|Sword of Oordars|
|Jeenor of Tonaran
Ruler of Mantar
|Reign||Jeenor of Tonaran: 1513-1541 SR
Ruler of Mantar: 1527-1540 SR
|Born||end of 15th CSR|
Maksag Oordar /'mɑkˌsɑg/ (bukkean: Moksog Urdor) was a warlord, Jeenor of Tonaran, ruler of Mantar and the de facto leader of much of Heran in the beginning of the 16th CSR. Referred to as "the Sword of Oordars" by both his friends and his enemies, he was known for his bravery, closeness to his troops and tactical genius, later attributed to Kren's knowledge of the future.
His youngest son, Nilma Oordar, became the Angry King of Mantar. His eldest son Katsag was a second Murdoh at Maird.
Maksag was also the actual biological forefather of Oordars and grandfather to Kren Oordar.
Early life and rise to power
Maksag was born in the northern town of Kren. He came to Tonaran to seek employment and became one of the squires to a wealthy Jeen. He was later promoted to Jee (soldier) and became part of the northern Tonaran regiment.
Comprised of foreigners, mainly migrating to Tonaran from Laeooy Coast in search of opportunities and wealth, the northern regiment was in fierce competition with the southern regiment and frequently faced hostility from the local population, who considered them to be outsiders despite the fact that they were part of the army.
During the Oordar invasion, this history of discrimination led most of the northern regiment to change sides and join the Oordar forces, which contributed to the defeat of Tonaran.
By the end of the battle Maksag happened to see Rodare Oordar being wounded and thrown off his horse. It is not clear if he knew who Rodare was, but he defended him, standing over him. This act of bravery deeply touched Rodare and he said that they shall be brothers forever.
Rodare's wound became worse and it became clear that he was nearing death. Rodare decided to make Maksag Jeenor, but Maksag, a simple soldier, was worried that his authority would be questioned, since he was an outsider in Heran, having originally come to Tonaran from Kren, a tiny town in the north. Rodare then said that he will take the name “Kren”, to ensure that no one questions Maksag's authority or origins. Thus, Rodare Oordar became Kren Oordar and Maksag became Maksag Oordar.
Jeenor of Tonaran
Believing that Kren is about to die and that his authority still largely rests on Kren's credibility, which is itself very recent, Maksag decided to make a name for himself by leading a campaign to the south, which he believed would be a feasible target for expansion, as both Ernele and Or were important cities, but unlikely to mount a very serious response.
He formed a new army, by favoring foreigners, which appealed to both his northern regiment and the Oordar troops, although the latter were not too numerous due to the losses in taking of Tonaran. Maksag appointed several southerns as Jeens too, as he needed their support. He promoted the campaign as a way to "reignite the fire of Tonaran".
The subsequent quick surrenders from Ernele and Or, fearful of the Oordars that conquered Tonaran, played into Kren's hand, immediately increasing Tonaran's influence under his rule, as well as the influence of the Oordars in general. Anxious to prove himself as a leader in battle and appease the army by allowing them to enrich themselves, Maksag decided to march on Qep, a strong and wealthy proto state, the only more or less organized country of Heran after Mantar. This was a bold move, but Maksag also knew that his 80,000 strong army is capable of challenging Qep, especially given recent developments and the reputation the Oordar clan was beginning to have.
The Qep campaign started in February 1514 SR. Maksag reached Delavire in less than a month despite an especially windy weather. He concealed the magnitude of his forces by forming a small regiment and approaching the city. Believing that they can handle the conquerors, Delavire troops exited the city and engaged Maksag, only to be circled by the rest of his forces, some of which immediately began entering the city.
Instead of butchering Delavire's army, Maksag offered them a choice to join his army. Many have refused and were killed on the spot, but some agreed. Around 2000 men joined Maksag's forces. Maksag then allowed his army to ransack the city, hoping that this would increase his authority among the troops. Thousands of civilians were enslaved and sent to Ernele, Or and Tonaran.
He then marched his army on Qep city and used the same trick. It worked again, most Qep forces exited the city in order to engage the enemy, but as they were drawn into fighting the lead regiment, the rest of Maksag's troops attacked them from behind, while also entering the city. Qep city fell the same day, although this time Maksag limited the amount of ransacking, realizing that Qep city is too important to be destroyed. He installed one of his Jeens Ulan Moree as Murdoh. Nevertheless, under Ulan's rule about 20,000 people were sold into slavery in the next few months and Qep city was thoroughly looted, throwing its population into poverty and devastating its economy.
After leaving Qep city, Maksag crossed the Quoon West river and approached Quoon river proper. Another major city of Qep, Lora, was situated on the eastern bank of the river. The massive bridge in front of its gates was partially taken apart at the end closer to the city. There was a fortress called East Wall to the north of Lora that guarded another bridge across Quoon, but it turned out that it was situated on a high rocky shore, leaving anyone going through the narrow bridge at a disadvantage.
