Though the Elven Empire would become increasingly expansionist during its history and adopt an almost unbroken policy of aggression towards its neighbours, one of the Empire’s most significant territorial acquisitions came about as the result of a diplomatic union secured by a marriage alliance.
Despite both a looming history of near-constant warfare across the continent and a long history of war with the Melkartites specifically, the early Elven Emperors maintained the policy of friendship with the Melkartite polity that had been established during the period of the Kingdom of Natalis, to the point that frequent personal visits by the Elven and Melkartite leaders were common.
Especially in light of the history of warfare and rivalry, this alliance proved shockingly durable and after the resolution of the Melkartite Wars during the period of the Kingdom of Natalis there were no further wars between the Elves and the Melkartites until the Elven Empire ceased to exist as an effective polity centuries later.
Though the Melkartite Kingdom retained its independence, the loss of territory and access to trade brought about longstanding instability, insecurity, and resentment among the people of the Kingdom, culiminating in open insurrection against Queen Anath, the last independent Melkartite ruler. Forced to flee from the Wandering Coast, she was granted sanctuary in Imperialis by the ruling Elven Emperor Acanthus.
What followed was one of Realmgard’s most famous love affairs. While poets would focus on the sincerity and depth of the two lovers’ bond, historians would note how most immensely consequential this union would be to shaping the history of both Realmgard and the Wandering Coast.
Queen Anath’s brothers took control of the loyalist faction during the Melkartite civil wars and she was able to safely return to the Wandering Coast. She was accompanied by Emperor Acanthus and the two were married in a lavish and days-long ceremony in the Melkartite capital.
The Melkartite Kingdom was given to Acanthus was Anath’s dowry. In return, Acanthus bestowed the Empress’ crown on his new bride. As a result, the Wandering Coast became part of the Elven Empire, an independent Melkartite Kingdom ceased to existed, though in return the last Melkartite Queen became Elven Empress.
Contemporary historians noted how unlikely such a union would have been in previous centuries, and many traditionally-minded citizens of the Empire viewed the union of an Elven Emperor and a foreign queen — especially the queen of the Empire’s most bitter historical rival — as unseemly and regrettable.
However, Empress Anath quickly proved a popular figure to the majority of the Empire’s citizenry, won over by her notable beauty and the many celebratory poems commissioned by the Emperor. Most significantly, Empress Anath also personally funded many public works and charitable donations across the Empire.
The acquisition of the Wandering Coast by the Elves expanded the territory of the Empire beyond the boundaries of the continent of Realmgard, incorporated the longstanding Melkartite maritime trade routes into the Empire’s economy and ultimately facilitated the Empire’s further expansion into territories that had before now been far out of reach.
FYI, today’s header image is meant to represent the Wandering Coast, the northern coast of the continent immediately south of Realmgard — essentially the equivalent of real-life north Africa.
So, I picked a picture of real-life north Africa. Based on the Pexel’s information that picture was taken in Mahdia, in present-day Tunisia, which is especially fitting because the Melkartites are the Realmgard equivalent of Ancient Carthage — Carthage being located on the Tunisian coast just across from Sicily.
Notably, the Tunisian soccer team is nicknamed the Eagles of Carthage.
As always, follow me here:
Sign-up for my email newsletter here.