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This is Part VIII of the General History of Laurasia, covering the wars, political upheavals, further barbarian invasions, social turbulences, dynastic troubles, and other issues in the Caladarian Galaxy throughout the first half of the thirteenth century. This is a continuation of the General History of Laurasia, Part VI.

History of Laurasia, Part VIIIEdit

The Third Laurasian Period (1080-1282) cont.Edit

Barbarian Invasions and Collapse of the Dasian Khanates (1080-1253) cont.Edit

The New Century; Continuation of the First Polonian-Briannian War; The Advantage Swings Back and Forth; The Troubles of King Eurymaschus; The Emergence of the Pretender False Demetrius I; Demetrius garners support in the Polonian Dominions; The Pretender's Invasion of the Laurasian Territories and the Commencement of the Time of Troubles; His Progress; The Illness and Sudden Death of Eurymaschus Gadavaranius; The Ascension of his son Theodosius II to the Laurasian throne; Demetrius's Success (1201-1205)Edit

On 1 January 1201, massive celebrations and festivities were held throughout the Caladarian Galaxy in order to mark the commencement of the thirteenth century. On Laurasia Prime, the Laurasian Times reported that "the entire star system is griped in the atmosphere of jolly, of happiness, and of exaltation, for many are pleased that they are living in order to see the commencement of another century of the Hyperspace Era, and another century of the Age of Almitis". King Eurymaschus, who had consolidated further his new-won position on the Laurasian throne, declared, in his New Year's proclamation to the Laurasian subjects, that the commencement of the thirteenth century saw the dominions of the Stellar Kingdom of Laurasia "at peace and residing in a spirit of domestic tranquility", that the final defeat and death of Vladios had vindicated his reign and that of Theodosius the Tame, and that Laurasia was on the process of fully recovering from the humiliations and losses of the Ivorian War. He noted that the two hundredth year of the death of Timur the Devastator was approaching, and that in the intervening time, the power of the Dasian Khanates in the Caladarian Galaxy had "collapsed completely". The King made much of the fact that Laurasia had fought and won a succession of victories over the Venasian, Kazanian, and Crimeanian Khanates, "all of whom are now extinct". He ignored the fact that it was ultimately other states (the Solidaritan Sultanate, the Neo-Venasian Consortium, and the Kingdom of Melorkia) which had subdued and conquered those states. Nevertheless, Gadavaranius sought to muster the patriotic feelings of the people. The King presided over a series of festivities at the Laurasian Royal Court in order to mark the commencement of the thirteenth century, while the Pope Job held a service of benedictions at the Westphalian Cathedral. In the papal bull In saeculo ineunte novo, issued during the early hours of 1 January 1201, the Pope declared that "Almitis hath blessed this kingdom" and affirmed that the thirteenth century was to be "a prosperous and successful century for the Laurasian State". In this, he was to prove, in the eyes of many Laurasians, to be mistaken. At the other courts within the Core Regions, the commencement of the thirteenth century was greeted with varying perspectives. In the Solidaritan Sultanate, there was still the process of recovery from the destructive civil wars which had followed the death of Malik-Shah in 1192. Consequently, there were many whose spirits were more subdued. Nevertheless, Chosroes and the Solidaritan Court engaged in a series of festivities and ceremonies, while the Sultan declared that the new century would bring "viable aspects" for the success of the Sultanate. Char'lac, the King-Elect of Briannia, was absent from Briannia, being established at his command headquarters on Steneborg, and was focused on the advance of the Briannian forces into Polonian territory. He nevertheless welcomed the commencement of the thirteenth century and issued a proclamation declaring that Sigis'ac would soon be forced to "acknowledge the proper balance of affairs". The Queen Mother Christiana, who so far had remained at peace with her neighbors, but was nevertheless ambitious and planning to extend the power of the Neo-Venasian Consortium, affirmed in her proclamation that the purpose of her reign was to "glorify the Venasian species, in the eyes of our Ancestors and the eyes of our neighbors" and that she would soon commence more active involvement in the "affairs of the Galaxy". Sigis'ac, on his part, declared that the commencement of the new century saw the Polonian-Donguarian Commonwealth placed in a new predicament and that his goal, during the first year of the new century, was to "destroy the usurper Char'lac" and regain control over his hereditary dominions. The responses of the monarchs of the Outer Galactic Regions to the commencement of the thirteenth century will be explored in the following section. In the meantime, attention must be turned to the occurrences of the First Polonian-Briannian War. As stated on the last page, Avaskar, the last remaining stronghold which had been conquered by Polonian forces in 1200, had been overrun by Governor Gustenholm and his father, King-Elect Char'lac, on the last day of the now closed century.

As the year 1201, and as the thirteenth century, commenced, a state of war had descended in the Core Regions. On 3 January, Char'lac arrived at Avaskar and in a speech to his troops, declared that he would soon have Sigis'ac "bowing to him in submission" and bragging that the Polonian forces would not be able to stop his advance. He then ordered his troops to launch a series of offensives against the Polonian strongholds in the Horacian Provinces. The Briannian forces besieged and conquered Bartello (4-9 January 1201); destroyed a Polonian patrol fleet at Screenia (12 January); and penetrated to the outskirts of Momma (14-19 January), before overrunning Cinnamon (22 January). By 26 January, Briannian units had isolated the Polonian garrisons on John, Donald, and Levinston, while the Briannian Lord Protector was preparing another offensive against Momma. On 3 February, however, Sigis'ac appointed the Donguarian Magnate of Cossack, Jan Choldkiewiz, to be the Subordinate Commander of the Polonian Forces now assembled against the invading Briannian units and ordered him to apply all of his efforts in repelling Char'lac. The Magnate cooperated with General Radzwill, who remained the Supreme Commander of the Polonian Forces, and had prepared a series of counteroffensives. On 11 February, Governor Gustenholm launched a offensive against Kingpin and Louza. He destroyed a Polonian outpost on Kasta (12-19 February 1201) and isolated a Polonian communications relay at Cageo (22 February). On 26 February, the Briannian force appeared in the outskirts of Louza. General Choldkiewiz, however, had established his headquarters on Ergeme, and on 1 March, he advanced against Cinnamon, Lithan, and Valta. By 7 March, he had reconquered those strongholds, thus weakening the supply lines of the Briannian forces. Governor Gustenholm was forced to terminate his siege of Louza, although on 19 March, he sent a task force which sacked Theresa and destroyed the Polonian command center there. By the middle of April 1201, however, the Polonian forces were regaining the advantage. During that month, Briannian offensives against Dusaberg, Zennethia, Zutagia, Ergeme, and Donald ended in failure, while on 24 April, Radzwill destroyed a Briannian patrol force near Alton. Then on 4 May, Screenia was reconquered by Magnate-General Choldkiewiz, who then pushed towards Momma and Bartello. On 15 May, Gustenholm, who was now coming under pressure by his father, decided to break out from Bartello and move rapidly towards Redderson, Montel, and Alton. On 24 May, he destroyed a Polonian fleet in the Battle of Kazin, and four days later, destroyed a Polonian garrison at Sylvie. Six days later, the Polonian base on Sidney was captured and destroyed. Alton itself was besieged from 7 June, falling to Briannian units three days later. By 17 June, Briannian units were harrying the outskirts of Redderson and Montel, while raiding expeditions penetrated as far as Galician Doris, Anthony, Frogglesworth, and Watson. Radzwill, however, now took advantage of the overextension of the Briannian units, and on 24 June, chased Briannian units from Momma. Four days later, he destroyed the Polonian force which blockaded Levinston.

By 2 July, he and Magnate Choldkiewiz had also ended Briannian raiding expeditions against the above-mentioned strongholds, and were breaking the supply lines to the forces near Redderson and Montel. On 7 July, Gustenholm launched a task force into Redderson, aiming to subdue the stronghold. That force, however, was soon intercepted and defeated by a corps lead by Radzwill, and by 11 July, Alton had been reconquered. By 17 July, Gustenholm and his forces were retreating back towards Bartello. On their way, however, they were shadowed by Polonian scout units. On 22 July 1201, Choldkiewiz and Radzwill, having unified their fleets into one cohesive force, launched a surprise attack upon the Governor and his units at Kokenhausen, a minor Polonian colony-world about five hundred light-years west of Bartello. The two Polonian Generals utilized their superior corvette units and the mobility of their destroyers to destroy the Briannian left flank and split the Briannian right wing in half, obtaining a decisive victory. Gustenholm himself barely evaded capture, but most of his escort starfighters and dreadnoughts were destroyed or captured by the Polonian fleet. The Governor of Schaueria Prime retreated to Bartello, but on 27 July, was commanded by his father to retreat back to the Briannian dominions. Gustenholm and his remaining forces then abandoned Bartello on 1 August. The stronghold was reoccupied by Magnate-General Choldkiewiz two days later. Sigis'ac, who was pleased by these victories, sent a note of congratulations to the victorious General and commanded his subjects to celebrate the Polonian efforts until the end of the year. On 11 August, he issued a proclamation from Polonia Major, declaring that the Hereditary Dominions would soon be in his renewed possession, and that nothing was left for Char'lac but to surrender. He now commanded General Choldkiewiz to launch a renewed invasion of the Duchy of Schaueria Prime. Choldkiewiz was wary of this, but nevertheless obeyed his master's commands. On 17 August, the Polonian forces once again invaded the Duchy of Schaueria Prime. The Magnate-General defeated a Briannian fleet in the Battle of Wolmar (18-19 August 1201) and destroyed a repository on Fellin (22 August), before isolating Avaskar. Avaskar fell on 26 August. Two days later, Gustenholm launched a counteroffensive from Alvurg, Shiloh, Calpurnia, and Schaueria Prime. He pushed to the outskirts of Avaskar, destroyed a Polonian force at Valimera (1-4 September 1201), and harried Polonian positions near Horacia (5-9 September). Choldkiewiz, however, ultimately repelled the Briannian counteroffensive. Kalmar was besieged by the Magnate-General from 12 September, falling to him six days later. By the end of September 1201, Polonian units were penetrating to Gullborg, Gitlandia, Shiloh, Linopking, and Steneborg. It seemed as if Sigis'ac would be successful in reclaiming the Briannian throne. On 9 October, however, the Polonian Parliament commanded General Choldkiewiz to terminate further offensives into Briannian territory for the remainder of the year, as it was determined to reorganize the military financial system and also to seek out the possibility of a peace agreement with Char'lac. Sigis'ac could not override the Parliament's orders, and he was forced to confirm them in a decree on 17 October.

The halt of the Polonian offensives allowed Governor Gustenholm, once again in supreme command of the Briannian Forces in the Duchy of Schaueria Prime, to strengthen the garrisons of the chief Schauerian worlds and to prepare for renewed counteroffensives against the Polonians. In the meantime, the focus of attention shifted to the Laurasian dominions. By November 1201, Eurymaschus I had further consolidated his position within the Core Regions, and many at the Polonian Court now began to believe that, considering the war begun with Briannia, Laurasia would serve as a reliable ally. There was a faction, led by the Vice-Chancellor of the Donguarian Dominions, Lew Sapieha, and the Donguarian Princes Elisaz Pielorwski and Stanislaw Warszycki, which even believed that a personal union between the Polonian-Donguarian Commonwealth and the Stellar Kingdom of Laurasia would be beneficial for the interests of both states. Chancellor Sapieha believed that the King of Laurasia was one who could govern the Polonian Dominions "in good stead" and that his policies in the Laurasian Dominions demonstrated that he was possessed of traits of leniency and moderation. At a session of the Polonian Council of Ministers, on 12 October 1201, the Vice-Chancellor of Donguaria first proposed the idea of a embassy to the Laurasian Court for the purposes of negotiation over such a potential alliance between the two realms. King Sigis'ac was alarmed and surprised by the Vice-Chancellor's proposals, and refused to lend his support to them. He ordered the Vice-Chancellor not to pursue his ideas of personal union "any further". The Vice-Chancellor, however, who never fully trusted the King (for he was Briannian), decided to pose his proposals directly to the Polonian Parliament, as were within his rights under the Treaty of Pressburg. He introduced a motion on 22 October for such a embassy at the Magisterial Court. Many of the magnates did not support a personal union with the Laurasians, declaring that the Laurasian Royal Government would not respect the rights of the Commonwealth. There were many, however, who did favor a economic and military alliance with Laurasia, particularly because of the hostilities now ongoing with Briannia. On 4 November 1201, the Magisterial Court passed a motion in support of this, which was approved by the Royal Senate two days later. Vice-Chancellor Sapieha was not pleased that his proposals had been downscaled, but nevertheless was still willing to abide by the Parliament's decision. Sigis'ac vetoed the motion, but his veto was overridden by the Parliament on 9 November. On 12 November, Vice-Chancellor Sapieha, Prince Pierwski, and Prince Warszycki were authorized by the Parliament to lead the embassy to Laurasia Prime themselves. After several days of preparation, the embassy departed from Polonia Major on 19 November. By 23 November, they had reached Laurasia Prime, and were greeted by King Eurymaschus with the Laurasian Court. The King and his wife, the Queen Consort Maria Gadavarania, then held a series of festivities for the Vice-Chancellor and his embassy over the following days; it was, in part, a continuation of the New Century festivities which Gadavaranius had ordered to be extended at intervals throughout the year. After several days of this, negotiations commenced at the Diplomatic Palace on 10 December. The Vice-Chancellor attempted to persuade King Eurymaschus of the advantages of a military alliance, and declared that the Polonian Commonwealth was willing to turn a blind eye to future Laurasian ambitions in the Wild Marshes or in the Solidaritan Sultanate. The King, however, still remembered the humiliations of Honorius the Terrible's reign, and knew that the Laurasian people were not willing to commit themselves to an alliance with the Polonians who had defeated them. Consequently, he rejected the Polonian proposals, declaring that they were contrary to "the will of his subjects". He nevertheless declared that he personally bore no grudge against the Polonian Government, and that he was willing to establish new economic arrangements. The King also indicated his willingness to reconfirm the provisions of the Treaty of Jam-Zaploski, as regards to the Ivorian Order and territorial matters between the two realms. Sapieha, realizing that this was the best he could get from Eurymaschus, submitted on 22 December and agreed to a renegotiation of the Treaty of Jam-Zaploski. This continued for the last days of December 1201.

On 1 January 1202, in the New Year's proclamation to the Laurasian subjects, the King announced that a new treaty was being signed with Polonia, and that this would reconfirm the arrangements "now prevailing, for you shall not have any worry of being dragged into another conflict anytime soon". On 7 January, the final conditions of the agreement were fixed. On 15 January 1202, the Treaty of Christiania was signed. This treaty effectively reconfirmed the provisions of the Treaty of Jam-Zaploski, except that the expiration of the financial payments and favors which Laurasia had made to the Venasian Consortium was accepted. The King of Laurasia once again acknowledged that the territories of the Ivorian Order belonged to the Polonian-Donguarian Commonwealth. In exchange, Sigis'ac of Polonia was to acknowledge Laurasian rule of the Malarian Dominions. As regards to the Briannian Question, it was agreed that the Laurasian State accepted Char'lac as the "effective ruler" of the Briannian Dominions. A secret provision, however, stipulated that if Sigis'ac's forces made more progress in the war with Briannia, then the Laurasian King was to acknowledge Sigis'ac as once again being King of Briannia. Finally, a economic pact was established between the two powers. Free trade and intercourse was to continue, and no tariffs were to be levied by the two governments on each other's goods. The Treaty of Christiania was ratified by King Eurymaschus on 19 January and by King Sigis'ac (with the Polonian Parliament) on 26 January. On 2 February, Vice-Chancellor Sapieha departed from Laurasia Prime with his embassy, returning to Polonia Major two days later. The King of Laurasia then turned his attention to internal affairs, but was to be confronted with severe troubles the following year. By March 1202, the plans of Governor Gustenholm had proceeded, and he was now poised to launch a series of counteroffensives into Polonian territory. Briannian squadrons had assembled at Linopking, Steneborg, Shiloh, Rashid, Alvurg, Kolchad, Seth, Aberdeen, Calpurnia, and Schaueria Prime, and the Governor was now confident that he could expel the Briannian units. On 7 March, his father, King-Elect Char'lac, who had returned to Briannia on 9 January, granted his son permission to proceed with his counteroffensives, and on 17 March, active hostilities were resumed. Gustenholm now defeated a Polonian patrol force near Gotesburg (18-22 March 1202); destroyed a Polonian outpost on Pausenburg (24 March); and pushed towards Kalmar (27-29 March). Kalmar itself was besieged on 4 April, falling to Briannian units just two days later. The Governor of Schaueria Prime then launched raiding expeditions against Momma, Bartello, Avaskar, and Horacia, inflicting severe damage upon Polonian supply lines and disrupting the communications of the Polonian garrisons (5-11 April 1202). On 15 April, General Radzwill, who had hurried from Horacia with his units, was intercepted and forced to turn back at Mew by the forces of the Field-General. Two days later, Gustenholm managed to defeat Magnate-General Choldkiewiz at Lamis. By the end of April 1202, the Magnate-General was forced to retreat from Avaskar, which once again fell into Briannian possession. Gustenholm then executed a series of offensives into the Horacian Provinces. The Governor himself besieged and conquered Bartello (1-5 May 1202) and inflicted severe damage upon Levinston (6-11 May) before conquering the garrisons of Kingpin (12 May); Louza (15 May); and Cinnamon (19-22 May). His offensive against Zutagia, however, ended in failure, as Radzwill prevented Briannian starfighter squadrons from advancing (27 May-6 June). Likewise, Briannian raiding expeditions against Watson, Sherlock, Rupert, Montel, Alton, and Redderson in June 1202 also failed, and Radzwill even destroyed a Briannian transport fleet at Lisa (1-5 July) before driving Briannian units from their outposts at Dan and Kearns (6-17 July). On 22 July, he halted another Briannian raiding expedition, this one against Momma, and then reinforced the defenses of John, Donald, and Theresa. On 29 July, Gustenholm was defeated at Matthew, and four days later, Magnate-General Choldkiewiz penetrated to the outskirts of Louza. The Governor of Schaueria Prime, however, reorganized his units, and on 12 August, he defeated Choldkiewiz in the Battle of Surna. By 11 August, he had destroyed the Polonian outpost on Druden and was advancing towards Donald. Choldkiewiz managed to storm Bartello (12-19 August 1202) but his effort to reconquer Kingpin (20-25 August) failed. On 1 September, Gustenholm blockaded Donald and repelled a Polonian fleet dispatched from Momma. Donald capitulated to the Briannian units on 9 September, but by that time, Radzwill had assembled his squadrons at John, Theresa, Momma, Zutagia, and Nosauria. On 19 September, he launched a series of offensives towards Levinston, clearing Briannian units from Masterholm, Betek, and Churner. By 15 October, Levinston itself was in Polonian possession, and on 24 October, the Polonian General defeated Gustenholm's chief subordinate, Admiral Eric Gyllenholm, in the Battle of Parnal. On 24 October, he linked up with Choldkiewiz at Bartello, and they advanced towards Kingpin. A series of counteroffensives were launched by Governor Gustenholm, who sent raiding expeditions towards Zutagia, Watson, Rupert, Rawling, and Frogglesworth (October-November 1202) which ultimately ended in failure. Kingpin was blockaded from 29 November, ultimately falling to Polonian units on 6 December. Louza and Cinnamon were isolated, but Briannian units continued to penetrate to Masterholm and Churner. On 19 December, Gustenholm inflicted a defeat upon Radzwill at Nater, but was unable to prevent Radzwill from finally breaching the defenses of Cinnamon, which was reconquered by the Polonians on 25 December.

On 1 January 1203, Polonian units advanced into the outskirts of Louza, having cleared Briannian forces from Surna. Louza itself was reconquered on 7 January, and by 12 January, Gustenholm had been forced to retreat back into the Duchy of Schaueria Prime. On 22 January, Radzwill defeated the Governor at Dorpat, and two days later, seized Avaskar again. He then blockaded Kalmar (25-29 January 1203) and advanced towards Goteborg, Alvsborg, and Steneborg. On 8 February 1203, the ailing Primate Karnlaowski delivered his final oration to the Polonian Parliament, denouncing Sigis'ac's war with Briannia and expressing his hope that the Polonian Commonwealth would soon come to its senses. Shortly afterwards, he retired to his private palace on Krakow, and soon afterwards entered into medical confinement. Sigis'ac, who was exultant over the victories which were being obtained by his generals, and confident that the Briannian throne would once more be his, was in private anticipation of the Primate's death. And it was so, for Karnlaowski expired on 18 February 1203, the day that Kalmar fell to the Polonian forces under General Radzwill. The King, in his proclamation to the Polonian subjects announcing the Primate's death, declared that a "sad event" had befallen the Polonian dominions, but that Karnlaowski had not realized the full set of advantages which could be gained for the Commonwealth by war with Briannia. Two months of mourning for the Primate were proclaimed, and on 27 February, Sigis'ac ordered General Radzwill to request a temporary truce with the Briannians, so as to "honor the memory of the late Primate". The General obliged, and Gustenholm, acting on his father's orders, signed a armistice with the Polonian General at Chromy on 5 March. The Primate's body was put on state display from 6 March, where it remained for several days. Radzwill proceeded with preparations for further offensives, determined to conquer Chromy, Seth, and Aberdeen. He sought to drive a wedge through the Briannian territories and to break the Briannian supply lines. Gustenholm, on his part, strengthened the garrisons of Rashid, Alvurg, Calpurnia, Shiloh, and Schaueria Prime, determined to ensure that Polonian forces would not be able to occupy those strongholds. These preparations for further war continued throughout March and April 1203. The funeral for the deceased Primate finally took place on 29 March 1203 at the Ecclesiastical Palace of Polonia Major, with King Sigis'ac himself presiding over the ceremonies. Although the Primate had been a bitter opponent to the King throughout his reign, Sigis'ac and the others within the Polonian Government nevertheless had a genuine respect for him. As such, Karnlaowski's successor, Jan Tanowski, the Archbishop of Galich Major, would not be formally enthroned until 19 January 1204 at Polonia Major.

By 18 April 1203, the official period of mourning for Primate Karnlaowski had formally ended, and the following day, the Truce of Chromy was formally terminated. On 22 April, General Radzwill moved towards the stronghold, brushing aside Briannian units and destroying a number of Briannian military stations, communications relays, and observation outposts. He had reached Chromy by 1 May, and the world was now besieged by the Polonian forces. This world, however, fiercely resisted the Polonian forces, and held out for almost two months. During that time, Gustenholm managed to reconquer Kalmar (5-19 May 1203) and launched repeated raiding expeditions into the Horacian Provinces, most of which yielded few benefits. In June 1203, the Polonian Parliament issued a order commanding for "all effort" to be applied to the siege of Chromy and commanded Magnate-General Choldkiewiz to direct his efforts towards recovering Kalmar and ending the raiding expeditions. Sigis'ac was irritated by the Parliament's interference in the military campaigns, but nevertheless confirmed its commands in a decree, issued on 25 July. On 5 August, Chromy finally capitulated to the Polonian forces, and five days later, Gustenholm was defeated in the Battle of Solis, being forced to terminate his raiding expeditions into the Horacian Provinces. By 19 August, Kalmar had been recovered, and Polonian units were now advancing towards Steneborg and Linopking. Gustenholm, however, repelled Polonian raiding expeditions against Shiloh, Calpurnia, and Farbrsinia (22 August-11 September 1203), and on 29 September, prevented Polonian patrol units from reaching Mem. On 4 October, however, Steneborg was besieged by Polonian units, but, like Chromy, it resisted fiercely. It was not until 27 November 1203 that the world capitulated to the Polonian units. General Radzwill then launched two offensives against Linopking (11-19 October and 29 October-12 November 1203), both of whom ended in failure. In the meantime, on 27 October 1203, in the Laurasian dominions, Queen-Dowager Irina Gadavarania, sister of King Eurymaschus, died at the Vellae Monastery on Jenny, to which she had retired to on 5 October 1198, following the coronation of her brother. The King, when he received the word of his sister's death, was "sent into a fit of bewailment" and commanded his subjects to mourn her death until the end of the year. The Queen Consort would eventually be buried on 6 December 1203, after over a month of lying in state. By 11 December, Polonian units were finally able to overrun Mem and resumed their advance towards Linopking. A sudden counteroffensive was launched by General Gustenholm however (12-25 December 1203), threatening Chromy, Kalmar, and Avaskar. General Radzwill, however, was ultimately able to end the Briannian raids. By January 1204, Polonian units had also conquered Gitlandia, Goteborg, and Alvsborg, and Sigis'ac was able to secure a extension of financial payments to the troops from the Parliament on 7 January. Polonian offensives, however, bogged down again, and on 24 January, another assault on Linopking was repelled. On 1 February, Gustenholm briefly recaptured Goteborg, inflicting a severe defeat upon the supply wing of General Radzwill's force. Four days later, however, Magnate-General Choldkiewiz managed to launch a successful raiding operation against Seth, forcing Gustenholm to abandon Goteborg. By the end of February 1204, Seth and Aberdeen had been blockaded by Polonian detachments, while a force under General Radzwill was finally able to besiege Linopking. The siege of Linopking dragged on throughout March 1204, however, as the Briannian garrison resisted fiercely. On 22 March 1204, however, Char'lac, confident that Sigis'ac's forces would eventually be repelled, and believing that his hold on the Briannian throne was secure, convened the Rikstag at Nystadia. The body confirmed its elevation of him to the Briannian throne. Four days later, Char'lac was finally crowned King of Briannia, and he now fully assumed the reins of control. On 2 April, he sent orders to his son, Governor Gustenholm, commanding him not to let the enemy advance beyond Linopking. Gustenholm obeyed his father's orders to the letter, and by 15 April, had managed to push Polonian units away from their positions at Seth and Aberdeen. On 24 April, however, Linopking was finally conquered by the Polonian units, and General Radzwill established it as his new command headquarters. The Polonian units, however, were unable to make further advances into Briannian territory at this stage, while the Briannians were unable to expel them. A stalemate thus ensued, which was to last for some months.

In the meantime, the attention of King Sigis'ac turned to other matters: namely, the "Laurasian Question". The King of Polonia and those on the Council of Ministers had begun to develop ambitions. Sigis'ac, who had not supported Vice-Chancellor Sapieha's schemes for a personal union with the Laurasian Dominions, looked for a way to profit at the expense of Laurasia. This was fueled in particular by the troubles which the King of Laurasia now faced. In January 1203, the Royal Bureau of Colonization had issued a report warning the King that the efforts in the Malarian Dominions were "marred by inefficiencies; roadblocked by corruption; and useless for the purposes of this government". The King, alarmed at this report, and believing that the colonization efforts had been going well, ordered a investigation into the matter. The investigation was completed within two months, and on 29 March 1203, a report had been issued, declaring that many of those assigned to supervise the colonization expeditions had sought profit from the ventures, and that corrupt officials had extorted from many of the Laurasian colonists unfairly. The King, enraged at this, had all of the members of the Malarian Commission summoned to his presence, and in a series of meetings with them during April 1203, roundly condemned them for their ignorance of the situation. Further emergency reports by the Laurasian Treasury revealed that vast sums, to the tune of €1.2 quadmillion dataries or more, had been diverted by the officials of the Malarian Commission, to the detriment of the Laurasian colonies. The King, enraged that such corruption had been taking place, issued a series of venomous proclamations, declaring that he would take prompt action to stamp out those responsible. In July 1203, he suspended the self-government accorded to all colonies established in the Malarian territories; temporarily suspended further immigration there; and had all of the members of the Malarian Commission arrested and condemned by the Aristocratic Duma. By September 1203, further issues were arising for the King. On 19 October, a diplomatic incident took place between Laurasia and Venasia when a fleet of Laurasian commercial vessels, dispatched by Katherine Drive Yards to the Kingdom of Kuevia, was intercepted and impounded by Venasian authorities near Schell. The King, when he heard of the incident, ordered his ambassador at the court of the Queen Mother, Sir Lysimachus Athroes, to protest this infringement of Laurasian commercial rights. The Ambassador held numerous audiences with the Queen Mother and the Council of the High Ones during November 1203, but was unable to secure any concessions from them. Following this, the King ordered for the Ambassador to withdraw from Venasia Prime and recalled all Laurasian subjects traveling through or visiting Venasian dominions. By the end of December 1203, he was even making preparations for a potential war with the Venasian Consortium.

Then, in January 1204, a outbreak of the Malthusian syndrome took place on Charasia. At first unnoticed by the authorities, because of its invisible character in the early stages, it spread to Katherine, Americana, Darcia, Caladaria, Ralina Vixius, Oxia Vixius, Augis V, Janesia, Maroni, Dearton's Gateway, and other important Laurasian Purse Worlds. By the end of February 1204, it had become a epidemic, and scores of millions in those star systems had been infected. The King and the Royal Council, acting in conjunction with the Royal Bureaus of Military Coordination, Regional and Provincial Administration, Internal Emergencies, Healthcare, and Justice, sought to impose measures in order to halt the spread the syndrome and to begin efforts to quarantine and cure those who were infected. On 2 March 1204, in a proclamation to the Laurasian people, Gadavaranius declared that his government was taking "all viable measures" in order to halt the spread of the syndrome, and that he was determined not to allow this disease to ravage his "honorable dominions" any further. By 11 March, all of the systems mentioned, as well as some 564 minor Laurasian colony-worlds, had been placed under quarantine. They were completely isolated from trade and from outside communication; it was forbidden for any Laurasian with a spaceship to travel to those star systems without obtaining special authorization from the Royal Bureau of Internal Emergencies. The inhabitants of the star systems were forbidden to leave at all, and martial law was declared, allowing the respective solar authorities to take all necessary steps in order to halt a further spread of the condition. Vast sums of money from the Royal Treasury were diverted towards curing the syndrome, with emergency medical centers and hospital camps being established within the infected star systems. The King commissioned a study of the syndrome by the Medicinal Chapter of the University of Laurasia Prime, and he ordered for all efforts at a vaccine to be conducted with "the greatest urgency possible". Pope Job, on his part, commanded the clergy to comfort the populations of those star systems affected; diverted vast sums from the Church's estates and emergency coffers to the care of the afflicted; and issued a series of manifestos imploring the Laurasian people not to lose hope. In spite of the government's efforts to halt the syndrome, those who were afflicted suffered terribly.

By the middle of March 1204, nearly four hundred billion persons had been affected with the syndrome; of that number, almost one hundred billion died. Ralina Vixius, whose population, as stated before, had declined severely to 700 million by 1201, was now driven to the low of 350 million; the Time of Troubles was to eventually drive it even lower, and it would not recover to the 1201 figures until the end of the thirteenth century. Caladaria, which had a population of 29 billion in 1201, now declined to one of 14 billion as a result of the Malthusian syndrome. Darcia, with a population of 21 billion in 1201, declined to 9 billion, and suffered the most catastrophic losses of any of the Purse Worlds. The result of such extensive population losses was to drive down the popularity of the King. Eurymaschus, who had retained a high approval rating (according to contemporary news-records and accounts) of 91% when he became King in 1198, now saw his popularity sink to 39% by April 1204. The Pope Job also suffered a loss in his popularity ratings, which had been even higher then those of the King. His approval rating tanked, from 95% in 1198 to just 35% by April 1204. Many of the Laurasian people now began to remember the rumors which had circulated in the immediate weeks and months after the death of the Grand Prince Demetrius; namely, that either Gadavaranius himself had been responsible for the Grand Prince's death (which was true), or that the true Grand Prince had escaped and another boy had been murdered by one of the former Lord Protector's minions. Those Laurasians who were especially religious began to believe that Almitis was now punishing the Laurasian dominions for the sins of their present monarch, and that in order to obtain absolution, he needed to be deposed. A charismatic figure now emerged, within the Polonian Commonwealth, in order to take advantage of this situation. On 27 April 1204, a Laurasian adventurer and starhopper named Demetrius Otrepevius made his appearance at Braeley, once a site of a Laurasian victory during the early stages of the Ivorian War, and now a Polonian commercial center, trade hub, and technological powerhouse. Braeley had been transformed by the Polonian Government and by various magnates, especially Prince Adam Wiśniowiecki, into one of the most prosperous worlds in the Central Core and a jewel of the Polonian Commonwealth. It become the gathering-site for many adventurers, starhoppers, merchants, and others from throughout the Caladarian Galaxy, who often conversed with each other at the planet's numerous casinos, restaurants, and bars. Braeley was also home to a small Laurasian community, which numbered about 90,000, and had its own Almitian Conclave.

The Archpriest of Braeley, Ignatius, had been appointed by Pope Job to the post on 29 January 1201, and had since served his community with loyalty, determination, and energy. Otrepevius, who had made his living for the past three years as a navigator for the Draxonian Commercial Lines of Ausculum, now presented himself at the Church of St. Methodius, the chief edifice of the Almitian Conclave of Braeley. He was well-spoken, conducting himself, according to contemporary accounts, with a "certain grace and pomp", and in all of his actions, displayed self-confidence, energy, and vigor. He had picked up several languages: besides his native Laurasian, Otrepevius knew Briannian, Clancian, Marshian, Goldarian, Murphian, Polonian, Galician, Donguarian, and Ivorian; he also could understand Solidaritan, Schauerian, Ashlgothian, Dasian, Kuevian, and Venasian. This had been a major advantage for him, as he had managed to gain the support of many allies among foreign merchants and starhoppers; some of whom had great confidence in him and what he could achieve. He now deployed his knowledge of languages, his regal manner, and his oratory skills to use at the Church of St. Methodius. Taking advantage of the privilege given by the Conclave to any visiting Laurasian to speak with the congregation, Otrepevius took his place at the podium. There, he declared that he was the Grand Prince Demetrius, the youngest child of Honorius the Terrible, and the one who had been named by the Lord Almitis to "govern in good stead over the Laurasian dominions and over her subjects". Speaking with passion and force, he railed against the King, the Pope Job, and against the King's officials, declaring that Gadavaranius had no legitimacy and no right to sit upon the Laurasian throne. His ascension had been caused by the schemes of the anti-Almitis, and had consequently worked against the benefit of the dominions. Pointing out the troubles which had plagued the King in recent years, Otrepevius declared that the Lord Almitis was venting his wrath, and that Laurasia needed a true savior in order to be uplifted to a "rightful position" within the Caladarian Galaxy. Elaborating further about his claim to be the Grand Prince, he declared that the rumors which had circulated about what had taken place at Uglich were true: that Gadavaranius was responsible for the murder, but that his minion had murdered one of the servants' children. He declared that his "mother", Queen-Dowager Demetria Nagayania, had been forewarned by others within her Household and by the Commissioner of Uglich himself that the Lord Protector was planning the murder of her child. In response to this, she had secretly given him to the care of a "honorable gentleman" who had managed to travel with him from Uglich to Abriana's Star, where he in turn gave him to a middle-class family, involved in shipping of Malarian spices, and who raised him as their own son. They had been informed by the gentleman and by the Queen-Dowager herself, through Holonet communication, that this was the true Grand Prince and that they were to preserve him in order to take up his mission as "Autocrat of All the Laurasians". He said that his "adoptive" parents had raised him, and had informed him of his true origins and birthright when he was a teenager. Consequently, they had their son join the Merchant Marine Academy of Conservan, from which he had graduated in May 1201. He had then taken his current job with the Commercial Lines of Ausuculum and had traveled throughout the Core Regions, waiting until the time was to emerge for him to "take up his birthright from the usurper Gadavaranius". Otrepevius then implored the congregation of Braeley to acknowledge his position as the true Grand Prince and to denounce the pretended "King Eurymaschus".

Archpriest Ignatius, who was impressed by the boy, and who was eager to gain a higher position for himself within the Laurasian State, declared that the marine was indeed the Grand Prince Demetrius and that the Honorian Dynasty had been saved. The congregation, which was beginning to see Gadavaranius as a usurper, also agreed, and hailed Demetrius as the rightful "King and Autocrat of All the Laurasians". By 4 May, the entire Laurasian community of Braeley had hailed him as the rightful King, and the news of this now spread to the other Laurasian conclaves within the Polonian Commonwealth and to the Stellar Kingdom itself. Otrepevius, now calling himself "Grand Prince Demetrius and the exiled King of the Laurasian dominions", quickly mustered his support, and began to assemble a force from the starships and starfighters of his fellow merchants. On 17 May, Prince Wiśniowiecki, along with his brother Michael, who was the Count of Sthanon, declared their support for Otrepevius and decided to support his claims against Eurymaschus. "False Demetrius", as he is known in Laurasian historiography, held a meeting with these Polonian nobles two days later and thanked them for their support. They pledged to provide bodyguard corps, money, and transports to his forces. On 26 May, Roman Royzinski, the Magnate of Polonian Esther, also declared his support for Otrepevius and denounced Eurymaschus I as a usurper. On 3 June, the King of Laurasia, hearing of the emergence of "False Demetrius" within the Polonian Commonwealth, issued a proclamation from Laurasia Prime. In this proclamation, the King declared that Otrepevius was merely the son of "common traders" and that he had been born at Abriana's Star, not simply raised there from childhood. He presented DNA evidence, autopsy records, and the report of the Examination Commission, to proclaim that the true Grand Prince Demetrius was dead and that Otrepevius was just a pretender. The King also provided the claimant's birth certificate and the records of his time at the Merchant Marine Academy. Pope Job backed up the King's claims. On 5 June, he issued a papal bull, Demetrius falsae emergentiæ, declaring that Otrepevius was a pretender and a fraud, and that the true Grand Prince "has been deceased hence, and resides in the Domain of the Lord Almitis". He proclaimed that any who acknowledged the "False Demetrius" as the Grand Prince and as King of Laurasia was to be promptly excommunicated, and were to be deprived from the Church sacraments. They were also to be denied a proper burial. Furthermore, the Pope commanded for all Church officials and monasteries to issue manifestos to the local populations about the "False Demetrius". He also formally dismissed Ignatius from his position as Archpriest of Braeley; branded him as a traitor and condemned him with the full force of the Church; and excommunicated the entire Almitian Conclave of that world. By 11 June, the King had also issued mobilization orders to the Laurasian Armed Forces, and was preparing a diplomatic ultimatum, to be issued to the Polonian Government, about the Pretender. Sigis'ac of Polonia, on his part, closely followed all that was transpiring. As of yet, the King of Polonia had not issued any proclamation or official statement about the matter, and in fact, seemed to indicate that he would not tolerate Otrepevius's actions. Privately, however, Sigis'ac realized that the matter of the "False Demetrius" would distract the King of Laurasia, destabilize his government and his dominions, and remove a force which he considered "threatening" to the interests of the Polonian Commonwealth. He also sought to carry out Stefanius Bathorius' contingency plans: namely, to seize Goldaria, assume dominance for Polonia in the Central Core, and restrict the power of the Laurasian State. He knew full well that Otrepevius was not the Grand Prince Demetrius and that he was a fraud; nevertheless, he saw in him an opportunity to enhance the position of Polonia within the Core Regions. The King held numerous discussions with the Council of Advisers from 16 June on the matter, and within two days, had decided to finally act in support of the Pretender. The expected ultimatum from King Eurymaschus arrived at the Polonian Court on 22 June.

In this ultimatum, Eurymaschus declared that Otrepevius was a "liar and a cheat", reiterated his earlier proclamations about him, and asked for Sigis'ac to "act in the right". He demanded that Otrepevius be denounced and handed over to Laurasian authorities immediately; that the Archpriest Ignatius be deposed by the Polonian Government and executed for his "treason"; and that the Almitian Conclave on Braeley be compelled to rescind their denouncement of him as King of Laurasia. Gadavaranius threatened that a "severe conflict would arise" if his demands were not met. Sigis'ac discussed the matter of the Laurasian King's ultimatum with the Council of Ministers. Embroiled in war with Briannia, he did not wish for the Polonian Commonwealth to become dragged into a military conflict with the Stellar Kingdom of Laurasia at this juncture. However, ambition and determination to extend Polonia's influence fueled his actions. Sigis'ac decided to placate the Laurasian King and to declare publicly his affirmation to the Treaty of Christiania, while extending secret support to Otrepevius and condoning the actions of those Polonian magnates who supported the Pretender. On 1 July, in a proclamation issued from the Chancellory of Polonia Major, Sigis'ac declared that he wished for nothing but "peaceful and cordial relations between this Commonwealth and the honorable Kingdom of Laurasia" and that he was determined not to allow anything to hamper that relationship. The King of Polonia consequently declared that Otrepevius did not have the support of the Polonian Government, but that, because he was in Polonian territory, he could not be handed over to Laurasian authorities. However, Sigis'ac promised to compensate the Laurasian Royal Government with a annual subsidy; to allow the Laurasian Government to use the services of the Polonian medical institutes as part of its efforts to suppress the "hated disease ravaging your dominions"; and to issue a declaration affirming that Polonia had no hostile intentions towards the Laurasians. The King of Laurasia, who was somewhat placated by the Polonian offers of financial and medical aid, decided to accept Sigisac's declaration. On 12 July, he rescinded the conditions of his earlier ultimatum: this action has baffled many since his time, including the vast majority of Laurasian historians, and is considered a major mistake on his part. By the end of July 1204, the first Polonian payment to the coffers of the Laurasian Treasury had been made, and it seemed, to King Eurymaschus, that the threat posed by Otrepevius was only a "minor irritant". During all this time, however, the Pretender continued to muster support. In August 1204, he recruited missionaries on Satisba, Sthanon, Maschinga, Ivoria, Dasinae, Redderson, Ergeme, Alton, and other Polonian strongholds, further expanding his personal military force. The Laurasian Pretender also secured the support of Constantine Ostrogki, the Polonian Prince of Ivoria, who promised to supply his forces with military weapons, armor, and equipment. On 12 August, he held a secret audience with the Prince of Ivoria and impressed him with his determination, energy, and intelligence. By the end of August 1204, the Donguarian Vice-Chancellor Sapieha, that same figure who had earlier advocated a personal union between Laurasia and Polonia, had taken interest in Otrepevius. The Chancellor was still angered on how the King of Laurasia had rejected his offer of a military alliance, and consequently, he was no longer interested in pursuing peaceful relations with him or the Laurasian Government. He had now developed the notion that force could be employed in order to "render" Laurasia friendly to the interests of the Polonian Commonwealth, and that Otrepevius was a perfect candidate for this. The Vice-Chancellor held a series of discussions with the King of Polonia during August 1204 over the matter. On 3 September, the King finally granted him permission to hold a conference with the Pretender and to gauge his feelings. Four days later, Sapieha sent a secret Holonet communique to Otrepevius, declaring that he had "sympathy" for his cause and expressing his wish to meet with him. Otrepevius, who knew that the Vice-Chancellor's support would be useful for his purposes, agreed. On 11 September, the two held a secret conference at Sherlock; the agents of the Polonian Government prevented any information from leaking out about the conference, information which would have compromised relations between the two states and would have provoked Eurymaschus into war. Sapieha was impressed by the Pretender's charm, energy, and determination, and came to believe that he would be a perfect candidate for the Laurasian Throne. On 15 September, the Vice-Chancellor signed a secret pact with the Laurasian Pretender, offering him subsidies and the use of a Donguarian mercenary corps in his campaigns. Otrepevius, on his part, agreed to remain friendly towards Polonian interests, and, a major point, to find and marry a Polonian noblewoman. King Sigis'ac, who was made aware of Sapieha's agreement with the Pretender, decided to extend his support, and on 24 September, he issued his first direct message to Otrepevius. In this message, which was communicated by a encrypted Holonet channel to Braeley, the King-Emperor of Polonia declared that the continuing rule of the "supposed King Gadavaranius" over the Stellar Kingdom of Laurasia was a threat to the tranquility of the Core Regions, and that Gadavaranius needed to be dealt with. Consequently, the King of Polonia placed a Galician mercenary corps at the disposal of the Pretender, agreed to acknowledge him as the future King of Laurasia, and declared his peaceful intentions towards the Laurasian State under his rule. Demetrius, grateful that he had now secured the support of the most powerful figure in the Polonian dominions, proceeded further with his plans.

On 2 October, he held a conference with Prince Jerzy Mniszech of Jared, one of the wealthiest Polonian magnates. Prince Mniszech owned estates on Jared, Denver, Horacia, Zutagia, Zennethia, Maschinga, Anthony, Rawling, Galich Major, Volodormia, Sherlock, Rupert, Momma, Ivoria, Satisba, and Sthanon, among other Polonian worlds. The Pretender gained this Prince's support as well, for Mniszech was ambitious and believed that the success of the Pretender would bring prospects for him within the Laurasian State. During the series of balls held in the honor of Otrepevius at Mniszechan Family Estate on Jared, the Pretender took notice of the Prince's daughter, Marina. According to Viscount Haley, Marina was "a very fair maiden, being one of the most beautiful women in the Polonian dominions"; she was also renowned for her wit, energy, and intelligence. Marina had been educated by private tutors, the chief of whom was her Governess, the Polonian Wasynica Ssanika of Kolst. She had learned a variety of foreign languages (including Laurasian), theology, history, cartography, chemistry, physics, biology, physical science, algebra, geometry, literature, music, art, and numerous other subjects. She was very cultivated and renowned for her expensive dresses, her dazzling jewelery, and her exotic cosmetics. Demetrius was immediately entranced by the Lady, and soon asked to have a dance with her. Marina was also attracted by Otrepevius; both because he himself was considered to be handsome, according to contemporary sources; and because the idea of being a Queen Consort had sprung to her mind. After several days of such a acquaintance, Demetrius finally asked of Prince Mniszech, on 17 October, for permission to marry his daughter. Mniszech was at first surprised by Demetrius's request, but quickly realized the advantages which he could reap. On 24 October, he secretly posed the mater to King Sigis'ac, who granted his consent two days afterwards. Having secured the consent of the Polonian King, the Prince of Jared now reacted to Otrepevius's request. Over the course of the next three days, the Prince held a series of consultations with his wife, his siblings, and the officials of his household. Most of them were in support of the union, knowing that the Mniszech family would reap considerable benefits and would acquire a major position in the Laurasian State, if Otrepevius was successful in deposing Gadavaranius from the Laurasian throne. However, the Jaredian Prince's wife, Marza, believed that caution should be exercised, and still wished to provide for the situation in case Otrepevius was not successful in his mission. As such, on 31 October, the Prince of Jared held a personal meeting with the Pretender. At the meeting, Mniszech declared that he had obtained the consent of his master, and that his family was in support of the union. However, a marriage would not be able to take place until after Otrepevius had ventured into the Laurasian dominions and seized the throne from Gadavaranius; only when he was secure upon the throne could he be allowed to to marry Marina. The Prince of Jared also demanded that Otrepevius grant his family estates at the Cron's Drift and on Conservan, Reoyania, Condtella, Dramis, and Clancia, so that the position of his wife's family "be secured and maintained against the threats of ambitious and cruel intruders". Otrepevius, who believed that these concessions were minor, and fully confident in his ability to defeat King Eurymaschus, accepted Mniszech's conditions. On 8 November, a pre-nuptial agreement was signed, and Marina was secretly pledged in engagement to the Pretender. Then on 14 November, Otrepevius departed from Jared with his personal corps, and returned to Braeley, where he resumed his preparations for his planned war in the Laurasian dominions. By the end of November 1204, he was yet further advanced towards invading the Laurasian dominions. In the meantime, during these last months of 1204, and into 1205, the war between Polonia and Briannia picked up again.

By September 1204, Briannian squadrons assembled at Shiloh, Calpurnia, Schaueria Prime, Seth, Aberdeen, and Solis, as King Char'lac was determined to expel General Radzwill's armada from the Duchy of Schaueria Prime. He had issued numerous instructions to his son, Field-General Gustenholm, commanding him to apply all of his effort into expelling "the hated Polonian mongrels" and to renew his campaigns into the territory of the Commonwealth. Gustenholm now sought to comply with his father's commands. On 9 September, he launched his offensive fleet from Seth, pushing towards Polonian outposts on Agourg, Gitlandia, and Goteborg. He managed to conquer the garrison of Agourg (12-19 September 1204) but his effort to storm Goteborg resulted in failure (26 September). By the end of September 1204, General Radzwill, now the supreme commander-in-chief of the Polonian forces, had prepared a series of offensives against Seth, Aberdeen, and Alvurg. On 4 October, he defeated the Briannian General Par Ervison in the Battle of Alben, and four days later, he approached the outskirts of Solis. Gustenholm's counteroffensives against Linopking, Horacia, and Theresa (11-17 October 1204) failed to halt Radzwill's advance. Seth was besieged by Polonian units from 22 October, and although Gustenholm parried with Briannian fleets at Elvester, Green, and Whitman, he was unable to prevent the fall of the stronghold to General Radzwill, an event which occurred on 29 October. Lythia was conquered by a Polonian fleet on 4 November, and two days later, Radzwill destroyed a Briannian intelligence outpost at Harmond. On 14 November, Polonian units penetrated to the outskirts of the Aberdeen star system. Governor Gustenholm, having assembled squadrons at Jem, Dill, Boo, Caroline, and Atticus, now hurled against the Polonian strongholds, attempting to draw Radzwill's units off. Radzwill's garrisons on Linopking, Alvsborg, and Kalmar, however, blocked the Briannian advance (17-22 November 1204) and on 26 November, Aberdeen was plundered by a Polonian expedition. The world capitulated two days later. On 5 December 1204, General Radzwill encountered the chief fleet of Governor Gustenholm at Weissenstein, which was located three light years east of Aberdeen. Arvid Stalarm, who was Gustenholm's Admiral of the Corvette, directed an offensive from the central wing against the bulge of the Polonian fleet; his chief subordinate, the Goldarian Mercenary-General Alzonsalad Canut, directed an offensive against the left flank, which included many of the Polonian starfighters. The right wing, commanded by General Ervison, smashed against the center-right flank of the Polonian forces. At first, the Briannians had the advantage, and their units pressed through the Polonian ranks. The Polonian corvettes and cruisers were gradually pushed back, with the superior mobility of the Briannian starfighters and assault craft having their effect. Many of the Polonian warships were pushed into a cluster and were pummeled from all sides. General Radzwill, however, had detached a group of starfighters, dreadnoughts, and destroyers, which were under the command of General Jan Wasonski. General Wasonki, who had hidden himself at Parvay III, about two light-years to the east of Weissenstein, brought his forces to the front and launched a general offensive against the Briannian mercenary units. Canut and Starlarm were cut off guard, and the Corvette Admiral now detached some of his starfighter and assault units to assist Canut. Wasonki, however, had the advantage, for his units were well-rested and were organized in a pincer formation, while the units commanded by Canut were tired after many hours of fighting; disoriented; and had poor internal coordination. The battle now shifted in the favor of the Polonians, and General Radzwill was gradually able to reorganize his front lines and compel Starlarm to retreat. Canut, on his part, was now forced into a pocket, and his flagship was soon trapped by the superior numbers of Polonian vessels. Starlarm and Gustenholm launched flanking attacks, attempting to reunite their lines with Canut, but their efforts proved unsuccessful, for the Mercenary-General himself died in combat against the Polonian troopers which had boarded his flagship. Radzwill and Wasonki, having destroyed the Briannian left wing, now pushed towards the remainder of the Briannian throne. Weakened and exhausted, Gustenholm was forced to call a retreat. Weissenstein was thus secured by General Radzwill. Establishing it as his operational headquarters, the General then drafted plans for raiding expeditions to the strongholds of the Nexus Route and to Shiloh, Alvurg, and Calpurnia. From 12 December, Polonian scout and raiding fleets harried Briannian outposts; monitored Briannian communications; and prevented Gustenholm from pushing back towards Seth and Aberdeen. By the end of December 1204, Radzwill was massing his units for a final offensive against Farbrissna. In January 1205, however, the attention now shifted to the preparations of "False Demetrius".

On 1 January 1205, Ignatius, in a sermon to the Congregation of Braeley, declared that Eurymaschus I would soon be deposed from the Laurasian throne and that "he would have to contend with the will of Almitis". Indeed, throughout the latter half of 1204, the King of Laurasia had been distracted by further concerns. The Malthusian syndrome had worsened, and by the middle of December 1204, the Royal Government despaired of the situation. In his New Year's proclamation, the King declared that the Laurasian dominions were faced with troubles "worse than any since the days of the Regents", but that the Lord Almitis would soon receive his subjects back into the fold of Almitism with "a loving hand". The Pope Job expressed similar sentiments in his New Year's manifesto. On 4 January 1205, however, Sigis'ac finally dropped his pretense of remaining friendly towards Eurymaschus, as Polonian agents of the Council of Ministers had informed the King-Emperor that tensions simmered on Yularen, Daala, Goldaria, Pellaeon, Carina, and Seejay Prime against the Laurasian Royal Government; and that Gadavaranius was now weak. The King of Polonia then declared his support for Otrepevius, the "true King of Laurasia" and endorsed the theory that Gadavaranius had been the one who had attempted to have him assassinated. Three days later, Otrepevius concluded a second pre-nuptial agreement with Prince Mniszech. In this agreement, the Pretender declared that "the position of my future father-in-law's family will be raised to great heights within the dominions which I am soon to conquer" and that, as a pledge of his good will, Prince Mniszech was to receive the governorship of Mommica, Maxi-casy, Carina, Olivia, Muppet, Seejay Prime, Constantia, and Stenbock. His daughter, the future Queen-Consort, was to be granted estates "on all of the purse worlds under the control of the Stellar Kingdom of Laurasia" and would be granted guardianship of the Royal Treasury. All of the Mniszech family would be permitted to take up residence at the Royal Court, and were to enjoy privileges of prestige above all other Laurasian nobles. Mniszech was pleased with these arrangements, and on 12 January, expressed his support for the "rightful King of Laurasia" in a communique issued to the citizens of Jared, for which he, under the Polonian Constitution, was responsible for. Then on 17 January, Sigis'ac sent a communique to the Pretender, who had returned to Braeley. In this communique, he declared that "you are the rightful King of the Laurasian Dominions" and that Eurymaschus I was a "liar, humbug, and fiend who never deserved to have sat upon the Laurasian throne". Consequently, the King was willing to meet with him and to discuss matters of fully supporting him in his ambitions for the Laurasian Throne. Otrepevius, pleased that the King of Polonia was now openly embracing his cause, sent a acceptance note two days later. On 22 January, he departed from Braeley with his personal corps, arriving at Polonia Major the following day. There, he was greeted by King Sigis'ac and the Polonian Royal Court with great pomp and ceremony; the Baroness Agrippina Vassalina of Almastead, the most prominent Laurasian female historian of the Space Age, has stated in her account that "all on Polonia Major acted as if they were carried away with delusional grandeur" when they met the supposed Grand Prince. Sapieha, who had been promoted to Chancellor of the Donguarian Stellar Empire on 22 December 1204 by King Sigis'ac, facilitated the meeting of the Pretender with the King and the Royal Court. Sigis'ac was impressed by Demetrius's eloquence, energy, and determination. He piled him with banquets, masques, concerts, and other honors, lasting for several days. On 2 February, he held a formal conference with the Pretender, in which he declared that the Polonian Commonwealth was willing to support him "in the crusade against the tyrant Gadavaranius". Four days later, Otrepevius was given the honor of addressing the Polonian Parliament, which had been specifically summoned by King Sigis'ac in order to address the "Laurasian Question". Although his manner and personality impressed many magnates, that did not change Parliamentary opinions about the ambitions of King Sigis'ac. The majority of the magnates and Justice-Representatives were opposed to intervention in Laurasian affairs, and believed that the continuing support for Otrepevius was "dangerous for the vital welfare and security of the Commonwealth". On 11 February, a faction of Polonian nobles, headed by Prince Alex'jal Wadurnki of Halych, petitioned the Magisterial Court for a resolution against intervention, declaring that it would "further wreck the state of affairs in the Core Regions". The petition was considered, and in the end, on 17 February, the Magisterial Court voted decisively against intervention. King Sigis'ac sent numerous communiques to the Parliament and even attempted to bribe some of the magnates into changing their votes. He was not successful, but did not walk away completely empty-handed. On 25 February, the Parliament, after much persuasion had been applied by Donguarian Chancellor Sapieha and by Primate Tarnowski, agreed to revise its decision. It was now declared that the Polonian-Donguarian Commonwealth did indeed support Otrepevius in his efforts to obtain the Laurasian throne, and that it deemed it "necessary" for Eurymaschus I to be removed from his throne. However, the Commonwealth, because of the "exerting conflicts with the Celestial Kingdom of Briannia" would not be able to deploy all of its military resources in favor of the Pretender. As such, Sigis'ac was forbidden to allocate more than 30% of the Polonian garrisons in the Central Core, or 15% of the total Polonian Armed Forces, to the support of the Pretender. No more than six hundred trillion dataries, over a period of three years, could be drawn from the Polonian Treasury in support of the Pretender; and no Polonian military officers could command any of the Pretender's units in action against the King of Laurasia, unless if such command was specifically approved by the Parliament. Sigis'ac was also forbidden to conduct any negotiations with Solidarita for an alliance against Laurasia, and he was to terminate Polonian support for the Pretender if the forces of Gadavaranius prevailed. Although the King was angered by such restrictions, and although Otrepevius felt inconvenienced by them, they nevertheless obliged by the Parliament's decisions. On 1 March, the King of Polonia formally confirmed the terms of the Sapihean Resolution, as the measure became known, and declared that a state of war now existed between the Stellar Kingdom of Laurasia and the Polonian-Donguarian Commonwealth. Four days later, the Pretender watched a Fleet Review of the Polonian Forces now assigned to his command. On 12 March, he announced that "Almitis was blessing his enterprise". Eurymaschus I, alarmed by the declaration of war, and seeking to forestall the forces of the Pretender, bolstered all Laurasian garrisons in the Central Core.

On 22 March, he issued a proclamation formally denouncing King Sigis'ac for his support of the Pretender. Military taxes were imposed immediately, and the conscription rules which the King had relaxed or rescinded in 1198-99 were reinstated "for the duration of the war". Such actions inflamed the Laurasian people further against the former Lord Protector, whose popularity had now sank to a measly twenty-four percent. The Pope Job attempted to maintain the King's position with the Church, but many of the clergy were also becoming opposed to him by this point. On 27 March, the King of Polonia issued a proclamation granting Polonian and Donguarian magnates permission to serve with or provide assistance to the forces of "Grand Prince Demetrius" against Eurymaschus I, on condition that they promised to secure commerical concession for the Polonian Commonwealth in the Laurasian territories. This decree was confirmed by the Polonian Parliament the following day. Prince Wiśniowiecki and his brother Michael offered their services to Otrepevius, who accepted. They now became the commanders of the two Auxilary Wings of his Polonian Army. Finally, on 31 March 1205, the forces of False Demetrius invaded the territories of the Stellar Kingdom of Laurasia in the Central Core. The Pretender and his units now made rapid advances into the Central Core. On 2 April, he defeated a government force hurled from Stenbock, capturing a large number of starfighters and transports. Constantia and Stenbock themselves were besieged and conquered by the Lord Pretender's forces the following day. Prince Wiśniowiecki then defeated a government corps in the Battle of Putvil (3-4 April 1205) and on 5 April, stormed Mommica. Maxck-casi (6-7 April); Olivia (8 April); and Barty (9 April) then fell to the forces of the Pretender. King Eurymaschus, whose health had been taxed by the crisis and who was at a loss for the reversal in his fortunes, suffered a major stroke in his personal quarters at the Celestial Palace when he received word of the fall of Barty. On 11 April, he formally entered the Royal Hospital. The Pope Job, who continued to issue decrees denouncing "False Demetrius" and urging Laurasians to remain loyal to their "rightful King", now implored the Laurasian people to "pray for the life and soul of their master". Eurymaschus's son, Theodosius, sixteen years old as of April 1205, was considered of age to govern, and since February 1205, his mother, Queen-Consort Maria Gadavarania, and the Royal Council, had been preparing for his ascension to the throne. That now became a distinct reality, for the King's condition, despite all the efforts of his doctors, continued to decline. On 12 April, Otrepevius, who was then besieging the bases of the Sort Drift, received word of Gadavaranius's condition. He loudly proclaimed to his troops that this was the work of Almitis, and that the former Lord Protector was now suffering for his "heinous usurpation of my hereditary throne". During the late hours of that day, the Royal Hospital declared the King's condition hopeless, and towards midnight, the Pope intoned the Last Sacraments for him.

The following day, 13 April 1205, after having dominated the Laurasian Government for nearly two decades and after six years as King, Eurymaschus Gadavaranius died. The news of his death was announced by the Royal Holonet to the Laurasian subjects. Pope Job, in his message to the people of Laurasia Prime on the passing of the King, declared that "a upright, righteous monarch had died" and that the Laurasian territories had been "blessed to be under the rule of his firm hand". The Pope then went on to state that Otrepevius would be defeated and that the Pretender would be cast "into the domain of the anti-Almitis". Shortly after this proclamation had been issued, the Royal Council and Aristocratic Duma were convened, and confirming the terms of the King's will, proclaimed his son, Grand Prince Theodosius, King and Autocrat of All the Laurasians. Theodosius's mother, now Queen-Dowager, was appointed as the guardian of the Royal Household and was entrusted with finding for her son a wife. Pope Job retained his influential position within the Laurasian Government. The death of King Eurymaschus, however, had strengthened the Pretender's cause considerably. The majority of Laurasians were now convinced that Gadavaranius had been a false ruler and that his death, so soon after the invasion of the Laurasian dominions by Otrepevius, had been a "sign from our God". They did not wish to support Theodosius II, the son of the man whom they know perceived as a "agent of the anti-Almitis", and they believed that Otrepevius would prove a vigorous and energetic ruler. On 19 April, the Archbishop of Carina, Thucydides of Cor, issued a manifesto to his congregation, declaring that Theodosius II "was not the rightful King of Laurasia" and that Otrepevius was the true "Grand Prince, and thus, the true master of the Laurasian territories". The Viceroy of Carina, one Eusebius Cadeurnia, who was ambitious and believed that he could rise to fame under Otrepevius, then defected to the Pretender. Arriving in victorious procession on Carina on 24 April, Otrepevius issued a manifesto declaring that the death of Eurymaschus I "hath eliminated one who has scourged these dominions" and that he would soon be advancing to Laurasia Prime in order to take possession of the throne which should have been his from the start.

By 27 April, the strongholds of the Sort Drift had been stormed by the Pretender's forces, and he was now dispatching expeditions towards Yularen, Daala, Natasi, and Pelleaon. On 3 May, Seejay Prime also capitulated to the Pretender, and on 5 May, he destroyed a fleet dispatched by the Royal Government in the Battle of Pribine. On 12 May, he besieged and conquered Yularen. Three days later, the Laurasian General Thomasius Wuranius, who had been appointed Viceroy of Goldaria by King Eurymaschus a month before his death, advanced from Goldaria. He repelled the Pretender's expedition against Salia (15-19 May) and even raided Constantia (22-25 May), before advancing to the outskirts of the Floating Cities of Seejay Prime (26 May). On 1 June, however, Otrepevius inflicted a decisive defeat upon him at Sonnia, and on 5 June, he stormed Daala. Natasi (6-11 June); Pelleaon (15 June); Elainsborough (17 June); and Bainsborough (20 June) were besieged and conquered in turn by the Pretender's forces. On 21 June, Wuranius, who realized that Otrepevius had the advantage, defected to him and handed the garrisons of Goldaria, Williams, Pasquarallo, Palmisano, Goss Beacon, Marshia, and Teth into his hands. Otrepevius's forces had been strengthened immeasurably, and on 24 June, he received a further boost when Earl Arasces of Meaganian, who had become disenchanted with King Theodosius's Government, declared his support for the Pretender. Arasces' defection now influenced many of the Laurasian magnates and gentleman in the Arian Provinces, who now sought to curry favor with Otrepevius. By 27 June, the nobility of Reese, Capital, Meaganian, Rebecca, Chancia, Manil, Katie, Katherine, Elizabeth, and Arias had all declared that the continuing rule of King Theodosius II was "harmful to the interests of the Laurasian State" and that Otrepevius was "truly the Grand Prince, whom the Lord Almitis hath, by his grace and his loving heart, saved from destruction". Queen-Dowager Maria, who held great influence over her son, Pope Job, and the members of the Royal Council attempted to retain control in the Purse Worlds, but they knew that their time was running out. On 29 June, a group of gentleman at the Royal Court, among whom were Sir Nicephorus Amathria of Christiania and the Baron of Explosansia Major, Titus Granes, secured the support of the Royal Guards and plotted against the King, his mother, and the Pope. They were in secret contact with Otrepevius, whose forces had conquered Conservan two days earlier and had isolated the Royalist garrisons on Reoyania, Dramis, Condtella, and Conservan. Granes and Amathria decided that only the removal of Theodosius and his mother from their positions would ensure the prosperity and integrity of the Laurasian dominions. They were also ambitious, and desired a higher position for themselves within the Royal Court. On 30 June, the Pretender's forces harried the outskirts of Maroni and destroyed a government garrison at Osama. The following day, the Pope and King were formally denounced by a crowd in the Celestial Square of Christiania. Although the King's troopers forced the crowd to disperse, it nevertheless demonstrated that the Laurasian people desired for Otrepevius to become their master. Then, during the early morning hours of 1 July 1205, Baron Granes and Sir Amathria carried out their conspiracy at the Celestial Palace. Taking command of a corps of the Royal Guards, the two nobles proceeded to disable the security systems of the Royal Quarters, and to spread the news among the staff of the Palace that they were "saving the Laurasian Civilization and Government".

Theodosius is deposed and murdered; Demetrius becomes King and Autocrat of All Laurasia; His Brief Reign; His Deposition and Death; Ascension of Arasces of Meaganian to the Laurasian Throne; The Troubled Reign of Arasces Shuilavos; The Bolantakovia Rebellion; The Rise of False Demetrius II; His Confrontations with the Royal Government; Career of Prince Michaelus Skopin-Shuilavos; Polonian Intrigues; Declaration of War by Sigis'ac; Commencement of the Laurasian-Polonian War of 1209-19; Briannian Expeditionary Force of General De la Guardie; Deposition of Arasces, and Losses to the Polonians; Government of the Baron Granes; Plots to install Wladyslaw of Polonia on the Throne; Murder of False Demetrius II, and assumption of his cause by Zarakstius; Other Events with the Time of Troubles (1205-1210)Edit

The Baron Granes, leading a detachment of the troopers, then burst into the King's bedchambers. The King, who had previously been resting himself, was stirred by the noise, and arose from his bed. He moved swiftly from the bed, but was soon felled by the Guards and taken into custody. Shortly thereafter, Amathria led troops who seized the Queen-Dowager and her personal servants from their quarters, binding them in chains. Some hours later, Granes and Amathria, who had taken control of the communications of the Celestial Palace; had the King and the Queen-Dowager in their custody; and had secured the loyalty of the garrison and government of Laurasia Prime, issued a proclamation to the Laurasian people. In this proclamation, which was alleged as having been composed by King Theodosius himself with the assistance of his tutors, the two men declared their their conspiracy had been directed to "saving the Laurasian State from destruction" and that Theodosius himself no longer desired the Laurasian throne. Consequently, he had charged them with the guardianship of the Stellar Kingdom of Laurasia "until such time as the rightful King is elevated to this throne". Soon after issuing this proclamation, the two men convened a session of the Royal Council and Aristocratic Duma. The two bodies, knowing that they had the advantage, and realizing that Otrepevius was to become King, approved the proclamation and made the "official suggestion" that Theodosius abdicate his throne. During the late afternoon hours of 1 July 1205, Theodosius, escorted by Granes and his henchmen, appeared before the body in his royal robes and formally announced his abdication as King and Autocrat of All the Laurasians. He declared to the two bodies that they should now acknowledge Otrepevius, the "true Grand Prince Demetrius", as his successor, and that his father had indeed tried to eliminate him back in 1191. Following this, the former King, his mother (now deprived of her title as Queen-Dowager by the two bodies), and their servants were hustled to the Post Settlement of Hepudermia, a 4th-century BH complex which had originally been constructed by the Stellar Republic. They were there imprisoned, while the Laurasian Royal Government sent out a message to Otrepevius, whose forces were besieging Clancia. In this Holonet message, which reached the Pretender's flagship during the early hours of 2 July, it was declared that Theodosius II had "acknowledged the error of his sins" and that he had abdicated the Laurasian throne "on his own free will". Consequently, the assembled nobles, people, and Church of the Laurasian people now implored Otrepevius to terminate his campaigns and to accept the Laurasian throne, for "he was the true representative of the dynasty of Honorius the Liberator". Otrepevius, who of course had been informed by Amathria and Granes through their secret connection about the success of the conspiracy, now danced for joy on his flagship bridge and told his men that "We have now destroyed the line of rule of that fiend Gadavaranius". He then sent a response message, expressing his joy for the abdication of Theodosius II and accepting the Laurasian throne. Following this, the Royal Council, Aristocratic Duma, Court of the Royal Household, and the Deputies of the Consultative Assembly convened at the Diplomatic Palace, and in the afternoon of 2 July 1205, they formally proclaimed Otrepevius to be the true Grand Prince and to be "Demetrius the First, by the Grace of Almitis, King and Autocrat of All the Laurasians..." The three assembled bodies declared that Eurymaschus Gadavaranius had "committed a sin in the eyes of the Lord Almitis" by attempting to have the Grand Prince assassinated, and that he was now ascending his rightful throne. Demetrius, who had now ordered his units to halt any further offensives into Laurasian territory, was now acclaimed by them as their King. The garrison of Clancia, which had previously resisted his units, now opened itself to him with welcome arms. King Demetrius, as he now was known, established his operational headquarters on Clancia and issued a stream of statements, expressing his satisfaction at the decision of the three state bodies; his acceptance of the responsibilities of the Laurasian throne; and his love for the Laurasian people. Demetrius now made preparations for his formal procession to Laurasia Prime. In the meantime, however, he decided to dispatch one of his chief subordinates, Honorius Badandius, to Laurasia Prime in order to formally extend his blessings to the people of the capital world; and, secretly, to dispose of Theodosius, the Queen-Dowager, and the members of their household, whom he considered a threat to his position. Badandius departed from Clancia on 7 July with a detachment of the new King's forces, and proceeded rapidly to Laurasia Prime. He arrived at the capital world before the end of the day and was presented to the people on the balcony of the Celestial Palace. Acting in the name of the King, Badandius expressed blessings to them and declared that their new master would be "kind, firm, and decisive". Just a day after this ceremony, Badandius and his associates penetrated the prison cells of the deposed King, the ex-Queen Dowager, and their loyal servants. Employing the use of a "vibroblade, which had been given to him by His Majesty specifically for the purpose of slaying the Gadavaranius family", he dispatched them quickly. Theodosius did attempt to pose some resistance and screamed for help, but his efforts were in vain. On 13 July, the Royal Government issued a proclamation announcing that Theodosius and Maria of Beliania had both "committed suicide", and that their end was due to the intrigues of the Anti-Almitis. Demetrius, who wanted to maintain the impression that he had nothing to do with their deaths, sent a command from Clancia, ordering for their bodies to be publicly displayed. This was done from 16 July, and crowds of mourners were hustled past them at the Westphalian Cathederal. On 20 July, Badandius turned to the matter of the Pope Job. Job had retained his position at the head of the Almitian Church, although he and everyone else knew that he was not to remain there for long. Nevertheless, many of the Pope's associates and subordinates had urged him to denounce the Gadavaranius family and to acknowledge Otrepevius as the true "King of All the Laurasians", so that his life would be spared and he allowed to remain in his position. Job, however, who was a saintly and determined man, knew full well that the true Grand Prince was dead, and he also remained loyal to the memory of Eurymaschus I, his great patron and friend. As such, on 17 July, the Pope had refused to confer his blessings upon the new King and declared that Otrepevius was a "liar and a cheat". Demetrius, enraged by this, ordered for Badandius to place the Pope into custody. Badandius, who received this command on the day mentioned, carried it out the following day, and Job was taken to a cell at the Military Station of Jadia. The Pope, however, remained defiant, and on 19 July, declared to his guards that Demetrius was "condemned" and that the Laurasian Dominions would suffer as a consequence of embracing him as its ruler.

Two days later, the King, who had finalized his progress preparations with the Royal Government and the Viceroy of Laurasia Prime, departed from Clancia with his household and personal armada. He embarked on a slow progress northwards towards Laurasia Prime. The King's armada visited Maroni, Janesia, Dearton's Gateway, Oxia Vixius, Apathamia Vixius, the Augis I-V systems, Clackimaris, Ralina Vixius, Explosansia Major, Chilsia, Americana, Charasia, and other Laurasian strongholds in the Purse Region. Finally, on 24 July, his fleet approached the outskirts of the Laurasia Prime star system. The Viceroy of Laurasia Prime had cooperated with the Mayor of Christiania, the Commander of the Laurasia Prime Military Command, and the Royal Council to ensure that the capital star system was ready for the entrance of the new monarch. Large crowds of spectators, who were instructed to hail their new King and master, were organized. Festivities and parades were planned at the Station of Jadia, the Post Settlement of Hepudermia, the two Calaxies, the Diplomatic Palace, the Westphalian Cathederal, the Celestial Palace, and the University of Laurasia Prime, among other sites. The entire clergy of Laurasia Prime gathered to greet the new sovereign and to extend their blessings to him (with the notable exception of Job). The following day, 25 July 1205, False Demetrius I made his formal entry into the Laurasia Prime star system as King and Autocrat of All the Laurasians, just over three months after the death of Eurymaschus Gadavaranius. The King was greeted with enthusiasm by the crowds, who hailed them as their "rightful ruler and liberator". A sense of joy and happiness gripped the entire star system, according to contemporary sources. Demetrius eventually reached the Celestial Palace and from the balcony was formally presented to his new subjects as their new master. The King now sought to undertake a series of measures in order to consolidate his new-found position of popularity with his subjects and to maintain his position as the rightful ruler of the Laurasian dominions. In his speech to his new subjects from the Palatial balcony, King Demetrius declared that he was determined to "maintain a fair and firm hand over the Laurasian dominions" and to "be impartial, charitable, and honest to all, and dedicate myself to the interests of the State". During the late hours of that day, he proclaimed a public holiday for all of his subjects, which was to last for two months. Fines and taxes were lifted; businesses and public institutes were closed; and largesse was distributed to the crowds, all in honor of his ascension to the throne. On 28 July, Demetrius issued a manifesto from the Celestial Palace, declaring that, out of "true sincerity and kindness", he had decided to pardon those who had been condemned by Gadavaranius during the last years of his reign. The late King, who had, in the light of the emergence of False Demetrius, become paranoid and more distrustful of those around him, had struck against many of the nobles and gentlemen at the Royal Court. The Duke of Cassanova, son of Anastasia Cassanova's late brother, had remained loyal to the King and his associates since his ascension to the throne. Eurymaschus, however, viewed him and his family as a threat, and when False Demetrius proclaimed himself to be the true Grand Prince, he believed that the Cassanovas would take advantage of the situation.

As such, on 27 December 1204, the King had the Duke and his wife, along with their servants and children (including the future Leonidas the Restorer, then a boy of only eight), arrested at their mansion on Cassanova, hustled into chains, and shuttled on a transport back to Laurasia Prime. On 7 January 1205, they had been condemned by a session of the Royal Council, Aristocratic Duma, and Court of the Star Chamber. Eurymaschus, in light of this conviction, had deprived Theodosius of his title and honors as Duke of Cassanova; ordered the confiscation of all the Cassanova estates and properties; and had both Theodosius and his wife forced to take vows and to enter the Almitian Church. Theodosius had to take the name of Filaret and became a monk under that name at the Antoniev Monastery on Chase, while his wife, formerly the Duchess Xenia Cassanova, was forced to take the veil under the name of Martha at the Vellae Monastery on Jenny. They had remained in disgrace throughout the first half of 1205, and many indignities were inflicted upon them by the ecclesiastic officials of those respective institutions. But now, with Gadavaranius dead, there seemed to be no reason for their continuing confinement. In his manifesto, King Demetrius declared that the condemnations of Eurymaschus had been "performed in the name of the Anti-Almitis" and that the Cassanovas were among "the most loyal personages in this kingdom". Consequently, he commanded for them to be liberated, although Ignatius advised him that since they had taken vows to the service of the Almitian Church, they could not be detached from service in the name of the Lord Almitis. Demetrius, who did not wish for the Cassanovas to regain all of their influence, specifically declared that they were still in allegiance to the Church, but that such allegiance "would be elevated to greater heights". On 5 August, Filaret, as he was now known, was formally liberated from his duties at the Antoniev Monastery and was allowed to proceed back to Laurasia Prime on a transport. He arrived at the capital world, along with his wife, similarly liberated, two days later. The King greeted them with much ceremony at the Royal Court and publicly embraced them, declaring that they were "loyal relatives of my late father". On 11 August, he restored to the Cassanovas all of the properties which had been seized from them by King Eurymaschus, although Filaret, because he was now a ecclesiastic, could not regain the title and honors of Duke of Cassanova. Demetrius, however, sought to compensate him by giving him a high position within the administrative structure of the Almitian Church. He needed to deal with Job first, however. The Pope had remained in confinement at the Military Station of Jadia, and the King had not yet dealt with him. On 16 August, however, Demetrius announced that he was going to attempt to persuade the Pope to "turn back to the right" and to disavow his loyalty to the Gadavaranius family. Three days later, the King visited the incarcerated Pope in his cell at the Military Station of Jadia. Dressed in his lavish Robes of State (minus a crown, for his coronation had not yet taken place), Demetrius attempted to persuade Job that he was the true Grand Prince and that he had only "good intentions" for the Laurasian State. Job, however, denounced Demetrius as a "liar, impostor, and usurper" and declared that the Lord Almitis would call his wrath upon the Laurasian Dominions for their acceptance of him as their master. He refused to disavow his loyalty to Eurymaschus Gadavaranius and his family, declaring that the late King was a "worthy lord, who was only beset by problems raised by the froth of the anti-Almitis". Demetrius, angered by the Pope's obstinacy, and realizing that Job would not relent, then stormed from the chambers. On 22 August, he convened a joint session of the major state bodies, including the Ecclesiastical Conclave, and commanded them to pass judgment on the Pope. The bodies of the realm acted swiftly: on 29 August, they convicted Job on charges of "treason, conspiracy, corruption, consort with the Anti-Almitis, and denial of the rightful King". Demetrius swiftly followed upon their conviction, for he now deprived Job of his position as Pope of the Royal Almitian Church; had him excommunicated from the Almitian fold; and condemned him as a traitor to the Laurasian State. On the King's orders, Job was deprived of his vestments in a ceremony of humiliation on 4 September and publicly denounced for his "actions against the rightful King". The ex-Pope remained defiant, and continued to deny that Demetrius was the rightful monarch. Two days later, he was deported to the Monastery of Windowia Photis, where he was forced to become a monk and to take up service in the congregation. There Job was to remain for the last two years of his life, and his health declined severely from the moment he entered the monastery. He would die there on 19 June 1207 and was buried in the Monastery Yard. Pope Nikon eventually canonized him on 21 January 1257 and had his remains removed to the Westphalian Cathederal, where he was reburied on 12 February 1258.

In a proclamation issued to the Laurasian subjects about the Pope's condemnation and deposition on 7 September, the King justified his actions, declaring that "the Lord Almitis himself hath spoken to me to rid our species and kingdom of such a traitor and a liar". Four days later, the Ecclesiastical Conclave, which was still in session, selected Ignatius of Braeley as the new Pope of the Royal Almitian Church. On 15 September, he was formally enthroned at the Westphalian Cathederal, receiving his miter, cross, and vestments of authority from the hands of his supporter, King Demetrius. Ignatius, acting by the King's command, then elevated Filaret to the position of Metropolitan of Cassanova on 27 September 1205, and declared that he was a "true servant of Almitis". Filaret was enthroned on 1 October in a ceremony at the Cassanova Family Estate on that world, with the King sending his blessings to him by the Holonet. Filaret's wife, now known as the Nun Martha, was anointed Abbess of the Vellae Monastery two days after her husband's enthronement as Metropolitian, and was granted custody of her son Leonidas. To that purpose, Demetrius conferred upon her an estate at Istalia, a Laurasian colony-world about seventy light years to the west of Darcia, as well as properties on Darcia itself, Constantine I, Scout, Mercedes, Caladaria, Andriana, Chloe, and Kelby. Having dealt with those who had been condemned by Eurymaschus I in the last years of his reign, Demetrius now sought to "confirm" his status as the true son of Honorius the Terrible. His "mother", former Queen-Consort Demetria Nagayania, had remained a nun by the name of Maria at the Vemay Monastery on Jenny for eleven years. Demetrius issued a proclamation on 6 October, declaring that his mother had been "disgraced by the fiend Gadavaranius" and that he now sought to uplift her position. Two days later, he dispatched a large entourage, which was led by Earl Arasces of Meaganian and Metropolitan Filaret, to Jenny in order to officially retrieve his "mother" from the monastery. The Queen-Dowager, who knew full well that her true son was dead, nevertheless realized that this would be the way to liberty and to restored status. The Metropolitan and the Earl conducted the Queen-Dowager and her associates from Jenny to Laurasia Prime. By the late hours of 9 October, they were approaching the outskirts of the Laurasia Prime star system. The King, many of the magnates of the Royal Court, and his personal entourage now departed from Laurasia Prime in order to receive her at Marsia. Her ship soon approached, and Demetrius had himself embarked on a shuttle-craft, which took him to the vessel. He now docked on the ship. In the bay, awaiting him, were the Metropolitan, the Earl of Meaganian, and the Queen-Dowager. The King, putting on the show of being her son, now rushed towards her and greeted her with much joy. The Queen-Dowager, obliging, embraced her "son" and praised Almitis that they had been reunited. Remaining on her ship, he then conducted her and the others back to Laurasia Prime, where she was welcomed by the burst of the turbolaser honor cannons of the world's platforms and by firework displays in Christiania, as well as by cheering crowds at the Station of Jadia and across Laurasia's cities. Several days of festivities then ensued, during which time Demetrius issued proclamations restoring Nagayania to the honors and status of Queen-Dowager, revoking her connection to the Almitian Church, and exonerating her of all the charges levied against her during Gadavaranius's reign. By November 1205, Demetrius had consolidated his position on Laurasia Prime and involved himself with great vigor and determination in the affairs of the government. He insisted upon vetting and dealing with all state correspondence. The King supervised the daily affairs of the government administration, sending a stream of communiques and letters to his subordinates within the Royal Court. He attended the meetings of the Royal Council and Aristocratic Duma on a routine basis, and made both bodies aware of his determination to maintain his autocratic authority over all Laurasian affairs. Also, in contrast to what Donguarian Chancellor Sapieha and Prince Wiśniowiecki had been expecting, the King refrained from immediately rewarding those Polonian nobles who had supported him in obtaining the Laurasian throne. He did this so as to not arouse the anger of the Laurasian people from a early time, and to give himself a certain period in which to gauge their emotions. By 4 November, however, he had begun preparations for his coronation, but decided to delay the ceremony until after his prospective wife and Queen-Consort, Marina, would arrive at Laurasia Prime. The new King conducted a extensive correspondence with his fiancée and her father; in a note to them on 29 October, he declared that they "would soon be brought to the Laurasian Dominions in light of the arrangements made". On 7 November, Ignatius conferred his blessings upon the potential union, and two days later, Demetrius commanded for the coronation preparations to be conducted in light of his impending marriage to Marina. In the meantime, however, attention shifted back to the Polonian-Briannian War. Throughout most of the year, a stalemate had ensued between Polonian and Briannian forces, for the focus of events had been upon the occurrences within the Laurasian dominions. However, the Briannian Government had not been idle during those months. King Char'lac and his son, Governor Gustenholm, had both been engaged in extensive preparations for the expansion of their military forces and the revision of their military strategies.

In February 1205, the King had convened the Rik'stag on Nystadia. Appearing personally before the body, Char'lac implored them for a increase in the military levy and for the right to impose new commerical duties upon space lanes in Briannian territory, so that he could raise the income which he would need to fund a mercenary corps against the Polonian Commonwealth. Nearly two months of debate and discussion had ensued within the Briannian Parliament, for many of the delegates had come to believe that a peace needed to be secured with Polonia. The Governor of Schaueria Prime, however, sent constant communiques to the body and used his influence with a faction of delegates, led by the Briannian Count Jac'lal Dagarae, in order to persuade the Rik'stag into agreement with his father's proposals. On 24 April 1205, the Rik'stag passed a resolution formally conferring its approval for the King's taxation policies and announcing that no peace would be made with Polonia until all Polonian forces had been expelled from the Duchy of Schaueria Prime. Char'lac immediately engaged himself in preparations for a series of renewed military offensives. He conducted a extensive tour of the strongholds of the Nexus Route (May-June 1205), reviewing the fleet garrisons of those worlds and conferring with their commanders. The King also issued a stream of decrees raising a levy of 6% on all commercial vessels in Briannian dominions; compelling the one hundred wealthiest Briannian nobles to provide for Briannian forces from the personal revenues of their estates; and reforming the value of the Briannian currency, strengthening its stability and allowing for greater sums to be diverted from the Treasury to the Military Command. By June 1205, Governor Gustenholm had begun recruiting mercenaries from the Homidinian Khanate, the Venasian Consortium, Kuevia, Halegothica, the Solidaritan Sultanate, and even Laurasia, engaged as it was in the turmoil surrounding the ascension of False Demetrius to the throne. Organizing these officers and personnel into a cohesive and disciplined force, the Governor stationed new squadrons at Shiloh, Schaueria Prime, Dill, Jem, Boo, Caroline, and Farbrissna. Radzwill, on his part, sent harrying expeditions against the Nexus Route and reorganized his garrisons on Alvurg, Calpurnia (which Polonian forces had secured), Linopking, and Weissenstein, among other strongholds. Nevertheless, Char'lac and his aides were confident that the Polonian forces would be repelled. Finally, on 24 September 1205, active hostilities once again commenced between the Briannian and Polonian forces, as Governor Gustenholm launched a series of offensives against the Polonian bases. He ended Radzwill's raids against the Nexus Route (27-29 September); strengthened the defenses of Shiloh (2-5 October); and repelled a renewed Polonian offensive against Farbrissna (6-11 October), before besieging and reconquering Seth (12 October); Aberdeen (14-17 October); and Solis (22 October). By 27 October, Gitlandia, Weissenstein, and Alvurg were threatened by Briannian expeditions, and the Governor was sending raiding expeditions into the Horacian Provinces. On 2 November, Sigis'ac, determined to halt the new Briannian offensives, designated Choldkiewiz, who had retired to his estate on Denver, to once again be the Commander-in-Chief of the Polonian Forces and commanded him to organize his units for a counteroffensive. Choldkiewiz, who arrived at Avaskar two days later, repelled a Briannian offensive against Weissenstein (5-9 November) and then destroyed a Briannian patrol fleet near Whitman (12 November). On 15 November, a Polonian raiding expedition against Bartello, Theresa, and John was repelled, and four days later, Choldkiewiz gained another victory at Gitlandia. By 22 November, Seth had been reconquered by the Polonian forces, and Gustenholm was forced to end plans for offensives against Goteburg, Linopking, and Calpurnia. On 25 November, however, the chief mercenary subordinate of the Governor, Anders Lennarston of Forstonia (a Briannian colony world on the border with the Venasian Consortium), led a sally against Kalmar, Lythia, and Green. He managed to destroy the Polonian minefields of Lythia (26-29 November) and to destroy a Polonian supply force at Green (3 December). On 5 December, another Briannian force, commanded by Seregant-General Joachim Mansfieldius (a Laurasian mercenary), besieged the Polonian fortress of Dunamunde, which had been colonized by the Polonian Armed Forces in September 1204 as a operational base in Briannian territory. Dunamunde commanded the approach to Avaskar and Kalmar, and if taken, would allow Briannian forces to sweep through the main Polonian strongholds. The Polonian garrison, however, successfully resisted, and on 12 December, Mansfieldius was forced to retreat. Four days later, however, Gustenholm himself launched a renewed offensive against Calpurnia and Rashid, determined to reconquer those vital bases. Choldkiewiz, after strengthening the garrisons of Avaskar, Kalmar, and Linopking, now moved north in order to halt this latest Briannian assault. Lennarston, however, shadowed his force, and launched numerous raids employing his corvette and starfighter squadrons. On 22 December, the forces of Lennarston and Mansfieldius linked up with Gustenholm's force at Bightia, and on 25 December, the siege of Calpurnia began. Choldkiewiz, having failed to prevent this union, nevertheless moved swiftly, establishing observation outposts in the systems of Iskel, Kircholm, and Cesis, which had been originally colonized by the Golden Horde under Uzbeg in 939. On 28 December, he sent a reconnaissance expedition to Shiloh, gathering intelligence information about Gustenholm's offensive plans.

