A lengthy, if somewhat uneasy peace followed after King Gothryd Thagor's formal recognition as the 'King of the West' by most of the western lords in 3E426. This arrangement survived the Daedric incursions of 3E433, only to be threatened in their immediate aftermath by the extinction of the ruling line of Northmoor; nonetheless, the peace held for some years into the reign of his successor, King Camaron Thagor, until another succession crisis - this time, in Tulune - sparked the War of Tulunese Succession of 4E20-21, ending with the total annexation of Glenpoint and Daggerfall's establishment as the unquestioned dominant power in the West.
Prelude: the Jill-Stolen Wars (3E417-???) Edit
Nobody now knows what was it that happened, exactly, when the Dragon Broke in 3E417; or perhaps the better question would be, what was it that didn't happen. High Rock was torn asunder, then stitched together again overnight - and only the barest glimpses of it all remain, in the stern gazes of veterans of wars that have been and yet shall never be, and in the drunken prophecies of haggard hedge-wizards. Kingdoms fell, whole islands sank, battles were waged and sieges won; and all anyone can say with certainty is that something changed.
There are some things that might be guessed, though, and others that can be seen in the loose stitching left behind by the Jills of Aka as they rushed to fix High Rock. The old castle of Northmoor remains half a smouldering wreck to this day, dismantled by the siege engines of Daggerfall in what must have been a relentless march east. Strange carved runestones dot the woods west of Shalgora, lost and fragmented memories of a battle that took place here at some point in the future past. And there are still men alive who can remember vividly losing an arm in the Ilessan highlands - the same arm they use today to ply their craft.
We may never learn what happened in those years that never passed, or make sense of the tantalizing glimpses dangled before us in those little corners of High Rock where few ever tread; but the world was not the same after that night. There was a subtle wrongness hanging over the West for years after, and it is only now that the last few torn patches seem to retreat into the shadows.
Whatever it was, however, the West awoke that morning under Daggerfall's boot. Chevaliers who had fallen asleep in a backwater tavern in the city of Daggerfall awoke many miles east, garrisoning fortresses they couldn't remember taking, while the lords of those fortresses stirred in their own dungeons. Everything east up to and including Anticlere and Daenia had been conquered overnight, the ruling princes - displaced; but the tools of rebellion were still there, and it soon became clear one did not need to understand to resist.
The Warped Years (3E418-426) Edit
Though the tenuous peace enforced by the Warp held for a few months still, its first cracks were already starting to show within weeks. Petition after petition flowed into the court of Daggerfall from the West throughout - issuing threats, demanding compensation, or simply expressing stunned outrage. The Baron of Tulune - acutely aware he could scarce afford any manner of confrontation with the kingdom - was the first to appeal for negotiations and a civilized redrawing of the map, all miracle and witchery put aside; and for a time, it even seemed like his hopes might yet be.
Unfortunately, the peace of the western realms stood balanced on a needle, and it took all of one wrong turn of phrase, one offended emissary to tip it irrevocably. The first spark came from Glenpoint, where, at the return of an envoy who had served as the butt of one of King Gothryd's infamous and less-than-appropriate jests, swords were drawn and banners hoisted; and before anyone truly knew what was what, one of Daggerfall's newfound citadels was already besieged. By the time King Gothryd's howling fury took shape in a Daggerfallian host, the whole west was starting to unravel.
Gothryd's banners would never reach the beleaguered fortress, or even cross the border to Glenpoint. While both sides milled around, waiting uncertainly for something to happen, the King's attentions were drawn eastwards, where rumblings in neighbouring Shalgora, and Anticlere beyond, threatened war. A haphazard fighting retreat from Anticlere ensued, while the Shalgoran duke was persuaded to allow an uneasy passage through his lands; meanwhile, north of the border, the chaotic confrontation trailed off into a series of indecisive local negotiations, oaths and promises.
With Anticlere in full-blown revolt, and despite rumours of similar skirmishes in Northmoor, Daenia and the Ilessan highlands, Gothryd turned his attention fully to the east. Halfway across Shalgora, he joined up with the retreating Daggerfallian forces, and turned them back round - marching on the border and capturing several border outposts and ill-defended castles in the confusion. Unfortunately, his line of retreat was cut by the abrupt arrival of hostile Shalgoran forces; an uneasy standoff ensued while both armies tried to manoeuvre one another into a corner, to no apparent success.
It was in the midst of this standstill that the baronial envoys from Tulune found him, offering peace (the utter lack of any military activity in the far west notwithstanding) and a nominal oath of fealty to Daggerfall - in exchange for the withdrawal of all Daggerfallian forces. A curious three-way conference between the Tulunese, King Gothryd, and the Shalgorans ensued, where the substance of the offer was reluctantly acknowledged as sound - but no actual decisions were made, or formal agreements struck. In the end, all three parties simply withdrew to their respective domains.
