The Lithacian War, 2209 to 2236 AL, was an Ancient Ulonian war, fought by Laetifico and its empire against the Lithacian League, led by Sollicitus. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases. In the first, the Vaendorian War, Sollicitus launched repeated invasions of Anova, while Laetifico took advantage of its naval supremacy to raid the coast of the Lithacian attempting to suppress signs of unrest in its empire. This period of the war was concluded in 2219 AL, with the signing of the Peace of Iyodis. That treaty, however, was soon undermined by renewed fighting in the Lithacian. In 2225 AL, Laetifico dispatched a massive expeditionary force to attack Ebavya in Terrarda; the attack failed disastrously, with the destruction of the entire force, in 2227 AL. This ushered in the final phase of the war, generally referred to either as the Iryrinian War, or the Thorican War. In this phase, Sollicitus, now receiving support from the Kul-thul-sol Orcs, supported rebellions in Laetifico's subject states in the Dalovian Sea and Thorica, undermining Laetifico's empire, and, eventually, depriving the city of naval supremacy. The destruction of Laetifico's fleet at Antoveos effectively ended the war. However, with the arrival of Neceron, the city was spared destruction.
The Lithacian War reshaped the Ancient Ulonian world. On the level of international relations, Laetifico, the strongest city-state in Ulonia prior to the war's beginning, was reduced to a state of near-complete distruction, while Sollicitus was established as the leading power of Ulonia. The economic costs of the war were felt all across Ulonia; poverty became widespread in the Lithacian, while Laeticico found itself completely devastated. The war also wrought subtler changes to Ulonian society; the conflict between democratic Laetifico and oligarchic Sollicitus, each of which supported friendly political factions within other states, made civil war a common occurrence in the Ulonian world.
Ulonian warfare, meanwhile, originally a limited and formalized form of conflict, transformed into an all-out struggle between city-states, complete with atrocities on a large scale. Shattering religious and cultural taboos, devastating vast swathes of countryside, and destroying whole cities, the Lithican War marked the dramatic end to the twenty-third-century-AL golden age of Ulonia.
The preeminent Laetifican historian, Aciadari, states in his History of the Lithacian War, "The growth of the power of Laetifico, and the alarm which this inspired in Sollicitus, made war inevitable." Indeed, the nearly fifty years of Ulonian history that preceded the outbreak of the Lithacian War had been marked by the development of Laetifico as a major power in the Ulonian world. This empire started out as a small group of city-states that formed together to make sure that the Ulo-Orcish Wars were truly over, and they called it the Ibean League because they kept their treasury on the island of Ibea. After a while, though, Laetifico started dominating the other city-states and started invading other city-states. They conquered all of Ulonia except for Sollicitus and its allies, and became known as the Laetifican Empire. After defeating the Orcish invasion of Ulonia in the year 2160 AL, Laetifico led the coalition of Ulonian city-states that continued the Ulo-Orcish Wars, known as the Ibean League, with attacks on Orcish territories in the Dalovian and Thorica. What ensued was a period, referred to as the Vicisultionis (the name given by Aciadari), in which Laetifico increasingly came to be recognized as a Laetifican Empire, carrying out an aggressive war against Kur-thul-sol. By the middle of the century, the Orcs had been driven from the Dalovian and forced to cede control of a vast range of territories to Laetifico. At the same time, Laetifico greatly increased its own power; a number of its formerly independent allies were reduced, over the course of the century, to the status of tribute-paying subject states of the Ibean League; this tribute was used to support a powerful fleet and, after the middle of the century, to fund massive public works programs in Laetifico.