As the year 1205 came to a close, however, Gustenholm and Lennarston were alerted by their operatives of Choldkiewiz's operations. On 1 January 1206, while the courts of the various galactic powers celebrated the commencement of the New Year, Gustenholm and Lennarston moved from Dunamunde to Kircholm, determined to surround and destroy Choldkiewiz's armada. Choldkiewiz, however, had prepared his defenses well, and deployed his units effectively, taking advantage of his mobile corvettes and transports to anchor the main wing of his force. He had also detached a squadron of raiders and starfighters, under the command of Radzwill, ordering them to remain inert at Iskel until he sent orders for them to arrive. On 4 January, the Briannian force, which was numerically superior, entered the outskirts of the Kircholm system and joined combat with the Polonian armada of Choldkiewiz. The Briannian forces, deployed in a checkerboard formation, were flanked by Laurasian and Venasian mercenary corvettes, while Gustenholm, in the center, commanded the chief battleships and dreadnoughts of the fleet. Choldkiewiz, on his part, deployed his forces in the traditional Polonian-Donguarian formation, with the left wing being the strongest and containing the most advanced battleships, dreadnoughts, and destroyers of his fleet. The center contained the cruisers, assault carriers, and runner-barges, while the right contained the transports and starfighters. Choldkiewiz himself commanded the most powerful and best disciplined Polonian mobile assault units. At first, it seemed as if the Briannians might have the advantage: Lennarston and Gustenholm pressed home with their units, attempting to drive through Polonian positions. This was, however, a trick: Choldkiewiz deliberately lured his enemies in, and ordered his transports to launch a series of feint attacks against the mercenary corps. He then ordered Radzwill to advance with his detachment from Iskel. Radzwill arrived in a matter of minutes and launched a offensive against the central formation, employing superior speed and mobility to separate and confuse the Briannian vessels. Soon, the Briannian battleships were sent into disarray, while the mercenary corps, pressed by the Polonian mobility units and starfighters, were dispersed, suffering extensive causalities. The battle ended within a few hours and resulted in the utter rout of the Briannian fleet. Gustenholm and Lennarston barely evaded capture by the Polonian forces, with the Briannian flagship, HMS Ivanlagar, suffering extensive damage to its impulse drive, shield generators, and turbolaser cannon defenses. The Polonian starfighter and cruiser squadrons harried the Briannian ships as they fled, inflicting more damage and forcing many to scuttle rather than be captured. Choldkiewiz and Radzwill then sent word of their victory back to Sigis'ac and the Council of Ministers on Polonia Major, declaring that "what we have done here will happen to all who challenge the glorious Commonwealth". Choldkiewiz himself received much credit for his feat. Chosroes of Solidarita, Christiania of Venasia, Clovis of Melorkia, and even Theodoric of Halegothica himself all sent letters of congratulation to the victorious Polonian General, praising his victory and declaring that "none equal him in tactical brilliance". The King of Polonia, on his part, was extremely grateful, and in a proclamation issued to his subjects on 8 January, commanded them to celebrate Choldkiewiz's victories until the end of the year. As a result of the Battle of Kircholm, the Polonian forces were able to recover the strongholds which they had lost and to further advance their position in the Duchy of Schaueria Prime. The siege of Calpurnia was ended on 11 January, as Gustenholm and Char'lac now fled north back to Schaueria Prime. Two days later, Lythia and Green were reconquered. On 14 January, Choldkiewiz launched a series of offensives against Seth, Aberdeen, and Solis: all three strongholds were back in Polonian possession before the end of the month. On 26 January, the Polonian General seized Shiloh, inflicting a major blow on the Briannians. However, he was not to make any further advances. On 2 February 1206, a report by the Polonian State Treasury declared that the Commonwealth had incurred a substantial deficit, to the tune of nearly 12 quadmillion Polonian krona, in waging its war against Briannia, and that the government would default on its debts unless if funding for the military forces was revised. The Council of Ministers, acting in defiance of the King's commands, ordered Choldkiewiz to halt all further military offensives. Three days later, a emergency session of the Polonian Parliament was convened. The Parliament, which wished to review the Commonwealth's financial situation and to reduce the deficit, commanded Choldkiewiz to negotiate a truce with Gustenholm, to last until Polonian finances had "recovered sufficiently enough". On 14 February, Choldkiewiz sent a request for a truce to Gustenholm, who had retreated to Jem, believing that his headquarters on Schaueria Prime were not secure enough. The Governor of Schaueria Prime, who realized that Briannian forces would be able to rebuild in the aftermath of the devastating Battle of Kircholm, communicated his approval for a truce on 17 February, after having gained consent from his father on the matter. A diplomatic conference was convened on Jem three days later, and on 27 February, the Truce of Jem was signed. By the terms of this truce, the Polonian Commonwealth retained all of the strongholds which it had gained during the past six years of conflict, until the resumption of military hostilities. Raids and campaigns by each side into the other's territory were to cease immediately, while Polonian and Briannian subjects would gain temporary rights of passage through the combatant's territory for the duration of the truce. All prisoners of war were to be exchanged. The Truce of Jem was confirmed by the Polonian Parliament on 3 March and by King Char'lac on 12 March. By 21 March, the front had stabilized, and was to remain in that state for the rest of the year. The focus of attention now shifted to the Laurasian Dominions. Indeed, throughout this time, the course of events had continued to proceed with False Demetrius I and with his efforts to establish himself on the Laurasian throne.

By January 1206, Princess Mniszech, her father, and their immediate household were ready to depart from Ivoria: all which was needed now was the formal permission of the Polonian Parliament. Sigis'ac, who had already approved the union, and who believed that Mniszech's marriage to the new King of Laurasia would serve to increase Polonian influence at the Laurasian Royal Court, delivered a oration to the Parliament on the matter, on 3 January, declaring that if they allowed the Mniszech family to depart from the Polonian dominions, they "would be doing a great service to relations between this honorable Commonwealth and the realm of the Laurasian Power". The Parliament, which had rescinded the declaration of war on 11 December, after Demetrius had consolidated his place on the Laurasian throne, was at first reluctant to grant its approval. It feared that the Mniszechs would become overly ambitious and that they would become forgetful of their Polonian origins. Many magnates also feared that the King, using his ties with the noble family, might attempt to intervene in the internal affairs of the Commonwealth and even manipulate the Polonian nobility. As such, the debate over the matter dragged on for several days. Chancellor Sapieha and Prince Michael Wiśniowiecki, along with the Prince of Ivoria and the Count of Sthanon, were the magnates who were instrumental in ultimately securing the Parliament's approval for the marriage. On 16 January, the Magisterial Court finally passed a resolution granting the Mniszechs permission to depart for the Laurasian dominions, and also granting them the privilege to proceed with the marriage. The resolution, however, stipulated that King Demetrius would have to acknowledge the family's rights; that he would promise to refrain from interference with the Commonwealth's domestic affairs; and that he would remain friendly towards Polonian interests. Sigis'ac issued a proclamation confirming the resolution and sent a communique to Demetrius, urging him to accept its conditions. Demetrius, who still desired marriage with the Polonian Princess, and who believed the conditions were minor, accepted them on 26 January and declared that he hoped to see his fiancée soon. With these arrangements having thus been made, the Polonian Government allowed for Prince Mniszech, his daughter, and their household to proceed from Jared. They finally departed for Laurasia Prime on 4 February, after having made administrative arrangements and depositions for their Polonian estates. The journey, which involved numerous starships, took several days to make, during which they visited all of the major Polonian and Laurasian strongholds in the Central Core. King Demetrius himself, wishing to extend honor to his engaged in-laws, dispatched a escort fleet to Yularen in order to conduct the Mniszech family thenceforth to the Laurasian capital world. The escort fleet met with the Mniszech armada on 6 February and led them along the Goldarian Highway, the Carinan Trade Spur, and the Clancian Trunk Line, up into the Core Worlds. Finally, on 14 February, the family armada approached the outskirts of the Laurasia Prime star system. Demetrius commanded his subjects to celebrate the arrival of his fiancée and to extend all honors to them. He himself prepared the Royal Court for their arrival, and along with Earl Arasces of Meaganian, Baron Granes, Amathria, Queen-Dowager Demetria, and Pope Ignatius, embarked upon his personal flagship, the HRMS Christiania Galactica, in order to greet the arriving Mniszech family. On 17 February, the King met with the flagship of his fiancée, and saw her for the first time in over a year. According to Baroness Vassalina and to Viscount Haley, as well as the thirteenth-century chronicler Abbot Athanasius of Vemay, the King conducted himself in a regal manner and treated the Princess with "all of the honors and respect due to a lady". He now escorted her and her father to Laurasia Prime, where crowds, organized on His Majesty's command, celebrated her arrival and extended their blessings to the Mniszech family. Pope Ignatius himself presided over a service of welcome at the Westphalian Cathederal, and administered to the Princess and her father the Sacraments of the Received. On 29 February, the King announced to his subjects that his marriage to Marina Mniszech was to take place on 8 May, and that on 12 May, they were to be jointly crowned as King and Queen of All the Laurasians.

Although Demetrius's engagement to the Polonian Princess had been known since his arrival at Laurasia Prime, much of the Laurasian population was nonetheless displeased at the news of the announcement. Many Laurasians, especially those with a patriotic belief in their state, believed that a true Laurasian monarch would not marry a foreigner and that, if Demetrius was sent by Almitis to govern over them, he would renounce his Polonian fiancée promptly. In this, they were to prove gravely mistaken. Demetrius, now that the Mniszech family had arrived, remained ignorant of the stirrings among the people. Instead, he now further aggravated them, and in the process, he also alienated many of the most powerful nobles at the Royal Court. At the beginning of March 1206, the King declared that future in-laws should be rewarded for his impending union to their daughter; this was his fullfilment of the conditions of the pre-nuptial agreements whom he had made with the Lady's father. On 4 March, Jerzy Mniszech was created Laurasian Prince Mniszech of Carina; he was awarded estates on Carina, Mommixca, Maxi-casi, Olivia, Muppet, the Sort Drift, Constantia, Stenbock, Goldaria, Yularen, Pelleaon, Natasi, Seejay Prime, and Elainsborough, among other Laurasian strongholds in the Central Core. In making these estate grants to the Mniszech family, Demetrius declared that he was only honoring "the wishes of the great Lord Almitis" and that Mniszech deserved to possess estates in Laurasian territory, for his support of him as the rightful Laurasian monarch. Two days later, his finance was awarded estates on Caladaria, Darcia, Clackimaris, Ralina Vixius, Sarah, Tusculum, Explosansia Major, Charasia, Chilsia, and Americana; she was also granted the right to hold custody of the treasury of the Royal Household, and was awarded a large number of servants and attendants, in addition to her present Polonian household. By 17 March, Demetrius had also commanded the Aristocratic Duma to admit the Mniszech family to its membership and to elevate them in status as "Princes of the Royal Blood", effectively giving them precedence over all other Laurasian nobles. Prince Mniszech himself now became the most prestigious member of the state bodies. This angered Earl Arasces of Meaganian and the nobility of the Laurasian Purse Worlds; the elevation of a Polonian to a position of precedence and honor higher then their own was insulting to their honor and to their species. On 27 March, Demetrius worsened the situation yet further by awarding Prince Wiśniowiecki with the Order of St. Honorius the Liberator, justifying his assistance to him in the campaigns against Eurymaschus Gadavaranius as being the reason for this prestigious honor. On 2 April, Pope Ignatius issued a papal manifesto declaring his full support for the King's actions and threatening to censure any who dared to pose their opposition. Throughout April 1206, the King and the Polonian retinue of the Mniszech family engaged in a series of banquets, concerts, masques, and other celebrations at the Royal Court, acts which angered much of the Laurasian population. Although the Malthusian syndrome had begun to subside in August 1205, and by April 1206, had died down, the Laurasian population had been left ravaged by its effects and in the midst of an economic depression. Unemployment rates had skyrocketed from 4.6% in January 1201 to 14.4% by April 1206. Demetrius had not yet implemented any economic policies which could have alleviated this, and he had refused to rescind the military levies which Gadavaranius had restored during the last months of his reign. Thus, many Laurasians came to believe that the present King was not the Grand Prince Demetrius, and that he had been a impostor all along. His approval rating, which had been at a extraordinarily high level of 97% when he ascended to the Laurasian throne in July 1205, had declined to less than thirty percent by the end of April 1206.

The Pope Ignatius was also despised by many within the Almitian clergy, because of his close association with the King, who was now viewed as a impostor, and because of his own authoritarian tendencies in church administration. By the beginning of May 1206, these feelings of discontent and diversification had consolidated amongst the Laurasian nobility. Earl Arasces of Meaganian, who was now fearful for his position and despised the Mniszech family, had developed ambitions of his own for the Laurasian throne. The Earl of Meaganian, who had once supported Demetrius in his efforts to obtain the Laurasian throne, now sought to dethrone him. At the Shulilavos Family Estate on Meaganian, and at his properties on Arias, Manil, Reese, Tommy, Capital, Meaganian, and the Station of Dosch, the Earl amassed military supplies, organized his personal security officers into a cohesive and disciplined retinue, and planned his conspiracy against the King. He was soon joined by the Viceroy of Laurasia Prime, Lord Domitian of Ostia, as well as by the deposers of the previous monarch, Baron Granes and Amathria. These men had also become opposed to Demetrius and were disappointed that he did not reward them as he had promised. From 5 May, they again secured the confidence of the officials and servants of the Royal Household, and declared that they would soon take action to restore the Laurasian Dominions to "the rule of a proper master". Just three days later, the long-awaited marriage of King Demetrius with Princess Marina took place. The wedding ceremonies, which had been planned for several months, were among the most extensive held in the history of the Stellar Kingdom of Laurasia. The King, Pope Ignatius, and his subordinates, as well as Prince Mniszech, had taken care with the preparations for the wedding, and were determined to impress the Laurasian subjects with the splendor and wealth of the Laurasian Royal Court. A procession took place from the Celestial Palace to the Westphalian Cathederal. The King, his attendants, and the Polonian entourage of the Mniszech family were at the head of the procession. According to the Laurasian Times, they were "dressed in the most costly, expensive, and colorful vestments which have ever been adorned by a Laurasian": most of these vestments had been specifically imported from Momma, which was at that time already renowned for its export of beautiful accouterments, jewelry, cosmetics, and garments. The King himself wore a suit of Laurasian armor with encrusted jewels, and his flowing state robes captured the attention of all who viewed the procession. He traveled on the main repulsorlift in the procession, alongside the Pope and the leading magnates of the Council and Duma, including Prince Mniszech and the Earl of Meaganian himself, as well as his "mother", Queen-Dowager Demetria Nagayania. In the secondary repulsorlift, immediately behind the first, rode Princess Marina, her servants, and most of the members of the Mniszech family, such as her mother and her siblings. She was adorned in a robe of Polonian velvet and ermine' on her head, she wore a jewel-encrusted tiara. Such garments enraged many Laurasians, who had been accustomed to seeing the wife of the fiancée of the monarch wearing Laurasian royal robes. This only inflamed their arising hatred of the King and his advisers. No public opposition could be displayed by the crowds, however, for the King's agents and guards maintained order and promptly suppressed any outbreaks of public dissent. The procession proceeded down a route of fifteen miles, and reached the Westphalian Cathederal in due time. There, all of the members of the Almitian clergy, alongside the Viceroy, the leading Laurasian military commanders, and the dignitaries of the foreign powers at the Laurasian Court, were waiting. The King conducted his fiancée and her entourage into the Cathederal, while the Pope proceeded behind them with his officials and aides. At the Altar of Prominence, they received the blessings of all who were in attendance, and the Pope himself performed the Final Benedictions for Marina. They were then married; the Pope intoned the traditional sayings while Demetrius and Marina pledged themselves to each other, placed their rings on their hands, and exchanged their vows. Marina, however, did not take the oath of allegiance to the Almitian Church, as was the traditional custom of foreigners who married into the Laurasian royalty or nobility; nor did she accept a Laurasian name and confirm her adherence to the ways of the Laurasian people. This aroused a further stir among the crowds and provoked the feelings of the people yet more against the King. The reason Marina did not convert was because her father, Prince Jerzy Mniszech, did not wish for his daughter to be fully "bound into the hands of her new husband" and wished to maintain his family's religion at the Royal Court. Demetrius had acquiesced, although he knew that her failure to convert would weaken her position at the Royal Court. Following the wedding ceremony, the King and his new wife heard Mass; they then returned, along the same route, to the Celestial Palace. At the Palace, a series of banquets, festivals, and concerts in honor of the King's marriage took place. Largesse was distributed to the crowds; the turbolaser honor cannons fired salvoes to celebrate; and fireworks displays were held in Christiania and other Laurasian cities. The marriage was broadcast across the Royal Holonet, and the people in all star systems were enjoined to celebrate. A public holiday, in honor of the marriage and the upcoming coronation, was proclaimed, to last for the next month. Marina was now the King's wife, but she was not yet the official Queen-Consort, for she had not been crowned. Demetrius was King and Autocrat by all means, but still had not been crowned and blessed for his reign.

The coronation ceremony itself took place on 12 May, as had been planned. The procession to the Cathederal followed the same route; however, it was the Pope, Queen-Dowager, and the King's new father-in-law, along with the magnates of the Court and the Government, who received them at the Westphalian Cathederal. Demetrius crowned himself with the Royal Crown of Laurasia, while his wife was crowned by the Pope with the Consort Crown, which had been used since 1147, when it was first employed for the crowning of Honorius the Terrible's first wife, Anastasia Cassanova. Another round of festivities then ensued, and the attention of many at the Royal Court was thus distracted. The Earl of Meaganian, who had continued his plotting throughout all of this, now decided that the time was ripe to move against the King and to depose him before it was too late. On 16 May he made final confirmation of his plans with Granes, Amathria, and the Royal Guards pledged to them. The previous day, the Royal Chancellory announced that the Queen-Consort was to preside over a grand parade at the Celestial Palace Grounds during the evening hours of 17 May. Arasces decided that the early hours of that day would be the time that the conspirators would strike. Demetrius remained ignorant of the conspirators' plans, believing that they were still loyal to him. Then, at 6:00 AM Galactic Standard Time, the morning of 17 May 1206, Baron Granes, who had been instrumental in the overthrow of Theodosius II barely a year earlier, again took charge in a conspiracy, this time against the man whom he had helped install on the Laurasian throne. Mustering the troops of the 1st Palatial District and the Royal Guards of the Great Chromanian Gate, the Baron declared to them that the time had arrived for "this impostor, who claims to be the blessed Grand Prince Demetrius, and who has nothing but ill intention for the Laurasian State, to be deposed and cast into the depths of the anti-Almitis". He promised them great reward if they successfully removed Demetrius and "deposed of his life". The men, who had been bribed by the Baron and his supporters, and who had become disgruntled with Demetrius (primarily because of the Polonian entourage of the Queen-Consort), responded in a eager manner to the Baron's cries. They now organized themselves, and taking hold of their weapons, sealed off the Palatial Grounds. They then seized the Palace's gates, disabled its security and protocol droids, and then sent detachments through the Palace's public rooms and quarters. All those who appeared to be of Polonian descent or race, and who happened to be about within the Palace, were promptly seized and massacred by the Laurasian troops, whose "lust for blood truly darkened this day in Laurasian history". Many Guards, in fact, believed that the majority of those who resided in the Palace were Polonians (which was not true) and that they were all in waiting upon the Queen-Consort and the Mniszech family. This fanaticism was carried to great heights, and many Laurasian members of the Royal Household also became victims of the massacre. The Earl of Meaganian himself, who had maintained the support of both the Viceroy and the Mayor of Christiania, now went about through the streets of Christiania, surrounded by his supporters and the Guards, and armed with a vibrosword. He roused the people of Christiania to the cry that the Polonians were attempting to seize control of the Royal Government, and that Demetrius was planning to appoint Jerzy Mniszech Grand Vizier, a position which had fallen in abeyance since the reign of Arasces the Patient. The populace believed the Earl's claims, and many of them now joined his forces. The Viceroy himself, embarking from his quarters at the Old Royal Palace, now joined with the Earl of Meaganian and offered his men to "the rightful Laurasian cause". The Mayor of Christiania, likewise, commanded for all city law enforcement personnel and police officers to obey the commands of the Earl. By this time, all at the Celestial and Diplomatic Palaces had been awakened. Demetrius himself, who had been quietly resting in his bed with his new wife, heard the security alarms go off and stirred from his bed. He turned on a security monitor and observed, from there, the guards led by Baron Granes rampaging throughout the Palace and calling for his head.

His wife, the Queen-Consort, also got from bed, and having been naked, swiftly put some garments on. Demetrius, professing his love for her, told her to hide in the Royal Quarters and to not emerge until the intruders had been defeated. Marina obeyed his commands, and she now hid with one of her ladies-in-waiting, an elderly Polonian nurse who had served her since birth. Demetrius himself, having armed himself with a blaster and fitted himself hastily into his old merchant's uniform, now fled from the quarters. He sought to exit the Palace by means of the Gallery Passageway, which had not yet been reached by the troops, and to get to his personal starfighter, so that he could flee the planet with his life. He went to the Passageway, but soon, the guards came upon and rushed after him. Demetrius now ran through the Gallery and had to head to one of the lower Palace Balconies. The guardsmen, who were pressing upon him, demanded that he surrender. The King, however, refused, and now jumped from the Balcony. He landed onto a bed of flowers in the Honorian Gardens, which softened his fall, but dislocated his thigh nevertheless. Cringing in pain, he attempted to slinker across the ground. The Guards, however, were now rushing into the Gardens, and they seized him before he could get away. Placing him in binders, the Guards then took Demetrius to the Grand Audience Hall, where the Earl of Meaganian had arrived with the Viceroy and met with Baron Granes. The Baron and the Earl both mocked the King, declaring that "Your Majesty hath incapable of rule" and that "you have lied to the Laurasian people". Demetrius shouted his defiance, declaring that both men were traitors and that Almitis's wrath would fall upon them. During this time, nearly all of the quarters and chambers in the Palace were penetrated by the Guards, who ransacked them and butchered any man, woman, or children whom they chanced upon. Nearly a thousand members of the Polonian entourage, and the chief attendants of the Mniszech family, were butchered. Prince Mniszech himself and his wife, along with their two young sons, managed to hide in a military briefing room in the Lower Levels, and escaped detection. After several hours of carnage, the Guards finally settled down. The Earl of Meaganian, who now held firm control of Laurasia Prime, sent a message to the Queen-Dowager. Announcing to her the news of his successful coup d'etat, the Earl pressed the Queen-Dowager for the "truth" about her son; he promised that her life would be spared and that she would be allowed to remain at liberty if she cooperated. The Earl declared that she should take a oath upon the Almitian Canons if Demetrius was truly her son. The Queen-Dowager, fearful of the consequences, and believing that all was lost, decided to stop playing the game. She sent a response message, confessing that the present King "was not her son" and that the true Grand Prince Demetrius had long since been murdered. She declared that "I had been deluded by the hand of the anti-Almitis" and that she had acknowledged Demetrius as her son "out of fear for my life". The Earl, who now had this message in his hands, then ordered the guards to depose of Demetrius. They now came upon the King, who had been disarmed and who had been left in the Audience Hall, lying there in great pain. Demetrius pleaded for mercy, but he was ignored, and towards midnight on 17 May 1206, he was murdered, a year, one month, and four days after the death of Eurymaschus Gadavaranius. During the early morning hours of 18 May, the Earl of Meaganian commanded for the Queen-Consort, her parents, and her brothers to be found. The Guards conducted an extensive search and finally located the chief members of the Mniszech family. Marina was pulled from a concealed compartment in the quarters of her nurse, and was bound into chains. Granes himself led the men who seized and arrested her; he told her of the murder of her husband. Upon hearing that Demetrius was dead, Marina cried out in anger and declared that "my Lord Ancestors have inflicted upon me a great blow". Prince Mniszech and his wife were seized after a brief scuffle, during which their elder son Jan was blasted to death by the Guards. The Earl then had the entire family placed in confinement at the Palatial Prison, and now moved to consolidate his new-found position of power.

True to his word, he spared the life of the Queen-Dowager, and assured her that she would be able to continue residing at the Diplomatic Palace, with all the honors due to her. Demetria, whose health had been shaken by the experiences, never again left the Palatial Grounds; she died in her quarters on 17 July 1208. The Earl then issued a manifesto to the Laurasian people from the Celestial Palace, which was broadcast across the Holonet. In this manifesto, he declared that he had removed the impostor, "False Demetrius I", and that he had saved the Laurasian State from destruction. Pope Ignatius, who had been at the Post Settlement of Hepudermia preparing for a parade there in honor of the new King and Queen, was taken into custody on the orders of the Earl and confined at the Post Prison Complex. During the late hours of 18 May, the Mniszechs were moved to the Military Station of Jadia and placed under a tight guard. Then, on 19 May, the Earl of Meaganian, with the support of the Viceroy and the officials of Laurasia Prime, convened the Royal Council and Aristocratic Duma. The two bodies gathered at the Audience Chambers in the Celestial Palace, which were surrounded by the Earl's guards and supporters. Appearing before the two bodies, Arasces announced the death of False Demetrius and declared that the Laurasian Dominions needed a firm ruler in order to be "maintained in the face of our enemies". The two bodies, cowed and knowing that the Earl held the advantage, announced that Demetrius had not been the true Grand Prince and that his deposition from the throne had been "justified by the circumstances". They thereafter proclaimed Arasces Shuilavos, Earl of Meaganian, to be "Arasces IV, King and Autocrat of All the Laurasians" and swore an oath of allegiance to him. The news of his ascension to the throne was dispatched over the Holonet to all Laurasian worlds, and was formally announced to the foreign embassies at the Laurasian Royal Court. Arasces, who also received an oath of allegiance from the nobility and the clergy of the Laurasian Dominions, then declared, in his ascension manifesto, that "he would be determined to maintain the unity of the Laurasian dominions and face off against all those who threaten our independence and stability". On 22 May, Demetrius's body was placed in a automated transport and hurled into outer space, towards the direction of the Polonian territories, so that all within the Laurasian dominions would know that "he hath been a false ruler". The transport did not survive the journey out of the Laurasia Prime star system and was destroyed when it slammed into the Intra-Asteroid Belt, which annihilated utterly into stray atoms. This had been the new King's purpose, and he boasted that Demetrius could not even flee back to his supporters in the afterlife. On 28 May, he issued a manifesto, declaring that, while False Demetrius I had been a pretender and a usurper, the allegations of Eurymaschus Gadavaranius being involved in the murder of the true Grand Prince were valid; the King now released the records of Gadavaranius's contacts with Commissioner Magalois of Uglich and his contract with the assassin, Buadari. Buadari himself, who was still alive and had been residing at his residence on Augis II since his retirement from the military in 1199, was now commanded to return to Laurasia Prime immediately. On 5 June, the assassin of the Grand Prince arrived at the capital world, and was there placed into confinement at the Military Station of Jadia. Two days later, the King had him formally charged with "treason, conspiracy, and murder" and ordered for the Royal Council, Aristocratic Duma, and Court of the Royal Household to try him. The trial of Buadari, held from 12 June, lasted until nearly the end of the month. It was in this trial that Buadari made his testimony referred to in the previous Part of the General History; he provided all of the details of the offers made to him by Gadavaranius and the events surrounding his murder of the Grand Prince. King Arasces himself denounced his participation in the Examination Commission and declared that his original support of the verdict which had been offered by the Commission was "flawed and a result of the hand of the anti-Almitis, who was present in the late monarch".

Buadari was convicted on all charges on 29 June and was sentenced to death; Arasces did not wish to cast the impression that he had knowledge of the murder, for if he had commuted Buadari's sentence, many would have wondered why he had done so. On 3 July, Buadari was executed by blaster squad at the Military Station of Jadia, and bore his end with great bravery. Four days later, the King had Commissioner Magalois's remains, which had been buried at his family estate on Lavarania upon his death on 27 September 1199, exhumed, condemned in memoriam, and then disposed of by solar incineration. On 15 July, the Almitian Church condemned the afterlife reputation of King Eurymaschus, and his remains were summarily removed from the Westphalian Cathederal. On 17 July, the King had Grand Prince Demetrius's remains exhumed, moved to the Westphalian Cathederal, and there re-interred; he himself presided over the second funeral ceremony, and commanded all of his subjects to mourn for the Grand Prince one last time. Arasces's attention now turned to other matters. In particular, he wished to depose Ignatius, whom he viewed as a puppet of False Demetrius, from the Papacy, and replace him with one loyal to himself. On 23 July, Ignatius was brought before the assembled state bodies and the Ecclesiastical Conclave at the Judicial House of Christiania. There, he was accused of "treason, conspiracy, heresy, and consort with the anti-Almitis". The Pope, who had remained in confinement since the Earl's usurpation of power, defended himself vigorously, declaring that he had been deluded into believing that Demetrius was the true King. He also begged for mercy and pledged his absolute loyalty to the new King. King Arasces, however, was not willing to listen to the pleas, and on 25 July, he commanded the assembled bodies to pass judgment. They did so promptly, convicting the Pope on all of the charges levied against him and condemning him as a "traitor to the Laurasian State and a agent in the pay of the Polonian Power..." The King, reacting to the verdict passed down by the assembled state bodies, then formally deprived Ignatius of his position as Pope of the Royal Almitian Church; had him condemned as a traitor and a miscreant; and ordered for him to be struck from the formal Papal Records. In a public ceremony at the Westphalian Cathederal, conducted on 27 July, Ignatius was stripped of his vestments, condemned as a "consort of the anti-Almitis", and humiliated, as was custom. His banner was ripped from the Cathedral's stall, and the clergy passed a collective proclamation of damnation upon him. Ignatius refused to remain silent during the ceremony, and continued to profess his mistake in acknowledging False Demetrius as the true Grand Prince. On the orders of the King, the former Pope was deported to the Chudovanian Monastery on Rainnan, which was one of the most disciplined and strict monasteries within the Laurasian dominions. He arrived there on 31 July and was forced to become a Monk of Almitis. Arasces, in a proclamation to his subjects justifying his deposition and banishment of Ignatius, declared that he was "removing traitors" from the ranks of the Laurasian Royal Government.

The King then proceeded to select Ignatius's successor. His choice fell upon Hermogenes, who had been the Metropolitan of Malaria Prime from 1 January 1189 until his deposition from the position by the orders of False Demetrius on 29 March 1206. Hermogenes, who had been appointed to the Metropolitanate of the former Malarian capital world by Pope Job, was renowned for his piety, his spirituality, and his kindness to his subordinates and congregation. Born on 27 January 1130 on Courdina V, he had entered the School of Theology on Chloe at the age of fifteen, and immediately rose to become the leading student in his class. Hermogenes had picked up a talent for languages: by the time he became Pope, he could speak Briannian, Solidaritan, Venasian, Malarian, Melarnarian, Clancian, Polonian, Galician, and Donguarian, as well as understanding Horacian, Ivorian, Murphian, and Schauerian. He had also gained a passion for theological literature and the Almitian Canons, studying the works of the pre-Space Age Popes and of the Laurasian saints, Church Fathers, and theologians extensively. He garnered a vast knowledge of Church doctrine and administrative rules, employing his knowledge to good use in intellectual debates with others. He graduated from the School of Theology in 1151 and then attended the Chapter Academy of Clerics on Charasia, where he obtained a Master's degree in theological sciences. In 1158, after graduating from the Chapter Academy, Hermogenes had pledged himself to the service of the Almitian Church and became a prior of the Order of St. Ignatius of Charasia, a renowned 3rd-century BH theologian who had been instrumental in the establishment of the Laurasian colony and conclave at that world. By 1171, Hermogenes had risen through the ranks to become the Archpriest of the Church of Mark in Nova Constantinople, Charasia's capital city. He caught the notice of the Archbishop of Charasia, Jonah, who sponsored his move to Laurasia Prime two years later. Becoming a member of Pope Anthony's staff, Hermogenes worked diligently and provided spiritual comfort to those under his charge, while also remaining loyal towards Honorius the Terrible. In 1177, he became Chaplain of the Station of Jadia, and three years later, the Bishop of Jadia. In 1183, Pope Dionysius appointed Hermogenes as the Spiritual Deacon of the newly-conquered Malarian territories; in this capacity, Hermogenes assisted in the administrative organization of new Almitian conclaves at Malaria Prime, Manzo, Meehan, Almastead, the strongholds of the Maluyta Nebula, and the worlds of the Narvut Corridor. In 1185, he became Archbishop of Melarnaria, and four years later, was appointed by Pope Job as the first Metropolitan of Malaria Prime. In that capacity, Hermogenes had performed brilliantly. He treated his Malarian congregations with admirable moderation and respect; he assisted in Malaria Prime's integration into the Laurasian dominions; and he directed the construction of the Almitian Cathederal of Achaleus the Hammer of God, which was completed in 1197. On 5 February 1197, Job appointed Hermogenes to the Ecclesiastical Conclave, and by the time of King Eurymaschus's death in 1205, he was a major religious figure at the Laurasian Royal Court. The deposition of Theodosius II and the ascension of False Demetrius I then took place, however, challenging his position and his security. Hermogenes remained quiet during the first months of the new King's rule; Demetrius even called upon him for spiritual advice numerous times, and in November 1205, ordered for an increase in state support for the Conclave of Malaria Prime. The Metropolitan's opposition to the King, however, emerged with his impending marriage to Marina Mniszech. When the Polonian Princess and her entourage arrived at Laurasia Prime in February 1206, the Metropolitan refused to greet her with the other Almitian clerics, and in consequence of this, Demetrius had banned him from his presence. The Metropolitan returned to Malaria Prime on 2 March, and from his podium at the Cathederal of Achaleus, he railed against the King, declaring that "a foreign whore should not be allowed to become the mistress-consort of these dominions". Demetrius, who was enraged by the Metropolitans opposition to his marriage, then sent a command to the Viceroy of Malaria Prime, Sir Hephaestus Maion, on 13 March, ordering for Hermogenes to be arrested. The Viceroy complied, and Hermogenes was confined at the Stefanite Prison, which had been constructed by the famed Malarian King Stefan (enemy of Ahmad Giray of the Golden Horde), in 1073. On 29 March, Pope Ignatius, acting on the King's command, deposed Hermogenes from his position as Metropolitan of Malaria Prime and ordered him to remain imprisoned at the Stefanite Complex. Hermogenes had been confined there for nearly two months by the time that Arasces Shuliavos had ascended to the Laurasian throne. The King, who declared that False Demetrius had punished the Metropolitan unfairly, ordered for his release on 22 May, shortly after he had consolidated his place on the Laurasian throne. Hermogenes was restored to the Metropolitanite, and on 3 August, King Arasces announced his intent to elevate him to the Papacy. Four days later, the Ecclesiastical Conclave convened on the King's orders, and on 11 August, it selected Hermogenes, by a unanimous vote, as the new Pope of the Almitian Church. Hermogenes, who received word of his election the following day, praised Almitis for the change in his fortunes and declared that he would not fail the Church in his new capacity. On 22 August, he arrived at Laurasia Prime, and two days later, was formally enthroned as Pope at the Westphalian Cathederal. Receiving his miter, scepter, and staff of authority from the hands of the King, Hermogenes pledged himself to ensuring that the Almitian Church "remained stable and saintly in the eyes of Almitis". On 1 September, he renewed Pope Job's earlier papal bull against False Demetrius, Demetrius falsae emergentiæ, and affirmed that his deposition from the throne had been justified in the eyes of Almitis. On 7 September, King Arasces announced that his coronation as King was to be held the following year. Preparations for the ceremony immediately went underway. Two days later, he turned his attention to the matter of Marina Mniszech and her family, who had remained in confinement at the Station of Jadia. On his orders, the Princess (who had been denied the title of Queen-Dowager by a proclamation of the Royal Council on 29 May) was separated from her parents and placed on a transport. She was shuttled to Windowia Photis, and imprisoned there from 13 September. Prince Mniszech and his wife, who were then separated from each other on the command of His Majesty, were then deported to different locations: the Prince to Chloe, his wife to the Vellay Monastery on Jenny, where she was forced to convert to Almitism and to take the veil under the name of Eudoxia. Arasces justified his actions against the Mniszech family in a series of proclamations to his subjects, but his actions strained diplomatic relations with the Polonian Commonwealth. The Commonwealth government and King Sigis'ac, however, were unable to take immediate action against Arasces and his government, for new concerns had arisen within the Polonian dominions proper.

By May 1206, the position of King Sigis'ac had weakened considerably. A series of deaths in the early part of the year put a dark stain upon Polonian affairs, while the failure of False Demetrius, his deposition, and death at the hands of the conspirators of the Earl of Meaganian, hampered Polonian attempts at gaining influence in the Laurasian dominions. Primate Tarnowski, who had remained a loyal ally to King Sigis'ac throughout his tenure in office, died at his palace on Galich Major on 29 February 1206, of what was described as a stroke. The King of Polonia, when he received the news of Tarnowski's death, wailed bitterly and declared that the Polonian dominions had lost a "truly saintly figure". The Primate's body was put on public display at the Church of the Polonian Faithful from 7 March; on 22 March, his funeral ceremony took place, with all of the major magnates, government officials, and foreign dignitaries in attendance. Sigis'ac himself delivered the funeral oration. On 5 April, he nominated Bernard Maciejowski, the Polonian Archbishop of Krakow, as Tarnowski's successor. Maciejowski was confirmed by the Polonian Parliament seven days later, and he was formally enthroned as Primate on 29 April. He was not, however, as influential as Tarnowski was, and was not able to lend much assistance to the King in state affairs. At this same time, the health of General Radzwill had entered a severe decline. By July 1206, his life was despaired of, and the King allowed the General to formally retire from his duties of military command. Radzwill died at his estate on Losona on 20 August 1206, and was buried at his family's private cemetery. Sigis'ac ordered his subjects to mourn his death until the end of the year. Opposition, however, was emerging to him. Many Polonians, especially some of the magnates in the Parliament, believed that the continuing war with Briannia, which had remained in a stalemate since the previous year, was draining the Commonwealth's resources and that it was a shameful enterprise. Many dreaded the fact that Sigis'ac considered rule over Briannia to be more important than his duties in Polonia, and that he was using Polonian resources to attempt reacquisition of his lost hereditary throne. The main figures of opposition to the King and his policies proved to be Mikołaj Zebrzydowski, the Magnate of Anthony and Marshal of the Galician Territories. Zebrzydowski, who believed that Polonian resources should be directed to improving the Commonwealth's position in the Central Core at the expense of Laurasia, was determined to depose Sigis'ac from the throne or to at least compel him into agreement with his views. Acting upon his constitutional rights as a Polonian nobleman under the Treaty of Pressburg, Zebrzydowski assembled his supporters, military supplies, and starships at his private estate on Anthony, and from the end of August 1206, sent out communiques throughout the Polonian dominions to other nobles and magnates. The gentleman of Watson, Sherlock, Dorthy, Frogglesworth, Rupert, and Rawling all expressed their sympathy for the Magnate of Anthony, declaring that Sigis'ac needed to be removed from the Polonian throne. On 22 September, having organized a cohesive military guard and insured his financial resources, Magnate Zebrzydowski sent a petition to the Magisterial Court. In this petition, he begged for them to request of Sigis'ac a firm declaration of his intentions, and to secure from Sigis'ac a promise to renounce his Polonian throne if he were successful in regaining his Briannian one. The petition failed, however, as Chancellor Sapieha and others among the King's advisers managed to block it from coming to a vote. Sigis'ac, when he heard of the petition, was enraged, and on 29 September, commanded for the Anthonian Magnate to appear before him at the Royal Court. Zebrzydowski, who believed that his life was now in danger, and saw that the time was ripe to strike, declared that he could not oblige by his master's commands. On 4 October, he and other nobles, including Jan Herburt of Frogglesworth, Stanislaw Stadnicki of Draguilli, Alexander Lisowki of Watson, and Janus Radzwill, Lord of Bartello (nephew of General Radzwill), assembled at his estate on Anthony and issued a declaration of rebellion, stating that they could no longer abide by the orders of the King.

They soon mustered their standard, and on 11 October, began their advance through the strongholds of the Galician Provinces. Watson, Frogglesworth, Sherlock, Rupert, and Bartello quickly submitted into the hands of the rebels (12-19 October 1206), who controlled estates and properties at those worlds. On 24 October, the Magnate of Rawling defected to Zebrzydowski and handed into his hands the military garrison of that world. Sigis'ac, rousing himself from Polonia Prime, denounced Zebrzydowski and his supporters as traitors; had the Primate excommunicate them from the Polonian fold; and urged the Polonian Parliament to declare martial law. The Parliament at first relented, but when, on 1 November, Lisowki's forces conquered Doris, it relented. Three days later, Sigis'ac sent a order to General Choldkiewiz, commanding him to return from the Duchy of Schaueria Prime promptly in order to subdue the rebellion. Choldkiewiz obliged, and on 7 November, he halted a rebel offensive against Theresa. John (10 November); Donald (12 November); and Levinston (15 November), however, were seized by units under the command of Radzwill and Lisowki. On 21 November, Zebrzydowski himself commanded a force which besieged and conquered the governmental garrison at Alton. Two days later, Montel surrendered to the rebel forces. By 29 November, Ergeme, Redderson, and Sydney had also been secured by rebel units. On 7 December, General Choldkiewiz reinforced the garrisons of Horacia, Zutagia, and Zennethia, determined to prevent further rebel offensives. A series of confrontations now ensued at Cinnamon, Pandy, Momma, Sylvie, and Kazin, which consumed the attention of both Polonian and Briannian forces until the end of the month. On 1 January 1207, Sigis'ac issued a manifesto denouncing the rebellion and declaring that his loyal units would soon suppress the outbreak. Indeed, General Choldkiewiz did secure a victory over Lisowki in the Battle of Kokenhausen (2-4 January 1207), site of his victory over Governor Gustenholm nearly six years earlier. By 11 January, Bartello had been recovered, and rebel expeditions against Maschinga, Sthanon, and Satisba had been repelled. On 19 January, another rebel offensive, this time against Draguilli and Wronzaz, was blunted by governmental forces. By the end of January 1207, rebel forces had also been expelled from Kazin and were being pressed back towards Doris, Rawling, and Frogglesworth. In February 1207, however, a stalemate ensued, which lasted for the majority of the year. During that time, Choldkiewiz planned for further offensives against the rebel units, while Lisowski, Zebrzydowski, and Stadnicki reorganized their units. Herburt, on his part, recruited mercenaries in Laurasia, the Amelianian kingdoms, and Solidarita, determined to keep up the struggle with Sigis'ac's forces. Char'lac of Briannia, on his part, watched events in the Polonian Dominions eagerly. On 22 February 1207, he commanded his son, Governor Gustenholm, to make preparations for eventually recommencing offensives against the Polonians in the Duchy of Schaueria Prime.

By March 1207, however, attention shifted to the Laurasian dominions. King Arasces, whose rise to the throne had been assisted by his promises to the people, had proven unfaithful to his word. The King did not rescind the military levies maintained by Gadavaranius and False Demetrius I; in fact, in December 1206, he had ordered an increase in the levies. On 5 January 1207, a decree was issued commanding the Royal Bureaus of the Chancellory, Correspondence, and the Census to ensure that all levies paid in support of the King's court were collected "promptly and without delay". Arasces increased the expenditures of the Royal Court substantially, and he indulged himself with the ladies-in waiting attached to the court. Pope Hermogenes, however, built his reputation up, by comforting those in his flock and urging no one to lose hope. He maintained the spiritual unity of the Laurasian people without directly opposing the King. He did however, persuade the King into finding himself a bride. When Arasces ascended to the Laurasian throne in May 1206, he had been a widower for twenty years. The future King had married his first wife, Lady Elena Remnoria of Capital, on 27 September 1176. Their marriage had been a happy and successful one, although the couple did not have any children. The Lady Elena, however, was diagnosed with the Angrames malady in February 1185; she died on 17 January 1186, much to the grief and bewailment of her husband and family. On her husband's command, she was buried at the Shuilavos Family Cemetery at the Angelus Chapel of Anchoria, Meaganian. Arasces had remained unmarried ever since, continuing to honor the memory of his deceased wife. Until his ascension to the throne, he declared that no woman would ever replace Elena in his heart, and that none could aspire to be his wife. Now seated upon the Laurasian throne, however, Arasces had begun to realize that he needed a heir to succeed him; he had no siblings, and was one of the last surviving members of his family line. Although fifty-three years old when he became King, he now had to set himself to the task of finding a wife. On 1 March 1207, a proclamation was issued by the Royal Council and Aristocratic Duma, in "the name of his most venerable and exalted Majesty". In this proclamation, it was declared that the King had always honored the memory of his deceased wife, and that, until now, he could not bring himself to marrying again. However, the necessities of the throne and of the Laurasian State meant that he needed a wife who could give him a son, so as to continue the rule of his dynasty over the Laurasian Dominions. Consequently, a search was now declared for a woman of "reasonable parentage and noble breeding" among the nobility and gentlemen of the Laurasian State, who could be wedded to the King. The search lasted for nearly two months, and was conducted by royal officials and agents of the Royal Household throughout the Laurasian territories. By the beginning of May 1207, nearly two thousand ladies had been selected and were gathered at the Royal Court. Given a regiment of perfumes, cosmetics, and other such treatments, they were then brought before the King and by a rigid process, were interviewed and examined by him. The King's eyes eventually alighted upon Katharina Rolaskiusa of Clackimaris, the daughter of Prince Peter Rolaskiusa, who had died on 22 December 1203. Rolaskiusa, according to contemporary accounts, was a very beautiful woman, and she was possessed of charm, wit, and intelligence. Arasces terminated the process on 11 May and in a manifesto to his subjects, announced that she was to become his wife. The formal engagement ceremony was conducted on 19 May at the Westphalian Cathederal, with Pope Hermogenes presiding. Preparations were now made for the marriage and their joint coronation; Arasces had not yet been crowned, and his coronation plans from the previous year were now being adjusted. In June 1207, the nobility and foreign dignitaries were commanded to ready themselves, while the King himself underwent a series of rehearsal ceremonies. Finally, on 3 July 1207, he and his fiancée were married at the Westphalian Cathederal, in a wedding ceremony even more lavish then that held for False Demetrius I and Marina Mniszech just over a year earlier. Four days later, their joint coronation was conducted. The King crowned himself, according to custom, while his wife was crowned and anointed by the Pope. A series of festivals, parades, displays, and other celebrations were then conducted on Laurasia Prime and throughout the Stellar Kingdom, in honor of the King's marriage and his coronation. This continued for the remainder of July 1207. The tensions of the people, however, rose to great heights, and from 21 July, a series of protests took place on Darcia, Clackimaris, Charasia, Katherine, Elizabeth, Augis V, Oxia Vixis, and other Laurasian Purse Worlds. These protests, which were organized by prominent intellectual figures and by local protest organizations, were directed against the King's policies. The protesters demanded for His Majesty to follow upon his ascension promises and for him to cut back on the luxury of the Royal Court. Arasces, who attempted to reason with the protesters, eventually grew tired of their insolence, and in early September, he commanded for the crowds to be dispersed by force. This action was undertaken, and tens of thousands were arrested. Although the King's troops managed to disperse the protesting crowds, they were not all to crack down on the stirrings of dissent which had emerged among the people against the Royal Government.

By the middle of September 1207, many of the Laurasian worlds, particularly those in the Arian and Clancian Provinces, were bursting with dissent; some Clancians and Arians even began to dream of the possibility of a revolt, in order to obtain their independence from Laurasian rule. One man now emerged in order to take advantage of these dissensions. He was to bring many of the discontented together into a rebel movement and would move against King Arasces. That man was Sibyritus Bolantakovia. Born on 12 January 1165 on Conservan, he was the son of two Laurasian navigators, Peithon and Anastasia Bolantakovia. The Bolantakovias, both of whom were of humble origin, had sought to carve out their fortune among the stars; they had met each other at a casino on Condtella, and immediately fell in love. Having married at Condtella in March 1164, they had then purchased a house for themselves in Sommers, Conservan's capital city, and there established themselves, during the first months of their marriage and in anticipation of their son's birth. Bolantakovia, however, was to have a very active and mobile childhood and adolescence, for shortly after his birth, his parents embarked from Conservan again. On 17 January 1166, his younger brother, named Peithon after his brother, was born on his parent freighter, the MS Melania, while they were in transit to Dearton's Gateway. By 1170, Peithon Bolantakovia had obtained a shipping job with Christiania Transport, an occupation which required him to travel extensively throughout the Laurasian dominions. He gradually rose through the ranks, and by 1177, had become one of the sub-transit alterns. A rise in his position meant a rise in his salary, and in 1184, he was able to send his son to the Makellian School of Transport and Navigation at Brentaal. Sibyritus performed well at the academy, rising in the ranks and becoming one of the leading members of his class. Graduating in 1188, he then took a job at Katherine Drive Yards and worked at the dockyards of Katherine, Elizabeth, and Chancia. In June 1192, however, in the midst of the Laurasian War of 1192-93 with the Solidaritan Sultanate, Bolantakovia got caught in the hostilities. On 21 June, while running cargo from Katherine to Durglais, he was intercepted and captured by a squadron of Solidaritan starfighters, which had been dispatched to harry Laurasian worlds along the upper Rebeccan Galactic Trade Route. This squadron was commanded by the Solidaritan captain Mehmed Paza, described in contemporary accounts and in Bolantakovia's own account as a "harsh, cruel man who had a love for war and a extreme hatred for Laurasians and other aliens, who in his eyes were utter filth." He treated Bolantakovia and other captured Laurasian subjects harshly. In July 1192, Bolantakovia was deported with other prisoners on a barge to the Solidaritan dominions. He was taken to the Slave Market of Istantius and sold from there into the service of Gazi Pasha, the Pasha of the Roxuli District and one of the wealthiest government officials in the Sultanate. Gazi Pasha placed the young man within the personal attendant corps of his household, but quickly recognized his ability. By October 1192, Bolantakovia had been allowed by his Solidaritan master to become one of the pilots of the Pasha's personal fleet; he served his master well during the following months. The Treaty of Alexandra (February 7, 1193), brought a close to the Laurasian-Solidaritan War of 1192-93; per its stipulations, all prisoners of war and captives captured by both sides in the military campaigns were to be restored to their liberty and allowed to return back to their home territories. Bolantakovia was thus formally freed by Gazi Pasha on 17 February 1193; the Pasha, who had become fond of the young Laurasian, allowed for him to take possession of one of his starfighters, and thus to depart. Bolantakovia hastened back to Conservan, to which his father had finally been able to retire to in 1190, after twenty years of service with Christiania Shipping. His father's health, however, had been seriously weakened, for he had worried about his son and was desperate to learn of his fate. In April 1193, he was diagnosed with the Angrames malady, that hated disease of the era, and it was declared that there was nothing further which could be done for him. After months of agony, Peithon Bolantakovia died on 29 September 1193, and was buried on Conservan. His wife and two sons were inconsolable, and for nearly two years, Bolantakovia remained at Condtella. Finally, in August 1194, he resumed his occupation with Katherine Drive Yards. Demonstrating considerable energy, he eventually earned the right to ship Laurasian products to the Polonian Commonwealth and the Kingdom of Kuevia in February 1197. Bolantakovia, through his travels, garnered a grasp of numerous languages and became familiar with the political and societal landscape of the Core Regions. Bolantakovia's mother died on 27 December 1201, and as a result of her death, he obtained the chief portion of his father's properties. Bolantakovia was now able to settle on Conservan and to take a job as Administrator of the Sommers Commercial Spaceport in February 1202. From there, he became a witness to the economic and other troubles which ravaged Laurasian society during the last years of Eurymaschus Gadavaranius's reign. The Malthusian syndrome, which first appeared on Charasia in January 1204, spread to the other Laurasian worlds, as was already described; Conservan was among the unfortunate star systems to be visited by this devastating disease. The first case of the syndrome was identified in Sommers in March 1204, and within two months, nearly fifteen million individuals within the city itself had been infected. Conservan had a total population of 700 million inhabitants; nearly a third of that number were stricken by the syndrome in a very rapid span of time. By April 1204, the syndrome had become an epidemic in the Laurasian Dominions, and on 17 April, Conservan was added to the list of systems which was now quarantined from the remainder of the Laurasian Dominions.

Bolantakovia himself managed to escape infection, but the incident aroused his belief that the Royal Government was not doing enough in order to halt the syndrome. He remained trapped on Conservan for nearly a year and a half, until in May 1205, a month after Gadavaranius's death and during the short reign of his son Theodosius II, Conservan's quarantine was lifted by the Royal Government. Some three hundred million persons had died; Sommers, which had a population of 25 million at the beginning of the epidemic, now had a population of less than seven million. Bolantakovia provided comfort to many in the community, trying his best to alleviate the after-effects of the syndrome. From October 1205, he began to involve himself in a series of public meetings and rallies on Conservan, Condtella, Dramis, and Reoyania. At this meetings, he became more aware of the sentiment of the Laurasian people, and gained a firmer grasp of political affairs. By February 1206, Bolantakovia had come to believe that action needed to be taken in order to save the Stellar Kingdom from disaster. Throughout 1206, he traveled throughout the Laurasian dominions, attending numerous meetings and using his commercial background to his advantage in setting up contacts in disparate star systems. The deposition of False Demetrius I in May 1206 pleased him, but also motivated him to further action. The policies of King Arasces' government angered many throughout the Stellar Kingdom. In November 1206, Bolantakovia published a pamphlet, On the Condition of the Laurasian Kingdom, in which he declared that the people needed to rise up in order to improve themselves and to rationalize the Royal Government. He called upon every Laurasian to have "faith in Almitis" and to not lose hope. This man, who had once been virtually unknown outside of the shipping occupation, now became the symbol of hope and of reform, and his pamphlet was quickly circulated throughout the Laurasian Dominions. King Arasces, when he learned of Bolantakovia and his appeals to the Laurasian population, at first believed him to be a minor troublemaker; many others of his ilk had arisen in the two years since the downturn in Laurasian fortunes, and the Royal Government had still managed to retain its position. By March 1207, however, that view of Bolantakovia had changed. Chancellor Sapieha, in the Polonian Dominions, established contact with Bolantakovia and offered his assistance to him in a possible uprising against the King. Bolantakovia also established contact with Sir Michaelus Molanckovia of Saray, whose construction firm, Molanckovian Works, had assisted in the redevelopment of the former capital world of the Golden Horde and had been awarded important contracts throughout the Murphian Provinces. Molanckovia, however, also manufactured military weapons and equipment; he maintained arms factories at the Prelone Asteroid Belt; a armory on Murphy; and a distribution facility at Anusia. Consequently, he could assemble and produce the supplies whom Bolantakovia might need in a uprising. In April 1207, the King decided to act. He now had the Viceroy of Conservan, Attalus of Sommers, dismiss Bolantakovia from his position as Administrator of the Sommers Commercial Spaceport. The King then issued a proclamation, on 17 April, declaring that Bolantakovia was a "liar and a overly-ambitious man who will bring ruin to this state". Consequently, he was branded a fugitive of the law; any who assisted him were to be delivered up to the judicial authorities, and a reward of €400,000,000 was offered for his capture. His younger brother Peithon, then residing at Reoyania with his wife Cleopatra and their son Artabanus, were arrested on 22 April and incarcerated at the Harmasian-Bogian Prison. All of the Bolantakovia family properties, including the Bolantakovia residence on Conservan and all Bolantakovia family assets, droids, and equipment, were confiscated by government authorities. On 4 May, Molanckovia was commanded by the Court of High Justice to reveal all of his dealings with Bolantakovia, including any and all correspondence and Holonet communiques; he was threatened with censure and confiscation of his business if he did not cooperate. Molanckovia, however, decided that Arasces Shuilavos needed to be deposed, and that his firm would be able to resist the Royal Government. On 11 May, he categorically refused to obey the Court's commands, and two days later, declared himself to be in a state of rebellion. The King moved swiftly in order to uproot the Molanckovia installations and to insure continued Laurasian rule in the Murphian Provinces. Molanckovia was over confident; his security forces and company droids were no match for the Royal Navy. By the end of May 1207, the authorities had easily confiscated all Molanckovian Works properties, ransacked his mansion on Saray, and seized the members of his household. Molanckovia himself, however, was able to flee from Saray on his personal starfighter, and reached the Horacian Provinces on 12 June 1207. Four days later, he reached Horacia and was granted asylum by the Polonian Governor, Jogalia Asagaludski. In July 1207, Bolantakovia himself fled to the Polonian Commonwealth, managing to evade Laurasian military and law enforcement fleets which had been dispatched to search for him. He too, traveled to Horacia, and was also granted asylum by Governor Asagaludski. King Sigis'ac, whose attention was distracted by the continuing struggle with Zebrzydowski and his supporters, nevertheless heard of the arrival of Molanckovia and Bolantakovia at Horacia. Believing that this would be the means by which the Laurasian dominions would be destabilized, in anticipation of a future Polonian invasion, the King confirmed the asylum granted to them (2 August 1207) and turned a blind eye to Bolantakovia's efforts in recruiting a mercenary force. Bolantakovia recruited Horacian, Zennethian, Polonian, and Briannian mercenaries, from both the Horacian Provinces and the Duchy of Schaueria Prime. He received financial assistance from Governor Asagaludski, and also from his contacts in the Purse Worlds, including Baronet Menes of Aegyptus, the chairman of Narmian Corporation, the third-largest military production company in the Core Regions. By 16 September, Bolantakovia and Molanckovia had assembled a considerable military force; both men yearned to return to the Laurasian territories and to lead a revolt against the authority of King Arasces. The King, who had learned of their flight to the Polonian Dominions, strengthened the Laurasian garrisons in the Central Core and sent numerous communiques to the Polonian Government, demanding that it extradite them and revoke the asylum status. The Polonian Government refused however, and King Sigis'ac persuaded the Parliament to reconfirm the asylum status which had been granted. On 22 September, Arasces commanded the Viceroys of Goldaria and Murphy to prepare for an invasion by the rebel forces of Bolantakovia. The Viceroy of Goldaria, however, by that time Sir Heredotus Thumosis, was sympathetic to Bolantakovia and had become opposed to the King and the Royal Government. By the end of September 1207, Bolantakovia and his military forces, who had assembled at the chief Horacian and Ivorian strongholds, were ready for a direct drive into the dominions of the Stellar Kingdom of Laurasia. On 2 October, Viceroy Thumosis established a secret communications link with the dissident leader, declaring his intentions to assist him once he launched his invasion Four days later, Bolantakovia's forces pushed into the Laurasian Dominions from the Polonian Commonwealth. Bolantakovia, who proved to be a determined and inspiring military leader, managed to quickly brush aside Laurasian forces and to establish his position within the Central Core.

On 9 October, he destroyed a Laurasian patrol force under the command of Prince Gregory Shavoabkshia at the Battle of Putvil; the Prince himself was captured and forced to convert to Bolantakovia's rebellion. Stenbock (10-14 October); Constantia (17 October); Mommica (20 October); and the strongholds of the Sort Drift (22-29 October) were then besieged and conquered by Bolantakovia in turn. On 2 November, Thumosis, as promised, refused to obey King Arasces's orders concerning Bolantakovia and announced his support for the insurgent leader. As a result of his defection, the garrisons of Goldaria, Yularen, Daala, Natasi, Pellaeon, Williams, Goss Beacon, Marshia, Palimisiano, and Pasqurallio pledged their allegiance to Bolantakovia. Three days later, Carina capitulated to Bolantakovia without a fight; by 10 November, he had also secured Olivia, Muppet, Maxi-casy, and Mommica. Bolantakovia's forces then began advancing towards Seejay Prime. On 14 November, he destroyed a government outpost at Petronella, a world which had been discovered by Laurasian scouts only three years earlier. He then sent harrying expeditions which ranged up the Melarnarian Highway and across the Carinan Spur. Seejay Prime was isolated from outside contact on 17 November, but did not capitulate to Bolantakovia's forces until 22 November. Following Seejay Prime's capitulation, Bolantakovia then hurled against Melarnaria and the former Bilirasi stronghold of Ecreutus; both had fallen to his arms by 29 November. On 1 December, he destroyed another government force under the command of Count Yury Dookius in the Battle of Paramine, and by 3 December, his expeditions were penetrating to Constantine, Scout, and Andriana. Seizing Mucahucher (7 December), Bolantakovia then isolated Elainsborough and Bainsborough. By 15 December, both bases had been overrun, and the insurgent Commander was now contemplating offensives against Teth, Condtella, Evelyn, and Hannah. He launched a plundering expedition against Duros and Anusia (16-22 December 1207) which yielded few results, but on 25 December, his forces overran the Prelone Asteroid Belt. The Viceroy of Murphy then began to contemplate entering into secret negotiations with Bolantakovia. King Arasces and the Royal Council had grown desperate, for the majority of the Central Core except the Clancian Provinces was now in the hands of Bolantakovia. The King issued a stream of manifestos to the Laurasian population, declaring that Bolantakovia's efforts to dethrone him from the Laurasian throne would not succeed and that the Laurasian Dominions would soon be brought back into a "peaceful and stable state".

As the year 1208 commenced, the Laurasian Dominions were torn apart by the pressures of civil war. King Arasces had not yet pursued any economic policies which could have had a major impact upon the conditions of the Laurasian populace, and he was now becoming despised by many Laurasians. The unemployment rate had skyrocketed on some worlds to as high as 30% by January 1208, while commerce, manufacturing, and agriculture also suffered from the effects of civil war. The Almitian Church was under severe pressure, facing dissensions from among its flock and having to contend with the demands of an angry and aroused populace. It is due to the ability and the energy of Pope Hermogenes, however, that the Church managed to survive through these turbulences. In January 1208, however, Bolantakovia obtained his greatest height of prestige and power, but he was to soon decline from this high position. On 4 January, he launched his long-awaited offensive against Hannah; the stronghold, whose garrison had been cut drastically by the Royal Government in its efforts to assemble an expeditionary force against the insurgent, fell to his forces within two days. By 10 January, Ruthania and Evelyn had also been secured, and rebel expeditions now seriously threatened the security of the strongholds of the Clancian Trunk Line. On 12 January, several Laurasian magnates of Reoyania, Condtella, and Dramis, among them Gregory Sumbolva, Clement Luapona, and Isius Pashoria, defected to the Insurgent-Commander, offering him their men and financial resources. With their assistance, Bolantakovia was able to blockade Clancia (13-19 January 1208) and to establish his command headquarters at Zagoryia (22 January), which had been a major Laurasian military repository. From these headquarters, he issued further communiques and messages to the Laurasian people, urging them to deny the rule of Arasces. Tensions, indeed, simmered on Charasia, Katherine, Elizabeth, Durglais, and many other strongholds of the Rebeccan Galactic Trade Route against the Royal Government; Bolantakovia actively encouraged these dissensions and hoped those worlds would eventually revolt, depose the King's officials, and pledge their allegiance to him. This, however, was not to be. By the end of January 1208, Bolantakovia and his chief supporters had established themselves on Zagoryia and decided to take a rest from direct military offensives, believing that the government of King Arasces would rot and that the Purse Worlds would soon defect to them. This gave the King and his advisers the opportunity to finally mount a firmer resistance to Bolantakovia; they hoped that they would eventually be able to dislodge the rebel and his forces. King Arasces now turned to his nephew, Prince Michaelus Skopin-Shuilavos of Andriana, who was only twenty-one years old as of January 1108 (having been born on 7 January 1187 at his family's estate on Andriana). Prince Skopin-Shuilavos, however, was possessed of considerable military tact, intelligence, and determination. He had joined the Royal Guards in 1206 and had quickly risen within the ranks, being one of the main troopers who assisted his uncle in rising to power at the expense of False Demetrius. Skopin-Shuilavos had intensively studied military strategy, and he had a full knowledge of the battles of the previous century. In particular, he had studied the tactics and the strategies of the legendary Admiral Claudius in the First Great Goldarian War, and were determined to replicate them against Bolantakovia. On 25 January, the King presented Prince Skopin-Shuilavos, who had ascended to the title of Prince of Andriana upon his father's death two months earlier, to the Royal Court and declared that he was to be the "savior of the Laurasian Dominions".

Two days later, he formally appointed his nephew as the Supreme Commander of the Laurasian Armed Forces and charged him with bringing the "rebel and traitor Bolantakovia to heel". Prince Skopin-Shuilavos wasted no time. He immediately plunged himself into the duties of strategy-planning and military coordination, attending all of the meetings of the High Command and discussing offensive plans with his offenders. He drilled his units extensively, directed all of his officers as to their duties, and announced his intention to establish a command headquarters at Maroni. On 6 February, the Prince departed from Laurasia Prime and immediately headed to that stronghold. There, he continued his offensive plans and began deploying Laurasian units in accordance with those plans. The garrisons of Clancia, Maroni itself, Janesia, Dearton's Gateway, Apathama Vixius, Oxia Vixius, Osama, Tarravania, Sarah, Ausculum, Katie, Arias, the Station of Dosch, Reoyania, Dramis, and other Laurasian strongholds, in the Purse Region and the Clancian Provinces, were strengthened considerably. New orders were sent out to all Laurasian commanders. On 11 February, Viceroy Gunthia of Murphy was arrested and dismissed from his position, on the orders of the King and at his nephew's urging; the Prince did not trust the Murphian Viceroy (and with good reason). He was replaced with Lord Athanasius Dolios of Colsonia, who was a far more reliable figure. By 22 February, the Prince's forces were deployed and ready for their offensives against the rebels. Bolantakovia still continued to indulge himself on Zagoryia, believing that his positions were secure and that the government forces would be easily repelled. He was to prove fatally mistaken. On 26 February, the Laurasian forces under the command of Prince Skopin-Shuilavos advanced from Caladaria, Darcia, Maroni, Janesia, Dearton's Gateway, and the strongholds of the upper Clancian Trunk Line. The Prince intercepted and destroyed a rebel convoy near Maronia (27 February-4 March 1208); destroyed a rebel intelligence outpost on Alienore (7-11 March), and isolated the rebel garrisons of Condtella and Dramis (14-19 March), before repelling a rebel counteroffensive against Andriana, Hexell, and Abriana's Star (20-27 March). Bolantakovia, who was alarmed by the sudden Laurasian offensives, and who believed that the Royal Government was not capable of mustering a resistance to his advance, aroused himself from Zagoryia and sought to advance north, in order to maintain his position and hurl the Laurasian units back. On 1 April, the rebel Commander and his squadrons advanced against Prince Skopin-Shuilavos at Koma, a minor Laurasian colony-world just seven light years northeast of Maroni. Prince Skopin-Shiulavos, however, anticipated Bolantakovia's advance, and he had strengthened the garrison at Koma, which was now defended with a shield generator. The Prince also stationed reserve units at Aquilionia, the Station of Dosch, and the Cron Drift, which were to advance against Bolantakovia's rear when the Prince sent the signal. The ensuing battle resulted in a decisive victory for the government forces, as Bolantakovia's units were unable to dislodge the Prince's garrison, and were soon swept away by the reserve battalions. Bolantakovia was forced to abandon his siege of Clancia and to terminate raiding expeditions against Sarah, Herodium, Lusculum, and the Heuthrian Worlds.

By 6 April, both Condtella and Dramis had been recovered by government forces, who also cleared rebel garrisons and outposts along the Clancian Trunk Line. On 12 April, the Prince launched his own offensive against Bolantakovia's forces at Kolangania. This world, which had been transformed by the rebel forces into a major supply and communications center, fell victim to the government forces. In the midst of the battle, Dumbolva and Luapona came to the belief that Bolantakovia was destined to defeat, and that it would be better to proclaim loyalty towards the Royal Government. The two nobles consequently defected to the government forces and offered Prince Skopin-Shuilavos important importation about the rebel forces, including the location of Bolantakovia's headquarters at Zagoryia. The Prince, grateful for this intelligence, and believing that the nobles had been driven into rebellion through "trickery by the fiend Bolantakovia", decided to spare their lives; his decision was confirmed by his uncle the King on 14 April, who revoked all sentences passed against the two men and had their excommunication from the Almitian Church, imposed by Pope Hermogenes, lifted. On that same day, Zagoryia was besieged by government forces; Bolantakovia, fleeing from his loss at Kolangania, was unable to reach his headquarters in time, and it fell to Prince Skopin-Shuilavos just two days later. Bolantakovia, however, attempted to regroup his forces at Kaluga, but on 22 April, he suffered a further defeat at Tula, a Clancian agricultural colony. By the end of April 1208, Evelyn, Ruthania, Hannah, and Teth had all been reconquered by the government forces, which were also penetrating to Williams, Goss Beacon, and Paramine. On 4 May, Bolantakovia's bridge commander, Pashoria, defected back to the government and offered them information on the strategic positions of the rebel forces at Palimisiano and Pasqurallio; both worlds were compelled to surrender within a day. By 11 May, Goss Beacon and the strongholds of the Upper Galactic Center had also been recovered, and Prince Skopin-Shuilavos was now preparing for a major offensive against Melarnaria. On 15 May, however, a Laurasian starhopper and adventurer, named Peter Visprusius, appeared at Azov and declared that he was the son of the Grand Prince Honorius, who had been killed by his father Honorius the Terrible twenty-six years earlier. Visprusisus, who had with him a entourage of smuggler freighters and starfighters, declared that the Prince's wife had not miscarried and that her child had been delivered in secrecy; he informed others that she had him hidden until the time was ripe for him to take up his destiny. King Arasces and Pope Hermogenes, upon hearing of this new pretender, swiftly denounced him; a proclamation issued by the Royal Council on 17 May declared that the Grand Prince's wife had miscarried and that Visprusius was a fraud. Visprusius was not able to muster as much support as False Demetrius had, but he nevertheless was able to bring substantial reinforcements to the camp of Bolantakovia, who was able to maintain his hold over Marshia and to repel government offensives against Williams, Melarnaria, and Elainsborough (19-25 May). By the end of May 1208, a stalemate had ensued which would last for the next three months. In the meantime, however, other events had taken place.

In early 1208, conflict again flared in the Polonian Commonwealth, as Magnate-General Choldkiewiz was now finally ready to launch his offensives against the rebel strongholds. The rebel forces, however, had also prepared themselves for a confrontation with the government forces; Zebrzydowski, in fact, had readied his units for renewed offensives into the Horacian Provinces and was poised to repel Choldkiewiz's advance efforts. On 17 January, the Polonian Magnate-General and his forces launched a series of offensives against Doris, Rawling, and Frogglesworth. Destroying a rebel garrison on Anthony (22-29 January 1208), Choldkiewiz then reconquered Ergeme (1-7 February) and defeated Radzwill of Bartello at Alton (8-11 February). By the end of February 1208, Montel and Redderson had also been recovered by government forces, and Choldkiewiz was preparing for a siege of Frogglesworth. Zebrzydowski, however, who had assembled starfighter squadrons at Dasinae, Watson, and Sherlock, now launched his own raiding expeditions into the Commonwealth's territories of the Central Core. He harried the outskirts of Maschinga (2-5 March); stormed Satisba (8-11 March); and even threatened the strongholds of the Ivorian Ring Defenses (12-22 March 1208). Throughout April 1208, Sthanon, Maschinga, and Ivoria itself were all threatened by rebel expeditions. Choldkiewiz, however, was able to prevent Zebrzydowski from making any gains in the Central Core, and on 5 May, he recovered Satisba. Two days later, Watson was conquered by government forces in a surprise offensive; a series of confrontations at Rupert, Sherlock, Oh, and Bartello (8-19 May) failed to reverse the progress of the Polonian Magnate-General. On 27 May, Radzwill and Zebrzydowski amassed their chief formations at Guzow, located three hundred light years to the east of Doris, and decided to launch a surgical strike into the heart of Choldkiewiz's forces. Choldkiewiz, however, was alerted by his intelligence officers as to the plans of the rebel forces, and he was able to prevent Lisowki and Stadnicki from providing support to the two rebel commanders. Four days later, the Polonian forces launched a preemptive strike on Guzow; in the ensuing battle, the superior organization, professionalism, and discipline of the government forces ensured victory for General Choldkiewiz. Zebrzydowski and Radzwill managed to flee, but the members of their personal staff, all of their communications files, and their personal flagship fell into the hands of Choldkiewiz and his men. Choldkiewiz now had the advantage, and he now set himself to the task of bringing all rebel strongholds back under central authority. Sydney (2 June); John (4-7 June); Donald (11 June); and Dasinae (15 June) were besieged and reconquered in turn by the government forces. On 17 June, Radzwill was defeated again at Rand, and he was forced to terminate all further rebel expeditions into the Central Core. Ergeme was besieged from 22 June, being reconquered by the end of the month. On 4 July, a rebel counteroffensive against Bartello, Theresa, and Levinston was repelled; by 15 July, the rebel stronghold of Ceres, a world colonized just over five years earlier by Polonian authorities as a mining colony and observation outpost, had been destroyed. On 22 July, Watson was besieged and conquered by Choldkiewiz's forces; Stadnicki's attempt to halt the Magnate-General's advance ended in failure. Sherlock (29 July); Rupert (2-7 August); and Daniel (10-17 August) were then besieged and conquered in turn by the forces of Choldkiewiz. By the end of August 1208, Doris had been isolated, and government units were preparing for a major offensive against Rawling and Frogglesworth. Zebrzydowski and his supporters began to realize that they would not be able to resist for much longer. In August 1208, however, the sphere of attention once again swung back to the Laurasian territories. By the end of that month, Prince Skopin-Shuilavo's forces had finally gained the advantage over Bolantakovia's units, and the Prince was poised to reassert the Royal Government's authority over all Laurasian territories in the Central Core. By 5 September, the resistance of the rebel garrisons of Melarnaria, Elainsborough, and Bainsborough had finally been broken; all three strongholds were reoccupied by government forces. Three days later, Bolantakovia's chief offensive armada was defeated in the Battle of Neal, and the rebel Commander was forced to retreat from Williams. By 15 September, Carina, Seejay Prime, and Mommica, realizing that the rebel was doomed, betrayed him and once again declared their allegiance to the Royal Government. Prince Skopin-Shuilavos, taking full advantage of this, swept onto Goldaria, Yularen, Daala, and Natasi, reconquering all of those strongholds with little effort (16-22 September).

Pellaeon, however, resisted fiercely, and did not fall to government forces until 9 October. By 13 October, Bolantakovia and his forces were restricted to the minor outposts and colonies of the Eastern Galactic Center; Marshia had been overrun by government forces on 2 October. The rebel-Commander resisted for nearly another month, but luck eventually ran out for him and his men. On 11 November, Prince Skopin-Shuilavos, acting with the connivance of King Arasces and the Royal Council, offered to pardon Bolantakovia, his officers, and his personnel if they surrendered to him without delay. Bolantakovia, believing that he had gained mercy from the Royal Government, and ignoring the warnings of some of his officers, accepted the offer two days later. On 17 November, he formally surrendered his forces to the Prince at BKH-898, a previously uncharted star system which had been discovered by Bolantakovia's units during the rebellion and used as a command center. Skopin-Shuilavos, however, had no intention of honoring his promise. Once Bolantakovia's forces had been disarmed and their resistance ended, he received the command from the King to arrest and execute Bolantakovia, his chief officers, and the personnel "without delay". On 25 November, Bolantakovia and his men were seized by Laurasian Troopers; bound in chains; and then executed by blaster squad. Their bodies were, on the orders of the Prince, dumped onto the surface of the ice world Bilima. All of the personnel who had served under Bolantakovia were treated in a brutal manner as well; they were all bound in chains, gathered into groups, and executed either by blaster squad or solar incineration. By the end of November 1208, all of the last embers of the Bolantakovian Rebellion had been suppressed. Prince Skopin-Shuilavos returned to Laurasia Prime on 4 December as a hero. His uncle, the King, commanded for all Laurasian subjects to celebrate his victories. On 8 December, he was awarded the Order of St. Honorius the Liberator and blessed by Pope Hermogenes. A series of festivities then ensued at the Royal Court, which continued until the termination of the year. Resistance continued to fester towards King Arasces, however, and by the middle of December 1208, yet another figure arose in order to take advantage of these dissensions. Although the Bolantakovian Rebellion had been suppressed, this did not mean the suppression of dissent against the Royal Government. Even though False Demetrius I had disappointed the Laurasian populace, and although his reign had ended in a cruel and gruesome manner, Laurasians still remembered the Grand Prince Demetrius; they were now aware of Eurymaschus Gadavaranius's part in his death, which forever tainted Laurasian opinions of that monarch. Many Laurasians wished for an end to oppressive taxation, the imposition of a fair and equitable government, and the restoration of order to the Laurasian Dominions.

On 21 November 1208, there appeared at Explosansia Major a new pretender: a Laurasian navigator and transport captain of humble origins named Diodorus Ascilianus. Born on 17 July 1180 in Labornia, Bryan, which had been established by Laurasian colonists in 1175, after the discovery of that world by scouts, Diodorus was not a privileged youth. He did not have a comfortable childhood, for his parents possessed little material wealth and had been forced to loan money from the Escellian Bank of Caladaria in order to be able to establish themselves at the colony. They had to work vigorously in order to pay off this debt, and Diodorus himself had to obtain a service occupation from the age of fifteen, in order to help support his family. Diodorus's parents, however, wished for their son to receive an education, and although he was working, they ensured that he attended school and did his academic work on a routine basis. Diodorus's work instilled in him a sense of responsibility and honesty. Excelling in his classes at the Labornia Central High School, he earned the recognition of his teachers and in 1197, a scholarship to attend the Royal Academy of the Merchant Marine on Darcia. Diodorus, who developed a passion for cartography, history, and culture, graduated from the class early three years later and was awarded a degree in cartographical sciences. He immediately took a position with the Barabian Transport Lines of Tommy, and for five years, traveled extensively throughout the Laurasian Dominions. He gained a understanding of several different languages and a appreciation for the various cultures and species under the rule of the Stellar Kingdom of Laurasia. By 1205, Diodorus had earned a master's degree in cartographical sciences and a promotion to Transport Captain, which allowed him to supervise the activities of his commercial freighter and to run cargo to various dockyards and spaceports throughout the Laurasian Dominions. It was in his capacity as Transport Captain that he gained a firm grasp of the political affairs of the Laurasian territories: he followed closely the rise, reign, and fall of False Demetrius I, and the events of the rule of his successor, Arasces Shuilavos. By the middle of 1208, Diodorus came to believe that he could carve a position for himself within the Laurasian State, and that, through taking control of the government, he could prove his potential ability as a ruler to the Laurasian people. In July 1208, the Transport Captain moved to Explosansia Major, and, by means of his charm and his energy, gained the confidence of the major entrepreneurs and magnates of that star system. He began to accumulate military supplies with their assistance and to recruit men into his forces. He held numerous meetings with various figures and appealed to the crowds, declaring that the Laurasian State needed a new master. By November 1208, Diodorus was finally in a position to proclaim his opposition to the King and his Government, and to raise the banner of revolt. On 21 November, at the Cathederal of St. Mancius of Ietho (a 3rd-century BH clergyman who was the first Bishop of Explosansia Major), he came to the podium and with the assistance of his supporters, declared that he was the true Grand Prince Demetrius and that the official account of Arasces Shuilavos was false. Diodorus, now calling himself the Grand Prince Demetrius, proclaimed that he wished for nothing but "good for the Laurasian State" and that he hoped that the Kingdom would arise from the qualms of civil dissent. Immediately, False Demetrius II (as he became known by the Royal Government and by Laurasian historiography), gained the following of the faithful. The Viceroy of Explosansia Major, Ptolemy Salies, and Bishop Unigentius of Explosansia Major both proclaimed their support, both of them being eager to gain more wealth and influence within the Kingdom. Within a matter of days, the garrisons of Osama, Lasa, Terravana, Little Mexicana, and Azatha II had defected to the new Pretender; statutes which had been erected of King Arasces in the two years since his ascension to the throne were torn down, and the clergy of those respective worlds denounced him as a "consort of the Anti-Almitis". By the beginning of December 1208, King Arasces and the Royal Government, alerted of the emergence of this "False Demetrius II" and determined to terminate the threat which he posed, had commanded Prince Skopin-Shuilavos to advance immediately in order to reassert order. The Prince prevented Clackimaris from defecting to the second Pretender (2-4 December 1208); repelled a rebel offensive against the Station of Dosch (9 December); and secured the strongholds of the Cron Drift (10-11 December). On 14 December, however, False Demetrius II defeated Skopin-Shuilavos in the Battle of Martime, and two days later, secured Americana. Charasia, Brentaal, and Explosansia Minor (15-19 December 1208) then defected to the forces of the second Pretender, and on 22 December, his second offensive against Clackimaris resulted in success. By 25 December, Tommy and Reese had been secured by rebel detachments, while the nobility of Meaganian and Capital renounced their loyalty to the King. The King's family estates on those worlds were seized and plundered by rebel soldiers, and Demetrius declared that the lifetime of the "patrimony of the Shuilavos family" was soon to reach its close. On 28 December, Janesia surrendered to a rebel starfighter squadron, giving Demetrius a base from which to attack the strongholds of the Clancian Trunk Line. By the end of December 1208, Sarah, Aeoleon, Oxia Vixius, and Apathama Vixius had all been secured by rebel forces. On 1 January 1209, he formally proclaimed himself King and Autocrat of All the Laurasians at Apathama Vixius, announced that Arasces Shuilavos was a "usurper and a heinous fiend", and implored all of his "subjects" to swear loyalty to him immediately. Arasces, on his part, denounced False Demetrius's claims in his New Year's proclamation, while Pope Hermogenes formally passed a bull of excommunication, Postremo Demetrius et qui cum eo sunt esse falsa. The bull declared that False Demetrius II was the "latest incarnation of the Anti-Almitis" and that his claims of being the Grand Prince were utterly false. The following day, however, Demetrius defeated a government force in the Battle of Barahan, and swept forth to the outskirts of the Ralina Vixius star system. Ralina Vixius, which was still far from what it had been before Honorius the Terrible's sack in 1171, and which had suffered greatly from the turmoils of the past four years, quickly defected to his side. Dearton's Gateway, Maroni, and Ausculum had all been secured by 6 January. On 11 January, Demetrius issued a second proclamation, offering to award those worlds which voluntarily absolved their allegiance towards the Royal Government; all debts in that star system would be suspended and all taxes lifted for a period of two years. This proclamation resulted in uprisings on Katherine, Elizabeth, and Durglais: by the end of January 1209, all three star systems had expelled their governmental garrisons and declared their loyalty to the Pretender. In the meantime, Prince Skopin-Shuilavos was defeated by False Demetrius again in the Battle of Fitzsimmons (12-19 January), and on 22 January, a rebel expedition seized Soria and Fucania. At the beginning of February 1209, the Laurasian Dominions were once again in the midst of civil war, and King Arasces despaired of the situation. During these months, the Zebrzydowski Rebellion was finally suppressed. In September 1208, the government forces under the command of Magnate-General Choldkiewiz made major advances against the remaining rebel strongholds of Zebrzydowski and his supporters. A final rebel counteroffensive, against Sherlock, Galicia Major, and Volodormia, was defeated by Choldkiewiz (2-7 September) and on 19 September, he ended rebel raids against Anthony, Ergeme, Watson. On 25 September, Frogglesworth was besieged by government forces; it fell into their hands just for days later, dealing the rebel forces a major blow. On 8 October, Doris was conquered, and General Radzwill, who had assumed command of the world's garrison and defensive fleet, was captured. The General, coerced into cooperation by Choldkiewiz but also offered the chance of a pardon, revealed information about rebel strategic depositions and force deployments. Using this information, Choldkiewiz was able to defeat Stadnicki in the Battle of Neuson (12-17 October 1208), which resulted in his capture as well, and to overrun the rebel supply base on Ralph (22-29 October).

The bases of O'Toole and Crosby were then conquered (1-7 November 1208), cutting off most supply lines to Rawling, which was now the last major stronghold in the possession of Zebrzydowski's forces. Zebrzydowski and Lisowki, however, were able to prevent government forces from conquering rebel garrisons on Zanackia and Zurakia (12-19 November). By the end of November 1208, however, Choldkiewiz's forces had gained the clear advantage, and the siege of Rawling commenced on 6 December. Even though they were now in dire straits, Zebrzydowski and Lisowki were able to mount a major resistance at Rawling. Eventually, however, rebel forces were worn down, and on 27 January, the two rebel magnates announced to their commanders that they intended to seek negotiations with King Sigisiac and the Polonian Parliament in order to terminate the rebellion. Three days later, they sent a secret communique to General Choldkiewiz, offering to terminate their rebellion and to have their official submission to the King made in the presence of the Parliament. Choldkiewiz retransmitted the message to Polonia Major, and recommended to the King that he accept the offer. Sigis'ac and his advisers held a series of debates, and on 7 February, he granted his approval. Zebrzydowski and Lisowki surrendered to Choldkiewiz two days later and were escorted to Polonia Major. On 17 February, they appeared before the two houses of the Polonian Parliament, which had been brought into special session by King Sigis'ac. The Parliament, extending clemency to them, declared that the rebellion was formally over. On 24 February, King Sigis'ac appeared and the two rebel leaders renewed their oath of allegiance to him, which he accepted. By the end of February 1209, Standicki and Radzwill had been released from prison and also renewed their oath of allegiance to the Polonian King. All of the Polonian Dominions were once again at peace. Sigis'ac was now finally able to turn his attention to affairs in the Laurasian Dominions. The King decided to extend his support to False Demetrius II and to permit those nobles who had supported the previous False Demetrius to support this one. On 4 March, he extended official recognition to False Demetrius II as King and had the Laurasian ambassador to the Polonian Court, Sir Germanicus Magaius (who had been appointed by King Arasces in October 1208), arrested and bound in chains. Two days later, Donguarian Chancellor Sapieha, Prince Wiśniowiecki, Prince Ostrogski of Ivoria, and the Magnate of Polonian Esther all declared their support for the new Pretender and raised mercenary corps in his support. By the middle of March 1209, False Demetrius II had reformed his military forces, incorporating the mercenary corps and their commanders into his units. He also effectively deployed the financial resources whom the Polonian nobles had provided him, and declared that, as he was receiving such generous support from the Polonian Dominions, he would be bound by his honor to always be a "ally and supporter of the Commonwealth". On 22 March, False Demetrius II defeated Skopin-Shuilavos again in the Battle of Arias, and conquered the stronghold. Four days later, the garrisons of Reoyania, Conservan, and Condtella defected to him, providing Demetrius an important base of support in the Central Core and allowing him to sever the government's communications with Clancia, Teth, and the strongholds of the Upper Galactic Center. On 2 April, Demetrius's forces stormed Andriana, and four days later, harried the outskirts of the Constantine Cluster. His units were now pressing to Windowia Photis, Chloe, and Jenny.

