A Brief History of County Siogal
'I fear, dear Marius, that either you or I have been led astray. The Legends of which you spoke claimed Showgull was a land of great Magick, perhaps even the very Wellspring of the first Magick, with a People whose blood runs with Ã¦thereal power. You know how serious I take my work, Marius: is this a jest to you? These are a barbarous People, who know little Writing and fewer Manners. They are hostile to the very Idea learned Magick. That anyone should call this a Nexus of magickal power is risible. No wonder so many Kingdoms have been eager to trade off this Place in their treaties.'
- the wizard Abelard Selanius, Esq., letter to his colleague Marius Dubesque
At the dawn of things, when the Great Band of Creation first made its song and created this world, Siogal was a place of magic. Here they settled, and from those first beings of Saol the living world sprang the many beings of the world: faeries, clurichauns, foirmoiri, and the rest. Though they quickly spread to elsewhere in the world, many kept Siogal as their home. A small spring formed where the Creator had arrived to sunder the Great Band, and from this spring came the great magic of the world. It became a place holy to these first folk, enshrouded in arcane power and enshrined as a holy place. Time went on and other races came: elves, dwarves, humans, and the rest. A few of the magic folk even settled with the younger races, passing their great magic into the blood of their human offspring.
As the world was settled, the scattered folk began to form kingdoms. Tir Siogal, a land still known for its magic, became kingdom under KÃ¡ellugra, a human king with faerie blood. The land was prosperous, magic was commonplace, and many small villages and towns came under his reign willingly. A great keep was built, Dun KÃ¡ellugra, so tall it could be seen throughout the small kingdom. After KÃ¡ellugra's death, his daughter Aoifa succeeded him with the consent of the people, and the dynastic tradition continued for generations. The world slowly grew less young and innocent, magic was forgotten by some and institutionalized by others who created the magic schools and guilds. As the world aged and the younger races went to war with another, the significance of Tir Siogal faded from the minds of many, becoming a small, isolated, and - to many outside of the kingdom - backward place.
The first outside threat to Tir Siogal was an invading warlord kingdom, Makkar. The Makkarish were an upstart people from the south, haughty with wealth and steel. They invaded Tir Siogal after recalling legends of the sacred spring, imagining that they could wash themselves in powerful magic. Their invasion was unexpected, as the Siogalish had not been by nature warlike nor held much curiosity of those outside their lands. Several villages were burned, and many fled to the protection of Dun KÃ¡ellugra. King Tharmoch, who would later be called the Warking, was determined not to submit to the Makkarish threat. He summoned his advisors and began to plot the raising of an army. With no steel in his realm, Tharmoch would need to be nontraditional in method. Playing to his people's strength, he called together the clans with the strongest magic in their veins to form the Warband of the Tir. Each clan used their own unique magic, and the incentive to protect their own lands, and formed an army capable of repelling Makkar's forces.
King Tharmoch was hailed as a savior; sadly, he became increasingly paranoid later in his reign. He disbanded the Warband, and selected advisors and generals from a handful of his own kin. They gave seething, whispered warnings of the other clans, their ambitions to overthrow him or invite rivals to invade the Tir. Tharmoch oppressed the Siogalish people, rounding up the young clan leaders and executing many for treason. He quickly went from being hailed as the Warking to derided as the Wrathking. Tharmoch's quick-thrown accusations made the clans wary, and distrust grew. When Brun Magfern accused Phelim M'Eudoch of betraying his father to the king, rivalry between the clans flared and the old unity was broken. Each clan began to plot against the other, and all against the contrivances of the king.
On Tharmoch's death, his sire, a 14-year-old whelp of a boy was placed on the throne by his uncle. The clans saw the opportunity to break the KÃ¡ellugra dynasty, and the tensions of the Wrathking's reign erupted into a civil war. At first each clan was against the other, but Mathyalin M'Largrin, the youngest to lead the Largrin clan, allied himself with the smaller Siodratch clan. Combined, the two families took Sudhalin and gained both political and tactical traction. The embattered KÃ¡ellugra clan were put to rout, Dun KÃ¡ellugra was brought to ruin, and Mathyalin took the throne. Empowered by universal hatred of the KÃ¡ellugra and his own political savvy, Mathyalin quelled the war and reunited Tir Siogal, even as the rivalries simmered.
Largrins ruled for the next twelve generations, calling together the Warband of the Tir to push back occasional intruders. The Largrin kings reformed the Warband, creating ranks of appointed officer-nobles, creating further competition between clan leaders to weed out unworthy captains. A new castle, Dun Mathyalin, was rebuilt over the old Dun KÃ¡ellugra. Tir Siogal was prosperous, the clans at peace if still quarrelsome, and Tir Siogal entered a sort of second golden age. With their reliance on magic, however, technological development in Siogal stagnated, and as other nations developed war machines and advanced wizardry, the Siogalish world continued much as it had for centuries.
As the young races matured into empires and civilizations, their magic scholars took interest in the oldest stories, ones that told of a fantastic spring from which magic first came. Explorers searched the world for 'Tor-Sho-Gael', this legendary fountain, and sailors' tales told of a wondrous far-off kingdom ruled by demigods. The true spring, of course, was in the tiny state of Tir Siogal, templed in a sacred grove near Fiodin town. A few scholars suggested this and, after visiting Siogal, wrote off the theory as no such glorious place could exist among these backward folk. However, their writings put Tir Siogal back on the common maps, and as empires rose and set and rose again, one empire marked the kingdom for expansion.
The emperor's agents scouted the place, finding a rustic people who were nevertheless staunchly anti-foreign; settling these barbarous folk would be a tall task without inside help. They found it in the town of Torwyth: the small Kugrill clan, who had some old hatred of the Largrin dynasty, offered themselves as informants and Torwyth as a base of operations. The Kugrills were found to be suddenly wealthy, and before much suspicion could be roused, the last Largrin king - Mathyalin, the fifth of his name - fell to a sudden illness. Poison was blamed, and accusations abounded, but the chaos of the throne was quickly eclipsed by panic as the empire's forces swept through the kingdom. Torwyth fell incredibly quickly, then Dabh and Sudhalin. Orodal rebelled and was put to the sword, and it was said the last of Fiodin fell defending the temple of the spring, which was put to ruin by the soldiers and abandoned. From Dun Mathyalin, the last of the Largrin lords saw little hope in resistance and signed a treaty, ending the ancient kingdom of Tir Siogal and agreeing to dismantle the Dun brick by brick, leaving nothing of the old glory.
As years went by, Siogal passed through the hands of kings and emperors, scarcely an afterthought in most treaties. The mine yieled but little tin, the forests were too small to trifle with but for some finer woods, and the Siogalish folk were a rascally bunch that scarce bothered to learn their betters' language, let alone learn the true faith or take the proper culture. They had a strange reputation, though, of being oddly good at their own magic: hedge wizards and cunning folk abounded, though the magic guilds bore them no honor, as it was mere 'hereditary' rather than skilled magic.
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? Responses (4)-4
This is a nice note, and the setting has a nice mixture of the mundane and the fantastic. You laid out the bare bones of county with history, pride, mystery, unorganized power and perhaps a long history of internal strife (assuming the people at the time this writing still remember all this stuff). Are you planning to build on this?
Indeed! Trying to kick some In-work stuff into full subs, using it to springboard more of the setting. My sub from earlier this week, Gléasanna an Cruthú, is from the same setting.
Great formative material! Again love the celtic feel.
It sounds a bit Irish.