Amellen Mallanë, Second of His Name, was the man who defined his era. He was the ruthless, long-lived ruler of th e house Mallanë, who waged a war that lasted a century out of his astounding one-hundred and thirteen year reign. He came to the throne a kind boy, fighting a war he believed just, and left it a bitter old man who died loveless and heirless.
When Amellen was born, his father Ellemén was among the most hated Reya in the entire history of their house. He had lost the majority of their land to the growing Laurëan Kingdom and had watched his empire burn. Amellen grew up as a hostage of the Laurëan court. Born under the domineering control of his mother, Amellen was granted the crown at an early age. He was raised on the tales of the great Laurë Réya and their mighty Palatines.
His first mentor was his mother’s lover, who loved him as a son. From him, he would learn the ways of honor and the art of war. Amellen’s playmate were his two younger brothers (Orenon and Sellon) and the year-older Evenne. Evenne was a common. She was the greatest influence in his young life and one day, when his mother and her lover were assassinated, she became his guardian under his new regent, his uncle Arell. Arell saught to use her.to control the king. It was she who taught him the courtly ways and tales of the Paladins. But she also was the person to, secretly, assure him of a grand destiny.
Arell had designs on the throne, and when his nephews proved themselves to be more competent then he supposed, he attempted a coup. This coup failed due to the efforts of the teenaged Evenne and Arell fled into his lands. But Arell was of old stock and called for an election, and was declared the Father of the Mallanë by three/fifths of all the scions in the Mallanë realm. He had an army of 20,000, gathered by the High Scions of the nation. Amellen called the lesser scions, loyal to him and managed to call the landowning clansmen from the lowest class. He soon had a host of 16,000 men.
For three years, the boy-king and his uncle warred across the land, with the entire host of Amellen’s scions being utterly extinguished at one point. But Amellen, still merely a boy at the time, marched alongside his men on foot and his remaining scions developed a new school of Laurë warfare: Heavy Infantry moving quickly on foot, with the scions marching side by side with the footmen. This army eventually would make a desperate counterattack that divided Arell’s forces and eventually defeat Arell at “The Battle of the Walls of Flesh.” Arell was pardoned by Amellen but he was executed later after a second attempt to seize the throne ended with a brief, easily crushed revolution. His lands were granted to Amellen’s brother Orenon.
Amellen grew into a man and slowly came to love Evenne, in an innocent, childlike way. He kept her close at all times and when he came to his coronation at the age of 15, he secretly began arrangements to marry her. However, due to the advice of the regent, he realized the weakness of his political position and instead married a princess of Laurë. He spent the next few years as a model king, ruling in an honorable fashion and cultivating the martial Laurë culture, culminating in a brief punitive campaign against the Varags of the north. In this time, Evenne became his closest confidant and for her service, he married her to a minor noble. His own marriage, however, was utterly miserable and his wife took on a number of lovers instead of him.
Amellen’s reign changed forever when the Reya of the neighboring kingdom of Laurë died childless. Normally, such a dispute would be solved by the election of another close family member with heirs of their own. A new Reya, Pelenon, was to be elected. Amellen, however, made the claim that his mother, a Laurëan Princess and sister to the dead King, was indeed the eldest sibling. By this logic, she should be the rightful queen, and him her rightful successor.
He could not know that the war he started next would last for almost a hundred years and utterly destroy his kingdom. When the council of Electors denied him, he determined to win his empire by the strength of his honor and of his sword.
It was then his beloved brother, Orenon, betrayed him and claimed the title of Reya and raised half of Amellen’s old army to support him. Orenon sought only to depose him and felt no malice for his brother. In his failed rebellion, ten thousand men died. Amellen was merciful, and spared his brother but his brother persisted and when released, he merely renewed his wars. Thrice was he captured and twice was he shown mercy and in his rebellions, 24,000 men would die. The third time, Amellen did the only thing he could: he ordered the execution of his beloved brother.
