Fulmen & Creusa
The period of Creusan Hegemony was the Elves’ first golden age, a long period of peace and stability. During this period, several neighbouring Natalian city-states peacefully joined the Hegemony, expanding the Elves’ Natalian territories. Though marked by a long peace with its neighbouring polities, this period also saw the rise of political factionalism threatening domestic unrest as powerful Elven nobles sought to increase their influence with the Hegemony.
This factionalism culminated in the first Elven civil war, setting off the longstanding pattern of strife and division that would become all too common in the later politics in the Elven Empire.
During the outbreak of factional violence, the general Fulmen, a descendant of Eos and Adrastos, was driven out of the Hegemony by his rivals. Chased down and grievously wounded on the banks of the Creusa River, Fulmen is said to have been rescued and nursed back to help by the namesake goddess of the river.
With the aid of the goddess Creusa, Fulmen fled to the city of Apridomum (in later centuries, the capital of the current Duchy of Mercurio) and welcomed by the city’s leadership. Subsequently, Fulmen led the city’s forces in resisting the forces of the Hegemony as they attempted to conquer Apridomum and the remaining independent Natalian city-states.
Ultimately, under the leadership of Fulmen and Apridomum, the Natalian states formed a coalition known as the Natalian League — ironically, the enemies of the Elves were now members of an alliance resembling the original League of Creusa once formed by the Elves.
A long campaign followed encompassing nearly the entirety of Natalis, with the Natalian League under Fulmen gaining the victory. Following numerous defeats and increasingly despotic behaviour, Fulmen’s long-time rival Severus, serving as the Imperator of the Hegemony was driven out in turn and Fulmen was welcomed back by the people.
Under Fulmen, the Natalian League and the Creusan Hegemony were unified into a single state and the vast majority of Natalis was united for the first time in history. Fulmen was proclaimed the first King of Natalis and is said to have taken his longtime companion and helper Creusa the river goddess for his wife, and the later Emperors would directly trace their descent from Fulmen and his divine wife.
The title of King of Natalis was largely a symbolic title and much of the actual power in Natalis was deferred to the Senate, an arrangement that would last for centuries, well into the Imperial period and even still observed in the modern city-state of Imperialis
Fulmen is noted to be a just and capable ruler whose decades-long rule is viewed as the opening of a second golden age for the Elves in Realmgard. After Fulmen’s death, Creusa is said to have returned to the river, seldom seen by mortals in future generations, but said to emerge to offer divine aid to the people of Natalis in time of need.
In the following decades, the Elves would begin to turn their attention to the territory beyond the borders of Natalis. A new era of Elven expansion would soon begin, though it would be several centuries yet before the establishment of the Elven Empire.
Now, I banged out that header image pretty quickly, but I think I figured out enough of the process for making an image that looks like a Roman fresco. I’m interested to see what I’d be able to pull off giving it the proper time and attention.
But that’s a project for another time…
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