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Gendar IV (1656-1730 AS), known as 'The Venerable', was the twenty-fourth king of Keledon and the longest reigning monarch in the kingdom's history, as well as the first of the Haladar dynasty. Crowned in 1672 AS, at the age of sixteen, he ruled until his death in 1730 AS, a total of 58 years. This period, known now as the Gendarian Age, is remembered as a time of high adventure and a golden age for heroes and heroines. Gendar himself was, for a time, patron of the Company of the Crescent Moon, which formed in 1703 AS in Kindem Hua itself. He was also a patron of musicians and a lover of
Gendar

Detail of a statue of Gendar IV in his late thirties.

tournaments and other shows of skill. Later in his life, when age prevented him from competing, Gendar's tournaments became more and more elaborate.

Gendar was a capable statesman, negotiator and general but was also terrible in his anger and famous for remembring slights against him or his realm. He is also remembered for capably defeating an Akarthan incursion before it even crossed Cardas Pass.

His reign was also characterized by strife with the Druids of Keledon, who, he felt, were subjects of the crown and therefore subjects to his rule.

Heritage, Birth and Early LifeEdit

Gendar IV was born Tharun Halad in 1656 AS, in the town of Hawksbridge in southern Keledon. His father, Gwalas, was the fourth First Earl of Hawksbridge, since the restoration of land and title to the formerly disgraced House Halad. His mother, Brenna, was sister to King Gendar III. Thus Tharun was born nephew to the king.

Spending his youth chiefly in Hawksbridge and Kindem Hua, Tharun showed little promise with a blade, although he excelled at archery and scholarly pursuits--especially history and tactics. He was also a keen student of languages, and by his early teens was spoke (in addition to his native Selmari) the Trade tongue, Draeg and Kendish fluently.

At fourteen he was betrothed to, and wed, Selana kesMorym. This union created close ties between Houses Halad and Morym which have endured to this day.

When Tharun was sixteen years old, Gendar III fell ill and quickly began to weaken. Having lost his own sons to illnesses in their youth the king was heirless, and had delayed appointing his successor. That year, during the cold nights of the month of Winterfang, Gendar proclaimed his nephew Tharun to be his adopted son and heir to the throne. With Gendar's passing two months later, during the month of Quickens, Tharun, at the age of sixteen, became king of Keledon, taking the regal name of his predecessor in his honour.

For the first five years of his reign Gendar IV's High Council attended to most affairs of state while the young monarch learned a tremendous amount concerning history, politics, economics and so forth. When he reached legal adulthood, the young man assumed full control of his kingdom and its affairs. It was at this early time that he began to patronize bards, musicians and poets heavily--especially those who told tales of high adventure. His favorites, reputedly, were those concerning King Sothar; the Three Lions of Morym; and his own ancestor Rath Halad. Gendar's reputation as a patron of such arts soon drew foreign musicians to court as well. Bards, poets, playwrights and musicians came from across Amallon, especially the Three Jewels. While the King enjoyed the offerings of all these travellers, he openly offered the lion's share of his support to those skilled in Keledoni music and stories. This inadvertantly triggered a renaissance of native music, storytelling and culture, which had, for the last century, been heavily influenced by the styles of the Sixlunds and Akaryth. In the ninth year of his reign--1681 AS--word reached the King of a gathering force of Akarthan soldiers and mercenaries on the eastern side of the Ironfist Mountains. As it happened, Gendar and his court were quietly visiting the fortress of Carda's Eye at the time, and were therefore mere miles from the pass. Impetuously the young king set out with a dozen of his guard, lightly armoured and moving stealthily up the higher paths of the pass. The foolhardy risk paid off for Gendar; from their hidden vantage point high above the old road through the pass, armed with bows, Gendar and his fellows slew the commanders of the marching forces. Lacking their leaders, the mercenaries turned back and were quickly followed by the rest of the Akarthans. Once the news spread, enhanced of course by the telling, Gendar's reputation was cemented among the commoners.

Adult LifeEdit

Gendar's prodigious intelligence continued to serve him well as he waxed into his kingship. He added Almeidian, Ashuran, and Eleren to his spoken languages, and soon presented a powerful and undeniable figure in the wider politics of Amallon. As a military commander he was unequaled in his day, and lost few battles and no wars. Notably, he crushed a raiding force of Hrogar in 1684; obliterated the navy of Pelerin during its failed invasion in 1692; and defeated and captured Maeglyn, Duke of Midcliffe, during his failed rebellion of 1704.

