The Five Woes of Ynnraile

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The Barony of Ynnraile at the time of the Five Woes' composition

The Five Woes of Ynnraile is the collective name given to the history of Shireroth from a Goldshiran perspective. The Five Woes were composed and published by Yvain Wintersong between 3033 and 3037 ASC (25-28 November 2007) as part of the swift development of the Duchy of Brookshire and the culture of Goldshire and Ynnraile specifically during that period.

Each part of the chronological cycle focuses on a different ill or invasion imposed on Goldshire: Treesian colonization, Khaz Modani exploitation, Mercajan oppression, Rrakanychan's wrath, and Brookshirean imperialism. The work forms an important part of the diverse mythology and prehistory of Benacia as an alternative to the Raynorian narrative put forward by SSHIT. It therefore resonates with modern Shireroth's focus on subdivision autonomy rather than centralised Imperial authority.

First Woe: Treesian Colonization

The histories of Shireroth record that Goldshire was colonized first by Treesians and Istvanistani, and later by Khaz Modani and Brookshireans. But before all these colonizations, did anyone live there? Indeed they did. Who were these people? You may not be surprised to learn they were the Native Goldshireans.

We do not have any of their writings, for indeed, they could not write. What we know of them comes from the oral traditions passed down to the present day, and recorded at various points in the past by folklorists and historians. Many seem plausible, others seem fantastic, and a few sound downright impossible. But in a land still barely settled and teeming with strange occurances, who knows what might be true?

The Native Goldshireans lived as peaceful farmers in the hills and river valleys. They worshipped their own gods, and feared their own demons, against whom they erected standing stones that still litter the landscape. Less dangerous than the demons, but still strange and uncanny, were the Fair Folk, who lived in the valleys too secluded and isolated for mortals to reach. It was the Fair Folk who first taught the Goldshireans how to build standing stones to keep away demons, and who taught them many of their most beautiful songs.

For these gifts, the Fair Folk were respected, but they were also feared. Though they looked little different, they were not mortal, and their thoughts and emotions were inscrutable to men. Sometimes, a clan of Fair Folk would spend years helping a human village, offering them gifts of gold and rich food, training their children with what seemed genuine affection - and then in a single night, ride through on their great white horses and kill everyone they found outdoors, setting fire to crops as they went. The next morning, they would return as if nothing had ever happened, caring for the survivors like benevolent parents.

Unions between men and the Fair Folk were not uncommon, but they would always end with the human spouse leaving home never to be seen again. Sometimes, years or even centuries later, a boy or girl would wander into the village, claiming to be a long-lost child. When they reached adulthood, these half-fey always ended up either as great leaders or as raving madmen. Any magic in the blood of Goldshire is the legacy of these strange few.

In particular, we recall a day a few years before the first Treesian ship landed on the banks of Quinewynn, when the son of an apple grower married one of the mightiest of the Fair Folk, a sorceress older than Benacia itself. He was never seen again, but a few weeks after the wedding, a teenaged girl stumbled out of the thick forests near his village, claiming to be his daughter Moraquine. No one questioned her, because time moves differently among the Fair Folk, and the stronger the fey, the less predictable its course.

She grew into the chieftainess of the village, with a reputation for strength and wisdom that spread across Goldshire. When the first Treesian ship landed on the coast, and the newcomers began conquering and enslaving the lands nearest the gold they lusted for, the Goldshireans chose to unite around Moraquine. She became their queen, and halted the expansion of the invaders in the Battle of Nin Avkar (near the current city of Avakair). The two sides signed a treaty that granted land around certain harbors to the Treesians but preserved the interior of the region as Goldshirean.

Moraquine spent the rest of her life unifying the small farming communities into a queendom. She preferred negotaition, but when she saw someone as a threat, she was not afraid to resort to force. Only when both persuasion and force had failed did she resort to her magic, which was considerable.

