|People of The Kalmar Union|
|The Kalmar Union|
Edoha, King (or occasionally Emperor) of Aniyunwiya, is sometimes compared to Genghis Khan in the manner he turned a relatively obscure tribe into a continent conquering force. Others point to a comparison with Charlemagne in the way he tried to bind a vast area with competing lordships into a central authority, which would wane under his successors but was not entirely forgotten.
Born in around 1199 Edoha was reportedly merely the youngest of several children of Kaské, Prince of Youghiogh, one of around eight principalities into the Aniyunwiyan tribe was divided. The principalities had adapted the cavalry techniques that had filtered into a brutally efficient system. Wealth was measured not in how much gold a person had (most Leifian nations did not share the Norse fascination with the metal until unfettered trading links with Europe developed) but in how many horses they owned. The shifting alliances and frequent wars kept the principalities in balance but pressure from the north, from the Álengsk and Eriac was beginning to shift the balance in Youghiogh's favour. It was perhaps inevitable that its fellow principalities grew jealous of Youghiogh's position and in around 1217 invaded, killed Edoha's father and much of his family and much more humiliating, stole most of its horses.
Edoha himself would be taken, as a captive, to the court of Mahdaywamaqua, Prince of Mehmannaunring, one of his state's destroyers whilst Youghiogh would be ruled by a uncle, Lakatha. Edoha's biographers report that during his time of captivity he learnt his enemies' weaknesses, biding his time until he could confidently reclaim his birthright. The reality appears more that he had little option but to accept his fate. However by the time he was 20 this included service in Mehmannauring's army where he learnt the finer points of Aniyunwiyan warfare, as well as a comprehensive overview of the political players and their relationships between the principalities. It seems as though he was recognised as the rightful ruler of Youghiogh during this time, was allowed to have a family (which was usually denied to most captives) as well as forming his own alliances.
In 1226, after several years of famine Edoha was restored to the throne of Youghiogh following a revolt against his uncle's rule. Lakatha had not shown the proper respect to the class of priests whom wielded considerable support and they turned to Edoha for help. With the tacit approval of Mehmannaunring. This victory did not end the famine however and over the following years Aniyunwiyan society was further disrupted by a wave of disease (probably measles) which struck the weakened population. For whatever reason, perhaps through prior contact or plain luck, Youghiogh was less affected by the plague than the other principalities. With a rebuilt army and the his rivals weakened, Edoha seized the chance to avenge his father.
Knowing exactly when, where and how to strike he marshalled his alliances and slowly crushed the other principalities until early 1236 when there was little option but for the priest class to recognise him as supreme ruler of the Aniyunwiyan people. Magnanimous, he put the defeated lords to work for him while their offspring were held hostage in Edoha's capital. A force was sent into the Ohio and Muscogee lands securing their quick defeat and annexation. Absorbing these two peoples would teach Edoha much of the diplomacy and statecraft he would practice for the next forty years. For now however the newly united Aniyunwiyans were on the march.
The 'Battle of Seven Kings' in April 1238 destroyed the independence of the Eriac, Unami and Haudenosaunee while Álengiamark held out until October when St. Hafdiss was burnt and several Álengsk lords paid Edoha personal homage. Edoha had set his own men up as lords in the new territories, alongside those he felt could be trusted. Hence the Tuscaronan tribe who had allied with him quickly were allowed reign over the conquered Unami. Meanwhile the Álensk queen Adalbjorg I was ousted and Edoha's daughter Atamaja was placed on the throne 'to mimic and satirise the Álengsk traditions'. Those tribes which did not quickly come to accept were treated to harsher fate; deliberately divided and resettled scattered across the empire to sever alliances.
The less-well organised tribal nations of the Atlantic seaboard were the next targets, with an alliance with the Yesan king secured the sparsely populated lands fell quickly, though resistance would continue in the swamplands. By 1240 Edoha was forced to return to the North to quash a revolt in the Erie lands which Vinland had helped stir up. What little naval force the Aniyunwiyans could muster on the Fraeburt Votnum was sunk by the Vinlanders too. However the sheer weight of the Aniyunwiyan army dissuaded even the most hawkish Vinlanders from advocating a direct war.
For the next decade there were no sweeping conquests, instead Edoha pushed Aniyunwiya's authority towards the Mississippi and down to the Mexic Gulf in piecemeal ventures. In part this was a result of having to deal with constant disruption in the territories they already owned but also the fact that west of the Mississippi there was not the riches nor infrastructure for any real conquest to occur. Edoha sometimes did cross to the West with little effect, and his biographers let their imaginations run wild for these sections of his deeds, inventing monsters or magical beings for the armies to fight. The truth was that the expansion of Aniyunwiya had already started a movement of several tribes who refused to submit to central authority. These in turn would put pressure on or spread disease to those they met causing further movement. In this way the Lakota were soon dominant on the northern plains, easily outclassing those they met militarily. Meanwhile to the south the Nuhuatl were pushed in a chain reaction out of their homelands and deep into Meso-Leifia where they would in time come to revolutionise the Mexic city-states.
