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King Cairbré the Wise (Etrandish: Cairbré; IPA: [kʰɛːɹbɾeɪ̯]) was the ruler of Etrand between 744 and 789. He is credited with the consolidation of the Bryantid dynasty's rule in Etrand - while his predecessor viewed his own rule as the continued of the Tondbertid dynasty's rule, Cairbré retconned his predecessor as the starter of a new dynasty: the Bryantid dynasty.
Early Life Edit
Cairbré was born on 723 AEKE, 18th of Tyelcartel, as the second son of King Bryant I of Etrand and his wife Queen Mythela of Etrand. As his body was deemed too weak for a warrior, his father sent him to study at the very same Royal Academy of Etrand he studied at, albeit to study science rather than law and economics. Cairbré also studied magic at the academy - Destructive Magic for self-defence to compensate for his physical weakness, Healing Magic to be able to get the best of his frail body, and Utility Magic to help with his scientific studies and experiments.
He graduated at the age of 18, in 741, just three years before he would eventually assume throne. Under his father's instructions, he would spend the next three years learning administration. The young prince, whose body was frail no more was considered able-bodied, therefore taught in the ways of the sword and horse as well, albeit not as much as expected from noblemen - he continued to rely on magic for self-defense.
In 744 AEKE, on the 12th of Moribel, King Bryant I died, leaving his throne empty. Cairbré was not Bryant's first-born son, so he did not believe he would inherit - it was believed that his older brother Eurenic would inherit, but his mother Mythela have decided otherwise - after two months of struggle, Cairbré was crowned King. Eurenic rebelled twice against his rule but failed both time and was blinded after the second attempt.
|“|| In the shanty town of Grandfolk was a tavern like no other. What made it different? A sign that said "No pigs". No pigs? No, it wasn't referring to our porcine friends. It was referring to the gender of the people who were about to enter the building that is meant to be a female-only. Because most patrons were illiterate, there was even a sign that depicted a duck kicking a pig.|
The building was visited by a small group of inquisitors. Bald men carrying warhammers, lightly armoured. The moment they entered the tavern, all women inside turned pale. They knew it was over. The moment the Inquisitors entered, a few of the patrons were engaged in passionate kissing or groping of each other. They knew it was the one place where it was okay. Then the Inquisitors arrived, everyone froze.
"Well-well, what do we have here? Don't mind if we... join the fun?" smirked the Inquisitor. His comrades began laughing. It could have been a reference to how some men were aroused by the sight of two women being intimate with each other and wanted to join them as a third one, or voicing his willingness to break his vows of celibacy at the moment. Either way, his friends found it funny. The females on the other hand, remained frozen.
It only took mere moments before the expressions on the faces of the inquisitors turned from laughing to cold dead seriousness. Their leader stepped towards the bar, but was "assaulted" by one of the patrons. A Dark Elf with a knife, yelling only "Filthy pig!" to the man she wanted dead. The inquisitor effortlessly stopped her in her tracks by choking her with his telekinessis, only to pull her closer to himself, take her hand, and let his fingers "bite" into her hand. Only a couple of seconds later, the Inquisitor made a certain move, and the woman's arm was broken, compelling her to let out a loud groan. Then the leader did what he was previously interrupted in, walk to the bar, take a bottle of wine, begin drinking it, then use the half-emptied bottle to swipe all the glasses to the floor.
"Detain all of them and burn the building to the ground." Said their leader. Only one minute after, all of the patrons found themselves tied to each other, forced to march out of the building, with the justiciars who were taking them somewhere else... somewhere unmentioanble. And the rest of the Inquisitors? Directly defying higher orders to torch the cursed building without taking anything, they immediately began looting everything of worth, taking them onto the wagons before finally bothering to torch the building.
What they did was perfectly legal. They always had the de jure right to do it. However, it was only recently that they were given the de facto right to go through with it. And what happened to those lovely ladies? We best not talk about that...
| — Final Smile by Cario Sémis, referring to Cairbré's religious policies|
The 21-year old king's first important action was declaring himself to be of the Bryantid dynasty, and formally invalidating the Tondbertid dynasty's right to rule Etrand - he deemed it an important decision, as he did not want the last Tondbertids who were pacified by his predecessor to revolt against him in the same manner Eurenic did. After that, he sought to continue his father's policies at preserving the inner peace and economic stability of Etrand by his predecessor's policies of selective taxation, relaxed economical control, subsidizing profitable trades and letting cities have autonomy - he did however partially break with his father's lax religious policies, and expelled Wood Elven missionaries who were converting Titanist Humans - previously they were tolerated by Bryant. Cairbré also took a very harsh stance against sodomy. Some historians believe that his religious policies were influenced by the advices of Beoldwin Mairkel, whom he appointed as his main advisor and main censor.