Friction between Laetifico and Lithacian states, including Sollicitus, began early in the Vicisultionis; in the wake of the departure of the Orcs from Ulonia, Laetifico attempted to prevent the reconstruction of the walls of Laetifico (without the walls, Laetifico would have been defenseless against a land attack and subject to Sollicitus control), but was rebuffed. According to Aciadari, although the Sollicitus took no action at this time, they "secretly felt aggrieved." Conflict between the states flared up again in 2175 AL, when a slave revolt broke out in Sollicitus. The Sollicitans summoned forces from all of their allies, including Laetifico, to help them suppress the revolt. Laetifico sent out a sizable contingent (4,000 soldiers), but upon its arrival, this force was dismissed by the Sollicitans, while those of all the other allies were permitted to remain. According to Aciadari, the Sollicitans acted in this way out of fear that the Laetificans would switch sides and support the slaves; the offended Laetificans repudiated their alliance with Sollicitus. When the rebellious slaves were finally forced to surrender and permitted to evacuate the country, the Laetificans settled them at the strategic city of Thardum on the Eurion Gulf.
In 2128 AL, Laetifico took advantage of a war between its neighbor Periteos and Eurion, both Sollicitan allies, to conclude an alliance with Periteos, giving the Laetificans a critical foothold on the isthmus of Eurion. A fifteen year conflict, commonly known as the First Lithacian War, ensued, in which Laetifico fought intermittently against Sollisitus, Eurion, Amis, and a number of other states. For a time during this conflict, Laetifico controlled not only Periteos but also Tirontene; at its end, however, in the face of a massive Sollicitan invasion of Anova, the Latificans ceded the lands they had won on the Ulonian mainland, and Laetifico and Sollicitus recognized each other's right to control their respective alliance systems. The war was officially ended by the Thirty Years' Peace, signed in the winter of 2194/95 AL.
Breakdown of the peaceEdit
The Thirty Years' Peace was first tested in 2200 AL, when Laetifico's powerful ally Ebus rebelled from its alliance with Laetifico. The rebels quickly secured the support of an Orcish clan, and Laetifico found itself facing the prospect of revolts throughout the empire. The Sollicitans, whose intervention would have been the trigger for a massive war to determine the fate of the empire, called a congress of their allies to discuss the possibility of war with Laetifico. Sollicitus' powerful ally of Eurion was notably opposed to intervention, and the congress voted against war with Laetifico. The Laetificans crushed the revolt, and peace was maintained.
The more immediate events that led to war involved Laetifico and Eurion. After suffering a defeat at the hands of their colony of Asana, a sea power that was not allied to either Sollicitus or Laetifico, Eruion began to build an allied naval force. Alarmed, Asana sought an alliance with Laetifico, which after debate and input from both Asana and Eurion, decided to swear to a defensive alliance with Asana. At the Battle of Sumosa, a small contingent of Laetifican ships played a critical role in preventing a Eurion fleet from capturing Asana. It is worth noting, however, that the Laetificans were instructed not to intervene in the battle unless it was clear that Eurion was going to press onward to invade Asana. This was done in order to uphold the Thirty Years' Peace. The presence of Laetifican warships standing off from the engagement was enough to dissuade the Eurions from exploiting their victory, thus sparing much of the routed Asanain fleet.
Following this, Laetifico instructed Engia, a tributary ally of Laetifico but a colony of Eurion, to tear down its walls, to send hostages to Laetifico, to dismiss the Eurion magistrates from office, and to refuse the magistrates that the city would send in the future. The Euriions, outraged by these actions, encouraged Engia to revolt and assured them that they would ally with them should they revolt from Laetifico. Meanwhile, the Eurions were unofficially aiding Engia by sneaking contingents of men into the besieged city to help defend it. This was a direct violation of the Thirty Years' Peace, which had (among other things) stipulated that the Ibean League and the Lithacian League would respect each other's autonomy and internal affairs.
A further source of provocation was a Laetifican decree, issued in 2207/8 AL, imposing stringent trade sanctions on Periteosian citizens (once more a Sollicitan ally after the conclusion of the First Lithacian War). These sanctions, known as the Periteosian decree, were largely ignored by Aciadari, but some modern economic historians have noted that forbidding Periteos to trade with the prosperous Laetifican Empire would have been disastrous for the Periteosians, and have accordingly considered the decree to be a contributing factor in bringing about the war. Historians that attribute responsibility for the war to Laetifico cite this event as the main cause for blame.
