Map of the Tanitin Frontier

Map of the Tanitin Frontier

From Gabriella DaFonesca’s book, The Land of Storms, published IV.E. 892

 ***

It was in the autumn of IV.E. 698, and the third year out of favor, that Cassier Maurus had his vision of the Storms to come. He was still in his official residence at the Tour Gardien outside of Coeur, and had not been seen in court since the summer of 694, when the Vaunuk Charade had been exposed. King Henri de Fueille IV was still upon the Throne of Stars at the time, and in blaming Maurus for his humiliation, had sought to replace the Wizard Royal, and was now taken with a pretender to the Art by the name of Evelyne DuPont, to whom he turned for advice and counsel. It is of note that this was indicative of Henri’s reign, and this breach of tradition had not gone unnoticed nor unremarked by his nobles. Tradition stretching back to the late III Age had held that women were ever viewed as weaker in the Art, and not to be trusted when Aether-touched.

The fit came upon Maurus late one night that autumn, the story goes, and upon the recovery of his wits, the Wizard Royal sent a messenger at once to the King of Stars, begging for an audience most urgently. This was refused, and the messenger returned with a warning that Maurus’ presence at court would be viewed most dimly. A second messenger was dispatched to the court, this with a letter that, by account, detailed Maurus’ vision, that the lands of Fueille would be touched by Aether, and that the Sphere would be redrawn. This second letter was refused, and the messenger himself intercepted by Allyrian agents as he attempted to return to Maurus. A third letter was sent the following week, and this, we are told, was received reluctantly by the King, who then shared its contents with DuPont. DuPont dismissed Maurus’ claims out of hand, and accused the Wizard Royal of attempting to weave Art in the words of his missive, a spell she claimed to have reversed and redirected.

All means of communication with his king now prevented, Maurus took the unprecedented step of traveling to the Court of Stars himself, in secret, undeterred by the fate that would certainly befall him. Up until this time, the detente between King and Wizard Royal had held. Henri, perhaps held in check by some lingering doubts as to DuPont’s true abilities, had been loathe to move openly against Maurus, and for Maurus’ part, one wonders if a devotion to Fueille and her Stars had not likewise stayed his hand. Whatever the reasons, the issue had reached crisis for the Wizard Royal, and so it was that in Primus 699, during the Revels, he used his wit and skill in the Art to reach Coeur and the Royal Grounds, and that night, amidst the celebration, revealed himself and confronted King Henri.

“I have seen the turning of the year,” he is reported to have said. “I have seen the edge of the storm coming, raging red and violet, taking all that it touches, and I have seen what it leaves in its wake. The time of Great Storms is returning, and its fingers will touch the Kingdom of Stars, and lay waste where it falls.”

What more was said is lost to history. A confrontation followed, with the Royal Guard attempting to fall upon Maurus. The ensuing bloodshed took some seven lives, and revealed DuPont as an artless fraud. Maurus escaped, and was never seen again.

 ***

As scandalous as the confrontation was, diplomatically and politically, it was a nightmare. Representatives from Vaunuk and several of the pre-Hollern citystates across the Odom were in attendance, and all reported on Maurus’ words. Allyrian representatives were absent from the Court of Stars at that point, of course, the two nations still at war, but certainly Allyrian agents (likely the same agents responsible for the interception of Maurus’ second missive) were present.

Within weeks, all countries present had put ships to Aether, for it was understood that where a Great Storm touched Land, new Land might be revealed.

 ***

On 17 Thio, IV.E. 700, the Vaunuk explorer Damen Folker sighted and made landfall in the Tanitin northwest. It is he who named the Land, Tanitin being a rough-hewn collision of the Vaun tongue meaning “trees” and “many.” Almost immediately, featherwood groves were identified, and Folker at once set about establishing the first Vaunuk colony.

Less than two weeks later, Allyria made their first claim, this in the southwest. Like the Vaunuk, they found the land pristine, abundant in its resources, in particular in growth of featherwood. The colony of New Bastion was founded on 2 Treia.

The Fueille, too, attempted colonization, but, as Maurus had foreseen, their efforts were hindered by the ravages of the Great Storms. Landfall along the heart of the Fueille lands had torn them asunder, but worse, the earth itself had lost its grace. The famously fertile Fueille heartland was devastated, and matters external were abandoned as attention turned inward to combat the rising unrest of the people amidst growing famine.

 ***

What is now referred to as the Colonial Rest, those lands west of the Great Divide, remained the heart of expansion for much of the next century, though attempts to penetrate the Easterly were mounted multiple times, by every nation. Circumnavigating the Land was likewise attempted, but sailors reported treacherous Aether as is common after a Great Storm, and countless vessels were lost. Expansion landward was similarly restricted due to the Divide. It has been remarked upon elsewhere that the Divide itself bears remarkable similarity to the scars of Fueille, the one mirroring the other. Whether there is merit to this, I leave to my betters in the Sciences, and not History.

 ***

Two hundred years of Tanitin settlement and expansion, most recently into the Easterly, have given the Land a curious character. One is as likely as not to encounter an inhabitant of Cité Rafael who identifies himself as Tanitin as Fueille, for instance, and this attitude is prevalent amongst all the growing citystates of the Land. Allyria and Fueille, in particular, still promote a nationalist rhetoric when speaking of their colonies, but the fact remains that Tanitin is fast becoming its own nation, and rumors of revolution are growing. Still, it is unlikely that any unified movement for independence will actually succeed unless other matters draw the attention of the Great Powers; for every Hollern attempt to undermine the Fueille, there is Allyria waiting and watching to exploit such a distraction. Thus, it rests on the people of Tanitin, ultimately, to decide their fate.

The Easterly expansion, relatively recent as the Aether has calmed, has resulted in a renewed race by the Great Powers. The recent unification of the Hollern has placed them behind both Allyria and Fueille, while the Vaunuk seem to have abandoned such movement altogether, regularly launching new expeditions into the wider Aether in search of new Lands.

This may be most wise, as history has shown the Great Storms rise once every century or so, and it is unknown what the Aether will surrender, nor what it will take, next.

***