Seven Years War
Zhûrasca and Solgard have never been friendly, but all out war is rare. In general the two regard each other with suspicion at best, but beginning around 950, a series of events were put into motion that exploded into war less than half a century later.
After Rexer Danes’ attemp in 877AI to topple Ustjubai, tensions relaxed between the Empire, Zhûrasca and the island nation. Trade seemed to regularize and a brief period of intellectual flourishing occurred in the Order. Increasingly, Magi from disparate corners of the world came together to discuss their studies and train one another, and brought with them their mundane retinues. With an increased presence of foreigners on both sides of the Narrow Sea, there was a dramatic climb in militia presence, racism and intolerance. In 949AI, a group of Magi calling themselves the High Hand (later, colloquially “greenhoods”) began gaining influence in the Order. The Hands took the Ustjubaji folk tradition of Tsre’s body being the stuff of the stone very literally. They believed that since the stone was itself sacred, the consumption of the stone made Magi divine. With calls to a new age of Magi rule, the High Hand organized and began to challenge the teachings of the Order.
At least initially, the Order asked both the Throne and the Khaja to take no part in the squabble. Never very popular, the Magi lost more credibility with the common folk as they saw the fracturing of their order in front of them. Confused by this new order – was it the same? Were they evil? Saviors? – the Magi found it difficult to rally the will of the nations to their cause.
The Greenhoods lacked wide-spread support on either side of the Narrow Sea as well, but they had few qualms about raising an army. In 978, Rthu Teyr won control of the High Hand and began a campaign of kidnapping and stone-drugging mundanes. Armed with legions of unthinking assassins and thugs, the Greenhoods began a campaign of terror against the governments of the world.
Accusations began flying and a series of scuffles between Zhûrasca and Solgard left each government increasing their defenses. The Sahmu, neither the friend of the Emperor or the Khaja saw opportunity in this and many Sahmu began enlisting as mercenaries under the greenhoods. Some are said to have willingly undergone stone-poisoning. Finally, the Magi could stand no more and pleaded with the Throne to step it and purge the order, but it was too late.
In 986 Rthu Teyr arrived in Bagalon and convinced (some say drugged) Prince Lak B’leet to murder his father the Khaja and ascend to the throne. A puppet of the Greenhoods, the Zhûrascan army began launching ships to attack Imperial vessels. Raiding parties began appearing in Listvendy and Maefenia by the autumn of 987. In 989 Solgard went to war with Zhûrasca. Magi on the Zhûrascan side, unaware that there nation’s government had been corrupted, fought against Imperial Magi with vigor. Sahmu fighters were seen on both sides of the battlefield as well, often pitting brother against brother. The greenhoods continued to operate on both sides as well seeking to cause ruin everywhere. In time, Solgard made a pact with Prince Lak A’haagal, second son of the former Khaja who had uncovered his brother’s plot. In the end, it was this alliance (which brought with it powerful Moq’tajd] that would spell the High Hand’s fall.
Lak A’haagal had collected a group of loyal nobles to his side, many of whom had witnessed first hand the corruption the greenhoods had sown. This knowledge, matched with their ability to still mingle with the current Khaja, let them put spies in place and gain a footing on the movements of greenhoods. A secret war within the war broke out – mundane and magi from both nations joined forces to root out the heretics.
In 992 Rthy Teyr was being escorted from Igrat to Bagalon and was caught unawares by a team of Magi led by Falchionner Wymer Joyceholly of the 41st mounted calvary. In a battle lasting just 3 hours, the Rthu was killed, and many of his top leadership with him. B’leet’s Magi soon fell into disarray and rooting out the true Magi from the Greenhoods became clear. B’leet, not convinced of defeat, fought on for four more years but with no victories of note – the will of the people had shifted to his brother, who bore not only the support of the Zhûrascan Magi, but the indifference of the Empire, leaving his movements across the country basically unchecked.
In 996 A’haagal was rightfully coronated, B’leet was thrown in the dungeon and the Greenhoods were shattered into obscurity. The Empire considered their honor satisfied and took no permanent holdings from Zhûrasca. They did demand reparations, which A’haagal has regularly made good on. Solgard’s economy had boomed with the rise in need of fighting men and suppliers for the war effort, and these reparations have continued to make life comfortable for the working Imperial.
In the meantime, the reputation of the Magi was severely tarnished. By the end of the Seven Year War, few commoners trusted a Magi to even stay in the local inn. Obviously, both governments are distrustful of Magi advisors and the Order itself still searches tirelessly for any High Hand remnant.