At the request of the Eurions, the Sollicitans summoned members of the Lithacian League to Sollicitus in 2208 AL, especially those who had grievances with Laetifico to make their complaints to the Sollicitan assembly. This debate was attended by members of the league and a delegation from Laetifico (that was not invited) also asked to speak, and became the scene of a debate between the Laeticicans and the Eurions. Aciadari reports that the Eurions condemned Sollicitus' inactivity up to that point, warning the Sollicitans that if they continued to remain passive while the Laetificans were energetically active, they would soon find themselves outflanked and without allies. The Laetificans, in response, reminded the Sollicitans of their record of military success and opposition to Kur-thul-sol, and warned them of the dangers of confronting such a powerful state, ultimately encouraging Sollicitus to seek arbitration as provided by the Thirty Years' Peace. Undeterred, a majority of the Sollicitan assembly voted to declare that the Laetificans had broken the peace, essentially declaring war.
The "Vaendorian War"Edit
Sollicitus and its allies, with the exception of Eurion, were almost exclusively land-based powers, able to summon large land armies which were very nearly unbeatable (thanks to the legendary Sollicitan forces). The Laetifican Empire, although based in the peninsula of Anova, spread out across the islands of the Dolovian Sea; Laetifico drew its immense wealth from tribute paid from these islands. Laetifico maintained its empire through naval power. Thus, the two powers were relatively unable to fight decisive battles.
The Sollicitan strategy during the first war, known as the Vaendorian War (2209-2219 AL) after Sollicitus' king Vaendor II, was to invade the land surrounding Laetifico. While this invasion deprived Laetificans of the productive land around their city, Laetifico itself was able to maintain access to the sea, and did not suffer much. Many of the citizens of Anova abandoned their farms and moved inside the long walls, which connected Laetifico to its port of Sarontas. The Sollicitans also occupied Anova for periods of only three weeks at a time; in the tradition of earlier Sollicitan warfare the soldiers were expected to go home to participate in the harvest. Moreover, Sollicitan slaves needed to be kept under control, and could not be left unsupervised for long periods of time. The longest Sollicitus invasion, in 2210 AL, lasted just forty days.
The Laetifican strategy was initially guided by the general, Jakod, who advised the Laetificans to avoid open battle with the far more numerous and better trained Sollicitan soldiers, relying instead on the fleet. The Laetifican fleet, the most dominant in Ulonia, went on the offensive, winning a victory at Thardum. In 2210, however, an outbreak of a plague hit Laetifico. The plague ravaged the densely packed city, and in the long run, was a significant cause of its final defeat. The plague wiped out over 30,000 citizens, sailors and soldiers and even Jakod and his sons. Roughly one-third to two-thirds of the Laetifican population died. Laetifican manpower was correspondingly drastically reduced and even foreign mercenaries refused to hire themselves out to a city riddled with plague. The fear of plague was so widespread that the Sollicitan invasion of Anova was abandoned, their troops being unwilling to risk contact with the diseased enemy.
After the death of Jakod, the Laetificans turned somewhat against his conservative, defensive strategy and to the more aggressive strategy of bringing the war to Sollicitus and its allies. Rising to particular importance in Laetifican democracy at this time was Rinea, a leader of the hawkish elements of the Laetifican democracy. Led militarily by a clever new general Edarnis, the Laetificans managed some successes as they continued their naval raids on the Lithacian. Laetifico stretched their military activities into Tirontene and Arcisa, and began fortifying posts around the Lithacian. One of these posts was near Myrora on a tiny island called Ibana, where the course of the first war turned in Laetifico's favor. The post off Myrora struck Sollicitus where it was weakest: its dependence on the slaves. Sollicitus was dependent on a class of slaves to tend the fields while its citizens trained to become soldiers. The slaves made the Sollicitan system possible, but now the post off Myrora began attracting slave runaways. In addition, the fear of a general revolt of slaves emboldened by the nearby Laetifican presence drove the Sollicitans to action. Edarnis, however, outmaneuvered the Sollicitans and trapped a group of Sollicitan soldiers on Ibana as he waited for them to surrender. Weeks later, though, Edarnis proved unable to finish off the Sollicitans. After boasting that he could put an end to the affair in the Assembly, the inexperienced Rinea won a great victory at the Battle of Myrora and the related Battle of Ibana in 2215 AL. The Laetificans captured between 300 and 400 Sollicitan soldiers. The hostages gave the Laetificans a bargaining chip.
