Alliance of Carnthor

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The Alliance of Carnthor was the formal agreement made between High King Riagon of Damryn and General Bregolien of the Iron Empire after the defeat of the Imperial Army at Leyroth at the hands of the Legion. It bound together all nations of the Realm and all surviving Imperial elven citizens for the purposes of mutual defence and the continued stand against the invading forces, and was signed by the rulers or representatives of every involved major power.

The Alliance endures to this day as the most official organisation binding together the survivors of the war in Andermark, and since the end of the conflict has changed from being a predominantly military affair to being the closest thing to a universal government that arbitrates the lives of all surviving peoples in Andermark. The Allied General Staff remain as the supreme commanders of the Alliance Army, but now the command of the Alliance as a whole has fallen into the hands of the political entity, the Allied Advisory Council.

History

When the Legion invaded the Iron Empire, the prevailing attitude amongst the High Elves was that they could defend themselves alone. Even when the Legion marched on the Iron Tower of Leyroth, Emperor Ainon rejected calls for the elves to turn to their old enemies across the Narrow Sea for aid and assistance.

The Imperial Army was massacred at Leyroth, the Emperor and his heirs killed, and the survivors fought a swift retreat across hundreds of miles as the Legion marched on. General Bregolien, the surviving ranking member of the army, immediately made a request to Damryn for aid, but the High King refused to dispatch troops after the centuries of enmity between their peoples. It was only when the elven forces had been pushed so far back that the Legion began to spill northwards, across the land bridge that linked the Realm and the Empire, and invaded Norlundar that humanity began to take the threat seriously. Contact was made, and the High King led an initial force across the Narrow Sea to join the elves.

It was ironic that Carnthor was where the two forces met and made the first alliance ever between men and elves. For Carnthor had been the battlefield for the vast majority of the War of the Narrow Sea, a patch of Imperial territory that Damryn had claimed early on and then consequentially been fought over for decades. But it was the westernmost point of the Empire, and so not only was it logical for the Damryans to have invaded there, but it was logical for the elves to flee there, especially as its battle-ridden history granted it a great amount of military infrastructure and fortifications.

Riagon initially signed the treaty just himself on behalf of all the nations of the Realm, while Bregolien signed it on behalf of the elven people. The treaty itself, as the retreat of Alliance forces sprawled across the Realm, would go on to be signed by every officially designated leader of the surviving peoples, including Bregolien's eventual successor, Tirithon. But with the agreement made, the newly-allied forces stood ready for war on the shores of Carnthor, as they had hundreds of times over hundreds of years - only now, they did so to fight the Legion.

The defeat did not destroy the Alliance. Instead, as the elves and surviving soldiers fled across the Narrow Sea to Calavria, the Alliance would become the means of unifying the armies of the Empire and the nations of the Realm in a more solid and concentrated form than they had ever before taken. Although individual units and even armies began under the rulership and command of their own national chain of command, as the war continued, integration of soldiers and units into military hierarchies not of their own country became common and, indeed, necessary. A platoon of Damryan soldiers might fight in a Lancesian company, commanded by a Calavrian battalion leader. Circumstances had never before forced this level of integration; even in the War of the Narrow Sea and the Crusades of Sahradia, each nation had enjoyed sufficient military independence as to operate its army as it personally chose.

The Fall did not allow for this, and so the Alliance became not just a document which bound the Realm and the Iron Empire together as a unified front, but it also provided the means and authority for the surviving armed forces to work together. The Treaty of Carnthor would be amended to reflect this as the years went by, though every amendment was ratified by every General or Head of State, depending on who spoke for the country in the field, that was affected.

But one overriding principle of the Treaty remained: although the Alliance intended for a full integration of the armed forces where necessary, unless there was a huge disparity in rank or insufficient resources to justify this dominance, overall command of a campaign defending a nation fell to the ranking officer or political leader of that nation. The best example of this came when Prince Meglio Navarra of Calavria, despite being the true ruler of his nation after his father's death, was forced to rally his forces under the command of a Lancesian general when they retreated to Lancereaux. Historically it would have been unthinkable for a head of state to be issued orders by a a Lancesian Baron, but the edicts of the Treaty of the Alliance both demanded and justified it. A similar example would be the ongoing treatment of the Imperial Army after the flight from the Iron Empire; never having territorial dominance, the forces of General Tirithon were almost perpetually subservient to officers of a lesser rank as they fought across the Realm.

It was this edict of the Treaty which meant the salvation of civilisation fell under the command of the Starks of Andermark in the war's final hour. Despite more experienced and battle-hardened officers being available, it was the Andermen who assumed the predominant role in the final campaigns. This did, however, match the intentions of this edict: not only did it preserve Anderian sovereignty when fighting on Anderian soil, but it also meant the foremost soldiers in the campaigns were less battle-wearied, and considerably more canny about the environment in which they fought. This was of especial use in Andermark, whose thick forests and craggy landscapes played an important role in any military campaign, and the Anderian command is credited with having granted the armies and refugees enough time to flee to Starkholm in time for the Last Stand.

Current State of the Alliance

After the Last Stand there was a period of months where martial law was the rule in Andermark, where again the soldiers fell under the command of King Constantin. But when it became clear the Legion had been, if not defeated, then driven off for the time being, the army began to demobilise, and the Alliance was forced to change its form as it was no longer a predominantly military entity. The Allied General Staff remained, though most of the Heads of State who had sat upon it withdrew themselves and appointed dedicated military officers while they concerned themselves with issues of governance and politics.

These issues would be addressed by the newly-formed Allied Advisory Council, which was formed on the recommendation of King Constantin, and the Treaty of Carnthor was amended to recognise this. The Council was made up of political representatives from each nation of the Realm and the Iron Empire, most of these being the heads of state who had removed themselves from matters military - a notable exception being Lord Loghlin of Damryn, who is the only individual to hold a permanent seat on the Advisory Council and the General Staff.

The Advisory Council is officially set to represent the views of the refugee nations and recommend action to King Constantin, who in practice - according to the sovereignty conditions of the Treaty - is not bound by them at all. In practice the Council is a sufficiently complex political body, and the political situation of the Alliance sufficiently complicated, that almost every Council Member has their own sway and influence enough to ensure their voice is not completely ignored.

Additionally, the military has begun to return to more nationalised lines now that many soldiers have been demobilised and only the most determined remain in the armed forces. The defence of Andermark formally falls to the Andermen, but the Damryans still provide a significant bulk of the army, and the Imperial Army is notable in that, although it was one of the smallest forces, it has suffered the least attrition from demobilisation as many elves have preferred to remain in the military than attempt a civilian life.

Similarly, there are many regions of occupied Andermark where the original rulers have been eradicated or massively weakened. Months of negotiation amongst the Allied Advisory Council resulted in several regions of Andermark which lacked a liege lord being granted to foreign nobility, under the proviso that they could effectively defend and govern them. Although these do not fall across many particular broad geographical lines, this has led to certain 'pockets' of Andermark being governed and defended more or less exclusively by non-Anderian forces and leaders.

But there are already voices arguing the Treaty of Carnthor is an insufficient document to reflect governing a multi-cultural alliance in peacetime, and as expansion continues and governance becomes more complicated, it is likely the calls for a new form of leadership and government to be codified will become louder and harder to ignore.