Using the arcane methods of the Fair Folk, she identified two sacred sites in her domain, places where the magic of the inner earth met the sky. On these she built her two capitals, Summersong and Wintersong. Each summer she resided in Summersong, and while she was there the rains came on schedule, the sunlight was warm, the insects stayed away, and game proliferated. Each winter she stayed in Wintersong, and the frosts were mild, the blizzards stayed away, and the winterberries bloomed. Only when she departed, to go to war or to visit her people, would disasters or foul weather trouble the land.

She also established a curious method of succession. The children of the queen and her consort were married off to the Fair Folk, who came to the courts at Summersong and Wintersong regularly. Sometimes, the children of those unions would return, and it was the eldest half-fey granddaughter of the queen - not her eldest daughter - who would become queen upon her death.

The Goldshirean queendom, which in its own language called itself Ynnraile, "Mountainfringe", prospered for several centuries. Its farmers continued farming, during occasional scuffles with the Treesians it was able to protect its borders, and it absorbed Treesian learning and took its first few steps towards being an organized, literate society.

Second Woe: Khaz Modani Exploitation

However, during the third millennium BASC, it begin to decline precipitously. The Istvanistani and Khaz Modani began encroaching on their territory. The Fair Folk loathed the newcomers, who they considered rude and boorish, and gradually became harder and harder to find. Soon quarter-fey and eighth-fey queens became the norm. The magic of Summersong and Wintersong began to lose its potency, and farmers who had never known frosts woke to find half their crops destroyed.

As the power of Goldshire waned, the invaders became bolder. The Treesians left the treaty ports and began settling well into the interior. The Khaz Modani took over most of the gold mines and burnt any villages that resisted. And the Brookshireans claimed all the land south of the mountains, including the entire course of the river Elwynn. These activities culminated in the Battle of Dun Amhour, when an Khaz Modani force defeated the garrison of Summersong and burnt the capital to the ground, taking the last queen of Ynnraile back to Khaz Modan in chains. The remnants of the kingdom quickly fragmented, and the entire area became a patchwork of Khaz Modani mining towns, Treesian fiefdoms, and whole swaths ruled by mercenary chiefs or no one at all. Most of the formerly free farmers of Goldshire were reduced to slaves or serfs.

Third Woe: The Mercajas

For several centuries, the peaceful people of Goldshire, their leadership destroyed, toiled for foreign invaders. It was a bad time, but not as bad as those that were to come.

In the mid-third millennium, the Treesian cities, which had been hit by the Khaz Modani colonization almost as badly as Ynnraile itself, began to come back. Lum'Ruush Mercaja, leader of the area around Goldshire Hamlet, unified many of them and struck back at the Khaz Modani. Mercaja, who was part Treesian, part Istvanistani, and possibly part Goldshirean himself, was quite charismatic, and most of the non-Khaz Modan people of Goldshire rallied around his banner. His dynasty, the Mercajas, remained one of several regional powers for about a century, when the boats from the Khaz Modan suddenly stopped arriving. Their foreign trade destroyed and their morale shaken, the Khaz Modanian cities crumbled one after another, and by around 2460 BSC the Mercaja dynasty controlled all of Goldshire, even reconquering some of the land taken by Brookshire in times past.

But despite Lum'Ruush's charm, the Mercajas turned out to be just as brutal as their predecessors, if not moreso. Constant minor rebellions - sometimes Treesian, sometimes Istvanistani, sometimes Goldshirean - were put down with astounding cruelty. It was a bad time, but not as bad as those that were to come.

In 2400 BSC, Brookshire invaded after a conflict with Ju'Uliave Mercaja. At first, many Goldshireans angry at the Mercajas joined with the forces of the mysterious Duke Raynor. But as the war continued, Raynor and a group of cavalrymen going by the name "Raynor's Raiders" swept into the interior of northern Goldshire, burning villages and killing anyone he suspected of possible Mercaja sympathies. As news of their deeds spread, support for Raynor dropped off. But many of Goldshire's towns and villages, who had suffered under the Mercaja regime and feared the Raynor regime would only be worse, were left without a champion, without hope.

