Tales speak of a generation-old conflict known as the Bastard War, in which Queen Eleanor Bannon battled several halfsiblings over almost a decade of bloody conflict. She proves the victor after defeating several rival claimants, until finally marrying her half-brother, Royce Wolf, a bastard, who is crowned as King Miles Bannon I. It is widely rumored that Queen Eleanor and King Miles detest each other, but a child is born from their union, Giles. King Miles had a public affair with Lady Lesha Aragon, who herself is married to the legendary warrior Ser Drevyn Durant, a knight of the Blood of Ezjdar. Miles and Lesha have a son out of wedlock named Charles and when King Miles embraces him as his own son, naming him a Bannon, Ser Drevyn is so incensed, that he boldly challenges the king to a duel to the death. Arrogant till the very end, King Miles Bannon accepts and, after refusing to elect a champion, is killed in the ensuing fight.
The Queen does not remain widowed for long, soon marrying Lord Astor Aragon, and places a member of the Aragon family on the throne as King Regent. King Astor Aragon and Queen Eleanor rule wisely for many years, seeking to restore the land to health after years of civil war left the people and the country ravaged. Both monarchs did a great deal to bring stability back to the Kingdom of Arnesse but struggle to fully restore prosperity and health to the Kingdom. Queen Eleanor and King Astor have a son born from their union, Vaeros. King Astor is like a father to young Giles and raises him to be a good and just man, seeking to prevent the boy from being corrupted and twisted by his Bannon blood. King Astor and his Queen are both well-loved by the people and to this day King Astor Aragon is lauded by the people of Tarkath as a hero; an example of what Tarkathi rulership would bring.
Giles comes of age in, and takes the throne in the time of a struggling Kingdom. Thanks to the teachings and wisdom of Astor Aragon, he proves to be a fair-minded king who spends most of his twenty-five-year reign improving the administrative structure of Arnesse. King Giles proves to be a wise administrator and, though he is not well liked by many of the people, his reign brings a great deal of prosperity to Arnesse. Among the commonfolk, Giles I is best known for his significant rework of the kingdom’s legal systems, wherein he gives non-nobles more rights and protections, but also places more power in the hands of the local nobility. While some nobles use this newfound power wisely, others find it to be an effective means by which to more mercilessly abuse their people. The new laws also allow for spouses to annul marriages, though this had little impact on most commonfolk, who infrequently ended their unions.
But the cursed blood of Bannon would not be denied. King Giles I has deep flaws as a person and the people find it endlessly entertaining to gossip about his lacivious personal life. His love of women would become the stuff of legend. When he is crowned, Giles takes Lady Rosalind of House Bannon to be his queen and she bears him a son, Giles. Rumors of malcontent between he and Queen Rosalind become reality when he annuls their marriage. Almost immediately, he marries Lady Elysande of House Corveaux, who too, bears him a child, a daughter Emma. The King remains married to Elysande for several years, but he eventually tires of her. Shortly after, the Queen is accused and found guilty of adultery, resulting in her execution. Less than a year later the King marries Queen Elysande’s young cousin, Alice. It is said that the King has hase a love curse placed upon him, a notion that seems true when his ill-fated union to Alice ends when she and her son Kerrigan die less than a year later in childbirth.
Within Tarkath, the current Lord Paragon, Vaeros Aragon comes under attack from his own nobles. They accuse him of not doing enough to place an Aragonese King on the throne. Despite Vaeros’s insistence that there is a larger plan, he is forced to acquiesce. He narrowly manages to avoid civil war within Tarkath by wedding his daughter Lyra to Nebzer Durant and abdicating his title as Lord Paragon. In the north, the situation gets even worse as reports tell of a King Giles I that has gone quite mad, declaring that he has received a vision that the Aurorym faith would bring about the end of the Kingdom of Arnesse. In response, he passes an edict placing massive restrictions on religion throughout the Kingdom. When Giles I marries Lady Maeve Innis, the growing tensions in the Kingdom come to a breaking point.