In this bitter ending to years of civil war, Amellen gathered his countrymen and did the unthinkable: Invaded the Reyan of the Laurë. Amellen’s reformed the military, turning it into a standing, paid, professional army that was far better trained than the Laurë. Amellen won battle after battle, always under impossible odds. In time, most of the north belonged to Amellen. At first, Amellen was lenient and tolerant, kind to the people. He gained the support of the Rëlines and marched an army of 12,000 into the heartlands.
But, alas, the bloodlust of his foes manifested itself in the forms of gruesome executions and Amellen soon found his policy of refusing to raid the nearby towns to be impossible to maintain. He marched home after three years but was blocked by an army of 30,000 men. He met them at “The Battle of the Red Fords” and won the most costly victory of the war. Over 20,000 men died in those waters and most of their bodies were never rediscovered. In this battle, Amellen is said to have been struck in the knee and fell face-first into the river. He nearly drowned and never forgot the taste of his own men’s blood. He lay among the corpses for an hour before rallying his men, as his men viciously fought to defend him. Half of his 12,000 men were dead or wounded by the end, but near 25,000 Laurëans had been killed or wounded in the waters. Stinking corpses floated for days afterwards. Among the lost was Amellen’s second brother, who died protecting Amellen from three Laurëan Scions. It was his sacrifice that had driven Amellen to rally and in thanks, he built the Gates of the Martyred Brother.
Amellen returned a grief-stricken man and was inconsolable over the loss of his brothers and his kin. Amellen sought comfort from his wife but she now despised him even more. So Amellen sought the comfort of his true love, Evenne. They were now in their late thirties, but his love of her had not changed, and when her husband died, he sought her out and secretly confessed his love of her. And to his horror, he found that she did not love him as more than a friend. It was at this moment, that he realized that he had never felt real love in his whole life and determined that it was too late. So Amellen lost his sanity and conscience. He banished his advisors from his presence and set about an iron purpose: gaining the crown of Laurë. Nothing mattered to him but the war and his previous mercy was gone when he went on his second great raid. He led his army into the heartland, gathering twenty thousand men. In addition, he hired and formed dozens of mercenary bands. Most of these were merely bands of legalized bandits, who raped and pillaged throughout the entire country. These were named “The Ravenous Hyenas.” Amellen, once the most honorable of men, allowed his men to engage in unrestrained vices and soon, the countryside on the northern marches burned and the inhabitants were forced into serfdom. The armies sent to obliterate him were destroyed and whenever Amellen went, he left a trail of crucified corpses behind him.
The Rëlines withdrew their support and soon came to the aid of their Laurë brothers. But Amellen’s army, known as “The Starving Lions” proved too powerful and unlike the previous campaign, they refused to return to their homes. Amellen remained in the lands for twenty years and when he was done, he had stripped the nation dry.
The Laurë finally got him to agree to a ceasefire and for a year, they thought that Amellen’s menace was over as they saw he army leaving. They couldn’t have known Amellen had never left and even as the bulk of his army crossed the border, he began a slow, stealthy march over the razed lands, to Arraz. There, he broke his oath and launched a whirlwind escalade of the city and with hours, Pelenon I was captured, along with his royal palace. Amellen could not hold the city, and shortly withdrew. But he proclaimed himself Laurëan Reya. But to the shock of all Laurëans, he then proclaimed himself Valén Amellen, and Repalatine of the West. This brought the wrath of all the Reya upon him and Amellen retreated into the north. The “Alliance of Amellen” (ironically named) determined that they would march into the Mallanë lands in their own, great armed raid of 40,000 Laurë. Amellen ignored them for years until at last, the Mallanë proclaimed his deposition as king and elected a new Great Scion. Amellen force marched north where he met them at “The Battle of the Lion Banner” where Amellen fought the Laurëan world to a standstill. Pelenon was returned home, but without the crown of Aleran.
Amellen hanged his rival and negotiated a peace with the other powers. He continued his futile war for over fifty more years and as his death knell approached, his cold heart became near malevolent and embittered. When he died, he was found clutching the crown ‘til his hands bled. His “son” (a child of his wife’s affairs) succeeded him and continued the war until his death. Two generations passed and the Mallanë began the civil war known as “The War of the Name.” The dynasty collapsed and the individual houses all became Reya in their own right.
- The Lion King, Symon Bahan