Around this time, a young man on a black horse rode into the ruins of Wintersong. He stayed there a week, calling the names of those long dead, until eventually the locals approached him (cautiously, for in those times any stranger was a potential murderer) and asked him his tale. He was, he said, the youngest son of the youngest daughter of Moraquine, Prince Tristram, who had lived with his mother among the Fair Folk. When the locals remarked that this would make him five hundred years old, he just said that among the Fair Folk, it had not seemed that long. But his memories were hazy, and the first thing he remembered was his mother, still a young woman, telling him that his path lay outside in the world of mortals, and showing him the road that led to the capital.

He took the name Tristram Wintersong, and gained a small following. His band roamed the hills and forests, defending the native people from the armies of both sides. When they could, they harvested the fields of the nobles by night and gave the grain to the peasants, keeping them alive during these troubled times. During a time of peace, he might have been easily found and killed, but with both armies occupied in the pursuit and destruction of one another, little effort was spared to hunt down a minor outlaw.

However, more and more people joined his band, and in a stunning victory, he defeated the garrison at Emsabh (later Demonsfall) and liberated the city, the first independent Goldshire territory in several centuries. Soon, both sides, seeing him as a threat, sent forces to kill him; these forces easily recaptured Emsabh but Tristram and his soldiers fled to the mountains and could not be found.

Eventually a stalemate was worked out. Tristram's area of influence extended through most of modern-day Syrewlynn, Goldendown, and Holwinn, except for the areas closest to the coasts or rivers. Within this area, neither Brookshirean invader nor Mercajan defender dared go. Instead, they fought along the banks of the Elwynn and on the plains of Ran, and in this way most of the people of Goldshire were spared the hell of warfare. Meanwhile, Tristram proclaimed a new kingdom of Ynnraile, with its capital at Emsabh until Wintersong could be secured.

The war ended with the complete victory of Brookshire. Duke Raynor declared himself Kaiser of the entire western part of the Benacian continent, announced it was named Shireroth, and gave no acknowledgment to Ynnraile whatsoever. He gave control of Goldshire to his chief general, Fenrir, declaring him Duke. Fenrir began raising a mighty army to send against the area united under the name Ynnraile, which unbeknownst to him actually had only a few thousand poorly trained men completely incapable of standing up to any sustained assault.

Luckily for Tristram, Raynor's old allies in Musica were less than excited to be told they were now a mere province of "Shireroth". Raynor was soon distracted with two new wars, one against Musica and one against Yardistan. Fenrir's army was requisitioned for the Siege of Musica, and the small villages of Ynnraile continued to dwell in peace, oblivious to the bloodshed all around them. But as Musica became less and less able to resist, it grew very clear to Tristram that his days were numbered.

Fourth Woe: The Wrath of Rrakanychan

Kaiser Raynor's forces spent the next several years engaged in Musica, to the neglect of the recently conquered Goldshirean areas. Te'Ele Mercaja, scion of the family, took the opportunity to escape the dungeons in which he was being held and flee to Avakair, where he won the allegiance of several coastal cities. Soon only Goldshire Hamlet and the lands immediately to its south remained in the Kaiser's control.

Realizing that both their lives were forfeit when the Brookshireans ceased being distracted, Te'Ele forged an uneasy alliance with Tristram and Ynnraile. The move came none too soon, as the long siege of Musica ended soon after, and the Brookshireans herded their weary armies north. Tristram and Te'Ele soon clashed over strategy - Mercaja wanted to engage Brookshire as soon as possible on the most favorable ground, while Tristram suggested surrendering the cities in favor of a hit-and-run style of guerilla warfare. In the end, it was Te'Ele who won out, and the allied forces fortified the north coast of the Quinewinn and waited for Brookshire to arrive.

General Fenrir did not disappoint them. His army reached the south coast and attempted a crossing. There was a fierce but localized battle which ended inconclusively as nightfall came and both sides prepared to end the struggle on the morrow.

