The War of Defiance was a conflict between the Free Palatinate of Dyrwood and Eir Glanfath on one side and the Aedyr Empire on the other side. The war lasted from 2668 AI to 2672 AI, ending 151 years before the start of Pillars of Eternity.
In 2662 AI, in the year of the tenth anniversary of the War of Black Trees, Admeth Hadret brought about the end of slavery in the Dyrwood. He negotiated a series of treaties with the Glanfathans wherein a timeline was established for the official emancipation of all remaining slaves. Each owner would receive compensation in either land or money based on the number of slaves freed. If they didn't comply, the slaves would be seized and their former masters would suffer a substantial fine. In return for this, the Glanfathans opened trade routes with the Dyrwood and allowed Dyrwoodans to live in and near areas that had their sacred ruins but they were, under no conditions, to enter the ruins. As a final act of good will, Admeth freed Galven Regd, saying he had suffered sufficiently for his actions.
The fercönyng, seeing he was completely out of control in his own palatinate, devised a plan to get the supply of ancient artifacts running again. In 2664 he approached the erls suffering under Admeth's rule and convinced them to hire agents to raid the ruins.
In 2665, Galven Medhra, an elven woman who had taken over for Galven Regd, brought news to Admeth. Some Dyrwoodan people were found taking artifacts from one of the tombs. Initial investigation uncovered several more that had already been plundered. As they seemed to be isolated incidents and it had been stopped early, Medhra did not want a war to start again after being at peace for so long. Admeth was grateful for this courtesy and wasted no time tracking down who was responsible. Medhra gave Admeth use of her brishalgwin ‘mind hunters’ and with their help found evidence pointing directly back to the fercönyng. Admeth and Medhra, now jointly allied against the Aedyran fercönyng, used everything at their disposal to prevent the fercönyng's agents from getting into the ruins. There was a back and forth between the two groups, both sides engaging in various political, economic, and military maneuvers to try and gain the upper hand. The fercönyng was at a disadvantage in this game, though, as he preferred to assert his authority without causing an uprising.
Eventually Admeth had enough. He convinced seven of the nine erls to join him and they severed their allegiance to the fercönyng, declaring themselves independent and decreeing that they would govern themselves, just as the Vailian Republics did twenty years prior. Admeth told the people he had tired of policies that made the nobles rich while putting the people of the Dyrwood at risk. He declared himself a duc (again, modeled after the Vailian Republic's governing structure) and called the Dyrwood a ‘free’ palatinate. Thus began The War of Defiance in 2668 AI.
The war lasted four years and caused countless casualties, including Admeth himself. The initial phase of the war went poorly for the Dyrwoodans, due to the lack of training and effective equipment. The battle of Midmarch Road is one of many examples of these hopeless opening clashes: The Dyrwoodans fought valiantly but their disorganized light infantry was no match for the Aedyran heavy regiment. Overwhelmed, the rebels were killed nearly to a man. According to several Aedyran soldiers, Maxeyl Hescen, the Dyrwoodan commander, was the last to fall. Surrounded and badly wounded, he refused the Aedyran commander's offer for quarter. It took a dozen spears to put the rebel down, and even then he continued to fight until he was beheaded.
The Dyrwoodans, with their Glanfathan allies were able to persevere. In 2672 AI, the largest battle of the War of Defiance took place, Admeth had already been lost in a previous battle, morale for the Dyrwoodan militia was failing and the imperial army of Aedyr had blockaded the rebel capital of Defiance Bay with its fleet. They chose to invade with ground troops at the weakest point, a poorly fortified position in a district known as Ondra's Gift, which had once been a wetland before being drained and settled.
What the invaders didn't know was that they were being drawn into a trap. Glanfathan astrologers predicted a Lovers' Tide and helped the colonists use it to their advantage when the Aedyran navy attacked. Aedyran soldiers stormed the district to find it abandoned, and before they could make sense of it, the dikes behind them were destroyed, and the district was flooded. The army of Aedyr was decimated and a huge number of Aedyran ships were destroyed. Dyrwoodan forces and members of the ad hoc Knights of the Crucible militia, won the Battle of Defiance Bay, which became the last battle of the war and left Dyrwood free from Aedyran imperial rule.
Seven of the nine erls of the Dyrwood survived and, unified in purpose, signed treaties with the fercönyng of Aedyr. The war gave the Dyrwood a greater sense of unity between its citizens and their Glanfathan allies. Admeth Hadret was revered by both groups and the Dyrwood enjoyed for the first time a nationwide fellowship of independence, perseverance, and sacrifice. Yenwood and Cwynsrun were dissolved and incorporated into the surrounding erldoms, leaving seven - Helsgate, The Grasp, Tenferths, Norwaech, Coldwater, Ashfall, and Baelreach. New Dunryd was renamed Defiance Bay and would become the seat of power for the new duc in Baelreach.
- The Dyrwood, Part 4: Hadret's Rebellion
- The Aedyr Empire, Part 2: Expanding Borders
- The Blacksmith Knights: A Short History of the Knights of the Crucible
- Eir Glanfath, Part 2: Conflict and Unexpected Alliance
- House Doemenel
- Admeth Hadret, Part 2: Rebellion