|King of All Norjihanis|
|High Chief of the Norjihanis|
|Konnor of Ronyg|
|Born||15 June 1278|
|Died||23 May 1343 (aged 64)|
|Burial||Temple of the Immaculate Perfection, Tel Duvemuz|
|Issue||Mahiraz II, Thuhan Rona|
King Govegz I Rona (15th June 1278 - 23rd May 1354, Native Name: govezj rona) was Konnor of Ronyg from 1296 to 1343, High Chief of the Norjihanis from 1305 to 1306, and King of All Norjihanis from 1305 until his death in 1343. Often known simply as Govegz Rona (as opposed to the later Govegz II), or as Govegz Takkan, or Govegz the Leper, his reign saw the creation of the first real Norjihani state and the creation of Szezkia alongside the Szezk Genocide in which around 250,000 people were killed. He is in this arguably one of the most influential figures in South Baredinan history.
He received the epithet Takkan ("He who carries out Tan's will") from Grand Servant Gestan II following the death of Anlar IV. He was described by Anlar, whom he famously quarrelled with, as "stubborn, quick to anger and infinitely wilful." He was, however, also viewed as a "champion of Tan and of Norjihan, quick-thinking and well versed in warcraft and speech". During his later life, however, opinion of him deteriorated due to his leprosy which it appears he contracted in the 1320s and which, alongside bouts of madness, led to strong factionalism between groups supporting his two sons, Mahiraz and Thuhan; he was, however, able to play them against each other until he finally succumbed after a period of illness in 1343.
Govegz spent much of his early career attempting to become High Chief of Norjihan, after originally consolidating his position of Konnor of Ronyg, a title he gained when he was 16 due to his father Esullaz IV's death in a riding accident. His main political opponents were the Seqki family of Szezkia who via marriage and bribery had built up a large support base to support a bid to the High Chiefdom, a position to which Govegz also inspired. The conflict with the Seqki family led to Govegz's Coup of 1305, an event which led to the creation of the first Norjihani state, but also to the Szezk Genocide. Govegz also initiated a series of financial and legal reforms, based on various Ekuosian models, and also attempted to control the church, although this led to the Holy Rebellion of 1339.
Govegz helped lay the foundations of the modern Norjihani nation-state, but his actions also brought centuries of low-lying tensions out into the open and severed any goodwill between Baredans and Xhovians more generally, leading to many of the later events in South Baredinan history. Within Norjihan he centralised power, promoting family members and close friends and reining in the powers of the northern barons, along with bringing in a slate of changes which strengthened Norjihan's economy and trading power within the Argeyaz. However, his Leprosy left him and Norjihan weak in his later years, alongside his fits of madness.
Govegz was born in June 1278 (dated normally to somewhere in the region of 13-16th June, but births were not normally recorded in official records, where they existed) as the youngest of five children of the Konnor of Ronyg Esullaz VI. His mother, Janysa Garesav, had died in childbirth, leaving the newborn Govegz in a precarious situation; he was born at the fortress at Garesav whilst his father was on campaign, and the lords of Garesav had their own claim to the Konnora of Ronyg. Thus, it is believed there was an attempt to kill the infant Govegz a few days after he was born; luckily, he was saved by Esullaz's Constable, Juhan Serti, who helped sneak the infant out of the castle and took him to Ronyg. Huner, Lord of Garesav, was later burnt in punishment. He spent the majority of his childhood with his father and uncle, Kiran, in the royal capital at Ronyg, where Esullaz was Chancellor. Govegz was to receive the best education available for a young child at the time, from the age of 10 being under the direct tutorship of Grand Servant Anlar III himself. Not much beyond this is known about his childhood, apart from that he was considered to be intelligent by a number of sources (although most of these were written later on).
After his father's death in a hunting accident in 1294, leaving Govegz as the heir-apparent, Govegz tried to leave Listosord quickly so he could be be proclaimed as Konnor. However, he was stopped before he could leave the city by his uncle, Kiran, and Djerev Seqki, the successor to Esullaz as chancellor appointed by the then high chief Hunnas II Vomeja. Seqki used document he claimed had been drawn up by Esullaz disinheriting Govegz and instead proclaiming Kiran as heir to the Konnora as reason to strip Govegz of his title. It was widely known that this was a fake, but Govegz was placed under house arrest and Kiran was invested as Konnor of Ronyg in an elaborate ceremony in Listosord. It is clear Hunnas himself had been involved in the plot, hoping Kiran would be more compliant than the more independent minded Govegz. Following Kiran's investment, and after swearing an oath in which he had to agree not to claim the title of Konnora, Govegz was released and given a mid-level army placement in Isugza. He quickly proved himself, defeating Ittohari raiders and seizing towns along the northern coast. During his time in the army it appears he became exposed to anti-Xhovian rhetoric by a priest, Arnad of Lesanna, who accompanied him, although this was of course also a result of his dealings with Djerev.
