The conflict between the kingdoms of Santilan and Helerant over Castle Black had a long history. Aress Helerant enjoyed ownership and authority over large parts of the realms around Castle Black. Maniller Rodavas, father of Jannes, had argued that his ancestors, according to a deal concluded with the Helerantis, had gained ownership and kingship of Castle Black and its surrounding realms long since; thus, he had had asked the Helerantis to withdraw from the perimeters of his territory and kingdom as soon as possible.
In contrast, the Helerantis claimed that they were unaware of the deal that the Santilanis claimed, alleging it was a figment of the imagination of the Santilan leader to justify their occupation of the castle. Helerantis claimed that Castle Black and all its surrounding territories had, in fact, been left to them as a legacy of their ancestors. But the Santilanis had invaded their land and marine territories, and ruled over them.
Helenar, the daughter of Maniller Rodavas, married her cousin Roli Rodavas; but she had passed away in her youth due an illness, causing a heavy grief to overwhelm Maniller. Quadera was Helenar’s only legacy. He was five at the time of his mother’s death, and lived with his grandfather. Since Quadera was his daughter’s only child, Maniller delegated the responsibility of ruling over Castle Black to his father, Roli, until such time as Quadera came of age, upon which time the power would be transferred to Quadera.
Although Roli wasn’t truly competent to rule over and preserve Castle Black, it seemed to all involved that, from a security standpoint, a member of the Rodavas Imperial Dynasty taking control of the Castle was more important than said member having the merits necessary for its management.
Roli had a calm, pacific personality. His approach to any problem or difficulty was superficial, and he rarely employed the appropriate political tricks congruent with his status and position to follow up or solve them. He hated intimidation, military expeditions, and bloodshed, and mainly tried to settle issues through compromise and conciliation. He didn’t even make the effort to think about them; and this trait was his Achilles’ heel. Upon Maniller’s death, the Helerantis put pressure on Roli from different angles until he gave his consent for the division of the Black Castle’s territories, in order to put an end to hostilities and grievances, so that from then on, everybody would freely rule over their new territories.
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He did so without consulting or seeking the advice of Jannes, who had ascended the throne after the death of his father. He simply acceded to the demand of the Helerantis, dividing the land and marine territories of Castle. The Heleranti very cleverly, and cunningly slowly, penetrated a great chunk of the Black Castle’s territory.
During those days, the tax levied on commoners and the middle class was meager; the lion’s share of the taxes were paid by the merchants and those stepping on the Black Castle’s soil from the other side of the Nitchalera Sea. Although the common people enjoyed relative tranquility and ease regarding the tax payments, the great hiatus between the level of taxes levied on different strata caused dissatisfaction among the classes to the extent that merchants and traders spared no efforts to evade them. As a result, corruption and trickery spread considerably among them, undermining the economy of Castle Black and its surrounding realms.
Only a short time had elapsed since Rodi’s division of Black Castle’s realms when Jannes had learned about it, and this issue caused enormous resentment between them, which continued for years. Roli knew that, rightly, only Jannes who could make up for his mistake and set the Black Castle’s house in order. To this end, by writing frequent letters to Jannes and accepting his mistake he, to some extent, managed to abate the intensity of Jannes’s resentments and complaints Finally, after years of mutual endeavor and planning, they succeeded in taking back the territories that the Helerantis had usurped.
Afterward, they focused on fighting domestic corruption, and through mutual cooperation prepared a long list of the names of corrupt merchants and traders who had either not paid their taxes to the central treasury, or had refrained from paying the proper amount of taxes. They used this list to appropriate their entire land holdings.
After Roli’s death, the Black Castle’s authority was delegated to Quadera, as planned. Sadly, the affairs of the Castle were managed no better by Quadera, though he adopted a different course. He used various excuses to impose heavy taxes on the inhabitants of the Castle, and, assuming that his measures and acts would be kept out of Jannes’ sight, indulged in drinking and merrymaking round-the-clock.
Since the distance between Castle Black and Santilan, the Seat of Power, was short, Jannes sent his confidantes for a sudden inspection and monitoring of the situation, whereupon he realized Quadera’s utter incompetency, inefficiency, and incapability in managing the Castle’s affairs. He targeted Quadera with censures and scorn, and also punished him. directly Upon receiving a warning from Jannes, Quadera made much public effort to improve and reform the situation; but, in defiance of the king’s chastisement, he continued his unethical practices clandestinely and kept on engaging in and was preoccupied with these marginal issues until the Castle was taken in a surprise attack by the opportunist Helerantis, who were ever ready for an opportunity to exact their revenge.
And so they lost Castle Black; but in fact, the loss did not occur with the victory of the army of Helerant and Gaglamon, and the hoisting of their flags. Rather, the collapse began with the conclusion of a treaty between Quadera and the leaders of the Kingdoms of Lental and Helerant. The hefty financial offer proposed by those leaders was so tempting to him that Quadera signed the treaty. According to it, Quadera was asked to allow the Lentali and Heleranti to transit the commercial borders of Castle Black to maintain security, facilitate the visits of the traders and merchants of the Lental and Helerant territories, and also to shorten their trade routes. Quadera fulfilled their demands, as a result of which, while doing business, they collected all the information they required to launch a surprise attack on the Castle, and took it as their own.
Although the inhabitants of Santilan and Helerant each considered themselves the true owners of Castle Black, their competition and skirmishes for control couldn’t change the true identity and history of the Castle. It should have been looked for among the people of Komova, a formidable, hardworking people, who by putting behind themselves hard, and, at times, contrastive conditions of hot and burning deserts or cold and frozen regions, ultimately succeeded in reaching the rain-fed green beautiful frontiers.
Three brothers from amongst the Komovan population, by proposing the idea of sedentism to maintain the security of households against the inhospitable climate and numerous hazards of the migratory lifestyle, won the support of the other Komovans. Thence, through their usual unity and round-the-clock endeavors, they constructed the formidable stone walls of the Castle, and called their new kingdom Black Castle.
It wasn’t long afterward, however, that the sweet taste of comfort and tranquility was taken away from the men, women, and children of Komova by the savage inroads of a cannibal tribe called the Lavlasians, and an intense wave of bloodshed roiled over Castle Black, where massacre, savagery, plunder, and looting reached a depraved apex.