The secession of the northern territories is the most contentious event in the recent history of Terrador. The wounds of the civil war are still healing even today. King Hrodulf has done much to suppress the separatist movement and attempted to build back bridges that had been previously burned. The separatist movement was largely led by the well respected and honorable chieftain of Hearthmound, Aethelric, who was backed by the other northern states of Novengrad, Vagen, Harstagg, Solsgard and Kriev. Today, the land of Terrador is still unified under one crown. However, the northern states are still reeling from the damage of the war and the people’s opinion of King Hrodulf is still stained with the blood from the war.
Unrest began brewing a few years into Hrodulf’s reign as king. His father, King Kroll, was not very well liked, he was seen as an uncaring king who lived in comforts that seemed to alienate himself from the people. When he died however, the people grieved and rallied around his youngest son Hrodulf as opposed to his older brother Tyrfing. His first few years on the throne were relatively benign, seen as much of the same by the people. Many of the northern chieftains, who are harder and more traditional than those in the southern states, saw him as weak and ineffectual. There were rumors for years surrounding the chieftains of Hearthmound saying that they were descended from a forgotten line of High King’s. Many of the northern chieftains desired for the young chieftain of Hearthmound, Aethelric, to challenge Hrodulf’s claim to the throne but Aethelric would refuse saying he had no qualms with Hrodulf or his kin. Aethelric was well liked by his subjects much like his father, Aethelgar. Aethelric led many successful raids on the isles of Kilt, specifically in Highcrest, where he returned with great spoils and with all of his men alive and intact.
The first true misstep by King Hrodulf was allowing elven imports into Terrador by way of Kilt. This was seen as a betrayal of tradition by the men of the north, for if they wanted something from the elves, they would just go take it from them. The custom of raiding is highly respected among the men of the north. They saw it as enriching foreigners while gaining nothing in return. The chieftain of Harstagg, Rorek, protested this decision but was ultimately ignored by King Hrodulf. In response, Rorek gathered a group of men on his own fleet of ships and pillaged an incoming ship filled with elven treasure to remind Hrodulf of the old ways, the way he thought things should be done. This led to sanctions as punishment on the people of Harstagg and Rorek was asked to step down as chieftain but refused. Rorek went to talk to his friend Aethelric about what should be done. Aethelric suggested that he not step down as chieftain but to instead offer some of the spoils that he took from the ship as an offering of peace to Hrodulf. Rorek was angry but trusted Aethelric’s wisdom and did as he said, mending his relationship with Hrodulf for a short time.
Another incident was when Hrodulf requested that Dragonscar scale up their whaling industry. After his ordeal with Rorek, Hrodulf agreed to only bring in elven items through trade with Kilt if they would buy more whaling related exports from Terrador. The whalers of Dragonscar obliged which led to a huge boom in the southern city’s whaling industry, However, they whaled too aggressively which resulted in friction with the Mer-Folk who lived in the waters surrounding the coasts. This angered the chieftain of Novengrad, Akilla, who not only saw his own whaling industry harmed by the overzealous hunting by the whalers of Dragonscar, but who also had a good relationship with the Mer-Folk of the Biting Coast. He saw that, through his ineffectiveness, Hrodulf was alienating their ancient allies. Akilla begged Aethelric to do something, Hrodulf was, according to him, leading Terrador toward dark days and needed to be replaced. Aethelric assured him that things were not as grim as they seemed. You see, Aethelric actually quite liked Hrodulf on a personal level and wanted to maintain that friendship for the benefit of the social health in Terrador. He turned Akilla away and assured him that things would improve with time, as Hrodulf was still in the learning process of being king. Akilla wasn’t pleased with his old friend’s dismissiveness. He left but assured Aethelric that something needed to be done before it was too late.
The unrest came to a head when a whaling vessel in the Bay of Kings were attacked by the Mer-Folk in protest of their overzealous whaling. King Hrodulf saw this as an act of war and began attacking the Mer-Folk in their home-waters which began a brief war known as the War of the Waters. The northern states protested this war which greatly angered Hrodulf. Aethelric was caught in the middle between his fellow northern chieftains and King Hrodulf himself. In an effort to please everyone, Aethelric agreed to lead diplomatic talks with the leaders of the Mer-Folk to try and reach a resolution to the war. This pleased Hrodulf but the northern chieftains were skeptical. However, before talks could begin, Aethelric received the news that his own son, Aethelrald, had been killed in a skirmish with the Mer-Folk. Aethelric was stricken by deep grief. He didn’t blame the Mer-Folk but instead blamed King Hrodulf for inciting the conflicts that led to this disaster.
The northern chieftains came to his side to comfort him in his grief. They told him that they knew Hrodulf was not fit to be king. Aethelric knew they were right and that something had to be done. The other chieftains encouraged Aethelric to use his royal heritage to his advantage and to challenge Hrodulf, either politically or violently. Aethelric tried to talk to Hrodulf to tell him that this war had to be ended, so that no one else’s son or daughter had to die in this frivolous war. Hrodulf rejected his call for peace and instead scolded Aethelric for his misspeak. Aethelric and the other chieftains returned to Hearthmound to discuss further action. In their anger and grief, they agreed to form an independent state led by the chieftains of Novengrad, Kriev, Harstagg, Solsgard and Vagen with Aethelric as their new king who would reside in their new capital of Hearthmound. This new union was known as the Eddic Estates, for they were the states to the north of the Eddas River. Hrodulf was furious and knew that his missteps as king had led to a civil war. Aethelric went to the king of the Mer-Folk, Vishroon, and said that the Eddic Estates would like them to be allies in the civil war that was about to begin. Vashroon and his people admired Aethelric and apologized for what happened to his son. With that, the War of the Waters had ended and Hrodulf now had two very powerful enemies who were allied against him once again. The leaders of the Eddic Estates and their allies were now Aethelric of Hearthmound, Rorek of Harstagg, Akilla of Novengrad, Ruslana of Kriev, Helgar of Vagen, Henrik of Solsgard and Vishroon, the Mer-King of the Biting Coast.
The civil war raged for six years. The southern land of Terrador stood mostly united with Hrodulf but had Eddic sympathizers living all over his territory. The war came to an end when Hrodulf agreed that the fighting had gone on long enough and he was ready to begin talks with Aethelric to try and reach a resolution. The northern chieftains would, however, accept nothing less than Hrodulf stepping down in shame and passing the crown to Aethelric. Hrodulf agreed to ride to Hearthmound to engage in discussion with Aethelric personally. However, Hrodulf had no intention of negotiating with him. He instead arrived with a large army of soldiers from Ranthor, Dragonscar and Urthelm to cut off the head of this inconvenient rebellion. The warriors of Hearthmound put up a fight and, despite being the best warriors in all of Terrador, were outnumbered greatly. Aethelric told the citizens to escape and told the rest of his men to, instead of protecting him, find his son Aethelstan and get him to safety. His soldiers agreed and rode away while protecting his son. Aethelric gave himself over to the opposing army and was executed while Hearthmound burned to the ground, ending the civil war once and for all…
Aethelric’s legacy lives on but is perceived differently by everyone in Terrador. The remnants of the Eddic Estates hold Aethelric and his family as folk heroes who will live on in song as martyrs, while the southern states see him as a traitor and call him Aethelric the Usurper. Not much is known about his son Aethelstan other than that he roams the northern lands of Terrador in exile protected by a militia that once swore fealty to his father, hunted by the forces of Hrodulf, who fears him resurrecting the Eddic Estates and a new civil war.