Before the Priest-Kings

Averanda the Queen  b. 12 SY d. 542 SY

The twin daughters of Thar and Raena couldn’t have been more different.  Gwynna the Priestess took after her father, with chestnut curls and striking blue eyes whereas Averanda was blessed with the sea green eyes and olive skin of her mother’s people.  She also inherited the better share of Thar’s regal command.  Kandol saw it right away, even when they were just babes, and said so with his prophecies – for Gwynna and her heirs, lifetimes of service to the Maiden, for Averanda and her, a seat on the throne.

Averanda built Gloryngael.  Later, Ataryl rebuilt it and then still later yet, the Vaulted Council of the Dome repaired some of the damage after the warlord Ardallin and Pelavin the Conqueror came to town with his dragon riders.  By the time the barbarians had finished rending the city, only Tintammil remained of Averanda’s once grand palace.

Not only did Averanda build Gloryngael, she also crafted the Pearl Throne from a single, enormous pearl found on the bottom of Belgrith Harbor.  The pearl, like the keystones to the great coral cities of the Dolforro, was a piece of mad Rabyn’s heritage from the Elder Days, before grief had soured him.  When Averanda discovered the pearl, she called out to her father for help and even though he was back in the Outermost Heavens, he heard.

At first, Umbar wasn’t inclined to help.  He did love his daughter, but just the opposite for his brother, mad Rabyn, and found the very thought of carving a seat of power from one of his cast-off pearls abhorrent.  He told Averanda as much, but she could not be talked out of its and for all his godly bluster, Thar who was Umbar (truly by now) was more father than god and in the end granted Averanda everything she asked.

When the princes of Dol Melerith arrived in Sangrithar, they’d come by way of Pel Aesylle at Kandol’s insistence, Emerre attached himself to Queen Averanda.   Really, it could have gone either way – Kandol hadn’t been specific with his instructions, purposefully, he admitted to me later.  He was curious how they’d choose.   Emerre landed with Averanda, blade raised in the warrior queen’s defense, and Maelryn with Gwynna the Priestess where his sorcery was at her disposal.

Their choice always upset Tarik.  Why, he’d ask, should sorcery guard the ghost of cheap magik?  I could see how he’d feel that way.

Gwynna the Priestess     b. 12 SY   d. 544 SY

Maelryn took an instant shine to Gwynna.  He didn’t share Tarik’s prejudices, which was only reasonable.  He spent his first nine centuries at Pel Aesylle, where the Maiden’s name was whispered in hallowed tones, learning from Kandol Elf Lord, Her greatest priest.   More practically, Spirit’s legacy was gone, stripped from the world by the Remaking.  Earthsong, channeling, earthmages – none of it existed any more.  Even if he’d grown up in the Harnae’s grove (I know, it didn’t exist either, but go with it), harboring the old prejudices wouldn’t have made any sense.  There was nothing left for jealousy to rail against.

Gwynna spent years in Pel Aesylle, as per Thar and Raena’s agreement with Kandol.  Every Priestess after her, and then every Priest-King followed by every God-Emperor until Arvyl’s Folly spent time atop the Mountain of Clouds mastering the Maiden’s lore.  The elven tutelage was well known to the people of Sangrithar and accepted as tradition (it would have been hard to cover such an extended absence), but what transpired in the Elvenhome was a closely held secret.  No one knew that the training included a round trip ticket to Ardilun and back.

Five years after Thar who was Umbar returned to his rightful home in the Heavens, Kandol sent Maelryn and Emerre to Sangrithar, where Maelryn became Gwynna’s advisor.  With his help, she raised the Stones atop Tar-Numerath as an homage to the Maiden.  In appearance, Gwynna’s Stones resembled those of the Elder Days, but without Spirit’s magik humming in the mantle of the world, Tar-Numerath had only a fraction of the ancient Stones’ power.

Dynthara the Mother   b. 257 SY   d. 494 SY

Gwynna’s daughter, Dynthara, learned the terrible fate in store for her while studying in Dael Vyrnyn when she beheld a vision of her own death during child birth.  Pel Aesylle was always a place brimming in prophecy, and she also learned that her son would be a true leader from whom much good would spring.  Brave and strong as they came, Dynthara met her destiny head on and without fear.  As foretold, she died while giving birth to her son, Dynrael, who became the first Priest King and one of the greatest rules to ever sit upon the Pearl Throne.

Evyrene the Queen   b. 274 SY   d. 682 SY

Averanda’s daughter, Evyrene, took the throne in the year 542 SY upon the death of her mother at the ripe old age of five hundred thirty.  When you have a god for a father, long life is one of the benefits.   Averanda’s sister Gwynna lived even longer, finally kicking the bucket two years after Averanda, and even in my day those claiming descent from Thar lived longer than the common man.

Poor Evyrene.  Sandwiched between Sangrithar’s famous first and last Queens, she’s the most forgettable one of the bunch.  She ruled for one hundred forty years, long by your standards but nearly the blink of an eye compared to her mother’s long reign.  No one remembers her.  While she sat upon the Pearl Throne, her nephew Dynrael – yes, that one – served as her Priest and his fame outstripped hers by the same margin that Peyton Manning eclipsed his father, Archie.  You should have guessed that, knowing that Dynrael was the first Priest-King – the Priest part of his title had to come from somewhere, didn’t it?

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