The Elvenpass Declaration of Independence

Thanks... but no.
— Full text of the Declaration of Independence of the Grand Duchy of Elvenpass
The Great Strife wreaked devastation across Cartyrion, but there were a few pockets of civilization that were spared many of the horrors of that war. The First Kingdom of Humankind was certainly not spared - invading waves of armies in the northerm parts of the kingdom's lands reduced the once vast holdings of the kingdom to One such region included the two duchies of the First Kingdom along the eastern coast of the Inner Sea. Though not ravaged by the war, these lands were cut off from their kingdom's core and had to fend for themselves. This they did, and life went on almost untouched by the war that raged around the rest of the world.

Purpose

The document that is now referred to as the Elvenpass Declaration of Independence was originally a simple missive sent by the reigning Archduke of the Duchy of Elvenpass to the High Sovereign of the First Kingdom. It was in response to a formal declaration sent by the High Sovereign to the dukedom announcing that, with the Great Strife in the past, the Kingdom would be reasserting its rule - and taxation requirements - upon the dukedoms with which it had lost contact during the war.
Medium
Paper
Authoring Date
15 Time of Shimmerscale's Pyramid, 3CR
Ratification Date
Midyear's Day, 4CR
Author & SIgnatory
Marianna Anders
former Archduke,
now Grand Duke of Elvenpass

Document Structure

Clauses

The Elvenpass Declaration of Independence consists of three words and a bit of punctuation. It reads, simply, "Thanks... but no."

Legal Status

Upon receiving the letter from Archduke Marianna Anders, High Sovereign Haloran III Hartfell first considered it an act of sedition and considered sending an army to re-impose First Kingdom rule over the Duchy of Elvenpass. After being dissuaded from this course by Gaelina Trisqunal, the Ambassador from the Elvenhome Enclave, he instead "decided" to accept this polite refusal as a request for independence which he "graciously granted".

Historical Details

Background

With the (reluctant) acceptance of the letter by the High Sovereign of the First Kingdom, the Duchy of Elvenpass formally became the Grand Duchy of Elvenpass, with its Archduke no longer beholden to any other sovereign. At the time, and after extensive thought, the First Kingdom decided that the goodwill of the region and its location as gatekeeper to the Elven lands beyond meant that revenues from trading and tariffs were potentially more significant than any outright taxation on the citizens would be.

What was not considered at the time, though, was that by granting independence to the duchy, the door was also opened for religious reforms that were being called for by learned folk worried that it was the strict interpretations of the Church's tenets that got the First Kingdom embroiled in the god-war in the first place. Thus, not ten years after the recognition of the Grand Duchy as an independent kingdom, the Enlightened Church of the Humanar came into being - and five years later supplanted the True Church as the state religion of the Grand Duchy.

History

Prior to the Great Strife, Elvenpass and Eastguard were two of the dukedoms among the nine that existed within the First Kingdom. As was the practice, the Archduke in power within the Dukedom, Theowakd Hartfell, was a close relative of High Sovereign Caloran IX whose loyalty was not questioned. As the war began, the Dukedom sent its required contingent of troops and assessment of taxes north to join the great army that was formingin Elderkeep, as did the other eight Duchies into which the kingdom was divided.

Fifty years into the war, however, things changed. Forces of the Dark Gods formed up within the Iron Mountains and overran the plains regions to the south. This cut off the capital of the first Kingdom from the duchies of Elvenpass and Eastguard. With assistance of an army from Elvenhome, the duchies were able to hold back any invasions into their settled lands, and after twenty years of fighting, a sort of mutually understood "border" between the duchies and the forces of the Dark Gods was accepted. For the remaining 120 years or so of the war, the duchies were left in relative peace. There were some attempts to assault the duchies from the Inner Sea, but these were easily repelled.

As the war raged on, the First Kingdom found itself retreating and surrending vast swathes of territory in the north - particulary the lands around Icefell Bay and the region now known as the Frontier Lands. These lands - two complete duchies - were never recovered.

At war's end, High Sovereign Haloran III looked to reconsolidate power and - more importantly - recover funds for the depleted treasury. a proclamation was sent to the remaining seven Archdukes reminding them of their duties to their Sovereign. The five Archdukes with lands nearest the capital - the five that had remained the core of the First Kingdom - replied immediately that they were of course aware of their obligations and re-swore their fealty to the High Sovereign.

And then the missive from Archduke Marianna Anders of Elvenpass arrived. A month later, a longer and more formal reply from the Archduke of Eastguard made it clear that the First Kingdom was now to be a kingdom of five duchies, not seven.

On Midyear's Day, 104CR, the one hundredth anniversary of the recognition of the sovereignty of the Grand Duchy, the First Kingdom presented the original letter sent by Archduke Marianna as a gift. It is currently enshrined in the ducal palace under glass, available for guests at the palace to view.

Public Reaction

Reaction among the vast majority of the citizens of the Duchy of Elvenpass was positive. They had been living without interference (and without tax assessments) from the First Kingdom for well over a hundred years. The insistence from the First Kingdom that they be resumed after the war was finally over did not sit well with the citizenry. While there were a few loyalists to the High Sovereign among the people, they did not make any public trouble. Most of these were descendents of previous Dukes who feared that their holdings would potentially be siezed since the authority that granted them was no longer the ruling authority of the land. When this proved to be a misplaced fear, any resistance to independence faded away,

Among the Folk that weren't Human or Halfling, acceptance of the independence of the Grand Duchy was universally praised. The strictures against non-Human/non-Halfling privilege had already started to be ignored within the lands, and now the way was cleared for full citizenship to be a possibility.

Among the Folk - and especially among the nobility of the First Kingdom, the separation of Elvenpass was not well accepted at first. Early fears were that other Dukedoms would follow suit and leave the First Kingdom a mere shadow of its former self. (The fact that this was already the case seemed lost on these nobles.) When the Duchy of Eastguard followed suit weeks after Elvenpass, these fears mounted. But the remaining five duchies redeclared their support of the High Sovereign, and things soon settled down.

Credits

Banner images by Vinson Tan ( 楊 祖 武 ) from Pixabay

Page background cathedral Image by 5163451 on Pixabay
Page background manor house image by Josef Pichler on Pixabay
Page background hut image by PamelaAndrey15 on Pixabay
Page background forest image by Waldkunst on Pixabay
Character portraits by RPGDinosaurBob on Hero Forge®

Comments

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12 Jul, 2021 18:05

Now that's a good eye-catching first quote ;)

14 Jul, 2021 11:55

Thanks!

Grandmaster KajetanWrites
Kajetan Krakowiak-Świątnicki
18 Jul, 2021 13:00

"Thanks... but no" - the quickest way to gain independence :)

Check out the world of Veneficia
18 Jul, 2021 13:36

Or start a war. This time, it worked out peacefully :)

Sage LauraVAB
Laura VanArendonk Baugh
5 Aug, 2021 15:04

Love it! So pithy.

6 Aug, 2021 12:36

Thanks! It was fun to write as well… and it hopefully sets up the tension between two countries that are somewhere in between allies and enemies. Lots of adventuring potential.

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