Alliance of Light (coalition)

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The Alliance of Light refers to a coalition of townsfolk under Lysaer s'Ilessid in opposition to the powers of darkness supposedly embodied by Arithon s'Ffalenn.

The sigil of the alliance is a sunburst on a white field, first designed by Princess Talith in Ships of Merior and adopted formally in Third Age 5648. The trusted inner circle of the Alliance refers to itself as the Cabal of Light.

Origins

Spoiler warning: Contains plot elements from Fugitive Prince.

The Alliance is first established in Third Age 5648, following Lysaer's defeat in the Vastmark campaign. Seeking to recast the conflict with moral urgency to unite the five High Kingdoms against Arithon, Lysaer assembles a volatile collection of representatives from across Paravia who had been affected by the war to date. The foundational meeting included over a dozen of Tysan's mayors, leaders of the Western and Northern Headhunter Leagues, and representatives from Jaelot, Etarra, Alestron, and other cities in Shand. The ambassador from Havish was also invited but did not linger, due to his Kingdom's asserted neutrality.

"We are gathered here today to begin the long work of uniting all kingdoms against the Master of Shadow. Given his acts of evil, there exists no moral compromise. Our task will not ease until no dwelling remains on this continent where ignorance will lend him shelter. We are come, in this hour, to found an alliance to act against terror and darkness."[1]

The meeting is interrupted by a clan signal arrow which skewers a town edict granting crown rule to Lysaer. The clan archer presents formal protest from Tysan's clans that the edict is invalid against Kingdom Law. Lysaer uses this interruption to introduce evidence of Arithon's dark magecraft. A fisherman from Merior retells a version of the strike at the Havens, omitting the fact that there were survivors. Lysaer suggests that such killing could have been used to amplify dark magecraft, causing the landslide at Dier Kenton Vale. By association and their tacit silence, the Fellowship of Seven may have been corrupted by Arithon. In spite of Mearn's counterarguments, the meeting at large comes to believe the accusations.

Because of the grave threat posed by Arithon, Lysaer declines crown rule. Instead, he proposes a regency answerable to a council of mayors until his heir is grown and fit to rule. This gives him the space to pursue alliances across Paravia against Arithon while protecting the mayors' veneer of independence back home.

Service

After Etarra becomes the ruling seat of the Alliance, Lysaer institutes a program of rigorous training for those willing to serve the Light. Candidates without flaw or deformity are chosen for training, sorted by age, and put through a season of trials in strength, coordination, reflexes, endurance, and mental acuity. At the end of the season, candidates are ranked by merit and may swear their oath to the Light. Those with a leaning towards martial service are trained for another two years assigned to various towns that pay tribute to the Alliance. The brighter candidates are offered officer training, including three years on campaign with the Northern League of Headhunters.

Those that join the service do paid tours of 10 years (renewed by choice). The exceptional among them earn the chance to swear for life as Lysaer's elite guard. This requires another seven years of advance training and field trials. The families of those in the elite guard are eligible for a pension if they fall in service.

Role in the Story

Spoiler warning: Contains plot elements from multiple books in the series.

Fugitive Prince

Third Age 5648: The first action of the Alliance takes place two months after the coalition is created. They release documents recording rightful claim for clan prisoners to be bound over into slavery. In addition, the representatives release documents of arraignment without trial for Prince Arithon's acts of dark sorcery.

Third Age 5652: Lysaer travels to Etarra to bring more of Rathain into the fold. Representatives from Highscarp, Jaelot, and Werpoint convene in Narms for a celebration, built upon the goodwill of Lysaer's decision to repay for the burned trade fleet at Werpoint, pensions for fatherless families, and convict clan crews to man the new ships. When a slaver ship is caught in Havish breaking laws condeming slavery, Lysaer's bailiffs are denied right of extradition and the galleymen are arraigned for treason.