On 14 April, Demetrius announced his intention to free Marina Mniszech, and her parents from confinement, and furthermore he declared that he would restore them to the positions which they previously enjoyed, out of "kindness for the late King, who believed that he was of my personage..." and out of "concern for diplomatic relations with the Polonian Dominions". Rainnan, Kelby, and Mercedes were then besieged and conquered by the Second Pretender's forces (15-19 April 1209), inflicting a severe blow upon the position of King Arasces. The Pretender then destroyed a government force at Petra (20 April) and conquered government outposts on Tyndaris, Metallasia, and Xoca (21-27 April). On 29 April, the Pretender's forces easily breached the defenses of Windowia Photis, and on his orders, Marina was freed from her cell. When she was presented before the Second Pretender, the Polonian Princess fell to her knees and declared that "he was her true husband, and the true representative of the Laurasian Dominions". Demetrius, seeking to curry more favor from the Polonians, and anxious to find for himself a wife who could quickly procure a heir for his claims, announced, on 4 May, that they were to be formally married. Although Demetrius's action increased his standing in the Polonian Dominions, it weakened his status with the Laurasian people, some of whom were no longer willing to support him in his claims. As a result of this, Skopin-Shuilavos was able to defeat Demetrius at Paradine (5-11 May 1209) and was able to prevent a rebel offensive against Melarnaria, Pasquarillo, and Bainsborough. On 14 May, the garrison of Courdina V refused to surrender to the Pretender's forces, and Demetrius was forced to lay it under siege. On 22 May, he established a operational headquarters on Tushino, just eight light years to the west of Laurasia Prime, and from there sent his units to harry the surrounding star systems. Ietas, Venusia, Ganog, and Constantine I fell victim to the ravages of the Pretender's forces (May-June 1209), and Demetrius could not be dislodged by Skopin-Shuilavos. By this point, Arasces and the Royal Council had become desperate. The King believed that he did not possess sufficient authority and ability to repel the Second Pretender, and now turned to his other options. He and his advisers were well aware of Briannian hostility towards the Polonian Commonwealth; they knew that a state of war had continued to remain in effect between the two powers, even though they had not been engaged in active hostilities for over three years. Arasces now thought that he could use this to his advantage. On 5 June, the Laurasian ambassador to the Briannian court, Sir Argaeus Dalitus, held a official audience with King Char'lac and Governor Gustenholm at the Cresli Palace on Nystadia. In this audience, the Ambassador declared that the rebellion of False Demetrius II was "a severe threat to the tranquility of the Core Regions" and that only the restoration of peace in the Laurasian Dominions would ensure that all powers would be in an equilibrium. The Ambassador then pointed out that the stalemate between Briannian and Polonian forces in the Duchy of Schaueria Prime was "a shameful occurrence" and that the Laurasian Royal Government believed that Briannia should be master of those dominions. Consequently, the Ambassador proposed an alliance between the two powers, so that a balance of power could be restored and Polonian ambitions restrained. Char'lac and Gustenholm were pleased about the Laurasian offer; it would give them an excuse to recommence hostilities with Sigis'ac, and to finally expel Polonian forces from the Duchy of Schaueria Prime.

Over the past three years, the King of Briannia and his son (whom he had named as his heir-apparent on 27 December 1208), had been assembling their military forces at the Nexus Route, Schaueria Prime, and Nystadia, determined to launch a counteroffensive against the Polonian units. They were determined to gain an advantage for the Briannian State. Four days after the audience, the King of Briannia declared that he would be agreeable to supporting Laurasia; however, he demanded that King Arasces concede all strongholds recovered by Laurasia as a result of the Treaty of Teushina back to his authority, and that the King undertake to pay a financial indemnity to Char'lac for his support. Ambassador Dalitus, when he communicated these demands to the Laurasian Royal Court, recommended that the King consent to them, for otherwise, "the Royal Dominions will be doomed to the rule of a usurper who will ruin us." Arasces and the Royal Council debated on the matter for several days. Pope Hermogenes, on his part, urged the King to resist the demands, declaring that Almitis would protect the Laurasian throne and people. The King, however, felt he had no choice; on 16 June, he communicated to the Briannian Court his approval of the demands. On 19 June, the Briannian Rikstag agreed to allow for negotiations to proceed. Over the next four days, Ambassador Dalitus fixed the final terms of the alliance treaty with King Char'lac, Governor Gustenholm, and the Council of Advisers. On 25 June 1209, the Treaty of Nystadia was signed. By the terms of this treaty, a military and diplomatic alliance was established between the Stellar Kingdom of Laurasia and the Celestial Kingdom of Briannia, to last for a period of ten years; it would be extended if both governments "deemed it necessary". Char'lac agreed to provide to the Laurasian Royal Government a military armada, under the command of one of his trusted generals, to assist the King of Laurasia in "suppressing the forces of the Pretender". Arasces, on his part, acknowledged Briannian rule of the Duchy of Schaueria Prime, and promised to support Briannian efforts to recover it from the Polonian Commonwealth. He also agreed to compensate Char'lac for the expenses of the Briannian Expeditionary Force, and to grant free trade privileges to Briannian merchants in his dominions for a period of twenty years. Finally, Arasces agreed to the concession of "all strongholds and worlds recovered in 1195" back to the Briannian Government: Smithia, Archleuta, Colsonia, Tyleria Perea, and Jessica Perea were to be handed back to the Briannian Government by no later than 1 January 1212, unless if continuing hostilities with the Polonian Commonwealth made that impractical. The Treaty of Nystadia was ratified by King Arasces on 29 June and by King Char'lac (with the Briannian Rikstag) on 1 July. On 4 July, Char'lac held a audience with Ambassador Dalitus and confirmed the Briannian acknowledgment of the terms of the Treaty of Nystadia. Two days later, the King of Briannia appointed the Alemedan General Jacobus De la Gardie as the Commander-in-Chief of the Briannian Expeditionary Force. De la Gardie, who received his seals of office in a formal ceremony on 9 July at his estate on Alemeda, then appointed his cousin and loyal subordinate, Evert Horn of Vardar, as his subordinate Commander. By 16 July, the Briannian Expeditionary Force, whose squadrons had assembled at Nystadia, Alemeda, Vardar, the Belts of Barton, Teushina, Jem, Dill, Atticus, and Jean, was ready to depart for the Laurasian Dominions. False Demetrius II, hearing of the conclusion of the Treaty of Nystadia, and hoping to forestall the Royal Government's hopes of effectively employing Briannian assistance, launched a offensive against Laurasian units along the Metallasian Trade Corridor (17-25 July 1209). Rebel fleets attacked a Laurasian patrol force near Pixley; secured Venusia; destroyed a government outpost on Benjamin; and penetrated to the outskirts of Katherine, Rebecca, and Durglais. Skopin-Shuilavos, however, was ultimately able to stabilize the front lines, and by the end of July 1209, the Pretender's forces had retreated to their strongholds. On 2 August, the forces of the Pretender breached the defenses of Chloe and freed Princess Mniszech's father from imprisonment. Prince Jerzy, who declared that he was grateful to "the gods of his Ancestors" for his liberation from captivity, then praised the Pretender for freeing his daughter and declared that he would soon dethrone the fiend Demetrius from his throne. On 7 August, he granted his permission for a marriage to take place between his daughter and the Pretender; a pre-nuptial agreement was signed on 11 August, and the date for the wedding was set for September. On 15 August, Demetrius's forces defeated Skopin-Shuilavo's chief subordinate, Count Demetrius Shuilavos of Apathama Vixius, in the Battle of Neugen, and shortly thereafter breached the defenses of Jenny. Marina's mother, now the Laurasian Nun Eudoxia, was also freed from captivity and was reunited with her family. She too, proclaimed her support for the Pretender's impending marriage with her daughter. On 24 August, however, False Demetrius's renewed offensive against Arias, the Cron Drift, and Hammenor ended in failure; Skopin-Shuilavos managed to capture a number of rebel starfighters and transports. Three days later, the Briannian Expeditionary Force finally departed from Nystadia and combined with the Laurasian governmental forces at the Command Center of Arias. From this vantage point, Skopin-Shuilavos and General De la Gardie were able to secure a succession of minor victories over the Pretender. They repelled his offensive against Katie (29 August-3 September 1209); destroyed a rebel transport fleet near Tommy (5 September), and secured Molodi from further offensives (6-11 September).

On 13 September, Venusia was recovered. Three days later, a government force managed to repel rebel harrying parties from Clancia and the Belts of Harmony. By this point, however, King Sigis'ac had become alarmed. The King believed that the Briannian intervention was but the beginning; he now realized that Briannia and Laurasia had a formal military alliance. The King of Polonia feared that once the Pretender was defeated, Laurasian forces would assist the Briannians in recovering the Duchy of Schaueria Prime. In this he was correct; on 22 September, Polonian spies at the Laurasian Royal Court confirmed that Arasces had indeed signed a treaty of alliance with Polonia's arch-enemy, Char'lac of Briannia. Using the information thus obtained, Sigis'ac appeared before the Polonian Parliament on 27 September, denouncing the Briannian-Laurasian "conspiracy". He declared that the Polonian Commonwealth's very interests in the Central Core were now threatened, and that Arasces would do anything in order to recover Laurasian losses from the Ivorian War. The King's argument swayed many of the Polonian magnates, who were no longer under the influence of the Laurasian Ambassador, who had been Sir Demetrius Neurius from 1 June 1209. Neurius, in fact, had been banished from the Polonian Court by King Sigis'ac on 1 September, shortly after he had received word of the Briannian Expeditionary Force appearing in Laurasian territory. Prince Wiśniowiecki, Chancellor Sapieha, and even now, the leading figures of the aborted Zebrzydowski Rebellion (Zebrzydowski himself, as well as Lisowki, Stadnicki, and Radzwill), as well as Primate Woloych Barandazki (who had succeeded Primate Maciejowski after the latter's death on 8 January 1208), all supported the King, declaring that now was the time for Polonia to intervene in the Laurasian Troubles, as they were now widely known. The Magisterial Court began its deliberations over the matter on 30 September. Finally, on 7 October, it voted in favor of a declaration of war against the Stellar Kingdom of Laurasia, declaring that the Royal Government had been "deceitful and displayed great scrupulousness and greed in its dealings with this Commonwealth". The Royal Senate passed a similar motion two days later, and on 15 October, the Parliament formally authorized King Sigis'ac to take action in the Laurasian Dominions. On 19 October, Sigis'ac issued a declaration of war from the Palace of Kings on Polonia Major against the Stellar Kingdom of Laurasia. All Laurasian subjects residing in or traveling through Polonian dominions were promptly arrested and imprisoned; all Almitian conclaves within Polonian territory were disbanded; and the business assets of Laurasian nobles and corporations in Polonian space were frozen. Four days later, Sigis'ac declared that the Truce of Jem was no longer in effect, and that a state of active hostility had resumed between the Polonian-Donguarian Commonwealth and the Celestial Kingdom of Briannia. The Polonian-Laurasian War of 1209-1219 had commenced, which was to dominate the course of events in the Core Regions during the following decade and result in severe reverses for the Laurasian Royal Government. Shortly after the Polonian declarations of war, new fronts opened in the Central Core and the Duchy of Schaueria Prime. On 25 October, Polonian units, which had been assembled at Shiloh, Avaskar, Calpurnia, Seth, Aberdeen, Goteborg, Kalmar, and Linopking, advanced into the northern territories of the Duchy. These forces were commanded by Magnate-General Choldkiewiz, who had convalesced at his estates on Frogglesworth since the suppression of the Zebrzydowski Rebellion earlier in the year. He quickly obtained a string of victories over the Briannian garrisons there. The Polonian General besieged and conquered Smithia, whom Laurasian authorities were preparing to transfer to the Briannian Government (26-27 October 1209). On 29 October, he defeated Briannian Admiral Tulal (nephew of Olal, who had died from the lephemus virus on 27 January 1209), in the Battle of Eavkcstone. Four days later, Archleuta's paltry Laurasian garrison was overwhelmed, and Polonian units occupied the world. Polonian fleets then harried Dorothy, Hordania, and Lydia (3-9 November 1209). On 14 November, a Briannian counteroffensive, launched from the Decapolian Worlds, penetrated to the outskirts of Calpurnia, Kexholm, and Iskel, but was repelled two days later. By the end of November 1209, Schaueria Prime had been besieged, and all other Laurasian enclaves in the Duchy of Schaueria Prime had been isolated by Polonian fleets. In the meantime, on 29 October, a large Polonian armada, commanded by former rebels Radzwill and Lisowski invaded the Laurasian Central Core, using Ivoria, Maschinga, Satisba, and Sthanon as military bases. Laurasian government forces in the southern districts of the Central Core, isolated from the units in the Purse Region by the rebel units of False Demetrius II, proved no match to the Polonian invaders. General Radzwill besieged and conquered Daala (29 October-6 November 1209); stormed the Laurasian operational center on Stenbock (7-9 November); and harried the outskirts of Elainsborough (10-14 November), before storming Olivia (15-19 November); Yularen (20 November); Natasi (22 November); Pellaeon (24 November); and the strongholds of the Sort Drift (25-29 November). By the end of November 1209, Polonian forces were pressing towards Goldaria and Amyia. On 3 December, Sigis'ac, encouraged by the victories of his generals in the Duchy of Schaueria Prime and the Central Core, announced that he was taking personal command of the military forces and would direct the siege efforts of Goldaria. The King's announcement sent ripples throughout the Laurasian Dominions, as the Royal Government now feared that many would defect to the King's cause. On 6 December, the Parliament formally granted the King permission to leave his dominions, in order to command the offensives. It designated the Council of Ministers and Primate Barandazki to govern the Polonian State in his name until he returned. Then, on 11 December, Sigis'ac departed from Polonia Major with his entourage. Proceeding rapidly through the Galician Provinces, along the Denveranian Trunk Line, he reached Ivoria two days later. The King established his command headquarters there and sent orders to Radzwill and Lisowski, commanding them to conquer Amyia. Amyia was besieged from 12 December, falling to Polonian forces eight days later. On 24 December, Sigis'ac arrived at Stenbock, now the frontline operational headquarters of the Polonian Forces, and made ready for the advance to Goldaria. In the meantime, False Demetrius II, hearing of the Polonian invasion, came to the belief that with the assistance of Sigis'ac, he would be able to defeat Prince Skopin-Shuilavos and the Briannian Expeditionary Force. These hopes were to prove false. On 26 December, Chancellor Sapieha convened a secret conference at his estate on Donguaria Prima, in order to discuss about the matter of the Laurasian Pretender. This conference was attended by the Magnate of Esther, Prince Ostrogski of Ivoria, Prince Wiśniowiecki and his brother, the Count of Sthanon, among other magnates. Sapieha, who believed that False Demetrius II would ultimately lose sight of his promises and would not act as a "loyal ally of the Polonian Commonwealth", declared that it would be better if either King Sigis'ac or, preferably, his son Wladyslaw, gained the Laurasian throne. Sapieha declared that Demetrius's forces had not progressed "as expected" and that it was illogical to support him. During the late hours of 31 December, the last day of 1209, it was agreed that support for False Demetrius II by the magnates would be officially terminated.

The following day, 1 January 1210, the Caladarian Galaxy, with the exception of the embattled Stellar Kingdom of Laurasia, celebrated the commencement of 1210 and of a new decade. The second decade of the thirteenth century commenced with the Core Regions engrossed in a state of war. King Arasces, in his New Year's proclamation, declared that the Lord Almitis "would give us strength" and that the Laurasian Dominions would withstand the threat of False Demetrius II and of the Polonian invaders. And indeed, during the early months of 1210, Laurasian fortunes came to vary in the differing theaters of conflict. In the Central Core, Polonian forces continued to advance. Muppet was besieged from the early hours of New Year's Day, falling to Polonian forces on 4 January. Two days later, King Sigis'ac, who was now personally commanding the Polonian naval forces in battle, defeated a Laurasian squadron under the command of Prince Michaelus Shetius in the Battle of Mommica. By 11 January, Maxc-casi and Carina had been isolated by Polonian units. On 16 January, Sigis'ac appointed the Galician Hetman Stanislaw Zolywieski, a veteran of the Zebrzydowski Rebellion, the Polonian-Briannian War (still ongoing after over a decade), the Sigis'can Civil War, and the Ivorian War, as the operational commander of his squadrons and ordered him to advance towards Goldaria. General Zolywieski inflicted a series of defeats upon Laurasian garrisons in the vicinity of Goldaria. He destroyed a Laurasian outpost on Blurthie (12-14 January 1210); annhilated a Laurasian patrol near Sonnia (15 January); and sent a harrying expedition against Gos Beacon (16-21 January), before preventing a Laurasian counteroffensive from Marshia and Teth. On 25 January, Zolywieski's forces finally reached the outskirts of the Goldaria star system and imposed a blockade, suppressing all civilian and commerical traffic to and from the system. Prince Shetius, who had managed to retreat back to Goldaria in front of the Polonian forces, took command of the garrison of Goldaria and arranged its defenses. By that point, the world had been under Laurasian rule for almost forty-nine years. The Goldarian garrison was heavily outnumbered, with only 300 warships and 1.9 million troopers, against a Polonian armada of nearly 600 warships and some 3 million troops. Prince Shetius, however, took advantage of the minefields and orbital arrays in the system, determined to prevent the Polonians from taking Goldaria. Goldaria's defenses had been strengthened by False Demetrius I during his brief reign, and thus proved to be a major obstacle to the Polonian armada. On 26 January, General Zolywieski launched his first offensive against the defenses of Goldaria. Polonian starfighters and corvettes attempted to penetrate the relay defenses, while Polonian transports and destroyers tried to disrupt the minefields. Their effort, however, proved to be in vain, and two days later, Zolywieski pulled his forces back. Polonian forces launched three more offensives: on 29 January, 3-4 February, and 17 February, to no avail. By the end of February 1210, Polonian forces had settled in for a long siege of Goldaria, which was to drag on throughout the remainder of the year. Sigis'ac, however, did not remain inactive during this time. On 21 January 1210, the King issued a proclamation from Stenbeck, in which he claimed that his invasion of the Laurasian Central Core was directed "only towards restoring peace and tranquility in the Core Regions". He declared that he had "true concern for the subjects of the Laurasian Power" and that he was worried about Laurasian welfare. Consequently, he was working to depose Arasces, the "evil tyrant", and to bring the Laurasian Dominions a new, firmer master: some believed that he was referring to False Demetrius II. This however, was incorrect, as Sigis'ac by this point no longer supported the Pretender and was now seeking to impose the rule of his dynasty over the Laurasians. In fact, on 29 January, Sigis'ac formally declared that he no longer supported the Pretender, whose claims to be thew Grand Prince Demetrius were "utterly false". Sigis'ac declared that he sought to remove the Pretender from his position as well and to "end his ravages in the Purse Region". Two days later, Chancellor Sapieha issued a proclamation for the noble supporters of False Demetrius II, revealing to the public the conference which had been held and declaring that all financial and mercenary aid to False Demetrius II was terminated, as of 5 February 1210. This proclamation surprised many within the Laurasian Dominions, who had until this point believed that Sigis'ac was intervening in support of the Pretender, and that the Polonian Commonwealth sought, through means of a puppet, to dominate the Laurasian throne. False Demetrius, who was still directing the operations of his units from Tushino, was outraged when he learned that his Polonian supporters had terminated all aid for his forces. The Pretender, declaring that he had been "deceived" and that the Polonian Commonwealth was "truly an evil state", now declared that he was working solely for the interests of the Laurasian Power. False Demetrius, however, did not disown his wife, who was now calling herself Queen-Consort Marina once again, or her parents, declaring that they were "loyal personages" and it would be cruel to abandon the family of the woman who would give birth to the "rightful heir" to the Laurasian throne. Demetrius believed that his declaration of loyalty to the Laurasian State would maintain his support base, and that the Laurasian magnates who had defected to his cause would not betray him to the Royal Government. He was wrong, however, for his prestige had been seriously weakened by the termination of his ties with his Polonian supporters.

On 8 February, three days after Polonian aid to the Pretender was officially terminated, Prince Skopin-Shuilavos and General De la Guardie assembled their units at Tommy, Molodi, Martina Mccasia, Mariah, and Mariana Prime, poised to launch an offensive against the Pretender's remaining strongholds in the Purse Region. Four days later, the magnates of Capital and Meaganian severed their oath of allegiance to False Demetrius II, and declared that they once again acknowledged the authority of King Arasces and of the Royal Government. Arasces, on his part, pardoned the collective nobility of those worlds on 14 February, declaring that they had seen "the full extent of their sins". On 17 February, Pope Hermogenes, in a papal manifesto, declared that the Almitian Church would confer absolution upon any of the Pretender's supporters who voluntarily renounced their support of him and pledged a renewed oath of allegiance to the Royal Government. This manifesto, along with the King's offer of a formal pardon to any who declared themselves loyal to his government, lured many of the Pretender's supporters away from his camp. On 22 February, the Station of Dosch was recovered by government units. Demetrius's forces were unable to defend the Eastern Worlds which they controlled. Dearton's Gateway (24-28 February); Maroni (1 March); Janesia (2-4 March); and Oxia Vixius (7 March) were recovered by General De La Guardie and Prince Skopin-Shuilavos; the Briannian Expeditionary Force, in conjunction with Laurasian government forces, also planned for offensives against Charasia, Apathama Vixius, Soria, Sarah, and Clackimaris, all of whom still remained in rebel hands. Polonian forces, however, continued to make advances in the Central Core at Laurasian expense. Goldaria remained under siege by Polonian forces, but King Sigis'ac decided to conquer Carina and Seejay Prime. On 4 February, the Laurasian garrison of Kessler was defeated by General Zolywieski, clearing the way for a Polonian advance to the Floating Cities. Five days later, a Polonian fleet besieged Seejay Prime. The planetary garrison resisted fiercely, with King Arasces sending numerous communiques to them, imploring for the world to "not permit any foreign invader to breach its gates". Polonian numerical supremacy, however, proved decisive, and on 27 February, Seejay Prime capitulated. Carina was besieged from 28 February, being overrun by Polonian forces on 7 March, the same day that Oxia Vixius was reconquered by Skopin-Shuilavos and De la Guardie from the rebel units of False Demetrius II. On 14 March, Polonian forces, bypassing the defenses of Goldaria, stormed Goss Beacon and harried the Laurasian outposts of the Upper Galactic Center. Polonian detachments and reconnaissance expeditions were dispatched to Paradine, Palimisiano, Elainsborough, Bainsborough, and even Hannah. By the end of March 1210, Constantia had been conquered by Polonian forces, while the King was preparing for a major offensive against Teth, Tommy, and the Prelone Asteroid Belt. Polonian harrying expeditions, launched from Shiloh, Schaueria Prime, and Calpurnia, continually harassed the Nexus Route and the Laurasian garrisons of Hammenor, Murphy, Anusia, Saray, and Senna. On 3 April, however, Governor Gustenholm, who still commanded the Briannian forces of the Duchy of Schaueria Prime, launched a counteroffensive into the Polonian-occupied territories. He managed to drive away a Polonian armada blockading Jessica Perea (4-5 April); repelled a Polonian raiding expedition against Jem and Atticus (7-9 April); and reconquered Rashid in a surprise offensive (11-14 April), entrenching Briannian forces near Shiloh and Schaueria Prime. Magnate-General Choldkiewiz, however, once again supreme commander of Polonian forces in the Duchy of Schaueria Prime, established his command headquarters on Calpurnia (15 April 1210) and repelled the Governor's offensives against Linopking, Goteland, and Kalmar (16-21 April). On 24 April, he inflicted a crushing defeat upon Gustenholm in the Battle of Kircholm, and then relieved Dusaberg of a Briannian offensive force (25-27 April). On 29 April, Tyleria Perea and Selena were secured by Choldkiewiz's forces; the Magnate-General ordered for the Laurasian officers and commanders of those garrisons to be executed by solar incineration. Two days later, he stormed the Briannian operational outpost on Salis and captured a large number of Briannian corvettes, transports, and couriers. By 6 May, Gustenholm had been forced to pull his units back to the strongholds of the Nexus Route. In the meantime, an unfortunate event had taken place in the Laurasian Dominions, depriving the Royal Government of one of its prominent commanders. By the end of March 1210, False Demetrius II's forces were under pressure on all fronts, and the Laurasian Royal Government was poised for victory. On 6 April, Skopin-Shuilavos destroyed a force under the command of the Pretender's chief commodore, Athanasius Liacrius, in the Battle of Chloe, securing that stronghold for government forces. By 11 April, the Pretender's garrisons on Kelby, Jenny, Rainnan, and Brady had been destroyed, isolating his garrisons along the Metallasian Trade Corridor and in the Constantine Cluster. On 17 April, General De la Guardie obtained a victory of his own in the Battle of Deserer, clearing the way for a advance to Apathama Vixius; the world had been secured by government forces by 22 April. Then, on 23 April, Prince Skopin-Shuilavos, who was commanding his battleships in an offensive on Ietas, was seriously wounded when a proton torpedo smashed into the bridge of his flagship, the RMS Axer of Almitis, causing a massive explosion that caused serious first-degree burns for all those within its range. The Prince was rushed to the Medical Ward of his flagship, and his doctors tried everything possible to save him.

Their efforts proved to be in vain, however, and on 26 April 1210, Prince Michaelus Skopin-Shuilavos died at the young age of twenty-three. When King Arasces received the news of his nephew's death, he broke down into tears and then shouted at those around him, bewailing his nephew and asking why Almitis had cursed him so. Arasces issued a solemn proclamation announcing his nephew's death to the Laurasian populace. In this proclamation, the King declared that Skopin-Shuilavos was "one of the most saintly men to have lived in our history" and that he had done much to restore the Laurasian Dominions from the ravages of internal dissension. Pope Hermogenes, on his part, blessed Skopin-Shuilavos and presided over a service of prayer for his soul at the Westaphalian Cathederal. On 29 April, all Laurasian subjects were ordered to mourn the Prince's death for six weeks; all at the Royal Court and within the ranks of the Laurasian Armed Forces were obliged to do so until the end of the year. The death of Skopin-Shuilavos gave a breathing space to the Pretender and his forces, who had been driven to the brink of despair. On 4 May, King Arasces, attempting to maintain control of the situation and to ensure that his nephew's gains were not lost, appointed Prince Demetrius Shuilavos to become the new Supreme Commander of the Laurasian Forces. Prince Shuilavos, who established his command headquarters at Oxia Vixius two days later, now sought to continue with his cousin's offensives against the rebel strongholds of the Pretender. Although government forces reconquered Tyndaris (5-9 May 1210); stormed the defenses of Ralina Vixius (12-17 May); and managed to recover Clackimaris (18-22 May), their offensive against Constantine I, Scout, and Andriana ended in failure (23 May-1 June 1210). By the end of May 1210, False Demetrius II had actually managed to recover both Chloe and Kelby, preventing government forces from reaching the Metallasian Trade Corridor's farther outposts. He also launched raiding parties into the Malarian Provinces, who threatened Terell, Almastead, Manzo, Meehan, Ainsley, and other Laurasian strongholds in the region. By June 1210, however, the Polonian forces were advancing into the northern Central Core. General Zolywieski defeated a Laurasian fleet in the Battle of Marshall (2-7 June); stormed Laurasian outposts at Blurania, Walther, and Jarvanian (8-11 June); and then isolated the garrison of Bainsborough. Williams, blockaded by a Polonian force from 29 May, was finally conquered on 15 June, and on the orders of King Sigis'ac, the commanders and officers of the garrison were executed by solar incineration. On 16 June, Hannah capitulated to Polonian forces, and General Zolywieski moved his units towards the Clancian Trunk Line. Bainsborough surrendered on 18 June; four days later, King Sigis'ac himself, personally commanding his units in battle, destroyed a Laurasian force in the Battle of Brithium. King Arasces, however, desperate to maintain the Laurasian position in the Central Core, and hoping to prevent Polonian forces from seizing Condtella or Dramis, dispatched an expedition from Tommy, under the command of Major-General Gregory Volyius, to reconquer Hannah and blockade the Polonian command center which had been established on Ruthania. General Volyius was also commanded to prepare for an eventual operation from Melarnaria and Clancia, which was to be directed at Polonian positions in the Galactic Center and beyond, to the Goldarian Worlds. On 24 June, Laurasian forces, having defeated a Polonian starfighter detachment at Taxiles the Great, commenced their blockade of Ruthania. They were not, however, equipped for a long siege, for Arasces had assembled the force in haste and had neglected to ensure that General Volyius's men were properly provisioned. On 28 June, General Zolywieski and King Sigis'ac, learning of the Laurasian blockade of Ruthania, redeployed units from Goss Beacon, Williams, and the Galactic Center in order to isolate the Laurasian force and disrupt their supply lines leading back to Tommy. General Volyius's force was quickly isolated from their bases of support and was at the verge of itself being destroyed.

On 1 July, Volyius, who had grown desperate, sent a emergency communique to Prince Shuilavos, who had moved with his forces to Conservan (False Demetrius II's forces along the Clancian Trunk Line had been repelled back to the Constantine Cluster). Shuilavos and General De la Guardie, who had detached some of his units to maintain a blockade of rebel-controlled Charasia, decided to advance towards Ruthania, believing that now was the time to repel the Polonian invaders and to recover strongholds lost to them. Zolywieski, confident that his corvettes and siege barges would block Volyius's units at Ruthania, decided to move his starfighters and mobile cruisers out to intercept Shuilavos and De la Guardie. The Polonian General also scrambled Volyius's communication frequencies; Polonian forces blockaded relay outposts in the Ruthania system and destroyed any message torpedoes which Volyius attempted to dispatch from the star system. As a result, Volyius and his units did not know about Zolywieski's moves against Shuilavos, or even exactly where Shuilavo's fleet presently was. Shuilavos himself was ignorant of Polonian moves, and continued to advance, believing that he would secure a easy victory at Ruthania. On 4 July, Polonian forces, having received information through spies at the Royal Court of Laurasian movements, intercepted the fleet of Shuilavos and De la Guardie at Klushino, a minor Laurasian mining colony which had been established by Strogania Spice Mines just four years prior. Shuilavos and De la Guardie were utterly unprepared for a surprise offensive by Zolywieski's forces, and had to organize their fleet in haste. The Laurasian force was comprised of the Briannian Corps on its left flank; of the Laurasian Royal Navy in the middle flank; and of Solidaritan, Amelianian, and Venasian mercenary formations on its right flank. The Polonian force was organized in its traditional formation; Zolywieski had more barges, transports, and cruisers than the opposing force. The Polonian starfighter squadrons began the battle by harrying the Laurasian battlefront positions, but were unable to break the positions of the Laurasian destroyers and dreadnoughts. Shuilavos, growing overconfident and believing that he could carry the day, ordered his dreadnoughts and couriers to advance after the starfighters. Zolywieski, however, now deployed his mobile cruisers and elite corvettes. These units pressed upon the unwieldy Laurasian battleships, shredding through their ranks. The great battleships, surrounded by large numbers of agile, smaller assault craft, halted their course of pursuit and fled back to the Laurasian formation. The Laurasian formation then began to break, as the starfighters now launched a surprise assault on the Laurasian transports and the Briannian Corps, inflicting severe damage upon them. The main front of the Laurasian Navy was then shattered when the cruisers and the corvettes disrupted their communications. Laurasian regiments, fighting on Klushino's surface against Polonian marines, were pressed back and lost control of their orbital defenses. The Venasian and Solidaritan mercenaries in the Laurasian force resisted the longest, holding out against superior Polonian units until the late hours of the day. Eventually, however, the Polonian battleships rained down turbolaser fire onto the planetary surface, decimating the mercenary units and ruining the mining settlements. The mercenaries in space, however, managed to pull back, but their camp, and that of the remaining Laurasians, were virtually surrounded by Commonwealth units. By the early hours of 5 July, Zolywieski held the advantage, and he now attempted to negotiate a withdrawal of the Laurasian forces. His efforts were successful, for the mercenaries offered to surrender. Zolywieski held a conference with the leading mercenary commanders during the evening hours of 5 July, and eventually came to an agreement with them. He permitted the mercenaries to withdraw under the condition that they would leave Laurasian service and return to their countries. They were also given the option to join the Polonian forces; the Polonian General took advantage of a proclamation of the Polonian Parliament (25 March 1210), offering elevated payments to mercenaries from any country if they enlisted in the service of the Commonwealth. About a quarter of the mercenaries took advantage of this; the rest retreated under the conditions agreed. After the mercenaries had been disarmed or subsumed, Zolywieski then offered to allow Shuilavos and De la Guardie to retreat with the remainder of their units. The Laurasian and Briannian Generals, realizing that Zolywieski had the advantage, and understanding the value of the Polonian offer, accepted. By the late hours of 7 July, all Laurasian forces, as well as the Briannian Corps, had retreated from the Klushino system, which now passed into the hands of the Polonian forces. Word of Zolywieski's victory spread quickly over the Holonet. King Sigis'ac was enraged when he learned that Zolywieski had spared the Laurasian forces and allowed them to retreat; he would have preferred for them to have been destroyed entirely. Zolywieski, on his part, believed that the Polonian intervention in the Laurasian Dominions should be directed towards a voluntary union, of the type whom both Honorius the Terrible and Eurymaschus Gadavaranius had tried to propose. He did not believe that the King should reap personal advantage from Laurasia's troubles, and that Laurasia could prove a valuable ally against Briannia. For the time being, however, he kept these beliefs to himself. Nevertheless, following the Battle of Klushino, support for King Arasces and his government collapsed completely. Zolywieski secured Polonian control of Hannah (8-9 July 1210) and reconquered Taxiles the Great, Hydapses, and Hadjrau from Laurasian government forces (10 July).

King Arasces, on his part, had by now completely lost the affection of his subjects. The King's wife and Queen Consort, Katharina Rolaskiusa, had given birth to twin daughters, Anastasia and Anna, on 3 March 1209. Both daughters however, had become infected with the Antigenes malady and had died on 24 December of that year, still infants. The King's two brothers, Grand Princes Honorius and Demetrius Shuilavos, were childless; the young Prince Demetrius, commander of the Laurasian forces, was the only child of his sister, Demetria Shuilavos, who had died in 1197. It was thus understood by many that the chances of survival for the Shuilavos Dynasty, in terms of its rule over the Laurasian dominions, were not that great. Dissent also simmered, on Caladaria, Darcia, and Laurasia Prime, against his government: Arasces had not fulfilled his pledges to the Laurasian people and had done little to alleviate their harsh economic conditions. By July 1210, Baron Granes and Lord Amathria (he had become Hereditary Lord of the City of Christiania in December of the previous year), once again were at the forefront of matters, this time in a conspiracy to dethrone Arasces Shuilavos. The two nobles believed that they could become a dominant influence, in their own right, within the Laurasian Government, and that they could take advantage of the dissensions impacting the Laurasian Dominions to enhance their personal position. The two nobles had maintained the loyal support of the Royal Guards and of their favorites throughout the turmoils and troubles of the previous five years, knowing that they would be able to depose Arasces with ease. Throughout June and July 1210, a series of public protests and demonstrations against the King's authority had taken place on Laurasia Prime, and at the Two Calaxies, Jadia, and Hepudermia. Although the police and security forces of Laurasia Prime managed to keep the protests under control, they nevertheless displayed the hostility and hatred borne by the population of Laurasia Prime for their King. Granes and Amathria waited for one final event to take place before they would move: this proved to be the humiliation inflicted upon Laurasia by the Battle of Klushino. On 13 July, Pope Hermogenes, in a papal manifesto to the Laurasian people, declared that the loss at Klushino was a "punishment inflicted on the Laurasian dominions by the hand of the Anti-Almitis" and lamented the troubles whom His Majesty's Government faced. In private, however, the Pope himself had become opposed to Arasces; he believed that the King had not been vigorous enough, and that he not taken the necessary actions, either to destroy the forces of False Demetrius II or to repel the Polonian invaders. He granted his private consent to the conspiracy of Granes and Amathria. By the late hours of 17 July, the two nobles had finalized their conspiracy plans with the Guards. The following night, they struck. King Arasces and his wife ended up in the same sort of scenario as had False Demetrius I and his wife, who was now the spouse of False Demetrius II. The royal couple were resting in their bed when noise issued from the Royal Quarters. The King, like his predecessor before him, rose from his bed, put on his royal robes, and sought to find out what was the cause of the matter. He told his wife to hide under the bed; she, unclad like her predecessor before her, followed her husband's orders to the letter. The King then ventured from his chambers with a blaster, even though he did not know how to use the weapon. He headed down the corridor, hoping to find some guards to give him entourage and tell him what was happening. Granes and Amathria, however, had quickly seized control of the Palace communications, and most of the Guards had already renounced their oath of allegiance to the King. Over the preceding two hours, the two conspirators had penetrated the chambers of the King's brothers, attendants, and servants; all had been arrested and were held in the Palace Briefing Room. The Palace sent out communiques to other government buildings, including the Diplomatic Palace, the Westphalian Cathederal, and the Old Royal Palace, informing them that "His Majesty believes that he is no longer to fit to handle the reins of government, and he has entrusted control to his loyal nobles." Arasces was soon intercepted by Guardsmen led by Granes. The King, when he encountered them, demanded of them the reason for the troubles and tried to order them to assume their places as his entourage. Granes, however, refused, declaring that "you, my Lord, are no longer the rightful ruler of these dominions" and that he was taking action to restore "the tranquility of the Laurasian people". Arasces then attempted to fire his blaster in self-defense; he managed to send out a few shots, wounding Granes in the arm and injuring one of the troopers in his leg. Granes, although in pain, gave the order to his men, and they quickly disarmed the hapless monarch. He was taken to a holding cell in the depths of the Palace and there incarcerated; in the meantime, guards and troopers stormed into the Royal Chambers, ripping the Queen-Consort from her bed and dragging her out to a holding cell. She was not given the opportunity to dress herself, and was thus humiliated. By the early hours of 19 July, Granes and Amathria had full control of Laurasia Prime. Pope Hermogenes and the Viceroy of Laurasia Prime both declared their loyalty to the government of the conspirators, and renounced their oaths of allegiance to the King.

With their assistance, the conspirators assembled a hasty session of the Royal Council and Aristocratic Duma; the Consultative Assembly had not been summoned since 1198, when it had offered the throne to Eurymaschus Gadavaranius. During the afternoon hours of 19 July 1210, the two state bodies formally declared that Arasces IV Shuilavos had "forfeited" the Laurasian throne and that the Royal Government was in need of a new master. Arasces, brought before the bodies, was forced to confess to "his sins" and to sign a declaration of abdication. His wife, the Queen Consort, still unclad, was publicly humiliated and denounced by the Pope as a "consort of the anti-Almitis". On 26 July, the Court of the Royal Household condemned the Shuilavos brothers as "miscreants" and "co-conspirators of injustice" with their brother; the Shuilavos Estates were confiscated by the government, and all honors, grants, and monopolies conferred upon all Shuilavos members were stripped. Prince Demetrius Shuilavos, who had retreated back to Conservan, was branded a miscreant and traitor, being formally deprived of his command by the Royal Council. General De la Guardie, who had been informed by Granes and Amathria of their conspiracy in advance, and who had been paid double the amount which had been conferred upon him by King Arasces, arrested the Prince and assumed the temporary supreme command of all Laurasian forces in the Central Core. The Prince himself was imprisoned at Windowia Photis; he was not able to bear the emotional blow of his fall from power and affluence, eventually dying there on 27 September. On 26 July, Granes, who had been named Lord Protector until "a suitable candidate" for the throne was found, had Arasces Shuilavos publicly humiliated at the Station of Jadia, shorn, and forced to don the vestments of a monk of Almitis. Shuilavos, who was now deported to the Lavra Monastery on Apathama Vixius (since Jenny was still controlled by False Demetrius II), was forced to take the name of Eusebius. His wife, former Queen Consort Katharina, was incarcerated at the Post Settlement Complex of Hepudermia. With the deportation of Arasces Shuilavos, Granes had consolidated his position on Laurasia Prime. He and Amathria, however, had become converted to the idea of a Polonian sitting on the Laurasian throne; they believed that the prestige and independence of the Laurasian magnates would be greatly enhanced, and that a limit could be imposed upon the autocratic system of government which still persisted. Thus, Granes became determined to permit Zolywieski and his forces to reach Laurasia Prime; through his contacts, he had become aware of the Polonian General's support of a voluntary union between Laurasia and the Commonwealth. On 2 August, he established a secret Holonet link with the Polonian General, and in a series of discussions over the next three days, declared his sympathy for a Polonian King of Laurasia. Zolywieski agreed to advance towards Laurasia Prime in pursuit of that aim, provided that De la Guardie and his forces did not offer any resistance to his units. On 10 August, De la Guardie was ordered by Granes to escort the Polonian General and his forces to Laurasia Prime; the Briannian General protested, but obliged by his orders. However, False Demetrius II, who had been watching the events surrounding Klushino and the deposition of Arasces Shuilavos carefully, now learned of Granes' machinations with the Polonian General. The Pretender, still believing he had a chance to set himself upon the Laurasian throne, decided to also march to Laurasia Prime; his forces still controlled the Constantine Cluster, and had not been dislodged from Charasia, Katherine, Soria, or Sarah. On 14 August, Zolywieski and his forces, having joined with De la Guardie's armada at Conservan, proceeded northwards along the Clancian Trunk Line towards Laurasia Prime. Two days later, the Polonian armada approached the outskirts of the Laurasia Prime star system. They were then astounded, however, when the units of the Pretender dropped out from hyperspace and established their positions along the northern outskirts. The Pretender's forces even sent patrol expeditions to Marsia and the Outer Belt. A tense moment now emerged, as Granes was alarmed by the Pretender's arrival. Noble and magnate factions, within the Royal Government and throughout the star system, now vied with each other to take advantage of the situation. Many offered their services to Zolywieski or the Pretender; some declared that they would not serve any of those masters, and demanded complete autonomy. Many Laurasian civilians were unsure about the situation, not knowing whether the Polonians and the Pretender were working in conjunction, or if they were opposing forces who should be resisted at all costs. Skirmishes then erupted between the fleets of Zolywieski and False Demetrius II, and with the units of Granes, as he had managed to muster against the Pretender. The pro-Polonian faction, however, which was now especially strong at the Laurasian Royal Court, soon gained dominance, and on 18 August, the Polonian armada was admitted into the star system. Granes, Amathria, Pope Hermogenes, and the members of the Royal Council greeted Zolywieski and his officers, offering a agreement by which the Polonian General would protect them from False Demetrius. The Pretender, on his part, was contemplating an offensive against Laurasia Prime, but decided to hold back, not wishing to become dragged into a larger confrontation with Polonian forces. On 20 August, Polonian units under the command of General Alexadius Gosiweki garrisoned the Station of Jadia and the Orbital Platforms of Laurasia Prime, by agreement with Granes and his supporters. Two days later, the Treaty of Christiania was signed, by which, in return for recognition of the privileges of the Laurasian nobility and the continuance of all Laurasian institutions, Zolywieski became the "protector" of Laurasia Prime and promised to direct all his energies to securing a Polonian candidate for the Laurasian throne. On 25 August, he sent a communique to False Demetrius, offering to retreat most Polonian units from the capital if Demetrius on his part pulled back to the Cron Drift, once again under the control of the Pretender's forces. The Pretender, believing that he would soon be on Laurasia Prime as King and official monarch of the Laurasian realms, agreed. Zolywieski did as promised and withdrew most of his offensive units back to Oxia Vixius, Janesia, and Maroni. He soon plunged himself into his side of the bargain: that is, in finding a Polonian candidate for the Laurasian throne. He quickly narrowed the range of his options upon Prince Wladyslaw, son of King Sigis'ac. Wladyslaw, fifteen years old as of August 1210, was a handsome, educated teenager who spoke, besides his native Polonian, Laurasian, Briannian, Ivorian, Venasian, Solidaritan, and Donguarian. Zolywieski thus hoped to achieve his goal of a eventual personal union between the Stellar Kingdom of Laurasia and the Polonian-Donguarian Commonwealth, for it was already believed by most that Wladyslaw would succeed his father Sigis'ac upon the Polonian throne (as indeed he would, in 1232). However, it would satisfy Zolywieski's hopes of preventing Sigis'ac himself from taking the Laurasian Crown directly.

Zolywieski quickly found that the Laurasian nobility were willing to cooperate: many desired to have the same privileges as were possessed by Polonian and Donguarian nobles under the Treaty of Pressburg. Among these were Prince Theodosius Misackivus; Prince Antipater Galitzus of Windowia Photis; and the Dukes of the Princely Line, including Seleucus Shermetivus, Demetrius Mezetus, and Daniel Lagowskius. Granes and Amathria could also be counted amongst this group. On 29 August, the Aristocratic Duma declared that, if Wladyslaw agreed to convert to Almitism and accept a Laurasian name as King, and if all Laurasian worlds currently occupied by Polonian forces were returned to Laurasian authority, then they would accept him as their master. Sigis'ac, however, from his command headquarters on Marshia (now firmly in the possession of Polonian forces), was completely opposed to his son's conversion to Almitism. He was also angered that Zolywieski had acted on his own initiative, and that he had come to agreement with Granes and the Royal Government without the approval of the Polonian Government. On 5 September, he sent a communique to Laurasia Prime, declaring his opposition to the magnate's terms for the ascension of his son to the Laurasian Throne, and also expressing his dismay about Zolywieski's actions in securing a truce with the Royal Government. He declared that all further hostilities were suspended for now, but that he did not acknowledge Granes as the Lord Protector of the Laurasian State. The Aristocratic Duma was angered by Sigis'ac's communique, and on 8 September, declared to Zolywieski that they were now considering other candidates for the Laurasian throne. Potential candidates included Prince Galitzus, Metropolitan Filaret (who as at Cassanova), his son Leonidas, or False Demetrius II, who was at the Cron Drift. Zolywieski acted quickly, however, determined not to lose his chance. He declared that Sigis'ac had issued his communique out of rage and that the Polonian Parliament supported his moves; indeed, on 7 September, the Parliament, which had remained in emergency session since the King's initial summons about war with Laurasia, passed a resolution declaring its support for Zolywieski and rebutting Sigis'ac's communique. The Parliament then forbade Sigis'ac to "interfere with the General's present initiatives until they have concluded". Sigis'ac, who had, after twenty-two years, become tired of the Parliament's obstruction and its limitations on his royal authority, declared, on 10 September, that the Polonian Government and nobility were comprised of "individuals forgetful of the majesty of my position and wishing to accumulate undue influence for themselves in the affairs of government". Nevertheless, the King confirmed the Parliament's resolution and agreed to allow Zolywieski to proceed. Four days later, Zolywieski's efforts culminated in success, for the Aristocratic Duma now reversed itself and declared its support for Wladyslaw as King and Autocrat of All the Laurasians. On 16 September 1210, the body, in conjunction with the Royal Council and the Pope, formally declared Polonian Prince Wladyslaw to be King-elect of All the Laurasians; he would become King and Autocrat once he was crowned. Two days later, the Duma issued a Conditions Agreement, declaring that, once Wladyslaw acknowledged the authority of Laurasian institutions, converted to Almitism, and accepted a Laurasian name, he would be fully accepted as monarch by the Church and the Laurasian people. Zolywieski confirmed his adherence to these terms, in the name of the Prince, on 20 September and declared that the Laurasian Dominions were finally obtaining the governance of a faithful master. On 25 September, Sigis'ac suspended the state of war between the Stellar Kingdom of Laurasia and the Polonian-Donguarian Commonwealth, authorizing for Zolywieski or his subordinates to cooperate with General De la Guardie and Protector Granes (who retained his position by explicit decree of the Duma) in repelling the forces of False Demetrius II. On 29 September, the Polonian and government forces commenced their offensives. Charasia was once again besieged, finally falling to government forces on 3 October. Two days afterwards, the Pretender was driven from the Cron Drift; a large rebel starfighter detachment was then defeated at Neuss. By 10 October, Generals Zolywieski and De la Guardie had secured Americana, Soria, Fulcania, and Sarah, driving the Pretender's forces from the Eastern Purse Worlds. On 14 October, Jenny was secured, followed, in rapid succession, by Kelby (15 October); Metallasia (16-19 October); Rainnan (22 October); and Chloe (24-29 October). By the end of October 1210, Wor'su and Mariana Prime had also been secured from rebel forces, but the Pretender still retained control of the Andrianian Cluster and of Constantine I. On 2 November, however, Tushino was finally reconquered by government forces; Demetrius fled to Kaluga, a world about thirty light years northwest of Andriana, and established it as his new headquarters. By then, his wife Marina was pregnant with his child; the news of her pregnancy had been formally announced by the Pretender to the Galaxy on 26 July, and she was expected to give birth in January of the following year. On 6 November, however, Zolywieski was ordered by King Sigis'ac to abstain from the campaigns against the Pretender, and to return promptly to Goldaria, to which Sigis'ac and his command fleet had relocated.

The world was still resisting Polonian forces, and had refused to acknowledge Zolywieski's arrangements with the Laurasian Government. Zolywieski obliged, giving General De la Guardie temporary command of the Polonian units in the Laurasian Purse Region. Five days later, he arrived at Goldaria, and was there utterly surprised by what King Sigis'ac did next. The King declared to the General that the arrangements he made with Granes and the Royal Government "were illegal" and that he, Sigis'ac, should gain the Laurasian throne. Sigis'ac also wished to become King and Autocrat of All the Laurasians without any conditions; he would thus rule as an autocrat as any Laurasian monarch would over their dominions, and the acquisition of the Laurasian territories as his new hereditary realms would give him a immense base of power, separate from the Commonwealth and not dependent on it. Sigis'ac also hoped that he would be able to combine Polonian and Laurasian resources in one last push against Briannia, and that he would soon have Char'lac's "head dancing upon a pike". Most Laurasians were opposed to Sigis'ac, for the Polonian King did not hide his intentions of disbanding the Almitian Church and uprooting the Laurasian nobility with his own supporters. Pope Hermogenes himself was opposed to Sigis'ac, and issued a manifesto on 17 November, in defiance of Zolywieski and Granes, declaring that a Polonian King of Laurasia "would be a agent of the Anti-Almitis". Zolywieski attempted to voice his opposition to Sigis'ac's efforts, pointing out to his master that he was deeply unpopular in the Laurasian dominions and would surely by unseated in a uprising, such as had deposed of both False Demetrius I and Arasces Shuilavos. Sigis'ac, however, refused to listen, and on 22 November, began drafting plans for a full seizure of Laurasia Prime. He commanded Zolywieski to head back to Laurasia Prime and to await his orders. Zolywieski did so; he arrived back at Laurasia Prime on 26 November, and tried to keep the news of his discussions with Sigis'ac from leaking out. He was not successful however, and reports of Sigis'ac's plans to seize the Laurasian throne for himself soon circulated throughout the Laurasian Dominions. On 30 November, protests began in Christiania; by 5 December, they had spread to the Laurasian Moons, and by 9 December, to Charasia, Americana, Oxia Vixius, Apathama Vixius, and other worlds. Zolywieski attempted to maintain control of the situation, but in the process, he weakened the Laurasian nobility's support of a union with the Polonian-Donguarian Commonwealth. On 9 December, he compelled Granes to issue a proclamation denouncing the unrest and affirming the Royal Government's support of union with Polonia. Two days later, Zolywieski had General De la Guardie storm Cassanova. Metropolitan Filaret and his attendants were arrested, trundled on a prison transport, and sent to Janesia; from there, on 15 December, they were dispatched by Zolywieski's orders to Vexuian Prison on Sydney, where he was to remain incarcerated until January 1219. On 17 December, Zolywieski even drafted plans for imprisoning Pope Hermogenes; in a report, he ordered his men to be ready for that. In the meantime, General De la Guardie and the Polonian units assigned to his command had pressed the offensive against False Demetrius II. They finally managed to breach the defenses of the Constantine Cluster on 3 December; within five days, Scout, Mercedes, and Skyler had all been secured by the Briannian Mercenary-General's forces, and Kaluga was threatened. By 12 December, reports filtered out that morale in False Demetrius's camp had reached a new low; many were now disgruntled with the Pretender, and desired for a new leader. On 17 December, False Demetrius II issued his last manifesto, decrying the Royal Government's conspiracy with "the Polonian heretics". Three days later, Demetrius got into a drunken stupor from a heavy dinner he had; according to contemporary accounts, the Pretender had decided to have one last night of joy before he was to meet his end. He staggered into his quarters half-drunk and fell into the bed, unable to muster energy to arise again. One of the Pretender's guards, one Peter Ursuvoius, who had been punished by the Pretender for insubordination just four days prior, decided to take matters into his own hands. Himself half-drunken, Ursuvoius took a sabre into his hands and fell upon the Pretender as he was slipping into drunken slumbor. False Demetrius screamed for help, but was utterly helpless. Ursuvoius then cut his head off with the sabre; blood oozed down the Pretender's bed. He then hastened from the chambers, out to the main banquet room of the Pretender's headquarters, and threw his head onto the table, in the sight of Marina Mniszech and the others. The Pretender's wife screamed in horror, as did her parents and siblings. Ursuvoius was then cut down with the sword by enraged members of the Pretender's camp. The damage had been done, however, and the Pretender's units lost their cohesiveness. On 22 December, news of the Pretender's death filtered out to Laurasia Prime. Granes and Pope Hermogenes declared that "Almitis hath blessed these dominions" and that the death of the Second Pretender greatly relieved the burdens of the Royal Government. The Royal Government commanded all Laurasian subjects to celebrate the Pretender's death until December of the following year. However, despite the Royal Government's wishes, the forces of the deceased Second Pretender did not disintegrate. The supporters of the Pretender now flocked to Honorius Zarakstius. Born on 27 December 1171 on Chloe, Zarakstius had enrolled in the Royal Naval Academy of Darcia in 1190 and had risen to the forefront of his class, graduating with top honors in 1197. He had then become an enlisted officer in the Royal Navy, serving in the final campaigns against Vladios of Malaria (1199); participating in the military exercises conducted by King Eurymaschus (1203-04); and then becoming involved with the forces of False Demetrius I (1205), who ultimately overthrow the Gadavarian Dynasty. Zarakstius had advanced rapidly through the ranks, switching his loyalty to Arasces Shuilavos when he seized the Laurasian throne in 1206. In 1207, however, he joined with the forces of Bolantakovia, gaining a succession of minor victories over royal forces and eluding their efforts to capture him. In February 1209, after the suppression of the Bolantakovia Rebellion, Zarakstius joined the camp of False Demetrius II and had become one of the Pretender's leading fleet commanders. He gained much renown for his valor in battle and for his determination to ensure that the welfare of the men under his command was tended to. Zarakstius also became ambitious, and he gave his secret consent to the murder of False Demetrius II. He kept this a secret, however, and quickly sought to woe the Pretender's pregnant wife. On 27 December, the men of the Pretender's forces proclaimed Zarakstius to be their new leader; Zarakstius promised to overthrow the Government of Baron Granes and to restore "the rule of a stable monarchy" to the Laurasian Dominions. By the end of the year, he was drafting new plans of offensive action against government forces.

The Commencement of the Thirteenth Century in the Outer Galactic Regions; Situation of the Caladarian Galaxy, 1201; First Melorkian-Alexandrian War; Second Melorkian-Ashlgothian War; Rebellion of the Homidinian General Khayisan; Defeat, Deposition, and Death of the Khan Shidebala; Khayisan becomes Homidinian Khan; The Matter of the Ashlgothian Succession; Reforms of the Solidaritan Sultan Chosroes; Solidaritan and Homidinian Relations, including the Rebellion of the Rokai General Argies; Ashlgothian Alliance with Devianiani Confederacy; Third Melorkian-Ashlgothian War and Second Melorkian-Devianiani War; Clovis's Despair, and then his alliance with the Jarjanics; Death of Hermeneric and ascension of Rechiar II, who concludes alliance with Melorkia; Turn of the Tide; Battle of Vouille; Defeat and Execution of Alaric II; Gesalec, Alaric's illegitimate son, seizes the Ashlgothian Throne; Theodoric's War of Prevention against Melorkia and the Jarjanics; Conclusion of Ashlgothian War; Solidaritan Invasion of the Homidinian Khanate; Death of Trapstila and ascension of Trascerius to the Armane throne; Armane alliance with the Homidinian Khanate; among other Events (1201-1210)Edit

As has already been referenced to (in the prior sections about events in the Core Regions during the first decade of the thirteenth century), the commencement of that century was celebrated at all of the courts of the Caladarian Galaxy on 1 January 1201. On Jasonia, King Theodoric and his wife, the Melorkian Princess Audofleda (sister of Clovis), presided over the New Year's ceremonies with great vigor and energy. The King, in his proclamation welcoming the commencement of the thirteenth century, declared that the Halegothican species had been greatly blessed by the Gods of their Ancestors, and that within the span of less than a half-century, they had transformed themselves from undue subjugation to the Kingdom of the Brestords, into becoming a powerful kingdom in their own right. That kingdom had displaced the challenger Kingdom of Rudorita, "under that fiend Odoacer" (as Theodoric called him), and governed the territories which had belonged to the now-defunct Huntite Khanate. Theodoric praised the efforts of his officers and military personnel in overcoming the resistance of the Rudorites, and declared that he expected for the new century to bring great success for the ventures of the Halegothican State. Similar sentiments were expressed by the other barbarian monarchies (by this point, however, they were now being more and more regarded as civilized governments, and the earlier term, applied to them by the Dasians, was falling out of use). Alaric II of Ashlgothia presided over the ceremonies at his grand court on Ashlgothia, and in his proclamation on the commencement of the new century, declared that the Ashlgothian species had come "far" from their migrations in the Galactic Void and had evolved from being the mobile, unsettled, nomadic bands which had roamed Huntite and Homidinian territory at the beginning of the now closed twelfth century. Alaric praised the efforts of Athaulf, Wallia, Theodoric I, Theodoric II, and his father Euric in "consolidating Ashlgothian power". He lamented over the reverses which Ashlgothia had experienced in conflict with Rudorita under Odoacer and with Melorkia under Clovis, who was now engaged in his military campaigns against the Kingdom of Alexandria. Alaric, however, declared that Ashlgothia would overcome those obstacles, and that the Ashlgothian Kingdom would find great success for itself in the new century. Trapstila of Armania, who had marked the twentieth anniversary of his ascension to the Armanian throne during the last year of the twelfth century, declared that the Armanes had "successfully maintained" themselves; he did not take care to note that Armania continued to remain dependent upon the Homidinian Khanate and the Kingdom of Halegothica. The Council of the Devianiani Confederacy and King Tharsamund of Kuevia both declared that "the new century brings new opportunity for all", while King Hermeneric, who still remained on the throne as a Ashlgothian vassal after twenty-five years, declared that the position of his species would "be glorified through the means of peace in the decades of this new century." Clovis, on his part, having established his operational command headquarters at Beverly Hereidu, declared that the new century would see the advance of the "arms of the Melorkian State" and that he would, in this first year of the thirteenth century, inflict a major humiliation upon Gundobad, "who resided upon his throne with all of his sloth and ignorance". Gundobad, in a communique to his troops and to the foreign courts, declared that he was "defending his dominions from attack by the treacherous Melorkian sovereign".

And indeed, it is important now to review the situation of the Caladarian Galaxy, as it was in 1201, and to note how different it was from that of a century earlier. By the beginning of the thirteenth century, the third century of the 2nd millennium AH, the political, economic, and societal situation in known space had altered considerably. When the second millennium and the eleventh century had commenced, Timur the Devastator had announced that the new millennium would see the formation of a "new, and greater Dasian Empire" and that he himself would subdue the entire Caladarian Galaxy under his arms. Timur had conquered Theodore on the very first day of the new millennium and extinguished the independence of the Longmiran Kingdom of Theodore, which had existed, in various forms, since the 3rd century BH. And indeed, that particular kingdom was never to rise again. Timur's ambitions, however, proved not to be, and the conqueror, despite the ravages that he inflicted upon countless worlds and the fear he inspired from his many enemies, did not achieve his goal of galactic conquest. And indeed, after his death on 17 February 1005, the Timurid Empire's unity had dissolved. By the middle of the eleventh century, after a series of civil wars among his sons and the forty-two year long reign of the ineffective and weak Shahrukh, the power and unity of the Timurid Empire had collapsed completely. Within two decades after his death, the Timurid Empire had already lost the majority of the territories whom Timur had conquered in the Galactic Borderlands and the Barsar Regions. The Timurid dominions had been ravaged by the civil wars of his sons, and both the Golden Horde and Northern Khanate had fully reasserted their independence from Timurid dominance. In the 1040s, the remnants of the Timurid Empire in what had once been the regions of the Carolyne Khanate were displaced by the Neo-Carylone Khanate, which had, within two decades, extended its rule to the Eastern Barsar Regions and to the Homidinian territories. In 1062, the Timurid Empire had been destroyed, and its last khan had been executed by Esen Buqa of the Huntite Khanate. Two years later, however, the Neo-Carolyne Khanate was partitioned into the Homidinian and Huntite Khanates, into which it remained divided. By 1069, the Northern Khanate had been absorbed by the Homidinian Khanate. Throughout the first eight decades of the eleventh century, the Golden Horde gradually disintegrated and fractured into the smaller successor-states: the Kazanian Khanate in 1038, the Crimeanian Khanate in 1041, and the Venasian Khanate in 1066, alongside the short-lived Nogai Horde from 1012 to 1055. By 1065, when Ahmad, the last khan of the "Golden" Horde had ascended to the throne, the Horde's territories had contracted to a narrow corridor extending from Metallasia, Courdina V, Gordasis, and Laurasia Prime to the outskirts of the Venasian Cluster, and down to the vicinity of the Horacian Provinces. In the 1070s and 1080s, the Golden Horde lost the majority of those territories, as Laurasia and other Core Worlds reasserted their independence. After Ahmad's assassination in 1081, following his defeat by Honorius the Liberator at Ugra, the ineffective Shaikh-Ali had become Khan. Shaikh-Ali "ruled" for over two decades, until his deposition by Mengli-Giray of the Crimeanian Khanate in 1102 and the destruction of the Great Horde. The situation at the beginning of the twelfth century had seen the ultimate results of this fragmentation of the dominions of the once-mighty Dasian Empire, a situation described already in the section concerning events in the Outer Galactic Regions from 1170-1180. And now, at the beginning of the thirteenth century, the Galaxy was dominated by "barbarian" monarchies. In 1201, the two largest and most extensive states, in terms of territory, were the Kingdom of Halegothica, under the rule of Theodoric the Great; and the Marcian Empire, ruled by Coenwulf, the nephew of King Offa (events in the Galactic Borderlands will be described briefly later). Halegothica governed the Burglais Arm and the strongholds of the lower Corporate Trade Corridor, which had, a century earlier, been under the rule of the Homidinian Khanate. It controlled the outlet of the Rebeccan Galactic Trade Route, with worlds such as Iego, Meredith, Jeanne, and Robert, the strongholds of the ancient Robertian Order and First Wakedian Empire, under its dominion. The Huntite, Sheldonian, and Gabriellian regions, cradle of the old Huntite Military Order and the First and Second Huntite Empires, as well as the Huntite-Robertian Unity, the Carylone Khanate, the Timurid Empire, the Huntite Khanate, and the Kingdom of Rudorita, all acknowledged its jurisdiction. Halegothican authority extended all the way to Gardiner, Leo's Redoubt, and the strongholds of the Orion Cluster. Theodoric had secured a alliance with Kuevia and had signed economic treaties with all of his neighbors. His reign, which was to continue throughout the first quarter of the new century, would see Halegothican power extended further. Halegothica bordered the dominions of Armania in the northern Outer Borderlands (ruled by Trapstila in 1201, as previously noted); by the Homidinian Khanate (whose khan, Shidebala, celebrated the tenth anniversary of his ascension to the Homidinian throne in the first year of the new century); by the Kingdom of Kuevia (ruled by Tharasamund); by Melorkia (under Clovis), by the Devianiani Confederacy, and by the Kingdom of Jarjanica (ruled by Hermeneric, as also previously noted). Melorkia was in the ascent at the beginning of the century, while Kuevia had just began its decline which would usher in its destruction by the middle of the century. The Devianiani Confederacy and Kingdom of the Alexandrians were also not to survive the century, but Ashlgothia, although it would suffer further reverses at the hands of the Melorkians and of other powers, would endure for another two centuries. The most important fact about the new century was that there was only one Dasian state remaining in all of civilized space: the Homidinian Khanate. Shidebala, whose reign was to end violently, was on the throne of the last successor-state to the Empire of Genghis Khan. By 1201, the founder of the Dasian Empire had been dead for three hundred and seventy four years; Kublai for three hundred and seven; and Timur the Devastator for one hundred and ninety-six. The twelfth century had seen the destruction of all of the successor-states to the Golden Horde, and of the Huntite Khanate; the thirteenth century was to witness the destruction of the Homidinian Khanate, and the final elimination of the Dasian power from the Caladarian Galaxy.

It was noted at the very end of Part VII that Clovis had instigated his war with the Alexandrians on the very last day of the twelfth century. It is now important to cover the course of that conflict, and to describe its consequences. On 1 January, Melorkian units began their advance into the Alexandrian dominions. At first, they secured a succession of victories over the defending Alexandrian forces, managing to penetrate the defenses of the Durant Cluster. Clovis repelled a Alexandrian counteroffensive against Beverly Hereidu (1-4 January); destroyed a Alexandrian patrol force at Aburgoch (5 January); and stormed the Alexandrian military repository on Angela Masia (6-9 January); and secured Hannibal (11 January), before harrying the outskirts of Stewart, Skye I, and Sparton's Beacon (January-February 1201). By the end of February 1201, Melorkian units were advancing towards Sejucia, Alexandrian Rummlist, Pocket, and Lesia Major. Gundobad's forces, however, had fortified the chief strongholds of the Durant Cluster, and the King of the Alexandrians was determined to give up no further ground to the Melorkian units. In fact, Gundobad believed that he could lure Clovis's forces into a trap. Although a Melorkian offensive against Pocket resulted in the fall of that stronghold (2-5 March 1201), the Alexandrian forces maintained their positions on Sparton's Beacon and Skye I; Melorkian units failed to seize the old Huntite consulates. On 14 March, Clovis suffered a minor defeat in the Battle of Mark, for Alexandrian starfighters ambushed the Melorkian transport force and managed to inflict some damage before retreating. Four days later, the King of Melorkia directed a sally against the Alexandrian fortress-world of Miller, which resulted in failure. By the end of March 1201, Melorkian forces had consolidated their grip over Ain Jalut and were penetrating to Sharon Alfonsi, Miller, and Henkura, but were unable to conquer Stewart or to clear Alexandrian units from the outskirts of Hannibal. In April 1201, a stalemate ensued between the Melorkian and Alexandrian forces, but Gundobad now planned for a series of counteroffensives against the Melorkians who were present in his territory. Clovis, on his part, lambasted his commanders, and raged against those whom he considered to have undermined his campaign against the Alexandrians. The Alexandrian forces were receiving secret financial support and military supplies from Alaric II of Ashlgothia, who was now beginning to draft plans for instigating another war with Clovis in order to regain what he had lost. This foreign aid, as well as the Alexandrian King's preparations, proved to be decisive, and on 8 May, Alexandrian units launched a counteroffensive along the general front. Gundobad, himself commanding his fleets in the charge against the Melorkian invaders, defeated a Melorkian patrol force at the minor colony of Alpha Prime (9-12 May); repelled a Melorkian offensive against Henkura (14 May); and secured the defenses of Sharon Alfonsi (16-21 May), before driving away Melorkian units which were ravaging Nicole and Redia (22-24 May). On 26 May, he recovered Pocket; two days later, Melorkian forces were expelled from Hannibal. Jarvis, Clarissa, and Brennan, all of whom had been colonized by the Alexandrian Government during the last decades of the previous century, and had been overrun by Melorkian forces, were recovered (29 May-5 June). By the end of June 1201, Alexandrian forces had expelled all Melorkian units from the Durant Cluster and had begun to advance against Angela Masia. Clovis now attempted one final offensive. He managed to penetrate to Sparton's Beacon (6-11 June) and to seize the Alexandrian colony on Bracklestone (14 June). On 27 June, however, the Melorkian King suffered a severe defeat in the Battle of Dijon, and was forced to terminate his further offensives. Woolestone, Beverly Hereidu, and Ipkit were now threatened by Alexandrian units. On 7 July, Gundobad commanded his officers to begin drafting plans for offensives into Melorkian territory. Clovis, however, who wished to reorganize his forces, and who sought to rescue himself from the situation that he was in, decided to sue for peace. On 15 July, the King of Melorkia requested for a armistice and for treaty negotiations to begin. Gundobad communicated his approval two days later, and all hostilities between the two states were suspended. On 7 August, a conference was opened on Narra, being mediated by Halegothican diplomats sent by King Theodoric. Negotiations dragged on for two months, as Clovis attempted to retain Angela Masia. Eventually, however, the Treaty of Narra was signed on 9 October 1201. By the terms of this treaty, the status quo ante bellum between the two dominions was restored. Clovis, however, undertook to compensate Gundobad for the expenses of the war and to refrain from aggressive actions in the future. The Treaty of Narra was ratified by Clovis on 15 October and by Gundobad on 22 October.

By the end of November 1201, the Barsar Regions were again at peace. Clovis then spent the next five months recovering from the debacle of his war with the Alexandrians. He revised his military strategies, eliminated officers and commanders whom he considered incompetent, and reformed his military structure. Gundobad, on his part, celebrated his victory over Clovis, and in December 1201, issued a proclamation from Lesia Major declaring that Clovis's defeat was "a blessed event for our kingdom". The outer regions remained at peace through the early months of 1202. Indeed, on 2 January 1202, Theodoric issued a diplomatic proclamation from Jasonia, declaring that he bore no ill will against his neighbors and sought to remain at peace with all. Alaric II, however, was formulating his plans for war. On 27 December of the previous year, he had informed his advisers that war with Clovis should be resumed at the earliest available opportunity. In January 1202, the Ashlgothian King began assembling his military squadrons at Leslie, Larkin, Nandia, Greg, Christophe, and Cyrus III. The King toured his dominions extensively and issued new conscription rules for his forces. On 28 January, his advisors presented him with a plan for military offensives into Melorkian territory. These plans envisioned the recovery of Shell, Brooke One, and the Armenian strongholds from Melorkia, and perhaps the acquisition of Resmania, Obania, and Alamannia. On 7 February, Alaric instructed the Ashlgothian ambassador at the court of Clovis on Roastafaria Major (which would be renamed Melorkia in October 1202), Gesalec, to examine the situation of the Melorkian Government and to feed to his master, intelligence information on the readiness and deployments of the Melorkian units. Gesalec obeyed his master's commands to the letter, and throughout February, his network of spies in the Melorkian Court and Government provided information to Alaric and his council about Clovis's military reforms. Alaric, deploying his units accordingly, believed that he would have the advantage over Clovis. He was to prove mistaken. On 4 March, Clovis became aware of Alaric's plans for war through his own spies at the Ashlgothian Court; the King of Melorkia thus decided to launch a preemptive offensive into Ashlgothian territory before Alaric could anticipate it. On 14 March, just as Alaric was holding another meeting with his War Council about preparations for conflict with the Melorkians, Clovis had Ambassador Gesalec and his subordinates arrested, interrogated, and then imprisoned. Two days later, he issued a declaration of war against the Kingdom of Ashlgothia and launched his units into Ashlgothian territory. Melorkian units quickly overran Cyrus III (15-19 March 1202); decimated the Ashlgothian defenses of Sandra (22 March); and annihilated a Ashlgothian force at Hefner (24-29 March), before besieging and conquering Kristin (1 April). Matthew (2-4 April); West (9 April); and Mirhossani (13-17 April) were besieged and conquered in turn by the Melorkian units. Alaric launched a series of counteroffensives. Ashlgothian forces destroyed a Melorkian force at Allison (18-22 April) and conquered Marsin (24 April), before harrying Obania (25-29 April). On 1 May, however, Clovis inflicted a decisive defeat upon Alaric at Dertosa, ending his offensives against the Melorkian strongholds. By the end of May 1202, Marsin had been recovered, while Allison was secured and Melorkian units advanced against Greg. Jennings (1-4 June); Thelma (5-9 June); and Tea (11 June) were then overrun by Melorkian units. Throughout the remainder of June and into July 1202, Melorkian units harried Ashlgothian positions and gathered intelligence information on Ashlgothian strategic dispositions. By August 1202, Clovis was contemplating an offensive against Nandia, India, and Walden. Theodoric, however, who believed that Clovis should not be allowed to gain too much of a advantage, and seeking to maintain an equilibrium of power, extended an offer to mediate between the two states, on 14 August. Clovis at first relented, but eventually reconsidered the situation, for he did not want to become engrossed in war with Theodoric, who was far more powerful and had more military forces than he. On 25 August, he accepted the Halegothican offer; Alaric II and his advisers, already considering a treaty with Halegothica, accepted two days later. On 5 September, a armistice was signed at Armenia Major. Four days later, Theodoric offered to personally attend the conference which was to be held on Khagia at the end of the month, and he now urged the two adversaries to meet each other personally, in order to demonstrate that they were "genuine in restoring the tranquility and peace which the barbarian monarchies have resided in." Clovis at first refused, but by 16 September, he had been persuaded by his advisers to change his mind. Alaric also resisted, but decided to accept Theodoric's offer on 21 September and to announce his intention to meet with Clovis and the Halegothican King at Khagia. On 1 October, Clovis advanced from Tea, which had become his chief command headquarters, and headed to Khagia with his entourage and household. He was followed by Alaric II, who arrived at Khagia from Nandia on 5 October, and by Theodoric, who having departed from Jasonia, arrived at Khagia on 11 October. On 14 October, the three monarchs formally embraced each other in a ceremony of greeting which was conducted in the Martial Palace of Khagia, once a residence of the Kimanian Shoguns of the Hanian Dynasty, and declared their intention to conclude a "just and honorable peace". Negotiations began on 24 October, after a week of entertainments were held in honor of the three monarchs. Clovis demanded that Kristin, Matthew, West, Mirhossani, and Hefner be conceded to the Kingdom of Melorkia; that Alaric pay compensation to Clovis for his mobilization expenses; and that the King of Ashlgothia sign a military alliance with him. Alaric resisted these demands, declaring that he could not "subordinate himself unduly to the Melorkian sovereign". At one point, it seemed as if the conference would collapse. Theodoric, however, who was sympathetic to Alaric, and had even begun contemplating joining him in alliance against Clovis to recover the lost Ashlgothian territories, was able to convince the two rival monarchs to compromise. On 11 November, they finally fixed the conditions of peace, and on 15 November, the three monarchs signed the Treaty of Khagia. The Treaty was the embodiment of the compromise agreement which Theodoric had managed to contrive. By its terms, Hefner and Kristin were conceded to the authority of the Kingdom of Melorkia; Matthew, West, and Mirhossani were to be held by Melorkian forces for a period of three years: that is, until 15 November 1205. Clovis returned all other territories conquered by his forces back to the authority of Alaric, including Jennings, Thelma, and Tea. Alaric, on his part, would not have to pay any tribute or compensation to Clovis, but did agree to remain friendly towards the Melorkian King and to grant his merchants privileges of free transit through the Ashlgothian dominions for a period of twenty years. After the conclusion of the treaty, the entertainments resumed: by the end of November 1202, all hostilities between Melorkia and Ashlgothia had been officially terminated. On 5 December, however, Alaric declared that he needed to return to his dominions: his court departed from Khagia two days later, arriving back at Ashlgothia by 12 December. Clovis held a further conference with Theodoric and on 17 December renewed the terms of the Treaty of Roastafaria Major. He had the chance to see his sister, Halegothican Queen Consort Audofleda, whom he had not seen for nine years. Finally, on 24 December, Theodoric and his entourage departed from Khagia, and making a slow progress northward through his dominions, he returned to Jasonia by New Year's Eve. Clovis, however, remained at Khagia until 16 January 1203, when he too, returned to his capital at Roastafaria Major. In the meantime, as the Second Melorkian-Ashlgothian War had winded down and was brought to a close, major events took place in the Homidinian Khanate. By August 1202, the position of the Khan Shidebala had been seriously weakened. Over the preceding four years, the Khan had imperiled his position of authority, by imposing unpopular and inequitable fiscal policies, by angering the Homidinian Military, and by indulging himself in a series of excesses at the Homidinian Court. The Khan's self-confidence and autocratic manner had intensified since the suppression of the Bukhan Rebellion in September 1197.

The Khan now believed that he was immune to any further challenges to his authority, and consequently acted in such a manner. He vastly expanded the Homidinian Royal Court, imposed tighter government surveillance over the Homidinian press, and in September 1198, issued a series of charters severely restricting the rights of movement, property inheritance, and retainment for Homidinian nobles and magnates. Such actions angered the collective nobility of Ryan, Gwendolyn, Kledis Var, Markis Prime, Peters, and Dion, among other strongholds, for they believed that the Khan next intended to threaten their livelihoods and to confer their properties upon his supporters. Shidebala, however, also undertook actions which alienated his supporters. On 5 January 1199, the Khan, declared that his commanders could not be trusted, had them all arraigned before the Council of Bazaars and denounced for their "actions in undermining the Homidinian Government". General Khayisan and Admiral Agragron, who had been rewarded by the Khan earlier for suppressing the Bukhan Civil War, now became the subjects of his wrath. In February, they were both deprived of the Order of Tokugaistus the Great; banished from Chalassia; and commanded to retire to their estates. Khayisan, enraged by his master's moves towards him, then began to believe that the only way to secure his position was to act in defiance of Shidebala. From June 1199, the General was secretly assembling supplies and men at his estates on Kyler, Ureon, Dromund, Sonny, Shaeylnn, Kacee, and Englestrom, believing that this was the only way in which he could strike against the Khan. In October 1199, Shidebala, ignoring reports by his subordinates of unrest among the Homidinian troops, and seeking to increase further the luxury of his household, announced a 25% cut in military wages for all soldiers in the Homidinian service. This enraged many within the military ranks. On 4 November, under the command of a previously obscure General, Kaidu-Timur, they arose in rebellion against the Homidinian authorities at Gibbs-to-Lester. Kaidu-Timur, having established his command headquarters there, advanced swiftly. The Homidinian governmental bases on Calms (5-9 November); Sanford (12 November); Homidinian Ian (15 November); Dion (19-22 November); Brlla (25 November); and Yutzy (1-8 December) capitulated to the rebel forces in rapid succession. On 14 December, the garrisons of Ureon, Dominic, and Demebezaic defected to the rebel, demanding that the Khan restore their earlier rate of payment. Shidebala, who believed that he would not be able to suppress the rebellion by his own effort, now recalled Khayisan from disgrace and ordered him to advance against the rebels. Khayisan, employing his own personal formations and the units provided to him by the Khan, advanced against the rebel forces.

On 1 January 1200, he defeated Kaidu-Timur at Silverman; two days later, he repelled rebel units raiding Marley, Huff, and Warren. Celia and Peters were then secured (January-February 1200), and by the end of March, Dominic and Ureon had been re-secured by government forces. On 7 June, Kaidu-Timur, knowing that Khayisan bore a severe grudge against the Khan, and hoping to force Shidebala to agree to his demands, sent a secret communique to the Homidinian Commander-in-Chief. In this note, Kaidu-Timur offered to surrender his forces in a peaceful manner, if Khayisan in turn promised not to harm him and to pardon all of the personnel who had rebelled. Secretly, the rebel-General also declared that he was willing to lead a delegation to the Khan's Court, and to ask the Khan "in a humble manner" to restore the wages of all Homidinian military personnel. Khayisan, believing that he could eventually use Kaidu-Timur against the Khan, agreed to the rebel's offer. Kaidu-Timur formally surrendered at Yutzy on 15 June, and three days later, arrived at Chalassia, under escort by Khayisan, with his personal entourage. Shidebala, who had agreed to the rebel-General's coming to Homidinia, then revealed the true purpose of this. He had Kaidu-Timur and the men of his entourage tortured with flames, interrogated, and then cast into prison. The pardons issued by Khayisan were revoked, and by the end of August 1200, the majority of the rebel men had been fined, imprisoned, executed, or banished from the Homidinian dominions. In November 1200, Khayisan had once again been disgraced, and the Khan ordered him to return to his estate on Dromund. Thus, as the new century had begun, tensions boiled in the Homidinian dominions against the Khan. Throughout 1201, however, the Homidinian Khanate remained at peace, but Shidebala continued his excesses and lavish entertainments at the Homidinian Court, refusing to head the pleas of his subjects for a relaxation and for a resolution of their economic troubles. In March, he announced another cut in military wages, and in August, declared in a proclamation that any who challenged his position of authority would be utterly suppressed. By the early months of 1202, however, Khayisan had finally formulated his plans of rebellion against the Khan. In January, he held a meeting of his supporters at his estate on Dromund, declaring that he would soon remove "the tyrant Khan" from his position of power. Two months later, the Khan ordered yet another cut in military wages, which, this time, provoked protests on Chalassia, Sonny, Lacia, Englestrom, Kaycee, and at the strongholds of the Stygian Caldera. In May 1202, Khayisan finally revealed his plans to the Homidinian public, and declared himself to be in a state of rebellion against Shidebala. The Commander-in-Chief immediately received support from throughout the Homidinian dominions. On 29 May, he conquered Lacia without resistance; the world's garrison willingly joined his forces. He then destroyed a government fleet dispatched by the Khan in the Battle of Ward (1-7 June 1202); stormed Maxwell (8-19 June); and secured Kledis Var in a surprise offensive (22 June). The garrisons of Celia and Peters defected to the General's forces on 26 June. On 3 July, Shidebala's forces suffered another defeat at Silverman, and that stronghold surrendered to Khayisan two days later. On 6 July, Gwendolyn and Ryan were stormed by Khayisan's detachments. The rebel-General then harried the outskirts of Chalassia (10-17 July 1202) and then destroyed the garrison of Digette (22 July) before securing Kupferer (25 July); Dominic (1 August); Marley (2-7 August); Gibbs-to-Lester (10 August); Brlla (12-19 August); and Yutzy (22 August). Although a rebel offensive against Dion failed (24 August-1 September 1202), the General did storm the defenses of Brant (4-7 September). By the end of September 1202, Calms and Sanford had surrendered to rebel forces, and Khayisan freed Kaidu-Timur, who had been imprisoned at Markis Prime by the order of Shidebala. The Homidinian bases of Vert (1 October); Pickering (2 October); Zhang (4-9 October); Chou (10 October); Whou (11 October); Sinster (12 October); and Homidinian Ian (14-19 October) were besieged and conquered in turn by Khayisan's units. Dion finally capitulated on 22 October, and by 1 November, Khayisan's units were besieging Homidinia. The world, however, whose loyalty to Shidebala had completely disappeared during the course of the past two years, defected to the rebel-General just four days later. This strengthened his forces considerably, and by 11 November, all other Homidinian strongholds and worlds outside of Chalassia and Homidinia Minor were under his control. Shidebala now departed from Chalassia with the units still loyal to him, attempting to stem the tide.

On 16 November, the Homidinian Khan, establishing a operational headquarters on the minor-outpost world of Halassion, declared that he was going to "crush the rebellion by his own effort" and that he would soon have Khayisan bowing in submission before him. This turned out to be a false hope, for Khayisan had the absolute loyalty of the forces under his command and now dominated the majority of the Homidinian territories. He besieged Homidinia Minor from 18 November; the world capitulated to his units just two days later. On 22 November, the rebel-General defeated Shidebala's chief offensive armada in the Battle of Lando, and the following day, destroyed a Homidinian military repository on Alejandrina. On 26 November, Halassion itself was overrun by Shidebala's fleet, and the rebel-General now imposed a blockade of Chalassia. Shidebala, his personal entourage, and his last remaining offensive units had been pushed back to the Homidinian capital world. There, the Khaness-Consort, Int'su, and their six children, also resided, now holding out against the forces of the rebel-General. On 29 November, Khayisan issued a ultimatum to the besieged Khan, declaring that only his abdication from the Homidinian throne would restore "peace to the dominions of this khanate". The rebel-General declared that the Khan should abdicate in favor of either his eldest son, Tenekabaka, or the Garrison General Dayi. Shidebala refused, however, and on 4 December, implored his loyal subjects to assist him against the threat of the "traitor and his forces". This was the last straw for Khayisan, and on 9 December, his units finally breached the defenses of Chalassia. Within hours, they had seized control of the Homidinian capital world; the General himself led his troopers in landing on the world, declaring that the purpose of his invasion was to "remove one from the throne who has scourged these dominions". Shidebala, his wife, and his children, attempted to hide in their quarters at the Great Palace of Chalassia, but their effort proved to be in vain, for on 17 December, Dayi, who had been in secret contact with Khayisan since the beginning of the rebellion, betrayed their location to the rebel-General. On his orders, the Khan and his family were dragged out, bound in chains, and then humiliated in the Public Square of the Great Palace. On 27 December, the Council of Bazaars, summoned by Khayisan and dominated by his supporters, declared that Shidebala was a "false Khan" and formally deposed him from the Homidinian throne. Shidebala's eleven-year reign had thus terminated. On 30 December, Khayisan had the former Khan and his children butchered to death with vibroswords. To the last, Shidebala proclaimed his innocence. The Khan's wife, however, was spared, being banished to Alyssa, where she eventually died on 5 January 1205. On 6 January 1203, the Council of Bazaars proclaimed Khayisan the new Khan of the Homidinian Khanate, for Dayi had "resigned" his claims to the Homidinian throne in favor of the Commander-in-Chief. Khayisan, in his ascension manifesto, declared that he would "defend the interests of the Homidinian Khanate" and that he would maintain the independence of the last Dasian state in the Caladarian Galaxy. By the end of January 1203, all foreign monarchs, with the exception of the Solidaritan Sultan Chosroes, had acknowledged Khayisan as Homidinian Khan. This was to be a ominous sign. Throughout 1203, however, with the exception of this lack of recognition with the Solidaritan Court, the Homidinian Khanate remained at peace. Indeed, the first year of Khayisan's reign was to bring him much praise from his subjects and from foreign observers: that prosperous phase, however, was to give way to a phase of war, desolation, and economic turmoil, which was to seriously damage the integrity of the Homidinian Khanate and plant the seeds for its downfall later in the century. And indeed, the Caladarian Galaxy outside of the Core Regions settled into a state of general peace and tranquility throughout 1203. Clovis, who was determined to eventually impose his dominance over Gundobad and to further restrict the power and territorial base of Alaric II, spent the next two years reorganizing his military forces, implementing a series of reforms in the civil service and at the Melorkian Royal Court, and vastly expanding his economic resources. The King of Melorkia sponsored the establishment of many new colony-worlds along the Kimanian Trade Run: these included Abigail, Courtney, Donovan, Tahon, Bryce, Caitlin, Emma, Imma, Kathryn, Kane, Baiteman, and Renee, among many others. These star systems had all been cataloged by cartographers, scouts, and astronomers as early as 795 and were known to be habitable for sentient life; it was only in the thirteenth century that they were settled. The colonization policies of Clovis, of Theodoric, of the Laurasian Royal Government, and even of the Polonian Commonwealth under Sigis'ac (which colonized some 12,000 star systems during the course of his reign), contributed to the explosion in the numbers of inhabited worlds in the Caladarian Galaxy, which had grown from 35 million in 1005 to nearly 46 million two centuries later. Khayisan, on his part, also pursued a policy of colonization: Wakino, Mir, Kallista, Curry, Madison, Julie, Karen, Levi, Joseph, Drake, Rutherford, Derrek, Abitia, Perry, Kara, and Wyatt were among the multitude of star systems (45,000) colonized in this year. Besides instigating a massive colonization program and sponsoring the exploration of new star systems by Homidinian scouts, cartographers, and astrographical firms, the Khan took a series of measures in order to reverse Shidebala's financial policies and satisfy the demands of the people. In February 1203, the Khan restored all of the previous wages, annuities, and benefits which had been enjoyed by the men and officers of the Homidinian Armed Forces. Such an act earned him their loyalty, at least for that moment, and led to the Council of Bazaars acclaiming Khayisan as a "benevolent and just ruler". The following month, Khayisan released all of those who had been imprisoned under Shidebala's regime, and he declared that the previous Khan was not a "legitimate ruler of the Dasian Line". On 9 April, the Khan's coronation was held at the Great Palace; he and his wife, the Dasian Princess Terua, were crowned by Bishop Gregory of the Almitian Conclave of Chalassia, although the ceremony was conducted to Dasian rites and included a exhalation of the Khan and his merits by the Council of Bazaars, the Homidinian aristocracy, and the Dasian notables of the State. Celebrations and festivities then ensued on all of the Khanate's worlds for the next several months, in light of the Khan's coronation.