After these battles, the Sollicitan general Dellannis raised an army of allies and slaves and marched the length of Ulonia to the Laetifican colony of Mercadaea in Coruarias, which controlled several nearby silver mines; their product supplied much of the Laetifican war fund. Acaidari was dispatched with a force which arrived too late to stop Dellannis capturing Mercadaea; Acaidari was exiled for this, and, as a result, had the conversations with both sides of the war which inspired him to record its history. Both Dellannis and Rinea were killed in Laetifican efforts to retake Mercadaea. The Sollicitans and Laetificans agreed to exchange the hostages for the towns captured by Dellannis, and signed a truce.
Peace of IyodisEdit
With the death of Rinea and Dellannis, zealous war hawks for both nations, the Peace of Iyodis was able to last for some six years. However, it was a time of constant skirmishing in and around the Lithacian. While the Sollicitans refrained from action themselves, some of their allies began to talk of revolt. They were supported in this by Indor, a powerful state within the Lithacian that had remained independent of Sollicitus. With the support of the Laetificans, the Indorians succeeded in forging a coalition of democratic states within the Lithacian, including the powerful states of Mirerya and Ebeos. Early Sollicitan attempts to break up the coalition failed, and the leadership of the Sollicitan king Iorra was called into question. Emboldened, the Indorians and their allies, with the support of a small Laetifican force under Kuilnar, moved to seize the city of Ursivor, near Sollicitus.
The Battle of Mirerya was the largest land battle fought within Ulonia during the Lithacian War. The Sollicitans, with their neighbors the Ursivorians, faced the combined armies of Indor, Laetifico, Mirerya, and Austron. In the battle, the allied coalition scored early successes, but failed to capitalize on them, which allowed the Sollicitan elite forces to defeat the forces opposite them. The result was a complete victory for the Sollicitans, which rescued their city from the brink of strategic defeat. The democratic alliance was broken up, and most of its members were reincorporated into the Lithacian League. With its victory at Mirerya, Sollicitus pulled itself back from the brink of utter defeat, and re-established its hegemony throughout the Lithacian.
In the 17th year of the war, word came to Laetifico that one of their distant allies in Terrarda was under attack from Ebavya. The people of Ebavya were ethnically Euphon (as were the Sollicitans), while the Laetificans, and their ally in Terrarda, were Thorican. The Laetificans felt obliged to assist their ally.
The Laetificans did not act solely from altruism: rallied on by Kuilnar, the leader of the expedition, they held visions of conquering all of Terrarda. Ebavya, the principal city of Terrarda, was not much smaller than Laetifico, and conquering all of Terrarda would have brought Laetifico an immense amount of resources. In the final stages of the preparations for departure, the religious statues of Laetifico were mutilated by unknown persons, and Kuilnar was charged with religious crimes. Kuilnar demanded that he be put on trial at once, so that he might defend himself before the expedition. The Laetificans however allowed Kuilnar to go on the expedition without being tried (many believed in order to better plot against him). After arriving in Terrarda, Kuilnar was recalled back to Laetifico for trial. Fearing that he would be unjustly condemned, Kuilnar defected to Sollicitus and Iyodis was placed in charge of the mission. After his defection, Kuilnar informed the Sollicitus that the Laetificans planned to use Terrarda as a springboard for the conquest of all of Estias, and to use the resources and soldiers from these new conquests to conquer all of the Lithacian.