In a covert meeting of Lysaer's inner circle, it is revealed that Lysaer will ultimately use his longevity to reveal himself as a god, but poses as mortal for now. His Lord High Examiner is waging a campaign to seed mistrust of sorcery, which brings the support of a faction in Erdane. This faction does not believe in Lysaer's claims of godhood, but sees the campaign as a political convenience towards furthering their own goal of overturning the Compact.

Third Age 5653: Recognizing the damaging embarassment that Lady Talith's bastard pregnancy might cause, Cerebeld secretly orders her death. An archer shears her rope as she climbs down the tower and her fall is publicized as a suicide over a failure to conceive. Lysaer is kept in the dark about this action.

Grand Conspiracy

Third Age 5653: The awakening of Caithwood by Asandir snarls trade and travel and binds the trade guilds into dependence. Lysaer's statecraft spreads the influence of the Alliance to the southern ports, like Elssine, Telzen, and Southshire. Because of its geographic isolation, Lysaer makes plans to abandon Avenor as the seat of the Alliance in favor of Etarra. Over time, rumors of Lysaer's divinity are spread across Paravia, leading townsfolk to refer to him as the Divine Light or Divine Prince.

Third Age 5654: Lysaer's plan to pin the blame for a conspiracy at the Riverton shipyard is thwarted, dashing his intent to start a clan war and gain allied cities in the eastern kingdoms. With the assistance of drake skull wards from Raiett Raven, the Cabal of Light hold their first clandestine meeting protected from magical eavesdropping. Their goal is to spread the word of the Light across all five kingdoms. Over the next twelve years, the Cabal of Light allows the guilds to prosper immensely without designs for war. Clan slavery continues, but slave ships are only used within Tysan, with foreign-borne ships manned by sunwheel soldiers. No new recruits are levied, but the persecution of mage-talented continues under the Crown Examiner. The Alliance spreads its influence to port towns in four High Kingdoms within five years and all inland caravan routes within the decade.

Third Age 5667:, Cerebeld's priesthood has begun to wield magic to link minds and send images. The persecution of other mage talent has reduced the number of people who might take notice of this. The Fellowship worry that such magic will eventually become a tool in battle.

Peril's Gate

Third Age 5670: The Light has spread east, firmly under the control of Raiett Raven as Lysaer's agent in Etarra. Under the direction of the Minister of Peace, the Alliance begins sending sunwheel recruiters into the southern kingdoms.

Traitor's Knot

Third Age 5671: Lysaer burns the state palace in Avenor to slag to prevent a counterattack of necromancy. The destruction is blamed on Arithon. Meanwhile, Sunwheel recruiters in Southshire begin distributing free wine to entice people to hear their pitch. After sabotage by Arithon, the resulting riots are captured in a satire ballad along the south coast. In Innish, Arithon arranges for a shipment of sunwheel robes to end up at a brothel. The prostitutes wear the robes in public, causing the sunwheel priests to become the laughing stock of Innish. Afterwards, the prostitutes reenact the day of infamy every year. These small events are intended by Arithon to draw Lysaer south out of Tysan in an attempt to end strife between clansmen and townsfolk bloodlessly.

This strategy is cut short when Arithon is called away to help the Fellowship with a purge of necromancy and Alestron refuses to join, leaving the southern clans unsupported. Arithon attempts to undermine the sunwheel priests in Etarra by staging a scene in which it appears that the priests have illicitly purchased young boys. Although this disenfranchises the priests in Etarra, the following purge of necromancy prevents the event from having a greater impact.

Stormed Fortress

Third Age 5671: After the rout of the Kralovir, Lysaer uses the resultant fear to raise the eastern kingdoms to assault Alestron, commanding from the town of Tirans. Sulfin Evend has orders to raise the southshore as well, but he introduces an intentional delay after meeting with Arithon in Sanpashir. No ships have sailed north for Alestron by late summer.

Initiate's Trial

Third Age 5683: The Alliance splinters when Lysaer turns apostate to the doctrine of the religion of the Light. The True Sect forms and adopts Erdane for its High Temple of the Light. This event is referred to in True Sect doctrine as the Great Schism.

References

  1. © Janny Wurts, Fugitive Prince, p. 32 (US-Hardback)