In June, Khayisan embarked upon a tour of the strongholds of the Lacian Cluster: Shaeylnn, Kaycee, Sonny, Dromund, Englestrom, Lacia, Chalassion, and Alyssa were among the worlds to be visited by the Khan and his court. In August, Khayisan reconfirmed the privileges of the Homidinian Almitian Church and granted Gregory the right to tax revenues collected on all Church properties throughout the Homidinian dominions. In the meantime, whilst Khayisan was pursuing policies which endeared him to his subjects, Alaric II bonded himself closer to Theodoric. The King of Ashlgothia was grateful for Theodoric's offer of mediation which had resulted in the Treaty of Khagia. He and his advisers on the Ashlgothian Great Council came to believe that only a close relationship with the King of Halegothica would forestall any further advances by Clovis, and that the Melorkian ruler would not be able to resist the might of the Halegothican forces. In March 1203, Alaric announced his intention to his advisers to procure for himself a wife. The King had never married since his ascension to the throne, and until this point, declared that he had "no time" for such matters. This did not, however, preclude him from indulging in affairs with many of the noblewomen and female servants at the Ashlgothian Court. The most enduring of these affairs was with Gesaliana, the daughter of the Ashlgothian Count Liviguld, who played a major role in the colonization of Emma and Imma. Gesaliana, who according to contemporary accounts was the "belle of the Ashlgothian Court", fell in love with Alaric and willingly slept in his bed. She had become pregnant with Alaric's first child in September 1186, and on 2 May 1187, had given birth to a son, who was named Gesalec, at her father's estate on Alex. Gesalec was illegitimate, however, for his parents were not married, and the King, who did not want to be tied in a martial union, refused to marry his child's mother. Nevertheless, he did shower favors upon his mistress and upon her family: in January 1190, Liviguld was named a member of the Ashlgothian Great Council and received the first of his colonization licenses from the Ashlgothian Chancellory of Space and Exploration. Gesaliana herself was granted estates on Alex, Trebek, Namjun, Derby, and Brostie, endowed with a annual pension, and named Lady of the Ashlgothian Noble Line. In 1192, however, her personal relationship with the King ended, as Alaric moved on to other mistresses and explicitly declared that they should henceforth have no further dealings with each other. Gesaliana, establishing herself at her estate on Derby, devoted herself to raising her son and administering the properties bequeathed upon her by her former lover. Gesalec was provided the best tutors and grew up in a luxurious, comfortable environment. His mother made sure to keep him informed of his roots, and never hesitated to tell him stories about his father, the King. In June 1200, however, Gesaliana's health entered a severe decline. The mother of the Ashlgothian King's illegitimate son tried to persevere in the face of her illness, being determined "not to quit the theater of the galaxy before the commencement of the new century". Her effort proved to be in vain, however, and in October, her condition was identified as the hated Angrames malady. Gesaliana entered into a comma on 4 November; she died at her estate on Trebek on 14 December 1200, with her son, father (her mother had died in 1197), and servants at her bedside. Gesalec, who was bereft of his mother, now came under the guardianship of his grandfather, Count Liviguld, who continued his education at his mansion on Warren. The King, who was much affected by the death of his former mistress, began, towards the end of 1201, to take greater interest in his son. On 8 January 1203, Alaric II issued a proclamation to his subjects, acknowledging Gesalec as his son and declaring that he was raising him within his own royal household. Seven days later, Liviguld was commanded to hand the boy over into the care of the King's servants; in exchange, Alaric confirmed the privileges of the noble's impending colonization expedition to Emma and Imma (which was to reach those star systems in March). On 24 January, Gesalec arrived at Ashlgothia, and was embraced by his father, the King, who affected to be "very relieved" to be united with his son. Gesalec was now fifteen years old, and he held a great respect for his father, because of his mother's teachings. In March, the King made his son a Prince of the Royal Line. Gesalec, however, remained illegitimate in the eyes of the Ashlgothian Government; this was what motivated Alaric towards finding himself a wife and consort, who could give him a legitimate heir. The King's announcement, in March, shocked many within the Ashlgothian dominions, who had believed that he would proclaim Gesalec his heir. They were even more alarmed when, on 9 April, the King announced that he was seeking a foreign princess to wed. He immediately turned the angle of his ambitions to Halegothica. Theodoric, who reigned over his dominions with a firm and equitable hand, and convalesced at Jasonia with his wife Audofleda, declared to the Halegothican Council of Elders, on 16 April, that he was opening marriage negotiations with Alaric. A Holonet conference between the two monarchs was held on 25 April; during these discussions, Theodoric offered his niece Theodegotho, who had just turned eighteen on 11 April, as a potential bride for the Ashlgothian monarch. Alaric, after holding a series of consultations with the Ashlgothian Council and the nobles of the Royal Court, declared, on 7 May, that he would be more than willing to marry Theodegotho. On 24 May, it was arranged, through the ambassadors of the two courts, for Alaric to journey to Halegothican dominions, so that he could meet his potential bride, hold a in-person conference with Theodoric, and finalize negotiations over the marriage. Alaric, preparing his court for the venture, then entrusted Gesalec and Liviguld to the supervision of the Ashlgothian Great Council. On 17 June, the King departed from Ashlgothia with his entourage. He proceeded in slow stages across his dominions, visiting Alex, Trebek, Warren, India, Nandia, Greg, Larkin, Cyrus III, Leslie, and other strongholds. He then traversed by Khagia and Dumbgwita, having gained permission from Clovis to transit through Melorkian territories to the Halegothican Dominions.

On 25 June, the King of Ashlgothia and his entourage reached Narra, and were greeted there by the Governor of the Halegothican Kimanian Provinces, Euthric, and by officials dispatched by King Theodoric. Four days later, they moved to Nanking. On 9 July, Theodoric himself, along with his wife, Queen-Consort Audofleda, his niece Theodegotho, and the Halegothican Court, departed from Jasonia. They reached Nanking two days later. On that day, Theodoric and Alaric II embraced each other and declared to all around them their intention of forming a strong bond between Ashlgothia and Halegothica. A month of festivities then ensued, which saw the two monarchs preside over a formal banquet and also engage each other in a joust, which ended on cordial terms. Alaric also grew acquainted with Theodegotho, and by the end of August 1203, had deemed her worthy enough to be his wife. Theodegotho, on her part, accepted Alaric, and told her brother that she would have no qualms marrying the Ashlgothian King. On 3 September, formal negotiations over the marriage alliance finally commenced, with Theodoric being assisted by the Laurasian clerk Bosclius, who would eventually become Vice-Chair of the Council of Elders in June 1215. Alaric on his part, was assisted in the negotiations by Reccared of Nicole, a respected Ashlgothian diplomat and bureaucrat who had served as ambassador to the Devianiani Confederacy (1190-1195) and Consul of the Jarjanic Court (1196-1201). After just five days of negotiations, the two monarchs fixed the final conditions of their agreement. On 9 September 1203, the Treaty of Narra was signed. By the terms of this treaty, Alaric II and Theodegotho were formally engaged; they were to be married by no later than 12 March 1204. The King of Ashlgothia promised to grant his wife all of the privileges and favors accorded to any queen-consort; to acknowledge her immunity from punishment by the Ashlgothian judicial system; and to recognize her right to keep a Halegothican household throughout her tenure as Queen-Consort. Theodegotho, on her part, was to promise absolute loyalty to her new husband, and would be obliged not to betray Ashlgothian interests in any form. She was to respect Ashlgothian customs and refrain from entanglement in Ashlgothian politics. As a confirmation of these marriage terms, Alaric was to pay Theodoric the sum of $45.6 billion Ashlgothian cranat, in order to compensate the King of Halegothica for arranging the marriage and also as a trust compact. All currently existing trade and diplomatic arrangements between the two kings were confirmed; a secret provision entailed Halegothican support to Alaric in rebuilding his military forces, and Halegothican diplomatic support against the ambitions of Clovis. A program of intelligence and political coordination between the two courts was also established. The Treaty of Narra, with the exception of its secret provisions, was formally announced to the public on 15 September. Clovis, when he received word of the Treaty's enactment, burst into a fit of rage; he lambasted his advisers and declared that the Kings of Ashlgothia and Halegothica were bent upon eliminating Melorkian independence. The King of Melorkia, however, was still in the midst of his military reforms, and decided for the time being to acknowledge the terms of the marriage alliance. Alexandrian King Gundobad and the Council of the Devianiani Confederacy reacted in a positive manner: both hoped that Theodoric would eventually assist them against Clovis. Khayisan declared his support for the alliance, as did Tharasamund of Kuevia, bound by his own marriage alliance to Theodoric. The monarchs of the Core Regions, who did not care about the concerns of the Barsar Regions at this juncture, and were distracted by the troubles in the Laurasian dominions, as well as the Polonian-Briannian War, did not even issue any diplomatic message about the Treaty of Narra. Sigi'sac of Polonia, tied up in his attempt to reclaim the Briannian throne from Char'lac, declared to his advisers that he cared "not one iota" for Halegothican and Ashlgothian affairs. On 29 September, Theodegotho was formally engaged to Alaric; her uncle conducted the engagement ceremony, and enjoined King Alaric to look after his niece with "great care and interest". On 11 October, the festivities of negotiation ended, and Alaric now made ready for his departure, with Theodegotho, back to his own dominions. This occurred two days later: the two monarchs conferred blessings upon each other before separating. Alaric arrived at Ashlgothia with his now-fiancée and his entourage on 22 October; on 1 November, he announced that his wedding to Theodegotho would take place on 4 January of the following year. During November and December 1203, the King of Ashlgothia occupied himself with his marriage preparations, while suppressing minor uprisings against his authority on Jennings, Thelma, Leslie, and Wayland. Thus, as the new year of 1204 commenced, the Outer Galactic Regions of the Caladarian Galaxy were entirely at peace. On 4 January, Alaric's marriage to Theodegotho finally occurred; Theodoric, who because of his duties in the Halegothican dominions was unable to extend, nevertheless sent his congratulations over the Holonet and was represented at the actual ceremony by the Halegothican ambassador to the Ashlgothian court, Fredic of Iego. The ceremony was also attended by the ambassadors of all of the other galactic powers and was, according to contemporary accounts, "one of the most lavish events ever to be held in the history of the Ashlgothian race". Following the marriage, which was conducted by Ashlgothian priests and by the Almitian Bishop of the Conclave of Ashlgothia, Leo the Ralinite, a series of festivals and celebrations ensued, in honor of the marriage, which continued for the next two months. Alaric lifted fines and taxes for his subjects for a period of six months; granted all businesses and public institutes a two-week holiday, with schools receiving a week holiday; and commanded all of his subjects to celebrate his marriage. Theodegotho herself reveled in her new position as Ashlgothian Queen Consort, and was treated with great respect by the members of the Ashlgothian Court. The festivities eventually ended in March 1204, but the atmosphere of joy and happiness did not terminate. Alaric was immensely pleased by his new wife, and on 7 April, it was formally announced to the Ashlgothian public that she was pregnant with the King's first legitimate son. This announcement aroused the concern of Liviguld, who believed that Gesalec had the right to be heir apparent to his father, even though he was not legitimate. He kept this to himself for the time being, but began to encourage such thoughts among the members of the Ashlgothian Court. The pregnancy of Queen Consort Theodegotho proceeded smoothly, for doctors had long since determined that Ashgoths and Halegoths were capable of breeding children; in the late fourteenth century, it would be discovered that the two species actually descended from the same genetic stock. On 6 January 1205, she would give birth to a son at the Vesplausio Palace at the resort world of Gillbrand; he would be named Amalaric, and would become his father's official heir-apparent. For the time being, however, while the pregnancy of Theodegotho was in progress, the focus of events shifted elsewhere. The Outer Regions had entered 1204 in a state of peace, but this was not to last for long. As mentioned above, the Solidaritan Sultan Chosroes had great ambition. He believed that he would continue in the tradition of Erutugul and Alp Arslan by launching military campaigns which would glorify the Sultanate and consolidate his own position.

Ever since his ascension to the throne in 1197, in the aftermath of the bitter civil war which had followed the death of Malik-Shah, Chosroes had focused his efforts on restoring the financial resources of the Solidaritan State, centralizing the government, and expanding the military forces. In November 1197, he had issued a decree reorganizing the ranks of the Grand Council: a number of pashas and military officers who had previously served in the Council's ranks were now demoted, while the Council's members were forbidden to venture from Istantius without the Sultan's explicit approval. By the firmat of January 7, 1198, Chosroes had established the Sultan'ın İradenin Uygulatıcılar (Enforcers of the Sultan's Will), who were charged with reporting on corruption and maladministration accusations levied against government officials; on maintaining a strict watch over all members and associates of the Sultan's court; and ensuring that the Sultan's commands were obeyed by all pashas and regional officials. Two months later, Chosroes reorganized the Solidaritan Sultanate; it was now to consist of thirty eyalets (districts), each under the governance of a Yargıtay Genel Vali (Supreme Governor-General), whose commands were to be superior to those of the pashas, who now became the heads of the seventy balies (counties), into which of the eyalets were subdivided. The Genel Vali was to answer directly to the Sultan, and his command of the military forces was to be counterbalanced by a officer of the Royal Line, or Kraliyet Line Görevlisi, who was to have the final say on the disposition of garrisons within that governor's territory, in response to rebellions or dissent. In November 1198, Chosroes reorganized the Solidaritan Treasury, depriving the Grand Vizier of his direct oversight of that institution and instead establishing the Maliye Bakanı Konseyi (Council of the Exchequer), each of whose officials were to report on a almost-daily basis to the Sultan directly. None of the Council's members would have authority to deal with financial matters unless if they secured the consent of the Council and the Vizier. Budgets and the levy of new taxes required the Sultan's final approval. This measure was followed by the establishment of the Janissary Corps Academy, which opened schools on Berhamia, Blarathon, Sair, and Yogrania during 1199. The Corps Academy was to turn out officers who were utterly loyal to the Sultan; the Academy's director was not answerable to the Grand Vizier, and would be under the constant surveillance of the Enforcers. Measures were taken to centralize the Holonet on Istantius; to improve transportation links throughout the Sultanate; and to sponsor the colonization of new star systems for agricultural, industrial, and intelligence purposes. Also, a new conscription system was established in June 1200; rates of enrollment into the Solidaritan Military more than quadrupled, and the entire discipline staff of the Solidaritan Army was reorganized. By such extensive measures, Chosroes allowed for the Solidaritan Sultanate to recover quickly from the ravages of internal conflict. By the time the new century rolled around, the Sultanate was brimming with energy; the Sultan only needed to give the order to march. From 1201 to 1204, the Sultan and his advisers, now more subordinate to him than ever, debated on how to strike. Some, such as Grand Vizier Bayazaid Pasha of O'Neal, urged the Sultan to renew his predecessors' campaigns against Laurasia, and to take the opportunity of King Eurymaschus's new troubles to seize Rebecca, Durglais, Nezbit, and Chancia. These worlds would greatly enhance the Sultanate's strength and seriously damage Laurasia's economic vitality. Others, such as Subordinate Vizier Orkhan, urged the Sultan to renew the ventures of Alp Arslan: that is, to push into the Galactic Borderlands and against the Xilanian States. Chosroes, however, came up with plans of his own. In June 1203, he first posed to his advisers the idea of a war of conquest in the Homidinian Khanate, the last remaining Dasian state. The Sultan declared that the Homidinian Khanate would be easy prey, for it had been seriously weakened by civil wars ever since the reign of the deceased Khan Biligtu; in particular, the Bukhan and Shidebalan Civil Wars had seriously damaged the Homidinian economy and weakened the government's authority. Chosroes boasted that he would take the role of the monarch that would finally destroy "the Empire of the conqueror Genghis Khan, so exalted in this galaxy", and that he would then be able to eliminate the independence of Armania. His advisers, especially Orkhan and Bayazaid, disagreed. They pointed out that, with the exception of the Solidaritan passage through Homidinian territory from the Galactic Void in 1106-07, nearly a century earlier, the two states had never warred with each other. The two Viziers believed that if Chosroes invaded the Homidinian Khanate, he would provoke the fears of Theodoric. Theodoric, they argued, was a far more powerful monarch than Chosroes, but believed that a balance of power needed to be maintained in the Outer Borderlands. They said that Theodoric would stop Chosroes and might even force the Solidaritan Sultanate to concede territory. Orkhan even feared that Theodoric would support Queen Mother Christiana (who had wished to her advisers and Court that she could launch a crusade of conquest against Solidarita or Laurasia), and that Chosroes' reign would end in humiliation for the Solidaritan Race. Chosroes, however, overrode their objections, and declared, on 19 August, that war with the Homidinian Khanate would glorify the Solidaritan Sultanate. On 11 September, he commanded the Grand Council and the Solidaritan Central Headquarters to draft plans for military campaigns into the Homidinian Khanate. The Sultan began to secretly assemble military squadrons at Big Twinny, Leopoldia, Dennis, Michael, Rastaborn, Shannon, Massanay, Roxuli, Abraham, Fredericklandia, Alexandria, and other worlds in his effort to push into Homidinian territory. He nevertheless continued to profess his desire for peace, and on 29 September, even sent a letter to the Homdinian Court on Chalassia, declaring his hope that the two states would never find themselves in a state of war.

By the end of 1203, however, the Sultan's plans for war were well advanced, and on 25 January 1204, he gave the final authorization to his generals for the planning of the military offensives. The invasion was planned to begin at the end of February. Events, however, in the Homidinian Khanate, caused Chosroes to hold back, for he now looked for an excuse to intervene in the Homidinian dominions. On 5 February, Khayisan embarked from Chalassia with his court, arriving at Dromund by the end of the day. The Khan was there in order to observe the world's defenses and to conduct a ceremony in honor of the Dasian Gods on the world. In the Khan's absence, however, a ambitious and intriguing figure emerged on Chalassia. The Homidinian General Argies, who had been a subordinate of Shidebala's but defected to Khayisan, circulated rumors across the planet that the Khan was in declining health and was preparing to die. On 11 February, the General then took hold of his regimental standard and declared himself to now be the "governor" of Chalassia, for Khayisan was no longer able to govern the Homidinian dominions. Many Homidinian nobles, who had begun to desire greater wealth for themselves, and thought Khayisan was an obstacle to this, rallied to him, and within two days, the entire planetary garrison was in his grip. When Khayisan received word of the rebellion at Mullencamp, a Homidinian industrial colony five light-years northeast of Dromund, he went into a fit of rage and ordered his loyal garrisons in the Lacian Cluster to suppress the rising. Argies, however, was able to advance. He besieged and conquered Chalassion (12-19 February 1204); destroyed the garrison of Shaelynn (22 February); and secured Sonny (24 February), before advancing to David, Tamant, and Zehner (25 February-9 March 1204). Chosroes, watching these events with interest, had postponed his planned invasion, deciding to what what happened next. Argies, however, failed to fulfill his promises to those whom he had recruited, and Khayisan quickly rallied strength from the other Homidinian territories, who remained loyal to their master. On 17 March, the rebel-General was defeated in the Battle of Terring. Four days later, Khayisan's forces reconquered Chalassion and repelled a rebel offensive against Zehner. On 1 April, however, Argies was able to launch a surprise offensive against the Homidinian strongholds of the Kledis Var Trade Line. Kledis Var itself was besieged by a rebel fleet (2-9 April 1204), which then cut off a Homidinian rapid response force at Maxwell (11-17 April), before storming a government repository on Digette (22-25 April). Dominic and Demebezaic were then threatened by rebel units (26 April-2 May 1204), and on 7 May, rebel forces managed to storm Sonny. The Khan however, once again reorganized his forces and was able to again take the offensive. He also received support from Armane King Trapstila, who on 7 May, granted a financial subsidy to the Homidinian Court and allowed the Khan to employ Longmiran, Glassian, and Houstanian mercenaries in his campaigns against the rebel-general. Khayisan inflicted a decisive defeat upon Argies in the Battle of Rushina (8-11 May 1204) and then established a government outpost on Aliy (12-17 May), before driving rebel forces from Dominic, Digette, and Maxwell (May-June 1204). On 4 July, Khayisan obtained another victory at Boethike, and then, on 11 July, reconquered Sonny. The unity of the rebel forces quickly collapsed, as Argies was unable to pose any more resistance to the advance of the government units. By 22 July, Tamant and David had been secured from rebel forces, while the Khan was preparing an offensive against Chalassion and Chalassia itself. The people of Chalassia, however, realizing that Argies had lost the advantage, and that they could expect mercy if they peacefully surrendered to the Khan, revolted against Argies's garrison on 27 July. Within three days, the capital world was once again in the possession of forces loyal to the Khan and his government. On 3 August, Argies, realizing that his rebellion was doomed and that Khayisan would soon overtake Chalassion, decided to flee with the rump remainder of his forces from the Homidinian Khanate. The General, however, was not yet willing to surrender: indeed, he now saw an opportunity in the Solidaritan Sultanate, for he had heard of Chosroes' military reforms and of the Sultan's ambitions. The Homidinian General now believed that with the help of the Solidaritan Sultan, he could defeat Khayisan, overthrow the Homidinian Khanate, and reestablish the independence of his race, the Rokai, who had, with the exception of an interlude of independence from 953 to 987, and again from 1026 to 1056, been under the domination of the Dasian race for nearly four centuries. On 6 August, the forces of the rebel-General and his supporters crossed the Larkian Way and entered Solidaritan space, racing to Abraham. There, they were greeted by representatives who had been dispatched by the Sultan: Chosroes had already been informed by his agents that the rebel was fleeing into Solidaritan territory. On the orders of the Sultan, Argies and his forces were resupplied and granted official refuge status. Chalassion, which had now been abandoned by the remaining rebel forces, was reconquered by the Khan without difficulty on 11 August: on that day, he was officially informed by the Solidaritan Government that Argies was now in Solidaritan space and that he was consequently, by the standards of diplomatic protocol, beyond the reach of the Homidinian authorities. Khayisan was enraged when this announcement was issued to him. On 15 August, he declared that Chosroes was violating that very same law of protocol by harboring the rebel; that he could never imagine that the Solidaritan Sultanate would condone the actions of a rebel; and that it would be advisable for the Sultan to either punish Argies himself or turn him back over to Homidinian authorities. Chosroes, however, ignored the Homidinian declaration, and on 24 August, allowed for Argies and his entourage to proceed to Istantius, under escort by Solidaritan troops. On 1 September, the rebel-General arrived at Istantius, and was greeted with much pomp and ceremony by the Sultan, the Grand Council, and the Solidaritan Court. The Sultan treated the rebel-General to a series of festivities and celebrations over the next several days. Finally, on 12 September, he held a private audience with the General. In this audience, Argies declared that his rebellion against his master, Khayisan, was based upon a "valid justification" and that Khayisan was a tyrant who did not deserve to rule over the Homidinian dominions. Argies then declared that his species, the Rokai, simmered under Dasian rule, and that the last Dasian state should be "uprooted from the face of the galaxy". Chosroes liked hearing these statements, and deciding that this was his justification, declared, on 21 September, that he would do everything he could in order to assist Argies in "meeting his objectives within the territory of the Khanate". By the end of September, Chosroes had commanded the General Headquarters to revise their plans of invasion, and he now supplied Argies with Solidaritan, mercenary, and escort units, along with military equipment, shields, and armor. On 6 October, Khayisan issued a ultimatum to the Solidaritan Court, declaring that unless if Argies was handed into his custody or punished by no later than 1 January 1208, then a state of war would exist between the Solidaritan Sultanate and the Homidinian Khanate. The Khan believed that this span of time would be enough for the Sultan to see reason, and that he could strengthen the Homidinian forces, preparing them for battle, in the face of any Solidaritan offensive. He also hoped that Trapstila and Theodoric would both support him, and that Chosroes would be warned off against intervention. Chosroes, on his part, saw the ultimatum as an opportunity to strengthen his own military forces, and also began to court the possibility of formulating an alliance with the Xilanian States. For the remainder of 1204, and into 1205, both sides watched and waited for what was to happen next. In the meantime, the focus of events shifted dramatically to the Barsar Regions.

By November 1204, tensions were building up once again in that quadrant of the Caladarian Galaxy. Theodoric, who conducted a great tour of his dominions during the latter half of 1204, monitored two situations at once: one was the situation between the Homidinian Khanate and the Solidaritan Sultanate; the other was the situation now beginning to emerge concerning Melorkia, Ashlgothia, and Alexandria. The first of these situations did trouble the King of Halegothica greatly. On 5 October, Theodoric's ambassador at the Solidaritan Court, the Jageron Malio, had declared that it was in the interests of his master for peace to be maintained, and that Halegothica would not tolerate Solidaritan measures to destroy the Homidinian Khanate. Four days later, Theodoric's ambassador to the Homidinian Court, Theuderic of Theodore, held a audience with the Khan at Chalassia and issued to him an assurance, by his master, that Theodoric would not allow Chosroes to destroy the authority of the Dasian State over the regions where it still held the authority. In December 1204, Theodoric even began to move units to Iego, Meredith, Jeanne, Dickinson, Ian, Coronadia, Edmundia, and English Star, ready to move into Homidinian territories if Chosroes launched an invasion. The Melorkian-Ashlgothian situation, however, quickly took his attention. By the latter months of 1204 as well, Alaric II had formulated his plans against Clovis. The King of Ashlgothia was determined to launch an preemptive invasion of Melorkian territories, in order to recover what he had lost and to constrain Clovis. To this end, on 22 November 1204, he had signed the Treaty of Neelson with the Devianiani Confederacy, by which the Council promised to provide him units and financial support against Clovis. From 2 December, Ashlgothian units assembled at Leslie, Jennings, Thelma, Tea, Nandia, India, Warren, and other Ashlgothian strongholds, poised to invade Melorkian territory. Clovis, on his part, moved to Roastafaria Minor and began to strengthen the garrisons of Khagia, Dumbgwita, Shell, Brooke One, and Woolestone, determined to forestall an Ashlgothian advance. On 13 December, Theodoric, who had returned to Jasonia from his tour of the Halegothican dominions, was informed by his military commanders and advisers that Alaric was about to declare war on Clovis. The King of Halegothica hoped to set his brother-in-law to reason, and wished to prevent a resumption of conflict. On 24 December, he sent a diplomatic communique, over the secret Ashlgothian-Halegothican Holonet channel, in which he implored his brother-in-law not to proceed with his plans against Clovis. Alaric and his advisers debated the communique for several days. On 1 January 1205, however, Alaric sent a response communique to Theodoric, declaring that unless if a move was made into Clovis's territories, than "the maintenance of peace could not be ensured". Theodoric now instructed his sister Theodegotho to make a plea to her husband not to instigate war. Her pleas, however, failed to deter him, and on 11 January, days after the birth of his son Amalaric, Alaric ordered his commanders to finalize the plans of invasion. On 19 January, Alaric issued an ultimatum to the Melorkian Court. In this communique, the King of Ashlgothia demanded that Clovis return Khagia, Dumbgwita, Shell, Brooke One, the Armenian Worlds, Hefner, Kristin, Matthew, West, and Mirohassani; that the King of Melorkia abstain from aggression against the Ashlgothian dominions in the future; and that Clovis pay compensation to the Ashlgothian Government for the expenses of the two previous Melorkian-Ashlgothian Wars. These demands were unacceptable in the eyes of Clovis and his government; on 26 January, Clovis, in a violation of the Treaty of Khagia, declared that Matthew, West, and Mirohassani, which had been scheduled to be handed back to the Ashlgothian Government in November 1205, were now permanently in the possession of the Kingdom of Melorkia. This pushed Alaric over the edge, and on 5 February, he issued a declaration of war against the Kingdom of Melorkia. Ashlgothian units at once hurled into Melorkian territory. The Ashlgothian force besieged and conquered Kristin (8-17 February); Mirohassani (22 February); Matthew (24-27 February); and West (1 March), although an offensive against Khagia and Dumbgwita (2-7 March 1205) was repelled by the garrisons which had been installed by King Clovis. On 11 March, a Melorkian counteroffensive against India and Warren ended in failure at the Battle of Valentino, in which the Ashlgothians captured a number of starfighters and corvettes. Three days later, Alaric himself directed an offensive against Cyrus III, Rose, and Jack; the three strongholds fell to Ashlgothian forces by the end of the month.

The Ashlgothian momentum continued throughout April and May 1205, for Clovis had believed that Alaric's primary objective was to recover the Armenian Worlds, Brooke One, and Shell. While Ashlgothian units did indeed instigate a siege of Brooke One (1-14 April), which ended in failure, the main thrust of the Ashlgothian offensives was directed at the Melorkian worlds themselves, the systems whom Clovis had disputed with his brothers. A Ashlgothian victory at Sandra (16 April 1205) cleared the way for Alaric to advance to Hefner, Cansbrun, and Marsin. Hefner capitulated to a Ashlgothian expeditionary force on 19 April. Two days later, Alaric destroyed another Melorkian force, under the command of Carolus, in the Battle of Negri. Ashlgothian units then besieged and conquered the Melorkian garrisons on Cansbrun (22-25 April); Marsin (1 May); and Olm (2-7 May). Clovis's counteroffensives against Mirohassani, Matthew, Kristin, and the recently colonized system of Imma (8-12 May 1205) was not able to obtain any results. Resmania itself was besieged by a Ashlgothian force from 9 May, falling five days later. By 17 May, Obathia and Purdill had both been isolated by Ashlgothian units, while Alaric's forces were launching raids as far as Michelle, Pasar Star, and Hathaway. Clovis, who was now desperate to repel to the Ashlgothian advance and to cast off the developing impression that he had lost the advantage, reorganized his units vigorously and ordered all Melorkian outposts and garrisons to resist the Ashlgothian units "with all possible tactics at hand". The King of Melorkia also exploited the resources of the Crimeanian Provinces, which had proven vital to him in the past. Hooper, Sanegeta, Eutagia, Acamaria, Drennan, and Nathaniel were all exploited for their manpower and for the financial revenues which they could generate. As a result of the King's efforts, and because his continuing military reforms had proceeded further, the Melorkians were finally able to stabilize the front line. A Ashlgothian expedition which was ravaging Les Mans and Gelp was defeated at Costner (4 June 1205). Six days later, Clovis repelled another offensive by Ashlgothian units, this once against Kevin, in the Battle of Cavill. On 14 June, a Ashlgothian transport force was defeated at Brimma, and Alaric ordered his units to halt any further offensives. Clovis now prepared for a renewed counteroffensive, and he also redeployed the fleets of Brooke One, Shell, Earl, Armenia Major, Woolestone, Khagia, and Ain Jalut, all of whom had remained beyond the reach of the Ashlgothian forces. In July, a Ashlgothian move towards Bricklestone was defeated at Spar's Pulsar, and on 4 August, Clovis's forces received their final instructions for a advance from their master. Four days later, the Melorkian forces launched a coordinated counteroffensive against the Ashlgothian units. The Second Battle of Negri occurred on 10 August, resulting this time in a Melorkian victory. Four days later, Clovis obtained victory in the Battle of Michelle, finally repelling Ashlgothian raiding parties against that world and Pasar Star. Purdill was then secured by Melorkian units (15-19 August 1205); followed by Obathia (22 August); Resmania (24 August): and Olm (29 August-2 September). Alaric's attempt to advance towards Cambrina, Jasmine, and Kans ended in failure at Dourif (5 September 1205). By the end of September 1205, Marsin and Cansbrun were surrounded by Melorkian units, while Clovis was preparing a offensive against Hefner.

The King of Ashlgothia, in the meantime, sought to restore the initiative to his forces and to prevent Clovis from again invading Ashlgothian territory. He sent a emissary to the Council of the Devianiani Confederacy on Lesia Minor, urging them to declare war against Clovis. The Council was at first opposed, but eventually, on 12 October, it accepted the Ashlgothian plea. Two days later, the Council sent a communique to Clovis, who had established his command headquarters on Obathia, and declared that it was a "insult to our honor" for Melorkian units to continue their rule of Mrpath, Plkit, Ain Jalut, Damascus, and the strongholds of the Denveranian Trunk Line. It also declared that his war with Ashlgothia "violated the norm of diplomatic affairs" and that the King of Melorkia was inspiring the hatred of all his neighbors. The Council demanded that Clovis sign a armistice with Alaric and that he return his gains of the Treaty of Allison back to the Devianiani Confederacy. Clovis, who did not believe that the Devianiani had sufficient strength to strike into his territories, refused to even respond to the Devianiani ultimatum. The Council now declared that it had a justification to go to war, issuing a declaration to that effect on 23 October. On that same day, Clovis's forces had launched a general offensive against Marsin. The Devianiani declaration of war, however, now meant that the King of Melorkia was fighting on two fronts. Clovis was now forced to divert units to Woolestone, Plkit, Ain Jalut, Damascus, Tolbiac, Mansia, Cal, and Aleppo, which weakened the strength of the forces arrayed against Alaric. The King of Melorkia also worried about the possibility of Halegothican intervention. Theodoric had grown increasingly uneasy about the Melorkian King's ambitions, and in a meeting of his Council of Elders on 1 October, had even declared that he was willing to sign a treaty of alliance with Alaric in order to stop the Melorkian King. The Devianiani declaration of war, however, caused Theodoric to reconsider. The King of Halegothica believed that the Devianiani would be able to draw off Clovis's strength and that Alaric could regain the advantage. This belief was to backfire on him. But in the meantime however, it did seem that the Devianiani declaration of war inflicted a serious setback on Clovis, and that the King of Melorkia would be defeated. Just one day after the declaration of war, Devianiani units, stationed at Helen, Hermasia, Masau, and Beatrice, crossed the Murphian Trade Spine and launched a series of offensives against unprepared Melorkian garrisons. Stahl was recovered (24 October), followed by Simon (25-27 October) and Cal (28 October). A Melorkian force, launching a counteroffensive from Aleppo, was defeated at Morley (29 October). On that same day, Alaric relieved Marsin and drove Clovis's force away. Cansbrun was then relieved of its Melorkian besieging force (1-4 November 1205), and on 6 November, the King of Ashlgothia reconquered Purdill. Clovis was forced to evacuate Obathia, which again fell to Ashlgothian forces on 11 November. By 14 November, Devianiani expeditions were penetrating to Ain Jalut, Woolestone, and Damascus, while the Melorkian garrison on Aleppo had been attacked and destroyed. Clovis attempted to bolster the defenses of Beverly Hereidu, Shell, and Earl, but this required a further weakening of the forces arrayed against Alaric. Alaric was thus able to conquer Resmania (15-19 November); Pasar's Star (22 November); and Dourif (25 November), before penetrating to Negri and Olm (26 November-3 December 1205). On 6 December, the Treaty of Kathryn was signed with the Council of the Devianiani Confederacy, pledging for a coordinated offensive against Clovis.

The two powers agreed not to make a separate peace with Clovis and to fight the Melorkian King until he had agreed to return all territories seized from them. Just two days later, a Ashlgothian force destroyed the Melorkian outpost on Rose and hastened into the Barsar Regions. Linking up with Devianiani detachments, they conquered Winehouse (9-11 December 1205) and isolated Woolestone (12-15 December). On 22 December, Grassley was stormed by a Devianiani force, and Galud, the nephew of Gibuld (who had opposed Clovis in the first Melorkian-Alexandrian War), prepared for a offensive against Beverly Hereidu. By the end of December 1205, Melorkian forces were in full retreat, and Ashlgothian expeditions once again penetrated to Hathaway, Kevin, and Costner. On 1 January 1206, Alaric issued a proclamation from his command headquarters on Allison, declaring that the "honor of the Ashlgothian race" was being restored and that Clovis would be defeated. During the first half of 1206, Ashlgothian and Devianiani forces made further advances, but at the same time, overstretched their supply lines, giving Clovis a renewed advantage. Clovis also took advantage of events transpiring in the Kingdom of Jarjanica, which was to now finally overthrow the conditions of Ashlgothian overlordship. This was still ahead, for on 7 January, Alaric obtained a major victory in the Second Battle of Bricklestone, annihilating a entire Melorkian corvette squadron. Michelle was then overrun by a Ashlgothian force (12-17 January 1206), and by 22 January, Kevin and Costner were both being besieged by Ashlgothian detachments. On 24 January, the siege of Ain Jalut commenced. The Melorkian garrison posed a considerable resistance, and the world did not fall to the Devianiani until 5 March. On 27 January, however, Woolestone was conquered by a Devianiani force. Clovis, when he received word of the fall of this stronghold, went into a fit of rage and chastised all those around him. Kevin and Costner were both conquered on 8 February; five days later, Jasmine and Kans were both stormed by a Ashlgothian force under the command of General Veremund. Hathaway was blockaded from 22 February, but although severe pressure was applied on it by Alaric's forces, this world was to remain in Melorkian possession. This was one of the few victories Clovis obtained during this time, for Ain Jalut's fall on 5 March sent the Melorkian Court into utter despair. By 17 March, Devianiani units were harrying Khagia, Dumbgwita, and Drawling, while a Ashlgothian force was advancing towards Les Mans, Waters, and Palmer. On 26 March, Les Mans fell, and Alaric now prepared for offensives against Riparia, Alsauborg, Cholodio, and even Kentaborn. A Ashlgothian force started its advance on 1 April, destroying Melorkian garrisons on Mayblein, Marla, Wilmson, and Dacia. On 4 April, a Ashlgothian expedition reached the outskirts of Riparia. It was at this point, however, that the luck finally ran out for the Ashlgothian and Devianiani forces. The health of King Hermeneric of Jarjanica, still a Ashlgothian vassal, had been in severe decline since the commencement of the new century. In April 1201, Hermeneric had suffered a severe stroke at his palace on Nelson. As a result of this stroke, the King of Jarjanica was forced to withdraw himself from active participation in the Council of Ministers, and his public appearances grew less and less. He suffered a minor heart attack at his palace on Allen in November 1201 and a attack of Bremian fever in July 1202. By the latter months of 1202, the Count of Jarman, named Rechiar after the King of the Jarjanics who allied himself with Attila and opposed both Bodi Aligh and Theodoric I of Ashlgothia, had begun to conspire in order to secure the Jarjanican throne for himself. Assembling military supplies and units on Preena, Nelson, Jarman, Plath, Skold, Riley, Strongstine, and Novina, the Count was able to secure a place on the Council of Ministers in February 1203. In June 1203, he became one of King Hermeneric's personal stewards; five months later, the King, declaring that he needed a worthy heir, created Rechiar Prince of Skold, granting him precedence over all other Jarjanican nobles. A faction of nobles, led by the Lord Heremigaus of Afdari, attempted to oppose Rechiar's rise, orchestrating a assassination attempt on him (25 November 1203), at Afdari. Rechiar survived this attempt to depose him, and on 21 September 1204, Heremigaus and his supporters were captured at Hutsia, trundled to Allen in a prison transport, and there was executed by solar incineration. After this, on 1 December 1204, Hermeneric formally proclaimed Rechiar to be his heir apparent. Rechiar was now named Prince-Apparent and obtained the chief seat on the Council of Ministers, second to only the King himself. On 5 February 1205, Hermeneric suffered a final stroke in his personal quarters. Despite the efforts of his doctors, he died in his bed two days later. Upon the death of Hermeneric, who had ruled for nearly twenty-eight years, Rechiar was formally proclaimed King of Jarjanica by the Council of Ministers. Rechiar immediately issued a proclamation to his new subjects, declaring his intention to strengthen the position of Jarjanica through "use of arms" and to permit no continuation of vassalage or undue subordination to other powers. In this, he implied Ashlgothia, for although Ashlgothian territory in the Barsar Regions had now been reduced to enclaves at Messalina, Chobania, Reading, and Samantha, the Ashlgothian Government still held formal suzerainty over the Jarjanican Court. Rechiar, however, was aware of how Clovis's wars with Ashlgothia had weakened Alaric, and he now came to believe that he could take advantage of the opportunity thus created. After Hermeneric's funeral on 22 February, which was attended by dignitaries from all of the galactic powers, Rechiar began to instigate a series of economic, military, and civil reforms. In March 1205, the Council of Ministers was reorganized, with the King modifying its procedures and limiting its preogatives in government administration, justice, and civil service coordination. On 11 April, a decree commanded all members of the Jarjanican nobility to submit annual reports about their finances and the administration of their estates to the Jarjanican Government. Six days later, a levy for military conscription was imposed, and all merchants, corporations, and firms were commanded to contribute. From May 1205, the King began to expand and reorganize his military forces, using the service of Rudorite, Melorkian, and Kuevian advisers to improve the efficiency of his forces. Professionalism was emphasized, while old military regulations, dating from before the reign of Hermeneric, were either updated or repealed. In July, construction began on military repositories at Strongstine, Riley, Afdari, Abshire, Caroll, Plath, Skold, Jarman, and Molina. These repositories were meant to serve as storehouses of military equipment and as strategic coordination centers for the Jarjanic armies. On 12 August, before the outbreak of the Second Melorkian-Ashlgothian War, Alaric II had sent a communique to the King of Jarjanica through the Ashlgothian Ambassador-General, Ithac, commanding the King to pledge homage to his overlord in a public ceremony on Allen. Rechiar had complied, but declared secretly to his advisers that such humiliating ceremonies of subjection would not take place any longer. The outbreak of the Second Melorkian-Ashlgothian War served to actually weaken Ashlgothian influence in Jarjanican affairs, for the Ashlgothian garrisons of the Trans-Leonite Provinces had to focus their efforts on repelling Melorkian offensives and providing assistance to their master in his campaigns against Clovis. In December 1205, Rechiar declared that the Kingdom of Jarjanica would soon fully assert itself; the following month, he refused to pay the annual subsidy which was due to the Ashlgothian Court. Alaric, upon hearing this, was enraged, and on 4 February 1206, Ithac demanded that the Jarjanican Court fulfill its obligations. Rechiar, however, refused to respond to the envoy's demands, and on 21 February, he commanded his guards to arrest the Ambassador-General. Ithac and his entourage resisted arrest, declaring that Rechiar was breaking his bond of vassalage towards the Ashlgothian Kingdom. His protests were ignored, however; on 27 February, he and the Ashlgothian embassy were imprisoned at the Ra'for Maze on Novina. On 1 March, Rechiar formally declared himself to be independent of Ashlgothian suzerainty; he declared, in a manifesto to his subjects, that they would no longer have to "crawl before Ashlgothian officials". Alaric, who was finding much success with his offensives against the Melorkians, was enraged. At first, however, he attempted to persuade Rechiar to see reason. Three times, on 14, 17, and 25 March, the King of Ashlgothia sent diplomatic communiques to his "wayward vassal", urging him to shed from evil ways and to declare his renewed loyalty to the Ashlgothian Crown. Rechiar ignored each communique, although on 29 March, he declared that Alaric was attempting to "lure the kingdom of our ancestors back into undue subjection". On 1 April, Alaric, who had lost patience, declared Rechiar to be a contumacious traitor and issued a declaration of war against the Kingdom of Jarjanica.

The Ashlgothian garrisons in the Trans-Leonite Provinces were ordered to ready themselves for offensives into Jarjanic territory. They were, however, undermanned, for Alaric had pulled away units for his campaigns against Clovis. On 4 April, Rechiar launched a surprise invasion of the Trans-Leonite Provinces. Jarjanican units, advancing from Riley, Afdari, Abshire, Strongstine, Caroll, and Molina, swiftly swept up the Ashlgothian forces. The King of Jarjanica himself commanded his forces in their advance. On 6 April, he destroyed a Ashlgothian fleet in the Battle of Crosbie; two days later, Jarjanican units repelled a Ashlgothian attempt to advance towards Riley. On 11 April, Messalina was besieged by Jarjanican units; the world fell to their arms four days later. On 22 April, Clovis, hearing of the Jarjanican rejection of the terms of vassalage towards Ashlgothia, and also of Jarjanican victories over the Ashlgothian forces, sent a communique to Rechiar, who had established his command headquarters on the minor colony-world of Mervey. In this communique, the hard-pressed King of Melorkia proposed an alliance between Melorkia and Jarjanica. Clovis promised to acknowledge Jarjanican independence, if in turn Rechiar agreed to help him recover lost territory in the Barsar Regions from the Devianiani and Alexandrians. Rechiar, seeing this as his opportunity, agreed. On 4 May, after several days of negotiations over Holonet, the Treaty of the Net was signed (named after those means by which it was negotiated). A military and political alliance was formed between Melorkia and Jarjanica. Rechiar and Clovis were to cooperate in all military offensives against Alaric II and his Devianiani allies. Clovis acknowledged Alaric as an independent monarch, and agreed to defend Jarjanican independence from foreign threats in the future. Following the signing of this treaty, the momentum shifted to the newly formed Melorkian-Jarjanican Alliance. On 9 May, Chobania was conquered by a Jarjanican force. Reading (11 May) and Samantha (12-17 May). On the same day that Samantha capitulated to the Jarjanican forces, Les Mans was reconquered by Clovis in a brilliant counteroffensive. Ashlgothian raiding expeditions against Alsauborg, Kentaborn, and Riparia were terminated. Alaric launched a counteroffensive from Costner, but this was blunted at Jacer (18-22 May). On 27 May, Jasmine and Kevin were both stormed by Melorkian units. On that same day, Rechiar obtained a decisive victory in the Battle of Ambore and drove to Drawling, Khagia, and Dumbgwita. There, he linked up with Melorkian forces which had assembled along the Kimanian Trade Run. On 5 June, the Devianiani were defeated in the Battle of Tolbiac, being forced to terminate their raiding expeditions against the Melorkian worlds of the Kimanian Trade Run. Having secured those regions for the Melorkian monarchy, Rechiar was able to dispatch a expeditionary fleet, under the command of his chief general Unther, to the support of Clovis. This force defeated the Ashlgothian armada at Costner and reconquered that stronghold for the King of Melorkia (9-15 June 1206). On 22 June, Michelle and Bricklestone were both secured by Melorkian forces; two days later, a corvette force under the command of Rechiar's chief subordinate general, Amur, destroyed the Devianiani garrison occupying Ain Jalut. Beverly Hereidu (25-29 June); Woolestone (1 July); Winehouse (2-7 July); Armenia Major (8-11 July); and Armenia Minor (12-17 July) were then reconquered by Melorkian-Jarjanican forces. On 22 July, Alaric launched a counteroffensive, with his forces pushing to Mayblein, Les Mans, Jasmine, and Costner. This force was however, repelled at Steven on 29 July; two days later, Melorkian units destroyed Ashlgothian outposts which had been established on Marla, Wilmson, and Dacia. Resmania was secured in a surprise offensive on 8 August.

Clovis's offensives against Dourif, Olm, and Negri, however, ended in failure (9-17 August 1206), and on 1 September, a Devianiani force repelled a Jarjanican raiding expedition launched against Morley. A stalemate then ensued during the next month, as Melorkian and Ashlgothian units engaged in ineffective skirmishes at Shell, Earl, Brooke One, Cansbrun, Marsin, and Obathia. Devianiani forces, on their part, repulsed Jarjanican offensives against Cal, Aleppo, and Ipkit. On 7 October, however, Clovis and Rechiar II met each other personally for the first time at Brahae; two days later, the monarchs signed the Treaty of Brahae, reconfirming their military alliance against Alaric II and the Council of the Devianiani Confederacy. They pledged not to sign a separate peace with their enemies, and to only conclude the war once all Melorkian territories occupied by Ashlgothian and Devianiani forces had been recovered. On 15 October, a Melorkian-Jarjanican force was finally able to storm a major Ashlgothian communications terminal at Stallbrass, paving the way for a renewed Allied counteroffensive against the Ashlgothian forces. Marsin was besieged by Melorkian units from 22 October; it fell to them on 1 November. Two days later, Dourif was blockaded by a Melorkian force, while a espionage expedition against Pasar's Star seized Ashlgothian intelligence files for the perusal of the Melorkian General Command. On 11 November, the Devianiani were defeated at Tutin, which had been colonized by the Melorkian Prince Sicchard in July 1201, on charter from King Clovis. Sicchard himself provided his personal corps and financial revenues to the support of the King's efforts, and on 22 November, directed the sally which resulted in the repulse of Melorkian forces from Cal. On 26 November, Dourif finally capitulated to Melorkian units; Clovis himself received the surrender of the commanders of the garrison. Olm (28 November); Negri (1-3 December); Pasar's Star (6 December), and Shell (7-11 December) were reconquered by Melorkian forces. Alaric was able to halt a Melorkian raiding expedition against Allison (12-17 December 1206) and destroyed a Jarjanican corvette corps which raided Hefner and West (22-25 December). On 29 December, however, these minor victories were completely overshadowed by the crushing Melorkian victory at Melvin, which paved the way to a reconquest of Earl and Brooke One. On New Year's Day 1207, Earl was swiftly overrun by a Melorkian-Jarjanican force: the population of the world, which had come to despise the Ashlgothian occupation garrison, welcomed the Melorkians and Jarjanics with open arms. Brooke One resisted for longer, but finally capitulated on 15 January. By the end of January 1207, King Alaric was in utter despair. The King of Ashlgothia now believed that Clovis would again invade his territories, and that nothing could stop him. He now attempted to again restore the initiative to his forces. On 4 February, the King sent the first of many communiques to Gundobad, with his court on Lesia Major. In these communiques, which were issued over the course of a month, the Ashlgothian monarch pleaded with the Alexandrian King to declare war on Clovis. Alaric declared that Clovis would stop at nothing, and that he would attempt to impose his domination over the Alexandrian dominions. Gundobad, however, was not interested in Alaric's cries for help. The King of Alexandria harbored his own ambitions for Ashlgothian and Devianiani territory; besides, his relations with Clovis had improved dramatically since the end of the First Melorkian-Alexandrian War. As far back as November 1204, the King of Alexandria had declared his fondness for the Melorkian monarch, and expressed his hopes that the two states would reside in peace with each other. By February 1207, Gundobad was even considering an alliance with the Melorkian King. Consequently, on 8 March, the King of Alexandria issued a firm refusal to Alaric's pleas, declaring his neutrality in the Third Melorkian-Ashlgothian War. Two days later, the Council of the Devianiani Confederacy, realizing that Clovis and Rechiar had obtained a definite advantage, and not wishing for Allied forces to invade the core Devianiani territories, requested for an armistice, in violation of the Treaty of Kathryn. Alaric attempted to persuade the Devianiani Council to desist, but the Council, now hostile to the ambitions of the Ashlgothian King, refused to listen. Clovis, who wished to turn all of his attention to Alaric, accepted the request, and on 14 March, an armistice was signed at Sejucia-Pax. A diplomatic conference was convened at Cambrina, being held from 22 March. In the meantime, Melorkian forces stormed Brimma and Purdill (17-24 March 1207), finally driving the last Ashlgothian units from Melorkian territory. Clovis commanded his forces to prepare for a renewed invasion of the Ashlgothian territories, but ordered them not to launch the invasion until after negotiations had been concluded with the Devianiani. On 2 April, the Devianiani agreed to the terms of peace proposed by Clovis and Rechiar: namely, the restoration of Cal, Morley, Stahl, and Simon to Melorkia; the concession of the minor strongholds of Logan, Zee, Stephanopoulos, Roberts, and Zacker to the Kingdom of Jarjanica; and the revocation of the alliance with the Kingdom of Ashlgothia. These terms were codified in the Treaty of Cambrina, signed on 6 April 1207. By 11 April, all remaining Devianiani forces in Melorkian territory had retired, and the exchange of strongholds and prisoners of war had taken place. Alaric was enraged at how his ally had betrayed him so, and he now considered appealing to Theodoric. Theodoric himself had begun to assemble units at Millard, Filmore, Constipex, Cox, Banks, Henderson, Kimania, Kimanis Mooria, and the strongholds of the Orion Cluster from January 1207, and was contemplating a declaration of war against Jarjanica and Melorkia. The King of Halegothica had attempted, numerous times, to arrange for a conference among the belligerents, and in February 1207, had forbidden his subjects to travel in territories engaged in war. By the end of April 1207, Theodoric was very close to entering the war. Clovis, however, sent numerous assurances to the court of Jasonia, promising Theodoric that he would not threaten the independence of Ashlgothia, and would not make any "gross" territorial demands. This promise, however, was not to be kept. On 5 May, Melorkian units finally invaded Ashlgothian territory. Kristin (6-11 May); Matthew (14 May); West (17 May); and Mirohassani (22-25 May) were recovered by Melorkian units, thus restoring the territorial situation to largely as it had been before the war. A second Melorkian offensive against Allison, launched on 29 May, proved to be successful: Ashlgothian units were outflanked and the world surrendered on 4 June. The following day, Kathryn itself, where the alliance between the Devianiani Confederacy and the Kingdom of Ashlgothia had been signed, was overrun by Melorkian units, who inflicted much damage to the colony-world's nascent settlements. Imma (5-7 June); Emma (10 June); Kane (12 June); Hefner (17 June); Bryce (22 June); Caitlin (25 June); India (27 June); and Warren (1-7 July) all fell in rapid succession to the Melorkian forces. On 12 July, a Melorkian expedition threatened Renee and Greg, while Clovis was contemplating an offensive against Nandia and Larkin. Alaric's counteroffensives against Cyrus III, Rose, Jack, and Hefner failed utterly (15-29 July 1207). On 2 August, Clovis, who was commanding his forces in these offensives, received information from his officers that Alaric and his forces were assembling at Vouille, a Ashlgothian mining colony and communications outpost which had been established in January 1176 by King Euric. The Melorkian units, with this intelligence in their possession, and moving swiftly, surrounded Vouille two days later. Alaric and his generals were caught completely off guard; the Ashlgothian King's force was completely surrounded. Nevertheless, the Ashlgothians resisted fiercely for the next several days, inflicting severe casualties upon the Melorkian units.

Finally, on 12 August, the arrival of a Jarjanic fleet, commanded by General Amur, sealed Alaric's fate. The fresh Jarjanic units finally broke the resistance of the Ashlgothian armada, and on 15 August, Vouille's defenses were finally penetrated. Alaric himself attempted to flee the star system in his personal starfighter, but was captured by Melorkian corvettes before he was able to enter hyperspace. The King of Ashlgothia was bound in chains and presented to Clovis, who had landed on Vouille with his officers and was personally directing the land offensive against the remaining Ashlgothian army units. Clovis mocked Alaric and declared that he was the "greater monarch, who had crushed one never worthy to be possessed of a throne". On 22 August, after the final cells of resistance on Vouille had been stamped out, and following the Melorkian seizure of Renee, Clovis himself executed the King of Ashlgothia using his vibrosword, declaring that he deserved no mercy. Alaric shouted his defiance to the last towards the Melorkian King, declaring that he would pay for his heinous deed. The news of the execution of Alaric II by Clovis sent shockwaves throughout the Caladarian Galaxy. Ashlgothia had become a respected and venerable kingdom; Clovis's deed was viewed by most other foreign sovereigns as a heinous and shameful act. Theodoric, when he received word that his brother-in-law had been slain by the hands of the King of Melorkia, burst into a fit of rage and declared to his court that he knew that Clovis was a untrustworthy monarch. Gundobad of Alexandria, who had been contemplating an alliance with Clovis, declared that the King of Melorkia had committed a "severe sin in the eyes of our Gods". Rechiar of Jarjanica also expressed his dismay at the execution. Even the Solidaritan Sultan Chosroes declared that the execution was "repulsive". No monarch, however, was willing to take action against Clovis. Except for Theodoric, the major exception of Theodoric. Theodoric now declared to his Council of Elders and the Halegothican Government that the execution of Alaric II was justification for war with Clovis. On 1 September, the King of Halegothica sent a ultimatum to Clovis, who was preparing to launch an offensive against Baiteman and Tahon. In this ultimatum, Theodoric demanded that Clovis apologize and repent for his deed of execution; that he immediately terminate hostilities against Ashlgothia; and that he return Alaric's body to the Ashlgothian Government for proper burial. The King also demanded that the status quo ante bellum be imposed, and that Clovis return all Ashlgothian strongholds which did not belong to him back to Ashlgothian authority. Theodoric even demanded that Clovis pay the Ashlgothian Government a hefty financial subsidy and to allow it to keep all Melorkian prisoners of war, as compensation, partial compensation, for the death of Alaric. Clovis, believing that he could withstand Theodoric's forces, and still holding the view that the King of Halegothica would not intervene, refused. Theodoric responded by imprisoning all Melorkian subjects in his dominions on 6 September. On that same day, the King of Halegothica banished the Melorkian Ambassador, Louis of Enrassburg, from his court, and recalled the Halegothican embassy from Melorkia (Roastafaria Major).

Two days later, Theodoric sent a ultimatum to Rechiar, demanding that the King of Jarjanica end hostilities against Ashlgothia and terminate his alliance with Melorkia promptly. Rechiar also refused to respond, and on 14 September, had all Halegothican subjects in his territories imprisoned; Theodoric severed diplomatic relations between the two courts the following day, and likewise imprisoned Jarjanican subjects in his domains. The King of Halegothica had now been driven to the limit, and he was determined to stop the two ambitious monarchs. On 17 September, Theodoric issued final instructions to his military forces; two days later, the King formally proclaimed that a state of war existed between the Kingdom of Halegothica and the Melorkian-Jarjanican Alliance. In the meantime, however, events had proceeded with the internal affairs of Ashlgothia which, in a way, displeased the Halegothican King. As was mentioned over, Amalaric, who had been born on 6 January 1205, had been proclaimed by his father Alaric II to be his official heir-apparent. Liviguld and his faction, however, never accepted this, believing that his nephew Gesalec deserved to be King of the Ashlgothian Dominions instead. In March 1205, a month after the outbreak of the Third Melorkian-Ashlgothian War (which was now becoming known as the War of Alaric's Homicide to the Ashlgothian people), the nobleman had assembled his supporters at his estates on Jennings, Thelma, Tea, and Walden, determined to ensure the ascension of Gesalec to the Ashlgothian throne. By the end of 1205, Liviguld had bribed many members of the Ashlgothian Council of Elders to his view; he had also implanted his supporters and agents within the ranks of the Ashlgothian Royal Court. He continued his preparations in secret, while Alaric and his government were distracted by the war with Clovis. The death of Alaric in August 1207 provided Liviguld with the supreme opportunity. On 23 August, the Ashlgothian Government officially announced the death of Alaric II to the Ashlgothian people. Preparations had been made for proclaiming Amalaric King; they were now, however, disrupted by Liviguld and his supporters. During the early hours of 25 August, Liviguld's troops and supporters surrounded the chambers of the Council of Elders, at the Cabellan Tower on Ashlgothia. The Elders were forced by Liviguld to formally denounce Alaric II's succession manifesto, and to declare that it viewed Geslaec as a more acceptable monarch. On 27 August 1207, it was Gesalec who was proclaimed by the Ashlgothian Government to be King of Ashlgothia. Although Queen Consort Theodegotho opposed the decision taken by the Elders, she was forced to admit that she could do nothing. Liviguld, hoping to appease her, declared that her position would not be threatened, and promised that Amalaric would become co-King of Ashlgothia, once he had obtained his majority. Theodoric had of course received word of all these events, both through his envoys at the Ashlgothian Court, and through the Galactic Holonet. Although he was displeased that his nephew would not become King of Ashlgothia at the present time, he realized that a continuing friendship with Ashlgothia was essential in order to halt Clovis. Therefore, on 11 September, he recognized Gesalec as King of Ashlgothia; Gesalec, on his part, confirmed the terms of the Treaty of Narra and expressed his hope that Theodoric would soon come to his direct aid. Theodoric indeed fulfilled this hope by his declaration of war on 19 September. Immediately after the Halegothican declaration of war was issued, military operations resumed in the Barsar Regions. Halegothican fleets, assembled at Rolle, Bookman, Nanking, Christopher, Narra, Dorothea, Lange, Leseur, Orion I, Constipex, Millard, Kimania, Kimanis Mooria, Leo's Redoubt, and Gliestis, immediately hurled into Jarjanican territories. Rechiar's forces, although they had obtained victories over the Ashlgothians and Devianiani, proved to be inferior to the Halegothicans, renowned for their discipline, organization, and chain of command. Samantha was besieged and conquered by a Halegothican force (22-25 September), followed by Chobania (28 September); Messalina (1 October); Reading (2-4 October); Drea (7 October); Duana (9-11 October); and Strongstine (12-15 October). Clovis, on his part, launched a counteroffensive from Khagia and Dumbgwita, but his forces were defeated at DuBois (16-19 October 1207) and forced to retreat.

On 24 October, a Halegothican expedition harried the Melorkian outpost of Marisa: on 29 October, Tharasamund of Kuevia, still on cordial terms with Theodoric, granted the Halegothican King permission to have military access through his dominions. Halegothican forces now penetrated into the Melorkian Core Territories, launching a series of devastating expeditions and campaigns against Melorkian worlds. Babania (1-2 November); Tamars (4 November); Roastafaria Minor (11 November); Rasti (14 November); Tourbonne (15-19 November); and Algaica Belguica (22 November) were besieged and conquered by Halegothican fleets, while raiding expeditions harried Dacia, Moule, Wilmson, and Imune. On 26 November, a Halegothican force plundered Afdari; two days later, Rechiar was defeated by Theodoric's chief general, Amuric, in the Battle of the Gribs. On 1 December, a Halegothican force isolated Tolbiac and harried the defenses of Shell, Earl, and Winehouse. Two days later, a Melorkian counteroffensive against Derangy and Morangy ended in utter failure; the Halegothicans captured 700 Melorkian starfighters and destroyed a number of Melorkian star-dreadnoughts. By 11 December, Clovis had been forced to terminate any further offensives into Ashlgothian territory, and to divert units to the defense of his Hereditary Dominions. As a result of this, a Halegothican force which attacked Xxi was defeated (12-13 December 1207), and on 15 December, Algaica Belguica was recovered. Theodoric's forces, however, consolidated their hold over the other strongholds which they had seized, and on 24 December, began destroying Melorkian relay outposts near Bethune and Cookman. On 27 December, Preena was seized by a Halegothican force. By the end of the year, Theodoric was contemplating a major offensive against Ain Jalut and Beverly Hereidu, in order to cut off Jarjanican units from their Melorkian allies. Throughout January and February 1208, however, a stabilization in the front lines occurred, as Clovis and Rechiar hastily refitted their forces for further combat with the Melorkians. This gave the Ashlgothians a breathing space, allowing them to reequip their forces. Gesalec and Liviguld, now firmly in control of Ashlgothian affairs, prepared offensives to recover Tahon, Baiteman, Renee, Bryce, Imma, Kathryn, Kane, India, and Emma. Courtney had remained in Ashlgothian possession, and now became the chief staging ground for the Ashlgothian forces. Finally, on 4 March, general combat recommenced, as Theodoric's forces attacked Algaica Belguica again and blockaded Bethune. Although the Halegothican armies failed to conquer Algaica Belguica (5-7 March), they did inflict severe damage upon Bethune. On 11 March, Xxi was stormed, and Theodoric now prepared for offensives against Kentaborn and Cambrina. On 14 March, Ashlgothian forces advanced from Courtney. Destroying a Melorkian force at Martinez (15-19 March), they then advanced to the outskirts of Baiteman; the stronghold fell to them on 26 March. Tahon (29 March); Renee (1-5 April); Bryce (11 April); and Imma (12-17 April) were recovered, although Ashlgothian moves towards Warren, India, and Kathryn were blunted. On 22 April, Kentaborn was besieged by a Halegothican force, but did not fall to them until the end of the month. In the meantime, Halegothican units, advancing from Preena, assaulted Novina, Nelson, and Molina; all three strongholds had fallen to them by 5 May. On 8 May, Rechiar was defeated again at Jamilla, and was forced to terminate support to Clovis's forces which were in combat with the Ashlgothians. Ain Jalut capitulated to a Halegothican fleet on 12 May; four days later, the Halegothicans opened a direct supply line with the Ashlgothians at Leslie and Larkin, allowing for Gesalec to press the offensive further. A second offensive against Kathryn this time resulted in success; the world, which had become prized to the Ashlgothian Government, was recovered on 22 May. On 29 May, Kane was overrun. India, which had simmered under Melorkian occupation, revolted against the occupying garrison on 1 June; two days later, Ashlgothian units again took possession of the world. Warren (2-7 June); Emma (9 June); and Caitlin (12 June) were then recovered by Ashlgothian forces.

By 17 June, Winehouse, Shell, and Earl had all been secured by Halegothican units, while Halegothican units were advancing towards Plath, Skold, and Jarman. Beverly Hereidu, besieged from 2 June, fell on the 21st; on 25 June, Theodoric, in a proclamation to his subjects, declared that Clovis and Rechiar would soon be forced to surrender. And indeed, Clovis was growing increasingly desperate; the King of the Melorkians now sought a means to extract himself from this war, which had drained his financial resources and weakened the stability of his government. Rechiar also wished for peace; he sought to gain a space by which he could consolidate his ongoing measures of reform. The King of Jarjanica also saw Theodoric as a potential "ally", and as one who could support him against the Alexandrians. On 6 July, Hefner was reconquered by the Ashlgothians with Halegothican support; on that same day, Khagia was overrun by a Halegothican force. Dumbgwita was blockaded from 9 July, and by the 21st of the month, had been driven to the brink of surrender. On 25 July, Plath was stormed by a Halegothican force. Finally, on 4 August, Clovis and Rechiar sent a joint request for a armistice to Theodoric and Gesalec. The King of Halegothica, commanding the operations from his headquarters on Christopher, accepted the request immediately, for he wished to restore peace to the Barsar Regions as soon as possible. Gesalec, however, whose units had not recovered all of the strongholds overrun by the Melorkians, held out for some time, believing that Clovis might be able to come away with territorial gains in a peace conference. On 9 August, however, Clovis declared that he was willing to concede territories to Theodoric if he were allowed to gain recognition of his permanent acquisition of Matthew, West, and Mirohassani. Theodoric urged Gesalec to accept, declaring he would defend the Ashlgothian King from any future threat to the integrity of his domains. Gesalec expressed anger over the fact that Theodoric was to make a territorial acquisition, and demanded the status quo ante bellum be imposed for all. Eventually however, on 15 August 1208, the King submitted to the inevitable, and accepted the armistice. Hostilities terminated on 22 August, and five days later, a conference was opened at Jasmine. Theodoric personally attended, meeting Clovis for the second time. Rechiar and Gesalec, however, both declined to attend, offering excuses for why they would be absent. Their chief military commanders represented them instead. Negotiations dragged on for over two months, as the Melorkian and Halegothican delegations haggled over the terms of the agreement. Theodoric was determined to acquire Khagia, Dumbgwita, Ain Jalut, Winehouse, Woolestone, Shell, Beverly Hereidu, and the Armenian Worlds, so that he would have a direct corridor to the Ashlgothian Dominions. Clovis, on his part, was willing to concede Melorkian strongholds on the Kimanian Trade Run, but did not want to concede the territories whom he had obtained from the Devianiani Confederacy. Eventually however, the delegations eventually managed to come to an agreement: on 5 September, they finally fixed the final conditions of peace. Two days later, the Treaty of Jasmine was signed. By the terms of this treaty, Theodoric agreed to restore Roastafaria Minor, Rasti, Tamars, Babania, Tourbonne, Xxi, and Kentaborn to the authority of the King of Melorkia. In return, however, Clovis agreed to the concession of Khagia, Dumbgwita, Tolbiac, and Earl to the authority of the Kingdom of Halegothica. Winehouse, Woolestone, Shell, and Beverly Hereidu were to be occupied by Halegothican forces for a period of five years: that is, until 7 September 1213. Ain Jalut and Armenia Major were to be held by Halegothican garrisons until 1 January 1210. Clovis, however, did agree to grant rights of military access, by means of Brooke One, Cyrus III, Rose, and Jack, to Halegothican forces; to acknowledge Halegothican rights to establish defensive garrisons in Ashlgothian territory; and to allow Halegothican merchants privileges of free trade in Melorkian territory for a period of ten years. As regards to affairs between Ashlgothia and Melorkia, peace was to be restored between the two powers. Clovis obtained from Gesalec recognition of his control of Matthew, West, Mirohassani, Hefner, and Brooke One; these strongholds were to thereafter be part of the territory of the Kingdom of Melorkia. In return, the King of Melorkia conceded all other Ashlgothian territories which had been conquered by his forces back to Ashlgothian authority. The two monarchs were to instigate a reduction in the size of their military forces, and would agree not to station any garrisons in the Borderland Territories for the next three years. Finally, Chobania, Samantha, Reading, and Messalina were restored to Ashlgothia by Theodoric; Rechiar was compelled to pay a financial indemnity to both Ashlgothia and Halegothica, and to return all supplies, weapons, and captives secured by his forces in battle. He was, however, formally absolved from his duties as a vassal to the King of Ashlgothia, and his position as a fully independent sovereign was acknowledged by all of the formerly belligerent powers. Free trade was to be maintained between Jarjanica and the Ashlgothian Leonite Provinces, as also with Melorkia and Halegothica. The Treaty of Jasmine was ratified by Theodoric on 10 September; by Rechiar on 14 September; by Clovis on 29 September; and by Gesalec on 17 October. By the end of November 1208, peace had been restored in the Barsar Regions.

However, this did not mean that peace prevailed in the wider Caladarian Galaxy. And indeed, tensions had finally boiled over in the northern Outer Borderlands, while the Third Melorkian-Ashlgothian War was being conducted. On 1 January 1208, after two-and-a-half years of waiting, the ultimatum of Khayisan to the Solidaritan Court about the return of Argies finally expired. The Khan, having not received any response from Chosroes about the ultimatum, thus followed upon his promises and issued a declaration of war against the Solidaritan Court. Homidinian squadrons, assembled at Dromund, Sonny, Englestrom, Chalassion, Halassion, Alyssa, Gwendolyn, Ryan, Markis Prime, Maxwell, Kledis Var, and Peters, now launched an offensive into Solidaritan territory. The Khan was determined to inflict a defeat upon Chosroes and to force the Sultan into compliance with his views. And indeed, over the previous two years, the Homidinian forces had been considerably strengthened and reorganized, reinforced by Armane, Halegothican, and Venasian mercenaries. The Homidinian force was thus able to make some advances at first. It destroyed a Solidaritan repository on Chauka, which had been colonized by the Solidaritans in 1204 (2-5 January 1208). On 9 January, Darnell was conquered by a Homidinian force, which then penetrated to the outpost systems of Sommers, Eadion, and Zoe. All three systems had been stormed by 15 January, and Homidinian expeditions even penetrated to Roxuli and Abraham. Luck ran out for the Homidinian force, however, as Chosroes' own military reforms had considerably strengthened the Solidaritan military. The rapid offensive fleets of Roxuli and Abraham quickly destroyed a Homidinian expeditionary force (22-27 January 1208), and on 4 February, a Homidinian starfighter corps was defeated at Luxhall. Sommers and Eaidon had been recovered by 15 February, and on the 27th of the month, the Homidinians were forced to halt their plans for a offensive against Leopoldia and Frederickslandia. By the end of March 1208, Chauka and Zoe had been recovered by Solidaritan forces, and Homidinian units were driven from the Sultanate. Chosroes himself, establishing his command headquarters on Big Twinny, now renewed his plans for offensives into Homidinian territory. On 4 April, he appointed Argies as Commanding General of the Solidaritan Force, and promised the Homidinian General that he would soon gain glory over the forces of "the evil Khan". By 11 April, the Solidaritans were ready; two days later, the Homidinian Khanate was invaded by Solidaritan forces for the first time since 1106. Maxwell fell victim to a Solidaritan offensive (12-17 April 1208). On 24 April, a Solidaritan fleet destroyed a Homidinian outpost at Hal; two days later, Konik was conquered by a Solidaritan force. The strongholds of the Kledis Var Trade Line were harried by Solidaritan expeditions; Markis Prime, Idler, and Big Grammy were all threatened by Solidaritan units. Digette (29 April-5 May): Dominic (6-11 May); and Rushina (14 May) were all besieged and conquered in turn by Argies, who was now sweeping back into Homidinian territory. On 22 May, Perry, still in the process of being colonized by the Homidinian Government, was overrun by a Solidaritan force. By the end of the month, Celia and Peters had both been assaulted by Homidinian raiding expeditions, and the Solidaritans had cut off aid to Wakino, Kara, and Markis Prime. In June 1208, however, Khayisan, moving swiftly from his command headquarters at Chalassion, halted a Solidaritan offensive against Mir. He also destroyed a Homidinian corvette force which had attempted to range against Lawson and Dawson. A stalemate then ensued, which continued for the next three months. Chosroes was frustrated by the slow-down in the Solidaritan advance. He was further alarmed by events in the Armane Dominions.

By the middle of 1208, the health of Armane King Trapstila had entered a severe decline. In February 1208, Trapstila had suffered a minor strike while delivering a speech to his nobles at his palace on Syr-Daria. Two months later, the King of Armania had admitted in private to his advisers that he was "no longer capable of bearing the burdens of state". Trapstila had never married and had no children; consequently, the succession to the Armanian throne became a question of concern for the ministers of the government. The King, however, managing to regain some of his earlier energy, and determined to ensure that his dominions would come under the rule of a firm and vigorous monarch after his death, issued a testament, on 27 May 1208, declaring that the Armanian Liege-Lord of Vandross, Trasericus, was to become his heir-apparent and ultimate successor to the Armanian throne. This testament was ratified by King Theodoric on 6 June, and by Khayisan, hopeful for assistance from the Armanes, on 11 June. By the end of June 1208, Trasericus had formally received the oath of allegiance from the Armanian nobles, while King Trapstila had entered into confinement and embarked upon the last stage of his illness. On 9 July, he suffered a final stroke at Tyson. Five days later, his life was declared hopeless, and on 17 July 1208, Trapstila died after having reigned for twenty-eight years. Letters of condolence about his death arrived from virtually every foreign court in the Caladarian Galaxy. Immediately following his death, Trasericus was formally proclaimed King of Armania; he swore homage to both Theodoric and Khayisan as his overlords on 24 July. The new King of Armania, however, was determined to gain glory for himself, and he could do this by involving himself in the Solidaritan-Homidinian War. On 2 August, after Trapstila had been buried on Tyson, Trasericus sent a official communique to his overlord, the Khan Khayisan, who had established himself at Alyssa. In this message, the King of Armania declared that if he were allowed to expand his military forces, he could provide more effective assistance to Khayisan against the Solidaritan Sultanate. The Khan, who needed all the support which he could muster, eventually granted his consent to such an expansion on 11 August. On 17 August 1208, the Pact of Belkadan formally confirmed the arrangements between the Kingdom of Armania and the Homidinian Khanate. King Theodoric, still believing that Chosroes would be repelled without much further effort, communicated his approval of the agreement on 26 August. On 4 September, Trasericus, after he had been formally crowned as King on Vandross, issued a declaration of war against the Solidaritan Sultanate. The Armane military, however, took time to mobilize, and in the meantime, Chosroes was able to make further advances, breaking the stalemate which had settled in between the Homidinians and Solidaritans. Wakino (5-9 September); Kara (11 September); and Markis Prime (19 September), all of whom had been blockaded by Solidaritan forces for three months, fell in succession to the Solidaritan forces. Kyler was then assaulted by a Solidaritan expedition (22 September 1208), which inflicted severe damage to the world's defenses. Demebzaic and Celia were both harried by Solidaritan expeditions, while on 4 October, Argies obtained a major victory in the Battle of Cher. By the end of October 1208, Sonny, Dromund, and Shaelynn were being continually raided by Solidaritan forces. Chosroes even planned for an offensive against Armania, by means of the Homidinian base at Ler, an enclave in the midst of the Halegothican worlds of Greyson, Mocktrialis, and Capone. By this point, however, Trasericus, who employed military supplies and equipment whom Trapstila had secretly stockpiled at Belderone, Karakorum, and Houston during his reign, had amassed a considerable force and was poised to intervene directly in the war. On 6 November, the King of Armania, having obtained permission from Theodoric, entered Homidinian space by means of Felix and Sierra. Two days later, he encountered and destroyed a Homidinian raiding expedition at Bellen; on 14 November, he prevented Solidaritan units which were attempting to advance against Silverman and Marley. Soon afterwards, on the 26th of November, Sherman and Homidinian-Imma (so named to distinguish it from the Ashlgothian colony system of Imma in the Middle Territories), were secured by Armanian units from the Solidaritan task forces which had conquered them. On 4 December, Trasericus met with the Khan Khayisan at Coytaeum; there, the King of Armania paid homage to the Homidinian Khan and declared his intention to "always defend the interests of the Dasian Power". This was validated five days later, when the Armanians and Homidinian Dasians utterly annihilated a force commanded by Argies in the Battle of Eastman. Argies himself, who had been directing the front-line operations of his force, was captured by the Armanian corps of King Trasericus. Presented before the King bound in shackles, the Homidinian General attempted to justify his rebellion, declaring that he was seeking "the liberation of my race from the rule of the hated Dasian breed" and imploring Trasericus to "seek for your species complete independence from undue subordination to foreigners". Trasericus, who indeed had begun to contemplate throwing off the bonds of homage which tied him to the Homidinian Khanate, nevertheless, at this stage, reaffirmed his loyalty to Khayisan and Theodoric. By his orders, on 14 December, Argies was placed on a transport and dispatched to Chalassia, where he was received by the Khan and his court. Khayisan, lambasting the General for his rebel efforts, then commanded for him to be executed by solar incineration. This grisly penalty was carried out on 22 December; to the last, Argies declared his loyalty to the Rokai race, and, in a ominous prophesy, declared that the Homidinian Khanate "will not survive this century". On 27 December, however, this seemed to be disproven, at least in the eyes of contemporaries, when Khayisan obtained another victory at Wakino. That world and Kara had both been recovered by the end of 1208, and the forces of the Sultan Chosroes were in retreat.

On 1 January 1209, Khayisan, in his New Year's proclamation to his subjects, declared that the "race of my great ancestors: of Genghis, Ogedei, Mongke, Kublai, Timur, and Tokugaistus, will continue to be upheld" and that he would be firm in maintaining this last remnant of the Dasian Empire. And indeed, throughout January and February 1209, the Homidinian Khan and his forces were to make considerable advances, forcing Chosroes back to the very border. On 4 January, Perry was recovered by a Homidinian force. Two days later, a Solidaritan transport fleet was destroyed at Konik, and Armanian units, cooperating with Homidinian squadrons, now ended Solidaritan raiding expeditions against Shaelynn, Sonny, and Dromund. On 11 January, Dominic and Digette were both reconquered by Homidinian-Armanian forces. By 22 January, Markis Prime, Maxwell, and Kledis Var had all been recovered, and the Khan was himself directing operations against Solidaritan garrisons on Mir, Osolomo, and Dir. On 2 February, Chosroes was humiliated when a corps of his prized Janissaries were surrounded and captured by Homidinian detachments near Idler. By 11 February, Solidaritan forces had been driven from Hal and Rushina, and were on the verge of being expelled entirely from Homidinian territory. On 17 February, Trasericus met with Khayisan a second time at Aboke, and the two sovereigns declared their intention to invade Solidaritan territories and to humble Chosroes into surrender. But by the beginning of March 1209, the Solidaritan forces were again regaining momentum. Homidinian raiding expeditions against Zoe, Roxuli, and Luxhall were repelled, and the Sultan launched a major raiding offensive, pushing as far as Yutzy, cutting through his enemy's supply lines and inflicting severe damage on the world's shields before retreating. He was now to be aided further by the emergence of yet another rebel faction within the already economically depressed and scourged Homidinian dominions. On 21 November 1201, Shidebala had appointed the Homidinian General and diplomat Ambaghai as the Bey of Homidinia Major. Ambaghai had wisely switched his allegiance to Khayisan when he conducted his revolt against Shidebala, and in February 1203, the new Khan rewarded him with the conferral of the Order of Tokugaistus the Great and a balar of a Dasian warrior. Ambaghai, however, had grown increasingly ambitious in the years since becoming Bey of Homidinia Major, and now believed that he himself, or at least his son, also named Ambaghai, should sit upon the Homidinian throne. Ambaghai began to secretly assemble military supplies, and to discipline his forces for a future rising, as early as December 1203. By September 1208, his preparations had grown complex, and he now held firm control of the Homidinian regions, although still in the name of his master Khayisan. In February 1209, Ambaghai sent a secret communique to Chosroes, who from his fortress at Dara was planning for renewed offensives into Homidinian territory. The Governor declared his intention to be a "loyal and faithful ally" to the Solidaritan Sultan and requested for Chosroes to acknowledge his son as Khan, with himself as regent and leading general. In return, Ambaghai promised to concede the Kledis Var strongholds, Ryan, Gwendolyn, Dominic, Celia, and Peters to the Solidaritan Sultanate; to support Chosroes in his future military endeavors; and to recognize the Sultan's rights to territory in Armanian and Xilanian dominions. Chosroes, believing that the General would thus become his puppet, and that the Homidinian Khanate would be bound to his control without being completely destroyed (as Theodoric feared), responded to the communique on 4 March. Declaring his support for the Bey-General's intentions, Chosroes expressed his hope that a "balance of power" would soon be "restored" in the Caladarian Galaxy. Having received this assurance of support from the Solidaritan Sultan, Ambaghai finally proceeded to the instigation of a full-scale revolt against the authority of the Khan's government. On 11 March, he declared to his advisers and officials of the Sczhulk of Homidinia Major that he could no longer give allegiance to the Khan; two days later, Ambaghai formally raised the standard of rebellion, declaring he was acting in the name of the "Great Dasian Ancestors". The factories of Homidinian Taraning, Ian, Gibbs-to-Lester, Sanford, Calms, Hemsford, Homidinia Minor, Yutzy, Teddy, and Martin produced military supplies and equipment for the General's forces; the resources of these worlds were now denied to Khayisan's own forces. Maintaining this strong base of support which he held in the Homidinian regions, Ambaghai quickly advanced against the Khan's units in the Gwendolynite Region. He besieged and conquered Brent (22-29 March 1209); A'Rose (1 April); and Dion (2-7 April), before destroying the Khan's garrisons along the Rebeccan Galactic Trade Route, including the outposts of Sergio, Petrash, and Cochrane (April-May 1209). By the end of May 1209, Ryan and Gwendolyn were both being threatened by rebel expeditions, while Ambaghai had proclaimed his son, Ambaghai the Younger, to be the rightful "heir-apparent" to the Homidinian throne. Khayisan, who now saw his position in the Eastern Homidinian Provinces seriously undermined, was thus unable to prevent Chosroes from renewing his advances into Homidinian territory. Rushina was recovered by Solidaritan forces (2-7 June 1209), which inflicted a severe defeat upon the forces of the Khan. By 11 June, Hal was being harried by Solidaritan expeditions, and Chosroes had terminated all Homidinian raids from the Lacian Cluster. On 15 June, Ambaghai destroyed a government force at Brlla; two days later, that stronghold fell to his forces, and he was able to block government forces from advancing back into the Homidinian regions. On 22 June, Chosroes inflicted a humiliating defeat upon the Homidinians in the Battle of Gauche; by 27 June, Trasericus had been forced to withdraw his garrisons from Hal, Celia, Alyssa, and Chalassion. Konik was recovered by Solidaritan forces on 6 July; on the occasion of its capture, Chosroes formally announced that he no longer acknowledged Khayisan as the "effective ruler" of the Homidinian dominions, and that General Ambaghai was the only true representative of the Homidinian State. On 11 July, Trasericus was defeated at Sherman, and he was forced to end support for Homidinian units in the Lacian Cluster. Hal was subjected to a fierce siege from 17 July; it resisted in spite of all the odds, until 1 September. Celia and Alyssa, however, proved to be more vulnerable: both had fallen by 14 August. On 22 August, Kara was ravaged by a Solidaritan expedition. Mir and Dir, which had been recovered by Homidinian governmental units, were in turn again conquered by the Sultan's forces on 1 September. On 5 September, Chosroes obtained revenge for the earlier capture of a Janissary Corps in the vicinity of Idler by utterly destroying a Armanian mercenary force at Wakino. By the end of September 1209, Chosroes's forces were again harrying the Kledis Var Trade Line, and Khayisan was in despair. On 4 October, Perry and Kyler were both stormed by Solidaritan units. By 11 October, Dominic and Digette had both capitulated to rebel fleets dispatched by General Ambaghai.

On 27 October, Chosroes defeated Trasericus again in the Battle of Mardin, and four days later, conquered the Homidinian military intelligence center at Diyala. Throughout November and December 1209, Solidaritan expeditions harried Maxwell, Markis Prime, Celia, Peters, Demebezaic, Sonny, and Dromund. Khayisan was confronted by further troubles elsewhere, for the garrison of Big Grammy defied the authority of the Homidinian Government (2-15 November 1209) and defected to Ambaghai. At the same time, Halassion and Chalassia were both disturbed by civil dissent, as many inhabitants of those worlds protested against the Khan's government and refused to pay their taxes. To complicate the Khan's troubles further, a faction of rebel officers led by the Laurasian mercenary-General Phocas seized the government's financial reserve at Yellen (22-25 November 1209), and by 8 December, had secured control of the colonies of Abitia, Drake, Rutherford, Homidinian Wyatt, and Joseph. On 15 December, Ambaghai seized the garrisons of Madison and Karen; these worlds, whose mineral wealth had been discovered by the Homidinian Government months earlier, now were employed to the benefit of the rebel forces. By New Year's Eve 1209, Chosroes was planning for offensives against Shaelynn, Lawson, and Dawson. He was also considering a means by which he could compel the Armanes to withdraw from the war. He took advantage of the fact that Theodoric was still restoring his resources from the recently concluded Melorkian War of Aggression, and that the King of Halegothica believed the Xilanians would intervene against the Solidaritan Sultanate. As the year 1210 commenced, the focus remained fixed upon occurrences in the northern Outer Borderlands. The slow Solidaritan advance picked up pace during the early months of 1210. On 5 January, a Homidinian force was annihilated at Maxwell; by 11 January, that world had been secured by the Solidaritan armies, and Chosroes himself conducted a victory procession. Markis Prime fell into the hands of the Sultan on 29 January. By the end of February 1210, Solidaritan expeditions had also overrun Curry, Kallista, and Kledis Var, again securing the Kledis Var Region for the Solidaritan Sultanate. In March 1210, Ambaghai repelled a government offensive against Yutzy, Dion, and Billy. The following month, he obtained a victory at Peters, and shortly afterwards conquered Homidinian outposts on Sofia, Julie, and Levi. On 6 May, Chosroes issued the first of numerous communiques to the Homidinian Court, urging for them to surrender. He launched raiding expeditions against Englestrom, Dromund, and Sonny, which inflicted severe damage on those world's defenses. Khayisan, however, had not lost all hope, and in fact, he was able to make some minor gains. On 11 May, with the assistance of Armane mercenaries, he defeated Phocas in the Battle of Glor; two days later, he conquered the rebel garrison at Brennan and forced Ambaghai to halt his raiding expeditions against Blant, Krigy, and Alice. By the end of May 1210, the Homidinian colonies of Drake and Rutherford had been recovered. On 6 June, a Homidinian government force actually managed to drive the Solidaritan garrison of Levi off, and to recover the colony-world. Homidinian raiding expeditions even penetrated to Darby, McClure, and Madison. In July and August 1210, the frontline stabilized again, as Levi was again seized by Solidaritan units, while Ambaghai repulsed government offensives against Julie, Karen, and Dion. Phocas had been severely weakened however, and on 3 September 1210, he surrendered to the Khan. Khayisan had him executed by solar incineration on 17 September and ordered for all Laurasian mercenaries in the service of the Homidinian State to be placed under strict surveillance. Their pay was cut and they were forbidden to engage in any further military campaigns against the Solidaritans or the rebel forces of Ambaghai unless if they had the Khan's explicit permission. This action of Khayisan's, however, resulted in a conspiracy on Chalassia, led by the mercenary officer Galerius, who was determined to profit from the Homidinian Khanate's troubles. Galerius, who had a intimate knowledge of Homidinia's defenses and of the security protocols of the Homidinian Court, now sought to betray this information to Ambaghai. On 26 September, he released the security information over the Holonet. Ambaghai, whose health had entered a serious decline from July 1210 onwards, now commanded his son, Ambaghai the Younger, to prepare his units at Madison, Darby, and Karen, and to advance to the Lacian Cluster without delay. The younger Ambaghai was to use a secret route which had been provided to the rebel forces by Galerius. On 1 October, Khayisan was defeated at Krigy; that world was stormed by rebel forces two days later, who then penetrated the defenses of Yellen and seized Drake from government forces. On 11 October, a major offensive by Chosroes resulted in Chalassion's fall to the Solidaritans; he continually harried the Styrian Caldera, and Khayisan, directing operations from Kacee, was thus distracted from occurrences on Chalassia. On 15 October, Ambaghai the Younger's fleet suddenly dropped out of hyperspace above Chalassia. Galerius, however, whose men controlled the security networks of the Great Palace, quickly lowered the planetary shields and permitted Ambaghai to land. The Homidinian Council of Bazaars, which now opposed Khayisan, quickly convened and declared its support for the rebel-General's son. On 22 October, Ambaghai the Younger was formally proclaimed Homidinian Khan by the Council, which also denounced Khayisan's right to the throne and declared him to have been deposed. Khayisan received the word of this proclamation shortly afterwards; on 25 October, the garrisons of Shaelynn, Sonny, Dromund, David's Star, and Englestrom declared their loyalty to Ambaghai, abandoning their master. The Khan was forced to flee from Kacee with the remnant of his fleet. On 1 November, Chosroes, announcing that Ambaghai had ascended "his rightful throne", terminated military hostilities against the Homidinian Khanate and ordered his forces to halt their raiding expeditions into the Lacian Cluster. Four days later, Ambaghai the Elder died on Homidinia; control of the rebel territories now passed into the hands of the new Khan, thus strengthening his hand. On 11 November, Khayisan was captured by a Homidinian force near Wakino; the Khan had no mercy for him, and on 16 November, the former Khan was executed by firing squad. On the orders of the Khan, his body was mutilated, mauled, and then displayed on a transport at Mir, for all visitors to that star system to see. By the end of November 1210, Ambaghai had consolidated his rule over the whole of the Homidinian territories, save the worlds occupied by Chosroes. On 5 December, the new Khan opened direct negotiations with Chosroes, declaring his willingness to concede Kledis Var, Markis Prime, Maxwell, Celia, and Peters to the authority of the Solidaritan Sultanate; to acknowledge Chosroes as his supreme overlord; and to pay the Solidaritan Government a indemnity, as compensation for military expenses. Chosroes, who wished to reorganize his forces and to make plans for future expeditions against the Armanes, accepted on 11 December. On 25 December 1210, negotiations were opened between the Homidinian Khanate and Solidaritan Sultanate at Tyson, with King Trasericus also declaring his wish to conclude a peace with the Solidaritan power.