That night, around three in the morning, both sides were suddenly shaken awake by a mighty roaring noise. The earth shook, and the usually placid waters of the Quinewinn began to boil. Those who ran outside witnessed a falling star, brighter than the sun, which streaked through the sky in crimson flame before striking the Earth in the far west. Where it hit, many hundreds of kilometers away, a great plume of lava erupted out of the ground until it seemed to touch the stars.

At first, both sides suggested the other of some strategem or superweapon, but it became clear that each was as confused as the other. The Brookshireans considered it an omen of disaster and retreated; the allies tentatively celebrated their victory while remaining ill at ease. Days later, the first whispered tales of the Demon began.

The Demon, they said, had fallen to Earth near Emsabh, and everything around the area where he had hit immediately caught fire and was consumed. The Demon himself took a human form, but was as tall as the tallest tower, with skin of fire and a great fiery sword. He lay unconscious where he had fallen for several weeks, until it seemed clear that he was dead.

Te'Ele sent a battalion of men to investigate. The Goldshireans, whose legends of ancient matters were better preserved, refused to a man to accompany them. Te'Ele returned to the allied base near Synthera, reporting that the stories were true and that a great fire demon lay dead beside Emsabh. Tristram grimaced, said "Nay, not dead," and retreated into the deep forests. Soon afterwards, he ordered the evacuation of Ynnraile.

Tristram was a poor excuse for a king, and many of the Goldshireans refused his order to leave the region. Others waited, hoping the future would clarify matters. But many left, heading north to the forests of Elwynn, or west to Avakair. Some tried to enter Brookshirean lands near Musica, and were ill-treated. Tristram sent a personal letter to the Kaiser urging him, for the sake of his honor, to let them in, and the Kaiser relented.

Seeing an easy chance to establish control over central Goldshire while its inhabitants panicked, the Kaiser sent a force from Shirekeep practically under the nose of the unconscious demon, into the hills of Goldshire.

On the first Ughsday of Hgraasreign, the demon awoke, looked around, saw the Brookshirean army, and casually crushed the lot of them beneath a fiery fist.

After that began the Bad Times. The demo n destroyed most of the towns along the Elwynn, striking Brookshire and Goldshire alike. Thousands died. Thousands more went mad and began worshipping the demon as a god of death. Then the demon turned his path of destruction towards the greatest metropolis on the Benacian continent, Shirekeep.

Tristram saw the direction he was heading, and despite his distaste for the Kaiser, realized that Shireroth was now the greatest agglomeration of men on Benacia and that without it the prospects of humanity to stand up to this scourge were grim indeed. He rode with a few of his most trusted men to the ruins of Wintersong, and called on the old powers his grandmother Moraquine had found there.

There was a shift in the weather, and a great mass of blizzards converged into a wall. The wall stood directly between the demon and Shirekeep. Rrakanychan (for it was of course he) beat against it with all his might, but his hands of fire were stung by the cold of winter, and he jumped back in a bellow of pain.

Then he turned away from Shirekeep and into Goldshire. Tristram, who had originally planned to wait out the creature with his countrymen in Avakair or some other sufficiently distant city, realized he could not leave those families still in Ynnraile to their fate. He and his men rode out, and, though unable to confront the demon directly, contained and harassed his followers, until they were afraid to leave their master's side.

The hoped-for help finally arrived. The Kaiser and Te'Ele had agreed to briefly put aside their differences and launch a joint assault on the demon, one from the west and the other from the east. Tristram wrote a letter to Te'Ele, his one-time enemy and one-time ally, urging him to desist from such foolishness, but it was of no use. Te'Ele led the charge personally, and was murdered, along with the nephew of the Kaiser who led the Brookshire troops, in the massacre that followed.

