213 AB: The First Domino
In 213 AB, Deron, 4th Earl of Rhondisfarne, declared war on the neighboring state of Eaton, over a matter still a subject of rigorous debate. Documents from this time period note that Deron and Mathilda, 3rd Earl of Eaton, shared a common lineage; indeed, Reyn, 2nd Earl of Rhondisfarne, was their common grandmother. The 3rd Earl of Rhondisfarne, Willem, inherited the state from his mother, while the younger brother, Edwin, was married to the 2nd Earl of Eaton, Anne. That union produced Mathilda, first cousin to the 4th Earl of Rhondisfarne. As Mathilda was childless and unwed, nor had any illegitimate children, the state of Eaton would fall to her closest relative, in this case Deron, 4th Earl of Rhondisfarne. Mathilda refused to name Deron her heir, choosing instead to grant this boon to her most powerful bannerman, Lord Harold of Twin Fords. Not much is known regarding her decision to not abide by the laws of the land, although it could have been an attempt to keep the power of Rhondisfarne from eclipsing the nearby states. Perhaps Mathilda saw what Rhondisfarne would become, swallowing up all neighboring states one by one until only the Kingdom of Agraine remained. Perhaps Harold, Lord of Twin Fords, threatened rebellion should she pass control to Deron. The reasoning is unclear, but it resulted in war between the neighboring states. Deron, in command of all the knights and mercenaries the great city of Rhondisfarne could bring to bear, faced Mathilda and Harold at the Battle of Twin Fords, roughly fifteen miles from the city of Eaton. There, in a decisive victory, Deron sowed the seeds of what would become the Kingdom of Agraine.