The Renewal of Rebel Forces under Zarakstius; The Birth of False Demetrius II's Son (Posthumously); Polonian Seizure of Laurasia Prime; Resistance to the Polonian Garrison; The Rise of the First Volunteer Army of Lyapunus; Lyapunus's Campaigns against the Polonians; Unpopularity, Betrayal, and Death of Lyapunus; Formation of the Provisional Government, and Rise of Prince Pozharius; Pozharius's Advance against the Polonians; His Clashes with Magnate-General Choldkiewiz; The Recovery of Laurasia Prime; The Convening of a new Consultative Assembly; The Election of Leonidas; Leonidas is Found and Persuaded to Accept the Throne; Coronation of Leonidas and Foundation of the Leonidian Dynasty; Leonidas asserts his authority as King; Death of Prince Jerzy Mniszech; Government Campaigns against Zarakstius; The Suppression of the Zarakstian Rebellion; Outbreak of the Eastern War, and the Events Associated; Execution of Zarakstius and "Prince" Honorius; Imprisonment and Death of Marina Mniszech; Imprisonment of Mniszech's Mother; Renewed Polonian Campaign under Lisowski; Repulse from Purse Region; Death of Lisowski and Herburt; Treaty of Stolbovo and Concession of Territory to Briannia; Final Polonian Campaign under Choldkiewiz and Prince Wladyslaw; Expiration of Parliamentary Deadline, and Withdrawal of Polonian Forces; Treaty of Deulino; Final End of the Time of Troubles; Release of Metropolitan Filaret and Prince-General Shetius from Polonian Captivity; Filaret is elevated to the Papacy; Peace in the Laurasian Dominions; Buildup by Polonia and Briannia; Deaths of Zebrzydowski and Zolywieski; Resumption of Polonian-Briannian War (1211-1220)Edit

Having brought events in the Outer Galactic Regions to the end of 1210, the situation in the Core Regions must now be described, as it was at the beginning of 1211, and from there taken through the turbulence of the Laurasian Time of Troubles, to the end of this second decade of the thirteenth century. As the year 1211 commenced, the forces of False Demetrius II had passed under the control of Zarakstius, once one of the Pretender's leading fleet commanders, and now his successor in his position of authority in defiance of the Laurasian Royal Government. Zarakstius now had possession of Marina Mniszech, who was pregnant with the Pretender's child, and of her parents. The rebel-General was determined to capitalize on his advantages in order to threaten the authority of the Laurasian Royal Government, now under the firm control of Baron Granes and his supporters. On 5 January, Zarakstius's forces launched a coordinated counteroffensive against government units at the Metallasian Trade Corridor and in the Constantine Cluster. Advancing forth, the rebel-General was able to obtain a series of victories over government forces. Rainnan (6-7 January); Skyler (8-11 January); Mercedes (12 January); Kelby (14 January); and Chloe (17 January) were all reconquered by the rebel forces. General De la Guardie was now distracted by threats from resistance movements which had emerged on Ietas, Tyndaris, Constantine I, Abriana's Star, Mariana Prime, and Metallasia; consequently, he was unable to pose much of a resistance to the renewed advance of Zarakstius. On 24 January, a day after Zarakstius had destroyed a government force in the Battle of Wor'su, Mariana Mniszech went into labor on Kaluga. The Polonian Princess's labor lasted for several hours, and it was feared at one point that she would not be able to survive the travails of childbearing. Eventually, however, with the support of her mother and her attendants, the Princess was able to conclude her pregnancy successfully, and during the late hours of the day, she was safely delivered of a son. The boy, who had Polonian and Laurasian blood in his veins, came out as a lighter shade: this was the result of his having a Laurasian father and a Polonian mother. Nevertheless, he was now hailed by the deceased Pretender's remaining supporters as the rightful Laurasian sovereign. On 27 January, Zarakstius, who found time from his duties on the battlefront to attend to Marina, congratulated the Princess on the birth and declared that the boy was to be named Honorius, after King Honorius the Terrible; this was to be a affirmation that the boy was the legitimate heir of the Honorian Dynasty. Six days later, the young "Prince" Honorius was formally baptized by Marina's chaplain, Wronzi Broncalaia, who had been trusted by the Pretender and had become one of the leading religious officials in his household. A manifesto, issued from Kaluga on 4 February 1211, declared that Honorius was soon to become King "in fact as well as in title" and that the continuing domination of Baron Granes over Laurasian affairs could not continue. Indeed, rebel forces continued to recover their losses of the previous year: by the end of February 1211, they once again dominated the Constantine Cluster, and were launching expeditions against Americana, Clackimaris, Charasia, and Explosansia Major, among other Laurasian Purse Worlds. The Baron Granes and his associates, including Pope Hermogenes, were in despair. Zolywieski, on his part, was growing increasingly uneasy. By this point, the Polonian General, who effectively controlled the defenses of Laurasia Prime and whose men occupied the majority of the Laurasian dominions in the Central Core, had come to believe that the continuing existence of the Royal Government, under the control of Granes and Amathria, was harmful to the interests of the Polonian Commonwealth. King Sigis'ac himself, who believed that it was shameful for Zolywieski having to maintain a pretense of "cooperation" with the Laurasian Royal Government, had come to the firm resolution that only full control of Laurasia Prime by Polonian forces would ensure Polonian influence in Laurasian affairs. On 7 March, the Cron Drift was penetrated by a rebel expedition; within three days, Zarakstius had destroyed government outposts on Camelle and Boso. On 19 March, Zarakstius, wishing to establish a position for himself as Regent and Lord Protector of the Laurasian State, if he were successful in seizing Laurasia Prime and deposing the government of Granes and Amathria, announced his engagement to Marina Mniszech. The former Queen-Consort, who had already been married to both of the Demetrian Pretenders, declared to her family and her servants that a marriage with Zarakstius would "consolidate their position" and that she would be "honoring the wishes of her late husband" to ensure the continuation of his dynasty. On 27 March, Tushino was recovered by the rebel-General, who now issued a further proclamation imploring the people of the Laurasian dominions to acknowledge his authority and to rise up against the forces of Zolywieski and his "Laurasian puppets". It was this proclamation that finally provoked Zolywieski to take action. On 4 April, the Polonian General, who still held firm control of the Eastern Purse Worlds, and was indeed preparing renewed counteroffensives into the Constantine Cluster, sent a communique to King Sigis'ac. In this message, the General declared that the situation which existed within the Laurasian Dominions was "unacceptable" and that in order to effectively counteract Zarakstius, he needed full control of Laurasia Prime. Sigis'ac, still hoping that he could install himself on the Laurasian throne, and eager to see the Laurasians thus humiliated, responded in a "positive" light on 11 April, formally granting Zolywieski permission to proceed with his plans of occupation. On 17 April, the Polonian troops, who held the Station of Jadia and the Orbital Platforms of Laurasia Prime, blockaded all traffic to and from the Laurasia Prime star system. Granes and Amathria, utterly surprised by this Polonian action, and believing they had won a ally in Zolywieski, sent a message from the Communications Center in Christiania, demanding a explanation. Zolywieski, however, commanded his men to ignore the message. Two days later, the Polonians seized Marsia, Jadia, Hepudermia, and the two Calaxies, imprisoning all Laurasian troops and officers. Arasces Shuilavos's wife and former Queen Consort, Katharina, who had remained imprisoned at the Post Settlement of Hepudermia since her husband's deposition in July 1210, now fell into the hands of the Polonian troops. On Zolywieski's orders, she was deported to a monastery on Oxia Vixius, where she was forced to take the veil under the name of Elana. Katharina, now a Nun of Almitis, was to remain there for the rest of her life. She died on 24 January 1226, the same year as former Queen Consort (and Honorius the Terrible's fourth wife) Kalagastagania, all but forgotten by the Laurasian people. Granes and Amathria, motivated by Pope Hermogenes and his patriotic sermons to the Laurasian people, now attempted to organize a resistance against Zolywieski's forces. On 29 April, the Lord Protector and his associates dispatched a communique to the garrisons of Aquilionia, Venusia, Sarah, and Tusculum. In this message, he implored them to advance against the forces of the "Polonian Fiends" and to rescue the Laurasian Royal Government from destruction. The communique, however, was disrupted by Zolywieski's interdictor corps, who had disabled or destroyed all relay outposts along the Rebeccan Galactic Trade Route. On 5 May, Zolywieski's forces surrounded the worlds and compelled them into surrender, thus denying Granes one last chance of fending off the Polonian invader. Two days later, the shields of Laurasia Prime were breached by the Polonian corps, who now made their descent onto the world. The Old Royal Palace, Aristocratic Hall, and Diplomatic Palace, among other government buildings, were quickly seized by the Polonian corps, who encountered little resistance from the Laurasian security and police forces that the Lord Protector and the Royal Council had managed to muster. Pope Hermogenes himself, who was delivering one final patriotic sermon to the people from the pulpit of the Westphalian Cathederal, was taken into custody by the foreign troops. The Pope did not attempt to resist, and as he was led away to his cell at the Post Settlement of Hepudermia, already prepared for him on Zolywieski's command, he declared that the Laurasian people would "unite and rise up to restore the freedom of their motherland". Amathria, who had in vain attempted to lead a sally of troops down the Palatial Esplanade, was quickly surrounded and captured by Polonian soldiers. He too, was taken to the Post Settlement of Hepudermia. Granes, on his part, barricaded himself within the recesses of the Celestial Palace and gathered his remaining officers to resist the Polonian intrusion. The Lord Protector's resistance, aided by the Mayor of Christiania and the Commander of the Palace Security, dragged on for three days. Finally, on 10 May, he was forced to surrender, and the Celestial Palace, chief residence of the Laurasian sovereigns since 1096, was now occupied by Polonian troops. By 15 May, all remaining Laurasian resistance had been stamped out, as Ralispont, Ostia, Uris, Heliotrope, Constantinople, Colombia, Beneventum, Caslays, Herkorim, Soriana, and Jaina had all been occupied by Polonian troops. On 22 May, Zolywieski declared that Laurasia Prime was now being held in trust for King-Elect Wladyslaw, and that "for the time being", Polonian laws and regulations would apply to the people of Laurasia Prime.

This Polonian occupation thus marked only the second time since 1075, in the Third Laurasian Period, that the capital world of the Stellar Kingdom of Laurasia was occupied by foreign forces. And indeed, this was to be the last time ever that Laurasia Prime was occupied and governed by a foreign power. Zolywieski quickly took measures in order to consolidate his position on Laurasia Prime. On 28 May, he commanded for all Laurasian government archives to be seized, and declared that all communications were now under the control of Polonian officials. He imposed martial law two days later and forbade any Laurasian with a spacecraft to leave the star-system, under "any circumstances whatsoever". By a special decree on 5 June, all Laurasian priests and religious prelates were forbidden to deliver sermons, offer comfort to their congregations, to distribute alms, or to conduct baptisms, weddings, divorces, or funerals. All Laurasian churches and religious edifices were to be closed, and all prisoners currently held in Laurasian prisons were now to be remanded into Polonian custody. By 11 June, Polonian authorities had superseded the Christiania Police Department, the Laurasia Prime Patrol Force, and the Shock Corps, taking all matters of law enforcement, patrol, and emergency operations into their hands. Laurasians were compelled to allow for Polonian troops to quarter in their residences, and were required to now pay their dues to Polonian authorities. These measures helped to foment dissent on Laurasia Prime against Polonian rule, which was to reveal itself later. Throughout all of this, other events had taken place in the Core Regions. By March 1211, the King of Briannia had come to the belief that the Laurasian Dominions were no longer worth his propping up; in fact, he now believed that it would be to his benefit if he came to his own arrangement with the Polonians. General De la Guardie had already cooperated with Zolywieski and the Polonian forces from the last year, and had done nothing to prevent Zolywieski's dealings with the Royal Government. Now, his King and master sought to take advantage of Laurasian troubles and to turn his attention to other matters. On 11 March, Char'lac declared to his Council of Ministers that a truce with the Polonian Government would allow for the Briannian Government to restore its resources; secretly, he informed his leading councilors that Briannia would be able to profit at the expense of both Laurasia and Polonia. Five days later, a session of the Rikstag, convened by the King for "advice" on the recent events in the Laurasian Dominions, expressed its support for a truce agreement with the Polonian Government. On the 29th of March, Char'lac sent a communique to General Zolywieski through De la Guardie, offering to acknowledge Polonian rights to Laurasia Prime and Zolywieski's control of the Laurasian Purse Worlds, if in turn the Briannian Mercenary Corps were permitted to withdraw from Laurasian territory. Zolywieski, who wished that this would be the precursor to a final peace treaty with Briannia, and who needed to deal with Zarakstius and his units, communicated his support for this on 17 May, after Polonian troops had consolidated their control of Laurasia Prime. On 26 May, Sigis'ac, informed by Zolywieski of Char'lac's offer, declared his intention to sign a truce with the Celestial Kingdom of Briannia. A conference was opened at Selena from 5 June, with Char'lac being represented by his son and heir-apparent, now Prince Gustenholm, and Sigis'ac by Donguarian Chancellor Sapieha, who had been petitioning his master for months for permission to command forces in the Laurasian Dominions. Negotiations lasted for four days, and on 9 June 1211, the Truce of Selena was signed. By the terms of this agreement, a five-year truce was proclaimed to be in effect between Polonian and Briannian forces. All prisoners of war were to be exchanged, and all operations were to cease until 9 June 1216. The Polonians promised to hand over Selena, Colsonia, Archleuta, Tyleria Perea, Jessica Perea, and Smithia into the possession of the Briannians, by virtue of "Briannian treaties with a certain power (Laurasia)", no later than 1 January 1212, and to acknowledge Briannian authority over those strongholds until the end of the truce. In return, the Briannian Government agreed to the withdrawal of the Briannian Expeditionary Corps from the Purse Worlds and to absolve all obligations held by them towards the Laurasian Royal Government. This would allow for General Zolywieski to proceed forthwith with his actions in the Purse Worlds without any hindrance. The Truce of Selena was ratified by King Char'lac with the Briannian Rikstag on 15 June and by King Sigis'ac with the Polonian Parliament on 22 June. General De la Guardie, who had maintained his operational headquarters at Oxia Vixius, now made plans to dismantle that operation and to withdraw all Briannian units from Laurasian territory. By the end of July 1211, most Briannian units in Laurasian territory had retreated back to the Central Briannian Provinces; General Zolywieski, on his part, made plans to assume control of the former Briannian worlds and strongholds. He prepared expeditions to seize control of the garrisons of Charasia, Katherine, Chancia, Elizabeth, Durglais, Rebecca, Nezbit, Martina Mccasia, and Blackria, determined to gain for the Polonian Commonwealth control of the Rebeccan Galactic Trade Route. While these plans were underway, however, yet another conflict erupted within the Core Regions. Although the Polonian-Briannian War had entered yet another period of inactivity, this by no means caused for the Briannian Government to relax its vigilance. Indeed, King Char'lac and the Council of Ministers had received alarming intelligence about the plans and intrigues of Queen Mother Christiana and the Venasian Council of High Ones.

From January 1210, the Queen Mother had been assembling military squadrons at Monderon, Ruttum,Phyllis, Schell, Venasia Secondary, and Maxiliania, following in the footsteps of her mother, Femania, who had undertaken similar measures forty-nine years earlier, at the beginning of the Eastern Seven Year's War between Briannia and Venasia. Unlike her mother, however, Christiana was the aggressor in this newly-arising conflict. She now thought that she could take advantage of Briannian weakness, from the exertions of the decade-long Briannian-Polonian War, to secure the strongholds of the Venasian Triangle. These worlds, which included Permi, Wernay, Bolgrahay, and Robbay, were considered by most Venasians to be rightfully part of their dominions: it was thought shameful that they should continue to remain in the possession of the Briannian Power. In March 1211, the Queen Mother declared to the Council of High Ones that she would soon take action in order to seize the Venasian Triangle regions from the Celestial Kingdom. Two months later, she issued the final operational instructions to her forces. On 15 June 1211, the Venasian ambassador at the Briannian Court, Lady Ragalina of Organia, presented a ultimatum to King Char'lac. In this ultimatum, which was drafted by the Queen Mother herself with the assistance of his secretaries, it was declared that the continuing possession of the Venasian Triangle regions by the Celestial Kingdom of Briannia "threatened galactic tranquility" and that only their return to its "rightful owners", the Venasian Consortium, could restore that tranquility. Consequently, Christiana declared that if Char'lac did not concede to her demands by no later than 1 August 1211, then a declaration of war would be issued. Char'lac, when he received this demand, declared that he would easily "shame the Queen Mother", who had not gone to war during the first twenty-three years of her reign. He believed that the Venasian military would be unprepared and that Briannian forces, especially with General De la Guardie and Prince Gustenholm as its commanders, would easily obtain victory. This proved to backfire on him. On 1 August, the ultimatum expired, and Christiana now issued a formal declaration of war from the Fountain Palace. Ambassador Ragalina had already departed from Briannia on 22 July, while the Venasian Government had imprisoned the Briannian emissaries to the Queen Mother's Court. Upon the declaration of war, Venasian forces launched a series of thrusts into Briannian territory. The first force, under the command of Venasian Generaless Eethetia, with its headquarters at Monderon, advanced directly against the strongholds of the Venasian Triangle. The second force, commanded by Generaless Kali of Venasia Secondary, invaded the Briannian Duchy of Schaueria Prime. The third and final force, commanded by Princess Mura of Schell, harried the bases of the Briannian Nexus Route. The Venasian forces quickly obtained a series of victories over their adversaries. A Briannian patrol force was crushed at Embady (2-7 August 1211); by 11 August, both Bolgrahay and Robbay had been besieged and conquered by Venasian units. On 12 August, Generaless Kali besieged the garrison of Smithia and repelled Briannian counteroffensives against Decapolia Major, Agac, and Uber-Commerce. By 17 August, Smithia and Colsonia had both capitulated to Venasian forces, who now harried Jem, Boo, Dill, Jean, Atticus, and Caroline, among other strongholds. Throughout September and October 1211, Venasian units harried Jessica Perea, Tyleria Perea, Shiloh, and Schaueria Prime, inflicting severe damage upon Briannian positions. Prince Gustenholm was hard-pressed, particularly as the health of his father King Char'lac entered a serious decline at this time. The King of Briannia's entire reign had been dominated by war and by troubles with Briannia's neighbors; even after nearly a decade on the throne, Char'lac had been unable to compel Sigis'ac into acknowledging his control of the Briannian Dominions, and found that his territories in the Duchy of Schaueria Prime were under occupation by Polonian forces. Char'lac constantly lamented the fact that he had failed to bring true peace and prosperity to his subjects, and that they remained engrossed in a state of bitter war. Thus, as his reign now moved swiftly to its inevitable close, Briannia was embroiled in yet another conflict, this time against the Venasian Consortium. On 24 October, Prince Gustenholm's position as heir-apparent to the Briannian throne was confirmed by his father in a proclamation to his subjects, and in a formal ceremony of homage which was conducted on Vardar, the Prince received oaths of allegiance from the members of the Rikstag, leading Briannian government officials, military commanders, and nobles. Two days later, a Venasian operation against Atticus resulted in the disruption of the star system's orbital defenses and the capture of a large amount of military equipment which was held at the Repository of that particular stronghold. Gustenholm was now readying the garrisons of Alemeda, Vardar, Nystadia, the Belts of Barton, and Gdov for defense against potential Venasian plundering expeditions.

On 1 November, however, his father Char'lac, who had moved with his court to Teushina as a precautionary measure in case Briannia were to be threatened by a Venasian advance, suffered a massive stroke in his private quarters. Gustenholm, overseeing Briannian operations and defensive measures from his headquarters on Jean, now rushed to Teushina in order to be at his father's bedside. Arriving at the world two days later, the Prince and Briannian Commander now ordered for the doctors and attendants of the household to perform all "possible treatments" in order to save his father. Their efforts proved to be in vain, and on 6 November, Char'lac's condition was declared hopeless. On 10 November, the Council of Ministers swore the final oath of allegiance to Gustenholm as King of Briannia. The Prince now had his father's lifeline cut off. On 12 November 1211, after having reigned over Briannia for seven years and having dominated Briannian politics for seventeen, Char'lac died. Gustenholm now ascended to the Briannian throne as King Gu'starai II, taking the regnal name of his grandfather, the Liberator of the Briannian State. He was aged forty-three at his ascension to the throne; and he was to rule until 1232. Gu'starai II was acclaimed by the Briannian Government and Military as their master, and the news of his ascension was dispatched to all foreign courts throughout the Caladarian Galaxy. Christiana, deciding that the death of Char'lac was an "unfortunate circumstance", declared, on 15 November, that a truce was now in effect between Venasian and Briannian forces, to last until the end of February 1212. On 26 November, Gu'starai reconfirmed the terms of the Truce of Selena and forbade Briannian nobles from involving themselves thenceforth in the Laurasian Dominions against "the interests of the Polonian Commonwealth". The King of Briannia, however, was even at this time contemplating an invasion of Laurasia, in order to seize for Briannia Saray, Murphy, Senna, Anusia, Meaganian, Capital, Tommy, and Chandlier, so as to consolidate Briannian dominion of the Nexus Route and the Duchy of Schaueria Prime. He was determined, however, to conclude the war with Venasia before proceeding with these plans. Gu'starai now took advantage of the truce with Venasia in order to reorganize Briannian military forces and plan strategy for a counteroffensive against Venasian forces. Briannian squadrons assembled at Boo, Dill, Jem, Caroline, Jean, Atticus, Gdov, Vardar, Nystadia, Schaueria Prime, Shiloh, and the Gateways of the Nexus Route, undergoing a series of training exercises and restoring their resources from the Venasian plundering expeditions. In December 1211, the Council of Ministers approved the imposition of a capitation levy upon Briannian nobles and gentlemen in order to provide for the reorganization of Briannian starfighter and transport corps. In the meantime, the focus of events shifted back to the Laurasian Dominions. By the beginning of August 1211, the people of Laurasia Prime and of other Laurasian Purse Worlds occupied by Polonian garrisons were simmering against the foreign invaders. Zolywieski and his officials, acting in the name of King Sigis'ac, King-Elect Wladyslaw, and the Polonian Government, made themselves hated with the Laurasian people. On 11 July, Zolywieski had forbidden the Almitian Church to provide any form of spiritual comfort to Laurasians, and also suspended all funerals, weddings, and baptisms for the remainder of the year. Deprived of the spiritual sacraments, many Laurasians despaired and came to believe that the Anti-Almitis was ravaging them for their sins. Suicide rates increased, and by the end of July, it was reported that many civilians had given up hope and were taking extreme measures in order to "expunge their guilt". Zolywieski also moved against Granes and Amathria, who had over the previous decade been among the chief conspirators in the Laurasian State. They had been responsible for the deposition of Theodosius II, False Demetrius I, and Arasces Shuilavos. The Polonian General believed that Polonian control on Laurasia Prime would not be secure until these two rebellious noblemen had formally been tried, convicted, and condemned to death. He sent repeated messages to King Sigis'ac, requesting permission to proceed against them. Sigis'ac finally granted his approval on 19 July. Four days later, Zolywieski ordered for a special Military Tribunal to convene at the Celestial Palace, in order to pass judgment upon Granes and Amathria. The two nobles, who had been imprisoned at the Post Settlement of Hepudermia in cells adjoining that of Pope Hermogenes, were now placed in chains and brought before the assembly. Denied the opportunity to offer their own defense, they had to endure the accusations hurled against them by Polonian officials in silence. On 6 August, the Tribunal passed judgment, declaring both guilty of "treason to the government of their masters" and of "disrupting galactic peace". Zolywieski them ordered for them to be tortured with flares and then executed by electrical incineration, a grisly new punishment technique which had been developed in 1194 by the Polonian Department of Justice. Their executions were carried out on 11 August in the Public Square of Christiana. Amathria and Granes accepted their fate, refusing to betray any emotion. After they had died, their bodies were dumped on Calaxis I by a Polonian transport. After the ascension of Leonidas to the Laurasian throne in July 1213, the Consultative Assembly would have their remains placed in a cannister and buried in the Post Settlement of Hepudermia. They were to remain there until 1299, when, on the orders of Seleucus the Victor, the remains were disinterred and disintegrated. In the meantime, after the execution of Granes and Amathria, Zolywieski turned his attention to the Pope.

In a series of interrogations, held during August and September 1211, Zolywieski attempted to convince Hermogenes that he acted "only in the best interests of the Laurasian State" and that Wladyslaw, once he assumed his "rightful" place on the Laurasian throne, would ensure that the Laurasian Dominions would reside in a state of "peace and tranquility". Consequently, the Polonian General "requested" for the Pope to affix his official seal and signature to a proclamation which would denounce all Laurasians who "acted in defiance of the lawful authority of King-Elect Wladyslaw's representatives, and who sought to defile the peace and tranquility of all states in the Galaxy through insurrection against that rightful authority". Zolywieski also said that the Pope should agree to a restoration of the Religious Statutes of Honorius the Terrible, and that the Almitian Church should acknowledge the privileged position of Polonian-born clergymen in church administration. Hermogenes, however, a ardent Laurasian patriot with a passionate hatred of Polonians and other Laurasian enemies, refused. He declared that he would never sign a document which threatened the independence of the Laurasian people and the integrity of the Almitian Church. Hermogenes asserted that in the eyes of Almitis, a foreign ruler on the Laurasian throne would not be "a blessed monarch" and that the Laurasian people would certainly not stand for it. The Pope reminded Zolywieski that only a little more than two centuries had passed since the days of Tokhtamysh, who had oppressed Polonians and Laurasians alike, and that Polonia itself was barely sixty years old, since it had obtained independence from a "evil foreign power" (the Crimeanian Khanate). Thus, Hermogenes declared, he hoped that Zolywieski would understand his concern for the Laurasian people and State. Zolywieski, angered that Hermogenes refused to accede to his demands, but still putting on a facade of respect to the Laurasian Pontiff, then said that "We will see, my liege, who is right." From 6 October, he began making secret plans to get rid of Hermogenes by secret means. Four days later, the General, attempting to further consolidate the Polonian position in the Laurasian Purse Region, ordered that former King Arasces, who had remained at Apathama Vixius as the monk Eusebius, be arrested and deported to the Secret Penitentiary on Wroclaw. Arasces, who was kept in solitary confinement, and who had already been broken by his earlier experiences after his deposition from the Laurasian throne in July 1210, degenerated into virtual insanity over the course of his confinement. He was to remain at Wroclaw until his death on 12 September 1212, just ten days before his 60th birthday. He was buried on the orders of King Sig's'ac at the Prison Cemetery on 15 September; his body was to remain there for the next twenty-three years. On 17 October, Zolywieski announced that Wladyslaw would begin preparing for his formal progress to Laurasia Prime by the end of the following year. This interlude of time was needed because the Polonian Parliament still had to formally grant permission to the Prince to assume the Laurasian throne, and because Zolywieski hoped that a year's time would be sufficient to finally destroy Zarakstius and suppress Laurasian rebel sentiments. His announcement, however, spurred Laurasian nationalists to action.

On 1 November, a conference of Laurasian gentlemen, nobles, and leading figures of society secretly convened on Blackria, which remained beyond the power of the Polonians. This conference was held at Brighamius Mansion, which was considered to be one of the most beautiful edifices in the Stellar Kingdom of Laurasia. The chief instigator of the conference was a Laurasian officer and knight, Sir Ptolemy Lyapunus, who claimed descent from Flavius Aetius the Genius, the great Laurasian warrior-King of the eighth century AH. Lyapunus, who had a startling resemblance to his alleged forbear, believed that he was meant by Providence to be the savior of the Laurasian State. He was able to inspire the loyalty of his men through his energy, patriotism, and determination to expel the Polonian mongrels from Laurasia Prime. By 10 November, it was agreed that Lyapunus was to assume control of the First Volunteer Force, a military armada comprised of Laurasian and mercenary units, which was to re-secure control of the Laurasian Purse Region and expel Zolywieski. They received secret encouragement from the Pope, who with the assistance of sympathetic contacts on Hepudermia and at the Laurasia Prime Communications Tower, began to send a flood of secret messages and manifestos to all the Laurasian worlds, urging the Laurasian people to rise up against the Polonian foreigners. On 14 November, Lyapunus issued a proclamation from his headquarters on Blackria, declaring that the continued presence of the "Polonian mongrels" in the "Holy Laurasian Dominions" was a disgrace to the honor of the Laurasian species, and that it was his duty, by the initiative of Almitis, to expel the Polonian forces from the Stellar Kingdom and restore tranquility to "the affairs of this kingdom, so that we may not be condemned by the anti-Almitis". Two days later, Pope Hermogenes, through his contacts, sent a communique to Lyapunus and declared his support for the Commander's intentions. On 22 November, Zolywieski declared that Lyapunus was an outlaw and commanded the Polonian garrisons of the Purse Worlds to resist any advance by his forces. Despite this communique however, and increased Polonian security on Laurasia Prime, General Lyapunus and his forces were able to make a series of advances. They repelled a Polonian counteroffensive against Nezbit (24-29 November 1211); stormed the Polonian repository on Tyndaris (30 November); and secured Polonian military supplies at Ietas (1-4 December), before besieging and conquering the Polonian garrisons of Clackimaris (5 December); Charasia (6-11 December); Oxia Vixius (14 December); and Explosansia Major (15-19 December). By 22 December, Lyapunus and his forces were preparing for an advance against Venusia, Aquilionia, the Station of Dosch, and Katie. General Zolywieski, who was alarmed by the rebel advances, now made preparations to depart from Laurasia Prime in order to suppress the rebel threat. He was also concerned by the threat which continued to be posed by the forces of Zarakstius, who controlled the Constantine Cluster and launched constant harrying expeditions into the Heuthrian and Metallasian Districts. King Sigis'ac, however, had been prevailed upon by Donguarian Chancellor Sapieha, who had been promoted to the rank of Count of Donguaria Prime by the Polonian Parliament in October 1211 and had enhanced his position as a result of his successful truce negotiations with Briannia. Sapieha, who held ambitions of grandeur and power, wished to intervene in Laurasian affairs and take charge of the "transition" which was taking place on Laurasia Prime. He held a series of conferences over the matter with the King during November and December 1211, begging His Majesty to recall Zolywieski to Polonia Prime. Sapieha declared that Zolywieski's failure to hasten the siege of Goldaria (still ongoing as of 1 December), was proof that he would be equally incapable of completely destroying the forces of Zarakstius and Lyapunus. King Sigis'ac, who had come to resent the fame and prestige which Zolywieski had won in the Polonian Dominions, as a result of his exploits in the Laurasian Purse Worlds, and who believed that Sapieha would be able to enforce his interests and those of his sons more effectively, finally capitulated to the Chancellor's pressure. On 24 December, he issued a proclamation from Sydney, where he and his court had convalesced throughout the majority of the year. In this proclamation, the King praised General Zolywieski for his efforts to "bring order to the Laurasian Dominions, mired as they are in anarchy", but also declared that Zolywieski's services were needed back at the Polonian Court. Consequently, Sigis'ac dismissed Zolywieski from his position as "Guardian" of Laurasia Prime and Commander of the Polonian Armada, recalled him back to Laurasian dominions, and appointed "our loyal Chancellor Sapieha" as his successor. Zolywieski, when he received official notification that he had been relieved of his duties as Guardian of Laurasia Prime, declared that the King was making a "serious mistake" and that Chancellor Sapieha would not be able to effectively coordinate the actions of the Polonian garrisons and task fleets in Laurasian space. Nevertheless, the General declared that he would oblige by the King's orders. On 29 December, Sapieha departed from Polonia Prime with his staff, in order to prepare to take command of the Polonian forces in the Laurasian Dominions. Zolywieski, on his part, departed from Laurasia Prime two days later.

On 1 January 1212, the formal transfer of authority took place in a ceremony at Dearton's Gateway; Zolywieski handed his seals of office and his command instructions to Sapieha, who was now formally acknowledged by the Polonian Expeditionary Force as their commander. Lyapunus, in the meantime, had made further advances against Polonian garrisons. On 30 December, he had destroyed the Polonian outpost of Temeran and captured a large amount of Polonian military supplies. Two days later, the garrison of Venusia capitulated to the Volunteer Force, and Lyapunus now established that world as his new command headquarters. Laurasian units now blockaded Katie and Aquilionia; launched harrying expeditions towards Maroni, Dearton's Gateway, and Janesia; and harassed Polonian communications outposts. Vetta and Sarai had both been overrun by the Volunteer Force by 11 January. On 14 January, Sapieha had his first clash with General Lyapunus at Volterra, which resulted in a victory for Lyapunus and his units. As a result, Lyapunus was finally able to storm Katie (15-19 January 1212). Taurasia (22 January); Aquilionia (25 January); Maroni (26 January); and the Station of Dosch (27 January-4 February) were then besieged and conquered by the Volunteer Army in turn. Sapieha, however, repelled Laurasian offensives against Vetta, Darcia, Caladaria, and Augis V (5-17 February 1212) and maintained the defenses of Laurasia Prime. It seemed, however, for a time, that Lyapunus was in the ascendant and that he was to be the liberator of the Laurasian State. Lyapunus, indeed, had effectively become the head of the interim government on Venusia, which was comprised of the Aristocratic Duma (of delegates from territories under the control of the Volunteer Force); the remaining members of the Consultative Assembly of 1198; and government officials of the worlds loyal to his forces. He even held ambitions for elevating himself or one of his officers to the Laurasian throne, and entertained ideas of grandeur and power. It was these musings, however, which were to result in his fall. On 4 March, Lyapunus issued a series of instructions to his unit commanders, declaring that he intended to "brook no opposition from any of the Laurasian worlds" and that it was necessary to establish a security agency, similar to the Reginiks of Honorius the Terrible's reign, to ensure that another Time of Troubles would not arise. Lyapunus also tightened the disciplinary regulations which his units had to adhere to and became increasingly gluttonous. Zarakstius, whose units had continued to launch raiding expeditions into the Malarian Regions and who maintained a luxurious court on Kaluga, with Queen Consort Marina and her son "Prince" Honorius, now established contact with some of Lyapunus's officers, including the Laurasian officer Pyrrhus Epsies, who had become disgruntled with their commander. Zarakstius declared that he had only the "best intentions" for the Laurasian State and that if they assassinated Lyapunus, he, Zarakstius, would emerge from the Constantine Cluster and lead the final offensive against the Polonian infidels. Epsies, who was eager to eliminate Lyapunus, agreed to cooperate with Zarakstius. On 17 March, two days after Lyapunus had been defeated by Chancellor Sapieha at Augis II, the officers launched their conspiracy against him. Lyapunus was surrounded by them on the bridge of his flagship, the HMS Tydratta. Foolishly believing that none of his men would dare turn themselves against him, he had not thought it fitting to arm himself and was consequently defenseless. Epsies and the other officers, declaring that Lyapunus was an agent of the anti-Almitis and announcing their loyalty to Zarakstius, then fired their blasters at him, killing him instantly. As soon as Lyapunus fell dead, Epsies and his men seized control of the flagship bridge, and now attempted to broadcast commands to Venusia, to the Provisional Government. Although Lyapunus's recent actions had been loathed by many Laurasians, the authorities of Venusia nevertheless believed that he had not deserved to be disposed of in such a manner; they were repelled by Epsies' actions and also by the fact that the men were in league with Zarakstius. Pope Hermogenes, in the meantime, who was still imprisoned at the Post Settlement of Hepudermia, had been following events closely. With the assistance of his supporters inside and outside the Post Settlement, the Pope had managed to maintain a grasp of the affairs of the galaxy outside the confines of his cell. Hermogenes had not approved of Lyapunus's decree or of his recent excesses, but nevertheless believed that his assassination was "one of the worst events to befall us, in these times of peril and desolation." The Pope was enraged when he learned that Epsies and his men had conspired with Zarakstius, and that Zarakstius was once again attempting to take command of the efforts to resist the Polonians. The Pope, who still held immense prestige and was honored by all faithful Laurasians as their spiritual father, decided to send a manifesto to the authorities and Volunteer Forces of Venusia. This manifesto, which was smuggled out from the Post Settlement by a sympathethic Laurasian guards officer, reached Venusia on 26 March.

In this manifesto, Hermogenes declared that Zarakstius, Marina Mniszech, and "Prince" Honorius were "representative of the evil of the camp of the False Demetriuses, who have already brought much ruin to the Laurasian Dominions" and that they could not be permitted to take the lead in driving the Polonian "infidels" from the Laurasian territory. The Pope then declared that the Lord Almitis was truly concerned about the situation of his earthly followers, and that he had decided that they had suffered enough. Therefore, Hermogenes declared that the Venusian authorities should elect a general, who "would, by his tact, command skills, and abilities, deliver us from the grasp of the Polonian mongrels". Only when the Polonians were expelled from the Laurasian Purse Region, could a Consultative Assembly then be summoned in order to settle the Laurasian succession. Zarakstius and his forces would be destroyed, and tranquility would be restored to all of the Laurasian Dominions. News of the manifesto soon leaked out to the remainder of the Laurasian population; even on the Polonian-occupied worlds, Laurasians heard the Pope's message. Inevitably, the Polonian authorities also learned of the manifesto. Sapieha, who had been made aware of Zolywieski's contingency plans to "eliminate" the Pope if necessary, decided to act against the Laurasian Prelate. On 29 March, on the Chancellor's orders, the Pope was dragged from his cell and tortured with solar flares. Sapieha and his officers, who interrogated the Pope personally in the torture chambers, demanded that he rescind his manifesto and that he sign a proclamation acknowledging Wladyslaw as the future King and Autocrat of All the Laurasians. Hermogenes however, refused, and endured the torture with all of his effort. In the midst of this, on 2 April, Epsies and his officers were denounced by Lyapunus's Provincial Government, and they were now compelled to flee for their lives. The Laurasian Officer and his followers managed to reach Andriana, and on 6 April, were received by Zarakstius with open arms. Epsies now became one of the General's officers, and Zarakstius declared that the government on Venusia would pay for their actions. Two days later, the Aristocratic Duma and Military Command of Venusia convened, and taking into consideration the Pope's manifesto as well as the news of his torture and interrogation by the Polonians at Hepudermia, decided to resume with Lyapunus's offensives against the Polonian invaders. Two new figures now emerged in order to take command of the "Effort of Liberation". These men were Prince Demetrius Pozkharius of Metallasia and Karanus Mininus, the CEO and Chairman of Mininian Works, a Laurasian corporation involved with construction, retail, and agricultural shipping. Prince Pozkharius was a descendant of the celebrated General and seven-times Consul of the Stellar Republic of Laurasia, C. Gaius Marius, revered for his victories against the barbarian Teutherians in the late 2nd century BH. Pozkharius himself, who had been born on 12 October 1177 at his family's estate on Alosia, had originally joined the Laurasian Royal Army in 1195. He had fought in the later stages of the Malarian War against Vladios (1196-99); had served as one of King Eurymaschus's official honor guards at his coronation in September 1198, and had then involved himself as a mercenary with the Briannian Forces of Char'lac during the early stages of the Polonian-Briannian War. By 1205, Pozkharius had returned to Laurasia Prime, and he was one of those officers who took part in the overthrow of False Demetrius I the following year. King Arasces IV had promoted Pozkharius to the rank of Major-General and had assigned him to command the garrison of Metallasia in December 1206. In that capacity, Pozkharius engaged in a series of battles with Bolantakovia's rebels, and then, in 1209-10, had fought against the advance of False Demetrius II. After the deposition of Arasces Shuilavos in July 1210, Pozkharius had offered his services to the government garrison of Elizabeth and successfully defended that world against Polonian advances. Thus, he had considerable military experience. Mininus, on the other hand, had no military expertise, but was renowned for his patriotism and his administrative abilities. He was able to maintain the loyalty of the Volunteer Army and organized an efficient supply line for them. Mininus also worked closely with the clergy and security forces of the Royalist strongholds in order to ensure that Zarakstius was not able to advance his own position forth. On 7 April, Pozkharius was formally sworn in as Commander of the Volunteer Force and as Lyapunus's successor. Three days later, Sapieha received word that the Volunteer Force now had a new commander. He revealed this knowledge to Hermogenes, who, in the midst of all his extreme agony as as a result of the torture he suffered, nevertheless refused to cooperate with the Polonians. Hermogenes, hearing that Pozkharius (who had once been one of the leading supporters of his congregation of Malaria), was the new commander, extended his blessings for him and cursed the Polonians. Sapieha now ordered for the Pope's torture to be escalated. Hermogenes was not able to endure for much longer; on 12 April, he died in his cell, malnourished and burned. On Sapieha's orders, his remains were cremated and buried in the Prison Cemetery. Three days later, Prince Pozkharius established his command headquarters on Blackria, which had by this point become a major Laurasian military garrison and supply outpost along the Rebeccan Galactic Trade Route. From this position, the Prince now planned for his offensives against the forces of Sapieha. Sapieha, on his part, sent reports to King Sigis'ac about the growing strength of the Volunteer Army in the Laurasian Purse Region. He now urged King Sigis'ac to devote all of his resources to the war effort in the Laurasian Dominions. King Sigis'ac, still in pursuit of his ambitions for seizing the Laurasian throne (which had, for the time being, been forestalled by the Parliament), responded to the General's requests.

On 22 April, Prince Pozkharius gained his first victory in the Battle of Taurasia, preventing Polonian forces from reconquering that stronghold. Two days later, the Prince destroyed the Polonian garrison of Vetta and blockaded the supply lines of Manil and Arias, whom Sapieha had stormed and incorporated into the Polonian Occupation Zone in February 1212. On 29 April, however, Sigis'ac ordered for a final offensive against Goldaria, which was still under Laurasian control in the Central Core. Goldaria's garrison commander, Prince Michaelus Shetius, had successfully repelled all previous Polonian offensives against Goldarian defenses. Polonian forces had launched assaults upon the Goldaria star system on 22 August, 1 September, and 19 September 1210; again on 5 February, 17-19 March, and 22-28 April 1211; and then on 1-19 January 1212. All of these offensives had been repelled with heavy losses by the Laurasian garrison. By this point, however, Goldaria was completely in the midst of Polonian-occupied territory, and the Polonian forces had suppressed all supply lines to the star system. King Sigis'ac himself had long since returned to his Polonian dominions and had given command of the Polonian forces in the Central Core to experienced Magnate-General Choldkiewiz. Choldkiewiz had vigorously reorganized his forces and decided to use the superior manpower and supply of his forces to his advantage. On 1 May, the Polonian forces began to clear the minefields of the Goldarian system using specialized minesweepers and corvettes. The Laurasians managed to repel their offensives upon the military outposts of Molden and Longaria, but were unable to prevent the Polonians from eliminating the barrier which had held them back for so long. By these early weeks of May 1212, the people of Goldaria were ravaged with disease and starvation, and were on the breaking point. Choldkiewiz's forces, on the other hand, were well-rested and well-supplied. By 11 May, Polonian units had managed to advance into the outskirts of the Goldaria star system. Prince Shetius, however, was still determined to resist them, and a Polonian offensive against Longaria was repelled again on 14-15 May. On 16 May, however, Magnate-General Choldkiewiz, with the assistance of a traitorous Laurasian officer, Antigonus Deshidius, discovered a weakness in the Laurasian defenses. The Polonian captain and corvette commander, Bartojei Nowodorski was able to trigger an explosion in the Goldarian Asteroid Belt which shattered the orbital defenses of Molden and Longaria. Jakub Potocki, who was the commander of the Polonian Army forces, was the first to descend upon those worlds; both had fallen to him by the end of the day. On 18 May, the shield defenses of Goldaria itself were finally penetrated, and much slaughter took place in the Goldarian cities. Choldkiewiz and his fores now engaged in a orgy of massacre, rapine, and looting. Most of the Laurasian garrison was killed in battle; Shetius himself, however, who led his troops in vain against the Polonian forces, was wounded and captured. He was presented before the victorious Magnate-General on the Polonian flagship, PCS Rambergie. The Magnate-General, impressed by Shetius's bravery and his willingness to resist invading forces for such a long period of time, commended him and ordered that he be treated honorably. Shetius was now dispatched to Polonia Major, and was formally received by King Sigis'ac as a "honorary" prisoner of war. Shetius was to remain at the Polonian Court, formally a prisoner, in actuality a guest, until January 1219.

By 22 May, the Goldaria star system had been entirely secured by the Polonian forces, and the Central Core was now consolidated under the dominion of the Polonian-Donguarian Commonwealth. During that time, however, Prince Pozkharius obtained further victories over the Polonian forces. On 5 May, he stormed Augis V and destroyed a Polonian task force commanded by Polonian General Lech Walesius. Two days later, Darcia was besieged by a Laurasian force. The Polonians, however, prevented Pozkharius at this stance from advancing towards Apathama Vixius, Praelist, Aeoleon, and the Cron Drift. Nevertheless, by the end of May 1212, Prince Pozkharius had secured the majority of the Laurasian Purse Regions, consolidating the gains which Lyapunus had made against the Polonians before his assassination. In June 1212, the Provisional Government announced that once Laurasia Prime was reconquered from the "Polonian mongrels", a new Consultative Assembly would be summoned in order to elect a new Laurasian sovereign. King Sigis'ac, when he heard of this, was enraged and declared that the Volunteer Army had to be stopped. On 25 June, Magnate-General Choldkiewiz, who had mopped up remaining cells of Laurasian resistance in the Goldarian Regions, was commanded by the King to advance northwards and to take command of the units arrayed against Prince Pozkharius. Chancellor Sapieha was now ordered by Sigis'ac to leave his command post and return to Polonia Major promptly. Sapieha, who entertained thoughts of using his position in the Purse Region to break away from Sigis'ac's authority, attempted to launch a counteroffensive against Pozkharius's forces. Polonian units penetrated to Capital and Meaganian (26-29 June 1212); this offensive, however, was repelled by Prince Pozkharius. On 1 July, Sapieha finally obliged his King's commands and departed from Laurasia Prime. The following day, Choldkiewiz arrived there and immediately took command of the Polonian forces. The Magnate-General now repelled a Laurasian offensive against Aeoleon (2-7 July); reconquered Maroni (10 July); and stormed the defenses of Dearton's Gateway (12-17 July). By 18 July, the siege of Caladaria had been relieved, and Polonian units were now pressing towards Ralina Vixius, Oxia Vixius, and Augis V. Prince Pozkharius, however, launched an expedition which harried Polonian outposts in the Cron Drift (22-25 July 1212), and he prevented Polonian units from advancing against Ietas, Tyndaris, and Metallasia. On 28 July, he and Choldkiewiz clashed for the first time at Vetta; the battle resulted in a stalemate, and Choldkiewiz was forced to shelve plans for offensives against Aquilionia and Katie. On 2 August, Pozkharius managed to reconquer Dearton's Gateway, but his raiding expeditions against Conservan, Reoyania, and Dramis were repelled by Polonian units. Two days later, Xoca was stormed by a Laurasian force, although Choldkiewiz dispatched units which secured the Polonian position at Clackimaris. Pozkharius's forces, however, were gradually strengthening, while those of the Polonian Magnate-General were weakening. Throughout August and September 1212, tensions simmered against Polonian authorities on Laurasia Prime, Caladaria, and Apathama Vixius, as the peoples of those worlds yearned for liberation from the domination of the Polonian-Donguarian Commonwealth. By this point, King Sigis'ac's plans for seizing the Laurasian throne were well-known, and the Laurasian nobility, those who were under the authority of the Polonian Occupation Authority, no longer supported the idea of Wladyslaw becoming King and Autocrat of All the Laurasians. Instead, many of them maintained secret contacts with Prince Pozkharius, who promised to soon liberate them from the "onerous burden of duty" towards the Polonian occupiers. On 11 September, Pozkharius obtained a decisive victory over Choldkiewiz in the Battle of Yarslavia, opening the way for a final advance to Apathama Vixius. Apathama Vixius itself was besieged from 12 September, falling to Pozkharius's forces at the end of the month. In the meantime, Laurasian units in the Murphian Provinces repelled Polonian offensives against Mumbraine, Hammenor, Compost V, and Senna, maintaining the Laurasian position in those regions. On 2 October, Aeoleon and Praelist were both conquered by Laurasian units. Five days later, Choldkiewiz launched a counteroffensive, towards Rebecca and Charasia. The Polonian units managed to storm the Laurasian garrisons of Timberline, Meandra, and Albright, but were eventually halted and forced to retreat.

On 21 October, Sargent and Shan were both secured by the Laurasian forces, ending Polonian operations against the forces of Zarakstius in the Constantine Cluster. Pozkharius, however, reaffirmed the Provisional Government's declaration that it would not cooperate with, or recognize, the rights of Zarakstius, Honorius, and Marina Mniszech. On 24 October, Prince Pozkharius's forces, having repelled further Polonian counteroffensives against Expolansia Major, Osama, Terravania, and Katie, finally advanced to the outskirts of the Laurasia Prime star system. Choldkiewiz had strengthened the Polonian garrison, ordering for new shield generators to be constructed and for new minefields to be laid out in the outskirts of the system. Marsia and the Outer Worlds were heavily fortified, while the Asteroid Belt had been riddled with mines. Pozkharius blockaded all supply lines to the system and decided to pursue a methodical, cautious strategy in order to advance through the Polonian defenses. After many days of effort, Laurasian units had reached the Asteroid Belt by 6 November. Choldkiewiz himself now launched an offensive against the Laurasian rear. He destroyed or captured many Laurasian transports and corvettes; harried the starfighter units; and threatened the Laurasian garrison at Marsia, but was ultimately repelled by Pozkharius. Laurasian destroyers and dreadnoughts now bombarded the shield defenses of Laurasia Prime. On 15 November, a corps of Laurasian Marines conquered the Post Settlement of Hepudermia, expelling the Polonian garrison and freeing all Laurasian prisoners of war at the installation. Calaxis I (16-17 November); Calaxis II (19 November); and Jadia (22 November) were secured by the Laurasian forces in turn. On 25 November, the Laurasians on the planet, knowing that the time for liberation was at hand, erupted in a wide-scale revolt against the Polonian garrison. Christiania, Constantinople, Columbia, Heliotrope, Uris, Beneventum, Mendelevium, Herkorim, Soriana, Jaina, Ralispont, Ostia, Osraninpolis, and many other Laurasian cities were now engulfed by a wave of violence and of coordinated action against the Polonian foreigners. Because of the uprising, Prince Pozkharius's forces were finally able to take the advantage above the planet; on 27 November, the shield defenses were finally penetrated. Volunteer Army troops landed on Laurasia Prime and soon combined together with the insurgent Laurasian civilians to quickly shred the Polonian troops apart. On 5 December, Choldkiewiz and his last remaining units fled from the Laurasia Prime star system, managing to take advantage of a defense gap in the Asteroid Belt to go into hyperspace from the system. The Magnate-General left the Polonian garrison, commanded by General Wroclaw Jarveski, to its fate. Two days later, Pozkharius extended an offer of peace to Jarveski; he offered to allow all remaining Polonian troops and officers to peacefully retire from the capital world if they surrendered to the Laurasian forces immediately. Jarveski, believing in Pozkharius's promises, and eager to leave the quagmire of the Laurasian Dominions, accepted. On 11 December, all Polonian units in the Laurasia Prime star system surrendered to Pozkharius's forces. The General, however, did not prove faithful to his promises; two days later, Jarveski and his officers were arrested, tortured with solar flares, and then executed at the Post Settlement. All other Polonian personnel were imprisoned or executed. By 15 December, Laurasia Prime had been completely secured, and the Stellar Kingdom of Laurasia had once again stabilized. Pozkharius was hailed as a liberator by the Laurasian people; massive parades and celebrations were conducted in Christiania and in other Laurasian cities to mark the occasion of the Polonian expulsion from Laurasia Prime.

On 18 December, the Provisional Government moved from Venusia to Laurasia Prime, setting up its administrative headquarters in the Celestial Palace. Laurasia Prime, however, had been left in shambles by the Polonian occupation, which had lasted for two years. Its population in December 1212 stood at 37 billion, the lowest figure in centuries. All Laurasian cities had been looted or damaged as a result of the struggle, and by the Polonian units. Many Laurasian landmarks had been severely damaged: the Celestial Palace, Westphalian Cathederal, and Diplomatic Palace had been stripped of their treasures and were but the shell of their previous forms. 40% of Laurasians were unemployed, and nearly half of the population had lost their homes or their personal property. Disease and famine stalked the planet, a result of Pozkharius's blockade and of the harsh Polonian requisition policies. Pozkharius and the Provisional Government had to set themselves to the task of providing for the ravished inhabitants of Laurasia Prime and to begin reconstruction; this was a process which was to continue for the majority of the century. Nevertheless, by the end of December 1212, all of the Laurasian Purse Region was again under the control of the Stellar Kingdom of Laurasia. King Sigis'ac, on his part, was enraged when he learned of the fall of Laurasia Prime. Although Polonian forces now dominated the Central Core, they had lost the most important prize: possession of the Laurasian capital world. Magnate-General Choldkiewiz had lost much of his favor with King Sigis'ac as a result of the debacle in the Laurasian Purse Region, but the King was unable to remove him from his position. This is because the Polonian Parliament declared that it believed that the Magnate-General had "little responsibility" for the recovery of Laurasia Prime by the forces of Prince Pozkharius and that the Magnate-General had done his best in order to defend the Polonian positions. Many of the Magnate-General's supporters held positions of influence and patronage in the Polonian Parliament, and they were determined to block any measures which would result in his disgrace or dismissal from office. On 30 December, this was demonstrated when the Parliament declared to the King that it would terminate financial aid for any future ambitions in Briannian territory unless if he allowed Choldkiewiz to retain his command. Sigis'ac, who was still determined to recover the Briannian throne, decided not to press the matter any further and the following day, reconfirmed Choldkiewiz as Commander of the Polonian Expeditionary Force.

On 1 January 1213, Prince Pozkharius cooperated with the Aristocratic Duma and the Royal Council to issue a New Year's proclamation to the Laurasian subjects, the first such proclamation issued in three years. The last proclamation had been issued by Arasces Shuilavos in January 1210, before his deposition from the Laurasian throne. In this proclamation, it was declared by the Laurasian Royal Government that the recovery of Laurasia Prime "has restored the integrity of our dominions" and that the Lord Almitis had given his blessings to the Laurasian people, so that they would be able to expel the Polonian mongrels "from the Hereditary Dominions and bring peace, tranquility, and stability to all of the worlds of civilization". The Provisional Government decided that a state of martial law was to remain in effect on Laurasia Prime and at other worlds for the time being, until peace was restored with Briannia and "the threat of the rebel fiend Zarakstius" was eliminated. It also announced that a Consultative Assembly was to be convened, comprised of delegates "from all the social estates of Laurasian society" and all worlds under the control of the Provisional Government, in order to decide the succession to the Laurasian throne. On 6 November 1212, the Aristocratic Duma and Royal Council had formally denounced Wladyslaw of Polonia as a "heinous foreigner and heretic", and deposed him as King-Elect. Consequently, the Laurasian throne was vacant, and all Laurasians desired for a Laurasian sovereign to be installed. On 3 January, the Provisional Government issued instructions, in accordance with the procedures of the Assembly Laws of 1182, for the selection of delegates in order to attend the Assembly. On 15 January, a further proclamation was issued, forbidding any foreigners resident in Laurasian territory from taking part in the selection process. By 22 January, 3,500 delegates, from the Laurasian Purse Region, the Arian Provinces, the Malarian Provinces, and the Eastern Core Provinces, had been selected to be the members of the Consultative Assembly. The authorities conducted a interview and examination process, in order to ensure that the delegates were not "corrupt, neglectful, or in any other way lax, so as to ensure that the Assembly convened will be for the benefit of the Laurasian Dominions". On 26 January, Pozkharius, who had became Lord Protector on 29 December of the preceding year, announced that the Consultative Assembly would convene at the Old Royal Palace, one of the few major government structures which had managed to escape damage during the Polonian occupation and the subsequent Laurasian re-conquest. Two days later, the Almitian Church selected its representatives to the Assembly by initiative of the Ecclesiastical Conclave; the Papacy was vacant at this stage, and was to remain so until 1219. The collective Laurasian nobility, Laurasian Military Command, and Laurasian government institutions, as well as the ten major Laurasian universities under the Provisional Government's jurisdiction, also selected their representatives. The selection process was finally closed on 6 February; two days later, delegates, who had been granted a salary by the Royal Government and exemptions from corporal punishment, taxation, and enumerations, began to arrive at Laurasia Prime. They were lodged at government expense, and Pozkharius took special care to heed all of their concerns and collect all of their petitions. On 12 February 1213, once all the delegates had arrived at Laurasia Prime, the opening ceremony for the Assembly was held in the Great Audience Hall of the Old Royal Palace. Pozkharius, Mininus, and Archbishop John of Caladaria presided over the opening of the ceremony, assisted by officials of Laurasia Prime, the Duma, and the Palace Command. In his speech to the Assembly, Pozkharius said:

"Gentlemen of the Consultative Assembly, you have been called here today, by the workings of the providence of the great Almitis, in order to bring an end to the ravages which have impacted these Dominions for so long. You have been called to bring peace, prosperity, and tranquility back to the peoples of these dominions; to rescue them from the ravages of war, of disease, of social unrest, and of rebellion; and to ensure that all Laurasian peoples will have a firm, stable, and equitable government, which will not succumb to the errors of previous regimes. You have been called to restore, in the full bounds, the autocracy of the Laurasian Monarchy; to ensure that the Monarchy is never again challenged, whether by pretenders or by foreign invaders. The Lord Almitis has had mercy for our dominions, and our kind; we are the Chosen Race in this Galaxy. For the longest of time, however, we were deluded by the evil hand of the Anti-Almitis; we accepted foreigners into our territory, and we allowed ourselves to be divided by petty disputes and the travails of argument. No more, gentlemen! Today, and in the following days, we will set the errors of the past right, and we will ensure that the remainder of this century, and of every following century, sees the thriving existence of a Laurasian State, destined to become the greatest among nations."

After this speech was delivered, the Consultative Assembly immediately set itself to its task. It was comprised of a diverse variety of individuals. Noblemen, gentlemen, knights, and magnates sat alongside merchants, common laborers, factory workers, agricultural workers, and the like. There were those who possessed great wealth and those who were of but humble means. Clergymen, government officials, military officers, and even diplomatic officials also were members of the Assembly, and were also at their duty. But no matter their background, social estate, or personal wealth, every member of the Assembly was devoted to the interests of their Race and their Kingdom, believing that the "Time of Troubles", as the period of long civil war and foreign invasion had become known as already, was a shameful period, and that it should never be allowed to happen again. They were all determined to find a sovereign who would exploit his autocratic authority in "the proper manner", in order to defeat Laurasia's enemies and restore the integrity of the Kingdom. No one had any thought of laying any restrictions upon the King's powers or attaching any conditions to the throne; all they wanted was a master who could preside over a stable and solid government. The Assembly, divided into committees, began to sort through the potential candidates for the Laurasian throne. Some still supported the claims of Metropolitan Filaret, believing that his long experience in Church and State would prove vital to the integrity of the Laurasian Territories. This, however, was neutralized by the overriding fact that Filaret was a prisoner in the hands of the Polonian Government; it would be impossible now for him to be elevated to the Laurasian Throne, if he was not even in the Laurasian Dominions. Almost all were agreed that a Laurasian noble or gentleman should become King, but who? There were those who even supported Pozkharius becoming King. Pozkharius, however, issued a official statement to the Assembly on 19 February, declaring that he held no ambition for the Laurasian throne and that he wished only to "serve his new master humbly and faithfully". Everyone was agreed that no foreigner should be elected. The claims of False Demetrius II's son, "Prince" Honorius, were also rejected; on 22 February, Pozkharius once again declared that Zarakstius was a traitor and that his forces would be dealt with as soon as possible. Having eliminated a large number of potential candidates, the Assembly now came down to a last choice: Filaret's son, Leonidas. Leonidas, although he was only sixteen years old at the time, was nevertheless considered to be an acceptable candidate. This was because of three factors. For one, Leonidas had a genealogical connection to the Honorian Dynasty; his aunt, Anastasia Cassanova, had of course been the first wife and queen consort of Honorius the Terrible. Secondly, his youth would make it certain that he would have a relatively long reign, and he would have a considerable period of time to marry and sire heirs. Thirdly, Pope Hermogenes, before his death, had made it known that he supported the claims of Leonidas to the Laurasian throne and that his rule "was the best hope for the Laurasian Dominions".

Pozkharius himself supported the candidacy of Leonidas, and a public opinion poll, conducted during January and February 1213, determined that 65% of respondents were in favor of Leonidas being elected King. All of these factors were what determined the Consultative Assembly's final decision. On 6 March 1213, the Consultative Assembly unanimously elected Leonidas Cassanova, the son of Metropolitan Filaret and the Abbess Martha, as the King and Autocrat of All the Laurasians. Pozkharius announced the Assembly's decision in a declaration to the Laurasian people, and declared that "we now have a sovereign, lawfully chosen, who will be representative of the return of prosperity to our dominions". The Assembly confirmed its decision on 11 March, and four days later, the ascension of Leonidas to the Laurasian throne was formally delivered to all foreign courts except for that of Polonia, with whom Laurasia remained in a state of war. On 22 March, the Almitian Church blessed the choice of Leonidas as King. The only problem, however, was to actually locate Leonidas. Leonidas had been in the care of his mother, the Nun Martha, who had raised him at Istalia. They had been forced to flee from the world, however, in November 1210, as a result of Zarakastius's expeditions from the Constantine Cluster, and no sign of their whereabouts had been made public. In reality, Martha had retreated with her son to the Ipathian Monastery on Kostroma, about eight light years to the west of Laurasia Prime. She was determined to keep him out of the public eye and to maintain his security from the Pretender's forces and the Polonians alike. But now, with his election to the Laurasian throne, Leonidas was to be thrust into the public limelight. On 29 March, reports filtered in to the Royal Government that the King-Elect was on Kostroma. Pozkharius, who had successfully repelled Polonian offensives from the Central Core, and had been about the task of restoring the Purse Region from the Polonian advances, decided for the authorities of Kostroma to conduct a thorough search for the young boy. On 6 April, the reports were confirmed as the officials of the Ipathian Monastery revealed that Leonidas and his mother were indeed in residence at their institution.

Five days later, on the orders of the Lord Protector, a delegation of Laurasian dignitaries, led by Mininius and President Beresus Ithurius of the Consultative Assembly, arrived at the Monastery and met with the Nun Martha. They had with them a message, composed by Pozkharius himself, announcing the news of Leonidas' election to the Laurasian throne and urging his mother to permit for her son to take up his responsibilities on the Laurasian throne. Martha read the message. She was torn, however, believing that her son's life would be in danger. Bursting into tears, she told the delegation of her fear that the Laurasian State was doomed to desolation, and that her son was too young and inexperienced in order to assume the burdens of state. She also declared that she did not wish for him to "suffer the same fate as Arasces Shuilavos, Eurymaschus Gadavaranius, or any of the other rulers we have had, thus far". Martha implored the delegation to excuse her son from the duty of assuming the throne, and expressed her hope that the Consultative Assembly would choose another candidate, preferably Pozkharius himself, to sit upon the Laurasian throne. Finally, Martha said that as long as her husband "remained a prisoner in the hands of the Polonian mongrels", she could not expose her family to the dangers of public duty. The delegation however, was convinced that Leonidas was the right candidate for the Laurasian throne, and that his rule as King would restore stability to the Laurasian dominions. Mininius declared to Martha that he had genuine concern for her son's welfare, and that he was promoting his welfare by securing his place on the throne. He also appealed to Martha's patriotism and said that if she did not allow for Leonidas to become King, then "these Dominions will be ruined and the Anti-Almitis will reign in this galaxy". Mininius pointed out that Honorius the Terrible had only been sixteen when he assumed the reins of effective authority as King, and that there were precedents in ancient Laurasian history of a ruler ascending to the throne at a young age and going on have to a successful and prosperous reign. Immediately after saying this, Leonidas himself made his appearance. Although he was only sixteen, Leonidas was tall, strong, and well-built. He was also possessed of great intelligence, confidence, and insight.

The boy had already conceived ideas about the State's troubles, and had come to believe that it was his duty to do something about it. He was also tempted by the opportunity to obtain autocratic power and great wealth, and wished to become a monarch in his own right. Leonidas spoke up and told his mother that "these gentlemen are concerned for our well-being and others". He said also that "Father will be proud and that this will be the great elevation of our family." Martha attempted to plead with her son to reconsider, but he would not budge. Finally, she realized that it was his destiny to become King. Turning to the delegation, Martha declared that she would accept their decision, and that, once affairs on Kostroma had been put into order, they would leave with them to head back to Laurasia Prime. The Abbess, however, also declared that she would leave only when Laurasian forces made sure that the route to Laurasia Prime was secure; raiders from the Constantine Cluster, brigands, and bandits continued to harry the Western Provinces. Mininius assured her that she and her son would be secure, and that no further threat would arise to their position. On 22 April 1213, Leonidas formally accepted the Laurasian throne at Kostroma, and preparations were now made for his journey to Laurasia Prime. Pozkharius and the Provisional Government readied the King's quarters at the Old Royal Palace; reorganized the law enforcement patrols in Laurasia Prime's cities; and organized military garrisons along the procession route to ensure that Leonidas' security would not be threatened. Finally, on 15 May, Leonidas, his mother, and their entourage, along with Mininius and his delegation, departed from Kostroma. They were escorted by a detachment of Laurasian Marines and the 1st Laurasian Naval Fleet, the largest force then in operation within the Stellar Kingdom. Nevertheless, the journey took four days, substantially longer than normal, because the new King and his mother continued to remain paranoid about their security. Finally, on May 19, 1213, they arrived in the Laurasia Prime star system. Prince Pozkharius had made arrangements with the Viceroy of Laurasia Prime, Sir Galba Ithira (who had been appointed by the Provisional Government on 5 January), the Mayor of Christiania, and the Aristocratic Duma to ensure that Leonidas's entry into the star system was greeted with much ceremony. The young King-Elect was saluted by his subjects; a series of salvoes were fired by the turbolaser cannons; and the collective nobles, gentry, and clergymen of the star system gathered to formally greet Leonidas and his entourage. At the Old Royal Palace, the King and his entourage were received by Prince Pozkharius and the officials of the Provisional Government. Two days later, Pozkharius issued a proclamation to the Laurasian people, in the name of "His Majesty", that the King-Elect had successfully reached Laurasia Prime and that he was now established "on his rightful world of residence". On 25 May, Leonidas was formally proclaimed King and Autocrat of All the Laurasians, and was presented to his subjects from the balcony of the Celestial Palace. Laurasian historians have chosen to mark this date, and not the date of his election, as when he commenced his reign. The King's subjects, gathered in multitudes at the Palatial balcony, cheered their King and declared that "our Dominions have been saved by the hand of the gracious Almitis". The following day, the King and Autocrat presided over a session of the Consultative Assembly.

The Assembly hailed their new master; Leonidas, in his address to his new subjects, which had been prepared by him with the assistance of Pozkharius and the Royal Council, declared that he would be devoted to "ensuring the welfare of the Laurasian State" and that the Polonians and Zarakstius would both be dealt with soon. Pozkharius formally resigned his position as Lord Protector, declaring that since Leonidas was at the official age of majority, he should be "sole sovereign". Leonidas immediately asserted his position as King, and exploited to the full the autocratic authority he had now assumed. On 1 June, the King announced that his coronation was to be held on the 26th of the following month; he declared that it was necessary for this coronation, so as to display to the population and to the Galaxy at large that Laurasia was once again an assertive and unified galactic power. Two days later, Leonidas formally suspended all military levies and tributes which had been imposed since the latter years of Eurymaschus Gadavaranius's reign; all subjects who had been mistreated by previous regimes or by the Polonians were to be compensated from state coffers, and the Treasury was to dispense funds to assist in reconstruction efforts. On 10 June, Leonidas imposed a special levy in the Malarian Provinces, which had largely escaped the ravages of the Time of Troubles. He now exploited the resources of Malaria Prime, Meehan, Manzo, Almastead, Terell, Aingley, and the other Malarian strongholds to the advantage of the Laurasian Royal Government. The King, however, forbade any harshness towards those who resided in the Malarian Provinces, and he ordered for self-government privileges which had been rescinded by King Eurymaschus for those regions to be restored. This measure earned him the support of those who resided in the Malarian Provinces, and they proved willing to pay the new taxes. On 16 June, the King established a new Military Command Headquarters on Jadia, and he now commanded for Prince Pozkharius to maintain his position as Supreme Commander of the Laurasian Operational Forces. The Laurasian Royal Government began to draft plans for military offensives into the Constantine Cluster. Already, Laurasian task fleets at Ietas, Tyndaris, Xoca, Metallasia, Aroest, and Darcia had halted raiding expeditions by Zarakstius's forces into the Heuthrian Provinces, and Laurasian patrol forces monitored activity in the Constantine Cluster. By the end of June 1213, Leonidas had consolidated his position on Laurasia Prime. His coronation was finally held at the Westphalian Cathederal on 26 July 1213. The Royal Crown of Laurasia and other Laurasian Crown Jewels had been hidden by the orders of Pope Hermogenes at Abriana's Star, and they had been retrieved for the coronation, undamaged. Because there was no Pope at the time, Archbishop John of Caladaria presided over the coronation ceremonies. King Leonidas crowned himself with the Royal Crown of Laurasia and dominated the ceremony with his vigor and determination. In his coronation speech, Leonidas declared that Laurasia had proved its self-worth through the travails of the previous years, and that he would focus his efforts on maintaining Laurasian strength. The Leonidian Dynasty had been founded, and was to be the most durable dynasty in the history of the Laurasian Space Age; it was to last for over two centuries, until the death of Demetrius I the Fat without surviving children in October 1416.

However, by July 1213, a new challenge had arisen for the new King and his Government. It concerned Briannia. It is now important to track what has been transpired with the Briannian-Venasian War, and the circumstances for the new Briannian intervention in the Laurasian Dominions. As previously stated, King Gu'starai had taken advantage of the Truce of Selena in order to build up his military forces for a counteroffensive against the Venasian Consortium. By February 1212, Briannian forces were poised to advance against the Venasians. On 1 March, the Truce of Selena expired, and Gu'starai now launched a series of offensives, designed to repel Venasian expeditions, recover lost territory in the Duchy of Schaueria Prime, and harry the outskirts of Venasian territory. A Venasian task force was defeated at Gdov (2-17 March 1212). Briannian units then ended Venasian raids against Shiloh, Schaueria Prime, and Jessica Perea (18-22 March 1212). On 25 March, Gu'starai, himself commanding the Briannian forces in battle, as he had when he was Prince during his father's lifetime, obtained a decisive victory over a Venasian force in the Battle of Keyver. Smithia (26 March); Colsonia (29 March); and Robbay (1-5 April) were recovered in quick succession by the Briannian forces. Princess Mura, however, continued to harry the Nexus Route. She stormed the defenses of Jem (6-11 April 1212) and inflicted severe damage upon the shield generators of Atticus (12-15 April), before attacking and plundering the Briannian operational post at Vellae (25 April). On 1 May, however, King Gu'starai repelled a raiding expedition against Jean; two days later, he launched a counteroffensive against Musa's headquarters on Malagrahy, storming the stronghold and capturing a large number of Venasian supplies and military equipment. On 11 May, Bolgrahay was recovered by Briannian forces, who had now stripped the Venasians of their territorial gains of the preceding year. Gustenholm then launched expeditions which harried Agac, Decapolia Major, and Uber-Commerce (May-June 1212), inflicting severe damage upon Venasian positions. On 21 June, Musa was defeated again in the Battle of Shatner, and barely managed to evade capture by the Briannian troops. On 2 July, Gu'starai launched his most daring raiding offensive, directed against Ruttum, Venasia Secondary, Schell, and Phylis. Ruttum was stormed by a Briannian task force (4-7 July 1212), while Venasia Secondary was harried by Briannian raiding parties. The advance towards Phylis, however, was halted by Princess Mura, who on 22 July, managed to inflict a minor defeat upon Gu'starai in the Battle of Wermay. By the end of August 1212, Briannian forces had been forced to terminate their raiding expeditions against Venasia Secondary and Schell, although a Venasian counteroffensive from Monderon was repelled by the King. In September 1212, a Venasian force managed to storm Permi, but Gu'starai prevented the Venasians from advancing back into the Duchy of Schaueria Prime. On 4 October, Musa was wounded in a skirmish with Briannian troops on Aflak; her condition quickly declined, and she died from her injuries four days later. Queen Mother Christiana herself was beginning to contemplate taking direct command of the Venasian forces against Gu'starai. However, her entanglement in Kuevian affairs (to be noted later), prevented her from doing so. Gu'starai recovered Permi on 6 November, and five days later, Agac capitulated to a Briannian force. On 25 November, however, the King was ambushed by a Venasian squadron at Vittsjo, and barely escaped capture. By the end of December 1212, Venasian expeditions, now under the supreme command of Generaless Eethetia, were again penetrating to the Nexus Route. Jem, Caroline, Dill, Boo, and Atticus were harried by Venasian raiding parties, but Gu'starai maintained his conquest of Agac and himself sent plundering expeditions which penetrated as far as Ka and Organia in the Venasian Home Region.

In January 1213, the King began contemplating negotiations with the Venasian Government. Events in the Laurasian Dominions had proceeded along, and Leonidas was soon to be elected King by the Consultative Assembly. Gu'starai wanted to end the war with Venasia and to turn all his attention to expanding Briannian territory at Laurasian expense. On 6 January, two days after a Briannian force destroyed a Venasian plundering expedition in the Battle of Selena, the King posed the matter to the Council of Ministers. He was now supported in his efforts by his friend and chief minister, Axel Oxenstierna, whom he had appointed Chancellor of the Celestial Kingdom of Briannia on 6 January 1212. Oxenstierna, who had been born on 16 June 1183 at the Briannian colony of Fanno, was a well-educated, patriotic man devoted to the interests of his country. He had served on the King's staff after 1206 and had been appointed to the Council of Ministers by King Char'lac on 15 June 1210. Oxenstierna was respected for his political tact and energy, and no one dissented when he was appointed Chancellor. On 15 January, the Council of Ministers agreed that a end to the war would be beneficial for the Briannian Dominions. Five days later, the Rikstag, convened by the King on Oxenstierna's suggestion, concurred to the same. On 25 January, Oxenstierna sent a communique to the court of the Queen Mother, declaring that the war between the two realms was "aiding none" and that it was unnecessary. He offered peace on the basis of the status quo ante bellum. Christiana, increasingly distracted by Kuevian affairs and her worsening relationship with Halegothican King Theodoric, decided to respond in the affirmative to the communique. On 1 February, the Queen Mother accepted the Briannian offer for peace, and now commanded Generaless Eethetia to halt further offensives into Briannian territory. King Gu'starai, on his part, ordered all Briannian troops to hold their positions. On 11 February, Oxenstierna and seven other Briannian dignitaries were appointed by the King as the negotiators for a treaty with Venasia. Queen Mother Christiana, on her part, designated Generaless Eethetia, Lady Executrix Nalia (who had, since the end of the regency, served her mistress loyally), and six members of the Council of High Ones as the negotiators for the Venasian Side. It was then agreed by the two Governments that Knarred, a Briannian colony-world three light-years northeast of Bolgrahay, and on the very limit of Briannian space, would be the site of negotiations between the two powers. On 19 February, Oxenstierna and his entourage departed from Briannia, escorted by a Royal Fleet. They arrived at Knarred before the end of the day. Lady Executrix Nalia and her delegation arrived there on 26 February. After two days of festivities, negotiations commenced on 28 February. They did not last long, for Gu'starai and Christiana had already agreed there was to be no territorial changes. On March 13, 1213, the Treaty of Knarred was signed. By the terms of this agreement, the status quo ante bellum was confirmed as regards to territorial matters between the two powers. Agac and Aflak were both to be restored to the Venasian Consortium by no later than 1 January 1214. The Venasians, on their part, acknowledged Briannian rule of the formerly-Laurasian strongholds of the Duchy of Schaueria Prime, and agreed to recognize Briannian rights to garrison along the Nexus Route. All prisoners of war were to be exchanged; while diplomatic and economic relations were to be resumed immediately. No power would be required to pay any reparations or financial indemnity to the other. All Venasian and Briannian troops were to retire back to their bases. In a secret addendum to the Treaty, the Venasian Government agreed to recognize Briannian rights to campaign against Laurasia. The Treaty of Knarred was ratified by King Gu'starai II on 15 March and by Queen Mother Christiana on 22 March. On 4 April, Oxenstierna returned to Briannia and was congratulated by the King and the Rikstag for successfully concluding the peace negotiations.

With the short-lived "Nexus War" now concluded, Gu'starai could fully turn his attention to Laurasian matters. In May 1213, the King and his court moved to Nystadia, where they were to remain for the rest of the year. There, he commanded General De la Guardie, who had remained at his estate on the pleasant world of Invaria since returning from the Laurasian Dominions, to come before him and the Council of Ministers. De la Guardie obliged; on 27 May, the King revealed his plans to him for a war in the Laurasian territories. De la Guardie dissented at first, believing that the Laurasian Dominions were in the process of recovery and that Briannia should instead focus its attention on the Polonian Commonwealth, which still occupied parts of the Duchy of Schaueria Prime. He was eventually, however, persuaded to change his mind, especially as the King offered to grant him estates in conquered territory. On 6 June 1213, the Council of Ministers approved a plan for military offensives into Laurasian space. Briannian fleets now assembled at Nystadia, Alemeda, the Belts of Barton, Gdov, the strongholds of the Nexus Route, Selena, Tyleria Perea, and Jessica Perea, this time for an advance into the Laurasian Dominions. De la Guardie, who was formally appointed Commander of the Briannian Forces on 11 June, himself drilled the personnel of his forces. On 22 June, the Rikstag extended the War Levy for the duration of "a conflict with the Laurasian Power"; on 29 June, Gu'starai finalized the plans for a military offensive with his advisors. On 6 July, Oxenstierna, acting on the King's command, sent a diplomatic communique to the Laurasian Royal Court. In this communique, the Chancellor declared that Briannia and Laurasia needed to adjust their boundaries "properly" and that Briannian control in the Duchy of Schaueria Prime would be hampered by the continuing Laurasian presence in the Eastern Provinces. Consequently, he demanded, in the name of his master, that the Royal Government concede Hammenor, the ruins of Bristalai, Dorothy, Compost V, Greenia, Hordania, Meganian, Capital, and Anusia to the authority of the Celestial Kingdom of Briannia. Leonidas, when he received this communique, was alarmed. He and the Royal Council, which now included Prince Pozkharius, debated the Briannian message for some weeks. Gu'starai, on his part, continued to assemble his forces for war. Finally, on 29 July, after the King's coronation had been held, the Royal Government responded to the Briannian message. It declared that Briannian demands were those of a "war-mongering state" and that the Laurasian Government would not submit to those demands. Gu'starai, after receiving this message, declared that a war with Laurasia was now "necessary" and "inevitable". On 11 August, the Briannian Government issued a final ultimatum to the Laurasian Royal Court, declaring that a state of war would commence if the Laurasian Government did not accede to Briannian demands by 1 September. Leonidas and his advisors ignored the message, but nevertheless strengthened the garrisons of the Arian Provinces. On 1 September, the ultimatum expired and the Briannian Government issued a declaration of war against the Stellar Kingdom of Laurasia.

Two days later, General De la Guardie launched an offensive into Laurasian territory from his headquarters on Gdov. He destroyed a Laurasian task force in the Battle of Brole. Kayla (9-11 September); Reese (12-17 September); Capital (22 September); and Stoughton (1 October) were besieged and conquered in turn by Briannian units. Laurasian counteroffensives against Cole, Narva, and Gdov ended in failure (October-November 1213). On 6 November, De la Guardie obtained another victory in the Battle of Laura and stormed the Laurasian colony there. On 11 November, a Briannian force blockaded Hordania; the stronghold would fall to them at the end of the month. Briannian raiding expeditions harried Dorothy, Compost V, and Lydia, inflicting damage upon Laurasian positions and suppressing commerce. The Laurasians, however, repelled Briannian offensives against Hammenor, Bristalai, and Meaganian (17 November-6 December 1213). On 8 December, the Laurasian General, Prince Alcetas Molotavius, defeated a Briannian detachment in the Battle of Tyrbramia. By the end of December 1213, a stalemate had ensued between the Laurasian and the Briannian forces which was to drag on throughout 1214. Although the King's forces had lost some ground to the Briannians, they were nevertheless making major gains in another region: in the Constantine Cluster and along the Metallasian Trade Corridor, the regions of operation for Zarakstius and his units. Support for Zarakstius, his wife Marina, and their son "Prince" Honorius had weakened considerably following the election of Leonidas to the Laurasian throne. On 27 July, in his coronation manifesto to the Laurasian people, Leonidas affirmed that Zarakstius and Marina Mniszech were traitors and that loyal subjects were to "take all expedient measures in order to defeat them and restore central control over the territories which they have infested". By the beginning of August 1213, officers, personnel, and other Laurasians, as well as mercenaries, who had previously supported the Pretender-General were now defecting back to the Royal Government. On 7 August, the plans for an offensive into the Constantine Cluster were finalized. Five days later, the King sent a communique to Zarakstius's headquarters on Kaluga, offering to pardon him, his wife, and his son if they surrendered to the Royal Government "without delay". Zarakstius, however, who still believed that he could seize Laurasia Prime, refused the King's offer.

On 18 August, Leonidas declared that Zarakstius deserved no mercy, and the following day, government forces began their advance into the Constantine Cluster. Tushino was re-secured by government units (20-25 August 1213), followed by Constantine I (26-29 August); Aroest (1 September); and Rainnan (2-5 September). On 6 September, a rebel fleet was defeated by Prince Pozkharius, who had taken command of the government forces, in the Battle of Mariana Prime. Two days later, Kelby was besieged by a government task force; it fell to Pozkharius on 15 September. Zarakstius, stirring from Kaluga, attempted to launch offensives against Abriana's Star, Tyndaris, Soria, and Fulcania, an effort which ended in failure (October-November 1213). On 3 December, Marina Mniszech's father, Polonian Prince Jerzy Mniszech, died on Courdina V from the Angrames malady; two days later, her mother and siblings were captured by Laurasian troops at Wor'su. By 11 December, Laurasian forces had conquered Skyler and Chloe, and were now pressing upon the defenses of Andriana and Mercedes. On 18 December, Leonidas granted an amnesty to all those who had previously supported Zarakstius, if they had capitulated to government authorities. Zarakstius himself, along with his wife and their son, were specifically exempted from this pardon. As for Mniszech's mother, she was imprisoned at Windowia Photis (which had been recovered by Laurasian units in September 1213), on 24 December; she would eventually die there on 29 April 1229. By the end of 1213, Mercedes had succumbed to the government units, and Kaluga itself was under threat. On 1 January 1214, Leonidas issued his first New Year's proclamation as King and Autocrat of All the Laurasians. In this proclamation, the King of Laurasia declared that the dominions of the Stellar Kingdom of Laurasia had been restored to "proper government", and that the Royal Government had once again assumed its rightful place on Laurasia Prime, with a anointed sovereign at its head. At the same time, however, Leonidas declared that "there was no time for rejoicing". Laurasia had now become mired in another war with Briannia, which, under the direction of her new sovereign, was attempting to "strip away the territories granted to us by the wil of the gracious Almitis and impose harsh terms upon us, who have been scourged already." The King also pointed out that Zarakstius and his wife, along with the deceased Second Pretender's son, remained at large, and that only their capture or death would finally bring true stability to the Laurasian Purse Region. Finally, he reminded his subjects that Polonian troops continued to occupy Laurasian territory in the Central Core and that a state of war continued to exist between the two realms.

Nevertheless, as the year 1214 began, the Royal Government was consolidating its advantages over the Pretender's forces. On 4 January, Zarakstius, who was growing increasingly desperate, and determined to keep Laurasian forces off balance, directed a series of raiding expeditions from the Constantine Cluster. Rebel bands, employing hyperspace lanes to which they had become familiar over the preceding six years, assaulted the defenses of Mylae, Wroona, Aroest, Constantine I, Caladaria, Heuthros, Zeena, and Sauvania (4-19 January 1214). They inflicted severe damage upon the fortifications of those garrisons and captured a large amount of military supplies. By the end of January 1214, however, Prince Pozkharius, who had established his command headquarters on Forrest, had managed to regain the advantage. On 29 January, he had repelled a raiding expedition against Riso, and on 4 February, he destroyed a rebel fleet in the Battle of Tunis. By 11 February, Mylae and Wroona had been secured from further plundering expeditions, and Laurasian units now besieged Jenny. The rebel garrisons on Guyah, Aetheros, and Adys were conquered (12-17 February 1214). On 22 February, the garrison of Jenny, isolated from all support, surrendered to the government forces. Scout was then conquered (24-26 February 1214); by 5 March, Andriana was also in the possession of Pozkharius's forces. On 11 March, Zarakstius and his court fled from Kaluga, which was now being harried by Laurasian task forces. Pozkharius finally approached the former rebel headquarters on 25 March. Kaluga's garrison presented some resistance to the government forces, but eventually, on 9 April, it surrendered. Two days later, Zarakstius was defeated in the Battle of Timer, and was forced to abandon rebel outposts on Radell, Charos, and Petra. By the end of April 1214, rebel units had been pressed back to Courdina V and Gordasis, and all rebel strongholds in the Constantine Cluster were once again in government hands. By this stage, many of Zarakstius's remaining supporters had lost faith in their master. On 15 April, Prince Pozkharius, from his headquarters on Forrest, issued a manifesto to "the subjects of His Majesty the King within the regions afflicted by the rebellion of the fiend Zarakstius". The manifesto, which was issued on the command of the King himself and on the urging of the Royal Council, declared that the Royal Government was close to its goal of suppressing the challenge posed by Zarakstius, and that it only desired "for the restoration of full peace and tranquility to the realms of this State". Consequently, Pozkharius offered an official pardon and an financial reward of €500,000,000 to any who betrayed Zarakstius, his wife, and the "Prince" Honorius into the hands of the government and military authorities. Pozkharius also declared that any sentences of excommunication or condemnation which had been issued by the Almitian Church on those involved in the rebellion would be lifted, and that the Royal Government would pursue a policy of "leniency" in dealing with captured officers and personnel of the Pretender. It was this manifesto that finally stirred individuals into action against the Pretender-General.

