Anama War

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Source: Drakefyre canon

Historical account: Of the Anama War
Written by Imperial Librarian Bethel, 843 IE
Began: 405 IE | Ended: 437 IE
Preceded by: Extermination of Non-Humans Succeeded by: Discovery and Conquest of Vantanas

For as long as there has been magic, there have been mages. And for as long as most of us can remember, there have been the Anama - a persistent church believing that all use of magic is evil. But the Anama have not always been based on the Isle of Bigail, off the coast of Valorim. In fact, the Anama were resurrected late in the last century by the bold young priest Ahonar.

The original Anama were established in 379 IE, by a group of disillusioned young priests who had been forced into service during the Troglodyte Wars. They were led by Segrin Bilal, who had been madly scarred by friendly fire during a panicked defense of Fort Keaziz against a troglodyte raid. These men founded the Anama on the basis of the hypocrisy of magic and the true healing power of the gods, and they quickly gathered a large following.

In 400 IE, the Imperial Census counted more than 180,000 Anama, which was remarkable, considering that today's Anama, spanning four continents, number less than 30,000. They coexisted peacefully with all of the priestly religions, and there was only a slight animosity towards the mages and the Empire who employed them. The Empire and the priests viewed the Anama as harmless idealists, but the mages lobbied extensively against them, but to no avail.

Until, that is, Ironclad VII succeeded his ailing father in 405 IE. He came into power with two things on his agenda - the exploration of Ermarian and the extermination of the Anama. His first decree against the Anama said,

"Any man styling himself as a member of the Anama Church is hereby forfeit to the rights of Imperial Citizens."

This decree struck terror into the hearts of the Anama and forced many of them to abandon their faith - or at least practice in secret.

When word got around to Ironclad VII that the number of Anama had dropped dramatically, but the sales of Anama faith scriptures and prayer books had risen, he knew that his law was being skirted. At the end of 406 IE, he declared war on the Anama Church and all of its members. The declaration had completely surprised the Anama, and by the end of the week more than 75,000 Anama had been rounded up and jailed. Still, that left 100,000 Anama on Pralgad and Aizo, and they were not going to go down easily. Ship logs show that 60,000 refugees bought passage to Aizo on Sailor's Association ships at inflated prices. The Anama remaining on Pralgad - only about 7,000 - armed themselves and vowed to deflect the brunt of the Imperial Army's assaults onto themselves, rather than the 93,000 Anama on Aizo.

This small group of Anama, led by Segrin Bilal himself, made themselves seem much larger in number and ferocity than they actually were. Army records show that regiments of 50,000 troops were beaten away by "tens of thousands of Anama." They organized a ferocious guerrilla resistance and always attacked the Imperial Army at their weakest points. They led raids against the Imperius School of Magic, smaller Mage Consortiums, and Ironclad VII's home city of Blackstone.

Seeming hopelessly outnumbered and overpowered, the Anama did not give up, and their constant harrying of the Imperial Army delayed their passage to Aizo, buying precious time for the Anama of Aizo to gather up arms and train for war. The people of Aizo were more receptive to the Anama, and Ironclad VII's arm did not extend much beyond the major cities. And the Aizoan Anama were able to live in relative obscurity, preparing for the time when they would be forced to defend themselves from the Empire, which they all knew was not far away.

One small band of men kept detailed accounts of their raids and attacks, and the life that they led. Led by Erion Hale, who kept an informative and passionate diary, they were among the 638 Anama who survived the harrowing attacks on Pralgrad and managed to flee to Aizo. One of Hale's diary entries describes the living conditions of the guerrillas and how they managed to go on.

"My heart pounds in my chest seemingly two hundred times a minute. We just passed by an Empire watchpost, creeping softly to avoid the stone gaze of the guards searching for us. After a three hour trek through the underbrush, we found a thicket where we could rest for two hours. I couldn't bring myself to sleep, but I forced everyone else to. I can't go on, not knowing whether I'll live to see the sun rise tomorrow or whether my head will adorn some soldier's pike in Imperius. But I have to keep going. Their magic just reinforces everything that the Anama stand for. We've seen them burning forests down to smoke us out, shooting lightning that kills everything in its path, and destroying life wherever they go. And that makes me go. - Outside of Turin, 13 Remembrance 422 IE."

It was not until several years later that the Empire finally managed to cut down the resistance's numbers to less than 1000, which prompted the flight of the remaining survivors to Aizo. Over 900 set out for Aizo, but the Imperial Navy intercepted more than 275 of the fleeing Anama. Their interrogations have never been released, nor have they ever been acknowledged. Still, 638 survivors made their way to Aizo, avoiding Naval blockades and searches, oftentimes by hiding in cargo bays and smuggling compartments.

When they finally met with the Aizoan Anama, they recounted their experiences and the sadness of the deaths of their brethren. But more than anything, they imbued a passion in the Anama - a hatred of the Empire and its hypocrisy; of the destruction of the mages. The image that they conveyed to these 90,000 Anama on Aizo stirred the revolutionary feelings that lurked behind every injustice of the Old Empire. And these 638 combat veterans - only a few of whom had ever received military training - began the training of these hungry idealists into lean fighting machines.

In 432 IE, the Imperial Army set sail for the shores of Aizo. More than 400,000 soldiers landed at Petragrad and met up with the Aizoan Imperial Army. Six hundred and ten thousand soldiers marched on the Anama, who continued their guerrilla attacks and their small raids on the flanks of the army. It was four years until the Anama, buoyed by their success that their tactics were having, finally met the Imperial Army in a pitched battle. It was then, in the year 437, that the Anama were defeated. They were dealt a crushing blow in the Battle of Cagno Plains, and ten days later the survivors were routed and set scattering to the far corners of the Empire.

These scattered Anama either practiced in secret, hardening their hatred and passing it onto future generations, or they abandoned their faith in search of a new start and a better life. The discovery of Vantanas and Valorim, lands yet untainted by the magic of the Empire beckoned to the former, and it was not long after that the Anama were resurrected in earnest and began to appeal to people tired of wars and Avernum and plagues. Upon the ascension of Empress Prazac, religious freedom was granted to citizens of the Empire, and the Anama began to reach out and search for converts again. And it was then that the Anama began to thrive for a second time, despite the disease of the cockroaches which plagued the Isle of Bigail for a short time.