Tome of Dorgoth

Bothandal the Crafter

Bothandal the Crafter
King of Laeryll
Spouse Sanya the Watcher
Reign 444 BLC - 5 BLC
Predecessor Thanyal the Singer
Successor Galythiel and Morsyana

Bothandal the Crafter (743 BLC - 5 BLC), also known as The Last Great King by the elves of Dathyll ruled the elven lands of the Northern Arm from 444 BLC. He is mostly remembered for establishing the Seven Schools of Magic and encouraging the use and spread of magic. Bothandal's death in 5 BLC led to the Second Diarchy, a shared rulership between his daughters Morsyana and Galythiel that culminated in the War of the Sisters.

Bothandal's coats of arms is a pentagram inscribed into a pentagon with excursions at the corners of the pentagram. This symbolizes his creed of five virtues: for each of the Five Virtues, one should have consider five according actions.

Life

Bothandal was born in 743 BLC as the oldest son of Thanyal the Singer and his wife Alythin the Huntress.

Politics

The early years (444 BLC to 360 BLC)

The early years of Bothandal's rulership saw the arrival of humans on the Northern Arm, who settled in the central coastal areas and started farming and trading from that region. While initially welcomed by the elves, the rapid expansion of human settlements also led to worries. In 360 BLC, nearby communities from the Small Provinces had a number of clashes with human loggers who were active in their area, and decided to attack human coastal towns. Bothandal, whose leadership was challenged by these autonomous actions, personally visited the area to command the elves to stand down, thereby preventing escalation of the conflict.

While Bothandal's response was applauded by some, many factions within the Kingdom considered it too weak. Especially the communities near the coast were angry that they had to tolerate the human expansionism, leading some to talk openly about secession. This idea gained popularity, especially amongst groups that already believed in more autonomy, because of religious or economical reasons. A political crisis seemed to be underway, despite the Laeryllian populace considering Bothandal to be a just king, who played his role as a traveling judge diligently.

In response to the movement towards secession, Bothandal installed regional rulership in all provinces by appointing Province Keepers who had judicial freedom, but were still barred from from military decision-making. Also, Bothandal maintained the right to veto any decisions by the new Province Keepers and would continue to travel across the provinces to dispense justice, albeit in line with the desires of the Province Keepers. While this did not satisfy those who were anxious about humans, it did calm growing fears about forced Waye worshiping and allowed the provinces to spend their collected taxes in a way they saw fit.

Establishment of the Seven Schools (360 BLC - 210 BLC)

The reorganization also benefited Bothandal, who was known to enjoy studying magic, but who had been preoccupied with the daily affairs of governance too much to hone his skills. After installing the Province Keepers, he declared part of one of the Small Provinces to be his own: a piece of swampland and forest to the southeast of Dathyll, near the Thracyll Mountains. Bothandal moved to this area, thereafter known as Laedor Thilis or King's Swamp, and started to develop his arcane knowledge and skills.

The following years saw him craft wondrous, magical items, which he gifted to the Province Keepers to persuade them of the value of magic. It is for this reason that he is known as the crafter. For Bothandal, politics and magic were intertwined: in 346 BLC, Bothandal agreed with the Province Keepers to found academies for the study of magic. These schools were to be in line with the theories of Valgyth the Charmer, who recognized eight types of magic. Not comfortable with the application of black magic, Bothandal insisted on setting up just seven academies througout the kingdom, each with their own formal training and presided by an expert wizard. These Seven Schools of Magic remain active to this day and are strongly co-dependent, thereby tying the provinces together while providing them with well-trained wizards (called True Wizards who contribute to the kingdom.

This co-dependence was always Bothandal's plan. At the time unknown, Bothandal's crafting was made possible because of a magical hotspot within the Thracyll Mountains. Inside Bothandal's Mine, an operation that yielded exotic minerals to the King's Swamp region, magic flows more freely and boosted the skills of any wizards working there. Bothandal kept this a secret, so that wizards would not flock to King's Swamp, but would instead spread out over the Kingdom of Laeryll, strengthening its political union in the process. Only those very close to Bothandal knew about the existence of the mine, and its location was lost after the War of the Sisters.

