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The Soleilian Civil War was a major two phase internal conflict in Soleil during and after the Great Northern Aquilonis War.
The first phase of the war, fought mostly concurrently with the Great Northern Aquilonis War, pitted the ruling House of Lafayette and their allies against the renegade Houses of Adhemar and Bannister, and then briefly House Legendre, for the throne of Soleil. The second phase of the conflict was a war to preserve Soleil's territorial integrity, pitting royalist forces against a republican separatist movement dubbed the Republic of Alsace & Florence.
The exact date the war began in unclear, but most agree that the seeds of conflict originated when Roislueur fell after the Umdari Invasion of Soleil during the Great Northern Aquilonis War.
The war's origins go back to before the Great Northern Aquilonis War. In a plot to seize the throne, the House Adhemar, led by Germain Paul-Antoine de Adhemar, secretly aligned itself with Umdar.
When Umdar invaded Soleil, they caught the Royal Army off guard by launching an amphibious assault via Potiruka, bypassing the defenses Soleil had installed. As the Umdari marched on the capital, Roislueur, House Adhemar turned against House Lafayette in a coup d'état, killing King Justin III in the process. While Germain wasted no time establishing his authority, Zacharie Jean-Louis de Lafayette, the heir apparent to the throne, Germain's daughters, and many House Lafayette loyalists, managed to escape.
After the Fall of Roislueur, Umdar installed Germain as King of Soleil, leaving him to rule northern Soleil himself, while they secured the rest of the peninsular nation. A feat not easily done, due to a rebellion, consisting mostly of the remains of the Soleilian Royal Army, being led by Germain's own daughters.
Six years later, just as the Northern Alliance invaded northern Soleil, a persistent separate rebellion outside royal influence liberated the provinces of Florence and Alsace, allowing the alliance to march south to liberate the besieged royal army almost unopposed. However, this rebellion wasn't interested in returning to royal rule: instead, they declared independence and installed their own leaders as a republic, which they called the Republic of Alsace & Florence.
Believing that Umdar and Germain were the more serious and immediate threat, Allied leaders decided to leave them alone and deal with them when the war ended; it would be an inaction they would soon regret.
Phase 1: Conflict with House Adhemar
Even before Umdar was evicted from Soleil, hostilities between the alliance and the House of Adhemar broke out.
It was never officially confirmed, but many leaders of the alliance believed that forces of House Adhemar participated in the Siege of St. Croix alongside Umdari forces. This is only evident from the Adhemaran flags retrieved from the battlefield after the siege, and any commanders who may have participated are unknown.
When the Northern Allies launched their campaign to retake Roislueur by the end of the 4542ᴀꜰᴢ fighting season, Germain sent a large army of Adhemar and Bannister forces, led by his son Horace, to intercept a portion of the Allies at their first target; Garvis.
Siege of Garvis
Liberation of Roislueur
Two months after the Alliance victory at Garvis, and one month following the outset of the initial rebellions that resulted in the collapse of the Umdari Confederacy, what remained of the Umdari army in Soleil surrendered, effectively (yet unofficially) ending the Great Northern Aquilonis War. Official peace between Soleil and Umdar wouldn't be proclaimed until the signing of the Treaty of Harkolio six years later.
Satisfied with knowledge that they didn't have to worry about an Umdari counterattack from the south, House Lafayette and their allies, now led by Zacharie Jean-Louis de Lafayette, who had been unofficially proclaimed King of Soleil by the loyalists of House Lafayette, turned all attention north and marched with a host to liberate the Soleilian capital, Roislueur.
However, Soleil was with fewer allies now: with the conclusion of the greater conflict, the armies of Ardeal, Maratha, Hylar, and Bialidrak had vacated Soleil, as they were no longer obliged to intervene in Soleil with the defeat of Umdar. The newly independent/resurgent gargoyle-ruled Imperial City of Garvis refused to help as well. It mattered little, as they really still had all they needed: several major houses of Soleil (namely the veterans of the northwestern rebellion and the Siege of Garvis) had joined their forces with House Lafayette to overthrow Germain de Adhemar; the dwarves of Qirlok Trezka (a subkingdom within Soleil) also kept faith with the rightful rulers; the Order of the Rose Knights still maintained their objective to have Germain overthrown; and the Kingdom of Soleil's longtime friend and ally, the Empire of Yamatai, stayed to help as well. And also, since Germain's forces were so greatly depleted, House Adhemar's defeat was an almost absolute certainty.
However, despite the capture of his son, the loss of so many men, and the loss of House Bannister as an effective ally, Germain stubbornly wasn't about the give up just yet. Marching as large a host as he could muster south to meet the Lafayettes, their loyalists, and their allies, the two armies clashed on the Herbeux Plains. After four hours of back and forth combat, the Battle of Herbeux Plains ended in a decisive victory for House Lafayette and their allies when the Adhemaran host was routed and Germain was captured himself. Germain was condemned to a public execution for his crimes against Soleil and, with the route of Germain's last loyal army, Roislueur was left exposed. And so, the Lafayettes and their allies continued their march to the capital expecting it to be loosely guarded or with open gates – all leaders were inwardly hopeful of the latter.
One week after defeating Germain on the Herbeaux plains, pausing for a couple days to rest the army, the allied army arrived on the outskirts of Roislueur. However, when the army arrived at the outer walls of the capital, a surprise was waiting for them. It was not a host of House Adhemar loyalists – whom they assumed had abandoned the capital in the wake of Germain's final defeat – nor were their open gates with the people welcoming them as liberators, but a moderate force belonging to House Legendre. Leading them was Corinne Olga de Legendre, head of House Legendre and Germain's most recent wife. Instead of opening the gates to the loyalists and allies of House Lafayette, Lady Corinne barred the gates and declared from the battlements that she was now the ruling Queen Regnant of Soleil as Corinne I, that the reign of House Lafayette was over and the reign of House Legendre had begun. She also declared, under her own apparent authority, that her marriage to Germain was annulled. Stunned by the sudden change in the situation, the allies pulled back to set up camp and plan on how to deal with the new self-proclaimed queen.
