Diego VI The Pretender ( Derei, 16 September 2386 - Plains of Sargos 2440), born Jakob de Meerde was a king of Degoland from 2419 to the 2431, when he was deposed with the return of the Huneeus Dynasty. Often, Degoland under Diego VI the Pretender is considered a chaotic, weak interregnum, and his independent Degoland that had broken from the union with Sargos, a footnote in history.
Jakob de Meerde was the youngest of the three sons of duke Karl de Merdee and was at first not expected to inherit significant lands, but the death of his elder brothers in the Sargonic wars fighting under the banners of Camilo II -and later, in the rebellion against him-.
The de Meerde family was a member of a cadet branch of the old Rey Dynasty that hoped to inherit the throne of Degoland from King Diego V, who didn't have a male heir: however, the marriage between Phillipe of Degoland and Don Camilo II The Magnificent resulted in the Sargos-Degoland Unions at the 2399 a.a.H.
With the Sargonic wars at the 2407-2419, as the tides of the war changed against the Sargos kingdom, the de Meerde family entered in secret negotiations with the northwestern human enemies of Sargos, for the secession of Degoland from the union with Sargos under a de Meerde ruler.
With the fall of Millbridge at the 2419 a.a.H and the escape of Don Camilo II The Magnificent to his western domains in the Alan Isles -and then to Ne'Sargos, beyond the reach of his enemies-, Jakob de Meerde -who was considered of weak character by the foreign kings who chose him among the de Meerde- was crowned as Diego VI, king of an independent Degoland in Derei, with the presence of the kings of Huncle, La Cruz and Tardos
Diego VI as King of Degoland Edit
With the support of the three realms, Diego VI achieved early victories against the rampaging hordes of Goblins, Orcs and the Angards and Gorbegeos Kanovs that as well invaded the Sargos-Degoland Union during the Sargonic Wars, but shortages of military resources and his treatment of Degolandic and Sargonic nobles resulted in losing their support.
Despite having been chosen by the Northwestern Kings to be a puppet and the independence of Degoland was favoured to weaken the previously powerful Sargos-Degoland Union, Diego VI was a more ambitious man than they expected, as he hoped not only to be a king of the realm of Degoland, but as well to rule over Sargos in a Degoland-led union. For this, he tried o raise revenues with judicial reforms and fiscal policies, and to reform his armed forces. However, as he prepared to invade Sargos -then ruled by a Regency Council of high nobles who on paper ruled in name of the absent Camilo III, but had been elected by the neighbouring kings to keep Sargos in check while they saw how they would divide the spoils-, Diego VI lost the support from the kings of the Northwest.
War and DissentionEdit
Pretending the throne of Sargos, he declared war on the Regency Council of the interregnum of Sargos, but lacked the force and support to make it an effective war -being reduced instead to launch some raids and depredations along the Osorio on rich Sargonic cities to pay his mercenaries. Without the support of the Hunclech, Cruzeños and Tardic, Diego VI faced a rebellion by many of his barons, who were unhappy with his fiscal policies and his treatment of many of Degoland's most powerful nobles. To finance their civil war, the peasants and cities of Degoland were further extorted, which resulted in many peasant uprisings, which led to both Diego and the barons to agree on a peace treaty in 3425, but neither side complied with its conditions. Civil war broke out shortly afterwards again, with the barons aided by the Regency Council of Sargos. Seeing this as one more time Sargos meddling with Degoland policies, Tardos, Huncle and La Cruz forced the Regency Council to cut the support to the Degoland barons, and so the civil war descended into a stalemate.
The rich trading cities of the Osorio -both Sargonic and Degolandic-, which had hoped that the end of the Sargonic Wars would bring back prosperity, but due to the political instability of the interregnum the situation seemed to worsen instead. In response, the trading cities formed the Osorio League, in principle to face the Robber Barons that plagued the trade in the Osorio and the other fluvial trade routes of the two kingdoms. Successful in this self-imposed task, the trading cities and prince-prelates (lords of the Karentian Church) of the League will see themselves increasingly playing a role in the chaotic policies in Sargos and Degoland due to the weak royal rule, adding some rebellions against the Regency Council -the great Sargonic Barons, acting in name of foreign interests-, the rebel barons of Degoland and Diego VI himself.