When Queen Maeve is announced to be with child in 750, the fear of an Innis heir to the throne fuels the rumors that the King and Queen are both involved in witchcraft. These accusations are joined by powerful voices from within the Aurorym faith who claim that the King must be removed from power. In 751 Giles II, son of the King, marches on Highcourt with a rebel army to seize the throne from his father. House Aragon heeds the call to aid King Giles I in defending his throne and sends troops to resist the rebels. King Giles I refuses the aid of the Aragon troops and they are and forced to watch as Giles I is defeated by his son on the battlefield at Lanton. Rumors run wild throughout the Kingdom about the Aurorym faith and how its valiant Vellatora knights carried Giles II to victory almost single-handedly. King Giles I and Queen Maeve are captured, put on trial for witchcraft, and both are burned at the stake for their crimes. Giles II is crowned King of Arnesse in 752. He promptly cements his alliance with House Blayne by marrying Aline, daughter of Lord Paragon Frederick Blayne.
The year is 763 and King Giles II has sat on the throne of Arnesse for twelve years. The King is known to be a purist, a zealot, and a dictator. He believes himself a visionary, a wise ruler who plans to usher in a new age of glory for Arnesse, but in reality has become one of the most divisive monarchs in the history of the Kingdom. He ruthlessly enforces his puritanical worldview on everyone he encounters. The pious are rewarded and the profane are punished. The King empowers those who are loyal to the Aurorym faith. Those who are not faithful are disregarded or marginalized. Those he deems threats are killed or banished. This has sent many of the rich and power scrambling to either adopt the Aurorym faith or find other ways to gain his favor.
Fortunately for many in the south, Tarkath has always been a land apart. The people there live in such a distant and hostile environment that the events of Highcourt and the north can often feel worlds away. There is a real fear stirring in Tarkath that the spread of the Aurorym faith could change this. For while the desolation of the wastes can alone defeat armies, it is much harder to defeat an ideal. While King Giles has stopped short of making the Aurorym the official religion of Arnesse, it may only be a matter of time before he does. Many feel that should this happen, the faith of the Dawn will shake the very foundations of life in Tarkath to their core and change their way of life forever. The Tarkathi value their families, their freedom, and their traditions. As a result, most Tarkathi are extremely resistant to the idea of a foreign faith and while members of that religion are not forbidden in the southern realm, those who visit find very few friendly faces among the Tors of the south.
Since King Giles II has taken the throne, Tarkathi power in the Kingdom has slowly begun to fade. This is partially because the King does not trust the nobles of Tarkath. In addition, Tarkath is an ancient place who strongly identifies with the old ways. As such, the people of the south are wont to find themselves misunderstood and maligned. The power of the Aurorym is growing in the courts of the north and their religious teachings do not find themselves compatible the Tarkathi’s excessive lifestyles. The king even goes so far as to pass a series of decrees aimed at punishing those behaviors found reprehensible by the faith to which he finds himself beholden. The edict has been met with hostility in Tarkath, where many believe it was deliberately aimed at their more liberal lifestyle choices.
House Aragon also have trouble at home. The pressure to remove King Giles II from the throne, and a general civil unrest around his rule continues to propagate. If House Aragon cannot find a way to slow this rising tide, Tarkath faces the very real threat of a civil war that would likely be so bloody it would take a generation to recover. There is an equal unhappiness over the growing Aurorym faith. A particularly vocal minority within Tarkath claims that the Aurorym prophecy foretelling the arrival of their savior, Magnus Blayne, was stolen from a Tarkathi source long ago. They claim Magnus Blayne is a false prophet and that a hero will instead rise from the south, defeat the darkness, and restore Tarkath to its former glory.
To make matters worse, the technology that sustains Tarkath is beginning to break down. Much of this technology is vital to keeping the Tors operating in the wastelands and over time, the knowledge of how to maintain and build it has been lost. This leaves many in Tarkath facing the reality that if they can’t find a way to restore or repair these machines, that to survive, they must leave the wastes. This would force a great diaspora and the people of Tarkath would have to find a new home, either in the North or another region yet to be revealed.