At a Glance
Siege Amaranth sits nestled between the Kingslayer’s Dagger and the Mountains of Mist. Built atop three distinctive mountain peaks, known as the Guardians of the Lost, the citadel can be seen for miles from the surrounding Valomere valley. River Valomere breaks through the narrows between the two mountain chains and meanders through the valley situated right between them.
Size & Location
Small: The Siege’s territory does not extend beyond Valomere valley.
Medium: All trade coming through the valley (and it is the best access point to both Aquitaine and Tynar-Dazûr) has to pay tax, along the banks of Valomere river also grow several rare herbs and plants, which are made into medicines and traded by the Siege.
High: While their surrounding nations may have their unrest now and then, the Siege endures in great stability.
Danger to Travelers
Low: Travel is permitted through Valomere valley; there is a road, traders and travelers may follow, along with Inns where they can rest. Usually, travelers are advised to stick to the road, either to cross the valley or approach the Siege if they have business there.
Form of Government
Siege: Ruled by the dragon Empress Birrinth
Morrighan: Lord-Paladin Jariel of the Morrighan
Citadel Amaranth: Since there is not a court at Siege Amaranth, the Gwerin Lord and Lady of the Hearth reside within the citadel. Accommodations have been made for non-Morrighan Gwerin within the siege’s citadel so that they do not violate Aquitaine’s laws.
Freedom and Oppression
Outside the Siege itself, there are several settlements and a small town inside the Valley. The Town at Valomere Rapids is named Hammerfall. People living the vale are friendly, ready to help strangers but firm to send them back to the road and ask them to just stay there.
The dominant species within the siege are the dragons. However, there is a far smaller complement of dragons and their wingbonded Morrighan at Amaranth than at most other sieges.
There is a small number of Gwerin dwelling within Amaranth’s citadel.
The main populace of the valley and the siege are Murians (Aereth’s indigenous humans), and they are predominantly from Aquitaine. Ever since the Compact of Skyreach, forming a tentative alliance between the Siege and newly founded Aquitaine, the Kingdom of Aquitaine sends all their people sensitive to the dragonsongs and dragonspeech, to Siege Amaranth.
The number of people they send is unusually high for any other Murian population because the Aquitainians are highly gifted in the spiritual realm. It is also because they are the only nation with such thorough and rigorous testing of all children and young adults. Therefore the Siege had plenty of candidates, and by far, not all of them ever got imprinted. Many of those not imprinted settled the valley, expanded the citadel, and form the basic population of Valomere valley. Except for those freshly send from Aquitaine, they will not refer to themselves as Aquitainian but Valomerian, or sometimes Vasimar, their loyalties firmly entrenched with their Siege and their dragon Empress, which many of them call affectionately “Empress Beryll.”
Through trade with Tynar Darzûr, several Dwarves, and even more often, children of dwarrow-human relationships settled along the road. They most provide service to trading caravans, repair wagons, and conduct new trade contacts whenever the valley needs them. Their number is small and stands out only because they are mainly found along the road.
Valomere Military Focus
Mountain Infantry: As the cavalry is entirely useless in the mountainous terrain, Valomere has a strong focus on mobile infantry forces, able to traverse the rough grounds and use them to their advantage. Defense of entrances to their valley rests strongly on hidden outposts in the rocks, armed with ballistas and spear throwers and other war machinery to make a passage through the vale below impossible.
The dragon, Kheshanar, is captured by Xians and held captive on the plains of Blood in Xia. The Xians wanted more than his eyes, they also wanted his living blood for alchemistic purposes. They held him alive by using spell-chains and large doses of merasha, which kept Kheshanar from being able to focus and free himself. Among the slaves of the Xian camp was one named Jehán, who had been captured during the fall of Cal’dyra several years prior. While the Xians had used a form of breaking on him, he had managed to keep from them that he had not entirely lost his talents. Realizing what the Xians had in mind for the dragon (and having his own experiences with the degradations they put their slaves through), Jehán set his mind to freeing Keshanar. As the Xians believed Jehán properly broken, they paid him little mind. One evening Jehán put a strong dose of poppy syrup in the drinks of the guards. During the night, he used his carefully hidden talents to break the spell-chains holding Keshanar. Jehán had expected to die that night and was ready for that. Instead, he found himself grabbed by Keshanar and carried out of the camp as well.