Avakair's forces were totally destroyed, and the Kaiser's few remaining men retreated to a safe distance. They adopted the same tactic as Tristram - avoiding the demon while picking off his followers. At first, Brookshire and Tristram's Ynnraileans worked in a fragile concert - but when the Kaiser's men proved too eager to massacre villages where they suspected a demon-worshipper might be hiding, Tristram turned on them and began striking any Brookshire forces he found in Goldshire. During the era known as the Dance of the Three Armies, which lasted through the spring and summer of the year, the Shirerothians, the Ynnraileans, and the demon-worshippers all skirmished with one another, causing chaos and murder but never achieving any decisive victories. Rrakanychan himself, meanwhile, annhiliated the city of Donmachad, ancient capital of Goldendown, and began threatening both Avakair and the Elwys capital of Eliria.

Fifth Woe: The Reign of Brookshire

"Another great army was marching out of Shirekeep."

Late in Qarbinionsmoon, the news came to Ynnraile that another great army was marching out of Shirekeep. In truth, it was Raynor's last, and nearly every able-bodied left in that great empire marched in it. At its head, went the rumors, was Kaiser Raynor himself, despite his advanced age. Tristram repeated his usual tactic and headed for the hills, planning to let his two great enemies, Shireroth and the Demon, wear one another down.

But even the hills were not high enough to hide from the great Brookshirean army. Without nearly enough food to sustain its long march, its soldiers pillaged the land for miles around, and Wintersong's band soon found itself starving. They retaliated by picking off any Brookshireans who strayed too far from the main group, and raiding any supply trains they could find.

One night late in Breizan, the raiders on the periphery of the mountains made a particularly valuable catch; an old Brookshirean whose clothes suggested he was a noble of some sort. He was brought directly to Tristram, who had made his headquarters in a cave in north-central Holwinn.

"Your life," said Tristram, "is forfeit, for the crimes of your men against my people. If you have any coin with which to bargain, use it now. Otherwise, pray to whatever gods your people believe in that your sins are forgiven in the next world."

Said the noble "My people do not beg. We pray each morning and evening for the god of death to spare us, but if he choose otherwise it is vain to pray to mere mortals for a reversal of his decree. But I tell you this - never in my years, which are longer than you know, have I wished harm upon the innocent, or oppressed the weak. If you slay me now, the gods are just and will avenge my cause; if you let me live, they will likewise show you favor."

Tristram wavered. Then he asked his Days: "How was this old man caught?"

The Days responded: "He was in the forest, hunting alone."

"He had harmed no one, and showed no intent to harm?"

"He had harmed no one."

"Very well," said Tristram. "I sense you are a man of your word, and it is unchivalrous to kill an old man taken unawares. Go forth and fight the Demon of Fire, and if we meet again in battle, I will not hesitate to cut you down, nor should you do otherwise to me." Then he ordered his Days to return the prisoner to the forest where he had been taken.

"Wait," said the old man. "I give you one piece of information in return for your honorable behaviour. The final battle between Shireroth and the Demon will take place in three days, before the entrance to the great cave in the mountains to the south. Be there that day to fight, or the glory will be forever lost to you."

"Ha!" said Tristram. "Your reward is to lead us to our deaths? Begone with you!"

But the noble had judged Tristram correctly, and he and his Days rode at full gallop towards the entrance to the cave in the south after all. The strength of Brookshire was truly massed there, and Rrakanychan and his armies were fast approaching through the pass that has ever since been known as the Demonsroad. A day before the demon's arrival, Tristram reached the heights above the battlefield, and ordered his men to forego fortifications and instead erect the ancient standing stones that their people's legends said countered the strength of evil.

Then the Demon's army broke through the pass and reached the strength of Brookshire. The demon himself held back, waiting. The knights and soldiers of the Brookshireans fought valiantly, but the Demon's followers were many, and they were crazed with fear and bloodlust. Tristram realized that Brookshire, though it might well win this battle, would be depleted of its strength long before the Demon itself ever made an appearance. He ordered his men to bless the standing stones, adding syllables and runes he remembered only dimly from his lost childhood among the Fair Folk.