Restoration of the Huneeus Dynasty in SargosEdit
The trading league saw that the best possibility for the Osorio valley to prosper again was the return of the Huneeus Dynasty, and they will enter in secret contact with Camilo III the Warrior.
Travelling in secret, Camilo III the Warrior arrived at Sargos at the 2430, being proclaimed as the restored king of Sargos by the Osorio League. The barons of the Regency Council upon this lost legitimacy for the king himself had returned, and either escaped, rebelled or made deals with Camilo III. Huncle, La Cruz and Tardos, worried about the return of the Huneeus Dynasty tried to act together: however, conflicts over the influence that Tardos had been exerting over southern Sargos during the interregnum made these talks fail, and so war preparations against the returned Sargonic king were delayed.
Failed Invasion of SargosEdit
Still consolidating his power over Sargos, Camilo III entered in talks with La Cruz and Huncle with the Archbishop of Karentia as arbitrator, ensuring he only wanted to rule over Sargos and not Degoland. Despite of these talks, Diego VI, thinking he could count with the Hunclech and Cruzeño support, declared war on Camilo III.
The initial attempt of invasion of Sargos by Diego VI failed as he wasn't able to cross the Osorio -controlled by the League-, and once Camilo III had firmly Sargos under his rule, he entered into secret talks with the rebel barons of Degoland, who proclaimed him as the legitimate heir of the Degolandic Throne, as son of Queen Philliphe and Camilo II.
Diego VI OverthrownEdit
Before the other kingdoms could react -and Tardos could send the River Guard that they controlled since the Sargonic Wars-, Camilo III crossed the Osorio.
As Camilo III was crowned king of Sargos and Degoland the same year, Diego VI never renounced to his pretensions and tried to raise support from Huncle, La Cruz and Tardos, who feared the reunion of Sargos and Degoland and the return of the Huneeus.
Tardos, La Cruz, Huncle and Sargos-Degoland prepared for war.
Political Effects of the Escaped Demon PrincesEdit
However, with the great demons lords being liberated from their exile in Demonatch by the Witch King of Dol-Nur at the 2434, beginning both the Second Dark Age and the Second War of the Power, remembering the defeats suffered in the early First War of the Power due to the internal divisions of the Five Kingdoms, rather than to make a new alliance to invade Sargos-Degoland and reinstate in the throne Diego VI, a powerful Sargonic-Degoland state guarding the western Degoland Pass was considered to be preferable than the Dark Legions of Demons.
The Archbishop of Karentia helped to arbitrate the talks between the Five Kingdoms of the Northwest -leaving aside the resentful Diego VI-.
In the following years, the now called Beggar King travelled between the courts from Navatiak to Dol-Sorne trying to gather support for his lost cause and his pretentions to the throne of Degoland -until he was imprisoned by the Archbishop of Karentia, who feared that the poorly planned ploys of Diego VI could endanger the alliance he had achieved between the human kingdoms of the weseuros against the demons-.
Tossed to a jail in a Karentian cloister, ordered a monk against his will, by the time of the Campaign of Sargos of the 2440, after the defeats suffered by the humans against the Dark Legion of Demons, the Archbishop was to send his forces to support the retreating Sargonic forces: Diego VI was liberated from his jail, given his armour and banner back and marched with the forces of Karentia toward Sargos.
However, weakened by the time in jail and march, Diego VI died of dysentery contracted whilst on campaign, before the Battle of the plains of Sargos, a major victory against the invading Dark Legion of Demons.
Diego VI de Meerde had only a single son and heir -despite the rumours about his alleged impotence-, Bogogald de Meerde.
His failures as king aided enormously in the improbable return of the Huneeus Dynasty after its ouster in the Sargonic Wars. This failure ultimately led to his goal of a united Sargos-Degoland once again, just not under him. It also ensured that Sargos-Degoland would remain the preeminent human political state in Aels rather than devolving into three separate kingdoms of Sargos, Degoland and Ne'Sargos as it briefly did, and could have easily remained.
For all his detractors' ire and his inglorious end; had Diego VI been content to truly be a puppet ruler of Degoland, he might well have remained a king--until being overthrown by Dark Legion of Demons. His failures were actually very important for the restoration of the strength of the Five Kingdoms of the Northwest and the future of humanity in the Second War of the Power.