Formation of a Kingdom
The province of Ushan has declared independence from the Konnigsdien Empire following the assassination of the well respected Emperor Frederick IV in the year 1246 at the hands of an unknown foe. The death of the Emperor has facilitated the fragmentation of a once great power, an empire that at one stage spanned over a third of the known world. His most Imperial Majesty, Ludvic I, heir to Frederick IV is a weak man. A fickle youth, concerned more with pleasures of the flesh than governance of the provinces that owe him fealty, the new emperor is but a sheep in the cutthroat world that is Imperial court. His nonchalance has allowed infighting between the Empires nobility to reach a crescendo, with petty squabbles and personal vendettas between high ranking individuals devolving into fragmented skirmishes that have greatly weakened the nation. The outlying provinces became pawns in a new and violent game, bled dry both financially and literally to feed the whims of their erstwhile masters; the lords responsible more concerned with the capitals political intrigues than the harsh conditions their ill conceived diktats created.
Disgusted with the ensuing chaos and sensing both weakness and the disunity from the upper echelons of the empires ruling elite, many of the outlying provinces rose up in rebellion, casting off the yoke of imperial oppression.
The Province of Ushan and its ruling Lord, Eutharic Vanderbar were key players in this separatist movement. Eutharic galvanised both the jilted nobility of his province and the rulers of similarly tyrannised lands to declare independence. Buoyed by success and with the province behind him, Eutharic declared that Ushan was a province of the Empire no longer; henceforth it was to be known as ‘The Kingdom of Ushan’. He was crowned ‘King Eutharic the Bold’, a title that Ludvic I and his court refused to recognise.
Political and military conflict ensued, with neither side being able to gain the upper hand; The Empire’s military might was spread across many fronts, unable to bring its overwhelming numbers to bear against the Ushanian forces. Politically, Eutharic was able to broker alliances with the Dwarven Kingdoms in the nearby mountains and the Elvish Republic of Seaquarth across the sea. Trade between the allies flourished; wine and gold were exchanged for good Dwarven Steel, beer and war machines, whilst finely crafted elven arms, silk and steeds were traded for Ushanian grain and timber. This swiftly offset the losses that resulted from Imperial Trade Embargoes.
With the war going nowhere, greater threats massing on the horizon in the form of an Orc migration and the Imperial Treasury rapidly emptying, Ludvic I prized himself away from his hedonistic lifestyle long enough to sue for peace. A treaty recognising Eutharic the Bold as king and guaranteeing the Sovereignty of Ushan along with the restoration of trade was signed in exchange for a yearly ‘contribution’ to the Imperial treasury in 1250.
A Realm Divided
Although peace had been secured, little could be done to repair the shattered trust between the two nations. Years of tensions and suspicion (much of which was totally justified), came to a head in the year 1252, with the murder of the heirless King Eutharic the Bold. Although the perpetrator was never caught, many within Ushan placed the blame squarely at the door of Ludvic I, with relations between the two states plummeting to a new low. Even more disastrously, without the strong leadership of Eutharic, cracks started to show within the very framework of the Ushanian system. Where once there was unity, now there was nothing more than a desperate scramble for power. Old rivalries, once shelved in favour of the greater good, returned to the fore. Some lords even resorted to all out war against their neighbours in order to boost their claim to the now vacant throne.
Meanwhile across the mountains, the Imperial Court were not the only ones to view Ushan with envious eyes…. Other powers were stirring.