Melora II

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Melora II
Melora the Brave
Queen of All Tavaris
High Chief of the Tribes of Rodoka
Chief of Line Nuvo
Reign18 March 1640 - 9 November 1714
PredecessorKing Zaram II
SuccessorKing Kanor III
Born7 January 1617
Nuvrenon, Tavaris
Died9 November 1714
Nuvrenon, Tavaris
Burial
Lantaž, Rodoka
SpouseChief Vandri of Nevran (m. 1635)
IssueKing Kanor III
Princess Avandra
Princess Lelora
Princess Tínara
Princess Zunava
Names
Melora Nuvo Navandri
LineNuvo
FatherZaram II
MotherQueen Žarana
ReligionTavat Avati

Queen Melora II of Tavaris (Melora Nuvo Navandri née Vetra; b. January 7th, 1617 CE, d. November 9th, 1714 CE), often called Melora the Brave (Tavari: Melora vat Tanavi), was the 15th monarch of Tavaris, reigning from 1640 until 1710, a 70-year period that is the country’s longest. She was the first monarch in the Navandri family of Line Nuvo, having founded the family upon her marriage to Chief Vandri of Nevran, 9 years her senior, in 1635. Unusually for a Tavari monarch, Melora abdicated the throne, citing "inability to perform the work of state" due to her age. She is one of the most fondly remembered Tavari monarchs, frequently ranking atop surveys of favorite historical monarchs in Tavaris. She led the country through the Third and Fourth Tavari-Banian Wars, by far the most brutal and deadly of the six, and also reigned over the peak of Tavaris' colonial empire. For this reason, the Tavari colonial empire is often poetically (or sometimes derisively) referred to in Tavaris as "Queen Melora's Empire" (Tavari: Erevat Meloranar Eredan). This helps differentiate the Tavari colonial empire from the current political entity of the Kingdom of Tavaris, both of which are called Eredan Tavarís in Tavari.

In the style of the era in which Tavari monarchs listed titles from lowest to highest significance, her full title as queen was “Her Most Serene Majesty Melora II, Defender of the Faith, Chief of Nuvo, General of the Armies and Commodore of the Fleet, Chief of Chiefs, High Chief of the Tribes of Rodoka, and Queen of All Tavaris.” After her abdication, she was known by the Tavari title “Itonerevat,” translated as “Queen Emeritus” or, more loosely, “Queen Dowager.”

Early Life

Melora was the first child born to King Zaram II and his wife Queen Žarana that lived for longer than one day. She had followed six previous children who were either stillbirths or died within hours of birth. At the time of Melora’s birth, King Zaram was 37 and Queen Žarana was 36. She would be the last child born to the couple. The circumstances of Melora’s birth are commonly cited as one of the several remarkable infertility events or pregnancy complications that have particularly afflicted Line Nuvo, the royal house of Tavaris. She was named after Queen Melora I, often called Melora the Unlucky, who reigned from 1550 to 1554, assuming the throne after the surprise death of her father only to die surprisingly young herself, at age 53. She was so named in the hopes that she could bring honor to Queen Melora's name. It was believed by her parents, and many others at the time, that the ancestral spirit of Melora the Unlucky was cursing the Tavari royal family to early deaths and childbearing complications.

As a child, Melora was often called “brash,” “stubborn,” “obstinate,” and “insistent” in the notes of her royal tutors. She was known from a young age as someone who, in the words of her father in 1623, “insists always on taking her own course of action, refusing any outside attempt to cause her to take some other action, unless suitably convinced according to her own standards or physically prevented.” While in 1623 the King noted “the former was far, far rarer than the latter,” he is known to have remarked in private later in life that he had become very proud of how his daughter had matured and had learned to better heed the expertise of others.

Melora is known to have been fascinated with news from or stories about Rodoka, discovered by Tavaris when she was 3 years old, with Melora finally permitted to take a voyage to the island in 1630, at age 13.