Maksag then ordered construction of the missing part of the bridge from wood. Lora defenders launched archer attacks from its walls, and Maksag had his soldiers create large wooden shields that would protect those working underneath. Still, construction proceeded slowly and several times the tower closest to the bridge would successfully destroy some of the work by throwing large stones and burning barrels at it. But even as the work was finished, the bridge was too dangerous a causeway. Or's famous trebuchets were also not reaching over western walls of the city.
But as all of this was happening, Maksag took advantage of the fact that his army was enormous, and had some 30,000 men journey upstream of Quoon and find a feasible place to cross it. Such a spot was found about 230 km to the south and the regiment made it to the other side. They then approached Lora from the east and forced the eastern gate to be shut. This effectively isolated Lora from the outside world. The siege lasted for 5 months, with most of Maksag's army crossing the river to its eastern bank and approaching Lora from the east. Or's trebuchets were unable to be transported across the river, and so several of them were taken apart, transported over the river and rebuilt. Eastern walls of the city were significantly lower and also did not have the advantage of the height difference that the eastern bank of the river had in respect to its western bank, and trebuchets became a key element in defeating the city.
Lora fell in January of 1515, almost a year after the beginning of the Qep campaign. This time Maksag allowed his army to loot the city for several days. Most of Lora's population was either enslaved or butchered. When leaving the city, Maksag ordered it burned, although he spared several noble households and left his Jeen Heemin as Murdoh.
He then lead his victorious army back to Ernele.
Qep campaign was a major victory for the Oordars, expanding their influence across Heran and establishing them as a dominant force in the region. It was also an important accomplishment for Maksag personally. He was revered by his troops and his handling of the Qep campaign, as well as his management of his diverse army, made his authority unquestioned.
Maird campaign started in 1518 SR, but was unsuccessful at first, as Maird was able to mount a guerilla counteroffensive, which caused heavy losses and forced Maksag to retreat. In turn, Maksag launched his own guerilla campaign and a shimmering 3-year conflict ensued.
Eventually, Maird and Tonaran negotiated a peace treaty and, in order to seal it, Maksag married Maye Seaoor in 1522, and Maksag's eldest son Katsag became Maird's second Murdoh alongside the ruling Seaoor clan.
Uprising in Or
Since Kren was born in Mantar, his knowledge of western history of Heran was scant. This proved to be disastrous in some cases. For instance, Kren remembered that some time during his rule a disastrous uprising in Or would occur, but he did not know exactly when.
This foreknowledge made Magsag appoint several Murdohs to Or so that they compete for power and are thus more likely to be loyal to him. At the same time he increased Tonaranian military presence in the city, which made the situation tense. Conflicts between Tonaranian soldiers and citizens of Or, as well as soldiers of Or, became frequent. This gave rise to the independence movement led by Drifter Zunooley, a powerful superhero warrior and a local celebrity.
Thus, it is believed that Kren's knowledge of the uprising at Or is what ultimately triggered it.
The uprising began in 1522, with part of Or's military on the side of the revolt, and all the Murdohs but one betraying Maksag. The ensuing skirmishes led to the retreat of Tonaran forces to Ernele, with moderate losses on both sides.
Maksag marched on Or from Ernele and found the gates locked. The rebels taunted Maksag, by launching the loyal Murdoh from a trebuchet and attaching a note to his body, which said "The Sword of Oordars is just a stick".
Maksag began the siege, but Or's defenses were almost entirely immune to Or's famous trebuchets that allowed Maksag to overpower Qep so easily. At the same time, defenders set trebuchets on top of the walls and were able to force Maksag to move back farther from the city. Zunooley, whose ability included creating invisible defensive fields, would reliably protect the walls from attacks, while allowing arrows and projectiles to pass through.
Maksag attempted to cut Or from the Erna river to prevent the city from receiving supplies, but was unsuccessful in maintaining the blockade. Additionally, he attempted to dig tunnels in order to get inside the city, but discovered that the rebels preempted his tactic by already having a network of tunnels, heavily guarded and also used to supply the city. They were then able to consistently destroy his tunnels and attack his forces by using Or's own tunnels.
The tunnel network was not a recent development and it showed that Or was never completely transparent with the Oordar's and Maksag was never told the full extent of Or's military capabilities.
The siege lasted for over a year, with moderate loss on the Orian side, but heavier losses on the side of Maksag. The balance turned in Maksag's favor by the end of 1523, during an unusually cold winter when Zunooley became severely ill. At the same time, Kren suggested they build a wooden platform in front of Or's eastern wall, so that the trebuchets are higher above the ground and can reach over the wall. This allowed Maksag to start several fires in the city, and eventually the siege was broken.
