One of a series of lore articles concerning the world of Aradane – setting of the Legacy Trilogy. By no means vital for reading the books, these articles give further context for those who want to delve a little deeper.
Of Tressia and the Hadari Empire
Aradane has a long and complicated history – especially since the close of the Age of Kings, and the collapse of the ancient and honourable Kingdom of Tressia (which was, in fact, only one of these three things). Borders and principalities shifted at an alarming rate following Malatriant’s removal from power. Neighbouring realms gobbled up all manner of Tressian holdings – and continue to do so to this today.
The Hadari Empire was the greatest beneficiary of Malatriant’s fall. Hadar Saran’s heirs swiftly conquered or forged alliances with dozens of self-titled petty kings, driving the Empire’s borders north and west with alarming speed. This rapid expansion effectively split the foundering Kingdom of Tressia in two, and its most easterly holdings were soon abandoned, or else swallowed up by the Ithna’jîm of Itharoc, against whom Malatriant had been pursing a war of expansion until her death.
At roughly the same time, the first drakonships beached on the shores of the Western Ocean. Through diligent application of axe and coin, these outcast nobles overran Tressia’s southern holdings in a matter of decades. Clashes between what would become known as the Thrakkian Thanedoms and the nascent Hadari Empire were far from uncommon, but with the difficult passage of the Greyridge Mountains preventing sustained campaign, both nations swiftly settled on leaving one another well alone in favour of concentrating on driving the Tressian Republic steadily further north.
But even in its decline, Tressia was not without expansion of its own, though this perforce was pursued overseas. Few such colonies took lasting root, for the vast tracts of the Western Ocean meant that any new settlements were isolated and unhappy places, and if any endure to this day, they take pains to remain hidden from the sight of the Tressian Council.
Such is the tale of this corner of Aradane. Simple enough, perhaps, and I daresay unremarkable in the grand scheme. Nations rise and fall according to hubris and strength. As the Kingdom of Tressia fell, so too will the Hadari Empire in centuries to come. But discussion of Aradane’s borders and principalities becomes somewhat complicated due to the intermittent closeness of neighbouring worlds, divine or otherwise.
Realms of Legend
Chief of these, of course, is Otherworld itself – the land of mists and the dead. Otherworld is a constant intruder across all kingdoms, drawing nigh to sites of great death and tragedy, or else in locations where the gods lingered too long in the ephemeral world.
Time flows strangely in these mist-shrouded sites. Few enter them willingly, not only because damned souls lurk with the mists. Linger too long and you risk joining their number, or else become so lost that you might never find your way out again. At least, so folklore claims. Personally, I suspect the matter exaggerated. Untutored minds are inclined to believe all manner of things.
Otherworld aside, the forest of Fellhallow is the other chief interloper from distant shores. Again, imagination runs riot about this place, with folktales claiming that the forest is far vaster within than is shown on any map, and that its paths lead to all manner of strange and peculiar places. Such claims are difficult to prove, as few who venture beneath the eaves live to make sane report of what they’ve seen.
LEGACY OF ASH (available now)
A shadow has fallen over the Tressian Republic.
Ruling families plot against one another with sharp words and sharper knives, heedless of the threat posed by the invading armies of the Hadari Empire.
The Republic faces its darkest hour. Yet as Tressia falls, heroes rise.
‘A hugely entertaining debut’ John Gwynne
LEGACY OF STEEL (pre-order)
A year has passed since an unlikely alliance saved the Tressian Republic from fire and darkness – at great cost. Thousands perished, and Viktor Akadra – the Republic’s champion – has disappeared.
While the ruling council struggles to mend old wounds, other factions sense opportunity. The insidious Parliament of Crows schemes in the shadows, while to the east the Hadari Emperor gathers his armies. As turmoil spreads across the Republic, its ripples are felt in the realms of the divine.
War is coming… and this time the gods themselves will take sides