Assuming Control of Ronyg
After the death of General Marse, Lord of the Vaje, in late 1295, Govegz was proclaimed Grand General of the Southern Armies by a council of the army, called by him and a group of his supporters. This was very unusual practice, as generals would normally be chosen by election at the court in Listosord rather than by the soldiery themselves; however, Govegz clearly had their support, which he had gained during the Ittohari campaign. He instantly began to march northwards, reaching Ulo three days after the march of the army, where he was welcomed by Konnor Gerand of Ulo, who had his own personal grievances against the crown. It is believed Gerand tried to convince Govegz to march on the capital. However, Govegz was willing to try and negotiate with Hunnas; he promised not to march on Listosord if his title as Konnor of Ronyg was restored to him. This was agreed to, as Listosord was virtually defenceless at that time as the Northern Armies were on campaign in X. However, Kiran refused to step down. Kiran quickly left Listosord, presumably allowed to leave by King Hunnas, and tried to reach Ronyg quickly, hiring mercenaries and meeting up with forces led by Jall, Lord of Garesav (son of Hunr) who had been in Tel Duvemuz pressing a claim. Govegz, on learning of Kiran's advance, marched the Southern Armies up from Ulo, along with a detachment from Ulo, to try and reach Ronyg first. Govegz reached the city on February 8th 1296, taking the sections south of the River Rone, but was unable to cross the Rone after the two bridges across were deliberately destroyed by the garrison on the north side. Kiran arrived a day later, and set up camp on the northern side of the river. Kiran was happy to wait in the northern half, hoping that the Southern Armies would eventually dissipate and Govegz's support would weaken. Govegz, meanwhile, was faced with the issue of how to cross the river, especially given the northern banks were placed under constant patrol by Kiran. However, Govegz managed to get messengers across the river to start negotiating with Jall to try and get him to defect; Govegz promised to make Jall's children his designated heirs to the Konnora. Govegz agreed to this demand, and in return Jall, whose troops were being used to guard the central town and the river crossing within the city, agreed to help ferry Govegz's troops across during the dead of night. On the night of March 10th, a small detachment of 200 soldiers crossed the river and, along with Garesav's troops, slaughtered the garrison and took the town. Govegz crossed over to the other side the next day, where he underwent the ceremonial "crowning" by the Grand Servant of Ronyg (second only to the Grand Servant of Listosord) for the title. Kiran, realising he had little chance of taking the city, surrendered on the 12th. Govegz had agreed to spare him, but this was not to be the case; he instead, according to one chronicler, had Kiran castrated, his genitals cooked and eaten by his children, his partners and children all killed in front of him including reportedly one of the children being tied to a metal pole and roasted as if on a spit before being fed to a pack of hunting dogs, and Kiran himself repeatedly dunked into the Rone and held under four or five times, until finally drowning him and burning his corpse.
Having established himself as Konnor, which was confirmed as a ceremony held at the Temple of the Immaculate Perfection in Tel Duvemuz in the presence of King Hunnas, Govegz worked quickly to secure his position. He agreed to Jall's demand formally, and agreed to take Maruv, the daughter of Gerand of Ulo, as a partner, helping to secure the alliance between them and effectively granting Govegz almost complete control of the south of Norjihan in the process. He started reconstruction work on the two main bridges across the Rone at Ronyg, as well as starting rebuilding the southern walls, making them taller and thicker. He purged Kiran's staff, many of whom had been carried over from Esullaz's reign, and instead appointed people close to him personally, including Jall as his chancellor (in order to keep the Garesav family, on whom his position as Konnor currently depended, close), and a series of his staff within the Southern Army including his secretary, Lakin Reddan, as Seneschal. He also befriended a young clergyman, Uram Ronygan, who had been recommended to him by the Grand Servant as an advisor.
Election of Djerev and Exile
Having replaced the bureaucracy with people more loyal to him, Govegz himself went north to Listosord, where he had been granted a position on the Grand Council by virtue of being Grand General of the South as well as being granted the title of Warden of the Royal Wardrobe, a largely ceremonial role but one which granted great prestige and normally a seat on the council in its own right. Soon after he arrived in 1297, King Hunnas died, and thus an election for the High Chief was called, with the leading nobles across the kingdom, including the 6 Konnors, 12 Mayors, 17 of the most senior barons and the leading figures of the Tanhungara. Govegz, hoping to be elected High Chief despite being only 19, managed to secure the support of the majority of the southern nobility. He also called up the Southern Army to stand outside the walls of Listosord, hoping it might intimidate others to vote for him. However, Djerev, the former chancellor and Prince of Szezkia, was elected High Chief instead of Govegz, having bribed many in the electoral committee, as well as having appealed to his experience and seniority. After the vote, Govegz is alleged to have "walked towards the Xhovian princeling [Djerev] and spat upon his face, before declaring to all the great magnates present that he would never serve a Xhovian". He quickly left the city before he could be arrested, and began to lay siege to the city of Listosord itself, hoping to stop Djerev's coronation.