Spring 1108 Eirares
Both escapees made it away from Xia and across the sea to Eirares, but Keshanar was wounded and, in the end, was so exhausted he landed on the edge of Eirares. He collapsed in a small valley high up in the mountains. Jehán, still somewhat in shock, but physically in better shape, landed with him. Seeing the dragon in such a bad state, Jehán did what he could to keep him alive. He searched for and found plants to take care of the wounds and food for Keshanar. Ultimately it became clear that Keshanar needed time to heal before they could even think of journeying any further. During the weeks and months they spent in Eirares, it became clear that Jehán could hear Keshanar’s song and mindspeech with remarkable clarity.
Keshanar returned with Jehán in tow to Siege Amaranth. Jehán agreed to undergo Morrighan training, believing that his people were entirely wiped out in the Fall of Cald’yra. Being the only Sassanach among Gwerin did not make things easier, but Jehán had grown up and lived in the mixed pot of society that Cal’dyra had been and learned to adjust, though he certainly collided with them several times due to their arrogance. Jehán was unusually old for a candidate (a point made several times by the Gwerin), he was already 48, having been captured by the Xians at the age of 41.
Jehán is imprinted by Keshanár.
Rumors of strangers roaming the eastern mountains (the range known as the Kingslayer’s Dagger) reach the Siege. Keshanár is sent by the Lord-Paladin to investigate, as many such rumors usually proved to be nonsense or some dwarrow on the move from here to there, digging their holes. The Lord-Paladin wished for more information before actually committing a flight to handle a problem.
Indeed Keshanár and Jehán spotted camps of peoples south of the mountains in the plains and scouts ranging into the mountains, obviously searching for something. While watching them, they became witnesses to one of those scouts, slaying a dark creature. In this fighter, Jehán recognized his former comrade-in-arms Ascaran.
Approaching Ascaran, their meeting was one of joy and utter shock. Shock for Jehán to learn how his people had been betrayed and of their harrowing journey across Eirares to Vendia in search of a new home. Shock for Ascaran to not just realized what Jehán had gone through in Xian hands but also finding him again, as a Morrighan. The next shock came the next day when Kesharan found a small boy, lost from one of the camps, in the mountains, and that boy, much like Jehan, heard the dragonsong with remarkable clarity.
Ascaran was not happy, and ready to have the boy killed on the spot, only the respect for his former commander, Jehán, stayed his hand. It took some long talks to convince him that all children with the same gift, if no longer welcome among the faithful, should be sent to Siege Amaranth.
That first tentative agreement led to what is known as the Compact of Skyreach, an agreement between the Siege and the survivors of Cal’dyra. The survivors would be permitted to settle in the mountains, as long as they never strayed into Valomere vale. The Siege would assist them against the dark things when necessary. In turn, the survivors would send all their children or adults sensitive to the dragonsong to the Siege.
Had Jehán’s training been a rather solitary affair, within a decade, the Siege was teeming with candidates.
With Ascaran becoming the new High Lord Commander of the re-founded Templar Order, Jehán decided to pass on Dawnbreaker to him. Ascaran and his successor both wield Dawnbreaker, then the traces of the Potentium vanish, and the legend of Dawnbreaker actually being a physical sword takes form a few decades after.
King Dargain, the Second of his Name of Tynar-Darzûr, negotiates a treaty with Aquitaine and by proxy with Amaranth. In that treaty, some basic rules for trade are set out, along with the fact that the dwarrow will take in all magical children from Aquitaine, not sensitive to the dragonsong. He also agrees to provide small spear throwers, catapults, and other weaponry to the Siege, in exchange for trade rights.
King Dargain brings Amaranth and Aquitaine into the negotiations for the Conclave of Nations.
Jehán becomes Lord-Paladin of Siege Amaranth. Having already realized how much his people in Aquitaine have sanctified him (and somewhat shocked at the changes their faith and skills underwent), he also changes his name to Jariel.