A Brief Introduction to

The Lost Rebellion

and

The End of the Age of Conquest

Agnarol, Magus, & Tate

"Revolution will free us from tyranny! No longer will Man preside, hovering over our haunches as though he were the absolute rule. Misery befalls our pious nation, besmirched by the arrogance of the crown!" exclaimed Loenilus in his address to his fellow patriots. It would become a statement that would echo throughout Narnia and lead the nation into the depths of despair. While the Narnian monarchy was on the verge of collapse due to its detached leadership and weakening infrastructure, little could the revolutionaries anticipate true tyranny was to return in a form of terror so unimaginable that its very forthcoming would be wiped from the pages of history. Uncovered through a compilation of journal entries, letters, and informal dictation of events pre-dating the 100 Years Winter, historians have succeeded in piecing together the forgotten records leading to the rise and stronghold of Jadis the White Witch

I. A Monarchy of Discontent

In the history of Narnian monarchs during the Age of Conquest, there had never been a ruler so woefully unqualified to wear the crown as the young King Ardale. The grandson of Swanwhite I, Ardale was never expected to become king, nor did he have any interest in his royal duties. Sheltered by the long and successful reign of his grandmother, the untimely deaths of his father Crown Prince Derick and older brother Prince Erdane ultimately fixed Ardale's destiny as the heir to the Narnian throne. After his coronation in 891, he reluctantly stood before his subjects for the first time. He was said to have been a handsome man who wore his robes with confidence, though never eager to engage his countrymen. Regardless, the Narnians had great hope for their new king, especially upon word that Ardale had called for the honorable Lord Senmirion to be his noble advisor and Head of Council. Senmirion, a wise and loyal Centaur, was popular among the Narnian citizenry and provided Ardale with a seemingly unwavering support of his people. Unfortunately, Ardale saw Senmirion as nothing more than an advantageous facade to pacify his subjects, often ignoring his sage advice. In a letter to a fellow Councilman, Senmirion writes, "I fear the king hears no one but himself, sees no one but himself beneath the crown, neglecting to realize his title, his position, his right embodies us all." (1)

By 895, the growing territorial and hegemonial conflict with Calormen in the Lone Island territories, in addition to inadequate maritime command and superfluous spending, caused the once prosperous Narnia to face an impending economic catastrophe. A stubborn man, Ardale overestimated his understanding of finance, making what would become a fatal decision in the possession of his empire. Dismissing Senmirion from his duties, the Narnians began to lose faith in their king, watching as Ardale dug the nation deeper into deficit while simultaneously living in opulence. Secluded at Cair Paravel, Ardale very rarely travelled beyond the castle gates, only leisurely visiting the scenic countryside for well-guarded hunting excursions. Never exposing himself to the reality of his poor leadership, he not only underestimated the distress of his citizens, but also their strength.

II. Unrest Among the Beasts

The Terebinthian Revolution for independence in 896 sent waves to the mainland, fostering enlightenment ideas of liberty and equality between Man and Beast. Influenced by the socio-political philosophies of Erayos and Rias, an ambitious Faun by the name of Loenilus, caught wind of the uprising of the Terebinthian territory, using the momentum to hoist his own political theories of revolution. While physically unassuming, Loenilus' command of the spoken word quickly gained support in favor of overthrowing the monarchy for a legislation run by the very creatures that inhabited the country. Much of Loenilus' rhetoric centered around the sovereignty and virtue of "True Narnians"- Magical creatures and Talking Beasts. Though at first considered an act of heresy, Loenilus' claims against Aslan's decree that the rightful rule belonged to sons of Adam and daughters of Eve soon gained support as the declining conditions and heavy taxation further fueled hatred of the king. The result were numerous small uprisings that Ardale was said to refer to as "tiny fires easily smoldered by the heel of [his] boot." (2)

The longtime allied Archenland had closed its borders from Narnia, fearful that the raging revolutionary ideas would threaten the sanctity of their nation's land. In turn, officials at Anvard signed a treaty with Calormen to ensure military support, granting Carlormene fleets to block well-traveled trade routes. Unable to mend ties with their southern neighbor, Ardale was confident that Narnia could get by through its own means. Unfortunately, the winter of late 897 was said to have been one of the harshest frosts the nation had seen, damaging crops beyond repair. The Narnians, now in the grasps of a devastating famine, marched upon Cair Paravel in protest, begging their king for resolution and pleading him to relocate from the isolated castle to a more populated location amidst the true strife of the nation. Ardale refused and subsequently ordered the Royal Guard to take force against the agitated mob. It was the first time such action had been initiated towards citizenry and as guards turned sword and arrow upon desperate Narnians, it marked the beginning of the end for the old rule.

