations over the border in Altaleï empowered an ancient order to do something about it.
Rangers and Rages
The Ranger Order was an ancient entity with a very uncertain history in Allorn society. In the modern day, they are broadly believed to have evolved from the first scouts of Talea’s conquering armies, who eventually remained attached to true Estelley values, and would come to defend the Va’sil Trees in the Night of the Weeping Stars. By 290 AC, their numbers were few, many having died to the emergence of the Kathar all those years ago, and having fallen in many battles since. There are even some who believe the Order chose to die off rather than recruit new members. Still, they had an interest in the contested region, and with the aid of Teledden nobles, were well supplied to begin harassing Ailor logging operations. At first, they committed acts of low-tier sabotage. Cutting tools suddenly broke, wagon-wheels cracked, and draft animals were spooked, and sent crashing into supplies or infrastructure. However, the Ailor did not stop, and instead took to both blaming the local Teledden, and the limited Yanar presence in the area, claiming it was the act of Magic and the “Plant-People”. Ailor attacks on the Yanar are believed to have triggered the Rangers to far more aggressive actions. Lumberyard slaves were mysteriously freed at night, and found foremen and camp logisticians with great ease to exact their revenge. Hunters and foragers for logging camps never returned, and now, suddenly, fires were breaking out with increased intensity and deadly results.
What the Rangers had not foreseen, and neither had the Teledden politicians, was the sudden opportunistic arrival of the Eronidas. The warrior culture of Kezzeret Sabu had been an equal threat to the Teledden, but seeing the Ailor grow exceptionally weak as a result of this clearly pro-Teledden interference from the Rangers, several warrior bands marched into the northern forests and began their own logging operations in force while also pushing out forward Ailor scouting parties. Unlike in their response to the Ailor to the south, the Teledden answered the Eronidas actions with direct force, attacking this new threat, and beginning a regional war. However, when some Ailor from the frontier saw a chance to gain Teledden political capital, they allied with the Elves against the Eronidas, seeing some warbands turn on the Ailor as well. Other Ailor parties, uninvolved in such alliances, were now attacked by the Eronidas, and quickly, a three-way conflict was breaking out in the territory now being called the Contested Land.
Seeing their lumber trade and the continued revitalization of the Regalian Navy in danger, the Regalian Empire wasted no time in involving themselves in the conflict. Regalian forces were raised and dispatched to the Daen Governate and Lusits, while diplomats were also sent to try and speak with both Teledden and Eronidas representatives. These overtures were ignored, and so filled with the vigor and idealism the Chrysant War had given them, the Regalian Military created a “punitive force” to march into the Contested Land to drive a wedge between the Eronidas and Teledden, while also protecting Ailor populations. The army’s situation rapidly deteriorated, its many Knights almost useless in the dense tree-cover the Regalians often found themselves, and efforts from both enemy parties cut off the Regalian supply train, stranding them in the forests. There was also the animal element to fear, as in that time, beasts from No Man’s Land commonly made excursions south for hunting, and instead found themselves attacking new, sentient prey, in addition to local animals starving, or just savage, looking for their own pound of flesh. Hundreds died, and while communications were eventually reestablished with the beleaguered Regalian force, the Regalian Empire realized they had been defeated. However, the same was also true of the Eronidas and Teledden. A huge forest fire had killed large numbers in both rival forces, and it was only then that the three sides sat down and talked. The Treaty of 295 AC was signed, and three months of no concrete results came to an end.
The Ranger Crisis saw the immediate end of the Ranger Order itself, the Treaty formalizing their disbandment and harshly enforcing a lack of aid to the group from any Teledden party. The Teledden nobles who had initially supported the Rangers came out of the conflict by blaming them for their failures in not ending the Ailor threat, and by 300 AC, no person was left who called themselves a Ranger. The Treaty also called for joint regional operations in the area to enforce each party’s claims there, essentially suggesting that whoever could build the most, expand the most, and get the most walls up, could have an area. However, at the meetings for the formation of the treaty, Eronidas and Ailor diplomats made rather positive inroads with each other due to their mutual dislike for the Teledden, and a secret understanding, of the treaty being Eronidas and Ailor versus Teledden, was maintained, though only for about a year. The Eronidas of Kezzeret Sabu were warriors and opportunists first, and they soon broke this unofficial deal, leading the region back to a three-way skirmish zone.
The Teledden, meanwhile, saw the whole affair as the first strike against their longstanding ties to the Ailor, and the Regalian Empire. While in Ithania such relations thrived, and the Ithanian influence on the Regalian Empire alongside the role of the Solvaan meant that the Empire had been pro-Elven for a long time, the terms of the Treaty became viewed as a betrayal of this relationship by local Teledden parties. The lesson the Empire learned from this debacle was that they were not ready for a land war with any power yet. The Regalian Navy had carried their victory in the Chrysant War, but the old ways of land-based conflict were no longer viable, especially so far from the support of their powerful warships. Whatever plans the Regalian Empire had next were thus put on hold, and they entered a political holding pattern for the next seven years while their military continued to expand, improve, and ultimately, achieve new strength. When they did go to war next, they chose a Teledden land, and began the L'Elvellen War, the second strike for most Allorn loyalists in the region.
- The Yanar local to what became to the Contested Land rapidly fled after the arrival of the Eronidas, and many, including their offspring, are thankful they got out when they did. The region is now a war-torn landscape with little of the original jungle growth which attracted loggers in the first place.
- The fire that devastated Teledden and Eronidas forces has an unknown cause. Both sides blame the other, but some suggest a Ranger went rogue, and realizing how his kind had been used, set a flame to harm both sides.
- The current conflicts in the Contested Land have achieved a new tension since the reemergence of the Allorn Empire, though any further issues are largely avoided due to the longstanding policies of both the Regalian Empire and Kezzeret Sabu to allow the local enmities to play out, and not directly support any actions in the area.