Reign

King Zaram II of Tavaris died in 1640, at age 60, of apparently natural causes. This was young compared to the average Tavari elven life expectancy at the time, which for males was approximately 95. Political opponents of hers early in her era spread the rumor that Melora had poisoned her father to take the throne, but no evidence was ever substantiated and all known records indicate Melora enjoyed a positive relationship with her father. Melora was 23 at the time of her ascension. The 15th individual to become Monarch of All Tavaris, she was only the fifth woman to assume the position, which in accordance with customary Tavari inheritance law has always been by absolute primogeniture.

Third War period

The Third War with Bana began in 1645, five years after Melora ascended the throne. Bana invaded King’s Island, the island on which the Tavari capital of Nuvrenon sits, in the first ever land invasion of Tavaris by the Banians. The Banians blamed Tavari spies for spreading a plague that was currently ravaging their country, primarily because an outbreak of that same illness had struck in Tavaris just 4 years earlier. Melora famously refused to temporarily relocate the Silver Court away from Nuvrenon, no matter how much of King’s Island the Banians took. “I shall not move a tanai and neither shall my court, no matter how close to our walls the Banians are, and if they breach them, then we shall fight them to the last woman and last man, and I intend to be the last woman,” Melora is recorded as having said in a meeting of the Council of State in 1645.

There were three failed attempts by the Tavari to expel the land invaders by force. The Tavari Army was able, though, to rebuff Banian attempts to invade the city of East Harbor, and eventually a Tavari Navy blockade was able to starve out the Banians on King’s Island, who surrendered in 1651. A period of extended economic prosperity followed the war, especially in Rodoka, where Queen Melora directed a significant amount of resources for development. In 1655, she invested a million našdat (in modern terms, more than ŋ407,000,000) in the Akronist project to colonize the Tavari East Pacific Isles. The colony became successful relatively quickly and was able to survive a long period of no state investment due to economic downturn because of the high initial investment.

Emerald Coast and the Fourth War

A map of Emerald Coast and the surrounding region as of 1676.

In 1668, Tavaris established a colony, Emerald Coast (Tavari: Enaro Etražakavi) much closer, this time on the eastern shore of the Gulf of Northwest Gondwana, just south of the Raonite Spur, the southernmost segment of the Danvreas Range. At that time, the New Ranites had not yet settled the Lower Loko River Valley, so the Banian border was a significant distance from the Tavari colony, but the Banians still viewed the Tavari settlement of the Gondwanan mainland as an immediate, severe threat. The land on which the Tavari settled had previously been part of the core territories of Ni-Rao. However, after that country’s significant decline of the 15th century, it had since withdrawn from the territory into their smallest ever borders, which corresponded to portions of what is now South Ni-Rao. The Tavari viewed this land as unclaimed, but Ni-Rao considered the Tavari settlement as an invasion.

Bana launched the Fourth War in 1670. The Raonites would rally as many soldiers as they could muster and join the war in 1676. Tavaris had not yet restored its military capacity to pre-Third War levels, and was caught off guard by the attack. Additionally, the Tavari Navy was spread thin across Tavari holdings from Metrati Anar to the Tavari East Pacific Isles. Bana focused almost the entirety of their assault on the eastern coast of the island of Avnatra (the island comprising the largest portion of Tavaris) and when the Raonites attacked the mainland Gondwana front in 1676, the Tavari could not maintain both lines and were overtaken on Avnatra. The city of East Harbor was burned to the ground in 1677, leaving more than 60,000 people dead. From there, the Banians only bolstered their hold in eastern Avnatra, seizing several other major cities in the area, such as Lansai.