III. Loenilus, Tried and True

Support for Loenilus grew exponentially, as did his radical ideals. His followers called him "Tried and True" and as hardship amongst the land escalated, Loenilus met with his trusted deputies, a club of revolutionary idealists known as The Mortains (3) , to finally plan a coup. However, superstition and fear of the Deep Magic rooted within the royal lineage impeded their progress. Loenilus, tired of the opposition from what he deemed as a culture of fables, stood before his followers once again. "It is our blind trust that bridles out fate, forever under the reigns of a Deep Magic fed to us and yet never seen. I have been bold enough to spit out the bit! To realize that our belief is but a tool to keep the common Beast complacent! Our revolution is the sole truth that guides me!" It took little persuasion to sway the many Narnians who, under stress of the worsening conditions of government and famine, began to question Aslan's devotion to the land He created.

With the king barricaded behind the walls of Cair Paravel, the target of mass aggression turned towards what had become the symbol of sanctity of the Narnian monarchy: The Tree of Protection. The tree's origins and purpose had been preserved within Dryad mythology, though roughly translated into airy riddles difficult to decipher and easily disregarded by those under the influence of the raging wildfire of revolution. Believing that the tree's magic was the final thread keeping the monarchy intact, the general consensus was that its destruction was the only way to force Ardale from the throne. Those who opposed were deemed sympathizers of the crown and unjustly imprisoned.

IV. Protection Uprooted

Armed with axes and led by Loenilus and The Mortains, revolutionaries marched up the banks of the Great River and scaled the walls surrounding the sacred orchard of the Tree of Protection. Several Dryads attempted to reason with Loenilus, but he proved to be beyond reason. The Silvan guard fell quickly as trees were haphazardly hacked down during the Orchard Slaughter of 898. The Mortains carved their way to the Tree of Protection, and with strong ropes and sharp blades, they succeeded in pulling the magic tree to the ground. An unidentified source writes: "At first the crowd rejoiced, shaking its silver apples from the broken branches and throwing its leaves into the air like confetti. We truly believed it to be a victory- as though we had knocked Ardale himself to the ground. But then there was a terrible stench as the tree died and all grew pale and silent. Even Loenilus, who never lacked words, fell quiet."

Word of the tree's demise reached Cair Paravel, and as Loenilus regrouped with plans to take the castle, Ardale fled the mainland for the island of Galma. It appeared that the revolution had been a success. Loenilus was eager to make it to the capital in order to begin restructuring the government into the republic he had envisioned- one where he would assume the seat of power. His supporters escorted him east, tearing down any remnants of the old rule. In the wake of the transition, the balance of the country had been agitated beyond recognition and under the influence of The Mortains, ideas of equality between Man and Beast rapidly dissipated. Mobs began to target Humans, equating the species with the fallen monarchy and driving them from their homes. Many retreated into the mountains of Archenland or stowed aboard vessels headed for the Lone Islands.

V. The Rise of Jadis

The country was in chaos. Loenilus, however, saw the anarchy as a natural progression of liberation and was certain that as he stepped up as an authority, the sea of rebellion would calm. He planned to address his followers near the confluence of the Great River and the River Rush, among the wonder of the Standing Stones. Contrary to Loenilus' expectations, the momentum of the revolution had propelled the destruction of the monarchy into aimless vandalism. The rowdy crowd banded together, and with a great feat of strength, they succeeded in overturning the tall stones of the monument. Loenilus was said to have climbed atop the great rocks in order to regain some control, but the rioting whirlwind could not be contained.

