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Yet further along the OCD trail

When last we met, we'd gotten about halfway through the overview of the Hawkfire dynasty. I actually have the detailed information for most of the eras in the last post currently in my notebook, but I'm a little bit exhausted of it, and also, the part I didn't get is the first part. Let this be a lesson to me: when going on a three-day trip with no internet access and the intention to further detail-work on something that only exists in written form on my livejournal, copy the relevant dates down first.

So instead, we shall finish up the Hawkfires here, hit modern world geography next, and then see just how long that's taken. Rest assured, the lineage of City-kings and the years of the first exile will show up here sooner or later. I didn't spend three days writing that all out for myself. (I know, I know, you're so thrilled.)

And, wait a second, yes I did.

*Sigh* Let's just move on to the meat of the story, shall we?

The pet mages

So, part of Zhesske III's (212-296) treaty with the Letasaciens in the early 290's was that she (already well over a hundred) would retire as Hawkfire matriarch, and her very young great-grand-niece and heir Dyala (296-309) would work as a sorcerer for the Letasacien imperial army. There was some hesitancy over this--the years of the first exile, or the Disposession, were really all about a self-imposed exile from power over other people, just in memory of it all having gone so terribly, terribly wrong last time. Being not-in-charge was a new thing for a Hawkfire, though, and they'd historically been damn good in terms of battle, so with some hesitancy, they agreed.

Dyala got herself killed not fifteen years on, which isn't too terrible for a Hawkfire on average, but was several decades younger and far more violently than a Hawkfire had died since Mahlla II. It more or less set the tone for the next 200 years or so. Land was won, and lost. The Hawkfire was granted a title of nobility, something more or less equivalent to 'Baron'/'Baroness', and a small fief near the eastern, and most importantly expanding, frontier of the empire, a ways south of where the City had been. They did fairly well for themselves, in general, won significant lands for the empire, but they weren't entirely trusted--they'd been outlanders not too long before--and besides which, they tended to die off too young to properly train their heirs, who then died too young, etc, leaving them little time to fight for a stronger place in the feodal hierarchy.

Rethe Hawkfire (593-631) was the longest-reigning and in fact the longest-living Hawkfire in several generations. In 581, under Sia I or Sia the Red (566-582), tension and war with a whole lot of neighboring petty kingdoms erupted in an explosive fashion when they all joined up into one big conglomerate, called Koret. She was badly injured in an early battle and promptly had the brilliant idea to retire now, letting Zhesske VII, Zhesske the Defender (582-593) do a whole lot of forting up and not much else, and take the intervening years to teach Rethe every last thing she knew. By the time he took power, Rethe was supremely competent. In the space of about twenty years, he pulled Imperial troops together to beat Koret soundly out of existence, adding another third of the size of the empire, and establishing himself firmly in control of the territory. He probably could have seceeded and called himself King of it just then, although the suggestion's been made by significantly more historians than it was contemporaries.

Instead, he was given a large portion of the territory he'd just conquered as the Hawkfire's personal territory, renamed Ketthel (which vaguely translates into 'Stronghold of fire', though the 'ke-' element is less fire-in-general and more 'burningness,' in the violent, destructive sense...'Zhesske' means swiftly-moving fire, sort of). Also, he was promoted to Duke, which is several leaps above Baron; his heir was subsequently given the title of Grand Duchess, so he's the only duke the Hawkfires have ever had; 'the Duke' is his only epithet.

The Grand Duchy of Ketthel

After Rethe, the Hawkfires really came into their own as nobility in Letasacia. They pushed the eastern front of the empire forward almost halfway across the continent, and what's significantly more important, civilized everything they came to own. Where the northern and southern imperial territories were very much outer territories, Ketthel up almost to its border was quickly assimilated and modernized into Letasacia proper; so while it wasn't necessarily such a significant percentage of overal land mass, it was a considerable portion of the civilized part of the country.