His lords may have expected this conquest to continue forever. Edoha was a realist however. He recognised where Aniyunwiyan strengths lay and which fights to pick. In this respect he did not simply attempt to conquer every nation which stood in his way or even try and hold all conquered territory. The reputedly unconquerable Yesan were simply surrounded and goaded into an alliance which benefitted their own war machine greatly. The Álengsk were conquered yes, but they arguably received more for their allegiance than other states. He pledged peace with Vinland, handing the captive Adalbjorg I over to them in return for their recognition of his conquests, and never attempted the conquest of Myrland, simply as the then dominant Utina paid him ample fealty as it was.
While the armies expanded the lands under his rule Edoha realised he needed to stabilise the empire internally. He promoted trusted and able men, starting an academy, sometimes likened to a mandarin school of the Orient, to produce a steady stream of capable. A poly-syllabic script to render Aniyunwiyan on the page (vellum, another valuable Álengsk export) was created around 1245 with all of the administrators expected to be able to read and write it. A slightly simplified version still functions as the Aniyunwiyan alphabet. Roads were built, forests were cleared and Álengsk knowhow was used to build bridges linking the extremities with an ever-expanding network. These roads would quickly become the arteries of trade and communication and most continue to remain in force. One of the reasons given for the Leifia's victory over Mexica in the First Mexic-Leifian War is the fine network of roads built up across the Eastern half of Leifia allowing rapid movement and reinforcement. Even at this time a speedily message service with regular horse rest-points could deliver messages from one end of the empire to the other in mere days. With a unified peaceful state, a growing class of local administrators and a common system of weights, trade boomed. Any merchant could be expected to receive the same treatment and rights no matter where they did their business.
Settled agriculture would be introduced right across the empire, not only in the effort to even out famines but to feed the considerable army no matter where it was currently stationed. Eventually each locality was required to support a set number of infantry whom could expect to be deployed locally while the permanently mobilised cavalry was supplied by the lords and could be sent anywhere. Most cavalrymen wore hardened leather armour, often with leather shields affixed directly to their armour, with mail shirts worn only by the most senior commanders. They were expected to be proficient with a bow and carried an axe for close-quarter fighting. Fed, clothed and paid well by the burgeoning coffers of the state, there were punishments meted out regularly for any cavalryman who failed tests of strength or accuracy.
Mighty though this new empire was, it could not simply go on consuming land to pay its way. Though wheat and other cereal crops were introduced throughout the empire it was not as though full production was immediate. Potential farmlands, especially those on lands either evacuated by fleeing tribes or those deliberately moved by Edoha remained uncultivated for decades. Famines continued to reoccur and as more and more food was funnelled toward the ever-mobilised cavalry army. The population of this huge territory probably never reached over 2 million and feudalism, which may have delivered the taxes and stability which the lands craved, was only really imposed half-heartedly. Castles and forts which could have helped firm up were distrusted by Edoha whose army relied on open combat and never really got to grips with siege warfare. As it was, fortresses were indeed built at strategic points but Edoha insisted these be held by his own personal retinue. His lords were not allowed to build their own forts which undermined local authority, and made tax or food collection difficult to enforce.
The empire reached its peak by 1263 and then stopped, unable to protect all of its borders at the same time. On its western and northern edges it faced repeated raids from the less settled tribes outside the empire, which melted away once a army was brought to bear in the area. On the inside disputes (usually between various lords, it was very rare for a lord to challenge Edoha directly) and their occasional inability to keep peace, such as the Tuscaronan losing control of the Unamiland, kept the empire's organisation busy, for little real gain. Edoha singularly failed to see the advantage of a navy and both the Mississippi shores and the Gulf coast were often prey to bandits and pirates who simply swooped on outlying communities before loading up their ships and moving out of the rigid armies' way. If the Empire had been given a chance to settle down and it may well have survived but even by the 1270s, with Edoha's grasp over the organs of state failing his children and less-loyal lords were carving out realms of their own. On his death in 1275 the lands he had collected under his rule went into full-on meltdown.
Edoha is considered a national hero in Aniyunwiya and, inevitably, holds almost the opposite role in certain other states. Aniyunwiya's National Day is held on the supposed date of Edoha's death, 12th September. With his considerable harem of wives he is reckoned to have fathered around sixty-four children, one of the reasons why Aniyunwiya disintegrated so rapidly after his death. Amongst his children possibly the most notable were Elinipsico, the heir to Youghiogh who attempted briefly to claim the title of Emperor, Tamanatha, who was considered a military genius second only to his father but was killed in a Inokian revolt in 1273, and Atamaja who held Álengiamark together throughout its vassalisation to Aniyunwiya.