Matters were to continue in much the same vein for whole years on end, with King Gothryd marching out once more not long after his confusedly triumphant return to Daggerfall. Treaties were signed and then overturned the next morning; revolts petered out before they could even begin; banners were mustered, only to march a whole of ten miles before scattering again. In the end, it would take an outside threat to settle the conflict; and so, with rumours of Queen Elysana's accession beginning to take frightening shape, the western princes finally agreed to meet in peace. After a long and tiresome debate, a wealth of jabs and insults, and only two threats of war, King Gothryd Thagor was, at long last, named King of the West, and acknowledged as the sovereign lord of all lands south and east of Urvaius.
The Long Peace (3E426-4E20) Edit
Whatever their grievances after the long Warped Years, the western princes seemed content to hold the peace. They had suffered few serious engagements, after all, and casualties fewer still; and alongside the looming threat of an increasingly authoritarian Wayrest, the loose overlordship exerted by Daggerfall must have appeared less than concerning. King Gothryd, in his own turn, felt appeased - the due owed his militant notion of honour had been paid, and he felt no inclination to stoop to the level of "that woman" (meaning, Queen Elysana of Wayrest) by pursuing anything more. The next few years would be a relative lull, as the regional lords licked their wounds and Gothryd indulged in scheming with (and occasionally - against) his brother-in-law, King Lhotun of Sentinel.
This lazy peace would be shattered in the most unlikely of ways when, in 3E433, the Jaws of Oblivion opened all across Tamriel, spewing forth marauding bands of Daedra. High Rock did not escape the devastation; and while Daggerfall and most of the Bretic west remained relatively untouched, the Duchy of Northmoor was to feel the full brunt of the Daedric Invasion. In his folly, the Duke of Northmoor rode to meet the demonic invaders out in the field - and paid the price when he, both his sons, and many of the eminent aristocrats accompanying them were torn limb from limb in what constituted nothing less than an utter rout. And though the apotheosis of Martin Septim would put an end to the Crisis soon after, the damage had already been done.
Northmoor would be the first time when the West's patchwork peace was put to the test. With its ducal line on the brink of extinction and the nobility - undercut and in disarray, it seemed certain that the Duchy would fall prey to infighting, and to the opportunistic depredations of its neighbours; worst of all, it looked to be only a matter of time before the Queen of Wayrest sensed weakness and moved to exploit it. Yet instead of watching her home burn, the inconsolable widower-duchess made the first move: she approached King Gothryd, and appealed to him for aid and protection. The bonds of vassalage, once largely theoretical, now looked all too uncomfortably real.
Though it was not an easy decision, and though he would spend the last years of his life lamenting it, Gothryd's hand was forced - left untended, Northmoor would become a festering wound upon the West, his West. A host of Daggerfallian chevaliers soon set out northwards, to take up garrison within the ducal keep; a host of bureaucrats and nobles followed. Within less than a year, a fragile order had been restored to the Duchy of Northmoor, enforced not merely in the name of the Duchess, but also the King and Queen of Daggerfall. Within five, there were scarce any honours and titles left here that had not been carved up by the great houses of Daggerfall.
Infamously temperamental, King Gothryd made it no secret that he loathed having to meddle in the workings of High Rock so, and disturb the traditional order that had raised him. In the event, he was all too happy to throw himself headfirst into other matters - the same Moors he had just handed to his nobility now threatened to break out in revolt, as a handful of dissatisfied local aristocrats rallied together in a ramshackle alliance. Alas, even the form of their rebellion could only bring the aging king heartache; there needed be no better show of the change that had swept over the West than the rebels' choice to rally not around the ideal of their own independent realm, but around the candidacy of a different King of the West. In an affair best described as unorthodox, Gothryd confined his own son, Camaron, to house arrest, and rode out to squash the uprising that had been raised in the prince's name - if certainly without his knowledge.
The revolt, a minor affair swiftly dispersed by the swords and lances of Daggerfall, would not be noteworthy, save for an unfortunate twist of fate. On his way back, the aged King Gothryd fell from his horse; an illness took him, and by the time the royal party returned to Castle Daggerfall, he was already past the efforts of any healers and herbalists on hand - some say, simply because he had no wish to live further. Whatever the case, Daggerfall was left with no king, and a crownprince under house arrest, one that was beyond the authority of any but the Stewards of Daggerfall to break; a strange problem, circumvented simply by crowning Camaron in his own bedchambers - at which point he could, of course, break his late father's decree, and set himself free. Thus began the reign of King Camaron.