Later that night, the allied leaders continued discussing possible solutions to their conundrum. As the suggestion of assassination was thrown onto the table, they were visited by a group of House Legendre men that came bearing an offer of peace. The allies expected it to be an offer of peace from "Queen" Corinne with the condition that they recognized her claim to rulership of Soleil, but that was not the offer they were given. Instead, the men offered peace with House Lafayette's return to the throne. To show their apparent sincerity to the cause of peace, they presented a "gift": "Queen" Corinne Olga de Legendre herself, naked, gagged, and chained. Dropping her on her knees at Zacharie's feet, they asked for peace. Slightly disturbed by their method, Zacharie dismissed the men along with most of the allied leaders, aside for his family and Princess Sugako of Yamatai. Zacharie then unbound Corinne himself, wrapped her gently in a cloak, and courteously gave the half-starved noblewoman food and wine.
Corinne explained that her marriage to Germain was a relatively recent affair, having only been made official the same day the allies first occupied Garvis, and that she was without any child by Germain or any other man, nor was she pregnant by Germain – although she admitted that it had not been for lack of trying. She explained further that becoming queen of Soleil had been her dream and ambition since she was a girl, originally hoping to marry whichever of King Justin's sons, nephews or cousins seemed poised to become the next king, yet the war had thrown off her plans considerably. She finished her explanation by saying that the betrayal of her followers had opened her eyes to the many wrongs she had committed in pursuit of the throne, and admitted that she had acted selfishly in her pursuit of her girlhood dream since Soleil had been thrown into the chaos of war; both by promising Germain the use of her house's wealth and men in exchange for her marriage to him, and by claiming the throne for herself when she heard of Germain's capture. She finished off by offering to surrender and renew her house's oath of fealty to House Lafayette if she was allowed clemency. After some advice from Sugako, Veronica and Nadia, Zacharie responded by granting Corinne clemency, and Lady Corinne gave her oath of loyalty then and there, pledging unreserved loyalty to House Lafayette and renouncing all former ties and association with House Adhemar. Zacharie also promised Corinne that he would have her marriage to Germain officially annulled, to which Lady Corinne obliged, and the matter was put to rest.
With the scattering of House Adhemar and House Bannister, and the relatively quick surrender of House Legendre, Roislueur was officially liberated. Two days later, as the Soleilian and Lafayette flags flew over the capital for the first time in years, Zacharie was officially coronated as King of Soleil as Zacharie II by the High Priest of the Sun God & Moons Goddess, officially restoring House Lafayette to the throne. That same day, Germain was executed by guillotine in front of a crowd of nearly ten thousand attendees for the many crimes he committed against Soleil. A few weeks later, the remaining members of Houses Adhemar and Bannister – namely a young grandnephew of Germain and the daughter of the now-deceased former head of House Bannister – arrived in Roislueur and repledged fealty to House Lafayette, to which Zacharie accepted, ending all wartime animosity between House Lafayette and the former renegade houses.
And thus, peace was restored to Soleil, though only briefly. The provinces of Alsace and Florence were still under control of the self-proclaimed republic, and the antiroyalist attitude of their new leader would spark the fires of renewed conflict.
Phase 2: Conflict with Alsace & Florence
During the winter of 4541-4542ᴀꜰᴢ, negotiations for Alsace and Florence to remain part of the realm seemed hopeful. But, as the Great Northern Aquilonis War came to a conclusion in Soleil, the self-proclaimed Republic of Alsace & Florence came under the leadership of antiroyalist Jacques Alphonse de Bonaparte.
Just as the Siege of Garvis came to a conclusion, Jacques Bonaparte, a commoner by birth, was elected Chef d'État of Alsace & Florence on an antiroyalist stance. When House Lafayette won the throne back from House Adhemar, Jacques and his antiroyalist followers broke off all negotiations with the reinstated royal house with the intention of establishing a fully independent state.
Regardless, newly ordained King Zacharie II, under advise from Grand Duchess Veronica Lafayette – whom later married the king and became Queen Consort – and the rest of his council, tried to reestablish negotiations with the separatist government to ensure peace and eventual reunification, even while rebuilding the kingdom in the aftermath of the recent conflict. Over the course of a year, thrice King Zacharie sent diplomats to negotiate, thrice with negative results. The first two were turned away – the first without meeting any officials, and second before he crossed the border – and the third was sent back in a coffin as a clear message: negotiations would not happen, and Alsace and Florence would not willingly return to royal rule.
Realizing that the chef d'état of Alsace & Florence would not listen to reason, Zacharie, Veronica, and their council, made the reluctant decision to take back Alsace and Florence by force.
Enlisting the aid of their ally and vassal houses, the dwarven subkingdom of Qirlock Trezka, and the Empire of Yamatai, the only foreign power not to vacate Soleil with the conclusion of the Great Northern Aquilonis War, the Soleilian royalists marched their army on the self-proclaimed Republic of Alsace & Florence.
More coming soon......
- Despite helping to win the Siege of Garvis, and being granted independence in the wake of the Great Northern Aquilonis War, the newly sovereign, gargoyle-ruled, Imperial City of Garvis remained neutral in the latter phase of the civil war.
- Toyotomi Sugako and Nadia Lafayette also did not participate in the latter phase of this conflict, as they had departed for parts unknown shortly after King Zacharie's coronation.
- This conflict was the fifth overall civil war fought in Soleil's history. The previous civil war was fought three hundred years before this conflict.