Masked by the chaos, an army from the north had breeched the Narnian borders- but without proper leadership and organization, the opposing forces were met with little resistance. While there had been speculation amongst the disbanding councilmen that the county would be vulnerable to attack from the south or west, few had anticipated an invasion coming through Ettinsmoor. With the arrival of Jadis, it soon became apparent that violent revolution had been the ultimate undoing of the Narnian Empire. The little documentation salvaged eludes to the immediate distress of the nation's citizens.

"The Standing Stones toppled and the sound of the crash shook the earth beneath us. It woke the evil and drew her right to us, but we had become so disillusioned that upon her arrival, we recognized her as our savior rather than the destroyer of our very being. At first Jadis came under the guise of rescue. She showed us how desperate we had become and how we were lost in need of a shepherd to guide us back to peace and prosperity. We looked around us and saw Narnia in ruins. We wanted to save our fair lands, but had eradicated all that was good. And as we felt the overwhelming sorrow for what we had done, powerful Jadis stood before us and claimed her rule through her supposed humanity. Loenilus, who conceded to no one, bowed and pledged his alliance. It was then that we realized our leader, Tried and True, was no more than a coward. Some drew weapons to defend the revolution, but with her wand she unleashed her magic and fur and flesh suddenly became hardened slate. Then, turning to Loenilus, she named him a traitor and executed him swiftly upon the tabled stones." (4)

It was a long two years of resistance before the Narnians would finally succumb to Jadis' rule. Worn down after a near decade of declining conditions and political unrest, those who fought for the nation did not have the strength nor the numbers to continue forward. Many had sided with Jadis in hopes that she would bestow mercy, while others schemed to bring Ardale back to power. However, with little steam left in the surviving patriots, any attempts to revolt were quickly laid to rest. By 900, Jadis' had successfully taken the crown and ushered in the Long Winter.

Under the rule of the White Witch, Narnia was further isolated from its surrounding countries. However, through her diplomacy, the trade embargoes were lifted with the conditions that any exchange of goods be authorized and all transactions take place off of the mainland. Despite the prolonged winter's affect on Narnia's agricultural exports, fear of Jadis' icy empire expanding beyond the Narnian borders persuaded other nations to comply. These carefully constructed practices of segregation enabled the new queen to keep her subjects ignorant and docile- and shortly after the mass genocide of the remaining Humans inhabiting the country, it was widely believed that the species had gone extinct. Along with Humanity, all records of occurrences predating the rise of Jadis were wiped from existence, eliminating any memory of Loenilus' uprising, and leaving the only official documentation of the royal lineage of King Frank I stored within the depths of the Royal Academy Library in Anvard. It would be 100 years until the Narnians would successfully rise in revolution once again, this time to reinstate the true monarchy to the famed Kings and Queens of Old.

To this day, there remains great speculation to whether Jadis had a hand in the fall of the old rule long before her army crossed borders. While there is little information regarding the demise of Crown Prince Derick and Prince Erdane, it has been cited that their deaths were deemed of a "curious nature" after returning from an excursion from the north. (5) Some will even go as far to attribute the harsh frosts of 897 to the unsuppressed dark magic of Jadis, and conspiracies have even surfaced questioning Loenilus' true intentions for the revolution. But perhaps the last word should be granted to the very Faun with whom this text began: "The truth is a welcomed labor of our freedom, and it is our duty to seek it, cherish it, and defend it when those left accountable deny it. The liberation of truth is the liberation of mind."


Notes:

1. Lord Senmirion to Lord Lyebury, 7 Fervidor 894. It was speculated that Senmiron was not the only member of the Council that King Ardale treated with such disregard and the king's aloofness was a frequent concern among Councilmen.

2. Taken from an account included in the recovered memoirs of General Rupol.

3. The Mortains were supposedly named after the site where the group first assembled, a rocky hill rising from a gorge east of the Archen River.

4. This account can be attributed to the journals of a faun named Trunus, a suspected relative of the Winter Revolution figure and royal advisor Tumnus.

5. Little information has been discovered to draw any conclusions and there is no concrete evidence that either Derick or Erdane had made any contact with Jadis during their travels.


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