As a result, the Grand Dukes and Duchesses Hawkfire ended up as the most powerful nobles in the country, save the king/queen. They had significantly more authority than anyone else. More distanced Hawkfires ran Ketthel almost completely autonomously from the rest of the countries; those closer to the current monarch also frequently got to make decisions concerning other the provinces, too. There have been points over history where the Hawkfire very nearly ran Letasacia in all but name, if the monarch was in some way incapacitated. Tireen IV (927-981), Tireen the Majestic, was officially named regent for ten years that the royal family spent arguing too much about inheritence to actually rule.

It was during this period that the capitol of Ketthel, and the base of the Hawkfires when not in Merett, moved to the keep at Aerie, a rather bizzare mountaintop stronghold, where it remains to this day. Aerie, by the way, will be getting its own OCD post. It's freaky.

The last real Hawkfire Duchess was Alire III (1502-1533), known as Alire the Foolish for reasons that have less to do with any lack of wisdom and more to do with blaming her for history. Isabella (also subject of her own OCD post; 1533-2254, though she wasn't a Hawkfire) won her way into Aerie through trickery, killed Alire, and sealed up the borders of the innermost district in the Ketthel province, Aerie and some small distance around it (about the size of a much-squashed New Jersey). Zhesske XVI (1533), Zhesske the Unfortunate, was Hawkfire in Ketthel for two and a half months after Alire's death as the rest of her family was systematically slaughtered before, pregnant, she fled as far away as she possibly could, thereby leaving Isabella in charge of Aerie and the territory of Inner Ketthel proper.

The Second Exile

As far away as Zhesske XVI could get ended up...well, not to put too fine a point on it, colonial New Orange in 1673. She had enough sense not to make an issue of the fact that she was from a completely different culture than the other people around her; a mishearing turned her name into 'Jessica', and she went with it. She taught her daughter a limited amount about Ketthel, Hawkfire, and magic in general, because it was very obvious very quickly that while the locals might be willing to put up with those Jews, they'd probably draw the line at ritualistic sun-worship. And she'd heard stories, down Massachusetts Bay Colony way...

Within a few decades, the Hawkfires were well-integrated, cosmopolitan Americans, even if they were just a couple of generations removed from penniless Grandma Jessie, come over to this country for a new life without a shilling to her name. A few of them fought in the Revolutinary War, and their platoons always did very well. Headed west as soon as the west was head-able, although sticking mainly to blooming urban centers as opposed to real rurality. Homesteaded in Kansas in the 1870's, then certain younger members of the family struck out yet further west. Spent some time in California and thereabouts. Suffered in both the Civil War and the Great Depression, but much less than most; lost far more children during WWI and WWII. After WWII, Jessica Kinney married Lieutenant Thomas Reed, who brought her back to his home in Chicago. Their son moved out to the suburbs with his wife and their one daughter, also named Jessica, because hell, it's a family name, even if it was the eighties and every third baby girl was getting named that.

Then, of course, there was drama, prophecy, magic, and Zhesske XVII, or Zhesske the Savior (who still Romanizes her name the way it's spelled on her birth certificate, no matter what Max says about Sacien closed vowels and intonation. It's not like anybody here could read the letters anyway). But that, of course, is the whole point of this exercise in the first place.

So, that's the overview, and now I'm going to bed before the whole not-having-eaten-since-what-was-granted-a-disgustingly-huge-lunch thing becomes too much of an issue. And before I put too much thought into having to build a coherent family tree that spans all nine hundred years of Ketasacia, because, ouch. At least the naming will be easy; just throw in another Zhesske every century or so. They're like Louises, only less decapitation.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 22nd, 2006 06:05 pm (UTC)
Louises have more decapitations than Zhesskes? *grin*
Oct. 22nd, 2006 06:31 pm (UTC)
Well, you've got your Louis XVI, with the whole French Revolution thing, and I'm pretty sure all the other Louises along the way tended to do the decapitation-ordering, even if it never happened the other way around. Not that Zhesskes haven't done their share of decapitating, but as a whole I suspect the line was more of a hands-on sort, instead of all 'Off with their heads!' monarchial. That was more the Azhonites, and they only really had Zhesske I.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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