On 26 April, Zarakstius issued his last manifesto, declaring that "the Lord Almitis will recognize our efforts" and that the Laurasian Dominions would be doomed to utter destruction and desolation if it remained under the rule of Leonidas. Five days later, the people of Courdina V (whom Zarakstius had designated as his command headquarters), arose in rebellion against the Pretender-General's forces. The garrison of Courdina V, which had received word of Pozkharius's manifesto, refused to serve their master any longer, and Zarakstius, along with his wife and stepson, was forced to flee the star system. On 2 May, Courdina V submitted to Pozkharius. Two days later, a group of Laurasian officers, led by Lieutenant-Colonel Marcus Sulla (who had been born on Mariana Prime), launched a conspiracy against Zarakstius. Disabling the defenses of his personal quarters, they seized the Pretender-General and their wife while they were asleep, and imprisoned them in the Holding Cell of Zarakstius's flagship, the HMS Legitimum hasta Servorum Dei (Spear of the Rightful Servants of God), which had been so named by Zarakstius in order to lend credibility to his cause. Shortly afterwards, the baby Honorius was whisked from the nursery and placed under strict guard. On 5 May, Sulla sent word to Pozkharius that he had "risen against the heinous traitor and placed him under confinement". Pozkharius immediately sent word of their confinement to the King. Leonidas, who had gotten used to the routines of the Royal Court, was in his Throne Room when he received the news, and according to contemporary accounts, leaped from the throne and praised Almitis for "blessing our dominions so". Sulla, eager for the pardon and the financial reward, surrendered to a government task force at Azov on 11 May; by 15 May, Gordasis had also surrendered to Pozkharius, and the rebel insurgency of False Demetrius II and Zarakstius had finally been completely suppressed. On 22 May, Leonidas issued a proclamation to his subjects, announcing that Zarakstius, Marina Mniszech, and Honorius were now "in the custody of our loyal commander, Prince Pozkharius" and that their insurgency had thus ended. Two days later, the King commanded for Marina to be separated from her husband and son, and deported to the Kolomona Tower Prison on Chancia. Despite pleas from his advisers that the Princess be executed, he decided to spare her life and declared that she would have "the rest of her natural days to contemplate her errors and her undue involvement in the affairs of this Realm, being as she was a foreigner and a whore". The King had no mercy for Zarakstius or little Honorius however, deeming them too dangerous to stay alive. On 2 June, on His Majesty's orders, they were placed on a transport near Mercedes and escorted to Laurasia Prime. The Pretender-General, who had been told by Pozkharius to expect no mercy from the King, fell into despair and now begged for mercy, declaring that he had been "led astray by the wiles of the Anti-Almitis and of his wife", and that he wished only to serve the King "whom I will recognize as my new master". He begged that Honorius's life being spared, since "he, being only a boy, has no awareness of what has transpired." Leonidas, however, refused to hear his pleas, and on 11 June, issued instructions for the Aristocratic Duma, Royal Council, Ecclesiastical Conclave, Court of the Royal Household (reconstituted in January 1214), Court of the Star Chamber, and Court of High Justice to convene and conduct a trial for Zarakstius and his stepson. Two days later, the Pretender-General and his stepson arrived on Laurasia Prime. Their journey had taken them through Andriana, Constantine I, Scout, Aroest, Darcia, Caladaria, Charasia, Katherine, Americana, Clackimaris, Ralina Vixius, Augis V, Elizabeth, Rebecca, and Durglais; the King wished for his subjects to have the opportunity to observe the "Traitor and the young fool". On Laurasia Prime, the crowds, organized on the King's command, were ordered to express their hostility towards Zarakstius and his stepson. They obliged willingly; placards around the necks of Zarakstius and the three-year old toddler labeled them as "Fiends and Traitors to the State". Archbishop John of Caladaria denounced them as agents of the Anti-Almitis and declared that upon their convictions, they would be denied a proper Almitian burial. Zarakstius had trouble enduring the insults hurled at him, and his pleas for mercy reached the ears of none.

On 22 June, the trial began at the Diplomatic Palace; Sibrytius Valesius, whom the King had appointed as Secretary of the Royal Department of Justice two months prior, acted as the chief counsel for the State, and announced the charges which had been brought up against Zarakstius and Honorius. These charges included "treason, conspiracy, heresy, and consort with the agents of the Anti-Almitis". Zarakstius was denied his own defense counsel, as had become common Laurasian procedure, and he was not permitted to offer any plea. This was a show trial, and the verdict was inevitable; after several days of evidence presentation by Valesius, accusations against Zarakstius by the judges, and "testimony" by Sulla and others who had betrayed Zarakstius, the verdict was handed down on the 29th. The sentence was death; the Court declared that Zarakstius and his stepson deserved "no mercy". Zarakstius was permitted to deliver a "response" to the verdict of the Court; he declared that he was willing to die, but begged for mercy for young Honorius. Leonidas, however, was unmoved, and on 3 July, declared that the Pretender-General and his stepson were both to die by firing squad. On 6 July, Zarakstius was permitted to confess his sins to the Chaplain of the Post Settlement of Hepudermia, where he and Honorius were incarcerated. Ten days later, on 16 July 1214, he and Honorius were both executed at the Post Settlement. Zarakstius again declared that he was not afraid to die, and again pleaded for mercy for his stepson; this was one last, and vain, plea. The Pretender-General's death was swift and had no complications; the death of Honorius, on the other hand, required for more "precision", as regards to the firing of the squad, for he was "a small toddler still, and had no grasp of his fate". Nevertheless, he also died. On the orders of King Leonidas, their bodies were cremated; the remains were placed in containers and then dumped into the Pit of Traitors at the Post Cemetery. Zarakstius's container has remained there for the past 589 years. Honorius's container, however, was disinterred on the orders of the Emperor Nerva and reburied, with full state honors, at the Westphalian Cathederal on September 22, 1497; Nerva declared Honorius was an "innocent child" and exonerated him of all charges levied against him. Marina Mniszech, on her part, was utterly devastated when she was informed that her husband and son had been executed; Leonidas had the news given to her deliberately, so that "she may yet be further reminded of her guilt". Her health declined rapidly; she died in her prison cell on December 24, 1214, at the age of 26, and only five months after the deaths of her husband and son. Her body was buried at the Prison Yard; it was also to be translated to the Westphalian Cathederal on Nerva's orders and reburied there with full honors in 1497. The final suppression of the "Zarakstian Rebellion", as it had come to be called by many Laurasians, allowed for the Royal Government to finally divert its resources and attention to two other theaters of conflict: the Central Core, which was occupied still by Polonian troops, and the Arian Provinces, where the war with Briannia had continued. Briannian offensives against Meaganian and Hammenor (January-February 1214), had been repelled by Prince Molotavius. The Prince's efforts to recover Hordania (2-19 March 1214) failed however, and on 2 April, General De la Guardie had inflicted a defeat upon him in the Battle of Tikhivin. Nevertheless, the stalemate had continued without resolution. In August 1214, Leonidas issued instructions to the Laurasia Prime Military Headquarters and to Prince Molotavius directly, commanding them to draft plans for a series of counteroffensives into Briannian territory. The King of Laurasia envisioned the seizure of Alemeda, Gdov, Vardar, and Nystadia; he also hoped that Laurasian forces would recover the strongholds of the Duchy of Schaueria Prime and pose a threat to Briannian control of the Nexus Route. On 9 September, Prince Molotavius advanced into the Central Briannian Provinces from Arias. He managed to obtain some minor victories, defeating a Briannian detachment in the Battle of Epsin (12-19 September 1214) and harrying the defenses of Teushina (25-29 September), before conquering the Briannian garrison of Neva (1-5 October). On 11 October, however, a Laurasian effort to reconquer Stoughton was defeated, and by the end of October, General De la Guardie had halted Laurasian expeditions against Narva, Heorge, and Julia. In November 1214, a Briannian force raided Manil, and by the end of the year, the Laurasian offensives had lost steam.

On 1 January 1215, Leonidas, in his New Year's proclamation to the Laurasian people, declared that the Zarakstian Rebellion had been suppressed, but that the "holy Laurasian People" were still faced with the threat of the Briannian intrusion. Four days later, the King, who wished to once again revive the offensives, appointed the Laurasian Prince Basil Butalarun of Chandlier as the new Supreme Commander of the Laurasian Forces. Molotavius was made his subordinate and had to adhere to his commends. Prince Butalarun managed to obtain some victories during the first months of 1215. On 14 January, having established his command headquarters on Brentaal, Prince Butalarun besieged the Briannian garrison of Reese. Reese resisted for some days, but eventually capitulated on the 26th. Four days later, the Prince stormed Briannian positions at the outskirts of Meaganian and launched raiding offensives against Cole, Brole, Kayla, and Stoughton. On 1 February, a Laurasian force blockaded Briannian units at Bothnia, and four days later, a raiding expedition penetrated to Vardar and the Belts of Barton, inflicting damage upon Briannian supply outposts, garrisons, and communications terminals. General De la Guardie soon gained the advantage again, however, for King Gu'starai was now diverting a vast amount of personnel and supplies to the Briannian efforts. Molotavius also had disputes with Butalarun, whom he despised for having taken over his position of command. On 15 February, a Laurasian offensive against Tyleria Perea and Hordania ended in failure. Two days later, General De la Guardie stormed the defenses of Lydia and harried the garrisons of Hammenor and Bristalai. By the beginning of March 1215, Briannian units had also reconquered Reese and were threatening Tommy. The Polonians were also beginning to stir anew. Magnate-General Choldkiewiz, who remained in command of Polonian forces in the Central Core, urged King Sigis'ac to authorize for a renewed offensive into the Purse Region. The King of Polonia, who by this point was contemplating a resumption of the war with Briannia, in order to consolidate the Polonian position in parts of the Duchy of Schaueria Prime, was at first hesitant. Eventually however, Magnate-General Choldkiewiz was able to change his mind. One Polonian nobleman, once an opponent of King Sigis'ac's, now stepped forward to take the lead of the planned expedition against Leonidas. That was Alexander Lisowski of Watson, the very same man who had been one of the chief commanders of the forces of Zebrzydowski's Rebellion. Stanislaw Stadnicki had died at his estate on Draguili on 15 January 1210. But Zebrzydowski himself, along with Radzwill and Herburt, were all alive and active in political affairs; and all supported Lisowski's ambitions to campaign in Laurasian territory. On 28 February, King Sigis'ac, acting on the pleas of Magnate-General Choldkiewiz, of Chancellor Sapieha, and of his son, Prince Wladyslaw (who had refused to acknowledge Leonidas as King of Laurasia), convened a session of the Polonian Parliament. The Parliament, when it assembled, held a series of discussions about the "Laurasian Question" and took into consideration the King's suggestions for a renewed campaign against Leonidas. Zebrzydowski and Radzwill proved essential in mustering support for Lisowski in the Magisterial Court; on 9 March, the Court declared that it supported Lisowski as the potential commander-in-chief of the forces now poised to invade Laurasian territories once again. Four days later, the Senate passed a similar motion and authorized Sigis'ac to resume the war against Laurasia.

The Parliament's motions were formally delivered to the King by the new Polonian Primate, Waryzyniec Gembieski, who had succeeded Wocjeich Barnaowski as Primate on 27 January 1215. Primate Gembieski declared that "His Majesty's honor would be vindicated" by the deposition "of that vile Leonidas, who deserves not to be a king". On 21 March, Sigis'ac confirmed the Parliament's motions and formally appointed Lisowski as Commander of the Polonian Forces. Choldkiewiz remained in command of Polonian units in the Central Core, but was to acknowledge Lisowski's operational authority as long as the campaign was being conducted. Lisowski received news of his selection at Doris on 24 March; two days later, he was formally invested as Commander by the King. The nobleman immediately traveled to Clancia, arriving there on 1 April. He assembled his military forces and declared that he would soon be reoccupying Laurasia Prime. Zebrzydowski and Radzwill did not seek commissions in the Polonian Army, but instead sent their congratulations to Lisowski and their declaration of support for his efforts. Herburt, on the other hand, did join Lisowski and was appointed by him as his Vice-Commander. Leonidas, receiving word of the Polonian operations, now strengthened the garrison of Laurasia Prime and sent orders to all other garrisons in the Purse Region, commanding them to be on the alert. On 9 April 1215, Polonian forces again crossed into the Purse Region, and the Stellar Kingdom of Laurasia once again found itself at war on two fronts. Lisowski and his units managed to make some gains against the Laurasian Royal Government. He besieged and conquered Maroni (12-17 April); Dearton's Gateway (19 April); Aroest (22 April); and Janesia (24-25 April). On 1 May, the Polonians defeated a Laurasian force in the Battle of Aeoleon. Two days later, they stormed the Laurasian garrison of Cantamine, which had been established three months earlier. The renewed Polonian involvement in Laurasian affairs forced Leonidas to divert units from his war with Briannia. On 7 May, General De la Guardie destroyed a Laurasian force in the Battle of Chandlier, paving the way to a offensive against Hammenor. Hammenor was besieged from 11 May and fell to Briannian forces two days later. On 16 May, the same day that a Polonian expedition harried the outskirts of Constantine I, the Briannians also conquered the ruins of Bristalai and dispatched raiding expeditions against Compost V, Mumbraine, and Senna Major. By 22 May, Polonian units had stormed Apathama Vixius, Osama, and Lasa, threatening Laurasian garrisons on Venusia, Aquilionia, Vetta, and Sarah. Prince Pozkharius, however, managed to repel a Briannian offensive against Arias (24-29 May 1215). On 1 June, he obtained a minor victory in the Battle of Grazia. Laurasian units halted Briannian raiding expeditions against Mumbraine and Senna Major. On 9 June, however, Lisowski besieged Chilsia; despite the efforts of General Valerian Shalvakaia, the world capitulated to the Polonians two days later. On 14 June, the old world of Berry, whom Laurasian forces had recolonized in September 1214, was stormed by Briannian units. The Laurasian Dominions were once again in despair, and rumors spread on Laurasia Prime that Leonidas was not a capable and effective monarch. By July 1215, however, the front had once again stabilized between Briannian and Laurasian forces, as General Molotavius and Prince Butalarun managed to put aside their differences and coordinate Laurasian forces against the invaders. Briannian efforts to storm Josie and Claire (2-17 July 1215) failed, and on 22 July, a Briannian raiding expedition was defeated near the Station of Dosch. Laurasian forces even reconquered Kayla (24-29 July 1215) and raided Bristalai (1-4 August) before being forced to halt their counteroffensives. Lisowski, however, continued to advance, and by the end of July 1215, both Soria and Fulcania had fallen into his hands. On 9 August, he defeated General Shalvakaia in the Battle of Karachina, capturing a large number of Laurasian cruisers. Polonian units then harried Aquilionia (12-17 August 1215); conquered the Laurasian outposts on Belyvaia and Lakahania (September 1215); and blockaded Scout (1-5 October), before besieging and conquering Kelby (9-15 October); Rainnan (22-25 October); and Andriana (26 October-9 November). By the end of November 1215, Polonian expeditions were even penetrating to the outskirts of Caladaria and Darcia; Laurasia was in a predicament similar to that of a century earlier, when it was in the midst of the Great Goldarian War. Leonidas, however, refused to give up, and exploited the resources of the Malarian Provinces to his advantage. He also planned for counteroffensives into the Central Core. From 6 December, Laurasian units were assembled at Kamachina, Welch, Manzo, Meehan, Almastead, Terell, Malaria Prime, Azov, Courdina V, the Jar Asteroids, Hadlson, and other strongholds in the Malarian and Gordianian Provinces. On 19 December, the Laurasians defeated a Polonian force in the Battle of Paradine; two days later, General Shalvakaia was able to prevent a Polonian raiding expedition against Metallasia and reinforced the defenses of Jenny and Mercedes. On 22 December, Leonidas gave his final authorization for a counteroffensive into the Polonian Central Core. On 27 December 1215, Laurasian forces penetrated from the Malarian Provinces and pushed into the Central Core. A Polonian force commanded by Herburt was defeated at Tribolo (28-29 December 1215); then, on New Year's Eve 1215, the Laurasians obtained a major victory in the Battle of Bachelle.

On 1 January 1216, Leonidas declared to his subjects that the "Polonian advantage was wearing thin" and that the "Laurasian Dominions would soon see the restoration of peace". Laurasian units, commanded by Shalvakaia and his chief subordinate, General Lysimachus Parius, repelled Polonian raiding expeditions against Caladaria and Darcia (2-9 January 1216), before destroying a Briannian force at Kola. Sarah and Ausculum were secured from Polonian offensives; then on 15 January, Soria was recovered. In the meantime, Laurasian forces had stormed Pasqurallio (16-17 January 1216), and blockaded the supply lines of Melarnaria by overrunning the garrisons of Claps, Ecreutus, and Layanne Minor (January-February 1216). On 5 February 1216, Lisowski was defeated in the Battle of Maroni, and was forced to abandon that stronghold. Laurasian units then recovered Janesia (7-11 February); Dearton's Gateway (15 February); and Andriana (16-19 February), before destroying a Polonian detachment in the Battle of Masterson (20-25 February 1216). In March 1216, Laurasian forces reconquered Capital but were unable to prevent the Briannians from penetrating to and sacking Anusia. Lisowski however, destroyed Laurasian outposts on Permyshvl and Amia (2-15 April 1216), and on 22 April, plundered Nova Crystellys, which had once been a Lycian colony. On 26 April, however, he was defeated again in the Battle of St. Michael's and was forced to abandon Aeoleon. Polonian counteroffensives against the Jar Asteroids, Kamachina, and Aroest resulted in failure (May 1216). On 27 May 1216, Mininus, who had been the merchant pivotal in organizing the Second Volunteer Army, died at his residence on Chancia from heart failure. He was honored by King Leonidas in a official state proclamation, who declared that he was a "loyal and determined subject who was willing to risk his own fortune for the service of his race". Mininus was given a official state funeral, with Prince Pozkharius providing a recorded eulogy (since he was at post defending positions from the Polonians). By the end of June 1216, Laurasian forces had pushed to the Clancian Trunk Line, but were now suffering a reverse in fortunes in the Eastern Provinces. Briannian units reconquered Kayla (2-17 June 1216); destroyed a Laurasian force at Abo (22-29 June); and drove Laurasian units from Gdov (1-2 July 1216), before securing Stoughton and Reese again (5-16 July). Molotavius and Butalarun however, managed to prevent further Briannian reconquests. On 2 August 1216, General Parius defeated a Polonian raiding expedition in the Battle of Creps, and forced Lisowski to terminate plans for an offensive against Kaluga and Tushino. Five days later, Laurasian units reconquered Kelby, driving Polonian offensive units away. The General then prevented Lisowski from advancing to Metallasia; on 19 August, a Laurasian expedition harried the Polonian positions on Ruthania, Evelyn, and Hannah. By the end of August 1216, Laurasian units had recovered all of the lost strongholds in the Constantine Cluster and had pushed Polonian raiding forces back. Lisowski, however, launched a counteroffensive from Melarnaria, defeating Laurasian units at Io (1-5 September) and preventing a Laurasian task force from sacking Williams (6-11 September). Paramine was recovered on 17 September, and on 24 September, Lisowski ambushed a Laurasian convoy at Dramis, capturing prisoners, military supplies, and equipment. On 1 October, however, he was compelled to retreat to Goss Beacon, while Laurasian units blockaded Dramis, Condtella, and Conservan.

Lisowski, however, was far from giving up, and he was planning for counteroffensives to clear Laurasian units from the Clancian Trunk Line and to penetrate into the Malarian Provinces. On 5 October, however, the Polonian General fell grievously ill at his command headquarters on Goss Beacon. His doctors at first believed that his bout of disease was "curable" and that the General would overcome his troubles. Lisowski's health, however, continued to deteriorate, and on 9 October, he fell into a coma. Two days later, the General's condition was declared hopeless; on October 15, 1216, Lisowski died. He was 36 years old. Following Lisowski's death, Herburt became the chief commander of the Polonian forces. On 22 October, however, the Polonian Parliament commanded Herburt not to launch renewed offensives into the Laurasian Purse Region; he was only to focus his efforts on regaining control of the northern Central Core. Lisowski's body was sent back to Draguili; he would be buried there on 27 October at his family's memorial plot, and would be accorded the honors of a state funeral by the King and Parliament. Herburt, following the Parliament's orders to the letter, defeated a Laurasian force in the Battle of Tardina (24-29 October 1216); by 4 November, he had recovered Hypases and Haudjrau from Laurasian units. Condtella and Conservan were then relieved of their blockades (5-11 November 1216); on 22 November, Pasquarillo was reconquered by a Polonian detachment. By 25 November, Laurasian raiding fleets, who had attacked Hannah and Ruthania, had been repulsed back to Maroni. Clancia was secured on 2 December. On 11 December, Herburt defeated General Parius in the Battle of Brithium and forced him to retreat back to the Laurasian Purse Region. The Polonian General was now a respected figure in the Commonwealth, and on 19 December, the Parliament commended him as a "loyal servant of the Polonian State". Herburt's health, however, had been taxed by the exertions of the military campaigns, and on 22 December, he suffered a stroke in his starship quarters. The same doctors who had treated Lisowski (in vain) two months previously now gave treatments to Herburt. On 26 December, however, it was discovered that Herburt had contracted the Milethus strain, and consequently, there was nothing further which they could do for him. Herburt issued his last instructions as Commander on 29 December; two days later, New Year's Eve 1216, he died. The Lord of Bartello's death was announced by King Sigis'ac in a official proclamation to the Polonian people; the King declared that Herburt, having been "a traitor and a rebel", had completely redeemed himself in the service of the Commonwealth and that his loss was a blow to the Polonian State. Leonidas, on his part, declared that the deaths of Lisowski and Herburt, the two commanders of the Polonian Expeditionary Force, was a "sign of favor from the Lord Almitis" and a demonstration that the Laurasian Dominions were not doomed to destruction. On 1 January 1217, the same day in which Leonidas expressed these sentiments in his New Year's proclamation to the Laurasian people, Herburt's body was placed on a transport and dispatched back to Bartello. He was buried there on 6 January with full state honors; two months of mourning were proclaimed, to coincide with the time of mourning which had been placed in effect for Lisowski.

In the meantime, by January 1217, the Laurasian-Briannian War was winding to its close. During the months of Lisowski and Herburt's campaign in the Central Core, Briannian forces had consolidated their control of Capital, Reese, Kayla, Meaganian, Hordania, Hammenor, Dorothy, Lydia, and the former Laurasian strongholds of the Duchy of Schaueria Prime. King Gu'starai II had achieved his primary war objective: to weaken the Laurasian position in the Eastern Core Provinces and provide a firm cohesive base of territory connecting the Central Briannian Provinces with the Duchy of Schaueria Prime. The King of Briannia also wished to resume the war with Polonia, and this time, was confident that he would have the resources and the ability to do so. Leonidas, on his part, wanted to turn his attention to terminating the Polonian conflict, and he believed that peace with Briannia was necessary for his government, even if it meant territorial losses. On 3 January, Prince Pozkharius, who had now assumed supreme command of Laurasian forces in the Arian Provinces, sent a communique to General De la Guardie, who was then on Kayla with his officers. In this communique, the Prince declared that his master desired for peace with his co-monarch, the King of Briannia, and that war "was a grievous and unnecessary state of affairs, damaging all and benefiting none". Consequently, Pozkharius requested for an armistice and for a conference to be convened in order to end the war. General De la Guardie communicated this message to King Gu'starai and his Council of Ministers. The King was pleased that the Laurasians desired peace; on 6 January, he authorized the General to accept the armistice offer. On January 11, 1217, De la Guardie and Pozkharius agreed to the Armistice of Timsey, by which all military hostilities between the Laurasian and Briannian forces would cease until a formal peace conference had been summoned. Four days later, Gu'starai appointed Chancellor Oxenstierna and five members of the Rikstag as the Briannian emissaries for the peace negotiations. On 18 January, Leonidas appointed Prince Pozkharius, Justice Secretary Valesius, and four officials of the Aristocratic Duma as the Laurasian emissaries. On 22 January, the two governments agreed that Stolbovo, a minor Briannian trade outpost located about three light years to the east of Vardar, would be the site for the peace conference. Chancellor Oxenstierna and his delegation arrived at Stolbovo first, on the 24th; Pozkharius and Valesius arrived there two days later. After some days of festivities, negotiations commenced on 29 January. To the surprise of Pozkharius and Valesius, Oxenstierna now proposed moderate terms. He offered to restore Reese, Kayla, Capital, Stoughton, Chandlier, and Meaganian to Laurasia; in exchange, Laurasia was to acknowledge Briannian control of Tyleria Perea, Jessica Perea, Colsonia, Selena, Ipsus V, the strongholds of the Venasian Triangle, Archleuta, Hammenor, Dorothy, Lydia, Compost V, and the remains of Bristalai. The Laurasian Government was to acknowledge Briannian rights to campaign in the Duchy of Schaueria Prime against the Polonian Commonwealth; it was to return to Briannian hands all goods and prisoners which had been seized during the course of the war; and it was to recognize Briannian control of commerce along the Nexus Route. Briannia was to have the right to keep all spoils of war collected before November 20, 1216. However, Laurasia would have the right to establish merchant houses of commerce on Nystadia, Gdov, Narva, Vardar, Alemeda, the Belts of Barton, Teushina, and Bothnia; the Briannian Government would recognize Leonidas and his heirs as Kings and Autocrats of All the Laurasians; and free trade between the two dominions was to continue 1 January 1226.

Pozkharius and Valerius, who believed that the territorial concessions were relatively light, and that the provisions for commerce and trade were very liberal, decided to accept the Briannian terms without delay. On 5 February, they communicated the Briannian terms to the Royal Council and the King, urging them to accept. Leonidas debated with his advisors over the matter for some days, but eventually decided that the Briannian terms were fair. On 11 February, he expressed his approval for the terms. Thereafter, the two delegations cooperated in drafting a treaty. On February 17, 1217, the Treaty of Stolbovo, enshrining all of these terms, was signed. It was formally announced to the public on 22 February, and copies were submitted to King Leonidas and to the Briannian Rikstag for ratification. Leonidas ratified the Treaty without delay on 24 February, and issued a proclamation confirming its provisions. The Rikstag debated the Treaty for a few days, and eventually ratified it on 27 February. On 29 February, it was agreed that the prisoner and spoil exchange, as well as the formal territorial exchange, was to take place on 1 June; all Briannian forces were to retire from Laurasian territory by no latter than 1 July 1217. Festivities, in honor of the conclusion of the peace treaty, resumed on 4 March and continued for seven days. Finally, on 11 March, Pozkharius and Valesius took their leave, arriving back at Laurasia Prime on the 14th. They were greeted by King Leonias with open arms; the King commanded all of his subjects to celebrate the conclusion of peace. The Treaty of Stolbovo did indeed remove one of the Laurasian Government's concerns, but it created a new diplomatic question: the question of the Eastern Territories. Laurasia was now shut off from the Outer Core, and was to remain so for the remainder of the century. Seleucus the Victor's instigation of the Great Briannian War would eventually reverse this situation. In the context of the thirteenth century, however, the Treaty of Stolbovo proved remarkably durable. Laurasia and Briannia would not engage in another war with each other until 1256, remaining at peace for thirty-nine years. New concerns, however, were to arise for both powers, both as a result of their relationship with the Polonian Commonwealth.

In January 1217, King Sigis'ac had begun to hold a series of conferences with the Polonian Parliament over the question of the Laurasian-Polonian War. By then, the war had dragged on for nearly eight years; Polonian forces still dominated the Central Core, but they had been expelled from Laurasia Prime and their efforts to invade the Malarian Provinces had met with defeat. Many in the Polonian dominions were now clamoring for an end to the war with Laurasia; some also wished to conclude a formal peace with Briannia. Polonian financial security had been harmed by the exertions of conflict; a financial report, issued on 22 January 1217, revealed that the Polonian Treasury had a massive deficit of more than 500 quadmillion Polonian krona. The borderland regions of the Commonwealth had been devastated by constant war, and even the Home Provinces had been torn apart by the stresses of civil and social unrest. King Sigis'ac, however, was determined to pursue his further ambitions in Laurasian territory, and wanted to at least install his son on the Laurasian throne. The King now secured the support of Sapieha and Choldkiewiz, who argued effectively for His Majesty's plans in the Magisterial Court. On 28 February 1217, the King, in a proclamation to his subjects, declared that "the honor of this Commonwealth would not be restored until we have achieved our aims in the Laurasian Territories". On 6 March, the Magisterial Court held its first motion, debating whether or not to authorize the resumption of campaigns against Laurasia. After two days of debate, the motion was defeated. Sigis'ac continued to try, and as a result of the efforts of Sapieha and Choldkiewiz, further motions on 11, 15, and 19 March saw increased margins in favor of resuming the war. Nevertheless, authorization still was not granted. On 26 March 1217, Sigis'ac, determined to swing the Parliament to his views, announced that he would deliver a speech before the body personally. The King, whose 30th anniversary of rule was approaching rapidly, was now going before the Parliament personally, for the very first time. On April 2, 1217, Sigis'ac delivered his speech to the Parliament, imploring them to pass the motion and allow for Polonian campaigns to resume. This final effort worked, and on 4 April, the Magisterial Court finally passed the motion.

The Senate confirmed the motion on 9 April; the Parliamentary Resolution authorized Sigis'ac to recommence the campaigns, but mandated that if no "feasible results" had been achieved by 1 December 1218, then negotiations were to begin with Laurasia. Sigis'ac, who believed that he could still impose his will in the Laurasian Territories, reluctantly accepted this condition. On 11 April, the King appointed his son, Prince Wladyslaw, as the supreme commander of the Polonian Expeditionary Force. Many were surprised that the King did so, but Sigis'ac also attached Magnate-General Choldkiewiz as the "Aide-General" and Vice-Commander for his son. It was Choldkiewiz who held the actual command of the forces now assembled. On 17 April, Polonian units advanced from Paramine into the Purse Region once again. Prince Pozkharius, who had established his headquarters on Darsis, now directed his efforts towards repelling this new threat. He defeated a Polonian detachment at Blany (18-22 April 1217) and then captured a Polonian supply outpost at Pava (24 April). On 29 April, however, Aroest was raided by a Polonian expedition; two days later, Choldkiewiz captured Maroni, impounding the supplies and equipment of that major Laurasian military base. Pozkharius launched counteroffensives against Aroest, Paramine, and Pasquarillo, attempting in vain to expel Polonian units from Maroni. His effort failed however, and on 11 May, Polonian units stormed Aeoleon. By 16 May, Janesia, Apathama Vixius, and Osama had also been stormed by Polonian expeditions, who then raided Belyvaia and Lakahania (12-19 May 1217). On 22 May 1217, however, Prince Pozkharius did repel a Polonian offensive against Kaluga, and he dispatched a raiding expedition which managed to penetrate to the outskirts of Brithium and Dramis before being compelled to retreat. On 26 May, Choldkiewiz stormed the Laurasian colony of Bolkhania, but was unable to penetrate the defenses of the Fields of Rainnan. At this point, however, the situation in the Duchy of Schaueria Prime exploded into full-scale war. Ever since the conclusion of the Treaty of Stolbovo, Gu'starai II had begun to assemble squadrons at Shiloh, Schaueria Prime, Jem, Dill, Boo, Atticus, Archleuta, Colsonia, and Tyleria Perea. He was determined to recover lost strongholds in the Southern Duchy and to push to Polonian borders once again.

In April 1217, the King himself arrived at Schaueria Prime and assumed command of the forces arrayed. Then on 29 May, he sent a communique to the Polonian Government. In this message, Gu'starai declared that continuing Polonian occupation of Briannian territory was "shameful" and that Sigis'ac should acknowledge that he had lost his Briannian throne. Gu'starai demanded that Polonian forces leave Briannian territory "promptly". Sigis'ac refused to respond to the message, believing that his garrisons in the Duchy of Schaueria Prime would easily repel Briannian offensives. They had become slovenly however, as a result of inactivity, and Gu'starai, whose forces had gained experience in the recent conflicts with Venasia and Laurasia, now had the advantage. On 19 June 1217, Gu'starai declared that hostilities had resumed, and his units now advanced into the Polonian Territories. Calpurnia and Rashid were their first targets; both strongholds had been recovered by 25 June. On 29 June, Gu'starai destroyed a Polonian force in the Battle of Bightia, and now advanced towards the outskirts of Dunamunde. Briannian units stormed Polonian garrisons on Kircholm, Iskel, Cesis, and Solis (1-15 July 1217). At the same time, Prince Pozkharius reconquered Aeoleon (2-14 July), although he was unable to prevent Polonian units from storming the Station of Dosch (15 July). Polonian offensives against Sarah, Vetta, and Katie, however, were defeated (18-24 July). On 1 August, Briannian units blockaded Dunamunde. At the same time, Polonian counteroffensives against Shiloh, Tyleria Perea, and Calpurnia fell. Dunamunde's garrison had been seriously weakened by King Sigis'ac, as part of his efforts to assemble an invasion force in the Central Core. It fell on 4 August, and Gu'starai now was greeted as a liberator by the world's population. Seth and Aberdeen were then conquered by Briannian forces (August-September 1217), while Laurasian units harried the strongholds of the Clancian Trunk Line. The Laurasian colonies of Depp, Vyazma, and Sapphire, however, surrendered to Choldkiewiz (2-16 September 1217). On 29 September 1217, Pozkharius was defeated in the Battle of Murdor and was forced to abandon Darsis. He soon recovered, however, and went on to destroy a Polonian detachment in the Battle of Mozaikha (1-4 October 1217). By the end of October 1217, Briannian units had conquered both Parnu and Salacgriva, both of whom had become major Polonian command outposts, and were blockading Goteburg, Linopking, and Green. On 4 November 1217, a petition was circulated in the Magisterial Court, urging the magistrates to force Sigis'ac to begin negotiations with Polonia's enemies. Sapieha, however, managed to prevent the petition from coning to a vote. Two days later, the Polonians actually managed to relieve Goteburg and launched a major expedition against Kircholm, reconquering that star system. Gu'starai II quickly recovered his composure, however, and on 15 November, destroyed a Polonian force in the Battle of Weissenstein. Whitman fell to Briannian forces two days later. Kircholm was recovered on 29 November, the same day that Darsis was reconquered by Prince Pozkharius. In December 1217, a stalemate ensued between Polonian and Laurasian forces in the Purse Region, while Briannian units finally stormed Green (2-14 December) and captured a Polonian transport fleet at Pausenberg. Kalmar and Avaskar were both being besieged at the end of 1217.

On 2 January 1218, however, King Sigis'ac, under pressure by the Polonian Parliament, appointed Prince Krystof Radzwill of Birzai as the new commander of the Polonian Forces. Prince Radzwill, another member of that famed Polonian noble family, established his headquarters on Gullborg and immediately launched counteroffensives against the Briannian units. He reconquered Weissenstein and Whitman (4-17 January 1218); stormed Salacgriva (18-22 January); and then penetrated to Cesis and Solis (24-29 January 1218). Although his offensive against Calpurnia and Rashid failed (1-5 February 1218), he was able to defeat General De la Guardie at the Wheels of Paradise (6-11 February). On 15 February 1218, Radziwill demanded that Sigis'ac appoint him as Governor of the Duchy of Schaueria Prime, claiming that this was the only way he could ensure that the Duchy would remain in Polonian hands. Sigis'ac refused however, and Radzwill, concerned more about his own ambitions, resigned as Commander the following day. Sigis'ac, who was appalled at Radzwill's resignation from his post of his command, now appointed General Jan Sickinski, a previously unknown figure, as the new commander of the Polonian Forces. The Briannian units regained momentum, and recovered Weissenstein, Whitman, and Salacgriva (19-25 February 1218). On 1 March 1218, Sigis'ac, who was determined to shift his attention to affairs in the Purse Region, and wished to have time to regroup his forces for a eventual resumption of war with Briannia, requested for a armistice. Gu'starai, who had recovered lost strongholds from Sigis'ac, and wished to have time to draft further offensive plans, approved the request on 6 March. On March 8, 1218, the King of Briannia met with General Sickinski at Grobina, a Briannian military repository five light-years east of Parnu. Three days later, the Truce of Grobina was signed. Briannian forces were allowed to keep the strongholds which they had reoccupied, but were to return all plunder to the Polonians. Military combat was to cease, and both powers were to abstain from resuming hostilities until 1 November 1220. Sigis'ac believed this was the time he needed to finally destroy Laurasian resistance. The Truce of Grobina was ratified by Gu'starai the day of its signing, and by Sigis'ac with the Polonian Parliament on 15 March. By 18 March, Polonian and Briannian forces had ceased combat, and remained in the positions which they held. By March 1218, the Polonian forces in the Laurasian Purse Region were once again regrouping for a series of renewed offensives. They now experienced a rise in their fortunes, as the Polonian Government diverted all of its resources to the Laurasian War Front. On 15 March, Choldkiewiz destroyed a Laurasian force in the Battle of Prime Rida, and was able to threaten Kaluga. Kaluga was besieged from 19 March, falling to Polonian forces four days later. On 27 March, Kelby was conquered by a Polonian force; from this position, Choldkiewiz sent expeditions that harried Mercedes, Andriana, Scout, and Constantine I. Aeoleon and Lakahamia were then stormed by Polonian units (28 March-1 April 1218); on 4 April, another Polonian force conquered Apathama Vixius. Sarah (5-9 April); Vetta (11-15 April); Americana (18 April); and Caladaria (22 April-9 May) were then besieged and conquered by Polonian units in turn. By the end of May 1218, Darcia and Clackimaris were constantly being harried by Polonian raiding expeditions, and Leonidas was advised to retreat from Laurasia Prime to Chancia. The King, however, refused, and ordered for the defenses of Ralina Vixius, the Cron Drift, and Expolosania Major to be strengthened.

In June 1218, Sigis'ac appointed Petro Sahidanancy, a native of Khlutsyni, as the Secondary Commander of the Polonian Forces. Sahidanancy now launched expert offensives against Laurasian positions, and along with Choldkiewiz, was now to threaten Laurasia Prime itself. Sahidanancy defeated Prince Pozkharius in the Battle of Chesham's Star (2-5 July 1218), inflicting severe losses on the Laurasian force. Tushino (6 July); Tyndaris (7-11 July); and Abriana's Star (12-16 July) were stormed in succession by the Polonian forces. On 22 July, a Polonian expedition penetrated to Katherine, damaging that world's famed shipyards before retreating. Two days later, another Polonian force conquered Xoca and carried off Laurasian prisoners from that world. Sahidanancy's forces then sacked Laurasian colonies at Kurdia, Pultavia, Lucille, Merandaz, Yeletia, and Stadium (July-August 1218), disrupting Laurasian supply lines. On 2 September, a Laurasian force in the Cron Drift was ambushed and annhilated by Choldkiewiz, who then linked up with Sahidanancy on 7 September. Three days later, their force approached the outskirts of the Laurasia Prime star system, cutting off supply lines. On 14 September, the formal siege of Laurasia Prime began. By this point, however, Polonian forces were overstretched and exhausted, while the Laurasian Armies of the Malarian Provinces were geared up for a major counteroffensive. On 22 September, Prince Pozkharius reconquered Tyndaris and ended Polonian expeditions against the Rebeccan Galactic Trade Route. He then defeated a Polonian patrol at Kirk (24-29 September) and stormed Polonian positions at Vetta (1-4 October). Sarah (5 October); Americana (6-11 October); Caladaria (12-29 October); and Xoca (1 November) were recovered. On 6 November, Sahidanancy launched a major offensive against Marsia and the Outer Asteroid Belt, which after much effort was repelle. On 14 November 1218, Pozkharius defeated Sahidanancy in the Battle of Outpost K99 and forced the Polonian Hetman to retreat from the Laurasia Prime star system. By 22 November, Tushino and Kaluga had both been recovered by government forces, and Pozkharius was preparing to storm Dearton's Gateway and Janesia.

On 1 December, however, the Polonian Parliament's deadline for the successful capture of Laurasia Prime expired, and the Parliament now issued instructions to Sahidanancy and Choldkiewiz, ordering them to retire to the Central Core and to suspend all further campaigns without delay. King Sigis'ac begged the two Polonian Hetmans to maintain the strongholds which they still held in the Purse Region, but they, loyal to the "assembly of their ancestors" and desirous themselves for the end of the war, refused. On 6 December, all Polonian units withdrew from the Purse Region; Abriana's Star, Aeoleon, Maroni, Janesia, Dearton's Gateway, and Kelby were now recovered by Laurasian forces without much trouble. On 11 December, the Parliament forced King Sigis'ac to send a request for peace to the Laurasian Royal Government. Leonidas, who was pleased that the last Polonian push of the Time of Troubles had been repelled, and who believed that Almitis was ensuring the safety of the Laurasian Dominions, accepted the offer on 14 December. On 17 December, a armistice was imposed between the two sides. Two days later, Leonidas appointed Prince Pozkharius and Archbishop John of Caladaria as the Laurasian emissaries for the peace conference. Sigis'ac, on his part, had to designate the ailing Hetman-General Zolywieski (he had been accorded that rank on 19 January 1218 by the Polonian Parliament), Magnate-General Choldkiewiz, and Chancellor Sapieha as the Polonian emissaries. On 20 December, the two governments agreed that Deulino, which had been colonized by Polonian troops on 15 October 1210 near Goldaria, would be the site of the conference. Both delegations had arrived there by 23 December; Zolywieski and Choldkiewiz, however, acting on King Sigis'ac's orders, refused to hold festivities in honor of the Laurasian delegation and refused to have anything to do with them besides the official discussions. Pozkharius and John endured this insult with much honor, and proceeded directly to the negotiations. In the end, the Treaty of Deulino was signed on December 30, 1218. By the terms of this treaty, all hostilities between Polonian and Laurasian forces were to cease immediately. All prisoners of war were to be exchanged. Special provision was made for Metropolitian Filaret (Leonidas's father) and Prince-General Shetius (the famed commander of the garrison of Goldaria), the two most prominent Laurasian prisoners of war. They were both to be freed by no later than 25 January 1219. The Polonians, however, were allowed to keep all spoils of war captured before September 22, 1218. The Laurasians on their part, could keep all spoils of war captured after that date. Full diplomatic and economic relations were to be restored, and normal tariff levies maintained. Sigis'ac agreed to drop his claim to the Laurasian throne and to recognize Leonidas as King and Autocrat of All the Laurasians. No mention, however, was made of Prince Wladyslaw's claim, which was to remain a issue for another sixteen years. Leonidas, on his part, gained recognition of his rule over the Malarian Provinces and the Purse Region. However, he now conceded all Laurasian provinces in the Central Core (Clancia, Melarnaria, Goldaria, Carina, Seejay Prime, Teth, and their strongholds) to the Polonian-Donguarian Commonwealth; confirmed the provisions of the Treaty of Jem-Zaploski as regards to the Ivorian Provinces; and dropped all official referrence to Laurasian territories in those regions. Sigis'ac, however, agreed that Laurasian diplomatic and governmential vessels would be allowed free access to the Malarian Provinces by the Melarnarian Trunk Line, and he permitted for the establishment of Laurasian customs centers on Melarnaria, Williams, Goss Beacon, Clancia, Reoyania, Condtella, Dramis, Conservan, Teth, and Marshia.

The Treaty of Deulino was ratified by King Leonidas on New Year's Eve 1218, and by the Polonian Parliament on January 2, 1219. On 4 January, the Laurasian delegation left Deulino, as no hospitality was forthcoming, returning to Laurasia Prime two days later. Leonidas, in his New Year's proclamation on January 1, 1219, the first time in fifteen years that Laurasia was completely at peace, both domestially and abroad, declared that although the terms of Deulino "were not the most honorable", they were necessary for the Laurasian Dominions to recover their unity. On 22 January 1219, Laurasian and Polonian officials began the process of handing over prisoners of war at Maroni. Three days later, the first Laurasian ambassador to the Polonian court in a decade, Sir Brittanicus Mursunius, presented his credentials to King Sigis'ac and the Polonian Court on Polonia Major. On that same day, Metropolitian Filaret and Prince-General Shetius were both released from the Prison of Sydney, and were both handed over to Ambassador Mursunius. The King, who had not seen his father in nine years, ordered that Filaret and Shetius be brought back to Laurasia Prime with the least delay. On 28 January, the two former prisoners of war arrived in the Laurasia Prime star system. Massive firework displays, parades, and cheering crowds at the Station of Hepudermia, on the two Calaxies, and in the cities of Laurasia Prime greeted them. King Leonidas himself and his mother, Abbess Martha, were both at the head of the officials who greeted Filaret and Prince-General Shetius. Filaret and Shetius were brought to the Celestial Palace, and there, the King saw his father for the first time since 1210. According to contemporary accounts, Leonidas leaped at his father and hugged him with "all the vigor he could muster". He was in a flood of tears, and his father declared that "we have been reunited by the great workings of Providence". His father was also overcome, and broke down into tears as well, saying he had worried about his son and grateful that no harm had come to him. The Abbess Martha was also reunited with her husband, and they embraced each other "with all of the emotion and feeling a married couple could muster", Martha, in tears, declared that "Almitis has answered my prayers". On 1 February, Leonidas, in a manifesto to his subjects, declared that "my family has been reunited" and that Filaret had been "preserved by the Lord Almitis". Five days later, the King commanded his subjects to celebrate the release of his father and Prince Shetius until the end of the year, as well as to celebrate the conclusion of the Treaty of Deulino. The King and his government were now able to focus solely on domestic affairs, now that Laurasia was at peace completely with her neighbors. Sigis'ac, on the other hand, was in a rage at the Polonian Court; for months, he refused to appear in public, and neglected even to sign routine acts passed by the Parliament.

Prince Wladyslaw began to assume increasing responsibility for the cares of government, and indeed, was appointed to the Council of Advisers on 2 March. In the meantime, on March 6, 1219, Leonidas announced that his father was to be elevated as Pope of the Royal Almitian Church. The King also accorded his parents the honor and rank of "Parents of the Royal Line", giving them precedence over all others in the Laurasian State. Two days later, the Ecclesiastical Conclave formally elected Filaret as Pope by a unanimous vote. Filaret was finally enthroned as Pope on 26 March 1219, receiving his scepter, mitier, and vestments of authority from the hands of his son, the King. The enthronement ceremony was the most lavish in the Third Laurasian Period, far surpassing the splendor of any previous enthronement ceremony. Filaret, after becoming Pope, appointed his wife as the Abbess-General of the Almitian Church, giving her absolute authority over all female clergy and servants in the Almitian Church. His wife also became a member of the Ecclesiastical Conclave, the first woman in the Third Laurasian Period accorded that honor. On 1 April, Leonidas appointed his father to the Royal Council; two days later, he issued a regulation exempting his parents from the rules of "church service", and restored to them their rights as Duke and Duchess of Cassanova. Filaret, who was now the most influential minister of the government and the highest ranking personage of the Royal Almitian Church, was thus able to exert an influence on the course of state affairs. His son, King Leonidas, naturally turned to him for advice and counsel, both because he was his father and because he was an experienced statesman. Father and son now pursued a series of policies in order to strengthen the Royal Government and further the process of recovery from the ravages of the Time of Troubles. In May 1219, the King authorized the implementation of a Public Works Charter, in order to provide funds for programs to alleviate unemployment, conduct reconstruction efforts in systems devastated by war, and supervise the operation of all transport and public utilities works. Two months later, Leonidas suspended all income taxes for nobles and gentlemen, for a period of four years, and commanded for a reduction in the military levy, which had aggravated and oppressed so many in the Laurasian Dominions for so long. The King demobilized many soldiers and ensured that they were guaranteed a occupation and a pension, so that they could begin contributing back to society in a civilian position. On 24 June 1219, Leonidas repealed all laws and acts which had been passed since 1205, in order to reduce the amount of legal confusion and contradiction in the system of government, and to ensure that "the subjects of this realm will not be pressured by conflicting obligations". Gradually, economic recovery began from the ravages of the Time of Troubles. The suppression of criminal bands and the restoration of communication links allowed for a sort of normalcy to return to the lives of many. Unemployment had declined from 23% to 10% by the end of 1219, while Laurasia Prime's population had inched back to 38 billion. Also by the end of 1219, the Celestial Palace and Westphalian Cathederal had largely been repaired of their ravages. The Core Regions now settled into a sort of turbulent peace, which continued throughout 1219 and most of 1220. The Polonians and the Briannians, however, both pursued a policy of military buildup. King Sigis'ac, whose ambitions in the Laurasian Dominions had been foiled, was nevertheless determined to maintain the Polonian position in the Duchy of Schaueria Prime. The Polonian Parliament agreed, and on 19 October 1219, passed a resolution authorizing the King to begin strengthening the garrisons of the Horacian Provinces, in order to prepare for further Briannian offensives. Salacgriva, Horacia, Zennthia, Zutagia, Bartello, Theresa, Donald, John, Cinnamon, Louza, Pandy, Farbrissna, Linopking, Goteborg, and Kalmar received substantial Polonian reinforcements, while General Radzwill established a new command headquarters on Elvester and announced his determination to "maintain the intergity of the Polonian dominions". Gu'starai, on his part, also pursued a military reorganization policy; by the end of December 1219, Briannian units from the Nexus Route and Venasian Triangle had been reallocated into the Duchy of Schaueria Prime, and were poised for a rapid strike into Polonian territories. On 1 January 1220, New Year's celebrations were conducted throughout the Caladarian Galaxy, but especially so on Laurasia Prime. The commencement of the third decade of the thirteenth century was greeted by King Leonidas and his government with much gratefulness, considering that Laurasia had survived the Polonian threat and was stronger than ever before. Sigis'ac, on his part, declared that the new decade would see a "resurgence in Polonian power" and that the "humiliations of the past would be corrected". Gu'starai II expressed similar sentiments in his New Year's proclamations. Nevertheless, until November 1220, the Polonian-Donguarian Commonwealth and the Celestial Kingdom of Briannia still refrained from general combat, glowering at each other instead. Two important Polonian individuals, however, were to die in this year. On 15 January 1220, Magnate Zebrzydowski, who had been a member of the Council of Advisers since 1213, made his last appearance in the Polonian Parliament. Zebrzydowski expressed his support for King Sigis'ac's policies and declared that his past rebellion had "been an act of folly". Four days later, Zebrzydowski returned to his estate on Krakow. From the beginning of February 1220, his health entered a rapid decline. Eventually, on 4 March, Zebrzydowski was diagnosed with the Angrames malady, that incurable disease which was the bane of all species in the Caladarian Galaxy. He expressed no fear at dying, and on 17 March, made his last will and testament. Then on 23 March 1220, he died. King Sigis'ac, in a manifesto to his subjects about the death of Zebrzydowski, declared that his "loyal services" since the end of the Zebrzydowski Rebellion had completely atoned for his sins. Zebrzydowski would be accorded a state funeral, and was buried at his family's personal plot on Krakow on 7 April. In May 1220, Sigis'ac embarked on a tour of the Polonian Provinces, visiting Polonia Minor, Wragulli, Wronzaz, Masar, Krakow, Lublin, and other Polonian strongholds. The following month, he made confirmation of the invasion plans with the Polonian Parliament and declared that Gu'starai II would "soon be humiliated in due time". On 9 June 1220, however, Zolywieski, who had retired to his estate on Cecora, suffered a massive stroke. Sigis'ac terminated his tour, and attempting to present himself as a monarch concerned in the welfare of his subjects, rushed to Cecora. By his command, Zolywieski was moved to the Royal Hospital on Polonia Major. He staggered on for some months, but eventually died on 7 October. Sigis'ac ordered that he be given a state funeral; this was conducted on 27 October at the Great Vault of the Polonian Dead, and presided over by Primate Gembicki. Shortly after Zolywieski's death, however, the Polonian-Briannian War resumed its course again. It was not the Polonians, however, who made the move. On 1 November 1220, the Truce of Grobina expired, and Gu'starai II declared that hostilities had resumed between Briannia and Polonia. Briannian units quickly advanced into the Polonian Territories. Salacgriva was besieged and conquered (2-16 November 1220); although the garrison had been strengthened by Sigis'ac, they did not possess sufficient defense shields and were outwitted by the rapid Briannian movement. On 22 November, Mem was stormed by a Briannian squadron; four days later, Gu'starai defeated General Radzwill in the Battle of Steneborg, and stormed the stronghold. By 5 December, both Gitlandia and Kalmar had been conquered by Briannian units, who had repulsed Polonian expeditions against Parnu and Weissenstein. Avaskar was then blockaded by a Briannian force from 11 December, and was to remain under siege for the next several months, for it had the largest Polonian garrison in the Duchy. On 24 December 1220, Radzwill managed to defeat Gu'starai at Kolchad, but was unable to raid Shiloh or Calpurnia. By the end of 1220, Briannian and Polonian forces were locked in a ferocious conflict.

Negotiations between the Homidinian Khanate and the Solidaritan Sultanate; First Treaty of Tyson, and Three Years of Peace between the Homidinians and Solidaritans; Rebellion of Sigobert and Chlodoric against Clovis; Suppression of the Revolt; Illness and Death of Clovis; The Partition of the Kingdom of Melorkia among his Children; The Oppressions of Ashlgothian King Gesalec, and his worsening relations with Theodoric; Invasion of Gundobad, in support of those opposed to Gesalec; Theodoric's Invasion of Ashlgothia, to ensure the rights of his grand-nephew Amalaric; Gesalec Flees from Ashlgothia, and is deposed from the Ashlgothian Throne; Amalaric becomes King of Ashlgothia, and Theodoric his Regent; Peace Restored between Ashlgothia and Alexandria on Theodoric's Initiative; Gesalec's Sanctuary at the Court of Thrasamund; Theodoric's Demands for him to be handed over; Thrasamund capitulates; Gesalec is tortured and executed by Halegothican officials; Resumption of Hostilities between the Solidaritan Sultanate and the Homidinian Khanate; The Long Years of Conflict between the Homidinians and the Solidaritans; Illness and Death of Rechiar II, and the Ascension of Rechila II to the Jarjanican Throne; Illness and Death of Gundobad; Sigismund becomes King of Alexandria, and instigates a anti-Melorkian military buildup; The Revolt of the Roastafarian Ma'gai, and the Execution of King Chlothar of Roastafaria Minor; Childebert crushes rebellion, but Ma'gai flees to Alexandria; Marriage Alliance between Alexandria and Halegothica; The Oppressions of Chlodomer of Manorsia, and his Unpopularity with his Subjects; The Rebellion of Duke Otto of Resmania; The Rebellion succeeds, and Chlodomer flees to Melorkia Prime; Illness and Death of Chlodomer; Childebert proclaims himself King of Manorsia, but his claim is not recognized by Otto; Formation of the Manorsian Assembly, and its consideration of a candidate for the Manorsian Throne; The Election of Fre'dakh, a Deviaiani Prince, as King of Manorsia; The Coronation and short Reign of Fre'dakh; Alliance between Melorkia and Jarjanica; Invasion of Manorsia by Childebert's forces; The Defeat of Fre'dakh, and he flees to the Devianiani Confederacy; Childebert secures control of Manorsian Territories; Tensions of War; Marriage of Theodoric's Daughter Amalasuintha with the Ashlgothian Prince Eutharic; Birth of Theodoric's grandson and eventual successor, Athalaric; Further Events in Homidinian-Solidaritan War (1211-1220)Edit

Having discussed the events of the Laurasian Time of Troubles and the renewal of the Polonian-Briannian War, it is now expedient to return to the affairs of the Outer Galactic Regions, which were to continue to be torn apart by war and by civil conflict throughout the 1210s. As previously mentioned, by the end of 1210, Ambaghai the Younger had consolidated his position as Homidinian Khan and had asserted his rule over the Homidinian territories which had not been occupied by Solidaritan units. The Sultan Chosroes, on his part, from his headquarters on Dara, launched repeated expeditions into Homidinian territory; he believed that the strength of his forces would be enough that the Homidinian Khanate would eventually be completely overwhelmed. Chosroes, however, decided to reorganize his forces and to consolidate his grip over the territories which he had overrun. Ambaghai, on his part, wished to reorganize his military forces and root out threats to his authority. Consequently, negotiations had been conducted at Tyson since 25 December 1210. At the conference, the Sultan was represented by Grand Vizier Bayazaid Pasha of O'Neal, one of the most prominent officials in the Solidaritan State. Trascerius himself attended the conference with his ministers, while the Khan Ambaghai was represented by his chief secretary of state affairs, Baugai. Ambaghai had already declared the terms to which he was willing to submit; believing that he count on future support from the Armanes, the Halegothicans, and even the Xilanian States, he believed that he could afford, for the time being, to make these concessions to the Solidaritan Sultanate. Chosroes, who was on the way of subsuming all the Homidinian territory, decided that the terms would enhance his power. Thus, the conference was really dealing with the formalities of the peace agreement; the terms had already been agreed before hand. On 25 January 1211, the Treaty of Tyson was signed. By the terms of this treaty, the Homidinian Khanate conceded Kledis Var, Markis Prime, Maxwell, Celia, Peters, Wakino, Perry, Mir, Dara, Dir, and Curry to the authority of the Solidaritan Sultanate. Ambaghai agreed to acknowledge Chosroes as the "protector of the Homidinian State" and offered to provide a annual tribute to the Solidaritan court. Solidaritan merchants and space-travelers were granted rights of free transit and duty-free commerce throughout the Homidinian Dominions; all tariffs and taxes on Solidaritan trade were to be lifted. Ambaghai also agreed to refrain from installing garrisons on Julie, Karen, Yutzy, Dion, Dominic, Drake, Rutherford, and Abitia for a period of four years; to extend the "utmost hospitality" to the Solidaritan Ambassador on Chalassia; and to pay the Solidaritan Government a indemnity for all military expenses. In return, Chosroes agreed to return all other strongholds conquered by his forces back to Homidinian authority, to end his harrying expeditions into Homidinian territory, and to make no demands of Armania, whose territories were to remain the same as before the war. The Treaty of Tyson was ratified by Ambaghai on 29 January; by Trasericus on 6 February; and by Chosroes on 11 February. For the next three years, the Homidinian Khanate, Solidaritan Sultanate, and Kingdom of Armania were to remain at peace with one another. Chosroes decided to retire back to Istantius, appointing Solidaritan General Byazid Barabrossa as the Commander of the Solidaritan "Trans-Larkianite" Districts (as they were now designated). Arriving back at Istantius on 3 March, the Sultan immediately plunged himself into drafting plans for a renewed invasion of the Homidinian Khanate. Ambaghai, on his part, who had returned to Chalassia, now focused his effort on preparing for a renewed push to eventually take back the lost territories. In March 1211, the Homidinian Khan sent a secret diplomatic communique to the Council of the Xilanian Confederacy, declaring that "it would be your interest to ally with us against the Solidaritan mongrels". Two months later, Ambaghai ordered for a secret shipyard to be constructed at Burris, which had been colonized by a Homidinian expedition in July 1207. This shipyard was to produce a new class of cruisers and dreadnoughts which would eventually be employed against the Solidaritans. By May 1211, all hostilities had terminated, and the territorial/prisoner of war exchanges had been made. In the meantime, the Galaxy's attention had shifted to the Melorkian Dominions. Clovis, at the beginning of 1211, was still smarting from his defeat against Theodoric and Gesalec in the latter stages of the "War of Alaric's Homicide". The King of Melorkia, since returning to Melorkia in October 1208 at the conclusion of peace, had focused his efforts on implementing further military reforms, stabilizing his dominion's financial treasury, and instating measures in order to secure the Kingdom's capital worlds from future offensives. New shipyards and military factories at Hefner, Brooke One, Matthew, Jasmine, Les Mans, Cambrina, Purdill, Kevin, Costner, and Roastafaria Minor churned out new starships, weapons, and military equipment for the Melorkian forces. In November 1209, Clovis issued a new Military Discipline Code and commanded all Melorkian officers to "be vigilant in rooting out traitors and cutting waste". The King, however, was to have to suppress a challenge from one of his own subjects in the dawn of his reign. The Melorkian Duke of Moule, Sigobert (who was known as the "Lame" because he used an electro-magnetic hover chair to move around), believed that Clovis's reputation had been tarnished by the recent war, and that it was now his opportunity to move against his King. As early as September 1207, Sigobert had been contemplating rebellion against Clovis. Now, with the war ended and the King back on Melorkia, he thought that he had his opportunity. Sigobert's son, Chlodoric, took the lead in organizing the rebel movement against Clovis. The nobility of Babania, Tamars, Tourbonne, Rasti, Xxi, and Jemeina declared their loyalty to the two dissenting nobles. Finally, on 17 January 1211, just as Clovis was returning from a short visit to the Crimeanian Provinces, they launched their rebellion against him. Sigobert, in his declaration of rebellion, declared that Clovis had "shamed the Melorkian race" and that it was time for Melorkia to acquire a vigorous, affirmative monarch who would "expand Melorkian might in all directions".

Two days later, the rebel nobles obtained a victory in the Battle of Dacia, conquering the government garrison there and confiscating a large amount of military supplies. Confrontations with government forces ensued at Dagnught, Algaica Belguica, and Wilmson (January-February 1211), with Chlodoric inflicting severe losses upon Clovis's garrisons and seizing a swath of territory in the Tamarian Provinces. Clovis departed from Melorkia on 7 March, and establishing his operational headquarters at Bethune, now sought to suppress the rebellion. Although a government force reconquered Wilmson (12-19 March 1211), Chlodoric won acclaim for his victory at Imune (22-25 March), in which he destroyed a entire Melorkian starfighter corps. By the end of April 1211, Clovis had been forced to retreat from Bethune, and rebel units were now threatening Ensrassburg, Hefner, and Kentaborn. Chlodoric, however, had grown ambitious, and believed that his father should not become King, in the physical condition that he was. He thus decided to murder his own father. On 6 May, Chlodoric and his co-conspirators burst into his father's chambers. His father was unable to pose much resistance, and his cries for mercy and assistance were in vein. He was hacked into pieces; shortly afterwards, Chlodoric announced to the personnel of the rebel forces that Sigobert had been murdered by some "evil fellows", and that he had implored his son to take supreme command of the forces with his dying breath. Many, however, did not believe Chlodoric, and now came to the understanding that he was responsible for his father's death. On 15 May, the rebel forces were defeated at Siplman and prevented from advancing to Brooke One. Two days later, Clovis obtained a victory at Petramala and forced the rebel garrisons of Imune and Tamars to surrender. By the end of June 1211, Bethune had also been reconquered, and rebel expeditions against Riparia, Encore, and Isia ended in failure. On 5 July, Clovis stormed Algaica Belguica; two days later, a government fleet decisively defeated Chlodoric at Palmer. Chlodoric and his officers attempted to flee, but they were now betrayed by men who had been loyal to Sigobert. On 11 July, government forces reconquered Tourbonne. Two days later, Chlodoric was captured at Kans while he was trying to retreat to Cambrina. Presented before Clovis, Chlodoric begged for mercy. None was forthcoming, however, and on 22 July, Clovis commanded that Chlodoric be put to death.

This was carried out that same day, and Chlodoric was executed by solar incineration. By 14 August, Rasti, Xxxi,Jemeina, Tourbonne, and Babania had all been reconquered by government forces, and Clovis had maintained his rule in the Melorkian Dominions. The King then engaged in a policy of repression; hundreds of thousands of rebels were tortured, interrogated, and then publicly executed in the various affected star systems, while all rebel leaders were condemned and executed in front of the King and his court. In September 1211, Clovis forbade any future reference to the rebellion and denounced it with all of the government's authority. By this point, however, the King of Melorkia was in weak physical condition, his health having been exerted by the duties of having to suppress the rebellion. The King had also taken to the bottle and had neglected on his physical routine, which had previously kept him fit. Consequently, he was now headed on a collision course with death. On 17 September, he suffered a minor stroke at his palace on Les Mans; two days later, the King was forced to withdraw from his public duties and to retire to the recesses of the Royal Palace on Melorkia. Clovis, in his testament of February 9, 1210, had already decided on how his territories were to be dealt with upon his death. Although he had struggled against his brothers in the 1190s to become sole King of the Melorkian Dominions, Clovis now decided that a partition of those very territories among his own sons and his daughter would be "beneficial to the unity of the Melorkian species and would prevent domestic conflict". Many thought the King irrational; his sons, however, were delighted. In the testament, Clovis had provided that his son Childebert was to become King of Melorkia Proper, with his capital at Melorkia and governing over Melorkia, Merovech, Tournacia, Algaica Belguica, and the Crimeanian Provinces. Chlothar, as King of Roastafaria Minor, was to govern over Roastafaria Minor, Rasti, Kentaborn, Tamars, Ensrassburg, Brooke One, Hefner, Matthew, West, Mirohassani, Les Mans, and Jasmine. Chlodomer, as King of Manorsia, was to govern over Manorsia, Resmania, Obathia, Cyrus III, Shell, Winehouse, Woolestone, and the Armenian Worlds, as well as Cal, Morley, Stahl, and Simon. Finally, Clotilde was to become Queen of Cambrina, with authority over Riparia, Alsauborg, and Cholodio. They were all to be equal to each other; Childebert was not to enjoy supremacy over his siblings, and was to "cooperate with them in all matters of state". With Clovis having retreated from the public eye, his children swiftly moved towards consolidating their positions. On 26 September, the four siblings signed the Agreement of Marla, agreeing to "preserve the position of the Melorkian Dominions against outside enemies" and to ensure that "their father's legacy would not be tarnished". By 1 October, they had been officially confirmed as successors to their father, and the terms of his will and testament were announced to the Melorkian people. By the end of October 1211, King Theodoric of Halegothica and other foreign monarchs had declared that they would honor Clovis's will and would not trample on Melorkian territorial integrity. Theodoric was the most genuine of them in this guarantee; on 24 October, he even offered to sign a alliance with the four "Sibling Monarchs", in order to defend them from Alexandria, the Devianiani Confederacy, or the Jarjanics, if necessary. Clovis then suffered a massive heart attack on 5 November; he was now rendered completely immobile. On 19 November, he called his children to his bedside and blessed them.

Then on 27 November 1211, at the Royal Palace of Melorkia, King Clovis of Melorkia, the destroyer of the Crimeanian Khanate, died at the age of fifty. Clovis's reputation had been tarnished by his execution of Alaric, and consequently, most foreign monarchs did not greet his death with sadness or sorrow; rather, many of them actually celebrated his death. Gundobad of Alexandria, in a proclamation to his subjects, declared that "the death of Clovis is one of the most fortunate events to ever have taken place in the Caladarian Galaxy". The Council of the Devianiani Confederacy declared that Clovis's death "brought an end to the life and career of one who has scourged this galaxy, and who is forever condemned for having executed a former monarch". Clovis was viewed as "the worst ruler since Timur the Devastator himself"; Queen Mother Christiana denounced him as a "liar, murderer, and fiend who is damned for all eternity". Theodoric of Halegothica was the only foreign monarch who expressed his sadness at Clovis's death, declaring that while he had made "some unfortunate decisions", he should not be reviled, considering that a monarch such as Timur executed several different monarchs, instead of just one. On 6 December, Clovis's formal state funeral was conducted on Melorkia Major; although the ambassadors of the foreign governments attended the funeral, they refused to deliver eulogies or to give their respect to Clovis's corpse. The Halegothican Ambassador was the only one who refrained from this behavior. By the end of 1211, Clovis's children had consolidated their position in the Melorkian Dominions. The Ashlgothian Dominions, however, did not remain stagnant. King Gesalec had remained in power since his installation on the throne in August 1207, and since the end of the "War of Alaric's Homicide", he had managed to completely alienate his reluctant Halegothican ally, King Theodoric. The King of Halegothica was also influenced by the entreaties and communiques of his niece, the Ashlgothian Queen-Dowager Theodegotho, who declared that Gesalec was "not an honorable monarch", and that her son, Prince Amalaric, had every right to sit upon the Ashlgothian throne. Theodoric's support of Gesalec weakened considerably, and matters were worsened by Gesalec's own domestic policies within his dominions. The King of Ashlgothia was paranoid, and believed that traitors abounded everywhere within his realm. In January 1210, he had issued instructions to the Council of Elders, ordering them to launch a investigation into the affairs of every noble in the realm and to report back to him on what they had found.

The Council of Elders, many of whom were opposed to Gesalec, followed the King's command only reluctantly. In an investigation of two months, they produced extensive dossiers and reports about the finances and condition of the Ashlgothian noble estates. In particular, they noted those of two prominent Ashlgothian magnates: Prince Roderic of Larkin and the Lord Atthio of Baiteman. Both of these gentlemen had amassed massive fortunes, and were alleged to have designs upon the Ashlgothian Throne. On 11 March, Gesalec declared to the Council of Elders that these gentlemen posed a "serious threat to the Ashlgothian State" and that they needed to be dealt with promptly. Five days later, Prince Roderic and Lord Atthio were both arrested on the King's orders and imprisoned at the Security Complex of India, which had been constructed in 1203 to hold political prisoners and prisoners deemed threatening to the "Security of the State". The two noblemen were interrogated and tortured, as Gesalec believed that they were the center of a conspiracy against him. Finally, on 6 April, they were convicted by the Council of Elders, on counts of "treason, conspiracy, and disloyalty to His Majesty's person". Atthio and Roderic were executed on 11 April, their bodies disposed of by solar incineration. Following this, the King confiscated all their estates, and in June 1210, denounced any nobleman who would "dare to rise his hand up against the rightful authority". The Ashlgothian Dominions became engrossed in fear, particularly as Gesalec oppressed his nobles at the Royal Court and engaged in a series of excesses. On 12 November 1210, the King's grandfather, Liviguld, died at his estate on Trebek; he begged his grandson, on his deathbed, to abstain from further excesses and oppression of his subjects. Gesalec, however, declared his actions were necessary for the security of the Ashlgothian dominions. In December 1210, Theodoric held a series of consultations with his own Council of Elders, and the King of Halegothica eventually decided that he could not support Gesalec any longer.

On 6 January 1211, Theodoric issued a diplomatic communique to Gesalec on Ashlgothia, declaring that Gesalec's domestic policies and the fact that he was "not the legitimate heir of the late King Alaric" were what compelled him to cancel his adherence to the terms of the Treaty of Narra. Gesalec was utterly shocked and alarmed when he received the word that Theodoric had canceled the alliance with Ashlgothia. This news, however, motivated the Alexandrian King Gundobad to action. Gundobad believed that by interfering in Ashlgothian affairs, he could obtain praise for himself and hasten events so that Gesalec would soon be toppled from the Ashlgothian throne. In February 1211, the King of Alexandria military squadrons at Sharon Alfonsi, Hamacaki Barka, Alexandria Minor, Skye, Stewart, and in the Durant Cluster, determined to launch a series of offensives into Ashlgothian territory. The following month, on 17 March, he sent a communique to Gesalec, demanding that the King of Ashlgothia abdicate in favor of Prince Amalaric and that he pay him a indemnity for "the friendship which I have displayed towards the Ashlgothian State". Gesalec, however, confident his forces could resist a Alexandrian advance, even without Halegothican support, refused to even respond to the communique. Therefore, on 5 April, Gundobad issued a declaration of war against the Ashlgothian Court. Alexandrian units now advanced into Ashlgothian territory. Nicole (6-19 April) was besieged and conquered, followed by Redia (22-25 April); Larkin (26-29 April); and Trebek (1-5 May). On 11 May, Gesalec was defeated in the Battle of Balerica, and two days later, Hospallia Minor, which had become a Ashlgothian stronghold, was stormed by Alexandrian units. By the end of May 1211, Alexandrian units were harrying Cyrus III, Greg, and Leslie. They even penetrated to the Ashlgothian border with Melorkia. Gesalec's counteroffensives against the Alexandrians, particularly against Henkura, Sharon Alfonsi, and Stewart (June-July 1211) ended in failure. By 2 August, Warren had been conquered by a Alexandrian force, and Ashlgothia itself was soon in danger. Gesalec now retired with his court to Emma, and the King of Ashlgothia was determined to reorganize his forces for another counteroffensive. He was not to have the opportunity to do so, however. On 7 August 1211, Theodoric, who had assembled his squadrons at Khagia, Dumbgwita, Earl, and Tolbiac, issued a declaration of war against Gesalec, announcing his intention to assert the hereditary rights of his nephew Amalaric. Halegothican units besieged and conquered Leslie (8-11 August); defeated a Ashlgothian patrol corps near Barcelona (12-19 August); and stormed the defenses of Imma (20-25 August), before overrunning Baiteman (26 August); Tahon (1 September); Bryce (4-5 September); Courtney (11-15 September); India (18 September); and Kathryn (22-25 September). Gesalec then suffered a final defeat at Jennings (1-4 October 1211) and was forced to flee the Ashlgothian Dominions.

On 9 October, Halegothican units reached Ashlgothia; there, Queen-Dowager Theodegotho, who with the assistance of her supporters and the agents of her uncle had assembled her own military force, was able to summon the Council of Elders and compel them to acknowledge the rights of her son Amalaric. On 15 October, Theodoric himself, departing from his operational headquarters on Tea, arrived at Ashlgothia. He met with his niece and presented his case before the Council of Elders. Two days later, the Council of Elders formally declared that Gesalec had forfeited the Ashlgothian throne and that he had never deserved to become King of Ashlgothia in the first place. Consequently, Amalaric, the legitimate son and heir of Alaric II, was now proclaimed King of Ashlgothia. Because he was still a minor, however (being only eight years old at the time), his granduncle Theodoric, King of Halegothica, was to become "Regent" of the Kingdom of Ashlgothia. As regent, Theodoric was to have the right to govern the Ashlgothian State and command Ashlgothian military forces, in the name of his nephew, until he deemed that his nephew had come of age. The King of Halegothica would have the right to appoint any officials he wished to represent him on Ashlgothia while he was in his Halegothican dominions; in turn, Theodoric promised not to use Ashlgothian resources for his own benefit and restored the terms of the Treaty of Narra, to defend Ashlgothian territory from attack by foreign enemies. This entailed that Theodoric would repel the forces of King Gundobad and recover the worlds which the Alexandrian King had taken. On 22 October, King Theodoric confirmed the Conditions of the Council of Elders and was sworn in as Regent of the Ashlgothian State, while Amalaric was formally enthroned as King of Ashlgothia. Two days later, the King of Halegothica and his units departed from Ashlgothia, determined to recover territories overrun by Gundobad. Theodoric inflicted a decisive defeat upon Gundobad in the Battle of Narbonne (24-29 October 1211); by 7 November, Halegothican units had reconquered Larkin and Trebek, while repelling Alexandrian expeditions into the Core Ashlgothian Provinces. On 16 November, Gundobad, who did not wish for Theodoric to invade his own dominions, and who still desired for an eventual alliance with the Halegothican King, requested for an end to the war. Theodoric, who wished to consolidate his oversight of the Ashlgothian dominions, and who wanted to return to a state of peace with his neighbors, On 22 November, a conference was opened on Thelma, being meditated by diplomats sent by Jarjanican King Rechiar II. The conference lasted for some days and was marked by much discussion over Ashlgothian and Melorkian affairs. The death of King Clovis caused for much contemplation on the state of affairs in the Barsar Regions. Finally, on 29 November 1211, the Treaty of Thelma was signed, restoring the status quo ante bellum between Ashlgothia and Alexandria. Gundobad returned all Ashlgothian territory which had been occupied by his troops; he also agreed to recognize Amalaric as King of Ashlgothia and Theodoric as his regent. Theodoric, on his part, agreed to pay Gundobad a military indemnity from Ashlgothian resources and to permit the King to keep the spoils of war which he had captured. The Treaty of Thelma was ratified by Gundobad on 4 December and by Theodoric (both as Ashlgothian Regent and Halegothican King) on 11 December. By the end of the year, Alexandrian units had withdrawn from Ashlgothian territory, and peace had been restored.

Gesalec, however, had managed to flee to the Kingdom of Kuevia by means of his personal starfighter, which possessed a Class 0.9 hyperdrive. Arriving at Shenandoah (which was becoming known as Kuevia) on 6 December, he had been granted refuge by King Tharsamund, who, although he was allied to Theodoric, nevertheless continued to believe that he could act as an independent sovereign. On 19 December, Theodoric had sent his first diplomatic communique to Tharsamund, declaring that Gesalec was a "threat to galactic stability" and that he should not be allowed to stay at the Kuevian Court. Tharsamund, in his response, asserted that he would not allow Gesalec to return to Ashlgothia and would keep him under strict surveillance. For nearly another year, this diplomatic crisis continued, and Theodoric even began to assemble squadrons at Hasselbeck, Walters, Beharis, and Shephard, in case he had to impose Halegothican influence in Kuevia again. Throughout 1212 and 1213, however, the Outer Galactic Regions remained at peace. Little of note took place during those two years, while the Time of Troubles reached its climax in the Laurasian Dominions and then fell from that climax. In October 1212, however, Tharsamund finally yielded to Theodoric's demands, and on 3 November, Gesalec was arrested by Kuevian troops and handed over to the Halegothican Ambassador, Reuthric. Gesalec was then deported to Jasonia, where he arrived on 19 November. Five days later, King Theodoric had him condemned by the Council of Elders and by Ashlgothian representatives; on 5 December, he was executed by blaster squad at the Martial Residence on Jasonia, and his body was dumped on Jasonia's moon Eclair. By the end of December 1212, all galactic powers had acknowledged the situation in Ashlgothia; King-Emperor Sigis'ac of the Polonian-Donguarian Commonwealth, who had been the most reluctant, was the last one to accord diplomatic recognition. The same situation of inertia in the Outer Galactic Regions continued. But by the latter months of 1213, Chosroes was planning on a resumption of war in the Homidinian Khanate. Solidaritan units assembled at Perry, Dara, Curry, Celia, Peters, Wakino, Markis Prime, Kledis Var, and Maxwell, poised to launch a series of swift strikes into Homidinian territory. Julie, Karen, Yutzy, Dion, Dominic, Drake, Rutherford, and Abitia were all still demilitarized, and Khayisan had continued to seek financial support from Trasericus, the Xilanians, and King Theodoric. Chosroes was confident that this time, he could impose himself as absolute overlord of the Homidinian Khanate and begin incorporating the final remaining Dasian territories into the Solidaritan Sultanate. A border incident now became the Sultan's excuse for recommencing the war. On 5 January 1214, a Homidinian convoy of merchant vessels, commanded by a Rokai captain, I'lark of Homidinia Minor, crossed into Solidaritan territory, on its way to a commercial exchange at Chancia in the Stellar Kingdom of Laurasia. The Treaty of Tyson had guaranteed free trade between the two dominions, but Chosroes now decided to act as if the convoy was a Homidinian military fleet, launching an excursion into Solidaritan territory.

On 11 January, a Solidaritan patrol force stopped the Homidinian convoy near Eaidon, and demanded for them to provide proper identification. I'lark attempted to point out his privileges under treaties signed between the two powers, but the Solidaritan commanders refused to listen, and ordered I'lark to prepare his ships "for inspection". I'lark now attempted to flee, declaring his rights of commerce were being violated; his ships, however, were stopped by Solidaritan interdictors, were surrounded, and then boarded. Hundreds of Homidinians were killed or captured, and I'lark himself was severely wounded holding off Solidaritan troopers. Two days later, news of the incident leaked out to the wider Galaxy, and Chosroes sent an ultimatum to Ambaghai, denouncing "Homidinian aggression" and demanding that Ambaghai concede the demilitarized strongholds to the Solidaritan Sultanate. Ambaghai refused, however, declaring his willingness to resist the advances of the "Solidaritan mongrels". Therefore, on 29 January 1214, Chosroes terminated diplomatic relations with the Homidinian Court and ordered his units to begin preparing for an invasion of the Homidinian Khanate. On 9 February, a declaration of war was officially issued, and the Solidaritan-Homidinian War had resumed again. Trasericus of Armania declared war on Chosroes on 18 February and arrested all Solidaritan subjects in his territories. The war picked up again, as a Homidinian force stationed at Kyler now attempted to launch a offensive against Celia and Peters. This offensive (11-15 February 1214), ultimately ended in failure, as the Solidaritan general Aspakh inflicted a decisive defeat upon the Homidinian force. Kyler itself was besieged and conquered (March 1214), while a Armanian expedition from Sierra against the Solidaritan base of Cesania was defeated. On 5 April, another Homidinian counteroffensive, this one against Wakino and Curry, also ended in failure, and Solidaritan units now advanced to Julie. A series of confrontations with Homidinian fleets at Konik, Idler, Big Grammy, and Rutherford (6-17 April 1214) resulted in severe losses for the Homidinians. Julie was besieged from 24 April, falling to Solidaritan forces at the end of the month. Shaelynn, Kacee, and Dromund were once again being harried by Solidaritan expeditions. Ambaghai and his lieutenant-general, Raluga-Sis (a Vickian), departed from Chalassia on 6 May and advanced to Abitia, aiming to halt the Solidaritan offensive. Although Abitia was secured (7-11 May 1214) and a Solidaritan task fleet at Colonia destroyed (12-17 May), Chosroes was able to storm Dominic (18-22 May 1214). Then on 29 May, he inflicted a decisive defeat upon Ambaghai and Raluga-Sis in the Battle of Ibica, forcing them to end plans for an offensive upon Maxwell. Chosroes' general Shahbaraz, who established his command headquarters on Perry, now prepared for a series of swift strikes into Homidinian territory. On 4 June, a smaller Homidinian force was defeated at Digette, and two days later, Demebezaic was seized by a Solidaritan force. By 11 June, Solidaritan units had isolated Abitia and Karen, while launching raids against Yutzy and Dion. Raluga-Sis attempted to launch a flank offensive at Tarsonia (12-17 June 1214) but this was ultimately repelled. On 25 June, Solidaritan forces seized Rushina, weakening Homidinian supply lines to Gwendolyn and Ryan. Karen (22 June); Abitia (29 June-6 July); and Rutherford (7-15 July) were besieged and conquered, while Homidinian troops were pushed back from Kacee (11-19 July).

Raluga-Sis, however, continued to resist Shahbaraz, and although he was defeated in a confrontation at Adhirta (August 1214), he managed to prevent Solidaritan raiding expeditions from reaching Calms and Sanford. On 7 September, however, Solidaritan forces began their siege of Gwendolyn. They seized the outlying bases of Geralynn (8-11 September); Bacall (12-14 September); and Rood (19 September), allowing them to hamper Homidinian efforts at relieving the siege. Ryan and Dion were constantly harried by Solidaritan expeditions. Gwendolyn, however, did not fall until 6 November. When the stronghold capitulated to the Solidaritan forces, Shahbaraz ordered for all the treasures to be looted and for "no man, woman, or child who is physically able to be spared". The world was sacked, and it was to never fully recover from the Solidaritan offensive. In December 1214, Drake was seized by a Solidaritan force, and Ambaghai was now forced to terminate expeditions to the Kledis Var Trunk Line. The year 1215 thus commenced with the Homidinian Khanate under severe pressure by the Solidaritan invaders. Solidaritan units, under the command of Shahin, began to push towards Armanian territory in January 1215, bypassing the defenses of the Lacian Cluster to threaten Armanian positions. Glassia was besieged and conquered by a Solidaritan expeditionary force (7-19 January 1215); on 25 January, the Oirat Complex was blockaded by a Solidaritan force. In February 1215, while Solidaritan units prevented a Homidinian expedition from reconquering Digette and Dominic, Shahin defeated the Armanians in the Battle of Glear. The strongholds of the Oirat Complex were gradually stormed by Solidaritan units (March-June 1215). On 11 July, however, a Homidinian offensive against Yutzy, Dion, and Brlla ended in failure, and Ambaghai managed to maintain Homidinian positions at Ryan and Homidinian Taraning. By August 1215, a stalemate had ensued which was to continue through the middle of the following year, both in Homidinian and in Armanian space. The focus of events now shifted to the Jarjanican realms. King Rechiar's health had been in a severe decline in recent months.

On 18 November 1214, Rechiar had suffered a minor heart attack while delivering a speech to the Council of Ministers. Two months later, the King suffered another heart attack, this time at his palace on Allen, and had to be carried into his personal quarters to recuperate. By March 1215, rumors had begun to spread throughout the Jarjanican dominions that Rechiar was dying of the Malthusian syndrome. The King of Jarjanica at first refused to admit to this, and on 17 April, issued a proclamation to his subjects declaring that "my health has never been in a better, more elevated condition". This was soon proved wrong, however, when on 6 May, the King suffered a major stroke at the Archeological Institute of Plath, where he was on a official state visit. He was immediately transported back to Allen, where on 11 May he was formally diagnosed with the syndrome. Rechiar, now realizing that he was near death, sent out instructions to the Council of Ministers, ordering for them to prepare the Jarjanican people "for the transition of power which shall shortly take place". On 1 June, the King's final will and testament had been announced to the public; in this document, Rechiar named his nephew, Count Rechila of Novina, as his successor. The Count was formally acknowledged as Rechiar's successor by the Council of Ministers on 11 June. Then on 24 June, Rechiar suffered a final stroke and entered a coma. His life was despaired of; on 11 July 1215, the King of Jarjanica died after reigning for nine years. Rechila II, as he was now known, was proclaimed King, and sent the news about the death of his uncle to the other foreign courts. Other monarchs in the Caladarian Galaxy expressed their sadness for Rechiar's death: Theodoric the Great of Halegothica, on his part, declared that Rechiar's death was an "unfortunate event for his kingdom and his species". Rechiar's funeral was conducted on 2 August, with the foreign ambassadors at the Jarjanican Court, but not any reigning monarchs, present. Five days later, Rechila crowned himself King of Jarjanica; he spent the remainder of 1215 consolidating his position as King. By the beginning of 1216, the health of another monarch in the Caladarian Galaxy was in decline: that of King Gundobad. Gundobad had by then ruled for thirty-five years: he had become a respected and well-liked sovereign, popular with his subjects and with a high reputation among his fellow monarchs. The King of Alexandria had spent recent years reorganizing his military forces and seeking to expand the government bureaucracy. This former guardian of the Huntite Khanate, however, was now losing his way. As early as October 1214, reports had begun to circulate from the Alexandrian Court on Skye I (Alexandria) that the King was in failing health and had begun to rave around his advisers. These reports had continued throughout much of 1215; one incident on 11 September, when the King lashed out at his Great Council and declared that his dominions were being damned by the Gods of their Ancestors, gained much notice. The King's eldest son, Prince Sigismund of Angela Masia, was now preparing for his ascension to the Alexandrian throne. Sigismund was an ambitious, determined young man who believed that it was within his power to assert the rights and position of his species; he believed that the Alexandrian Kingdom needed to gain its "rightful place" within the Caladarian Galaxy and that it needed to assert itself against Melorkia, the Devianiani Confederacy, and Jarjanica. Sigismund began to formulate plans for his government, as his father's condition continued to deteriorate.