For a time, it seemed as though nothing much would change. The new king acted much like the old - where his father had been more interested in drills and parades than in governance, Camaron preferred to dally with ladies of all strands and walks of live rather than treat with his vassals and servants. With Northmoor being quietly weaved into the tangled web that was the Kingdom of Daggerfall, and the rest of the western lordships only watching on disinterestedly, it looked like the peace could drag on forever; and so, war was all too quick to break out.
The War of Tulunese Succession (4E20-21) Edit
Main article: War of Tulunese Succession
In 4E20, the ruling baronial line of Tulune - already trimmed by war, intrigue, and a long and unsatisfyingly childless marriage - finally broke with the death of the reigning baron. No less than three cadet branches of the family were soon up in arms, assuring all who cared to listen about the legitimacy of their claim to the baronial seat, and things quickly came to a head as the first skirmishes broke out between their various supporters. To make matters worse, a great part of the Tulunese nobility, ever infamously stubborn and independently-minded, refused to support any of the three claimants - and instead raised their own candidacies, built as much on alleged ability as on obscure familial ties to the late baron. With no apparent way to resolve the dispute peacefully, matters were set to spin quickly out of control.
It was one such renegade noble who stumbled unwittingly upon the solution to Tulune's brewing succession crisis, by appealing to his Daggerfallian sovereigns, the Archducal House of Beowen. Archduke Beowen, tempted by the prize dangled before him but acutely aware of the loose footing of his claim, in turn appealed to King Camaron - and the idea of Tulune as a Thagor domain was born. The notion spread like wildfire among an aristocracy whose appetites had already been whetted by Northmoor; and Camaron fancied himself in an adventurous mood (desperate, some say, before his fast-approaching marriage to Kelmena of Camlorn). After some posturing, just enough for propriety, the decision was made to accept the Tulunese offer - and by then, many in the barony had indeed become quite enchanted with the novel idea to cut out the middle man and shed all pretentions of independence, instead becoming direct royal subjects - and crown Camaron the Baron of Tulune.
The neighbouring Baron Percival of Glenpoint, however, disagreed, and it was not long before threats of war were being issued. Yet if the expectation had been that Daggerfall would - as it normally did - respond with the same, before an arrival to some mutually satisfactory compromise, then the Glenpointers were to be sorely disappointed; King Camaron, it seemed, did not speak the same language, or at any rate was not in the mood. With Glenpoint finding itself in a diplomatical corner, war inevitably broke out when the baronial host crossed the border to Tulune.
Though the first battles did not go in Tulunese favour, Daggerfall's response was quick and decisive. Led by Lord-Marcher Bridwell, the kingdom's banners fought Glenpoint to a standstill in Tulune - before launching their own attack, and routing the bulk of Baron Percival's forces in the battle of Cathwood. Afterwards, with the Baron himself under siege and more and more neighbouring lordships being drawn into the war, both by their theoretical obligations to the King of the West and the smell of easy pickings, Glenpoint's situation seemed to deteriorate by the day. With the capital itself falling to a Tulunese army, and the nobility of the realm starting to waver in their loyalties, Baron Percival was forced to sign the unusually harsh Treaty of Fontfort - ending the war, at the cost of his and his family's rights to the whole Barony of Glenpoint.
With Glenpoint and Tulune annexed as the domains of House Thagor, Glenumbra and Shalgora remained the only neighbouring western principalities to retain territorial integrity; Glenumbra's however, would not survive the year, and many of its nobles would come to swear oaths of fealty to the Crown of Daggerfall after the Voiceless Moorstag of 4E22. Emboldened by continued success, and at its peak territorial extent since its heyday in the early First Era, the Kingdom of Daggerfall officially ceased to be - giving way to the current Kingdom of Daggerfall and Greater Betony.
However, though Daggerfall's swift territorial expansion secured the kingdom a wealth of new lands and resources, and all the opportunities that come with such, a sense of uncertainty continues to linger over the Bretic West. Partly, this is the same subtle wrongness that has persisted ever since the Warp of the West; partly, the loss that comes with the end of an old and treasured order. King Gothryd was not the only one who could hardly bear to see his High Rock unmade, even if it was to the apparent benefit of his kingdom - and many eminent Daggerfallian thinkers continue to lament the change that has been visited upon their province.
At the same time, this patchwork tapestry of wars, skirmishes and confrontations now known as the "Greater Betony Campaigns" has left the West inspired with a certain peculiar optimism. The sense of change, of something stirring remains - yet some argue that this is but the feeling of an era, turning. If all history is cyclical, then so, perhaps, is Daggerfall's; and perhaps now, the clock has turned back to the fabled days of glories past - the same heroic age that once birthed Thagore, and the whole of Daggerfall with him.