However, Djerev's coronation went ahead. Govegz decided it was not worth it to siege the city, and was aware that the Army of the North was also approaching, headed by Djerev's son. Govegz proceeded to march his armies down south. He held a council at Ronyg with the southern nobles, who declared they too would refuse to serve Djerev, citing, "His membership of that most vile and despicable race, which makes him unfit to hold so majestic and great an office as that of the High Chief of those who follow the path of Tan"; the south had long been a hotbed of anti-Xhovian sentiments. However, all of the nobles apart from Govegz then swore allegiance to Djerev, who had arrived in Tel Duvemuz with the Army of the North along with troops from across the north, numbering a total of 25,000 as opposed to Govegz's 17,500. Govegz fled east into Lhivrala, aware the game was up, and was declared a "traitor to the state" by the Council of Tel Duvemuz in April 1298.
Not much is known of Govegz's whereabouts and actions during his exile, except it is known he spent his time in Lhivrala, joined by Uram Ronygan and a small group of other close advisors. It seems, however, that despite their surrender to Djerev, the southern nobles remained loyal to Govegz for the majority of the time and he certainly maintained communications with Gerand and other major nobles, whipping up anti-Xhovian sentiment. It is also believed that Govegz met Anlar III during a trip he was making to Gennist communities in the east. This would certainly seem to match up with the increasingly anti-Xhovian rhetoric which Servants began to preach across Norjihan and beyond, as well as outbreaks of violence across the country.
Return to Norjihan
High Chief Djerev, aware of the growing sentiments against him both out in the country and within the royal court, was eventually forced to lift the proclamation of banishment against Govegz, who returned to Ronyg in the beginning of 1302 after nearly four years in exile. He received Djerev who in a humiliating move was seated on the lower tables at a banquet held to celebrate his return. After this, however, Govegz mainly kept a low profile. Alongside Uram Ronygan, who he had grown increasingly close to during his exile, he set about a series of reforms, using the freedom as a Konnor to alter certain aspects of the legal system, creating a system of travelling judges to supplement the monthly Grand Court held in Ronyg, as well as founding a new port, Tuhajen, on coastal lands at the mouth of the Rona which belonged to the Konnora in order to help improve trade. He began work on building three separate temples as well.
On his return to Norjihan, Govegz had also been returned to his command as Grand General of the South, and the army welcomed him back with open arms, with many of those closest to him having remained and the army now being directly paid from Govegz's territory rather than by the crown, which helped to buy their loyalty. He also promised to set aside land along the Rone valley for veterans to settle on once they retired. This was a radically new approach; he had turned what was essentially a series of local levies from royal lands and mercenaries paid for by Listosord into a professional and loyal army. He also kept them happy with another short campaign into Ittohar in the spring of 1304. However, he was soon distracted by news that the Angirkan (the head of the two combined armies and in cases it was necessary the designated regent, alongside various functions which changed over time but around the early 1300s included judging on trade disputes and in cases involving veterans) had died, and so the position was up for election. Govegz left his army under the control of Uram and quickly headed north to stand for election.
Djerev, meanwhile, hoped to reconsolidate his hold on power. He at first wanted to have his son, Zagrov, declared Angirkan, but after it emerged that he wouldn't get the support of the court, he then tried a different tactic, supporting Govegz’s bid in an effort to destroy it; Govegz had built much of his reputation on his anti-Xhovian message, and now was being supported by a man he hated. On the day of the vote, Govegz lost, despite the continued support of many of the southern nobility, and Zagrov was elected after all. He had managed to outmanoeuvre Govegz, and would not stop there. He began kicking out prominent Norjihani officials and replaced them with family members, trying to firmly consolidate Seqki control over the working of the court and the government. This of course caused a backlash from the Norjihani nobility, many of whom - although importantly neither Govegz or Gerand - rose up in rebellion. By carefully balancing his support for Djerev against the rebellion with his continued rhetoric, Govegz was able to secure the position of Kustan, effectively overseer of the the court, a position which commanded him influence over the court shy only of the Chancellor, X Seqki, and Djerev himself.
Coup of 1305 and the Szezk Genocide
Govegz had become one of the most important people in Norjihan in a very short time after his return, but knew he would not have long to leverage his position before Djerev would try to remove him. He managed to get a number of key allies elected into positions, such as having his former secretary Hegran elected as Librarian of the Royal Archives and securing Gerand's election to control of the Listosord city guard. He also secured the support of the Tanhungara, promising to protect and expand their liberties in return for "removal of the heathen and the dirt which defiles the perfection". By the beginning of 1305, he was ready to strike. Govegz called Uram and the Army of the South northwards, and during the night of July 17th he sneaked a number of his elite troops into the city, using Gerand's control of the city guard to help them get inside with no difficulty. They broke into the Royal Palace and arrested all the members of the royal family in the city, whilst the city guard simultaneously were set to work arresting various pro-Seqki members of the administration. On the morning of the 18th, a mock trial was held in the centre of Listosord, before the High Chief and his family were condemned to death by burning by the Grand Servant. Several chroniclers suggest that Govegz himself lit the fire on the bonfire which Djerev was set upon. In this way, the majority of the Seqki family and their supporters, apart from those who were currently with Zagrov in the north, were killed. Govegz quickly had himself elected High Chief by those nobles who were currently within the city, whilst Gerand - much to the annoyance of Uram - was made Chancellor.