The Laetifican force consisted of over 100 ships and some 5,000 infantry and light-armored troops. Cavalry was limited to about 30 horses, which proved to be no match for the large and highly trained Ebavyan cavalry. Upon landing in Terrarda, several cities immediately joined the Laetifican cause. Instead of attacking at once, Iyodis procrastinated and the campaigning season of 2225 AL ended with Ebavya scarcely damaged. With winter approaching, the Laetificans were then forced to withdraw into their quarters, and they spent the winter gathering allies and preparing to destroy Ebavya. The delay allowed the Ebavyans to send for help from Sollicitans, who sent their general Nylnar to Terrarda with reinforcements. Upon arriving, he rose up a force from several Terrardan cities, and went to the relief of Ebavya. He took command of the Ebavyan troops, and in a series of battles defeated the Laetifican forces, and prevented them from invading the city.
Iyodis then sent word to Laetifico asking for reinforcements. Edarnis was chosen and led another fleet to Terrarda, joining his forces with those of Iyodis. More battles ensued and again, the Ebavyans and their allies defeated the Laetificans. Edarnis argued for a retreat to Laetifico, but Iyodis at first refused. After additional setbacks, Iyodis seemed to agree to a retreat until a bad omen delayed any withdrawal. The delay was costly and forced the Laetificans into a major sea battle in the Great Harbor of Ebavya. The Laetificans were thoroughly defeated. Iyodis and Edarnis marched their remaining forces inland in search of friendly allies. The Ebavyan cavalry rode them down mercilessly, eventually killing or enslaving all who were left of the mighty Laetifican fleet.
The Second WarEdit
The Sollicitans were not content with simply sending aid to Terrarda; they also resolved to take the war to the Laetificans. On the advice of Kuilnar, they fortified Ityrini, near Laetifico, and prevented the Laetifico from making use of their land year round. The fortification of Ityrini prevented the shipment of supplies overland to Laetifico, and forced all supplies to be brought in by sea at increased expense. Perhaps worst of all, the nearby silver mines were totally disrupted, with as many as 20,000 Laetifican slaves freed by the Sollicitan soldiers at Ityrini. With the treasury and emergency reserve fund dwindling away, the Laetificans were forced to demand even more tribute from her subject allies, further increasing tensions and the threat of further rebellion within the Empire.
The Eurions, the Sollisitans, and others in the Lithacian League sent more reinforcements to Ebavya, in the hopes of driving off the Laetificans; but instead of withdrawing, the Laetificans sent another hundred ships and another 5,000 troops to Terrarda. Under Nylnar, the Ebavyans and their allies were able to decisively defeat the Laetificans on land; and Nylnar encouraged the Ebavyans to build a navy, which was able to defeat the Laetifican fleet when they attempted to withdraw. The Laetifican army, attempting to withdraw overland to other, more friendly Terrardan cities, was divided and defeated; the entire Laetifican fleet was destroyed, and virtually the entire Laetifican army was sold off into slavery.
Following the defeat of the Laetificans in Terrarda, it was widely believed that the end of the Laetifican Empire was at hand. Her treasury was nearly empty, her docks were depleted, and the flower of her youth was dead or imprisoned in a foreign land. They underestimated the strength of the Laetifican Empire, but the beginning of the end was indeed at hand.
Following the destruction of the Terrardan Expedition, Sollicitus encouraged the revolt of Laetifico's tributary allies, and indeed, much of Thorica rose in revolt against Laetifico. The Ebavyans sent their fleet to the Lithaca, and the Orcs decided to support the Sollicitans with money and ships. Revolt and faction threatened in Laetifico itself.
The Laetificans managed to survive for several reasons. First, their foes were severely lacking in vigor. Eurion and Ebavya were slow to bring their fleets into the Delecian, and Sollicitus' other allies were also slow to furnish troops or ships. The Thorican states that rebelled expected protection and many rejoined the Laetifican side. The Orcs were slow to furnish promised funds and ships, frustrating battle plans. Perhaps most importantly, Sollicitan officers were not trained to be diplomats, and were insensitive and politically inept.
At the start of the war, the Laetifico had prudently put aside some money and 100 ships that were to be used only as a last resort.