Just in the second year of the rule, he came face to face with his own mortality, surviving two assassination attempts. At that point, he decided that he was in dire need for a successor.
Rather than marrying a noblewoman from his own country - such as Tondbertid, as recommended to him by his mother - Cairbré has chosen to prove the independence of his dynasty by marrying a princess from the royal family of another independent state. Eventually, the princess he was marrying was a Half-Elf from Artaburro - Princess Muyian (Wood Elven: Muyian; IPA: [mujian]) of Artaburro, the eldest daughter of their king at the time. The couple was wed in 746, on the 29th of Randametta, just one day before the celebrations of Year's End. While the marriage between the two was an arranged marriage, they eventually came to love each other - a perfectly arranged marriage.
Cairbré continued overseeing the country's developing economy, and funded the Mages Guild to spread the knowledge of the arcane even further among the citizenry. He had the somewhat crazy idea of introducing basic knowledge of magic and spellcasting as requirements of literacy - obviously, he quickly realized that such a plan would never work, and he had to be happy with simply funding the Mages Guild, to increase the amount of citizens literate in his magic. While the Mages Guild was thankful for the donations received from the King, a good deal of the new members were not humans from Etrand, but High Elves and Wood Elves, who wanted to learn or teach at a guild where there was little politics involved. While Necromancy continued to remain banned, Cairbré did in fact approve the relaxing of some of the censorship policies of the Mages Guild, which is mainly what attracted teachers from Froturn and Dragoc to come to Etrand.
Cairbré was responsible for building the Hall of Kings in Grandfolk, a royal mausoleum that contained a statue of Fathred, King Corlagon, King Andrei and King Bryant - he specifically forbade ever placing a statue of himself within the building, but his successors would disobey him and do it anyway. The building would also serve as the final resting place of all kings and queens of Etrand whose bodies were found - previous rulers and their consorts would have their remains transferred to the crypts underneath the Hall of Kings, while future deceased monarchs and their consorts too would be burried within the building.
The king may have enjoyed a stable and peaceful reign, but that is not to say that his life was boring - he frequently hosted feasts in which commoners were often involved, he would ask magicians to perform tricks, and sometimes he himself would perform magical stunts in front of the guests. Cairbré was also an avid drinker and singer, reputed to have drunk all men under the table at nearly all of the feasts. However, that is not to say that his life was without risks - at several times, his magical experiments have gone horrible wrong, and he almost ended up burning himself to death, or freezing himself. At the age of 51, in 774, he was named Honorary Archmage by the Mages Guild.
He had a loving relationship with his wife Muyian, and it was said that they slept with each other nearly every day, and when they were together, not an hour passed without them kissing each other. Some say that his wife was an even more avid drinker than he was, and was responsible for her husband's preference towards Elven wine instead of the traditionally Human beer. Muyian bore Cairbré 7 children in total: 4 sons and 3 daughters. His eldest son Calhoun was wed to daughter of Muyian's brother Saran, Princess Hió (Wood Elven: Hió; IPA: [çoː]) to further strengthen his dynasty's ties with the ruling house of Artaburro. His second-eldest son Byren and his eldest daughter Sirana were wed to the twin daughter and son of the Earl of Etrancoast in a duoble-wedding. His two other sons and two other daughters were wed to various other non-Tondbertid magnates.
Final years and death Edit
In his final years, the King has grown paranoid, fearful and - according to some - borderline insane. He kept babbling about how he and his wife are going to "ascend", he also started talking about death, and how his days are numbered, even though he was in perfect physical health, not riddled with any sickness. He also complained about seeing ominous visions, which he tried to soothe with more and more alcoholic, but according to his journal entries, he was "tripped by fate, which mocked him by giving him resistance to alcohol".
In the last two weeks of his life, he was surprisingly calm, dropping his former hysterics. He visited a place of pilgrimage devoted to Saint Yeryca together with his wife and all of his children. He kept contemplating about the beauty of life, about the inevitability of death, and how his generation is going to have to give way to the new generation. He especially spent time with his eldest son Calhoun to make sure he swears he will "take good care of Etrand".
On the last day of his life, however, his hysterics made a return - he cried "Dying is scary!", and had to be calmed down by his wife. After calming down, he only remarked with sadness "I only wished I could have seen him for a last time", referring to Crown Prince Bryant - apparently, he knew in advance that he was going to die, something no one else knew.
In 789 AEKE, 12th of Urnulina, Cairbré died "of natural causes" - going to bed to sleep, never to wake up -, and was succeeded by his eldest son Calhoun. His wife Muyian died with him in the same bed, most likely due to grief caused by her husband's death. On Cairbré's funeral, the rulers of Artaburro, Froturn and Dragoc all made appearences.