In November 1215, it was formally announced by the Jarjanican Government that Gundobad had contracted the dreaded Sorone's disease, and that he was not expected to live for much longer. Sigismund was now acknowledged formally as his father's successor and assumed the daily duties of government. On 1 January 1216, the Caladarian Galaxy celebrated the commencement of the new year; the Alexandrian Court, however, did not, and was preparing to go into eventual mourning for its dying King. On 5 January, Theodoric sent a communique to the court of Alexandria. In this message, the King of Halegothica declared that "Gundobad's sorry state is a state unworthy of any monarch" and that he hoped that the King of Alexandria would find "a resting place and some comfort in the Bowels of Heaven". Two days later, Rechila II of Jarjanica, who was still consolidating his place on the Jarjanican throne, sent a similar message to the Alexandrian Court and extended his prayers to Sigismund. The Melorkian sovereigns issued a communique on 12 January, declaring that Gundobad was a King who deserved a resting place in the Heavens; the Council of the Devianiani Confederacy issued a similar note two days later. On 22 January, Gundobad dictated his last message to his subjects, ordering them to honor Sigismund as their lord and master. Then on 17 February 1216, after having reigned for nearly thirty-six years, Gundobad died at the Alexandrian Palace of Skye I. The news of his death was greeted with much bewailment by his subjects, who had come to honor and cherish their master. Sigismund was formally proclaimed King of Alexandria, and received allegiance from his subjects. Gundobad's body was placed on public display on 25 February, where it remained for some weeks. Finally, on 22 March 1216, Gundobad was buried in the Vault of Alexandrian Kings; Genghis-Timur, the last Huntite Khan, was one of the dignitaries present at his funeral. One month later, Sigismund was crowned as King of Alexandria. The new Alexandrian King immediately set himself to work, throwing himself into government affairs and keeping a close watch over all state correspondence. Sigismund decided to pursue his ambitions of extending Alexandrian power, and he now sought ways by which he could accomplish this. By September 1216, the new King of Alexandria was to decide that provoking tensions in the Melorkian Dominions would allow for him to exert his influence, while at the same time weakening a Alexandrian enemy.

Sigismund knew that the Roastafarians had long simmered under Melorkian rule, and had believed that they had the right, such as the Laurasians or the Polonians, to reestablish their independence as a specie.s The King of Alexandria, who did not have much sympathy for such nationalist movements in his own dominions, believed that this particular one would strike a below to the power of the Melorkian sovereigns and would allow for the Kingdom of Alexandria to take the advantage in the Barsar Regions. From October 1216, Sigismund established contact with the Roastafarian Prince Ma'gai, who resided on Rasti and had for years encouraged his fellow Roastafarians to resist the demands and dictates of the Melorkian government. Ma'gai was now determined to reestablish the independence of his species and believed that cooperation with the Alexandrians would be essential in accomplishing his goals. In November 1216, Ma'gai began assembling rebel squadrons at Rasti, Enrassburg, and Babania, in defiance of King Chlothar of Roastafaria Minor. Chlothar indulged himself on Roastafaria Minor, ignoring the rebel tensions which were stirring up against his rule. Finally, on 2 January 1217, Ma'gai proclaimed himself to be in an official state of rebellion against the King of Roastafaria Minor, declaring his intention to "restore the independence of the Roastafarian species and overthrow the despised Melorkian overlords". Sigismund, who at this stage still did not wish to go to war with the Melorkians directly, but nevertheless supported Ma'gai, began funneling military supplies and equipment to the rebel. Ma'gai, on his part, now made advances against Chlothar. He destroyed the Melorkian garrison at Rasti (18-25 January 1217); stormed Melorkian defenses at Babania (29 January); and defeated Chlothar's chief patrol fleet in the Battle of Uber-Moule (1-15 February 1217). Moule itself was besieged from 22 February, falling to Roastafarian rebel forces two days later. Tamars (28 February); Xxi (1-4 March); and Jemeina (8-17 March) were besieged and conquered in turn by Roastafarian units. Childebert of Melorkia, who was alarmed by the rebel advances, and responding to the pleas of his brother, declared the rebellion a "contumacious movement" and on 22 March, advanced units in aid of his brother. A Roastafarian rebel offensive against Dacia was halted (26 March-9 April 1217), and on 15 April, Tamars was reconquered by a government force. A series of confrontations then ensued between rebel and government forces at Imune, Tourbonne, and Kentaborn (April-June 1217), which resulted in severe losses for both sides. Then on 4 July, Ma'gai launched a sudden offensive against Roastafaria Minor; rebel units, bypassing government outposts on Lapasarania and Les Mans, harried the outskirts of the Minor system and inflicted severe damage upon government positions. On 11 July, Chlothar, believing that he could easily rebel the rebel offensive with the assistance of his brother's units, led a sally from Roastafaria Minor. He was soon ambushed however, and the following day his flagship was stormed by rebel troopers. On 22 July, Chlothar was presented before Ma'gai, who declared that he was "restoring the independence of a venerable species" and that the Melorkians were doomed to destruction. On his orders, the King of Roastafaria Minor was then executed. Roastafaria Minor itself was then stormed (23 July 1217), and Ma'gai now proclaimed himself Despot of the Roastafarian State. His momentum was running out, however, and government units now recovered Xxi, Jemeina, and Kentaborn in a series of coordinated offensives (August-September 1217).

By October 1217, Rasti itself was under threat, and Ma'gai was now being forced to consider plans of withdrawal from Roastafaria Minor. On 4 November, Childebert, who had assumed the governance of the territories of his slain brother by agreement with Clotilde and Chlodomer, recovered Babania and was now advancing on Roastafaria Minor in force. Ma'gai finally abandoned the star system on 11 November; four days later, he suffered a final defeat at Jasmine, and was compelled to retreat from the Melorkian dominions. With the assistance of Devianiani smugglers, he made it to Alexandrian space, and was received by King Sigismund at Skye I on 2 December. Two days later, Sigismund informed the Melorkian Court that the rebel leader was under his charge, but declared that it would be "an insult to our race if we handed custody of him over to you". Childebert reacted in anger; on 15 December, he severed diplomatic relations with the Alexandrian Court, recalled all Melorkian subjects living in or traveling through Alexandrian territory, and had all Alexandrian subjects in Melorkian space expelled. By the end of December 1216, Sigismund was gearing up for war with the Melorkians. Theodoric of Halegothica, on the other part, who had spent the preceding two years instigating a program of economic expansion and suppressing rebellions in the Eastern Barsar Regions, grew ever more alarmed, and sent a flood of communiques to both Sigismund and Childebert, urging them to refrain from war. And in fact, Theodoric had been considering a marriage alliance with the Alexandrian Court for a considerable length of time. His daughter by Audofleda, Ostrogotha, was considered to be the perfect choice of a husband, by the Halegothican Government, for the Alexandrian King, who had remained a bachelor. On 24 December 1217, in his latest communique to King Sigismund, Theodoric declared that a marriage compact between Alexandria and Halegothica would contain Melorkian ambitions and would demonstrate the strong bond between the two kingdoms. Sigismund, who still desired for an alliance with Theodoric, and believed the King of Halegothica would assist him in a potential war with the Melorkians, sent his response two days later, declaring himself willing to marry a Halegothican princess. On 2 January 1218, Theodoric offered Ostrogotha as a bride for the King of Alexandria; Sigismund, who had heard of the Princess's beauty and virtues, decided to accept her as his bride. On 15 January, a conference was opened between Alexandrian and Halegothican officials at Gardiner, and lasted for nearly a month. Finally, on 11 February 1218, the Treaty of Gardiner was signed. It was provided that Ostrogotha would marry Sigismund on Skye I, and that the marriage would take place by no latter than 1 June 1218. Ostrogotha was to be crowned Alexandrian Queen-Consort, and she was to enjoy all the privileges and honors as befitting a queen. Theodoric agreed to pay Sigismund a marriage dowry of $1.2 billion Halegothican marks, to grant free trade privileges to Alexandrian merchants in Halegothican territory for a period of ten years, and to provide financial aid to the Alexandrian Government. Sigismund, on his part, promised to respect the integrity of the Ashlgothian territories of Amalaric, and to proceed against Alexandrian rivals "in a manner non-threatening to the Halegothican State". The Treaty of Gardiner was ratified by Theodoric that same day, and by Sigismund on 18 February.

On 1 March, the betrothal ceremony took place on Skye I; four days later, Ostrogotha and her entourage departed from Jasonia. The Princess said a tearful goodbye to her parents, King Theodoric and Queen Audofleda, and then embarked on her journey. On 11 March, after making a stop at the Jarjanican Court on Allen and the Devianiani Court on Lesia Minor, she arrived at Skye I and was greeted with much pomp and ceremony by her husband-to be, King Sigismund. The marriage took place on 27 March and was attended by the dignitaries of all the galactic powers. Tensions however, were rising again in the Melorkian territories. By March 1218, King Chlodomer of Manorsia had become a much despised figure within his dominions. The King of Manorsia, who was spoiled by his mother, Melorkian Queen-Dowager Clotilde (who had much influence over her children), was known for his vanity, his arrogance, and his brashness. Twice, in June 1215 and in February 1217, he had declared himself the "divine Servant of the Melorkian Gods" and stated that he was raised so far above his subjects that it was their duty to salute him as "sent to them by the Gods of our Ancestors". By the end of 1217, Chlodomer had raised the income levy three times, imposed new taxes on transport, property, and luxury items, and had amassed one of the most expensive royal households in the Caladarian Galaxy. He persecuted Almitians, Briannian Cultists, Rastafarians, Pastafarians, and other alien faiths, alienating Roastafarians, Crimeanians, Laurasian immigrants, and other aliens within his dominions. The King had also ordered the arrest, torture, and imprisonment or exile of thousands of his "opponents", and he had all correspondence and communications monitored by his officials.

On 5 April 1218, on Resmania, a assembly of Melorkian nobles and prominent personages, chaired by the Duke of Resmania, Otto, drafted a petition which was then sent to the King's court on Manorsia. In this petition, "His Most Gracious Majesty" was implored to reverse his policies and to have mercy upon his subjects, who did not deserve to be scourged in such a manner. They demanded that the King rescind the new levies he imposed; that he reduce the income tax back to its earlier levels; and that he issue a charter to his subjects, acknowledging their privileges and their right to defend themselves from exaction by the royal officials. Chlodomer, when he received word of these demands, flung into a rage and declared that his dominions were "infested with traitors". On 14 April, a royal manifesto denounced the Assembly of Resmania as an "unlawful organization" and demanded that Otto dissolve the body henceforth. Otto, however, refused, and on 22 April, declared that Resmania and Obathia would no longer oblige by the King's commands. Chlodomer now summoned two leading Melorkian officials, Ferdinand of Algaica Belguica and Lord Jarslav of Nathaniel, and commanded them, with an force, to march to the Resmania star system and coerce obedience from Otto. The two officials followed their master's commands to the letter, and on 1 May, they departed from Melorkia with a large armada. Five days later, they reached the outskirts of Resmania and imposed a blockade. Otto was now receiving support from nobles on Cyrus III, Matthew, West, Brooke One, and Hefner, who were also refusing to pay the taxes demanded of them by the Royal Government. Then, on 18 May, Otto sent a communique to Lords Ferdinand and Jarslav, offering to hold a parley with them at Obathia in order to discuss the rebel demands and a potential capitulation. The two Lords, believing that Otto would be easily convinced of his oath of allegiance to the King, and that the rebellion would be crushed, agreed. Two days later, the conference opened at Obathia. Otto, however, had no intention of negotiating with the King's officials; his men held the advantage over the Royalist forces. On 24 May, on the orders of the Duke of Resmania, the two Lords were seized by Melorkian troopers and butchered with vibroswords in their own personal quarters; the commanders of the Melorkian armada were loyal to Otto and had decided to drop their own oaths of allegiance to King Chlodomer. Two days later, the other Melorkian officers and personnel of the government fleet defected to the Duke of Resmania, and the news of the death of the two Lords leaked out to the wider galaxy. King Chlodomer now condemned the rebellion again and ordered for his loyal units to advance. The King's fortunes, however, now completely disintegrated.

By the end of June 1218, Matthew, West, Hefner, and Brooke One had all defected to the forces of Duke Otto, expelling their government garrisons and refusing to acknowledge Chlodomer as their master. On 5 July, Otto defeated a government force in the Battle of Haclava; four days later, a rebel expedition seized Winehouse and Woolestone, cutting off Chlodomer's government from its garrisons on Shell, Cal, Morley, Stahl, and Simon. On 11 July, Chlodomer launched a counteroffensive, which briefly managed to storm Obathia and government bases on Sobrai and Evan. On 25 July, however, he was defeated in the Battle of Mandra, and was forced to retreat. Through a series of coordinated offensives, Cal (1-9 August); Shell (12-17 August); Beverly Hereidu (22 August); Armenia Major (22 August); Armenia Minor (29 August); Morley (1-15 September); Stahl (22 September); and Simon (29 September-8 October) were besieged and conquered in turn by rebel units. Another government counteroffensive against Obathia and Brooke One ended in failure on 22 October. On 29 October, rebel units commenced a siege of Cyrus III, the last remaining royalist stronghold outside of Manorsia. The siege was conducted by forces under the command of General Ernst Rhalist, a Galician mercenary in the service of the Duke of Resmania. Cyrus III finally fell on 21 November, and all territories outside of Manorsia were now under the control of rebel forces. Childebert and Clotilde, who had remained at their capital worlds, and who themselves despised their brother, proved slow in providing him assistance. Chlodomer was now forced to begin a retreat from Manorsia; on 26 November, rebel forces set up a blockade of the capital star system. Chlodomer finally managed to slip away on 6 December; two days later, the world fell to Duke Otho's forces, and all of the Kingdom of Melorkian Manorsia was now under his control. Childebert gave Chlodomer sanctuary on Melorkia Prime, but at this stage did nothing against Otho. By 11 December, Otho and his officers had begun to consider who to install on the Manorsian throne in Chlodomer's place. The Duke of Resmania remained reluctant for the longest period of time, but by the end of the month, his views were changing. In January 1219, Chlodomer's health began to enter a severe decline. The King of Manorsia, more paranoid and dissatisfied than ever, became convinced that his enemies had worked in conjunction with each other. On 7 January, Childebert, urged by his brother, issued a proclamation denouncing Otho and his fleet as traitors and refusing to acknowledge Otho's control of Manorsia. Five days later, Chlodomer suffered a panic attack at the Public Square of Parian City, Melorkia Prime. His brother, King Childebert, now commanded that he be shielded from the public. On 22 January, Chlodomer suffered a minor stroke in his personal quarters, and his advisers, who were eager for his death, informed the King of Melorkia that they believed he would not last the year. In February 1219, Queen Clotilde visited Melorkia; she held a series of conferences with her older brother, and expressed her hope that Chlodomer's death would make it easier for them to reassert control in the Manorsian territories. Childebert, on his part, was also in anticipation of his brother's death, but continued to maintain a facade of grief in public. Then on 4 March, the King's physicians identified that the King of Manorsia was dying from terminal Malthusian syndrome, and there was nothing further which they could do for him. On 11 March, Chlodomer was prevailed upon to sign a will, prepared by the Melorkian Royal Council, in which he recognized Childebert as his successor as King of Manorsia. Then, on 20 March 1219, Chlodomer died. Barely eight years after the death of Clovis I, only two of his children were now living: Childebert, who was now King of Melorkia, Manorsia, and Roastafaria Minor, and Clotilde, Queen of Cambrina. Chlodomer was buried alongside his father and brother at the Vault of Kings on 25 March; five days later, Childebert declared that he was willing to pardon Otho and his followers, if they in turn acknowledged him as King. Otho, however, was ambitious, and did not wish to become a subordinate of the Melorkian King.

The Duke of Resmania was now having open contact with Sigismund, who had continued to expand his military forces and was provoking further rebel tensions against the two Melorkian sovereigns. In April 1219, Otho declared that Childebert would have to agree to the conditions earlier offered to Chlodomer in order to be acknowledged as ruler of the Manorsian territories. Childebert, who considered this an affront to his honor, refused. By May 1219, Manorsian squadrons had been concentrated at all of the Kingdom's strongholds, and Otho was issuing new mobilization and enumeration orders to the Manorsian people, declaring these were necessary to hold off an offensive by Childebert. On 5 July 1219, the Duke issued orders for a new Melorkian Assembly to convene on Manorsia. The Assembly's members had been chosen by 11 July, and on 21 July, they formally assembled at the Congressional Palace of Manorsia. One week later, on 31 July, they formally declared that Chlodomer had oppressed his subjects within his Manorsian dominions and that consequently, they owed no allegiance to his brother Childebert. On 2 August, this was formally enshrined in a proclamation, issued to both the Melorkian people and to the foreign courts of the Caladarian Galaxy. Duke Otto of Resmania made it known that he had no intention of assuming the Manorsian throne, and consequently, a search was begun for a "reliable prince of proper lienage" in order to become the new King of Manorsia. This search continued for much of August 1219. Childebert, on his part, was issuing manifestos from Melorkia denouncing the nobles of Manorsia as traitors and vowing revenge. The King of Melorkia, however, still did not make a move at this point. Finally, on 22 August, the Melorkian nobility settled on Prince Fre'dakh of Beatrice, a prominent Devianiani nobleman and entrepreneur who had served as Consul to the Court of Manorsia (1210-1214) and was known for the respect he held for Melorkian customs. Four days later, the Assembly of Manorsia elected Fre'dakh as King of Manorsia, on the conditions that he ensure Manorsian rights against intervention by Childebert and that he refrain from levying unlawful taxes upon his new subjects. Fre'dakh, who learned of his election at his palace on Magnasia on 29 August, spent weeks in consultation with the Council of the Devianiani Confederacy and with his own family on the matter. On 4 September, the Devianiani Magnate Max'doch of Trieste pleaded with Fre'dakh not to accept the Manorsian election of him as King. Communiques also arrived from Theodoric of Halegothica, Rechila II of Jarjanica, and Theodegotho (acting in the interests of her brother) in Ashlgothia, declaring that Fre'dakh would have to pursue a policy of conciliation with the King of Melorkia. Eventually, however, on 24 September, Fre'dakh decided to accept the Manorsian Assembly's decision, and he agreed to abide by the conditions which they had laid out. On 29 September, he departed from Beatrice, having obtained permission from a reluctant Devianiani Council to assume his new throne. He traveled through Trieste, Winehouse, Woolestone, Armenia Major, Shell, Brooke One, Hefner, and Matthew, viewing the garrisons and fortifications of those star systems and receiving delegations of Melorkian and Devianiani officials.

By 15 October, Fre'dakh had been acknowledged as King of Manorsia by the Council of the Devianiani Confederacy, Alexandria, the Venasian Consortium, and the Celestial Kingdom of Briannia. Sixteen days later, he finally arrived at Manorsia in a formal procession and was greeted by his new subjects with much enthusiasm. His coronation as King of Manorsia took place on November 4, 1219, with Duke Otto of Resmania acting as the chief noble in the ceremonies. Because the Melorkian Archpriest of Manorsia refused to officate, the Almitian Bishop of Manorsia, Sylvester, did so in his place, anointing the King according to Melorkian procedures. Fre'dakh was now placed in a harsh predicament, for the Manorsian territories had been devastated by Clovis's wars with Ashlgothia, Halegothica, and the Devianiani Confederacy, as also by Otto's Rebellion, the oppressions of Chlodomer, and occasional outbursts of dissent against the government. The treasury was virtually empty, and many of the soldiers in the Manorsian Royal Army had not been paid for months. Fre'dakh soon found himself dependent on Otto and the other nobles, as his ability to levy new taxation for his own benefit was now limited by the Assembly of Manorsia. In fact, on 15 November, Fre'dakh had to grant a charter to the Assembly, acknowledging its existence as the highest council of state and its right to scrutinize new legislation, approve new taxes, and provide for the military's discipline. Otto himself was ambitious, and Fre'dakh was forced to use many of his limited financial resources to keep the Duke and his supporters satisfied. Fre'dakh also quickly alienated many of the lesser nobles, government officials, and Melorkian officers, as he failed to satisfy their demands and seemed unable to come to grips with many of his duties as King. His wife, Ba'naa, who unlike her husband spoke no Melorkian and had no knowledge of Melorkian customs, insulted many at the Manorsian Court by her "boldness" and her refusal to abide by Melorkian court procedures. Tensions further escalated in December 1219, as Bishop Sylvester of Manorsia, who was now receiving unconditional support from the King and the Manorsian Assembly, began to implement decrees striking against religions which refused to "acknowledge the Lord Almitis as the supreme God of all". Many pious Melorkians were alienated by this and believed the Anti-God had assumed control over their species. In the meantime, Childebert on Melorkia was finally beginning to amass his military forces and prepare his government for future offensives into Manorsian territory. On 21 October 1219, the King of Melorkia had commenced negotiations with Rechila II of Jarjanica. In a series of secret conferences, which were held on Skold, Melorkian diplomats convinced the King of Jarjanica that it was necessary to move against Fre'dakh, and that he posed a threat to the stability of the Barsar Regions. Eventually, after much haggling between the Melorkian and Jarjanican delegations, the Treaty of Skold was signed on 16 November. By the terms of this treaty, Rechila II agreed to support Childebert and Clotilde against Fre'dakh, by "all means necessary". In exchange, the King of Melorkia promised that all remaining Devianiani territories, including the strongholds of Fre'dakh as a Devianiani Prince, would be passed into the hands of the Jarjanican Government. Childebert also exploited the resources of his Crimeanian Provinces, drafting Nathanliete, Sanegetan, Hooperian, Acamarian, and Eutagian corps into his forces. In December, 1219, Fre'dakh on his part belatedly attempted to secure the support of the Devianiani magnates of Trieste, Magnetia, and Masau; he also attempted to recruit Devianiani mercenaries from Morley, Safer, Stahl, and Simon. The Devianiani nobility, however, led by Magnate Max'doch of Trieste, proved reluctant and refused to commit themselves to any definitive military alliance with Fre'dakh.

As the year 1220 commenced, the Barsar Regions were rapidly descending into a state of war. Fre'dakh and his wife presided over the New Year's ceremonies on Manorsia, the only time in which they were to do so. The King of Manorsia continued to send communiques to Childebert, imploring for peace. In fact, in March 1220, Fre'dakh sent a formal note to the court of Melorkia Prime. In this note, the King of Manorsia declared that he was only responding to a "plea of the Melorkian people of Manorsia" and that he bore no ill-will against Childebert himself. He promised not to threaten Melorkian territorial integrity, to refrain from military entanglement, and offered to sign a non-aggression pact. Childebert, however, as previously, refused to respond to the note and denounced Fre'dakh as a pretender. On 1 April, in fact, he issued a ultimatum, demanding that Fre'dakh abdicate the Manorsian throne by no later than 1 June 1220, that he acknowledge Childebert as King of Manorsia, and that he return to his "position as a noble of the Devianiani Confederacy". Two days later, King Rechila II of Jarjanica issued his own ultimatum, threatening war with the Devianiani Confederacy unless it dropped its recognition of Fre'dakh as King of Manorsia. On 9 April, Rechila II and Childebert publicly announced the terms of the Treaty of Skold, and declared they would not negotiate with Fre'dakh unless if he promised to abdicate. Fre'dakh, who was growing increasingly alarmed, had begun to mobilize what resources he had to resist a Melorkian-Jarjanican offensive. On 25 March, he had pleaded with the Manorsian Assembly to increase the income tax and to authorize him to collect a conscription levy from the estates of prominent Melorkian nobles. The Assembly had haggled over this, but eventually approved the King's request on 19 April. Fre'dakh used his own private funds to hire Ashlgothian mercenaries, supply military arms and equipment to his personal command fleet, and strengthen the defenses of Manorsia. In May 1220, he was driven to near-bankruptcy in his position as a Devianiani nobleman, as he was forced to loan money from Devianiani financial institutions to supplement what the Assembly granted him. Fre'dakh's fortunes, however, were turning sour. Sigismund of Alexandria declared, on 4 June 1220, that he would not intervene to support Fre'dakh unless if Alexandrian territory was directly threatened. He refused, however, to restore diplomatic relations with Childebert. Theodoric of Halegothica, on his part, who was concerned with internal matters and was increasingly alarmed by affairs in the Homidinian Khanate and Armania (to be described below), signed the Treaty of Cox with Childebert and Rechila II on 18 June 1220, by which Melorkia and Jarjanica continued to acknowledge Halegothican protectorship of Ashlgothia and promised not to threaten Halegothican interests in the Barsar Regions. The King of Halegothica also continued to refuse to recognize Fre'dakh as King of Manorsia. Worse of all for Fre'dakh, Magnate Max'doch of Trieste managed to get the Council of the Devianiani Confederacy to drop its recognition of Fre'dakh as King on 4 July 1220. Fre'dakh was now forbidden by the Council to use his Devianiani estates to his own benefit any longer. The "King" of Manorsia was now pressed into a corner. By August 1220, Melorkian squadrons were being assembled at Roastafaria Minor, Jasmine, Les Mans, Babania, Tamars, Enrassburg, Algaica Belguica, Rasti, Riparia, Cholodio, and other strongholds; Childebert appointed the Polonian mercenary general Amelzaz Spinowski of Donguaria Prima as the commander of the Melorkian forces. Jarjanican units were also assembling, at Plath, Novina, Skold, Allen, Heckmann, and other strongholds, and Rechila II was drilling those units extensively. Then finally, on 5 September 1220, Childebert issued a declaration of war against the Kingdom of Manorsia and launched his units, under the command of General Spinowski, into Manorsian territory. Despite King Fre'dakh's efforts, the unity and professionalism of the Manorsian forces had deteriorated, and the superior organization, mobility, and tactics of the Melorkian troops proved to be the determining factor in the conflict. On 10 September, General Spinowski destroyed a Manorsian defense fleet in the Battle of Kreuznach. Four days later, he gained another victory at Oppenheim's Star, and now proceeded to establish a blockade of Obathia. Obathia was besieged from 17 September, and despite posing some challenge to the Melorkian force, it fell on the 26th. Beverly Hereidu (29 September-2 October); Cal (4 October); Simon (8 October); Morley (11-15 October); Stahl (22 October); Brooke One (27 October); and Hefner (28-29 October) were besieged and conquered by Melorkian units in turn. On 2 November, Fre'dakh, who had moved out from Manorsia with Duke Otto of Resmania and the squadrons that he had managed to muster, encountered the army of Prince Maxilianus of Jasmine, who served as the Vice-Commander of the Melorkian Forces. A series of confrontations ensued at Linzia and Roycrany (4-9 November 1220), which resulted in severe losses for the Manorsian forces. Fre'dakh, who had no military background, left the conduct of the war to Duke Otto and the other Manorsian generals. The King attempted to focus his intention on strengthening the defenses of Manorsia and organizing the supply lines for his military forces. On 12 November, the King of Manorsia decided to retreat back to his capital world with his troops, and the Melorkian troops under Spinowski and Prince Maxilianus elected to follow him. The following day, however, Duke Otto of Resmania managed to convince the King that they should make a stand at Whitter's Star, a red giant three light-year northeast of Manorsia. On 15 November, Fre'dakh traveled to Manorsia, intent on pleading with the Manorsian Assembly to extend tax levies further and to provide for a general mobilization of all Manorsian military forces. His effort, however, proved to be in vain, for on 17 November, Spinowski and Maxilianus launched a surprise offensive against the Manorsian forces at Whitter's Star. Despite the efforts of Duke Otto, the Manorsian forces were outclassed and surrounded; after two days of combat, the Melorkian forces obtained a decisive victory. Otto and his fleet officers managed to flee, but most Manorsian starships were destroyed or captured by General Spinowski's forces. On 21 November, Fre'dakh sallied forth from Manorsia, believing that his presence would inspire the Manorsian troops to resist any further advance. At the Gates of Trone, however, he was met by Duke Otto, who told him that the Melorkian forces had the clear advantage and that unless if he fled for his life now, then he would become a "prisoner in their hands". Fre'dakh, ignoring the fact that Cyrus III, Resmania, Matthew, West, Mirohassani, and the Armenian strongholds were still under the control of garrisons loyal to his government, decided to follow Otto's advice. On 24 November, Fre'dakh, Queen Consort Ba'naa, and their household and personal fleet fled from Manorsia. Evading pursuit squadrons dispatched by General Spinowski, they managed to reach Armenia Major on 29 November. Spinowski, who now had no further obstacle to his advance, entered Manorsia (25-27 November 1220); the world's garrison surrendered promptly and posed no resistance to his men. Woolestone (1-5 December); Winehouse (6 December); Matthew (7-11 December); West (12 December); Mirohassani (15 December); Cyrus III (18 December); Armenia Major (22 December); and Resmania (24 December) were besieged and conquered in turn by the Melorkian units; by the end of December 1220, Childebert had been formally proclaimed King of Manorsia by the Manorsian Assembly, and Fre'dakh's brief reign as King of Manorsia had ended. Fre'dakh himself had reached Trieste on 21 December and was granted sanctuary by the Council of the Devianiani Confederacy.

As the year 1221 began, the Barsar Regions were descending into war. It is now important to make brief notation of further events in the Homidinian-Solidaritan War, and also the domestic occurrences of Theodoric the Great's household. In August 1216, after a year of stalemate between the Homidinian and Solidaritan forces, the Solidaritan General Shahbaraz launched a renewed series of offensives in the Armanian territories. He ravaged the worlds of the Corporate Trade Corridor (August-September 1216); conquered Elbing (1-9 October); and destroyed a Armanian force at Belkadan (11-15 October). On 22 October, a Homidinian force launched a counteroffensive against Lawson, Markis Prime, and Maxwell, but was ultimately repelled. By the end of November 1216, Houston and Tyson had both been seized by Solidaritan troops, and Trasericus was forced to retreat to his headquarters on Syr-Daria. Solidaritan offensives against Vandross and Sernapasia (December 1216-February 1217) ended in failure however, and on 11 March, a Armanian-Homidinian force actually obtained a victory at Huntsman, ending Solidaritan plans for an offensive against Lacia and Dromund. In April 1217, however, Ryan was besieged by a Solidaritan force under the command of Shain. The Homidinian garrison, obliging by the commands of the Khan Ambaghai, resisted the Solidaritans fiercely; the world did not fall to Solidaritan units until the end of the year. The Solidaritans did manage to storm Gibbs-to-Lester (2-19 May 1217) and repelled a Homidinian counteroffensive against Drake, Rutherford, and Abitia (June-August 1217). By September 1217, however, the war had become one of attrition; Solidaritan and Homidinian fleets constantly skirmished with each other, and hundreds of colony-systems were devastated. Homidinian raiding parties even penetrated to Perry, Kara, and Dara, inflicting severe damage on Solidaritan positions before being compelled to retreat. In January 1218, Chosroes was forced to hasten from Dara to Abraham, as a massive revolt had broken out against Solidaritan authorities at Massanay, Sassanay, and Rouxli. The Western Revolt, as it became known, dragged on until 21 September, when it was finally suppressed. During that time, however, Homidinian forces made some reconquests from the Solidaritans. They stormed Gibbs-to-Lester (19-25 January 1217); Sanford (1-5 February); and Calms (8-17 February); before blockading Ryan (March-April 1217) and overrunning Solidaritan positions at Abitia, Drake, and Rutherford (May 1217). By June 1217, however, Shahin had again stabilized the front lines, and a Solidaritan raiding expedition against Sonny (1-25 July 1217) compelled Ambaghai to halt his offensives and to strengthen the defenses of the Lacian Cluster. By the end of 1217, Drake, Rutherford, and Abitia had again been recovered by Solidaritan troops. The years 1218, 1219, and 1220 were marred by indecisive clashes between Solidaritan and Homidinian forces; the Sultan Chosroes was beginning to become unpopular with his subjects, tensions which would reveal themselves in the late 1220s. On 5 January 1220, however, Trasericus, who wished to return his attention to internal matters, and who believed that the Homidinian Khanate was doomed, requested for a truce with the Solidaritan Sultanate. The Truce of Moxton was signed on 11 January; negotiations commenced nearly a month later at Tyson. Chosroes demanded that Trasericus concede the Oirat Complex, Glassia, and Houston to the Solidaritan Sultanate; that he acknowledge Chosroes as his co-overlord with Theodoric of Halegothica; and that he terminate his military alliance with the Homidinian Khanate. Trasericus decided to submit to these terms, and on 14 March 1220, the Treaty of Tyson was signed, formally terminating hostilities between the Solidaritan Sultanate and the Kingdom of Armania. By August 1220, Solidaritan troops had withdrawn from Armanian territory, besides the new strongholds which they now gained. Chosroes believed that he would now be able to complete the destruction of the Homidinian Khanate. By the end of 1220, however, Ambaghai was beginning to revive his forces. Finally, what most be noted are the domestic occurrences of Theodoric's household, at the tail end of the 1210s. The King of Halegothica, who had no sons of his own, was determined to procure for himself a heir, who could secure the Halegothican dominions and continue with his policies after his death.

Theodoric, by early 1219, had grown increasingly alarmed by the events in the Homidinian Khanate and in Melorkia, believing that safeguards must be provided to protect Halegothican territory from "drastic" political changes in those regions. He was determined to maintain Halegothican neutrality, and also to maintain his dominance over Ashlgothian affairs. The King of Halegothica had a younger daughter, Amalasuintha (who had been born on 5 July 1197), who was still unmarried. Amalasuintha had grown up into a beautiful and intelligent young woman, and her father was proud of her. The King, however, did not believe that a woman would be a worthy ruler of the Halegothican dominions; he believed his daughter needed a husband, who would be his heir and would ensure the interests of his dynasty and the Halegothican State. In February 1219, his niece, Ashlgothian Queen-Dowager Theodegotho, sent a communique to him, declaring that she knew of his concern for the Halegothican succession. She therefore proposed to her uncle that the Ashlgothian Prince of Kathryn, Eutharic (who had been born on 8 December 1186), would be a suitable match for his daughter. Eutharic, who was athletic, ambitious, and intelligent, was respected by many, in both Ashlgothia and Halegothica, and it was widely believed that if he were to assume a throne, he would become an effective and assertive monarch. Theodoric decided to follow his niece's suggestion, and on 28 March, issued a proclamation to his subjects. In this proclamation, the King of Halegothica declared that "concern for my dynasty and the security of the Halegothican State" had compelled him to select a "noble worthy of my daughter's attentions, who shall become her guardian and my heir". Two days later, the King formally summoned Eutharic to his court on Jasonia, commanding him to answer the summons "without delay". Eutharic, who had already been informed of the King's plans for him, obliged willingly. He arrived at Jasonia on 6 April and was greeted by the Halegothican Court with much pomp. When he first beheld Amalasuintha, Eutharic was "stricken with a sense of love and concern for her", and announced to all who were present that it would be his honor to marry her. On 11 April, they were formally engaged, and the King announced the wedding was to take place on 7 August. Amalasuintha gradually became acquainted with her fiancee, and she was now determined to marry him as well. The King of Halegothica, on his part, spared no expense in ensuring that his daughter's wedding would be one of the most lavish on record in galactic history. In the end, some $600 million Halegothican marks would be spent on the wedding. On 7 August 1219, Eutharic and Amalasuintha were married on Jasonia, with the King himself presiding over the deliverance of the vows. A public holiday was proclaimed, while all subjects were enjoined to celebrate the wedding until the end of the year. Largesse was distributed in the name of the married couple, and coins were struck in honor of the occasion. On 22 August, Theodoric created his daughter and son-in-law Grand Prince and Grand Princess of the Halegothican State. He also formally designated Eutharic as his heir and named him to sit on the Council of Elders. Eutharic and Amalasuintha wasted no time in performing their duty, and on 11 September, it was formally announced by the Halegothican Court that the King's daughter was pregnant with his first grand-child. Theodoric was joyful and ordered for his daughter's needs to be looked after for with the "greatest vigor possible". Amalasuintha's pregnancy proceeded smoothly, and on 16 June 1220, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy at her husband's estate on Henderson (which had been granted to them by Theodoric in January of that year). Theodoric was present at the birth, and was delighted to find out that he had a grandson. The King named the boy Athalaric, after his grandfather, and declared him to be Prince of Jasonia, second-in-line to the throne after his father Eutharic. Athalaric was formally baptized at the Crystellian Chapel of Henderson on 28 June, and three months of celebration were proclaimed for his birth. At the end of 1220, it seemed as if Theodoric's dynasty was secure. The last five years of Theodoric's reign, however, were to see a succession of tragedies and of unfortunate diplomatic events, which would lay the seeds for Halegothica's swift decline and fall after Theodoric's death.

Continuation of the Polonian-Briannian War; Deaths of Choldkiewiz and Radzwill, last surviving leader of the Zebrzydowski Rebellion; Briannian Advances in the Duchy of Schaueria Prime, and the Final Expulsion of Polonian Forces from that Territory; Death of Sahidanancy; Peace of the Laurasian Dominions; Reforms of Leonidas and Filaret; The King's Marriage to Pomponia Graecia; Her Untimely Death in Childbirth; The King's Grief; Briannian Invasion of the Horacian Provinces; Rise of Koniecpolski; The Innumerable Offensives and Counteroffensives; Leonidas arises from his sadness; The King's Second Marriage to Valeria Flaccia; Birth of a Daughter, Irina; Gu'starai's Involvement in the Horacian Campaigns; Birth of Leonidas's son and successor, Artabanus; The Conclusion of the War of the Briannian Succession and the Treaty of Altmark; Other Events in the Core (1221-1230)Edit

Having covered the events in the Outer Galactic Regions during the 1210s, we must now turn our attention back to the occurrences in the Inner Galactic Regions during the 1220s. This decade was to be far more stable and peaceful, for the Laurasian Dominions, then the preceding two decades had been. During the 1220s, the Stellar Kingdom of Laurasia would remain at peace with all of its neighbors, and would abstain from military conflict. King Leonidas and Pope Filaret focused their efforts on restoring the resources of the Laurasian State, repairing the damaged Laurasian government, and expanding the government bureaucracy. The war between the Polonian Commonwealth and the Celestial Kingdom of Briannia, however, over the disputed territories in the Duchy of Schaueria Prime, was to continue throughout the decade until its final resolution, resulting in a Briannian victory. As the year 1221 commenced, Polonian and Briannian forces were locked in ferocious combat in the Duchy of Schaueria Prime. As previously stated, Avaskar remained under siege by Briannian units. General Radzwill, however, attempting to regain some of the momentum, now launched a series of counteroffensives into Briannian territory. He managed to storm the defenses of Weissenstein (2-17 January 1221) and defeated a Briannian patrol fleet near Goteborg (22-25 January), before conquering Shiloh (February 1217). Polonian offensives against Calpurnia, Grobina, Salacgriva, Jessica Perea, and Schaueria Prime, however, ended in failure (March-April 1217), and on 9 May, Gu'starai defeated General Radzwill in the Battle of Farbinder. By the end of May 1221, Weissenstein and Shiloh had both been recovered by Briannian units, who now applied more pressure on the defenses of Avaskar. Avaskar's garrison buckled, and a final attempt by General Radzwill, in June 1221, to break the blockade ended in failure. On 5 July 1221, the garrison of Avaskar finally capitulated to the Briannian forces, and Gu'starai now arrived at the stronghold in triumph. Gullborg (6-11 July); Goteborg (12-19 July); and Linopking (22 July-6 August) were secured or re-secured by Briannian units, and the Polonian forces in the Duchy of Schaueria Prime had now been seriously weakened. Then on 19 August 1221, Gu'starai directed an offensive against the Polonian strongholds of Pavaria, Parnavia, and Kolchad. General Radzwill, whose units had been seriously weakened by continued clashes with Briannian forces, proved unable to resist this new Briannian advance. Pavaria was besieged from 29 August, falling to Briannian units two days later. Parnavia proved to be more of a challenge, but eventually, on 25 September, it also fell to the Briannian onslaught. Kolchad was isolated by Briannian units and eventually forced to surrender on 2 October. Two days later, Dunamunde, which Polonian units had actually managed to reconquer in July 1221, was once again secured by a Briannian force. This succession of Briannian victories alarmed and angered many within the Polonian Commonwealth; many of the magnates and representatives in the Polonian Parliament believed that Gu'starai II was taking the advantage and that Polonian ambitions in the Duchy of Schaueria Prime would be brought to an end. Two prominent Polonian figures now met their ends, in late 1221, which darkened the mood of many Polonians further.

The first of these was General Choldkiewiz. The Polonian General had been appointed Governor of the Central Core Provinces by King Sigis'ac on 18 January 1221, with the approval of the Polonian Parliament. Choldkiewiz himself had requested this position, believing that he would be able to maintain the Polonian position in the Central Core and consolidate the Commonwealth's dominion over Clancia and Melarnaria, so that in the future it would not be challenged by the Laurasians. Choldkiewiz had performed brilliantly in his position as Governor; he reduced taxation for those in the Central Core, repealed laws which were viewed as "injurious" to their interests, and made efforts to treat them in a "benevolent fashion". Choldkiewiz's health, however, was in decline; in March 1221, the Hetman-General suffered a minor stroke while delivering a speech at the Palace of Harmony on Clancia. Two months later, Choldkiewiz was forced to cancel a tour he had planned to undertake to Conservan, Reoyania, Dramis, Condtella, and Brithium, citing "reasons of health". On 7 June, the Hetman-General agreed to submit to a examination by Clancian physicians; two days later, it was discovered that he was dying of the terminal Lamponide cancer. Choldkiewiz now begged King Sigis'ac to dismiss him from his position, and to allow him to retire to his estate on Chocim, a pleasant colony world about eight light years northwest of Galicia Major. The King-Emperor at first relented, but eventually captiulated to Choldkiewiz's pleas. Choldkiewiz was formally relieved of his duties as Governor of the Central Core on 18 June; four days later, he began the long journey back to Chocim. Although he had canceled the earlier tour to the Clancian strongholds, Choldkiewiz was determined to make it to Chocim. Eventually, on 6 August, he arrived at the world, and immediately collapsed from exhaustion. Placed in the medical quarters of the Family Estate of Chocim, the Hetman-General clung on to life. His health continued to deteriorate; finally, on 24 September 1221, the Hetman-General died. Sigis'ac, in a proclamation to the Polonian people about the death of Choldkiewiz, declared that the Polonian Commonwealth had "lost the services of one who was devoted to his species and was determined to fight for what was right". King Leonidas, who had come to respect Choldkiewiz as a "worthy adversary of the Laurasian species", sent his condolences to the Polonian Court; other foreign monarchs, such as Queen Mother Christiana and the Grand Vizier Ismail Pasha (in the name of the Sultan Chosroes, engaged in his campaigns against the Homidinian Khanate), sent similar messages to the Polonian Court. Even King Gu'starai II, a bitter adversary of Sigis'ac's, declared that the death of Choldkiewiz was an "unfortunate event which has transpired". Choldkiewiz's body was placed on display at Chocim on 29 September; he was eventually buried on 11 October, with King Sigis'ac himself, along with Chancellor Sapieha, Prince Ostrogski, and the Prince of Esther in attendance. Two months later, on 3 December 1221, Lord Radzwill of Bartello, the last surviving leader of the Zebrzydowski Rebellion, died at his estate on Czarlin, to which he had retired in 1218. Radzwill's death was also announced to the Polonian people by the King, and as he had done with Zebrzydowski, Lisowski, and Herburt, Sigis'ac declared that Radzwill had "redeemed his reputation" through loyal service to his King and the Polonian State since the suppression of the Zebrzydowski Rebellion. In the meantime, the Polonian-Briannian War continued. Briannian forces occupied Mitau, which had been established by Polonian forces as a major stronghold (8-19 October 1221). In November 1221, however, a Briannian offensive against Kokense was blunted by Polonian forces under the command of Donguarian General Alexios Gosiweski. Gosiweski then launched raiding expeditions against Kalmar, Avaskar, Goteburg, Linopking, Gitlandia, and Seth (December 1221-January 1222) which disoriented Briannian forces and temporarily halted the Briannian push into Polonian territory.

However, as the year 1222 commenced, the advantage had shifted in favor of the Briannian forces; despite Gosiweski's raiding expeditions, Gu'starai had reconquered most of the Duchy of Schaueria Prime, and was now ready to advance into the Horacian Provinces once again. On 6 January 1222, the King of Briannia, from his command headquarters on Dunamunde, issued a proclamation to his troops, declaring that the peace which he and his father had fought for "would soon be accomplished" and that Sigis'ac would finally be forced to acknowledge his deposition from the Briannian throne. Eight days later, when the last of Gosiweski's raiding expeditions, terminated, the Briannian forces launched a series of coordinated offensives against the Polonian strongholds. On 15 January, a Briannian squadron blockaded Valmierra; the world fell to them five days later. Briannian units then stormed Polonian outposts on Livania (20-25 January); Tatiana (26 January); Estland (28 January-6 February); and Courlau (7-11 February). On 15 February, however, Generals Radzwill and Gosiweski launched a renewed counteroffensive. They stormed Mitau (16-19 February 1222) and harried Briannian positions at Grobina (22-29 February), before repelling Polonian squadrons launched from Aberdeen, Solis, and Kircholm (March 1222). By 11 April, however, Gu'starai had stabilized the front line, and Briannian units now defeated a Polonian starfighter squadron in the Battle of Celanon (12-19 April 1222). On 26 April, Mitau was reconquered; two days later, Briannian units cut off supply lines to Kedianiani, the largest remaining Polonian stronghold in the Duchy of Schaueria Prime. The war now bogged down into a stalemate, however, as Radzwill managed to repel Briannian raiding expeditions launched against Bartello, Theresa, and Louza (May-June 1222) and maintained the Polonian position on Koknese, in defiance of the Briannian units. On 4 August, Gu'starai, who wished to reformulate his offensive plans, and who had to negotiate a extension of the tax levy with the Rikstag, sent a communique to General Radzwill, offering for another truce between their forces. Radzwill, who believed this would be the ideal time to expand his forces in anticipation of a counteroffensive against Briannian positions, indicated his acceptance of the Briannian offer two days later. On August 22, 1222, the Truce of Kazin was signed, mandating that hostilities were not to resume until 1 August of the following year (1223). This truce would eventually be extended again on 6 May 1223 to last until 1 August 1225. All Polonian and Briannian prisoners of war, captured before August 22, were to be exchanged, and Briannian forces were to continue to occupy the strongholds which they had seized. The Truce of Kazin was confirmed by King Gu'starai on 26 August and by King Sigis'ac (with the Polonian Parliament) on 1 September. Thereafter, Polonian and Briannian forces terminated offensive operations. In the Polonian Commonwealth, King Sigis'ac had issued yet another proclamation of mourning, for another prominent figure had died. Hetman-General Sahidanancy had died on Kasta on 22 March 1222, just days before the King was to issue instructions for him to assume supreme command of Polonian forces in the Horacian Provinces. Sahidanancy was considered by many to be a competent commander, and a match for King Gu'starai. His death, however, removed one who could have posed a serious challenge to the Briannian King's ambitions. Sahidanancy's funeral on 11 October was greeted with much bewailment by the Polonian people, while King Leonidas had issued a diplomatic proclamation honoring him as a worthy foe of the Laurasian Government. To King Sigis'ac, it seemed as if all of those who had opposed him or supported him were dying off. Nevertheless, the Polonian Commonwealth was not engaged in active hostilities with its neighbors, as 1222 was drawing to its close.

King Gu'starai II of Briannia, on his part, hastened back to Briannia on 29 October 1222. Over the course of the following month, the King of Briannia, with the assistance of Oxenstierna, was able to obtain an extension of the tax levy which had been granted to him by the Rikstag. Gu'starai II also implemented a new Heraldry Code (November 6, 1222) and passed new regulations for commerce, navigation, and communications. Oxenstierna, who had been knighted by Gu'starai on 22 December 1217, continued to serve his master effectively and faithfully. In 1220, he had arranged Gu'starai's marriage with the Laurasian Princess Maria Eleanora of Stoughton. The Princess was renowned for her beauty and her intelligence, although her relations with her husband Gu'starai were not "the best of a married couple". Nevertheless, she performed her duty; on 16 October 1223 at the King's palace on Gdov, she was to give birth to his only child, his daughter and heiress apparent Christina. In general, however, the years 1223 and 1224 would be marked by Gu'starai's governmental reforms and his planning for renewed offensives into Briannian territory. In the meantime, in the Laurasian Dominions, King Leonidas and his father Pope Filaret continued with their policies of reform and recovery from the ravages of the Time of Troubles. In June 1221, Leonidas had, with the assistance of the Royal Council, imposed the new Income Levies Code, which implemented uniform tax rates for the estates and property of the nobility; confirmed the Almitian Church's exemption from tributes to the government; and tightened regulations for cracking down on fraud, evasion, and mishandling of tax monies. On 26 December 1221, the Consultative Assembly of 1213 had finally been dissolved, after having been in session for eight years; Leonidas now depended on the Aristocratic Duma as his conduit to understanding the affairs of his people, and he appointed many magnates of the Duma to the Royal Council. In February 1222, the King had embarked from Laurasia Prime on a tour throughout his dominions. This tour, which lasted for the rest of the year, saw the King visiting all of the strongholds of the Purse Region, as well as Arias, Kayla, Stoughton, Reese, Capital, Saray, Murphy, Senna, Anusia, and the Prelone Asteroid Belt. Leonidas was praised by his subjects for deciding to embark on this tour, and he rescinded all obligations for the duration of his journey. Pope Filaret, on his part, was endearing himself to the Laurasian people.

On 11 January 1222, the Pope had issued a papal manifesto declaring the Pope Hermogenes to be a "saint of the Laurasian State"; two months later, on the Pope's command, Hermogenes's body was disinterred from the Post Settlement of Hepudermia and reburied with full state honors at the Westphalian Cathederal. In November 1222, the Pope passed a sentence of damnation upon Pope Ignatius, declaring that he was a "false Pope" and never deserved to hold the highest position in the Almitian Church. Ignatius had died at Duros on 27 January 1220, having been abandoned by the Polonians and forgotten by the majority of the populace. On the orders of the Pope, he was denied a Almitian burial, and his remains were disposed of by solar incineration. On 1 January 1223, the Pope implemented a papal bull, Regiis in fide (On the Faith of the King's Subjects), which declared that any subject who did not acknowledge the "divine status" of the King's person and who attempted to foment rebellion would be promptly excommunicated; any who gave their support to a pretender would be denied an Almitian burial. On that same day, Leonidas, in his New Year's proclamation to his subjects, declared that his father's religious policies were directed towards "securing the safety of the Laurasian people". Filaret, however, continued with his other beneficial policies. He sponsored the establishment of the Papal Library of Expolansia Major in February 1223; encouraged the expansion of the ecclesiastical education system; relaxed restrictions on the role of women in the clergy; and commanded for every monastery to be prompt in preserving the archives and records which were entrusted to them. Filaret was also instrumental in the elevation of Honorius Gramatonius, a Laurasian prince and clerk who had sojourned at the Polonian Court in 1219-22 and was known for his work ethic, knowledge of languages, and patriotic belief in the Laurasian State. Gramatonius was appointed by King Leonidas as the Secretary of the Bureau of Royal Correspondence and the Chancellory on March 6, 1223; four days later, the King also appointed him as Vice-Secretary of Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs. Gramatonius performed brilliantly in his duties over the next three years, although in October 1223, a minor revolt took place on Oxia Vixius, fueled by rumors that Gramatonius had an affair with a Polonian nobleman. This revolt, however, was crushed; disturbances on Soria, Fulcania, Vetta, and Sarah from November 1223 to January 1224 were also suppressed.

Gramatonius, on his part, negotiated a new trade agreement with the Solidaritan Court; the Treaty of Rebecca (March 29, 1223), resulted in the Laurasian Government being enabled to establish customs houses on Michael, Wendy, Deanna, Deserlia, Shannon, and Dennis, and to maintain these houses for a period of ten years. In April 1223, Gramatonius and the King held a series of audiences with the Halegothican Ambassador to the Laurasian Court, Fruita. By September 1223, negotiations had begun over the conclusion of an economic and communications agreement between Laurasia and Halegothica. The Royal Government, in general, also intently watched the events in the Galactic Borderlands; the death of Coenwulf of Marcia in 1221 saw the beginnings of the collapse of the Marcian Empire. Already in 1219, the Laurasian Royal Government had established a military outpost on Yenesia; plans were underway for a Laurasian military expedition to seize Kanjur, Morgania, and Kelvania when the opportunity presented itself. By 1224, Laurasian expeditions had also colonized the systems of Ruttlesworth, Obia, and Ketsia, further consolidating the Laurasian grip over the Malarian Provinces. On 4 January 1224, Leonidas issued a decree confirming the self-government privileges of the Malarian Provinces; in that same decree, the King also declared that any subject who migrated to live in the Malarian Provinces would be exempted from income and property taxes for one year, granted a annuity by the government, and allowed privileges of free trade and navigation. On the suggestion of Filaret, the Archbishoprics of Almastead, Meehan, and Manzo were organized by the statute of 29 January 1224, strengthening the administrative organization of the Almitian Church in those regions. Filaret also directed for the construction of 450 new Laurasian monasteries, abbeys, and priories in the Malarian Provinces; in March 1224, he permitted the clergy living in those regions to engage in trade in order to finance the operations of their estates. But by April 1224, another concern, more pressing and immediate for the security of the Leonidian Dynasty, had arisen for both the Pope and the King: obtaining for the King a royal bride. Leonidas was now twenty-eight years old, and still unmarried. His mother, the Abbess-General Martha, had continued to have much influence over her son, and she was fearful that his wife would "lead him astray from the paths of righteousness". Filaret, however, was convinced (and rightly) that the Leonidian Dynasty would not endure unless if the King quickly married and produced heirs. Leonidas himself was eager for a wife, and wanted to experience the same sensations as the married Laurasian nobles.

Therefore, on 21 April 1224, the King and the Pope announced to the Royal Council and the Aristocratic Duma to procure for him a wife, from among the noble and gentle ladies of the Laurasian Realm. A week later, a royal manifesto was formally issued, in the style of the marriage manifestos of Honorius the Terrible. This manifesto, communicated to all of the Laurasian subjects throughout the Kingdom's territories, declared that "His Majesty desires for a maiden, who is fertile and willing to be loyal to him and his dynastic line". Consequently, according to the customs of the Laurasian Royal House, as had been formally codified by the decree of January 17, 1222, a search was to be conducted amongst the Laurasian nobility and gentry for a potential wife for the King. This search commenced in June 1224, and continued for two months. 2,000 noble ladies of the Laurasian Realm were assembled at the Celestial Palace, undergoing the regiment of cosmetic treatments, interviews, and evaluations as had become a routine matter for a royal marriage. Eventually, on 13 August 1224, the King, having been introduced to the ten remaining finalists, made his decision: he choose Pomponia Graecia of Ietas, the daughter of the Laurasian Viscount Vespasian Graecia and his wife, the Viscountess Maria Graecia. The Lady Pomponia, who was beautiful and fervent in her faith, was approved of by the King's parents, and was, in the eyes of the Laurasian public, a worthy bride for their master. On 22 August, they were formally engaged, and it was announced that their wedding was to take place on 1 October. Preparations were now underway for a lavish ceremony on Laurasia Prime, to surpass even the splendors of the weddings of False Demetrius I and Arasces Shuilavos nearly two decades earlier. Finally, on 1 October, the wedding was conducted at the Westphalian Cathederal; Pope Filaret himself presided over the deliverance of the vows. Pomponia promised to respect her husband, as her King and master; Leonidas in turn, promised to protect him from the threat of others. After these vows were exchanged, a lavish banquet was held at the Diplomatic Palace for the foreign ambassadors, the Laurasian Court, and the King's family, as well as the most prominent nobles, government officials, and military commanders. A two-week public holiday was proclaimed, while largesse was distributed to the crowds, salvoes fired, and fireworks displays held. Coins were struck in honor of the wedding, and a proclamation enjoined all subjects to celebrate. The King, who had not before lain with a woman, was eager to consummate the marriage; he proved to be vigorous in bed, and on 15 October, it was announced that the new Queen-Consort was pregnant with his first child. On Filaret's suggestion, Leonidas had her formally crowned Queen-Consort on 6 November, and he declared that he wished that she would bear him a healthy son and heir; a manifesto of January 9, 1224 had declared that the Laurasian succession should always descend by hereditary succession, to the eldest surviving son of the sovereign. This manifesto was to remain in effect until Seleucus the Victor promulgated the First Imperial Law of Succession nearly a century later. The atmosphere of the Laurasian Court was thus hopeful and joyous as the year 1224 came to its close. On 1 January 1225, the Caladarian Galaxy (with the exception of the war-torn Barsar Regions and Middle Territories, and the Homidinian Dominions, as will be shown below), celebrated the commencement of the new year. 1225 marked the terminus of the first quarter of the thirteenth century. Leonidas, who was especially exultant in the celebrations, declared that the new year would see the birth of a heir to the Laurasian throne. And indeed, that seemed a distinct possibility, as the first months of 1225 advanced with no alarms raised about the Queen-Consort's condition.

In January, 1225, Leonidas and the Royal Court retreated from Laurasia Prime to the Palace of Dreams (the future Palace of Placenta) on Darcia; Pope Filaret supervised matters on Laurasia Prime in his son's absence. The Core Regions, in general, remained at peace during the first half of 1225. The Laurasian economy continued to recover from the Time of Troubles. Laurasia Prime's population reached 39 billion on 25 January 1225; by that point, all damaged Laurasian cities had been repaired, and commerce had returned to normal. Unemployment was now 7.5%, its lowest level since 1201. Inflation had dropped to 5.6% and the number of individuals dependent on governmental welfare and provision programs had dropped substantially. On 8 February 1225 (coincidentally, exactly a century before the death of Seleucus the Victor), the Laurasian Royal Treasury was able to announce that for the first time since 1202, the Laurasian Government had a budget surplus, and not a deficit. Leonidas ordered for public displays of joy at this announcement, and he commended his government officials for their prompt action in restoring government finances. On 22 February, the last of the brigands of the Time of Troubles, Spartacus Martonius (who shared a name with the Laurasian officer who had led the famous revolt of 72-70 BH against the Laurasian Stellar Republic), was captured at Wydah; he was executed on Courdina V two months later. By March, 1225, Leonidas was growing impatient for the conclusion of his wife's pregnancy; he declared that if only they had married earlier, she would have already given birth to his son. His father, the Pope, counseled his son to wait patiently. On 5 April 1225, however, the Queen-Consort began to experience sharp contractions in her personal quarters on Darcia. Her maids gave her medications to reduce the contractions, and the Royal Household did not believe that they marked anything serious. Four days later, however, the Queen-Consort's contractions resumed, giving her so much pain that she screamed for Almitis's intervention. King Leonidas, in despair, had his wife immediately moved to the Crygellian Hospital of Darcia; in this moment of crisis the King was accompanied by his mother and by Prince Pozkharius, who had been awarded the Order of St. Honorius the Liberator in April, 1219, in honor of his efforts, and had become one of the King's closest advisers. The doctors tried everything they could, but eventually, on 14 April, it was determined that the Queen's life could not be saved. Leonidas now contemplated rescinding the genetic customs of the Royal House, to permit radical new treatments to be tried to save his baby. Abbess Martha and Prince Pozkharius, however, managed to convince him that the will of the Lord Almitis needed to prevail. On 18 April, Queen-Consort Pomponia was given the Last Rites by Constantine, the Archbishop of Darcia. Two days later, she died. When King Leonidas was informed that his wife had died, he was sent into "utter despair" and railed against those around him, declaring that he had been cursed by the Anti-Almitis. Leonidas flung into a rage and issued a order for all those who had treated his wife to be arrested and imprisoned at the Costello Castle of Darcia. He overruled his mother and Prince Pozkharius, and this heinous command was carried out. Some 300 members of the Royal Hospital of Darcia were arrested and imprisoned at the Castle, being accused of criminal negligence, manslaughter, and treason. Pope Filaret, on his part, soon heard of his daughter-in-law's death, and of the punishment the King had imposed on those responsible for treating her. The Pope now pleaded with his son to rescind the punishments; he declared that the Lord Almitis would not want for the King to indulge himself in such a heinous act of tyranny. Leonidas eventually capitulated, and ordered for the medical staff to be released and pardoned on 29 April. On 6 May, his wife's body was opened up by the autopsy team; it was discovered that she had been carrying a son. This amplified the King's grief, and two days later, in a manifesto to his subjects about her death, he declared that the Laurasian Dominions had lost "both a virtuous queen-consort and a heir". On 11 May, the King departed for Laurasia Prime with his entourage, commanding for his wife's body to be prepared, as well as the corpse of his son, and for both to be transported to the Westphalian Cathederal for a lying in state and then burial. The King arrived at Laurasia Prime the following day; it took longer for the bodies of his wife and son to arrive, which they eventually did so on 17 May. On 19 May, the bodies of Queen-Consort Pomponia and her stillborn son were placed on display at the Westphalian Cathederal; crowds of subjects were brought past her body to mourn.

Finally, on 26 May, her funeral was conducted, with Pope Filaret, who had just the previous year presided over the marriage vows, now delivering the Funeral Benedictions and Rites. The King was unable to control himself and had to be carried out from the funeral. Leonidas then shut himself up in the Royal Quarters; for much of the rest of the year, he could spend little time on his state duties, delegating his public responsibilities to his parents and to Prince Pozkharius. Both of his parents were distressed, both because of their son's predicament and because they had lost a daughter-in-law and a grandson. Their efforts to convince the King to lift himself out of his isolation resulted in failure. In the meantime, however, events were proceeding elsewhere. By June 1225, Gu'starai II of Briannia was finally in a position to expel the last remaining Polonian forces from the Duchy of Schaueria Prime and launch a renewed invasion of the Horacian Provinces. The King had assembled military squadrons at Steneborg, Avaskar, Kalmar, Linopking, Seth, Aberdeen, Solis, Rashid, Calpurnia, the strongholds of the Nexus Route, Shiloh, Kircholm, Weissenstein, Salacgriva, Gitlandia, Dunamunde, and Goteburg, determined to finally destroy the Polonian occupation force in Briannian territory and to impose Briannian might over the Polonian-Donguarian Commonwealth. In March 1225, Briannian officials began holding secret discussions with the Laurasian and Venasian Governments, hoping to formulate a secret military alliance against Sigis'ac. King Leonidas and Pope Filaret, although they wished to recover the lost provinces of the Central Core, nevertheless believed that Laurasia was not ready for war with the Polonian Commonwealth at this stage; consequently, on 11 May, they had informed Gus'tarai that while they fully supported his efforts to compel Sigis'ac to recognize him as King of Briannia, they nevertheless could not involve themselves directly in the conflict. Queen Mother Christiana, on 16 May, issued a secret communique to the Briannian Court, declaring that Venasian involvement in the affairs of Kuevia and Melorkia precluded any involvement in the war with Polonia. She too, however, expressed her support for Briannian territorial and political ambitions. Although Gus'tarai had failed to secure a military alliance against the Polonians, he now felt confident to proceed forward with his plans. On 12 June, having entrusted Chancellor Oxenstierna and the Council of Ministers with supervision of affairs on Briannia in his absence, the King had departed from his capital world with his personal fleet. Arriving at Dunamunde four days later, Gu'starai now took direct command of his military forces, as he had before. Donguarian Chancellor Sapieha on his part, who had been named President of the Council of Ministers by King Sigis'ac on 29 December 1222, had pressured the King to appoint him to a military command. Sigis'ac, who had taken into consideration Sapieha's actions in the Laurasian Purse Region, relented, but eventually, on 20 June, agreed to appoint him as Co-Commander of Polonian forces in the Horacian Provinces, alongside General Radzwill (who remained operational commander in the Duchy of Schaueria Prime). Five days later, Gu'starai II formally announced the termination of the Truce of Kazin and launched his forces against the Polonians. A Briannian force, comprised of 300 Char'lar-class battleships and 3,000 elite starfighters, launched a offensive against Kokense; this time, Briannian firepower and numbers proved overwhelming, and Kokense fell on 6 July. Two days later, Gu'starai defeated General Radzwill in the Battle of Kolchad, maintaining the Briannian grip over that stronghold. Briannian expeditions harried John, Levinston, and Donald (July-August 1225), destroying Polonian command outposts, disrupting Polonian communications, and weakening Polonian military coordination. On 21 August, Tartu was conquered; six days later, a Briannian force surrounded Kedianiani. The world resisted fiercely for some days, but on 5 September, its defenses were finally breached by Briannian units. Gu'starai, however, commanded for the officers of the garrison to be spared, and instead congratulated them for their skill at warfare. On 10 September, Briannian units stormed the last Polonian outposts in the Duchy of Schaueria Prime, Blountria and Mimica, and finally regained control of the whole of the Duchy of Schaueria Prime, for the first time in over two decades. On 16 September 1225, Briannian forces invaded the Horacian Provinces. They quickly stormed Bartello (22 September); Cinnamon (24-29 September); and Louza (1-3 October), inflicting severe defeats upon inferior Polonian garrisons. On 8 October, Sapieha launched a counteroffensive against Kokense and Avaskar which ended in utter failure; two days later, Kazin was overrun by a Briannian squadron. By 15 October, Briannian forces had also occupied the Polonian agricultural stronghold of Bauksa, threatening supply lines to Horacia, Momma, and Pandy. Radzwill and Sapieha, on their part, did not get along, and numerous disputes in strategy and organization between the two commanders damaged Polonian efforts at resisting the Briannian invasion. As a result of this bickering, Briannian forces conquered Kasta on 22 October, taking nearly half of the Polonian garrison as prisoners. On 1 November, the Polonians were defeated in the Battle of Devina, and were forced to withdraw from Cageo. Cageo itself was occupied by King Gu'starai on 8 November.

By 17 November, Briannian units were blockading Lithan, and were penetrating to the outskirts of the Theresa star system. Radzwill and Sapieha, however, were now commanded by the Polonian Parliament to end their disputes and to follow a offensive plan which had been drafted by the Polonian General Headquarters. Working together, the two Polonian generals managed to slow the Briannian advance. The blockade of Lithan was lifted (22-26 November 1225), and on 29 November, Gu'starai's first offensive against Theresa ended in failure. By 6 December, Polonian units had recovered Kasta, Cageo, and the systems of the Cinnamon Mist; the Briannian forces had been forced to terminate their raiding expeditions against Horacia, Momma, and Zennethia. On 11 December, a Briannian offensive against Daugvapils was repelled, and four days later, Radzwill seized the Briannian communications outpost on Valle. The Polonian General was now planning to reconquer Kokense and Tartu, and to resume Polonian operations in the Duchy of Schaueria Prime. Sapieha, however, raised a debate over this planned offensive, and the Polonian commanders were once again distracted from their offensive plans. Gu'starai II, who had reorganized his military forces, was now preparing another counteroffensive. On 27 December, the King of Briannia was aided immensely in his efforts when his intelligence units captured the war plans of the General Headquarters at Olwa; this allowed Gu'starai to strengthen the garrisons of Kokense and Tartu with new shield generators and specialized minefields, and to strengthen Briannian task forces at Bauksa, Bartello, and Cinnamon.

On 1 January 1226, the King of Briannia declared to his military commanders and officers that this time there would be no retreat. The Horacian Provinces would be overrun and would be detached from the Polonian Commonwealth; Sigis'ac would be forced to acknowledge his loss of the Briannian throne. On 7 January, Briannian units began to deploy in their offensive formations; the King made efforts to ensure that the tensions between Sapieha and Radzwill continued to persist, and that Polonian forces were fooled by the ploys of the Briannian Intelligence Corps. On 13 January, Gu'starai concentrated his main offensive force at Wallhof, and four days later, launched a surprise offensive against the Polonian headquarters on Valle. Chancellor-General Sapieha, who had not been expecting a Briannian offensive, and who was separated from Radzwill (then at Zutagia with his main command fleet), was overwhelmed. The result was a decisive Briannian victory; Gu'starai destroyed the entire Polonian headquarters, captured 80% of the convoy supplies, and destroyed a large number of the Polonian transports and starfighters. Sapieha himself barely escaped with his life. His son, Jan, who had served as the commander of his father's flagship, was so devastated as to suffer a nervous breakdown. Gu'starai now regained the complete advantage. He reconquered Kasta (19-25 January); Cageo (28 January-5 February); and the systems of the Cinnamon Mist (6-11 February), uprooting Polonian garrisons and driving Polonian forces back. Plans for an offensive against Kokense and Tartu were abandoned by Chancellor Sapieha. Sigis'ac was in a rage on Polonia Major, and sulked within his private quarters. By the end of February 1226, Briannian units were again besieging Lithan and Daguvapils, and had resumed their raiding expeditions.

As these events were ongoing in the Briannian Dominions, another was taking place at the Laurasian Royal Court. As had been mentioned above, King Leonidas had been devastated by the death of his first wife and queen-consort, Pomponia Graecia. For months after her death, he had raged and sulked, refusing to appear in public and neglecting his state duties. His parents had despaired of him, for all their efforts to convince him to return to his normal routine had failed. But by the end of December 1225, however, Leonidas himself was realizing that he needed to procure for himself another wife, and that the dynasty had to be secured as soon as possible. The King and Autocrat, who had retreated to his family's estate on Istalia, where he had spent part of his childhood, now emerged from his delusions. On 1 January 1226, in the New Year's proclamation to his subjects, Leonidas declared that he had overcome his "immense grief over the loss of my dear wife and of my son" and that he was now determined to marry again. Five days later, the King returned to Laurasia Prime, being received by his parents, Prince Pozkharius, and the Royal Council in a formal ceremony. On 11 January, a royal manifesto was issued, ordering for yet another search of the noble ladies and maidens of the Laurasian Realm to be conducted, for the King's new potential wife to be found. The same processes were followed, and by the end of January, 1226, two thousand Laurasian women of noble or gentle lineage had again been assembled at the Royal Court. February and March 1226 were dominated by the cosmetic treatments, the interviews, and the evaluations by the Council and the Pope; everything seemed to be a repetition of the events of a year and a half before. Finally, on 5 April 1226, the same day that Honorius the Terrible's fourth and last surviving wife, Licinania Kalagastagania, died on Caladaria, it was announced by the Laurasian Government that Valeria Flaccia, the daughter of Lord Menelaus Flaccia of Hymenal, had been selected by the King and the Council as his future wife. Flaccia's family was immediately honored by the King; on 11 April, Lord Flaccia was created Baron of Hymenal and was awarded a generous financial pension by the Royal Court. Four days later, the King was formally engaged with Lady Flaccia at the Westphalian Cathederal. Valeria was a beautiful maiden, and was both honest and subordinate to her future husband. These were what convinced Leonidas to marry her. The Lady was also said to be very fertile, and the King expected that she would bear him many children in their marriage. Leonidas was so determined to have his son and heir that he commanded his father, Pope Filaret, to set the date of the wedding at the earliest possible time; that date fell on 9 May. During the remainder of April 1226, vigorous preparations were underway for the royal wedding; Leonidas also found time to order his subjects to mourn Kalagastagania's death, and her state funeral was conducted on 27 April, with both the King and the Pope, as well as Prince Honorius the Younger's wife Grand Princess Yelena in attendance. On 4 May, the King ordered for all at the Royal Court to prepare themselves properly for the wedding, and commanded all courtiers to outfit themselves with new and expensive garments. The wedding finally occurred five days later; the celebrations for it were lavish. Salvoes were fired in honor of the union, coins struck, largesse distributed to the crowds, as was the norm with state ceremonies such as weddings and coronations. Pope Filaret presided over the vows; like Pomponia had done, Valeria swore to honor and cherish her husband as King and Master, while Leonidas promised to protect her from the threats posed by others. Following this, a lavish banquet was held in honor of the King and his new Queen-Consort; then, on 12 May, the King had his wife formally crowned by his father, the Pope, with ritual as lavish and rigorous as any ceremony before it. Leonidas was eager to consummate this marriage, so that he could secure for himself a heir apparent, and as he had with his previous wife, was vigorous in bed. It was not until 17 July 1226, however, before the Royal Government was able to announce that the King and Queen were expecting their first child. Valeria's pregnancy proceeded smoothly, and eventually, on 22 April 1227, she was to give birth to a daughter, Irina, at the Palace of Hope on Mariana Prime. Although the royal parents were disappointed at the child's gender, Leonidas was at least happy to know that his wife was fertile and there was great hope for their having more children. In the meantime, the events of the Polonian-Briannian War, in its last stage, continued to proceed.

On 4 March, General Sapieha, under increasing pressure by the King and the Council of Ministers, launched a desperate counteroffensive against Briannian forces. Polonian expeditions struck Kasta, Kazin, Bartello, and Arguello, attempting to disrupt Briannian communications and weaken Briannian offensive formations. This counteroffensive lasted for most of March 1226, but Gu'starai was able to maintain the Briannian conquests and ultimately repelled the Polonian force. Briannian units now tightened their blockade of Lithan and Daguvapils. Lithan continued to resist fiercely, but on 9 April, Briannian officers were able to discover a gap in that world's shield defenses. Gu'starai, determined to have this important Polonian stronghold in his offensive, commanded for the Briannian starfighters and corvettes to advance through this gap as quickly as possible. The Briannian force overwhelmed the command network of the Polonian shield system, and on 14 April, Lithan's shields collapsed. The world was then overrun by Briannian troops, who treated its inhabitants and its garrison with great cruelty. Daguvapils was then conquered on 26 April, and Briannian units were now advancing towards Theresa. Although a Polonian squadron sacked the Briannian repository on Fellin (29 April-7 May 1226), the Briannians continued their advance into Polonian territory. On 12 May 1226, Gu'starai II launched his primary offensive in the Horacian Provinces. One force, comprised of nearly a thousand Briannian corvettes, battleships, and dreadnoughts, alongside with a sizable detachment of transports, was commanded by King Gu'starai itself and assaulted John, Donald, the outskirts of Theresa, and the Polonian operational headquarters at Pilawa. Another force, commanded by General De la Guardie, advanced against Momma, Levinston, and Pandy. Gu'starai made swift advances. He defeated a Briannian force in the Battle of Pruliana (13-19 May 1226); sacked Kokenhausen, the site of a Polonian victory under Choldkiewiz and the elder Radzwill over Briannian forces nearly twenty-five years earlier (22 May); and breached the defenses of John (24 May-9 June). Theresa was blockaded by Briannian units, and by 15 June, Polonian army transports and freighters had been driven from Valta. Sixteen Polonian outposts in the vicinity of Pilawa were overrun by Briannian forces, who were now threatening Polonian command positions. General De la Guardie, on his part, stormed the Polonian assembly base of Levinston (16-24 June 1226) and then secured Pandy with the assistance of its rebellious inhabitants (1-5 July 1226). A Briannian offensive against Momma, however, was defeated by General Radzwill in the Battle of Gdansk (6-11 July). Gu'starai II, who understood that Gdansk was the main obstacle to a Briannian conquest of Momma, now began to amass his forces for a massive offensive on the stronghold. In August 1226, Briannian units conquered Donald and Ergeme, while repelling Polonian counteroffensives against Kastin, Cageo, Bartello, and Daguvapils. They also conquered the Polonian garrisons of Puck, Gniew, Tczew, and Glowa Gdanska, all of whom had been colonized by the Commonwealth during the first quarter of the thirteenth century. King Sigis'ac, who had been watching the military offensives on Polonia Major with increasing anger, now decided that he had to take personal command of his military forces. The King-Emperor of Polonia and Donguaria, who had not commanded a military force in over fifteen years, now deemed it necessary for his presence to be established in the Horacian Provinces. On 19 August, Sigis'ac sent a notice to the Polonian Parliament, requesting permission to depart from Polonia Major in order to take command of his forces in the field. The Parliament, which distrusted the King's motives, at first refused to even acknowledge his petition. It took the efforts of Chancellor-General Sapieha, Primate Henyrk Firjei (who had succeeded Gembiski as Primate following the latter's death on 19 December 1224), and Prince Ostrogski to obtain support for the King's motion in the Parliament. The Magisterial Court finally approved Sigis'ac's request on 6 September.

Two days later, Sigis'ac departed from Polonia Major with the Royal Court; accompanying him was his son, Prince Wladyslaw, who had served as a prominent member of the Council of Ministers and had acted as his father's representative in the Polonian Parliament. Wladyslaw, whose only prior military experience had been in the abortive campaign of 1216-18 against Leonidas of Laurasia, was now to gain more direct combat skills, in the action against the Briannians. Sigis'ac reached Momma on 11 September and became Supreme Commander of the Polonian Forces. The King-Emperor was determined to confront his rival, the son of the man who had deposed him from the Briannian throne, in battle. Therefore, on 15 September, the King-Emperor and his force moved out from Momma and hurried to Gniew, besieging the Briannian garrison there. Gu'starai II (who was becoming known as "Adolphus", which was Briannian for "Mighty King"), now moved from his operational headquarters on Cageo in order to relieve the garrison of Gniew. On 19 September, he stormed a Polonian relay outpost at Walichnowy and confiscated a number of Polonian communication devices. Sigis'ac, eager to confront his foe in battle, and learning of his advance, now left part of his force to blockade the garrison of Gniew, and moved south to Cieple, where he organized his formations and awaited the Briannian advance. Gu'starai took the initiative, and on 22 September, started his advance towards Gniew with a force of freighters, corvettes, and destroyers. General De la Guardie had now moved to Cageo and was entrusted with repelling Polonian counteroffensives towards Bartello and Cinnamon. The King of Briannia soon came into contact with Polonian scout units under the command of General Heinris Thurnius (a Melorkian mercenary in the service of the Polonian Commonwealth). Thurnius managed to inflict damage upon the Briannian left flank and destroyed most of the King's freighters, but Gu'starai was able to rally the remainder of his forces and compel the Polonians to retreat. Fighting however, soon erupted between Polonian and Briannian squadrons at Grownono, about three light years southeast of Cieple. The Polonians attempted to draw the Briannians out; this effort failed, and the Briannians maintained their positions. The Polonians however, soon received reinforcements, dispatched by King Sigis'ac, and the Briannians at Grownono now began to retreat back towards Walichnowy. Gu'starai, however, now redirected 200 cruisers to Grownono, and with these units, the Briannians launched a fresh counterattack. The Polonians, however, repelled them back, but their effort to launch a raiding expedition against Walichnowy was blunted. Skirmishing then took place in the Voids of Antrax, with both sides suffering severe losses. The Polonians launched one final counteroffensive, attempting to capture the Briannian arsenal on Deadman's Moon, but this effort was repelled by Briannian corvette units.

By 1 October, the stage was set for the final, primary confrontation between the two opposing forces. The Polonians and the Briannians alike sought to strengthen their defensive positions; Gu'starai, however, also dispatched a reconnaissance squadron to report on the Polonian deployments at Cieple. The squadron soon received intelligence from a Briannian spy at Sigis'ac's camp, informing them of the situation at Cieple and that Polonian units were not covering the Cieple-Gniew Spice Corridor. Gu'starai now decided to attempt a breakthrough to Gniew using the Spice Corridor, and to distract the Polonians from the main direction of impact. Thus, during the early afternoon hours of 1 October, Briannian units advanced down the Spice Corridor; once around Grownono, however, they were suddenly attacked by a Polonian starfighter squadron. They were forced to retreat back to Grownono. Gu'starai, however, did not abandon his plans of pushing forward to Gniew. A second Briannian force advanced along the Spice Corridor, but was ambushed by Polonian squadrons and suffered heavy losses. Gu'starai was forced to pull these units back as well. Sigis'ac now gave the command that a minefield and interdictor battleships be laid out across the intersection of the Spice Corridor at Grownono, and that Polonian units launch strikes in the Voids of Antrax to disorient the Briannian forces. Gu'starai Adolphus, however, now executed a massive assault and had his corvettes advance upon the Polonian interdictors. The Briannians managed to break the first line and to scatter many of the battleships, but a second Polonian group of interdictors, these ones armed with ion cannons, surrounded the corvettes and disabled them. Gu'starai now had his starfighters and transports advance; rigged with explosives, they were hurled into the ion cannon interdictors and managed to inflict severe damage upon them. The Polonian dreadnoughts launched a counteroffensive, and destroyed many of the Briannian cruisers and freighters. A Briannian force of destroyers and assault ships, however, then launched a swing around the dreadnoughts, separating them from the remaining interdictors and penetrating to the minefields. Gu'starai then led a charge of battleships and starfighters against the Polonian transports, and destroyed many of them. The dreadnoughts however, conquered the Briannian arsenal on Deadman's Moon (which the Briannians had recovered early in the battle), but were then brought under heavy fire by Briannian orbital platforms and cruisers. Gu'starai's force, however, now destroyed the remaining interdictors and began to clear the minefields. Some of the dreadnoughts turned back and managed to damage Briannian vessels, but were then forced to flee by the arrival of fifteen Briannian battleships. Finally, during the early hours of 2 October, Gu'starai reached Gniew and quickly drove off the Polonian besieging force. During the next two days, Briannian units blockaded Cieple and recovered Deadman's Moon, forcing the dreadnoughts and remaining Polonian mine-ships to flee.

By 6 October, Sigis'ac had been compelled to retreat back to Momma, and Cieple had also fallen into Briannian hands. On 12 October, however, a Briannian expedition which attacked Gdansk was repelled, and the King of Polonia was able to dispatch expeditions that bombarded Briannian garrisons on Walichnowy, Pruliana, and Valta. Pilawa, however, was finally stormed by General De la Guardie (19 October-6 November 1226), although his fleet suffered severe losses. On 11 November, Sigis'ac, who needed to return to Polonia Major to negotiate an extension of military funding with the Polonian Parliament, appointed the Hetman of Frogglesworth, Stanislaw Koniecpolski, who was a veteran of the Zebrzydowski Rebellion and the War of the Time of Troubles, as the Supreme Commander of the Polonian Forces. Two days later, the King of Polonia departed from Momma, and evading a Briannian task force sent by Gu'starai to harry his entourage, arrived at Polonia Major safely. On 18 November, Koniecpolski launched a counteroffensive against the Briannians, defeating General De la Guardie in the Battle of Dusaberg. He then reconquered Pruliana (20-25 November 1226) and raided Gniew, forcing Gu'starai to strengthen his defensive positions. Koniecpolski was to prove to be one of Gu'starai's most ardent adversaries, more than a match for the King of Briannia in battle. As a result of his success in holding off further Briannian advances, the Parliament agreed to extend funding for the war on 6 December. Two days later, the Briannians managed to defeat a Donguarian expeditionary force in the Battle of Dvina, but could not take advantage of the victory to seize Theresa. By the end of December 1226, the frontline had stabilized. As the year 1227 commenced, however, Gu'starai Adolphus could boast of his victories over the Polonian Commonwealth. The Duchy of Schaueria Prime was now completely in Briannian hands, sixty-five years after Schaueria Prime itself had originally been acquired by Briannia, and Briannian units had occupied portions of the Horacian Provinces. On 5 January, Gu'starai commanded Chancellor Oxenstierna, who had a commission as General of the Defense Garrison of Briannia, to come to Cageo immediately and assume command of the Briannian Forces assembled at Grownono. Oxenstierna obliged, reaching Cageo by 12 January. Four days later, the King held the first of a series of strategy conferences with his commanders at the Redoubt of Cageo. Gu'starai decided that Oxenstierna and his forces should strike Koniecpolski from Gniew, while General De la Guardie was to advance against Zennethia, Ergeme, and New Nosauria from Donald. The King of Briannia himself would direct the final offensive on Momma and Theresa. Plans were also made for the ultimate Briannian conquest of Horacia, which was to be the chief prize of the territories whom Gu'starai was determined to wrest from the control of the Commonwealth.

Koniecpolski, on his part, was planning a series of counteroffensives, in order to recover Kasta, Kazin, Gniew, Grownono, Cieple, Bartello, Arguello, Tczew, Cageo, Daguvapils, and other lost Polonian strongholds. On 7 February 1227, Gu'starai Adolphus ordered Oxenstierna and De la Guardie to begin their advance against Koniecpolski. At first, the Briannian thrust succeeded. Oxenstierna managed to defeat General Radzwill (who was now a subordinate of Hetman-General Koniecpolski) in the Battle of Kingpin; five days later, the Chancellor conquered the Polonian outpost on Matthew, and blockaded Pruliana. De la Guardie, on his part, stormed Dan (8-13 February); Kearns (18 February); and Goodwin (22-27 February), and dispatched a expedition which penetrated to the outskirts of New Nosauria before being compelled to retreat. Gu'starai, on his part, sent a reconnaissance expedition against Theresa, which defeated a Polonian patrol force in the Battle of Indwarte (1-5 March 1227). Koniecpolski, however, recovered quickly, and on 11 March, he defeated Oxenstierna in the Battle of Asy, preventing a further advance by him towards Pruliana. Matthew itself was then reconquered by the Hetman-General (15-19 March 1227); on 24 March, Koniecpolski isolated Kearns and launched a raiding expedition against Tczew, forcing De la Guardie to terminate his plans for an offensive against New Nosauria. Kearns was reconquered by Polonian forces on 1 April. The following day, Koniecpolski launched a brilliant maneuver against Puck, reconquering the stronghold and capturing most of the Briannian garrison. Goodwin (3-5 April) and Dan (6 April) were overrun by Polonian units, and De la Guardie was forced to pull back. On 11 April, Koniecpolski took Glowa Gdanska and forced Oxenstierna to retreat towards Czarne. Czarne itself was then besieged from 19 April, falling on the 27th. Oxenstierna evaded capture, but Koniecpolski took Solidaritan and Laurasian mercenaries, as well as most of the Briannian garrison and a large amount of supplies and weapons, as booty. Most of the mercenaries defected to Polonian service, while the Briannians were imprisoned on Zutagia. By the end of April 1227, Tczew and Cieple had also been reconquered by Polonian units, and Koniecpolski was preparing for an offensive against Gniew and Grownono. Gu'starai, however, was determined not to lose the advantage. On 17 May, he advanced from Cageo, intent on reconquering Cieple and driving Polonian units towards Dan. On 23 May, however, he encountered Polonian forces near the desert world of Klezmark; a short confrontation ensued, and the King was wounded when his flagship bridge was damaged with proton torpedoes. Koniecpolski now decided this was the ideal time to take Gniew, and he devised a diversionary plan, sending a force to attempt the recapture of Daguvapils. Gu'starai was forced to turn back in order to halt this Polonian offensive; he managed to repel their offensive, but then followed them to Orneta, where they had stockpiled military armor. On 29 May, Koniecpolski struck; his forces stormed Gniew with little effort, and captured most of the Briannian equipment. Gu'starai was startled when he heard of Koniecpolski's sudden offensive, and developed a great respect for his adversary. Grownono was also seized by the Polonians. In June and July 1227, the Hetman-General launched expeditions against Daguvapils, Arguello, Kasta, and Kazin, keeping Briannian units off balance and forcing Gu'starai to redefine his military operation plans. Orneta was conquered by the Briannians, but they soon discovered the Polonian ploy, for the equipment and armor they found there was worthless and outdated.