At the same time, the operations in King's Swamp led to cooperation between the Kingdom of Laeryll and The Porcupine and gnomes from Labar. In 345 BLC he grants mining privileges to the dwarven Clan Arad and Clan Bordirūn, as well as to the gnome Fiddleflute Estate, Dabblespeck Estate and the Fuddy Estate. Due to occassional orc attacks, this agreement quickly spreads to military agreements, with royal forces fighting side by side with dwarven clans. In 210 BLC, Bothandal and the Mountain King reach an agreement about free trade in minerals and open borders between elven lands and The Porcupine.

The Nine-Year Purge and The Rise of the Gnomes (210 BLC - 5 BLC)

Trade expands under the 210 BLC agreement, and not only the elves benefit. The gnomes on the Labarean peninsula receive a wider variety of metals, more cheaply, and their city states begin to prosper and grow. The gnomes improve their infrastructure and Hervik, a small town in those days, develops a small fleet of ship that is used to ease transport along the coast.

Bothandal's friendly politics is extended to the gnomes, but he does warn them against the exploitation of their natural resources. At the turn of the second century BLC, however, he has to focus attention on new outbursts of violence between elven communities and humans. In 199 BLC, armed elves block human loggers from access to the Forest of Guharr and demand they stay away. The loggers retreat, but only to return with more and to pillage Svindivyr, an elven village that houses one of the oldest shrines to the Bird Gods. Enraged, counterattacks target human settlements and trade with the humans is halted. Both the Mountain King and the gnome city states insist on normalization, but Kopellds Herell and Dranieth Shimay, the Province Keepers from respectively the Small Provinces and Qosid, want Bothandal to declare war against the humans. Bothandal, who fears losing grip on the provinces, but does not want full-out war, declares that aggression cannot be tolerated, but diplomacy must prevail. Militant factions in Qosid and the area around the Forest of Guharr interpret this as a blessing of their aggression, and continue to target humans. By the end of 198 BLC, a guerilla war between the elves and humans is raging, known as The Nine-Year Purge.

The gnome city state Galotigoo, which imports fish and meat from the human settlements, decries the elven attacks and, in 195 BLC, the city sends troops and arms to guard human harbors. This lowers the intensity of the conflict, but does not end it. In 189 BLC, Bothandal convinces Herell and Shimay to halt the conflict, ending the Purge.

By that time, the balance of power on the Northern Arm had shifted. The Kingdom of Labar, grown more prosperous by the years, transformed their military presence in Silimanis into a strong trading partnership. It improved the Silimani harbor of Nossed and built infrastructure to connect Nossed, The Mouth and the Labarean peninsula by both land and sea. By 5 BLC, the kingdom of the gnomes was thriving, while the Kingdom of Laeryll started showing cracks.

Death of Bothandal

After the end of the Nine-Year Purge, Bothandal spent his time traveling between King's Swamp, then still his private land, and Dathyll. Diplomacy began to to tire him and he increasingly left the maintenance of the kingdom – including managing the difficult relationship between the wood elves and the high elves – to his wife Sanya the Watcher.

Together with his pixie friend Aryxhai, Bothandal instead devoted his life to examining what happened during The Shimmering, the mythological time which led to the creation of high elves. For this, they stayed to themselves for years at a time in Bothandal's Mine. Through this time, Bothandal may not have been occupied with the kingdom, but he remained a father to his daughters Morsyana and Galythiel, who often stayed in Pellvyr when their father stayed in King's Swamp.

In 5 BLC, however, at age 737, Bothandal died in his sleep while staying at the palace in Prydisyrr. His death led to King's Swamp becoming a formal province of the kingdom and to Morsyana and Galythiel taking on the Crown.

Also see: Laeryllian Crown