In 1699 AS Gendar called upon the Archdruid of Keledon to attend him at court. Occupied with other matters, the Archdruid respectfully declined, enraging the king, who was heard to exclaim (if the tales can be believed) that he would "...set fire to all the boughs of the Whitestag and drive the Druids back under their stones". Tension between the Crown and the Druids continued for the next decade, although the Whitestag was left unharmed. Ultimately the Archdruid and the King met in the town of Abred, under the guard of House Ebethar. There, behind closed doors, the two apparently settled their issues, as afterwards the Druids and the Falcon Throne were again closely allied and supportive of each other for the rest of Gendar's reign.

By 1705-06, Gendar's childhood love of tales of adventure and patronage of musicians led to his hearing tales of the celebrated Company of the Crescent Moon. In 1708 he held a lavish banquet in Kindem Hua, with the members of the Company in attendance as guests of honour. For a time he also employed Azeem bin Fahad Rab-ul-Salaam as tutor to his children and an unofficial court advisor. He was also, reputedly, quite fond of both the Ashani sorceress Kyriana Alqaviliya and the holy warrior Borom.

By 1710, when Gendar was in his mid-fifties, relations with Akaryth completely fell apart. The new Akarthan king,
Gendarmidage

Gendar IV, at the age of 38.

Piar V, was hungry for conquest and more than a little mad. Having secretly brokered a deal with the lords of Arden, on the western side of Keledon, he slowly dispatched troops into that land, then launched an invasion of Keledon from three fronts--the west (from Arden), the east (through Cardas Pass) and the south via a naval force that blockaded Kalabar and other important ports. This conflict, the One Moon War, ultimately coloured the rest of Gendar's reign, despite the Keledoni victory four months after fighting erupted. The capture of Piar V, and his subsequent ransoming, poured gold into the coffers of the Falcon Throne and eliminated the Akarthan threat for a generation.

In 1714 Gendar dispatched his forces north to carry out a long-waited punitive strike against Arden for its complicity in the Akarthan attack. Supported by their navy in the Gulf of Sen, the Keledoni army quickly conquered the region known as Southern Sen, which had been under Ardeni control for the last century or so. The Sennish Prince Madheyr formally requested the return of the land to his own realm, hoping that its fertility would mitigate the problems with feeding his own people. Gendar would not entertain the idea of a well-fed Sennish population, armed with weapons of celebrated Sennish steel, coming into being on his northern frontiers. Instead he wisely brokered a deal with Madheyr, the terms of which were set forth in the Treaty of Lannegich and signed on the 17th day of the month of Young Sun, in 1715 AS.

Old Age, Death and LegacyEdit

The final years of Gendar's reign saw the elderly and beloved king slowly decline. No longer able to sit ahorse as he had in his youth, or to ride into battle with his soldiers, Gendar instead devoted himself to completing the education he spent a life-time accumulating. He also devoted himself to preparing his daughter and heir for her own future reign.

H 07

Gendar IV as an old man, two years before his death.

In the final decade of his life, from 1720 until 1730 AS, Gendar produced a large volume of writings on a variety of topics. Highlights include Wings of the Hawk, a history of the kings and queens of Keledon; The Lamp of Reason, which is a collection of wisdom, observations and proverbs written by the king; Tales of Nobility and Valour, a collection of his favorite such stories, united in his writing by the introduction of a wise Druid who, as narrator, ties the tales together as a narrative of the Keledoni spirit; and Servitude in the Mines of the Mighty, a treatise on the moral and ethical principles he felt should be espoused by all enlightened rulers.

Gendar died peacefully on the 32nd day of High Spring, in the year of 1730 AS, being 74 years of age. He was entombed in the catacombs far beneath the royal palace in Kindem Hua, in a place of honour. He is remembered now as one of the greatest kings in Keledoni history; to this day his descendants continue to occupy the Falcon Throne. Gendar's legacy is complex. He is remembered as a mighty tactician and undefeated general; a patron of musicians and defender of Keledoni culture; and a generous and just ruler.

Personal LifeEdit

Gendar's marriage to Selana kesMorym in 1670 AS proved to be a long and happy one; the queen outlived her husband by nearly a decade and served as a close advisor to their eldest child, Kaliya, who reigned after her father as Kaylia I. It is known that Gendar, at times, took mistresses, but for unknown reasons this was of little concern to the Queen and the two never seemed to fall out of love. Gendar maintained few close friendships throughout his life, but was always fond of his childhood friend Arad kesMorym (brother of Gendar's future queen). The two were deep in each other's councils, and were known to be fiercely loyal to each other.

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