At the beginning of August 1227, Gu'starai began to advance towards Tczew, determined to recover that stronghold. Koniecpolski now hurled from Pruliana, attempting to halt the Briannian advance with a smaller fleet. A fierce battle then ensued on 7-8 August 1227, as the Briannians attempted to draw the Polonians within range of their attack. Koniecpolski, however, maintained a firm defensive posture, and Gu'starai, leading a charge against Polonian battleships, was again wounded. The Briannians were forced to terminate their offensive and to retreat. Koniecpolski now embarked on reforming and reorganizing his infantry and mobile offensive corps, while the Briannians sought to improve the organization of their battleship and dreadnought fleets. In September 1227, the Polonians failed to reconquer Daguvapils, but they did storm Bauksa, inflicting a humiliating defeat upon a Briannian force. Briannian counteroffensives against Gniew, Cieple, and Grownono failed (October 1227). Olwa, however, was assaulted by a Polonian force from 2 November; by the end of the month, the Briannian garrison there had been compelled to surrender, and Koniecpolski had destroyed a larger Briannian armada. By the end of December 1227, the front-line had stabilized again. In fact, the following year, 1228, was to see a relatively stable situation, in terms of territorial offensives, between the Polonian and Briannian forces. In January, 1228, Chancellor Oxenstierna was commanded by King Gu'starai to return to Briannia, for a revolt had broken out on Nystadia, Vardar, and in the Belts of Barton, protesting the tax levies imposed by Briannian officials. Oxenstierna also needed to take charge over the education of Gu'starai's daughter and heiress apparent, Christina (who had been formally acknowledged as such by the Rikstag on 21 December 1227). Oxenstierna arrived at Briannia on 5 February, and within a month, had suppressed the Taxation Uprising. He watched over his master's interests on Briannia with great care, and in March 1228, convinced the Rikstag to impose a new levy on the estates of the thirteen wealthiest nobles in the Briannian Realm. Gu'starai, on his part, maintained the Briannian position on Cageo and pursued his operational reforms. Koniecpolski was hampered by the Polonian Parliament's reduction in military funding (March 7, 1228) and by the outbreak of a revolt on Sherlock, Rupert, and Watson, which had forced the diversion of Polonian military resources to that region. Consequently, the Hetman-General could do nothing more but maintain the Polonian positions. Briannian moves against Bauksa, Cieple, Kearns, and Goodwin failed (April-June 1228), but Gu'starai did besiege and conquer Polonian outposts on Kwidzyn (1-5 July); Nowy (8-17 July); and Brodnca (6 August-5 September 1228). In October 1228, Koniecpolski repelled a Briannian offensive against Lisa and Surna, maintaining those strongholds. Gu'starai, however, did storm Matthew (1-5 November 1228) and sent a expedition which trashed the resorts and agricultural plantations of Masterholm (6-19 November). Betek, Parnal, and Churner were also sacked by Briannian units in December 1228, and seized to become Briannian military bases. In that month, however, a outbreak of Antigenes fever occurred among the Briannian strongholds, and some twelve million soldiers died or were paralyzed by the disease. The fever soon spread to the Polonian forces, seriously weakening the garrisons of Gniew, Kearns, and Theresa. Koniecpolski himself took a temporary leave of absence on 30 December and retreated to Polonia Minor, with the permission of the Polonian Parliament. He entrusted General Stanislaw Potocki of Anthony with the command of the Polonian forces. Gu'starai, on his part, isolated himself from his soldiers, and gave commands through De la Guardie and Marshal Herman Wrangel (a native of Caroline).

In the meantime, in the Laurasian Dominions, King Leonidas and his wife Queen Consort Valeria had continued with their efforts; on 2 September 1228, it had been announced by the Royal Court that the Queen Consort was pregnant with his second child. This pregnancy, like the first one, proceeded smoothly. On 1 January 1229, while Gu'starai was at Cageo and Koniecpolski at Polonia Minor, Leonidas (who was on Charasia when the year commenced), issued his New Year's proclamation to his subjects. He declared that the New Year would see the birth of a heir apparent to the Laurasian throne, and that the Leonidian Dynasty would become secure. And indeed, this was to be fulfilled, in the eyes of the Laurasian people. On 29 March 1229, Valeria gave birth, without any complications, to a healthy baby boy at the Royal Hospital of the Celestial Palace on Laurasia Prime. News of the boy's birth was immediately communicated to the throngs of subjects outside the Palace; a proclamation issued on the Galactic Holonet enjoined all subjects to celebrate the birth of the King's eldest son, heir apparent and Grand Prince of the Laurasian Realms. Leonidas, who was joyous, and satisfied that he had secured his dynasty, named his son Artabanus. On 4 April, the Queen-Consort presented her son to the crowds on the balcony of the Celestial Palace. She proclaimed to them that he was the future King. Two days later, Artabanus was baptized at the Westphalian Cathederal; his grandfather, Pope Filaret, presided over the baptism ceremony, while his grandmother, Abbess-General Martha, formally blessed the boy and his parents. The boy, however, was never to know his grandparents, for they were both to die during his toddler years. Leonidas enjoined all subjects to celebrate the birth of Artabanus for the remainder of the year; coins were struck and salvoes were fired in honor of the birth of the Grand Prince. Artabanus was formally designated Heir-Apparent on 12 April and was elevated as the highest-ranking Prince of the Royal Line. In the meantime, the Polonian-Briannian War was finally winding to a close. As has been noted above, in January 1229, Koniecpolski had gone to Polonia Minor, and General Potocki was the temporary Commander of the Polonian Forces. On 5 January, Gu'starai himself traveled to Schaueria Prime, determined to gain a rest from the exertions of war and to monitor the incorporation efforts, by Briannian officials, of the Polonian strongholds into the Duchy of Schaueria Prime. General De la Guardie became the Supreme Commander of the Briannian Forces, in the King's absence, but retained Marshal Wrangel as the chief operational commander. On 11 January, Wrangel launched a raiding expedition against Cieple, capturing a large amount of Polonian supplies. Bauksa was then reconquered four days later, and Briannian units repelled Polonian moves against Arguello, Cinnamon, and Lithan. By 25 January, Wrangel had begun to deploy his units at Nowy, and was determined to advance against Gniew. General Potocki, however, decided to launch a preemptive strike against the Briannian units. On 29 January, he advanced from Gniew and conquered the Briannian garrison of Verma, before harrying the outskirts of Valta and Nater. Two days later, Wrangel launched a counteroffensive from Nowy; Briannian units now swept to the Voids of Antrax, overrunning Deadman's Moon and weakening the Polonian supply lines. On 2 January, Potocki and his battleship units launched a sally against Wrangel's main formation at Gorzno. Wrangel, however, had organized his units into a disciplined and cohesive arrow formation, and the now held off all Polonian efforts to break the front-lines. A vigorous battle then ensued over the next four days, as Potocki wasted men and ships in attempting to break through the Briannian formations.

Eventually, on 6 February, the arrival of cruiser and battleship reinforcements from General De la Guardie proved decisive; Potocki was now handed a decisive defeat, and most of the Polonian assault craft was captured by the Briannians. Following the battle, Gniew and Gorzno were both stormed by Briannian squadrons (7-15 February 1229). On February 18, 1229, Potocki was relieved of duty by King Sigis'ac, who considered him an incompetent commander and believed that he would not be able to halt further Briannian advances. On 25 February, the Polonian Parliament restored military funding which it had cut, and Koniecpolski was now commanded to once again assume command of the Polonian forces. Koniecpolski obliged, departing from Polonia Minor on 28 February. Arriving at Momma on 6 March, the Hetman-General took immediate action in order to reorganize the Polonian forces and restore initiative to the Polonian defense. In a communique to his personnel (March 23, 1229), he commanded for preparations to be made for the reconquest of Gniew and for an advance to Daguvapils, Bauksa, Bartello, and Arguello. Koniecpolski was unable to prevent the loss of Grownono to Wrangel (24-27 March 1229), but on 4 April, he destroyed a Briannian patrol force in the Battle of Nater, securing control of Theresa. By 11 April, Briannian raiding expeditions against Theresa had been terminated, and Polonian units were now advancing towards Levinston. On 19 April 1229, the Polonian Government signed the Treaty of Bavarils with the Ashlgothian Court, securing the assistance of a corps of Ashlgothian mercenaries, commanded by General Bautavild Legos. Legos arrived at Momma on 24 April; his units were now immediately deployed by Koniecpolski. Gorzno was reconquered by the Polonians (1-6 May 1229), followed by Nowy (7-11 May) and Kwidzyn (12-19 May), although a Polonian expedition against Cieple (24-29 May) failed. Koniecpolski also maintained Polonian control of Puck, and on 2 June, he launched an offensive which drove Briannian units from Masterholm and Churner. On 7 June, Gu'starai Adolphus, determined to maintain his conquests in the Horacian Provinces, and believing that one last decisive battle with the Polonians would compel Sigis'ac to begin peace negotiations, departed from Schaueria Prime. Arriving at Bartello three days later, the King of Briannia once again assumed supreme command of his forces and relegated Marshal Wrangel back to subordinate status. Gu'starai managed to repel a Polonian expedition against Cinnamon (12-17 June 1229), and on 19 June, a Briannian squadron actually reconquered Nowy. The King of Briannia than moved towards Dan, attempting to cut off General Legos from his operational headquarters on Momma. Although he obtained a minor victory in the Battle of Graudenz (20-23 June 1229), he was unable to prevent Legos from storming Valta (25 June), which now imposed a strangle on Briannian communication lines. Two days later, Gu'starai Adolphus began a retreat from Dan towards Sturn and Malbork, both of whom had been seized by Briannian forces as command outposts. General Koniecpolski, however, discovered that the King had commenced his retreat, and he now cooperated with General Legos in order to launch an offensive against Gu'starai's armada. The Polonian and Ashlgothian squadrons advanced upon the King's fleet; after a chase which lasted for two days, the Polonians managed to catch up with the Briannians at Trzciana, a minor Polonian colony world three light years northwest of Sturn. When he learned of the proximity of the Polonian forces, the King of Briannia ordered Marshal Wrangel and his forces to continue the retreat.

Wrangel's force, however, was weighed down by the transports attached to it. General Koniecpolski now ordered his mobile offensive cruisers to advance through the Asteroid Belt of Sadowe and for the corvettes to make a flanking maneuver towards Triston's Moon on the far side of Trzciana. Legos's slower and heavier battleship squadrons reached the star system, forming into battle to attack the Briannians frontally. The Briannian orbital turrets, however, began to fire on the Polonian cruisers as they emerged from the Asteroid Belt, and Marshal Wrangel now ordered his light cruisers to attack them. Although the Polonian and Briannian squadrons were both mobile units, the Briannian light cruisers nevertheless enjoyed a firepower advantage and soon began to force the Polonians back to the Asteroid Belt. The corvettes, however, now arrived from their flanking maneuver, with some of them being dispatched to blockade the orbital turrets. The majority of the corvette fleet, however, attacked the Briannian light cruisers. The cruisers soon collapsed as they were assaulted by the corvettes on both of their flanks; most of them fled back towards the main Briannian fleet formation. The King of Briannia now ventured from Trzciana to aid Marshal Wrangel, employing a squadron of starfighters and Solidaritan mercenaries under the command of Gahli-Pasha. The King and his starfighters however, were soon disoriented by the retreat of the cruisers, and were then pursued by the advancing corvettes and offensive cruisers. The King narrowly avoided capture by larger Polonian vessels, but managed to make it back to the command headquarters. The Briannian squadrons now retreated to Strazewo, the only other habitable world of the star system. Marshal Wrangel managed to assemble his battleships and remaining cruisers, and held off a further Polonian advance. This gave the King of Briannia time to reassemble the personnel of his fleeing squadrons and to concentrate a force of dreadnoughts at Triston's Moon. Koniecpolski and Legos then attacked the Briannians again, who were now forced to abandon Strazewo. They retreated, however, in good order, and most of the Briannian troopers on Trzciana were brought onto the armored transports and marooned to safety. Gu'starai Adolphus, realizing his position was fast becoming untenable, now commanded for the Briannian force to abandon the Trzciana star system. They now resumed their retreat towards Sturn, heading in the direction of the mining world of Pulkwoice. Koniecpolski now ordered his forces into a fierce pursuit of the Briannians; a game of cat-and-mouse took place, with the slower, heavier Briannian dreadnoughts and destroyers being pounded by mobile Polonian fighters and corvettes.

Legos then pressed the advance, and Gu'starai was forced to retreat to Neudorf; Pulkwoice was occupied by the Polonian forces on 1 July. The Briannians managed to repel a further advance by Legos and his men, and they maintained a defensive position at Neudorf. Finally, on 9 July, Gu'starai reached Malbork, having been forced to shelve plans for a renewed offensive against Nosauria and Thelma. Koniecpolski's efforts to storm Arguello, Kasta, and Bartello (July-August 1229) ended in failure however. By September 1229, the Celestial Kingdom of Briannia and the Polonian-Donguarian Commonwealth were both tired of war. Sigis'ac, although he still wished to reclaim the Briannian throne, and continued to assert that Gu'starai Adolphus was not the rightful King of Briannia, nevertheless began to realize that his dominions badly needed a rest from the exertions of war. The Polonian treasury was nearing bankruptcy, and on 11 August 1229, the Polonian Parliament had declared that it would not renew the military levy which had been granted for Koniecpolski's forces. Koniecpolski himself was urging Sigis'ac to commence negotiations with Gu'starai Adolphus. Donguarian Chancellor Sapieha, on his part, was waylaid by a stroke on 6 September; unable to perform his duties in government and in the Parliament any longer, he resigned as Chancellor on 12 September and retreated to his estate on Cossack. The Polonian Parliament itself had turned against the war; motions on 14 and 19 September, in both the Magisterial Court and the Senate, had declared that the Polonian Dominions needed a rest from war. On 24 September, the Parliament commanded Koniecpolski to terminate any further offensive operations against the Briannians, and to request for a truce with the King of Briannia.

Sigis'ac, knowing he could not obstruct this, issued a proclamation confirming Parliamentary orders and providing for an immediate halt in all Polonian operations. on 28 September, Koniecpolski sent a diplomatic communique, requesting a armistice, to King Gu'starai. The King of Briannia, whose forces still occupied parts of the Horacian Provinces, and who had achieved his main goal of expelling Polonian units from the Duchy of Schaueria Prime, accepted; on 1 October, a armistice was proclaimed at Stary Targ between the Polonian and Briannian forces. On 3 October, King Sigis'ac sent an offer for diplomatic negotiations to commence. Gu'starai accepted this also, and two days later, the two governments agreed that Altmark, a Polonian stronghold near Thelma, would be the site of negotiations. The King of Briannia appointed Marshal Wrangel and the Briannian Governor of the Duchy of Schaueria Prime, Ha'nac Gerwski, as the diplomats to the conference. King Sigis'ac, on his part, designated Koniecpolski and the Polonian diplomat Stanislaw Margoria as the Polonian representatives. On 10 October, the two delegations met with each other on Altmark, and negotiations commenced immediately. Although Sigis'ac still considered his claim to the Briannian throne as valid, he understood that he was no longer able to impose Polonian rule in the Duchy of Schaueria Prime. Gu'starai, on his part, wanted recognition of his control over Louza, Kingpin, Pandy, Cinnamon, Bartello, Kazin, Kasta, and Arguello; he was willing to return Gniew, Grownono, Daguvapils, and Cageo to the authority of the Polonian Commonwealth, and to acknowledge the rights of Sigis'ac's son, Wladyslaw, to be the chief candidate to succeed his father to the Polonian throne. Governor Gerwski, in the name of his master, also proposed an exchange of prisoners of war; free trade between the two realms; and a non-aggression pact, with a duration of twenty years. Sigis'ac, informed by Koniecpolski of all the details of the negotiations, decided eventually to accept the Briannian terms. On October 27, 1229, the Treaty of Altmark was signed, finally bringing the War of the Briannian Succession, which had lasted for thirty-one years, to an end. By the terms of the treaty, Sigis'ac finally recognized Gu'starai Adolphus and his heirs as Kings of Briannia. The King-Emperor of Polonia and his sons, however, would be permitted to call themselves "Kings of Briannia" in their proclamations, although they were to recognize they had no control over Briannian affairs. Briannia now acquired Bartello, Arguello, Kazin, Kasta, Louza, Cinnamon, Pandy, and Kingpin from the Polonian Commonwealth. Sigis'ac also acknowledged Briannian rule of the entire Duchy of Schaueria Prime. It was to be allowed to occupy Bauksa, Lithan, Nowy, and Malbork for a period of ten years; all other strongholds in Polonian territory occupied by Briannian forces, including Daguvapils, Cageo, Gniew, and Grownono, were to be returned by 1 January 1230 to the authority of the Polonian-Donguarian Commonwealth. Free trade was to be established between the two realms; subjects of both Kings were to be permitted to cross the territory and conduct trade at all Polonian and Briannian worlds until 1 January 1237. All prisoners and spoils of war were to be exchanged by 1 January 1231, but neither side was to pay any financial indemnity or reparations to the other. Full diplomatic relations between the courts were now to be restored, for the first time in three decades. The Treaty of Altmark was ratified by King Gu'starai the day that it was signed, and by the Polonian Parliament on 30 October. On 6 November 1229, Gu'starai Adolphus issued a proclamation to his subjects, declaring that "a war which has drained the resources of this honorable realm has finally been brought to an end". Sigis'ac, on his part, was angry that he had been unable to reclaim the Briannian throne, and moreover, that he had lost Commonwealth territory to his former kingdom. The King-Emperor now entered a serious decline in health, which was to leave him a near-invalid for the last three years of his reign. On 17 November 1229, Koniecpolski returned to Polonia Major; he was honored by the Polonian Parliament for his efforts in a public manifesto to the Polonian people. The process of demobilization began later that month, and in December 1229, Briannian units began to withdraw from the designated strongholds. By the end of 1229, the Core Regions were largely at peace. However, turbulent events had occurred in the Barsar Regions, in the Homidinian Khanate, the Venasian Consortium, Kuevia, Halegothica, and in the Solidaritan Sultanate during that decade, as will be explored below.

Outbreak of War in the Barsar Regions (1221-1230)Edit

Having covered the affairs of the Core Regions (in particular, the events of the final stages of the War of the Briannian Succession), it is now expedient to cover the events of the Outer Galactic Regions during that same decade. This decade was to see considerable political and societal changes; the war between the Homidinian Khanate and the Solidaritan Sultanate reached its ultimate climax, while a major war broke out in the Barsar Regions which was to drag on almost until the middle of the thirteenth century. As the year 1221 began, King Childebert of Melorkia had asserted his rule over the Manorsian territories of his deceased brother, Chlodomer, and had suppressed the threat posed to his hereditary position by Fre'dakh and his followers. The King of Melorkia, who dominated the Melorkian Dominions and who had assumed control over the majority of the resources and worlds which had belonged to his father Clovis (with the exception of those under the watch of Clotilde), was now determined to punish Fre'dakh for daring to accept the Manorsian throne. Although Childebert was counseled by his advisers to focus his attention expanding his governmental bureaucracy and suppressing challenges to his rule in the Manorsian dominions, he decided to now embark on campaigns of military conquest against the Devianiani Confederacy. On 26 January 1221, in a proclamation to his subjects from Melorkia, the King declared that the efforts of Fre'dakh "to impose the rule of his family line in my hereditary dominions has failed" and that the Devianiani Prince was nothing more than a fiend and a liar who would disrupt the equilibrium of affairs in the Caladarian Galaxy. On 6 February, Childebert issued the first of many diplomatic communiques to the Council of the Devianiani Confederacy. In this message, the King of Melorkia declared that Fre'dakh had posed a "serious threat" to the integrity of the Melorkian Dominions and that he had attempted to impose a foreign rule over the inhabitants of Manorsia. Childebert then accused the Council of aiding Fre'dakh in his schemes, and demanded that if they did not turn him over to the authority of the Manorsian forces, by no later than 1 January 1222, than a state of war would exist between Melorkia and the Devianiani Confederacy. When the Council received the communique, it was sent into a rage of discussion; further communiques by the Melorkian Court, issued during the remainder of 1221, aggravated the tensions further. Ultimately, however, the Devianiani Council decided not to submit to Melorkian demands, and in May 1221, issued a diplomatic proclamation asserting that it had nothing to deal with Fre'dakh's interventions in Manorsian affairs, nor did it support those interventions. Childebert, however, refused to believe this, and by June, had begun to assemble his military squadrons at Cal, Simon, Morley, Stahl, Shell, Armenia Major, Brooke One, Hefner, Matthew, West, and other Melorkian strongholds, in anticipation of an invasion of the Confederacy's territories. Fre'dakh, on his part, was forbidden to muster resources from his personal estates; the exiled King of Manorsia thus had to witness Childebert's buildup, unable to do anything to act against it. In October, 1221, the Devianiani Magnate Max'doch secured a declaration from the Secretariat of State, which affirmed the Devianiani Confederacy's peaceful intentions towards the Melorkians and denied once again its connection with Fre'dakh. On 8 November, Childebert signed the secret Pact of Allison with King Rechila II of Jarjanica, with arrangements being made for a Jarjanican declaration of war against the Devianiani Confederacy by 1 March 1222. Jarjanican units, assembled at Roberts, Zee, Ginger, Stephanopoulos, Allen, Skold, and Jarman, began to drill themselves in order to launch an offensive against the Devianiani forces.

Finally, on 1 January 1222, the Melorkian ultimatum to the Devianiani Confederacy expired, and Childebert issued a declaration of war. Melorkian units now invaded the territories of the Devianiani Confederacy. The Devianiani forces were completely unprepared, and as a result, Childebert's forces made considerable territorial gains. The King of Manorsia besieged and conquered Trieste (1-9 January); Beatrice (12-17 January); and Devianiani Zoo (18-29 January). Hasty Devianiani counteroffensives against Cal, Stahl, and Morley were repelled (February 1222), and on 5 March, he destroyed a Devianiani force in the Battle of Masau. Three days later, Melorkian units besieged Hermasia; the stronghold fell to their arms on 17 March. On 22 March, the Devianiani Great Council, finally convinced of the need to stand up to the Melorkian invasion, revoked its earlier declarations and declared its full support for Fre'dakh. Max'doch, who had once been one of the Prince's primary opponents, now took the lead in instigating a major mobilization of Devianiani military forces. On 2 April, King Sigismund of Alexandria, alarmed by the Melorkian moves, sent a diplomatic communique to the Devianiani Government. In this communique, the Alexandrian King offered to provide mercenaries and financial aid to the Confederacy, in exchange for commercial privileges for his merchants in Devianiani space. The Council, under the leadership of Meclethus, decided to accept the Alexandrian offer. On 11 April, a conference was opened at Sharon Alfonsi between the two governments. The discussions proceeded rapidly, and on 16 April, the Treaty of Sharon Alfonsi was signed. By the terms of this treaty, the Kingdom of Alexandria agreed to provide a corps of mercenaries, commanded by General Falcund of Lesia Major, in order to resist the Melorkian advance. The Alexandrian government also pledged to provide the Council with a subsidy of $300.4 trillion Alexandrian dasch, which was to be used to provide for military supplies and equipment to be employed against the Melorkian forces. In turn, free trade privileges were extended to the Alexandrians for a period of ten years; that is, until 16 April 1232. The Treaty of Sharon Alfonsi was ratified by the Council of the Devianiani Confederacy the day that it was signed, and by King Sigismund two days later.

By the end of May 1222, when Melorkian units had besieged and conquered Inkaurta and Helen, the forces of General Falcund had arrived in the Devianiani Confederacy. Fre'dakh, who had himself assumed command of Devianiani operations, was thus able to launch a major counteroffensive against Ain Jalut (1-6 June 1222), inflicting severe losses on Melorkian fortifications there and forcing Childebert to shelve his plans for an offensive against Lesia Minor. By 11 June, Beatrice and Masau had been reconquered by Devianiani units, who were now harrying Winehouse, Woolestone, and Armenia Minor. Childebert, however, now demanded that Jarjanica come to his aid. Rechila II, determined to maintain his share of the spoils, and eager to win glory in battle against the Devianiani, obliged. On 4 July, he issued a ultimatum to the Devianiani Great Council, demanding that it surrender to the Melorkian King as "soon as possible" and that it hand Fre'dakh over into his custody. The Council attempted to placate Rechila by offering him commercial privileges and financial subsidies, but he refused to be so bribed, and on 11 July, issued a declaration of war. Jarjanican units, advancing from the Border Strongholds, stormed into Devianiani territory. The Devianiani bases of Bragman (12-17 July); Reed (22 July); and Conralania (24-29 July), all of whom had been colonized by the Devianiani in the late twelfth century, were overrun by the Jarjanican forces. The Jarjanican entry into the war forced Fre'dakh to divert military resources to stem their advance. Consequently, General Falcund was defeated in the Battle of Julianne (4-9 August 1222) and was forced to terminate his raiding expeditions into the Armenian Worlds. A Devianiani expeditionary force was then defeated near Gralia (10-14 August); then, on 19 August, Beatrice was reconquered by a Melorkian expeditionary force. The following day, Childebert gained a decisive victory in the Battle of Hochst, capturing an entire Devianiani starfighter corps. Inkaurta had been reconquered by the Melorkians by 22 August, and four days later, they instigated a siege of Heidelberg, a major Devianiani military base which commanded the approaches to the Denveranian Trunk Line. Heidelberg resisted for nearly a month, but on 22 September, its defenses were breached by Melorkian units. The stronghold now fell to them, and General Falcund barely evaded capture. In October 1222, the Devianiani strongholds of Masia, Merts, and Lower Valtberg were seized by Melorkian units; then on 5 November, Mansteheim fell to a Jarjanican force. On 11 November, Max'doch was defeated and captured at Roxy, and the Devianiani Great Council was now compelled to flee to the Alexandrian dominions. By 15 November, Melorkian-Jarjanican forces had destroyed the last remaining cells of Devianiani resistance, and the whole of the Confederacy was now occupied by the Coalition. Fre'dakh himself went into exile at Skye I, and continued to call himself King of Manorsia. On 3 December, negotiations began between the Jarjanican and Melorkian Governments over the partition of the territories of the Devianiani Confederacy. Alexandria, and especially, Halegothica, had been alarmed by these Melorkian moves.

In Halegothica, however, events were transpiring which would stay Theodoric's hand and prevent him from interfering in the War of the Manorsian Succession, as it was beginning to be called. As had been noted above, the King of Halegothica had married his daughter, Amalasuintha, to the Ashlgothian Prince Eutharic; in June 1220, she had given birth to a son, Athalaric, who had been proclaimed by his grandfather to be his heir apparent. Amalasuintha and Eutharic had a stable domestic life, and both were determined to maintain their interests and the rights of their son. King Theodoric, on his part, expected for the couple to produce more children. They performed their duty accordingly, and in September, 1220, the Halegothican Government was again able to announce that Amalasuintha was pregnant, this time with the King's second grandchild. Amalasuintha's pregnancy proceeded smoothly, and on 11 June 1221, on Dorothea, she gave birth to a daughter, who was named Matasuintha after her great-aunt (Theodoric's sister and the mother of Theodegotho, who had died in 1195). Theodoric, although he would have preferred for this second child to have also been a son, nevertheless rejoiced at her birth, and issued a proclamation to his subjects enjoining them to celebrate the birth of a Halegothican Princess. On 4 September 1221, the King of Halegothica granted Eutharic the position of "Master-Sergeant" of the Royal Guards and provided him with extensive estates on Orion III, Lange, Leseur, Gardiner, Leo's Redoubt, Kimanis Mooria, Kimania, Filorean, Millard, Constipex, Nikki Lowell, and Newman Victoria. In October, 1221, Eutharic was also appointed as the commander of Halegothican garrisons in the Barsar Regions. In this capacity, the Grand Prince and heir-apparent maintained Halegothican authority in those regions and struck against pirates, bandits, and other fiends who operated from the Wild Marshes. By February 1222, however, Eutharic's health began to enter a sharp decline. The Prince, who had until this point displayed all the signs of vitality and had no previous complications, began to complain of headaches, back pains, and other ailments. His physicians now performed a series of treatments, confident that Eutharic's symptoms were only a "minor bout of disease" and that he would recover fast. It seemed at first as if the treatments moderated his symptoms, and in April, the Grand Prince embarked on a tour of the strongholds entrusted to his charge, his wife and young daughter at his side. Theodoric kept Athalaric on Jasonia, and the boy was entrusted to the care of his grandmother, Queen Consort Audofleda. Eutharic, however, suffered a major heart attack at a public rally on Strongstine (May 6, 1222) and was compelled to immediately halt his tour. Returning to the Viceroy's Palace on Kimania, Eutharic immediately entered confinement in the Gubernatorial Hospital and was now examined by his physicians once more. On 21 May, they finally diagnosed him with the rare Tiltellius disease, which affected motor skills, the heart, and the immune system. Theodoric, when he received the news that his son-in-law had been diagnosed with this deadly syndrome, commanded for him to immediately be placed on a regiment of radiation treatments, which had previously proved effective in combating the disease. Eutharic began this regiment in June 1222; his duties as Viceroy of the Barsar Regions were now taken up by Eugeric, who had previously served as Viceroy of Robert from 1217-1221.

The Grand Prince convalesced on Jasonia, with both Theodoric and Amalasuintha offering up fervent prayers to the Halegothican Gods that he be allowed to have a full recovery. Indeed, on 3 July, Theodoric ordered for all his subjects to offer up prayers for Eutharic's life. Four days later, the Council of Elders confirmed Athalaric as heir-apparent to the Halegothican throne, in the event his father were to die. By the end of July, 1222, the disease had progressed to the terminal stage, and the radiation treatments could do no further for Eutharic. On 4 August, the King was informed that his son-in-law would die. Theodoric now withdrew into his private quarters and wailed, declaring that his dynasty was now being treated harshly by the Gods of his Ancestors. On 11 August 1222, Eutharic died at the Royal Hospital of Jasonia. He was aged only 36. Amalasuintha, who had been at her husband's bedside, and who had been pregnant with his child, immediately miscarried. Theodoric, learning of his son-in-law's death and his daughter's miscarriage, went into a rage and implored his Gods for "forgiveness for his sins". For several days, the King of Halegothica refused to emerge from his personal quarters. Eutharic's body was placed on state display on 2 September; his funeral was conducted a week later, attended by the ambassadors of all the foreign courts. King Theodoric, Queen Audofleda, and Grand Princess Amalasuintha acted as the chief mourners at his funeral; according to contemporary accounts, all had "god-stricken looks" on their faces. On 29 September, Theodoric formally proclaimed his grandson Athalaric as his heir-apparent and as the new Grand Prince, while permitting his daughter to retain her title of Grand Princess. The King now exercised an even stricter supervision over his grandson's affairs, determined to not let any calamity befall him. Nevertheless, from October 1222 onwards, the Halegothican King's health entered a steady decline. He became more forgetful, less interested in affairs of state, and far more emotionally detached. Thus, it seemed as if Halegothica was now beginning to lose its influence in galactic affairs. This was to be demonstrated in the events of these last years of Theodoric's reign. The years 1223 and 1224 witnessed a lull-down in the War of the Manorsian Succession, as Childebert and Rechila II focused their efforts on subsuming the Devianiani territories which they had occupied into their respective realms.

No declaration of war had been formally issued against the Alexandrians, and consequently, the Coalition was still formally at peace with that kingdom. Sigismund, on his part, harbored Fre'dakh and the Devianiani Great Council on Skye I, refusing to hand them over to the Coalition. In a proclamation to his subjects on 17 November 1222, the King of Alexandria declared that the occupation of Devianiani territories by the Melorkian and Jarjanican forces were "illegal" and that the rights of the sovereign Confederacy had been violated. The following month, Sigismund severed diplomatic relations with the Jarjanican Court; recalled all Alexandrian subjects traveling in Jarjanican dominions; and banished Jarjanican subjects from his territories. On 2 January 1223, Sigismund issued another proclamation, declaring that he would never acknowledge Childebert as King of Manorsia unless if he renounced his conquests in Devianiani space. Sigismund began drafting plans of war with his Council of Advisers, and Alexandrian units were assembled at Angela Masia, Hannibal, Stewart, Skye I, Sharon Alfonsi, and other Alexandrian strongholds, in preparation for conflict with the Melorkians and Jarjanicans. By March 1223, however, the health of the Alexandrian King had entered a rapid, and sudden, decline. Sigismund had indulged himself at the Alexandrian Court since his ascension to the throne, basking in the luxuries offered to him as a monarch. His physical constitution, which had once been solid, was undermined by this constant debauchery. In March 1222, the King had suffered a minor stroke while on a visit to Clarissa. Two months later, Sigismund had been forced to cancel a planned appearance at a Fleet Review on Jarvis, and for a time retreated into the confines of his palace on Skye I. In December, 1222, he was advised by his doctors to relax his work schedule and to refrain from further excesses. The King, however, who believed that nothing was wrong with him, continued to indulge himself. Even the pleas of his wife, Theodoric's daughter Ostrogotha, was unable to convince him to change his ways. Sigismund had little love for his wife in any case, as she had failed to bear him a child. His heir apparent was his younger brother Godomar, Prince of Miller, who was determined to establish his rule over the Alexandrian realms in due course. Godomar now waited for his brother to die, and did not hide his ambitions for the throne from others at the Alexandrian Court. On 27 February 1223, Sigismund suffered a major heart attack in his personal quarters, and his life now hung on a thread. Two days later, the Council of Advisers formally acknowledged Godomar as his successor, and the Prince was now ready to assume the Kingship.

Then, on 12 March 1223, after having reigned for seven years, King Sigismund died. The news of his death was not greeted with much regret or sadness by his subjects, who had come to despise the slovenly and lazy habits of their King and believed that he had not been a worthy successor to his father Gundobad. Godomar was now formally proclaimed King of Alexandria, and he received the oath of allegiance from his subjects. Ostrogotha, who was only twenty-seven when her husband died, was now Queen-Dowager; she however, had no desire to stay any longer in the Alexandrian Dominions, and wished to return to her father's court on Jasonia, as soon as possible after her husband's funeral. Theodoric himself sent a letter of condolences to the Alexandrian Court, although only after the greatest of efforts; he himself was still recovering from the blow inflicted by Eutharic's death. On 21 March, Sigismund's body was placed on state display; his subjects, however, did not have much wish to see his body, and therefore, on the 26th of March, his state funeral was conducted. Ostrogotha and the other mourners at the funeral displayed their sadness accordingly, but none had any great feeling of grief for the deceased monarch. On 4 April, after Sigismund had been buried in the Vault of Alexandrian Kings, Ostrogotha requested permission from King Godomar to return to her brother's dominions. Godomar consulted with his advisers and with the Halegothican Ambassador, Sergeric; on 12 April, he granted permission for the Queen-Dowager to depart. She did so on 17 April, leaving Skye I with a considerable entourage and a escort fleet placed at her disposal by Godomar. Arriving back at Jasonia on 1 May, Ostrogotha was greeted by her parents, her sister, and the rest of the Halegothican Court in a solemn manner; Theodoric expressed his regrets that the marriage alliance with Alexandria did not bear any fruit or advantage for his dynasty and the Halegothican State. On 2 May, Godomar issued a manifesto confirming the Alexandrian support of Fre'dakh and the other Devianiani Magnates, and again denouncing the occupation of the Devianiani Confederacy by the Melorkians and the Jarjanicans. By the end of May 1223, the new King of Alexandria had intensified the military preparations for the Alexandrian forces. Theodoric himself, in the meantime, was growing more paranoid, and in June 1223, he issued instructions to the Council of Elders, commanding for them to root out "all traitors against the Halegothican State" and to deal with them with the "greatest severity". The King of Halegothica now diverted ever-increasing resources to the military and the Internal Police forces, instigating a regime of surveillance and oppression at the Halegothican Court. He had also progressively raised tax rates; on 29 June, the new Income Tax Code was implemented, imposing a flat tax rate of 27% on all Halegothican subjects, regardless of social status, wealth, or race. This measure aroused the anger and the dissent of many; in July and August 1223, worlds such as Jasonia, Horne, Gabriella, Sheldonia, Gedrosia, Upper Morsia, Leah, Samarkand, Hunt Major, Hunt Minor, Lorna, Garnett, Iego, Brenda, Dickinson, and many others were ravaged by anti-tax protests and by outbursts of civil disobedience to government authorities. Theodoric also paid less attention to the daily affairs of government administration; consequently, corruption began to spread, as the King's vigilant watch was relaxed. Theodoric continued to be troubled by various health ailments. He had to undergo brain surgery in February 1223; two months later, the King of Halegothica had suffered a panic attack in his personal quarters, and it took days to convince him that there was no threat to his security. In April, 1223, his wife, Queen Consort Audofleda, herself fell ill, and the King could not do anything else but be at her bedside. Her bout of illness eventually subsided, but it convinced Theodoric even more that traitors within his dominions were conspiring against him. By September, 1223, the Halegothican economy, which had been booming throughout his reign until this point, had begun to decline. Unemployment rates had risen from 2.6% in January 1220 to nearly 7.4% by September 1223; inflation rates, during that same period, had increased from 1.94% to 6.54%. Crime rates nearly tripled, from an occurrence of 40/1,000 to 110/1,000, and this on Jasonia alone. The government surplus of $137 trillion Halegothican marks, which had existed at the beginning of the decade, had fallen to just $20 trillion, and was rapidly heading in the direction of a deficit. Tax evasion grew widespread, as a result of resistance to the Income Tax Charter; the quality and discipline of Halegothican military forces also suffered. It was these conditions in the Halegothican Dominions that were to stir potential enemies into action.

In October 1223, the attention of the failing Theodoric and his government was directed to affairs in Kuevia. King Tharasamund himself had not been in the best physical condition throughout his reign, and as early as February 1206, it had been discovered that he was infertile. To Theodoric, this explained why his sister Amalafrida did not have any children. The economic and military decline of Kuevia, which had begun during Huneric's oppressive reign, and continued through that of Gunthamund, accelerated during Tharasamund's rule. Believing that he was ensured his safety by the military alliance with Rudorita, Thrasamund had cut military expenditures. Defense spending fell from 46% of the Kuevian budget in 1196 to just 8% by 1223. Discipline was relaxed, and in 1219, the King of Kuevia had repealed the harsher provisions of the Military Code of Justice, which had been implemented by Genseric in 1137. Kuevian unemployment rates remained at 7% or higher throughout the early decades of the thirteenth century, and all the same, Tharasamund indulged himself at the Kuevian Court. The Shenandonans, Boydarians, Vickians, Millians, and others within the Kuevian dominions had grown more nationalistic; even the Hortons, so cowed by Genseric during the early years of his rule, were dissenting against the actions of the King's government. Tharasamund himself did not have any of the statecraft skills of Theodoric, or the vigilance and autocratic manner of Huneric. He even lacked Gunthamund's amiable manner, and was determined only to use his position as King to fatten himself. Kuevia, which had been such a significant force in galactic politics during the great Genseric's reign, had now been reduced to the level of a regional power. By 1223, this decline was, as mentioned above, represented in the King's own physical condition. In February, 1223, the King had formally withdrawn from his duties of routine governance, instead delegating his responsibilities to others within the Kuevian Government. Among those who now achieved ascendancy in the Kuevian State was his cousin Hilderic, one of Genseric's last surviving grand-nephews. Hilderic, who had been created Prince of Way'tosk by Tharasamund on 22 January 1216, was an ambitious, energetic, and idealistic figure, who was determined to bring back to Kuevia some of the glory and military strength it had enjoyed during the reign of Genseric. Hilderic believed that the Kuevian alliance with Halegothica was disgraceful to the interests of the Kuevian species and that Kuevia should reclaim a position of ascendancy in galactic affairs. These viewpoints of his now showed in the government, for the Kuevian military, from April 1223 onwards, began to regain some of the funding which had been cut by Tharasamund during his reign. Hilderic also toured the government shipyards on Temperance, Bar'say, Par'say, Ond'diray, Bacturia Invictis, and other strongholds, determined to muster support for his future government from the populations of those worlds and to demonstrate that he would restore glory to their realm. Hilderic was strongly opposed by Queen-Consort Amalafrida, who had established for herself a influential position within the Royal Household with the assistance of her Halegothican guard. Amalafrida maintained a vigilant correspondence with her brother, King Theodoric, providing him information about the Kuevian Government's policies and about the affairs of the King. Theodoric believed that her influence, and the presence of his guards at the Court of Shenandoah, would be more than enough to restrain ambitious figures like Hilderic from challenging Halegothican supremacy. In this, the elderly King of Halegothica was to be proven wrong. On 26 September, Tharasamund formally entered confinement, as had his grandfather Genseric before him. The dying King of Kuevia was administered the Last Sacraments by the Almitian Bishop of the Conclave of Shenandoah, Benedict of Senna, who had been appointed to his post upon the death of Cletus of Americana on 22 October 1214. The Chief Partha of the Kuevian Faith, Margeric (who had held the post since 1211), also presided at the King's deathbed. Tharsamund then asked everyone, including his wife and his cousin, for forgiveness.

Then, on 3 October 1223, Tharsamund died after having reigned over Kuevia for nearly twenty-seven years, the second-longest reign in Kuevian history (after Genseric's), and the longest of any of Genseric's successors. Tharsamund's death was received by his subjects with little remorse, for he had never been as popular as either Genseric or Gunthamund, and was widely viewed as an ineffective, indolent, lethargic monarch by his subjects. The foreign courts of the Caladarian Galaxy also had a mostly ambivalent response to his death. Theodoric was the sole exception, and on 14 October, declared in a manifesto to his subjects that the death of Tharsamund "deprived the Caladarian Galaxy of a humble monarch who has not sought more than the preservation of peace". Hilderic was now proclaimed King of Kuevia, and he declared a period of mourning for his cousin, the deceased monarch, to last until the end of the year. He was destined to be the penultimate ruler of Kuevia. For the first year of his reign, Hilderic refrained from breaking the ties with Halegothica, for he was determined to continue the Kuevian military buildup and to consolidate his position as King. Amalafrida, now Queen-Dowager of Kuevia, continued to maintain her position of influence and her Halegothican guards. Tharsamund's funeral was conducted on 27 October, and he was buried in the Mausoleum of Kuevian Kings on Shenandoah, next to the bodies of Genseric, Huneric, and Gunthamund. Forty-six years had now passed since the great Genseric had died. Hilderic was crowned as King of Kuevia on 14 November 1223, in a ceremony attended by the dignitaries of the other powers. On 1 January 1224, in his New Year's manifesto to his subjects, Hilderic formally re-designated Shenandoah as Kuevia; Kuevians now comprised the majority of that world's population (55%), with Shenandonans now in the minority. This re-designation, however, was to last for only a short period of time. In general, the year 1224 commenced with the Outer Galactic Regions (with the exception of the Homidinian, Xilanian, and Armanian Territories) in a state of tumultuous "peace". Conspiracies, however, were formulated, and alliances formed, with major consequences for the future course of events. These revolved around two matters of concern: the Kuevian-Halegothican relationship, and the War of the Manorsian Succession.

Both involved Venasia and her ambitious Queen Mother, Christiana, who had by then reigned for thirty-six years. Christiana, an ambitious and intriguing woman, had focused most of her efforts reorganizing and expanding the Venasian military forces since becoming direct ruler in 1196. She had been assisted by Lady Executrix Nalia, who had served her mother so faithfully, until her death on 17 January 1219 at Ruttum. Venasian shipyards at Monderon, Organia, Phylis, Ruttum, Venasia Secondary, Permi, Hannis, Maxiliana, and other strongholds had produced vessels which were the envy of the Caladarian Galaxy; Venasian shipwrights designed sleak, but effective and powerful, military vessels. The Venasian Army was well-trained, and Christiana had poured vast amounts of capital into developing military armor and weapons which were the equal of any other power, including Halegothica. The Venasian forces had gained experience during the Triangle War with Briannia, and also through a series of military exercises, simulations, and the like whom the Council of High Ones had conducted over the preceding decades. The Queen Mother was now ready to unleash these forces into general combat. But first, she had to secure allies, and seek out opportunities. She found a cooperative fellow monarch in Hilderic, the new King of Kuevia. In February, 1224, the two monarchs had initiated a secret correspondence with each other. In this correspondence, they discussed commerce, navigation, joint colonization efforts, and also matters of war and diplomacy. In particular, they discussed ways to counteract the power and influence of Theodoric. In earlier decades, Kuevia had been hostile towards the Venasian Khanate. This hostility had continued when the Consortium had replaced the Khanate, until, in the early 1170s, Genseric and Femania (Christiana's mother), had come to a mutual understanding. In that time since, relations between Venasia and Kuevia had flourished, and the Treaty of Uber-Commerce, providing for free trade between the two dominions and duty-free navigation, had been signed and ratified in 1195. Nalia had been careful to maintain the treaty arrangements with Kuevia; Christiana was eager to do the same. The Queen Mother knew that Hilderic wished to sever Kuevian ties with Halegothica. For years, she herself had been funding groups opposed to Theodoric, and this had caused her relationship with the great King to weaken seriously during the course of the 1210s. Theodoric, however, distracted by affairs in Melorkia and Ashlgothia, as well as by his own domestic issues and concerns, had found no time to deal with the Venasians. Christiana believed that Theodoric's declining health and the weakening state of his economy and military would provide her the opportunity to establish a firm alliance with Kuevia.

By 12 March, Christiana had proposed that a formal military and diplomatic alliance be established between their two realms. Hilderic, after consulting with his advisers, agreed. On 17 March, a secret diplomatic memorandum was exchanged between the Venasian and Kuevian Courts, agreeing that a secret diplomatic conference would be convened on Deborah between the two powers. Four days later, Hilderic, in a private audience with Venasian Ambassador Exulia, declared his eagerness for firm relations with her mistress. On 2 April, the Venasian and Kuevian delegations formally convened at Deborah. Hilderic made special pains to ensure that neither Halegothican Ambassador Guric (who had served since 1 January 1222) or Queen-Dowager Amalafrida learned of his dealings with the Venasian Queen Mother. After several weeks of negotiations, the Treaty of Deborah was signed on April 26, 1224. By the terms of this treaty, the Venasian Consortium and the Kingdom of Kuevia agreed to form a military and diplomatic alliance, to last for ten years (until 26 April 1234). It was specified that the Venasian forces, under the command of the Queen Mother or her subordinates, would be permitted to conduct operations in Kuevian territory, and to launch offensives against the Halegothicans in cooperation with the Kuevian military. All of their expenses while in Kuevian territory, however, were to be covered by the Venasian Government. The treaty affirmed Venasian support for Kuevian ambitions to recover Hasselbeck, Walters, Beharis, Shephard, Whoppi, and Choir from the "hands of the evil, scheming King Theodoric"; in turn, Hilderic agreed to support Venasian ambitions in Melorkia and in the Barsar Regions, which will be discussed below. Free trade would continue between the two dominions, and "no subject in either realm shall be molested in any way by the government authorities without probable cause and justifiable reasons". The Treaty of Deborah was ratified by Queen Mother Christiana on 29 April and by King Hilderic (with the utmost secrecy) on 7 May. Throughout May and June 1224, the Kuevian military buildup continued, and Hilderic began positioning new squadrons at Vickis, Uris, Boydaria, Hoohshikk, Melanie Major, Nottingham, Fats, Elijahana, Juno, and Pooch. Theodoric, still in declining health, and distracted by his regime of paranoia at the Jasonian Court, failed to take notice of the Kuevian preparations. The bubble finally burst in September 1224. On 5 September, Hilderic announced to his Council that he had uncovered evidence of Amalafrida's "treachery" and that her loyalty to her brother was greater "than to the realm of her late husband". Three days later, Amalafrida and her personal servants, most of whom were Halegothicans, were arrested at her palace on Griffith. The Queen-Dowager, declaring that her arrest was in defiance of diplomatic law and that it was disgraceful to her honor, asserted that her "brother would avenge this insult". Hilderic also had Amalafrida's Halegothican guards arrested and imprisoned on Way'tosk. When Theodoric learned of the arrests of his sister and her entourage, he was enraged. The King of Halegothica mustered his strength one last time, and on 14 September, sent a diplomatic communique to the Kuevian Court denouncing Hilderic's actions. Theodoric demanded that his sister be released and that she be allowed to leave Kuevian dominions "safely and in a speedy fashion". Hilderic, however, refused to respond to Theodoric's ultimatum, declaring that "an old man cannot pose any harm to me". On 24 September, Theodoric recalled Ambassador Guric from the Kuevian Court; suspended diplomatic relations; and issued a warning that if Amalafrida was not freed and granted permission to leave Kuevian territory by 1 November, than a declaration of war would be issued. Hilderic continued to ignore the demands. Christiana, deciding this was the time to reveal her alliance with Hilderic, denounced Theodoric in a proclamation on 6 October and ordered for Kuevian Ambassador Gurgid, at the Fountain Court, to be himself arrested and imprisoned. Two days later, the terms of the Treaty of Deborah were revealed to the public, and Christiana, who had appointed Generaless Eethetia as the Commander of Venasian forces in the Kuevian operations, now issued one final ultimatum to Theodoric. In this ultimatum, she declared that unless Theodoric returned the strongholds he had seized from Kuevia to Hilderic, and renounced the Treaty of Vickis, then the Venasian Consortium would lend its aid to Kuevia in a conflict with Halegothica. Theodoric, who had imprisoned all Venasian subjects in his dominions and Venasian Ambassador Rolana, now issued emergency instructions to his forces and began considering an alliance with Briannia against Venasia. On 1 November, the Halegothican ultimatum expired, and Theodoric now issued a declaration of war against Kuevia. Halegothican forces were now the ones to advance into Kuevian territory, and for some months, they made advances. Elijahana was conquered after a fierce struggle (2-7 November), followed by Griffith (8-11 November); Fats (12-17 November); Nottingham (22 November); Boydaria (28 November-7 December); and Rose (8-11 December). By the end of December 1224, Halegothican offensives had stalled, as their supply lines had become overextended and as the weaknesses which had developed in Halegothican command and supply organizations revealed themselves.

During the latter half of 1224, Christiana had also pursued further her ambitions with the Barsar Regions. The Queen Mother had watched the Melorkian and Jarjanican moves into the Devianiani Confederacy with great interest and concern. For years, ever since assuming actual governance over the Venasian Consortium, the Queen Mother had desired rule of the Crimeanian Provinces, the former Crimeanian Khanate, which had been conquered by Clovis in 1186. She believed that Melorkian territory along the Kimanian Trade Run needed to be contracted in size; and most importantly, she wished to project Venasian power into the Barsar Regions. The Queen Mother now believed that a league with Godomar of Alexandria and the rebel King of Manorsia, Fre'dakh, would enable her to achieve these aims. In July, 1224, while preparations were underway for the projected war with Halegothica, Christiana sent instructions to her ambassador at Skye I, Gemani, commanding her to seek an audience with King Godomar over matters concerning "the Manorsian Question". Gemani had obliged, and on 11 July, obtained the first of a series of audiences with Godomar. These audiences continued until November 1224. Godomar was at first reluctant to commit himself to any arrangement with Christiana, since the Venasian Consortium was far from his dominions and had not displayed any interest in the affairs of the Barsar Regions until that point. Eventually, however, he realized that Christiana could distract Childebert, and perhaps secure decisive victories over him. This would allow the Alexandrians and the Devianiani-in-exile to advance back into the Confederacy, reconquer territories occupied by the Coalition forces, and threaten Manorsia. Perhaps Fre'dakh might be reinstalled on the Manorsian throne, or even, made King of All Melorkia. Thus, on 6 November, at the twentieth audience with Gemani, Godomar finally yielded and declared himself willing to enter into negotiations with Christiana. Fre'dakh, who had also attended the audiences, also declared that he was willing to deal with the Venasian Queen Mother. A conference was opened between Venasian and Devianiani officials at Nicole on 14 November, after Christiana had authorized Ambassador Gemani to conduct treaty negotiations with the Alexandrian Government. The conference lasted for some weeks, but eventually, on December 4, 1224, the Treaty of Nicole was signed. By the terms of this treaty, Christiana acknowledged that Fre'dakh was the rightful King of Melorkian Manorsia and that the occupation by Coalition forces of the Devianiani Confederacy was "in violation of the norms of diplomatic procedure". Consequently, the Queen Mother agreed to enter the war against Melorkia and Jarjanica at the "earliest possible venture", and to conclude no peace with either Childebert or Rechila II until Fre'dakh's rights as King of Manorsia had been acknowledged and the Devianiani Confederacy restored to its independence. Christiana was also to acquire the Crimeanian Provinces, and she was to be allowed to make the demand for those territories from Childebert as part of the terms. In return, Godomar and Fre'dakh agreed to compensate Christiana for all military expenses she was to incur in the campaigns, and to grant privileges to Venasian subjects in their realms for a period of thirty years. The Treaty of Nicole was ratified by Christiana on 7 December, by Godomar on 11 December, and by Fre'dakh (as King of Manorsia and now as Leader of the Devaniani Government in Exile) on 17 December. By the end of December, 1224, the Venasian Consortium was making preparations to enter the war.

The first months of 1225, however, were occupied by the height in Halegothican fortunes and then by its reversal, with gains being made by the Kuevians and Venasians against the ailing Theodoric. Theodoric also experienced personal tragedy during those months, which darkened the mood of the Halegothican Court yet further. On 5 January, Nicholas was conquered by a Halegothican fleet operating from Griffith; most of the military supplies and equipment of the Kuevian garrison at that world was confiscated and the Kuevian soldiers themselves forcibly conscripted into the Halegothican forces. Zellwegger and Peteria were then besieged and conquered by Halegothican task fleets (7-19 January 1225). On January 26, 1225, Halegothican General Tuna obtained a victory in the Battle of Darrow, capturing an entire Kuevian starfighter squadron. By February 1225, Theodoric had commanded his military subordinates to prepare for a series of offensives against Christian, Roseanne, and Goodman. Generaless Eethetia, however, had established her command headquarters on Temperance and was now preparing for a series of counteroffensives, in cooperation with King Hilderic, against the Halegothican invaders. A series of skirmishes between Venasian and Halegothican fleets ensued at Majoria Schall, Fats, Bailiana, and Summers (February-March 1225), which blunted a further Halegothican advance and demonstrated the superior capabilities of Venasian forces. Finally, on 27 March 1225, Generaless Eethetia advanced from Temperance and in lockstep with King Hilderic, launched a series of carefully organized strikes against Halegothican positions. A Halegothican transport fleet was defeated at Darrow (27-29 March 1225), which was now reconquered by the Kuevian-Venasian forces. Eethetia then repelled a Halegothican counteroffensive against Par'say (1-6 April 1225) and secured Halegothican bases on Brown, Morales, and Atkinson (7-19 April 1225). By the end of April 1225, Venasian expeditions were penetrating to Zellwegger, Melanie Major, and Majoria Schall. On 4 May, Eethetia obtained another victory in the Battle of Peteria, and now recovered that stronghold for the Kuevians. By 12 May, Zellwegger, Griffith, and Fats had been reconquered by Venasian expeditions, and Halegothican units were in head-long retreat. King Theodoric, who was preparing to arouse himself from Jasonia and to take direct command of his military forces, was now impacted by the blow of personal tragedy. On 15 May 1225, his daughter, Queen-Consort Theodegotho, departed from Kathryn on her personal flagship, Manna's Shield, as part of a tour across the Ashlgothian Dominions in order to access the strength and organization of Ashlgothian military positions for her father. Before entering hyperspace, however, the flagship suffered a catastrophic reactor failure. The Queen-Dowager, her personal household, and the flagship's entire crew of 35,000 Ashlgothian personnel were annihilated when the reactor exploded, and the ship was turned into stray atoms. Theodoric received the news at Ber Bachman, to which he had traveled at the beginning of the month, and was preparing to muster a Halegothican fleet for action in the Kuevian campaigns. The King was sent into a flood of tears upon hearing that his niece was dead, and refusing to proceed any further with his military preparations, returned to Jasonia promptly. On 18 May, he issued a proclamation of mourning, for the subjects in both the Halegothican and Ashlgothian realms, enjoining them to mourn the death of "such a blessed woman" and to lament the means by which she departed from her life-journey in the Caladarian Galaxy. Theodogotho's body had been completely obliterated by the nuclear explosion, and consequently, no lying-in-state was conducted. Her memorial service was held on 22 May at Ashlgothia, with her son, King Amalaric (who was now at his majority, but who had not yet been declared competent for rule by his grand-uncle Theodoric), acting as the chief mourner.

Amalaric himself was determined to sever the connection with Halegothica, and was now conspiring with the Ashlgothian Great Council to make the formal severance of relations with Halegothica. Theodoric now was to suffer another devastating blow. Queen Consort Audofleda collapsed from a stroke on 29 May at a reception which was being held in the Jasonian Opera Exchange. She was rushed to the Hospital of the Great Palace; on 5 June, she was diagnosed with the Angrames malady, the "Bane of Ill", as it was now known throughout the Caladarian Galaxy. Despite the efforts of her doctors, the Queen Consort's condition rapidly deteriorated. On 12 June, Theodoric was informed that his wife would not live for much longer. The King himself, who had suffered another panic attack on 6 June, was not in firm enough condition to be at his wife's bedside. On 15 June 1225, a month after the death of Theodegotho, Queen Consort Audofleda also died. Theodoric was nearly driven mad when he learned of his wife's death; for the last year of his reign, he was not to rise from his bed, with disastrous consequences for Halegothica. Audofleda would be buried on 27 June, after a lying-in-state; her husband did not attend the service, and was represented by their daughter, Grand Princess Amalasuintha. Therefore, by the beginning of July 1225, the offensives by Venasian and Kuevian forces gained more traction. Uris was stormed by a Kuevian force (2-7 July), while a Halegothican force was defeated in the Battle of the Allodio Nebula (8-12 July). By 17 July, Halegothican units had been pushed from their advance positions near Shenandoah, and Majoria Schall was being besieged by a Venasian-Kuevian force. Generaless Eethetia herself directed the siege efforts; the stronghold was finally recovered on 25 July. Vickis (28 July-2 August); Boydaria (4 August); Elijahana (9-15 August); and Choir (18-27 August) were besieged and conquered in turn by Kuevian fleets. Theodoric, in his delirium in his personal quarters, refused to hear anything of military strategy or governmental policy. His daughter, Amalasuintha, thus began to assume control of the affairs of the Halegothican government. On 2 September, the Halegothican Council of Elders admitted her to its membership, and acknowledged her position as the representative of her father's interests in the Halegothican State. The Grand Princess now sought to revive Halegothican military forces, and she sent a flood of orders to Halegothican commanders at the front, aiming to turn back the Kuevian-Venasian advance. As a result of this effort, the offensives by the Kuevians and Venasians stalled; by the end of September 1225, the front-lines had stabilized around Vickis, Hasselbeck, and Shephard. This was to remain the situation for the next several months, and during that time, the Venasian Consortium finally involved itself in the War of the Manorsian Succession. On 3 October 1225, Christiana issued instructions to her military forces to prepare for an advance into the Crimeanian Provinces. The Queen Mother herself, establishing her operational headquarters on Agac, was determined to direct the military offensives which would now be launched into the territories of the former Crimeanian Khanate. Venasian forces were ready for this advance; they were determined to gain glory for themselves and for the Consortium. Three days later, Christiana issued a declaration of war against the Kingdom of Melorkia, and Venasian forces now hurled into Melorkian territory. The Queen Mother herself commanded the military forces, and she quickly obtained a series of victory over the Melorkian fleets. She besieged and conquered Hooper (7-11 October); Viera (12-19 October); and Oakley (22-29 October). Sanegeta and Acamaria were soon both being threatened by Venasian fleets (November 1225). On 27 November, it was acknowledged by the Halegothican Government that Theodoric had now been on the throne for 50 years, reaching a milestone which only Honorius the Terrible had reached thus far in the Third Laurasian Period; this occasion, however, found no cause for celebration, as the King was in a declining state and as Halegothica was suffering reverses in the Kuevian War. Amalasuintha, however, did have coins struck to commemorate the occasion. On 4 December, however, King Childebert, determined to halt the Venasian advance and to inflict a defeat upon Christiana, whom he believed would not be able to endure a long, drawn-up conflict, announced his intentions to take command of the Melorkian forces arrayed against the Queen-Mother. This would now give the opportunity to Godomar and Fre'dakh, who would be able to launch renewed counteroffensives into the occupied territories of the Devianiani Confederacy. Childebert departed from Melorkia on 11 December, and by 17 December, had established his operational headquarters on Eutagia. He repelled a Venasian offensive against Mormon (22-27 December 1225) and then reconquered Oakley (29 December).

On 1 January 1226, the Melorkians defeated the Venasians in the pitched Battle of Hardwick, forcing Christiana to end plans for a offensive against Crimeania itself. Five days later, however, Alexandrian-Devianiani forces, commanded by Fre'dakh himself, and in conjunction with Alexandrian military commanders, invaded the occupied territories of the Confederacy. Fre'dakh and his units quickly secured a succession of victories over the Melorkian and Jarjanican garrisons. Masia (8-11 January); Merts (15 January); and Lower Valtberg (22-27 January) were besieged and reconquered in turn by Fre'dakh's forces. On 3 February, Childebert and Rechila II issued a formal declaration of war against the Kingdom of Alexandria; Godomar was now fully entangled in the War of the Manorsian Succession. Throughout February and March 1226, Christiana and Childebert struggled for the advantage in the Crimeanian Provinces; repeated counter-offensives and expeditions along the Kimanian Run, and at strongholds such as Sanegeta, Balaraman, Adamis, Agac, Aflak, and Podrac reflected the back and forth struggle between the two sides. Rechila II, on his part, having established his operational headquarters at Ain Jalut (with the permission of the Melorkian Government), attempted to organize a series of counteroffensives against Fre'dakh. Although a Alexandrian offensive against Beatrice was defeated (5-16 February 1226), Heidelberg was stormed by a Alexandrian expedition (22 February). By the end of March 1226, Trieste and Henkura were both being threatened by Alexandrian expeditions, and the Devianiani Great Council had established its headquarters on Blanchard. The stalemate in Kuevia had continued during the meantime; Amalasuintha was able to maintain Halegothican positions and to repel raiding expeditions launched against Meris, Walters, Hasselbeck, Shephard, and Wakedia, among other strongholds in the Robertian Regions. Her sister Ostrogotha, however, entered a severe decline in health. On 12 April 1226, the Alexandrian Queen-Dowager suffered a stroke at her palace on Anna Yunia, and was compelled to seek medical treatment from the Rehabilitation and Recuperation Center of Filorean. Theodoric, in isolation within the confines of his quarters, was not told of his daughter's medical condition; Amalasuintha feared (and rightly) that it would place her father's life in further peril. Ostrogotha's efforts to obtain treatment failed however, and on 7 May, Amalasuintha and the Council of Elders were informed that she did not have much longer to live. On 15 May, Ostrogotha made her final will and testament, awarding most of her properties to her sister. Two days later, she died at the age of 32. Although Amalasuintha had been able to hide Ostrogotha's condition from her father, the news about her death circulated in the Royal Household, and inevitably, came to the King's ears. Theodoric screamed when he learned of his daughter's death, and now suffered a complete nervous breakdown. In June 1226, the King was moved to the Royal Hospital, and it was believed that his life was in severe danger. That month, the war front in the Kuevian territories once again picked up steam. In the Devianiani Confederacy, Fre'dakh conquered both Trieste and Henkura during May 1226, but Rechila II was now able to prevent him from making any further advances.

Nevertheless, the Alexandrians had succeeded in their aim of distracting Melorkian resources, for Childebert had now been compelled to send reinforcements to Ain Jalut, Woolestone, Winehouse, Shell, and Beverly Hereidu, in fear that Fre'dakh would attempt to conquer those worlds. Generaless Eethetia, on her part, gained the advantage over Halegothican forces. A Venasian force secured the Coalition position at Hoohshikk (2-9 June 1226) and then destroyed a Halegothican fleet operating from Nottingham (13-17 June). By 22 June, Nottingham and Melanie Major had been completely secured by Coalition units, and the Halegothican forces were now forced to retreat from the Melanie Trade Line. The Venasian Generaless launched expeditions against Timur's Star, Clathbourne, Hunt Minor, the Sk'atha Cluster, and Samarkand (23 June-9 July 1226), which inflicted damage upon Halegothican garrisons, weakened Halegothican supply lines, and gathered intelligence which would prove useful for future advances by Coalition forces. On 15 July, Whoppi was besieged by a Venasian-Kuevian force; the stronghold fell to them four days later. On 21 July, a Halegothican task fleet was defeated by Generaless Eethetia in the Battle of Predosur; all Halegothican raiding expeditions against the Millian Worlds ended. By 24 July, Kuevian forces were besieging both Goldberg and Shephard, while a Venasian task fleet had conquered Dickinson and repelled offensives by government garrisons along the Rebeccan Galactic Trade Route. On 4 August, Shephard capitulated to the Kuevians; two days later, Goldberg followed. On 11 August, Apuza and Abrianna were both stormed by Venasian task forces, who confiscated Halegothican supplies, agricultural goods, and mining equipment. By 15 August, offensives were being planned by the Kuevian-Venasian Coalition against Jeanne, Meredith, and Wakedia. The health of King Theodoric, however, had taken a grievous turn for the worse. On 29 July, Theodoric had begun foaming at the mouth, similar to what had impacted Laurasian King Theodosius, and his doctors were coming ever closer to despair. The King of Halegothica, who was now "unkempt in appearance, weak, and exhausted", had developed the habit of engaging in conversation with himself, and at least four times up until 11 August, his doctors had been forced to sedate him. On 9 August, an early diagnosis report had declared that the King was suffering from Mandine's disorder, which impacts communication and the brain system of Halegothicans. Three days later, however, doctors determined that the King was suffering from an advanced stage of depression, and that his mental capability for rational thought had been destroyed by the stresses which he had suffered in recent years.

On 17 August, however, Theodoric enjoyed a brief revival in health, and he now called his daughter, as well as the Council of Elders, to his side. From what was now acknowledged as his deathbed, the King of Halegothica confirmed Athalaric as his successor and appointed his daughter Amalasuintha as Regent of the Halegothican State, to govern in the name of her son until he was to obtain the age of majority at eighteen. Theodoric instructed the Council of Elders to work with his daughter in order to effectively manage affairs of state, and he also ordered them to begin negotiations with the Kuevian-Venasian Coalition, as soon as possible after his death. On 22 August, Theodoric asked for forgiveness from the members of his Household, and he was now given spiritual solace by the Archbishop of the Almitian Conclave of Jasonia, Titus, who had been appointed to that position by Pope Filaret on 5 February 1226. Titus, who had served in Theodoric's household for twenty-five years, and had become a loyal associate of the King, conducted a sermon in the King's quarters and enjoined all to pray for his soul. On 27 August, Theodoric entered a coma, and his doctors now declared that he was not expected to live for much longer. On 28 August, Titus delivered the Last Sacraments to the dying sovereign, and declared that his honor would be elevated in the Heaven of Almitis. Then, August 30, 1226, after having reigned over the Kingdom of Halegothica for nearly fifty-one years and over the former territories of the Huntite Khanate for thirty-three years, Theodoric the Great died. At the time of his death, he was the most senior monarch in the Caladarian Galaxy, a status which he had held for thirty years (from the death of Offa in 1196), longer than any other sovereign in recent galactic history. Although the last half-decade of his reign had been marred by economic troubles, personal tragedies, and by the failures of the Kuevian War, Theodoric was nevertheless honored as a great and effective sovereign by his lamenting subjects. The reaction to Theodoric's death was universal across the Caladarian Galaxy. Queen Mother Christiana and King Hilderic, who had become his bitter adversaries, declared, in a joint proclamation to the subjects of their two respective realms, that Theodoric had been a "honorable sovereign" and was "determined to maintain the position of his species". In fact, on 2 September, the Queen Mother and King ordered for all operations by their forces against Halegothican positions to cease, and for a armistice to be imposed. King-Emperor Sigis'ac of the Polonian-Donguarian Commonwealth, who was now the senior monarch in the Caladarian Galaxy, declared, in a manifesto to his subjects on 11 September, that the death of Theodoric was a "great blow to the civilizations of the Caladarian Galaxy" and that he enjoyed eternal rest in paradise. King Leonidas of Laurasia declared that Theodoric had been a virtuous sovereign, despite the harrying of the Anti-Almitis in his last years. Chosroes of Solidarita and Ambaghai of the Homidinian Khanate, both tied up in their long and exhaustive conflict (to be described below), both found time to issue proclamations expressing their most sincere condolences for Theodoric's death.

Rechila II, Godomar, Fre'dakh, and Gu'starai Adolphus all sent letters of condolence to the Halegothican Court, and all commanded their subjects to offer up prayers for Theodoric's soul. Amalaric of Ashlgothia is said to have wailed publicly when he was informed of his great-uncle's death. On 5 September, Theodoric's body was placed on state display at the Great Hall of the Jasonian Palace. There it remained for the remainder of the month. On 14 September, Amalasuintha and the Council of Elders, acting in the name of King Athalaric, sent a request for diplomatic negotiations to the Kuevian and Venasian Courts. Christiana, eager to focus all her efforts on the struggle in the Crimeanian Provinces, and Hilderic, wishing to consolidate his position in the Kuevian Dominions, accepted the request two days later. On 2 October, Theodoric the Great was interned at the Tomb of Kings on Jasonia; his daughter acted as the chief mourner, while Archbishop Titus presided over the services in conjunction with Halegothican priests. Khan-Emeritus Genghis-Timur was present at the service, and led the procession of nobles who prayed for Theodoric's soul. Then on 11 October, a conference was opened at Iego, for diplomatic negotiations between Halegothica, Kuevia, and Venasia. Generaless Eethetia and Kuevian diplomat Aneseric represented the Coalition, while the Halegothican diplomat Gunto served as the Halegothican representative at the conference. Christiana and Hilderic, who had developed a sincere respect for Theodoric, and believed that it would be to their advantage to maintain positive relations with his grandson and daughter, decided to offer lenient terms to the Halegothican Government. Eethetia and Aneseric communicated this to Ambassador Gunto. The Coalition terms were that Halegothica would acknowledge the termination of the Treaty of Vickis; the end of the Halegothican protectorate over Kuevian affairs; and the restoration of Whoppi, Goldberg, Choir, and Shephard to Kuevian authority. In return, the Coalition would return Dickinson, Apuza, and Abrianna to the authority of the Halegothican Kingdom; would acknowledge Athalaric's rights as successor to his father Theodoric and his mother Amalasuintha as his regent; and would make no demand for reparations or financial indemnity from the Halegothican Power. Eethetia and Aneseric also declared that Hilderic would be willing to release Theodoric's sister Amalafrida and her Halegothican guards, provided that they leave Kuevian territory and return to the Court of Jasonia immediately after release. Amalasuintha, understanding that these terms were generous, and determined to consolidate her position as Regent, commanded Gunto on 21 October to accept the Coalition terms. Gunto did so, and the two delegations now began to draft the treaty of peace. On November 2, 1226, the Treaty of Iego, enshrining all of these terms in written form, was signed, thereby bringing King Hilderic's War to an end. The Treaty of Iego was ratified by Amalasuintha (in the name of her son King Athalaric) on 5 November, by Queen Mother Christiana on 8 November, and by King Hilderic on 11 November.

Queen-Dowager Amalafrida and her Halegothican entourage were released from imprisonment on 12 November; they returned thenceforth to the Halegothican Dominions. Amalafrida's health, however, had declined during her imprisonment, and she was devastated upon learning of her brother's death. Her condition rapidly deteriorated further, and she would die at the Royal Hospital of Jasonia on 4 January 1227, barely five months after the death of her elder brother. By the end of November 1226, all prisoners of war had been exchanged, and the territorial changes had been effected. In December 1226, Venasian units operating in Kuevian territory retired back to the Consortium or were redirected to the struggle in the Crimeanian Provinces; the War of the Manorsian Succession once again took the predominant focus. On 11 December, however, King Amalaric of Ashlgothia, declaring that the death of his great-uncle had absolved him of his minority and of all obligations towards the Halegothican Government, asserted his rights as effective monarch. The Ashlgothian Government now gained complete autonomy; on 19 December, Amalasuintha was compelled by the Council of Elders to issue a manifesto affirming Amalaric's rights as direct ruler of his dominions. The Halegothican regency of Ashlgothia, which had lasted for fifteen years, was therefore officially terminated. On 28 December, Amalasuintha announced that her son Athalaric would be formally crowned King of Halegothica in April of the following year. As the year 1227 commenced, the War of the Manorsian Succession was, as mentioned above, picking up steam again. The main focus was now on the struggle between Queen Mother Christiana and King Childebert for control of the Crimeanian Provinces. On 4 January, Christiana defeated a Melorkian armada in the Battle of Barlagania, securing the Venasian hold of Agac. Two days later, she besieged and reconquered Hooper from a Melorkian force, entrenching a Venasian task force there. Venasian expeditions then seized Melorkian garrisons at Molly (5-9 January); Balaraman (10-15 January); Babeu (16-19 January); and Alememar (20-25 January). By the end of February 1227, Venasian units were penetrating to the outskirts of Nathaniel, and Mormon was itself stormed by a Venasian expedition. Childebert, who was determined to maintain his position in the Crimeanian Provinces, and who believed that Christiana needed to be faced by someone with considerable cunning and military expertise, decided to turn his focus to the affairs in the Devianiani Confederacy, and to appoint a general in his place to conduct the campaigns against Christiana.

The King of Melorkia now found such a general in a Baron from Tamars, Albrech't Wallansgad, a Roastafarian magnate who had demonstrated his loyalty to the Melorkian governmental authorities through years of service and loyal contributions to the State Treasury. Wallansgad was determined to gain further glory for himself and to elevate his family's position. On 9 March 1227, the King formally summoned Wallansgad to his operational headquarters on Benzitr V; the General obliged, arriving there two days later. In an audience, the King declared to Wallansgad that the continuing presence of the Venasian forces in Melorkian territory "could not be tolerated" and that the threat posed by Christiana needed to be ended. Consequently, Wallansgad was now appointed as Commander of all Melorkian forces in the Crimeanian Provinces. He was entrusted with recapturing the strongholds which had been seized by Christiana and with driving the Venasian forces back to the Consortium. Wallansgad accepted this commission willingly. On 22 March, Childebert began his long journey to Manorsia, as part of his efforts in the Devianiani Confederacy. Christiana, hearing of the change in command, and believing that this was the time to press forward, launched a major offensive against Nathaniel. The world resisted for some days, but was eventually captured on 1 April. By 17 April, George and Acamaria had both been secured by Venasian units, who then defeated a Melorkian fleet in the Battle of Brittany (22 April-9 May 1227). On 15 May, Venasian raiding expeditions even struck Babania, Rasti, Jemeina, Moule, and Algaica Belguica, harrying Melorkian fortifications and threatening communications in the Internal Provinces. Wallansgad, however, had allowed Christiana and their forces to overextend themselves through these campaigns, and on 22 May, he began his counteroffensive. On 25 May, he halted a Venasian raiding expedition against Les Mans; two days later, he destroyed a Venasian transport fleet in the Battle of Jamula. By 12 June, Venasian raiding expeditions against the other strongholds in the Melorkian Provinces had ended, and Wallansgad began a systematic push up the Kimanian Trade Run. He stormed Babeu (13-17 June 1227) and then destroyed the Venasian arsenal on Osriana (24-27 June), before reconquering Sanegeta (July 1227). In the meantime, Childebert had managed to make some minor reconquests from the Alexandrians and Devianiani of Fre'dakh.

He reconquered Heidelberg (22-27 March 1227); halted a Alexandrian offensive against Hefner (28-29 March); and then destroyed a Alexandrian squadron in the Battle of Matthew (1-5 April 1227). Melorkian fleets then expelled Alexandrian task forces from their outposts on Ain Jalut, Woolestone, and Shell (April-May 1227), ending raids into the Manorsian Territories. In June 1227, Fre'dakh was defeated in the Battle of Henkura and was forced to abandon that stronghold; Childebert then captured a cache of Alexandrian military supplies and mercenaries in the Battle of Aceves. Melorkian expeditions struck the garrisons of Lower Valtberg, Masia, and Merts, eventually overrunning them by 25 September. By October 1227, Christiana had been compelled to retreat from Oakley and Acamaria, and was now being pursued by General Wallansgad towards Mormon. On 14 October, the Melorkian General managed to catch up with the Queen Mother and her armada at Lutter, a minor Melorkian colony-world only five light-years southeast of Mormon. Christiana arrayed her forces into formation, assuming a defensive position on the outskirts of Lutter. The Queen Mother, however, did not effectively employ her ion battleships and destroyers, whereas Wallansgad directed his captains to use all of the firepower which was at their disposal. A heavy bombardment then ensued, as the Melorkian destroyers and disruptors attempted to punch a hole into the front-line of the Venasian armada. Following the conclusion of the bombardment, Melorkian starfighters and corvettes advanced, striking through Venasian supply lines and disrupting coordination amongst the fleet. The Venasians, however, managed to prevent the Melorkian squadrons from penetrating to the command formation, and then repelled them back to their earlier positions. A Melorkian detachment, however, took control of a position in the rear of the Venasian force; this resulted in confusion when Christiana ordered a counterattack against the Melorkian fleet. Although the Venasian ships were larger and possessed more advanced technology, they did not employ this technology effectively, and consequently, Wallansgad was able to order his corvettes to launch a circular maneuver against the Venasian force. The Venasians were now surrounded, and Christiana had to focus her efforts on attempting to break free. The Queen Mother and her officers ultimately succeeded in retreating from Lutter, but the majority of the operational Venasian ships were destroyed, captured, or disabled. The Melorkians had gained a decisive victory. Following this, General Wallansgad reconquered George (18 October); Brittany (22-27 October); Hopper (28 October); and Sanegeta (1-9 November), driving the Venasian garrisons off those strongholds and restoring them to Melorkian authority. By the end of November, 1227, all remaining Venasian units in Melorkian territory had been expelled, and Wallansgad was now posed to launch his own counteroffensives into Venasian territory. The Venasians, however, repelled Melorkian offensives against Agac, Aflac, Podrac, and Hannis (December 1227), and a stalemate therefore ensued. Likewise, by the end of December 1227, Alexandrian units had been forced to retreat from the occupied territories of the Devianiani Confederacy, but Childebert was unable to advance into Alexandrian territory. This stalemate continued during the early months of 1228. Other events, however, were taking place during that time. On 6 January 1228, Queen Clotilde of Cambrina announced that she was abdicating her throne, in deference to her "wiser and more capable" brother Childebert. Clotilde had never been particularly fond of the duties of governance, and believed that it would be better for the whole of the Melorkian dominions to be unified under the rule of one monarch again. Clotilde also wished to pursue her own ambitions, and believed that a throne prevented her from doing so.

Childebert, pleased that his sister was voluntarily abdicating his throne, and urged by his mother, issued a manifesto on 15 January, declaring that Clotilde's declaration was "for the benefit of this realm". On 22 January, Clotilde formally abdicated the Cambrinan throne in a ceremony at the Great Palace of Melorkia; the ceremony was attended by King Childebert, Queen-Dowager Clotilde, the officials of the Melorkian government, and members of the Royal Court. Childebert was formally acknowledged as King of All Melorkia; he now assumed governance of the Cambrinan Provinces, reunifying the Melorkian dominions under one ruler for the first time in nearly seventeen years. In February 1228, Childebert imposed a levy on his new subjects and now began recruiting troops from Cholodio and Riparia, determined to use them for offensives into the Venasian Consortium and the Alexandrian Kingdom. The following month, Clotilde announced her intention to procure for herself a husband. The now Dowager-Queen of Cambrina preferred a foreign prince, who would give her a position independent from that she still held in the Melorkian territories. King Amalaric of Ashlgothia, who had not yet married and was determined to find a wife who could be his companion and the mother of his child, heard of Clotilde's announcement. On 24 March, the King of Ashlgothia sent a diplomatic communique to the Melorkian Court, requesting information about Clotilde's intentions. Three days later, Childebert responded, declaring that his sister was looking for a "virtuous husband who would treat her fairly and ensure her security". Amalaric declared that as King of Ashlgothia, he could easily provide this, and that no harm would befall Clotilde if she became his Queen-Consort. Clotilde now contemplated the Ashlgothian King's offer; eventually, on 12 April, she decided that she would indeed marry the King. Two days later, a conference was opened between Ashlgothian and Melorkian officials at Courtney. This conference lasted for nearly a month, as the Ashlgothian delegation insisted that a marriage between their King and the Melorkian Princess would not entail Ashlgothian support for Melorkia against its enemies.

Childebert, who had hoped that he could gain Ashlgothia as an ally, was reluctant, but he eventually capitulated. On 7 May 1228, the Treaty of Courtney was signed. By the terms of this treaty, Amalaric and Clotilde were to be married by no later than 1 November 1228. Clotilde was to have the honors and position of Ashlgothian Queen-Consort; would be allowed to maintain contact with her brother and the Melorkian Government at all times; and would be permitted to have a Melorkian bodyguard. In exchange, Ashlgothia was to remain neutral in the War of the Manorsian Succession, and would be allowed to refuse Melorkian requests for financial aid, passage rights, or mercenaries. The Treaty of Courtney was ratified by Amalaric on 10 May and by Childebert on 12 May. On 17 May, Clotilde formally accepted Childebert as her husband-to-be; a ceremony of engagement took place on 22 May at Ashlgothia, with the Melorkian Ambassador representing Clotilde. Clotilde began preparing for her departure to Ashlgothia in June 1228; she would eventually leave Melorkia on 2 July, arriving at the Ashlgothian capital world four days later. Amalaric was immediately entranced by her, and declared that she would be a worthy wife. Their marriage eventually took place on 7 August 1228, and was attended by dignitaries from all of the galactic powers with the exceptions of Venasia and Alexandria. Their ambassadors lodged a formal protest to the Ashlgothian Government over the wedding; the Council of Elders responded by declaring that Ashlgothia would remain neutral in the war, and had no intention of creating a formal military alliance with Melorkia. In September 1228, however, the war picked up steam once more. The main focus of the war was now in the Venasian Consortium, as Wallansgad and Childebert were finally able to launch their offensives into Venasian territory. On 12 September, a Venasian patrol force was defeated in the Battle of Allastair. Five days later, Aflak was besieged by a Melorkian force; it fell to them on 24 September. Melorkian fleets then attacked Agac and Podrac, seizing both strongholds by the end of the month. At this point, however, Generaless Eethetia took command of the Venasian forces and defeated a expeditionary force launched by General Wallansgad against Monderon (1-7 October 1228). She then destroyed a Melorkian transport armada in the Battle of Alter (8-12 October). On 16 October, Eethetia launched a raiding expedition against Oakley, devastating the stronghold's outskirts and making off with much booty before retreating. Five days later, the Generaless defeated another Melorkian force in the Battle of Onassis and secured Venasia Secondary. Wallansgad, however, who was determined to obtain at least one victory to end the war, decided to instigate a siege of Ruttum, in the hopes of eventually forcing the stronghold into capitulation. On 28 October, Wallansgad's operational forces, commanded by Melorkian General Arnobad, laid siege to Ruttum. Ruttum was defended by a Venasian fleet under the command of Lieutenant-Generaless Kasia. The world presented a fierce resistance to the Melorkian forces. In early November 1228, numerous counteroffensives were launched by Generaless Eethetia, who managed to storm Melorkian operational outposts on Simla (5-9 November); Akerly (12 November); and Anderson (17-19 November).

On that same day, however, Arnobad launched his first assault against the defenses of the Ruttian Asteroid Rings. This offensive launched for four days and inflicted severe damage upon Venasian positions. On 25 November, Wallansgad defeated Eethetia in the Battle of Camille and was able to prevent a move against Agac and Podrac by Venasian fleets. On 26-27 November, Arnobad launched another assault against the defenses of Ruttum, but Generaless Kasia was able to repel his units by the use of operational mines and corvettes rigged with photon torpedoes. A stalemate then ensued over the course of the next month, as Venasian and Melorkian fleets struggled at Phyilis, Hannis, and Organia for the advantage. Christiana, however, received substantial reinforcements from Kuevian King Hilderic, and was also able to hire Polonian and Laurasian mercenaries. Finally, on 27 December, Wallansgad himself arrived at the operational headquarters of Castum, and took command of the forces arrayed against the garrison of Ruttum. Wallansgad launched a vigorous counteroffensive late that day; by 29 December, the Melorkians had succeeded in storming the outer fortifications of Calum, Barrana, and the Ruttian Asteroid Rings. On 29-30 December, a detachment of Polonian mercenaries, commanded by General Worol Kalidiz, arrived at Ruttum and strengthened the garrison there. Thus, as the year 1228 ended, the Melorkian forces were bogged down in heavy combat in the Venasian Consortium. On 1 January 1229, Childebert, in a proclamation from his operational headquarters on Trieste, declared that Melorkia would soon consolidate its position in the Barsar Regions and that both the Venasians and Alexandrians would be compelled into asking for peace negotiations. Three days later, Wallansgad launched another offensive against Ruttum, but this ended disastrously. By 12 January, Kalidiz had actually reconquered Calum and Barrana, while Venasian expeditions harried the outskirts of Castum. By the end of January 1229, Polonian mercenaries, Briannian commercial ships, and Venasian defensive units had further reinforced the garrison of Ruttum; at that very time, the Venasians began to make reconquests at Melorkian expense.

On 7 February, Eethetia defeated General Arnobad in the Battle of Forensia and was able to threaten the supply lines of Castum. Four days later, Wallansgad launched another offensive against the garrison of Ruttum that ended in failure. By 22 February, Venasian units had reconquered the Ruttite Asteroid Rings and had destroyed Briannian outposts on Bargas, Jenna, and Tasha, forcing the Briannians to terminate their expeditions into the Venasian Cluster. On 1 March, Eethetia won another victory in the Battle of Timothy, and was able to secure Hannis firmly for the Venasian cause. By 12 March, Wallansgad had begun contemplating a retreat from Ruttum. King Childebert, on his part, urged the General to resist Venasian advances with the utmost vigor. Wallansgad, however, was ultimately able to convince the King that a strategic retreat from Ruttum would realign the front-lines and allow Briannian forces to maintain their other gains. On 25 March, Childebert granted permission for the retreat to proceed. On 4 April, Wallansgad lifted the blockade of Ruttum and abandoned his headquarters on Castum, establishing a more defensible operational center at Elen. Venasian units reoccupied Castum, and on 14 April, Eethetia stormed Melorkian positions at the outskirts of Lynne. Wallansgad, however, now launched a major offensive against Organia, determined to still compel the Consortium to obedience. Although he obtained a victory in the Battle of Oscar (15-17 April 1229), and stormed the Venasian position at Gur (22 April), Christiana, arousing from Venasia Prime, defeated a Melorkian task force in the Skirmish of Logan (24-29 April 1229). On 5 May, the Queen Mother and the Melorkian General clashed at Tounwald, a Venasian colony-world six light years north of Organia. The battle lasted for six days and was particularly hard fought. In the end, Wallansgad managed to gain a strategic victory, but Christiana successfully prevented him from moving any closer to Organia. By the end of May 1229, in fact, Podrac and Agac were both being besieged by Venasian forces, and Eethetia was directing raiding expeditions who were once again penetrating into Melorkian territory. On 4 June, King Childebert held a conference with his officials and military commanders at Trieste. The King of Melorkia now believed that the endeavor in Venasian territory drained his resources and weakened the integrity of his state. Consequently, he was now determined to conclude a peace with Christiana as soon as possible. Christiana herself, who wished to reorganize her military forces, and who was now more concerned about affairs in Kuevia and Halegothica, decided that a peace would be desirable. On 11 June, the King of Melorkia sent a command to General Wallansgad, ordering him to begin negotiations with the Venasian Government. Wallansgad obliged, and on 19 June, signed the Armistice of Alvarado with Generaless Eethetia, suspending all military campaigning between the opposing sides. Four days later, a conference was convened at Monderon, in order to settle outstanding matters between the two sides. The negotiations lasted for over a month, as the Venasian delegation demanded that the Melorkians restore the independence of the Devianiani Confederacy. Wallansgad, on his part, pressed for the Venasians to pay a financial indemnity to the Melorkian Government and to return all plunder which they had seized from the Crimeanian Provinces. Eventually however, the two delegations were able to make a compromise on these issues. Finally, the Treaty of Monderon was signed on 26 July 1229, ending the Venasian stage of the War of the Manorsian Succession. By the terms of this treaty, the status quo ante bellum was imposed in territorial matters between the Kingdom of Melorkia and the Venasian Consortium. All Briannian forces were to retire from Venasian territory by 1 January 1230. All prisoners of war and plunder were to be returned to their original owners; neither side would be obliged to pay a financial indemnity, besides making reparations to those civilians who had suffered at the hands of the enemy troops. As regards to the Devianiani Confederacy and Manorsia, Christiana agreed to acknowledge Childebert's rule as King of All Melorkia and that Melorkia was the protector of the Devianiani Confederacy. No territorial concessions, however, were to be demanded of Alexandria besides "appropriate border rectifications". The Treaty of Monderon was ratified by Queen Mother Christiana on 2 August and by King Childebert on 11 August. For the history of the Stellar Kingdom of Laurasia from 1230 to 1320, see Timeline of the Stellar Kingdom of Laurasia (1230-1320).

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