In response to these events, the single greatest military defeat ever suffered by Tavaris, Queen Melora declared a national emergency and ordered a “national impressment” of every single able-bodied adult in the country, regardless of gender, into the Royal Tavari Armed Forces. While for most people this meant mandatory service in local militias to defend from Banian attack, or in some cases as a laborer in rebuilding efforts, several thousand Tavari were drafted from the general citizenry to the front lines of the war. This had never before been done in Tavari history, not even during the 15th century Raonite invasion, but there was no coordinated public opposition to the move, and those few people who did refuse to serve were imprisoned and, in some cases, exiled to Vaklori. During the war, the Queen served personally as a commander of troops both on land and at sea, which unlike in other monarchies had never traditionally been an inherent power of the Tavari monarch. In this capacity, she was granted the titles “General of the Armies” and “Commodore of the Navies,” and she is generally credited with securing the defense of Nuvrenon in a 1679 Banian invasion attempt.

The Tavari expelled the Banians from Avnatra in 1680 and immediately turned their focus to Emerald Coast. The Raonites immediately surrendered, unable to match the full brunt of Tavari forces, and so the Tavari turned to Bana. In 1683, Bana surrendered after the Tavari invasion of the city of Bana, which was by far the wealthiest city in the country. Despite having dominated Tavaris for most of the war, Bana was decimated and bankrupt by the end. Bana was forced to pay reparations to Tavaris and could therefore not afford to restore their military capacity. Tavaris’ victory in the Fourth War assured Tavari supremacy over Bana and Ni-Rao, and it was credited in large part to Queen Melora herself.

Later Life

After the war, Queen Melora enjoyed incredibly high popularity, which she retained until her death. In recognition of her efforts to defend the country, and in particular the Akronist settlers in Emerald Coast, as well as her financial cooperation with their colonization project, the Church of Akrona awarded the title “Defender of the Faith,” a title adapted from Auroran monarchical traditions, to Queen Melora. It was the first time they had ever acknowledged the Tavari monarch in such a way, and the granting of the title is usually called the “turning point” in Akronist-Traditionalist Tavari relations from a relationship of hostility to one that was more tolerant.

Queen Melora guided the country through the economic bubble created by the wartime industry and then its collapse, and was able to kickstart the Tavari economy by working with Alksearia to invest in Tavari colonial efforts in Arcturia and selling some Pacific island holdings to Salovia. She also personally financed early ventures in Ilarís. In 1710, at age 93, she voluntarily abdicated the throne in favor of her son, who then became King Kanor III. She said at the time she did not expect to live much longer, but was able to return to Rodoka one last time, in 1711. She died in Nuvrenon in 1714 and was buried at the Market Square of the city of Lantaž on Rodoka, now called Queen Melora Square. She is the only Tavari monarch interred in a location elsewhere than the Royal Catacombs in Nuvrenon.

Family and Issue

Queen Melora married Vandri Nevran Totova, who was Chief of Line Nevran, in 1635. While the marriage was arranged, as was typical for most marriages in Tavaris in that era, even those among commoners, contemporary accounts all indicate that their union was a loving one. Crown Prince Kanor Nuvo Navandri (born 1639) was their first child and only son. The couple had four daughters after Prince Kanor, all of whom reached adulthood, and one of whom—Princess Tínara—reached the age of 152, the longest lived Prince or Princess in Tavari history. Melora was survived by eleven grandchildren, 28 grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren.

Vandri Nevran Totova was the brother of Tažran Nevran Totova, who succeeded him as Chief of Nevran. Tažran is the common ancestor of two modern day Tavari political figures in Line Nevran: Prime Minister Žarís Nevran Alandar and Vana Dandreal, the 37th Matron of the Church of Akrona. Through the father of the two men, Kavri Nevran Totova, they share a common ancestor with all Tavari monarchs after King Kanor III and are therefore cousins of current reigning King Mital II. Line Nevran is usually considered one of the wealthiest and most politically connected Lines in Tavaris, with their close association with Melora and other monarchs in the 18th century often cited as the primary reason.

Issue:

  • Kanor Nuvo Navandri (1639-1738)
  • Avandra Nuvo Dezara née Navandri (1641-1761)
  • Lelora Nuvo Takrašti née Navandri (1643-1740)
  • Tínara Tašrat Kakova née Nuvo Navandri (1647-1799)
  • Zunava Baladri Antanavar née Nuvo Navandri (1650-1768)