Maksag severely punished the military, executing over 30 Jeens of Or. He also put all the Murdohs in cages and hung the cages over the gates of the city and allowed them to starve. Or was also put under considerable tax, although it was lifted soon thereafter.
Mantar was the only organized state in Heran and wielded absolute power in the region east of Quoon, and considerable influence across Heran. Most importantly, it opposed slave trade (although not slavery itself), which became a problem for Oordars who relied on slave trade quite considerably. Mantar viewed slaves sold at auction to be free, making Mantar the ultimate destination for runaways, and also encouraged raids on slave merchants, helping slaves escape or even killing them, in order to make slave trade a dangerous and unprofitable endeavor. Additionally, many city states would ban or limit slave trade in order to maintain a good relationship with Mantar.
Not only that, but Kren Oordar knew that Mantar would eventually be under Oordar rule, which also pushed him to act.
Mantar campaign began in 1525, after extensive preparations. The army was formed at Ernele, but was then secretly relocated to Qep during a period of 6 months, and was stationed at the East Wall fortress and also in a location east of Qep city.
Kren Oordar knew many details of the campaign due to growing up in Mantar as Rodare Oordar, and had Maksag begin the campaign by invading Mantar from the south and approaching Zelo, a large and influential city.
TBD: Kren Oordar knew that a given city would be problematic and had Maksag make precautions, but the city was very easy to take over. Kren was surprised by this, but another city became very problematic. Later it turned out that the cities were named differently, and that Maksag mistook one for the other due to Kren's instructions. After the invasion, however, the remaining city was named the way Maksag referred to it, thus ensuring that Rodare would later learn the wrong names of the cities.
The campaign ended in 1527, but Mantar's resistance was fully defeated only by 1533.
As de-facto ruler of Heran
Maksag had a good grasp on how to create influence, and although Oordars never created an actual empire in Heran, Maksag created a network of Murdohs that effectively functioned as provinces of a government, albeit under looser control.
While Qep's major cities were the city of Qep and Lora, Maksag kept a close eye on the region and after returning to Ernele continued a remote campaign, in particular defeating the North Wall, another important fortress which did not yield after Maksag's campaign.
He also attempted to rebuild Qep as soon as possible and was reported to have had regrets about his Qep campaign, since he suspected that it was possible to conquer Qep without the destruction that he bestowed upon it, but that he did it in order to make a name for himself as conqueror and appease his troops.
His handling of Maird was thus markedly different, which ended up yielding to Oordar's peacefully, while his Mantar campaign was informed by Kren's knowledge of the future.
Known as the Sword of Oordars, Maksag was both feared and respected and had many Murdon, warlords and whole courts demonstrate their exceptional loyalty to him. Toyen effectively began to do Maksag's bidding and distanced itself from Damilo, instead aligning with Mantar. Maksag's influence was so broad that it began to spill over the borders of Heran, increasing Mantar's authority in central Tarnaria as well. Maksag's rule also visibly reduced Qep's reputation to being a vassal state to Mantar.
Maksag helped bring slavery to the forefront of Heran economies for centuries to come and made Mantar the center of slave trade and the most brutal slavery laws in the region, in contrast with its previous milder attitude towards slavery and the prohibition of slave trade. It is at the time of Mantar being subdued to Oordar rule that the Delavire-Gonne slave trade corridor was established.
While incredibly generous to the northerners as Jeenor, Maksag made the lives of foreigners in Mantar worse. This was later enhanced by his son's draconian religious laws.
Maksag was brave and never afraid to lead his troops, so much so that during the Mantar campaign his Jeens begged him to stay behind the lines.
In spite of his accomplishments and unquestioned authority, Maksag was known to be painfully insecure. He would frequently worry that people would think he is just some foreigner from the north. As a result, he broke off all links to his family. His old mother was said to have visited him in Tonaran, but he refused to see her.
As a ruler he was deliberate, but his chronic insecurity made him capable of acting without mercy, which he would then invariably regret. This was further fueled by Kren's advice, which made Maksag feel vulnerable, as he knew that a lot of his accomplishments are only possible because of Kren's foreknowledge.
His relationship with Kren was stressful to Maksag: Kren seemed to have sincerely loved him, but to Maksag Kren was a mentor who elevated him from a poor foreigner to the ruler of Heran and he felt intimidated in his presence. Therefore, once Maksag conquered Mantar, he happily settled there, far from Kren.
Davi the Heranian writes that "Maksag was wary of Kren's affection and was scared to death by his mentor's foreknowledge. He always believed that Kren knows something about Maksag's own future that he isn't telling him. He sometimes told Katsag that Kren's friendship is the result of him pitying Maksag, that something terrible is bound to happen to the Sword of Oordars."