Aedest

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High King Aedest, also known as 'The King Who Bent', was a former High King of Damryn and the Realm, and the great-grandfather of High King Riagon, the last king of Damryn. He was the son of High King Shiel, the King Who Fell.

Aedest is best remembered for suffering the consequences of his father's actions. Shiel was defeated in battle against the Iron Empire in the last official conflict of the War of the Narrow Sea, and he and most of his generals - the elite of Damryan society - were killed. Aedest ascended to the throne under the shadow of the most crippling defeat in Damryn's history, at a major disadvantage politically, economically, and militarily. He was also only sixteen years old.

The Iron Empire took advantage of this situation to immediately press for peace. They put forth the terms they had always demanded - the acknowledgement of Carnthor as Imperial territory - and for the first time the High King of Damryn was in little position to argue. An older, more experienced king might have been able to recover from the state Shiel left the Realm in, but Aedest had neither the experience nor the advisers to overcome his obstacles. He signed the peace treaty, making significant concessions to the Iron Empire, and brought about the end of the War of the Narrow Sea.

This would mark the rest of Aedest's reign. As Damryn recovered from their losses, they remembered less what they had suffered and more that their King had effectively surrendered. Additionally, Lancereaux was quick to take advantage of the weakness of Damryn, and undermined him at every turn with the memory of this failure whenever he tried to act against Lancesian interests.

Frustrated and ineffective, Aedest was eventually drawn to seeking a renewal of aggression against the Iron Empire, with the hope of redeeming his image. In practice all that he achieved was the triggering of border conflicts and spats that would mark relations with the Empire until the Fall, but never reach pitched warfare again, and this proved solely to make him ineffective.

High King Aedest died in battle against the Yotunaar before his fortieth year, in an unwise conflict he had sought out and could not possibly win. This has led to he and his father being sometimes referred to as 'The Foolish Kings'.