The Instability of the North
Copyright Eric Dubourg ©2001
Edited by Joe Mandala and Cory Rushton for The Guild Companion
In the thirty years following the assassination of Nîlûzagar, the northern throne became a dangerous seat notorious for dislodging those who dared claim it. More than ten lords followed one after the other; some reigned only a few days, others never even made it into the king lists. The Invocate never listed all of the Kings who ruled Northern Bellakar, for in some years there were two to three rulers at a time. No king, even of Tumakveh blood, was acceptable in the eyes of Regent Sakalthôr: "They are a collection of nasty tyrants, beholden more and more to Umbar's will." From Kadurphazgân the Glorious (who sought only pleasure) to Karabzîr (who named his horse to the rank of asapthubêth) to Ûrêzir (who was convinced that he was Zimrêbal, resurrected from the dead), Northern Bellakar had its share of incompetent rulers. Others were better kings: Dâiruzir, who tried to make peace with the South and reestablish his own authority over the North, attempted to win a measure of independence from Umbar. Except during Dâiruzir's reign (12 Tamun 1593 - 26 Kuralid 1595), conflict still existed with the South. The real authority was in Umbar, not Hazaj Tollin, and slowly control of Northern Bellakar fell solely to the Council of the Captains. The Bellakaranî northern king was a puppet with no real power.
When Dâiruzir came to the throne after assassinating Karabzîr, he launched audacious reforms of the army and the royal administration. He rebuilt cities and made alliances with powers other than Umbar. For the first time, real discussion took place with Regent Sakalthôr concerning the possibility of reunification after Dâiruzir's death. These discussions remained unfinished when Dâiruzir was poisoned by his cousin, who immediately succeeded to the throne. However, the audacious reforms Dâiruzir instituted survived in principle, and were to be taken up again by the last Northern Kings of Bellakar, Arzagar II and Narakhîn. In the meantime, the reunification project led by Regent Sakalthôr fell by the wayside, much to his despair.
Dâiruzir's cousin was replaced ten months later at the end of 1596 by another tyrant. Ollug Utarb was of Tedjin Qarsag ascent, and did not belong to the Tumakveh line. His reign was a reign of terror. He quickly effected power through his devoted guards, and colonized Northern Bellakar with many people from distant Khand. Mysteriously, it was not uncommon for him to disappear for several days at a time, officially to hunt and meditate in the desert; in reality, he was collecting his orders from the servants of Queen Adûnaphel.
During one of Ollug's retreats a true revolt occurred, caused initially by a prolonged famine in Ishat 1597. The usurper's guards did not manage to contain the crowd, despite the anticipated return of the usurper to the capital. Ollug himself had fallen into the hands of a Free Shark agent, sent by Regent Sakalthôr to end the tyranny in the North and their unbearable alliance with Umbar. The abbot of the Monastery of the True Faith took advantage of the disorder to advance his candidate to the throne of northern Bellakar. This was a thin young man of rather timid appearance: Arzagar II, descended from the junior branch of king Arphazân through the third son of King Belkhôr Aruyati. He united the North under his rule, and for the first time reunification was discussed by the divided kingdoms.
Sakalthôr probably intended to unite Arzagar II and Belkâli, despite her marriage with Anardil, in order to achieve the reunification; but this project again fell apart when Arzagar II was assassinated (26 Dahlat 1599) in Hazaj Tollin. Soon after, his twin brother Narakhîn, who may have ordered the assassination, succeeded Arzagar II. Narakhîn ended the negotiations, and declared that the reunification should be achieved through war, not peace. This political reversal was a serious setback for the aging Regent, who despaired again at another failed attempt at reunification.