The Tale of Two Sisters

The history of the relations of the two greatest powers of Urando, Gramatia and Benya, is complicated and dates back to the very formation of the Commonwealth of the Gramatian Union and the subsequent expulsion of Emperor Pimpèl’s enemies from Azeya. After they were forced from their homeland, these exiles (Bena in Gramatian) fled to the North and under leadership of Benkir I they formed their own state. As is usually the case with two young, expansionist states, the border between both soon became a contested issue. And even two and a half thousand years later, both nations still dispute the ownership of the former Kingdom of Tobea.

When the Bena moved northward, they marched to the east of the then Kingdom of Tobea, through the lands that currently are part of the Gramation province of Tobeya. This area between the Upper Tobe river and the Gulf of Azeya, suddenly became the theater of the First Gramatian-Benyan War. Since the young commonwealth consider the Bena as an existential threat to the state, Emperor Pimpèl and his army decided to push them as far away as possible from Azeya, the heartland of Gramatia.

For some time it seemed that the Kingdom of Tobea would serve as a buffer state but since the Benyan state was as eager to conquer new land as their southern neighbor, the Tobean would soon involved in the war too. With the fight becoming more intense in the territory east of her realm, the Queen of Tobea, Altehi, became really concerned. The monarch realized that her people, which consisted mostly of semi-nomadic tribes, lacked both the numbers and the military experience fight both neighboring empires off.

The commanders of both the Gramatian and Benyan army feared that Altehi might join forces with the other and hence both Pimpèl’s son Dryton and Benkir I invaded the kingdom almost simultaneously. For the latter this was also motivated to enable to launch an attack on Gramatia after losing virtually all ground in the Lower Tobe valley and the subsequent push back even further north. With the Gramatians firmly in control of all territory east of the Upper Tobe, the Benyan leadership saw an invasion of Tobea as the best way to turn their chances in the war.

Upon learning of the dual invasion Queen Altehi panicked as she had initially hoped to outsmart both warring states through diplomacy. Now she had to chose sides but she remained very reluctant to do so. However, her younger sister Anzelpi and most of the Kingdom’s Matriarchs were in favor of siding with the Gramatians. And when the monarch continued her indecisiveness, they started to speculate on overthrowing the queen and replace her with her sister.

Now threatened by her own sister Altehi saw no option then to join forces with the Benyans and she went to Benkir I herself to offer him her fealty. However, according to the remaining Matriarchs and Anzelpi, the Queen had now displayed cowardice and her sudden departure was considered to be a flight and hence constituted abdication. So the Matriarchs, who had never been informed of the Queen’s plans, quickly moved to elect her younger sister as the new Queen of Tobea.

Anzelpi’s first act as queen was to join forces with Gramatian army leader Dryton. Of course, Altehi contested her sister’s actions and maintained that she was still the rightful queen and that her younger sister was an usurper and a traitor. Benkir I, obviously, supported her claims (all Benyan monarchs after him are descendants from Altehi), while Dryton supported Anzelpi’s (all Gramatian emperors after Dryton I are her descendants).

Eventually Gramatia and Benya reached a ceasefire in 520 BC. The result was that Gramatia was in control of the southern two-thirds of Tobea and the Benyan got the northern third. However, this was the end of the Kingdom as an independent state. Both states annexed their parts of Tobea, while retaining their claims to the entire area.

As kind of compensation for the loss of her kingdom, Anzelpi became the effective Imperial Consort of Dryton I (who became Emperor after his father’s death in 523 BC), while her sister Altehi married Benkir I and bore him eleven daughters. Even nearly twenty-five centuries after their deaths, this sisterly feud remains the principal cause of the rivalry between two nuclear superpowers.

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