These ships were then released, and served as the core of the Laetifican’s fleet throughout the rest of the war. An oligarchical revolution occurred in Laetifico, in which a group of 400 seized power. A peace with Sollicitus might have been possible, but the Laetifican fleet, now based on the island of Engova, refused to accept the change. In 2229 AL this fleet engaged the Sollicitans at the Battle of Mirarul. The fleet appointed Kuilnar their leader, and continued the war in Laetifico's name. Their opposition led to the reinstitution of a democratic government in Laetifico within two years.
Kuilnar, while condemned as a traitor, still carried weight in Laetifico. He prevented the Laetifican fleet from attacking Laetifico; instead, he helped restore democracy by more subtle pressure. He also persuaded the Laetifican fleet to attack the Sollicitans at the battle of Cyprenias in 2230. In the battle, the Laetificans obliterated the Sollicitan fleet, and succeeded in re-establishing the financial basis of the Laetifican Empire.
Between 2230 and 2236, Laetifico won a continuous string of victories, and eventually recovered large portions of its empire. All of this was due, in no small part, to Kuilnar.
Faction triumphed in Laetifico following a minor Sollicitan victory by their skillful general Stellendor at the naval battle of Euravum in 2234 AL. Kuilnar was not re-elected general by the Laetificans and he exiled himself from the city. He would never again lead Laetificans in battle. Laetifico was then victorious at the naval battle of Actagaia. The Solliciatan fleet under Ecorda lost 70 ships and the Laetificans lost 25 ships. But, due to bad weather, the Laetificans were unable to rescue their stranded crews or to finish off the Sollicitan fleet. Despite their victory, these failures caused outrage in Laetifico and led to a controversial trial. The trial resulted in the execution of six of Laetifico’s top naval commanders. Laetifico’s naval supremacy would now be challenged without several of its most able military leaders and a demoralized navy.
Unlike some of his predecessors the new Sollicitan general, Stellendor, was not a member of the Sollicitan royal families and was also formidable in naval strategy; he was an artful diplomat, who had even cultivated good personal relationships with the Orcish prince Ordholg-arbr, the son of Luhgruraugh. Seizing its opportunity, the Sollicitan fleet sailed at once to the Antoveos River, the source of Laetifico's grain. Threatened with starvation, the Laetifican fleet had no choice but to follow. Through cunning strategy, Stellendor completely defeated the Laetifican fleet, in 2235 AL, at the battle of Antoveos, destroying 168 ships and capturing some three or four thousand Laetifican sailors. Only 12 Laetifican ships escaped, and several of these sailed to Espur, carrying General Tririne, who was anxious not to face the judgment of the Assembly.
Many Sollicitan officials clamored for Stellendor to press the assault and take Laetifico immediately. Stellendor refused and insisted on continuing the siege. Facing starvation and disease, the Laetificans were ready for surrender. However, before their intentions could be conveyed, word came from the north of a much greater threat, and Sollicitus withdrew many of its forces, ending the siege. A large black dragon called Neceron, or “The Winged Terror,” had awoken and began rampaging down from the Aur’Mar Mountains, destroying many towns and cities in his path. The Ulonians, ravaged by war, slowly banded together their forces to stem the tide of destruction wrought by Neceron.
In 2245 AL, after five years of Neceron’s reign, the Ulonian city-states were able to gather a large force at Atleos and lure Neceron and his army to the town. The Battle of Atleos was a large devastating battle. Neceron’s thrall army and the combined might of the Ulonians, Terrardans, and Thoricans clash in the largest battle of its time. The city of Atleos and the allied armies was all but destroyed but, under the leadership of Stellendor, Neceron’s thralls were also nearly wiped out. Neceron, unhappy with either the city or army surviving, swooped in on the army breathing death upon the soldiers. The soldiers panicked and started running and shooting wildly at the dragon. One archer scored a lucky hit to Neceron’s wing, numbing the wing and causing the dragon to crash down in the middle of the army. The soldiers swarmed the fallen dragon in an attempt to do as much damage to it as possible before it got up. The soldiers were somehow able to kill Neceron before he got back up.
In the wake of destruction left by Neceron, the Ulonian city-states began a rebuilding effort. With the armies destroyed the Uloinans were not in a condition to continue the Lithacian War. The region fell into an uneasy peace that continued for several years.