Foreign relations Edit
King Cairbré, while initially willing to follow his father's footsteps in being friendly with Froturn, Dragoc and Artaburro, have later grown suspicious of Froturn and Dragoc. Under his reign - partially due to his marriage to Muyian - strong ties developed between Etrand and Artaburro. Cairbré was also a personal friend of Prince Saran of Artaburro, his wife's older brother. Even though the likes of Ta'ael Myrth'nddare made their appearences in Froturn only in the 780's, both Cairbré and Saran have foreseen the following events already in the 740's, which is what may or may not have motivated the strong marriage alliance between Etrand and Artaburro. Some even claim that Cairbré and Saran predicted that the Froturnish Civil War would inevitably happen and considered to pre-emptively invade Froturn together but ultimately scrapped the plans. No evidence remains of a planned war between Etrand and Froturn.
Cairbré abandoned his father's ambitions to become "friends" with Neressa, deliberately mocking the Neressans by refusing to personally speak to their envoys and making them speak to his spokesmen instead. Cairbré's relations with Dragoc were also rather cold: it is said that early in his reign - before he married Muyian - Queen Cairi of Dragoc allegedly attempted to seduce the young king, who rejected her and viewed her as little better than a harlot for the rest of his life. Another story is that the queen to challenged the king to a game of derbi, which Cairbré lost, causing him to become resentful of Cairi until the day he died.
Cairbré's 46-year long rule was peaceful - Etrand was at peace, there were no wars, not even revolts. A good deal of the positive perception of Cairbré's reign comes from his ability to ensure that peace.
Those who speak defensively or positively of his disputed policies - namely, his religious policies - often argue that his main motivation was to preserve Etrand's status as the number one power on Artograch, and that foreign missionaries were a national security risk.
Other positive criticisms of Cairbré include reforms that increased gender equality, his stepping up against child abuse - sexual and physical alike -, his early (and only partially-successful) attempts at introducing meritocracy, his actions against poverty, and most of all, his act of enforcing many of his father's reforms that were made in name only. For this, he is considered a wise and lawful king who ensured that justice would prevail in his realm.
The sudden rise of the Mages Guild' during his reign is also directly tied to him - unlike his father, Cairbré was an avid supporter of the use of magic, and wanted to make it part of "basic education" or "literacy" - something every man and woman would have to know before calling himself or herself "educated". Even though this project of his failed, he still made an impact on the usage of magic, making it much more widespread than before.
While the question whether his religious policies were good or bad is a matter of perspective (see negative perceptions below), it is indisputable that the Church was particularly fond of Cairbré, and he was widely considered a pious ruler.
Many of Cairbré's policies - especially his infamous religious policies - were not without negative criticism. First and foremost, Queen Cairi of Dragoc was enraged about Cairbré's decision to expel all foreign missionaries. Cairbré's belief was that every state has a right to their own state religion and to defend that state religion, and considered Cairi's missioanaries an attack on his religion and his kingdom's sovereignty.
Nevertheless, Queen Cairi took offense and feared that Dragoc would become the next Hulra - a state to fall to Titanism.
Even though Cairbré made a statement that he would punish everyone who made false accusations with death or worse, some opportunists - namely, jealous colleges of the accused - still abused his laws to get rid of their rivals. Fearing for their lives, many self-proclaimed "free-thinkers" left Etrand for Froturn and Dragoc.
Additionally, some historians blame the Froturnish Civil War of 809 on Cairbré, believing that his religious policies encouraged Cairi to focus her attention on Froturn, further enraging the native Froturnish nobility, ultimately causing the civil war. Others believe that Cairbré's zealous support for the Church effectively reversed the progress for intellectual freedom that happened during the reign of Bryant, and set a stage for Etrand's long, gradual and still ongoing shift from a semi-constitutional feudal monarchy into a (military) dictatorial absolute monarchy.
The king's religious policies also anulled the normalization of relations between Etrand and Dragoc, which put relations at an all-time low - possibly the lowest since the Great War.
Critics of the Church of Titanius also argue that during the reign of Bryant of Etrand and Cael'mus of Froturn, the Church was losing power (which the critics considered good), but Cairbré and his successors annulled and reversed this "progress", which eventually spread to Froturn to, via King Ivahó of Froturn's decision to revoke the 809 laws and take the same steps as Cairbré did.
The infamous Cairbrean Censorship is also widely considered to be a forerunner of bad things to come in the future.
Additionally, some believe that Cairbré's attempts at introducing meritocracy was pure hypocrisy, as later historians accuse the king of cronyism - Grand Count Andrei III of Werron was his personal friend and was given a disproportionate amount of financial aid from the royal treasure, while Beoldwin Mairkel was also a personal friend of the king, and became one of his main advisors, if not his main advisor.
See also Edit