The Rise of Arda
War of Grim Honor
The War of Grim Honor was the last major conflict between the Kingdom of Istvany and the Ufirian Empire. This conflict, thought long in the past, still colors the interactions of these two states. As the war lead to Istvany acquiring Arda, all citizens of Arda know the tales and the victory is still celebrated each year on Golden-Bough Festival.
Preludes to War
There were many factors that lead to war. Ufirians are by nature very confrontational and prefer to settle disagreements in the arena or on the battlefield. Their aggressive expansion, settling lands east of the Muratas Mountains and attempts to sieze the natural resources so close to Istvany lead to frequent conflict between the two states. In the first decade of the second century SE, tensions increased to the point that war was all but inevitable, including Ufirian forces blockaiding the Sondast River, the primary water route into the Capital City.
Declaration of War
In early 208SE a young Istvan diplomat visiting the Ufirian capital as part of a peace delegation was caught in a restricted area of the palace. Despite the young mans insistance that he had simply gotten lost on his way to the bathroom, a lock of any evidence of a crime, and the urging of diplomats on both sides, the military publicly executed the diplomat for spying. That day the Kingdom of Istvany declared war.
Progress of the War
Through countless battles the tides of war shifted back and forth. Ufirian forces had the advantage of larger numbers and were much better trained, but Istvan forces were able to hold them back with clever tactics and better equipment.
In 210 SE, just when the Ufirian Army had started to make headway, a terrible plague swept through the empire. Nearly one in five died of the plague, and the weakened empire could not maintain a military campaign. In 211 SE the empire was forced to surrender to Istvany. The victory is still celebrated every year.
The Muratas Treaty
In order to secure the peace their empire desperately needed, the Ufirians had to sign the Muratas treaty. Under the terms of the treaty, all lands east of the Muratas Mountains were turned over to Istvany. The terms also included 200 years of trade considerations that strongly favored Istvany and a yearly gift of peace.
Legacy of the War
The war turned out much to the benefit of Istvan and after the war the kingdom acquired vast tracts of land, including the City of Arda. Controlling the city secured Istvan shipping lines up the Sondast River to the Capital City. This, combined with the favorable trade considerations, led to an economic boom in the kingdom.
Ufirians consider the War of Grim Honor to be their greatest military defeat. They contend that they were defeated more by the plague than by any military strength their enemies possessed. The terms of the treaty and the expense incurred curing the plague lead to an economic decline in Ufiria that lasted several decades. Even over 160 years later it is still a sore spot for many Ufirians.
The yearly celebration held in honor of the victory over the Ufirian Empire. On this day the Ufirians must deliver the yearly peace offering. The occasion is marked by a week of feasting and partying across the city. The celebration is named after Cedric Golden-Bough, the diplomat who negotiated the treaty. For his contributions to the kingdom his family was elevated to nobility, and to this day the Golden-Boughs still hold considerable power within Arda.
Because they consider the duty of delivering the peace offering demeaning, the Ufirian Empire often uses the delivery as a punishment for disgraced officials or those who have fallen from favor.