The Secret Craft of Air Elementalism
History of the Craft
The Forty Years War
From AC 788 to 828, the Highlands was darkened by The Forty Years War between its Alphatian oppressors and the alliance of rebels, consisting of Flaems, Thyatians, Traladarans, and even Ethengar. In AC 806, a turning point came to the Forty Years War. The elves of Belcadiz, who until then had remained neutral to the infighting of the humans, decided to join the rebellion forces against the Alphatians.
The Alphatian General Halzunthram realized his troops were outnumbers, and turned to the Alphatian Empire for more troops to regain the upper hand. However, between the rising strength of Hadriana Glantri's mercenary company, and the elves' skill in fighting with both weapons and magic, the rebels clearly still had a better chance. General Halzunthram thus boldly petitioned the Grand Council of Alphatia for some high-quality troops, specifically of a more magical nature.
In AC 818, the Grand Council of Alphatia at last agreed to send a battalion of battlemages, The Strikers of Alphatia, specialized in hit-and-run techniques, under the command of Colonel Arden, a veteran from the Imperial Boltsmen. Within the next two years, Arden had won the position of Viscount of Redstone, as the late Viscount Sanapria had died defending his post against the Thyatian mercenaries of Guglielmo di Tarento.
At that time, the Hattians allies switched side, and the Alphatian lord Vortram, the Count of Silverston, decided that Halzunthram's forces were doomed. He contacted the other Alphatian viscounts to persuade them to side with the rebels. It was not a difficult task.
Prusias, the Viscount of Volnay, was concerned for his ravaged land, which bordered the Caurenzan territories, and immediately supported Vortram. Though Potiorek, the Viscount of Eriadna, was a loyalist of Halzunthram, his power-hungry son Lendup was eager to usurp his father's title, and promised his allegiance to Vortram. As for Colonel Arden, he was just a freeman in Alphatia; but if the Highlands became independent, he and his non-spellcasting son would remain nobles. So Arden agreed to Vortram's proposal and joined his troops to the rebels.
The Strikers of Alphatia
At the end of the war in AC 828, eight years later, the Republic confirmed Arden as the Viscount of Redstone. However, the Flaemish and Caurenzan nobles forced him to disband the already infamous Strikers of Alphatia. Arden agreed, but forged a secret organization out of his army, which acted as a secret police and espionage facility for the Viscount of Redstone.
When Count Vortram of Silverston died, Arden and Lendup allied against the new Count Ambrosion, riling up Alphatian sympathies with their racist speeches. They failed but they would not give up.
In AC 843, the Alphatian lords became divided when Mariadna, the daughter of Vortram, came to the Highlands to claim her inheritance. Remembered through history as "Mariadna the Denied," she found supporters in Arden and Lendup, but was adamantly refused by Ambrosion. This started a war among the Alphatians that lasted a decade.
Arden had already been strengthening his secret force, employing powerful Alphatian air wizards and developing new fighting techniques that involved complete control of the aerial element. These air elementalists became a major force to contend with during this Alphatian civil war. As they struck everywhere along the Red River, they became known as the Red River Falcons.
The Red River Falcons
In AC 847, the Red River Falcons, lead by Arden himself, made a daring attempt to kill Ambrosion's ally, Stefan Cornhearst, Viscount of Volnay. The Red River Falcons were repelled by Stefan's elven bodyguards, but Arden did not withdraw. Instead, Arden unleashed a storm of lightning bolts against Stefan, who avoided death only thanks to his brother-in-law, Idagoraz Cornaber, who interposed his own body as a shield between the Viscount of Volnay and the deadly air magic. Stefan immediately hurled a sequence of powerful spells at Arden, incinerating him on the spot. Idagoraz survived to become the first Count of Soth-Kabree.
Arden's place as Viscount of Redstone was taken by his son Gisel, who continued the war effort of his father; but since he was a non-spellcaster, the Falcons' command passed to Urbaal, a powerful aeromancer of pure Alphatian ancestry and a veteran of the Forty Years War.
Urbaal was loyal to Mariadna, and was as racist as Lendup. However, he was not stupid enough not to understand that the hopes of creating an Alphatian state in the Highlands were, at that time, void. Therefore, Urbaal took a less direct approach than Arden's, and transformed the Red River Falcons from little more than a bunch of magically-endowed thugs to a secret society devoted to upholding the supremacy of the Alphatian race and magic, much like in ideology and activities to the modern Followers of the Flame.