Far in the distance, the Demon bellowed. Tristram's poor magic could not kill it, could not even injure it. All it could do was annoy it, like fingernails scraping on an ethereal blackboard. Nevertheless, it was enough. The Demon, unwilling to wait for its mortal servants to finish off the irritation, burst into the pass like a forest fire, heading for the heights where Tristram and his men were encamped.

The men of Ynnraile charged into the valley, disrupting the cultists' assault and surprising the men of Brookshire as well. For a moment, all was chaos. Then it became clear that the Kaiser's forces had cornered the demon against the entrance to the cave, and were trying to push him back. The Demon, unconcerned, retreated into the humongous cavern, convinced that the darkness would prove an aid against its vision-dependent human foes.

Several waves of Brookshirean troops entered the cave. None exited. It became clear that the battle in the pass was mostly finished, with the demon-worshippers dead or in retreat, but Rrakanychan's human allies had never been the issue. The Demon was still in the cave, and it was clear that no one who went it would ever come out.

There was a hush, and then the rumor flew through the ranks that the Kaiser was entering the cave alone.

For several minutes, nothing happened. Then the morale of the Brookshirean troops broke. Out of contact with their Kaiser, certain he was dead or about to become so, they panicked and flew from the field. The few remaining demon-worshippers gleefully pursued. Tristram, upset at the demon's apparent victory but glad to see the end of Brookshire's imperialist tendencies, ordered those among his Days who had survived to ride for Syrelwynn.

He spent the autumn in Syrelwynn, among one of the few remaining Ynnrailean villages. The rumors out of the west were all contradictory, but several claimed that the Kaiser had in fact won the battle; Tristram thought it absurd that a lone human could defeat the Demon, and dismissed them. However, he was forced to admit as winter drew onward that there was no further sign of the Demon nor any but the most dejected and confused of his followers.

When H'graasreign came he retreated to Wintersong Court, and there restored contact with friends among the Kaiser's men in Goldshire Hamlet. They claimed that the Kaiser had indeed defeated the Demon and was back in Shirekeep with what remained of his army, helping his nation recover from the creature's assault. Tristram found this account almost impossible to believe, but in case it proved true he shrouded the eastern banks of the Elwynn in mist, so that the Kaiser could see nothing of his Goldshirean dominions.

But when spring came, Tristram's power waned, and his worst rumors proved true - the Kaiser's army, their spirits high from the successful confrontation with Rrakanychan, was marching to Goldshire to reassert control of the area once and for all.

Tristram rode full gallop from Wintersong to the Quinewynn, where he gathered troops from the villages along the riverbanks. From there, he rode to Avakair and even Tephal, the furthest city of Goldshire, where the heirs of Te'Ele gave him what little support they could. From Goldendown he gained the allegiance of Niphton Kres, the Elwy prince whose followers had moved into the region after the Demon's depredations. Finally, he returned to Ynnraile, where his own Days who had served him for so many years joined at the head of his forces.

Meanwhile, the Kaiser crossed the Elwynn river near the small town of Syrelwynn and marched north, towards the ruins of Emsabh and Wintersong Court. Tristram retreated, retreated, and retreated further, until they were almost at the borders of the Quinwynn value, and his Quinewynnean troops refused to fall back lest their homes and families be lost. So on the hills surrounding the Quinewynn, at a spot called Aoghre Creek, his men turned on their pursuers and joined battle.

The Kaiser's army was at first surprised by the unexpected and ferocious attack, but they quickly recovered. Raynor's men were professional soldiers, well-trained veterans of the Mercaja, Musican, and Demon Wars, whereas of Tristram's men, only the Days and a few of the Elwy warriors could be entirely trusted. Soon the Kaiser's men had broken Tristram's lines and forced part of his army into a gully from which there was no retreat. An entire third of the Ynnraile troops surrendered there, and most of the rest followed. Tristram did not stop them, but neither did he surrender himself. He escaped with three of his closest Days into the mountains south of the Quinewynn, hoping to hole up there until winter, when he could use the magic of Wintersong Court to freeze out the Brookshire troops.