Urbaal was definitely brilliant, and managed to convince Mariadna's son, Vitalin (later known as Vitalin Aendyr when he inherited Silverston which his mother could not), to join his secret society, while avoiding to attract Ambrosion's attentions. Urbaal trained Vitalin to be his successor, hoping that he could gather the strength needed to create an Alphatian kingdom in the Highlands.
Urbaal had two sons and a daughter of his own, but none of them was nearly as powerful as Vitalin in magic. They too joined the society, and their descendents have always been important members of the society, though none ever rose high in the ranks.
The Alphatian Alliance of Aerial Magic
When the Principalities of Glantri were created, Vitalin Aendyr became the Prince of the Alphatian Principality of Blackhill. He summoned a secret conclave of the Red River Falcons, probably the whole ever in the history of the Secret Crafts. Prince Vitalin announced that the goal of an Alphatian state in the Highlands had been finally fulfilled, and that from that time on, the Falcons were to act as the preservers of the Alphatian tradition of air elementalism.
Though not as fanatic or racist as his predecessors, he had no patience when some of the Falcons contested his declarations. He promptly had them executed. Prince Vitalin renamed the group "TheAlphatian Alliance of Aerial Magic" and guided them with an iron grip.
Vitalin never inducted his sons in the Alliance, except Owain, whom he favored over the three older brothers. Owain Aendyr was never a great wizard and could not replace his father as the leader of the society upon Vitalin's death. Instead the position was taken over by a certain Manshur Wittels.
Manshur Wittels was not only a powerful Alphatian air wizard, but was also a canny politician. He used the Alliance to secure the status of nobility, if not for him, then his son. In AC 928, Manshur's son, Seisyll Wittels was indeed confirmed as the next Baron of Egorn.
The Secret Craft of Air Elementalism
Manshur ensured the continued political success of his less than bright son through a deal with the succeeding Prince of Blackhill, Cadwallon Aendyr. This allowed Prince Cadwallon to smoothly take control of the Alliance after Manshur's death in AC 929, as well as for Seisyll Wittels to be promoted in rank as high as Count of Wylon, thought Lord Seisyll was often nothing more than a political pawn for the Prince of Blackhill.
Prince Cadwallon was a born politician, and greatly improved the status of the Alliance, which reached his modern form and denomination under his rule. It was under Cadwallon that Alliance introduced its influence in the Great School of Magic, and became known as the Secret Craft of Air Elementalism.
After the death of High Master Cadwallon Aendyr, the position was taken by his son, Prince Volospin Aendyr, who ruled unchallenged until his apparent death in the Great Meteor Strike in AC 1006. The Great Meteor had destroyed the Principality of Blackhill, decimating the higher circles of the Craft, most of whom were Alphatians. This was also the time of the Great War against the Empire of Alphatia, and the practice of air magic and other Alphatian-style sorceries was extremely unpopular in Glantri—if not outright dangerous. It was very difficult for the surviving Air Elementalists to progress in power, and to achieve the rank of High Master was a near impossibility.
During the post-war years, the Secret Craft has been reorganized by its most powerful member, Lady Tereis Haaskinz of Sablestone (She has only reached the Fourth Circle of Power, and for some unknown reason cannot achieve High Mastery.) She has just started rebuilding the Craft's strength, though with less Alphatian traditions and agendas, and more as an academic field of study.
Members of the Craft
High Masters of Air Elementalism
Famous Air Elementalists of the Past
Thendara Aendyr, wife of Prince Cadwallon Aendyr. Emigrated from the Empire of Alphatia, Thendara introduced many ancient traditions of Alphatian air magic to the Craft in the name of her husband Cadwallon. She traveled frequently to the Elemental Plane of Air, and legend would have it that she once offended the Elemental Ruler of the Plane of Air, who vowed eternal vengeance against the Aendyrs.
Wilton Merryweather. This Fenswick aristocrat developed a tradition of weather magic, derived from certain archaic and little-known spells of the Fen Witches from Laterre. Sir Wilton later introduced this weather-based spells into the Secret Craft during its inception at the Great School of Magic, forging a longstanding alliance between the Alphatian Air Elementalists and the weather mages of Fenswick.
Recent and Present Members
Authors: Giampaolo Agosta and Kit Navarro