The Kaiser sent detachments to secure Avakair and other important areas and then withdrew his forces to Goldshire Hamlet, where he was entertained by Duke Fenrir. However, he sent a whole battalion into the mountains looking for Tristram, whom he declared must not be allowed to escape. During the middle of Vanchauslurk, they found him, and brought him to Goldshire Hamlet in chains. He was tried by the local court for treason against the Kaiser, and sentenced to death at the Kaiser's own hands.

The day arrived, and Tristram was brought in chains to the main square of the city, where he was mocked and taunted by the Shirerothian populace. Finally, the Kaiser himself arrived, in his ceremonial armor, bearing the Sword of Vengeance. He approached the bound captive, raised it high over his head, and then stopped.

"Do I know you?" he asked.

"No," said Tristram.

The Kaiser lifted the visor of his helmet, and Tristram recognized the old Brookshirean noble he had met just before the battle with the Demon.

"You were the leader of the bandits who kidnapped me when I was off hunting alone," the Kaiser said. "Long I chastised myself for ever leaving behind the safety of my guards, but thanks to your honor, I came to no harm."

"Yes," said Tristram. "And you did not beg for mercy, and neither shall I. Let the fields of Goldshire be sown with my blood."

"Yet you granted mercy to me nevertheless, and I do likewise. Arise, Tristram Wintersong."

"I told you then that if we ever met again we should not hesitate to kill each other, and I charge you not to betray that sentiment. Kill me with your sword, for if I should die by the same blade that slew the Demon of Fire, it will be a noble death indeed."

"The Demon is not dead," Raynor whispered, too soft for anyone but Tristram to hear. Then, louder, "The people of Goldshire look to you as a leader. Swear to serve me, and I will make you Count of Upper Goldshire, under none by Fenrir and myself."

"I will not serve Brookshire," said Tristram, "neither me, nor my children, nor my children's children. This I swear."

"Very well," said Raynor. "Nevertheless, I grant you a full imperial pardon, on the grounds that you never use a weapon again."

"I reject those grounds," said Tristram.

"I did not give you that option," said Raynor, and he sliced off Tristram's sword arm. "My retainers will take you back to Wintersong Court, where you can live out the rest of your days in peace."

Grumbling all the while, though he was too stoic to mention the severed limb, Tristram returned to Wintersong Court. There he lived out the rest of his days as the head of the village, controlling the weather in the winter and adjucating disputes in the summer. Each year, the Kaiser's emissary - first Raynor's, and then his heir, Brrapa's - would arrive, asking him to take leadership of northern Goldshire. Each year, Tristram would swear that neither he nor his children nor his children's children would ever serve Brookshire.

"Tristram died, leaving behind... Caitwynne."

One year in spring Tristram died, leaving behind a daughter, Caitwynne. Each year, the Kaiser's emissaries would come to Caitwynne and ask her to take leadership of northern Goldshire. Each year, Caitwynne would swear that neither she nor her children would ever serve Brookshire.

A year came when Caitwynne, too, died, leaving behind a son, Ardor. Each year, the Kaiser's emissaries would come to Ardor and ask him to take leadership of northern Goldshire. Each year, Ardor would swear that he would never serve Brookshire.

And at last, Ardor, too died, leaving behind a daughter, Gwynnlir. Each year, the Kaiser's emissaries would come to Gwynnlir and ask her to take leadership of northern Goldshire. And the year after Ardor died, she said yes.

This is the story of how the line of Tristram Wintersong became nobles of Shireroth. According to the legendary reckoning, the Woes of Ynnraile ended in the ninety-third year after the death of Raynor, when Gwynnlir Wintersong become the first Baronness of Ynnraile. From that day on, the lands of northern Goldshire were peaceful and happy.

...except for the several hundred other exciting and dangerous things that have happened between then and the present day, which no doubt will all be written up into long stories, similar to this one.

these histories were written by the former Baron of Ynnraile and Duke of Brookshire, Yvain Wintersong