What was The Great War?
Throughout Of Shade and Shadow, there are frequent mentions to "The Great War". This is referring to a nearly ten year conflict that had concluded mere months before Astra and Louko's story picks up. But this conflict did not start out as a war. It all began with a bloody coup, led by Second Prince Euracia against his own brother, King Judican. With the help of beings known as Screechers, and supposedly backed by Lower Prince Tyron, Euracia massacred all of the Ethians (the ruling class). Thus he set himself up as the new monarch of Litash.
Euracia reigned unchallenged and with absolute power. His only interest was in gaining more power and so the day-to-day running of the country was left to the Court of Nobles. The Court was divided into two groups: those that feared Euracia and spent their time trying to appease him, and those that were just as power-hungry as him and fought among themselves. The resulting decay of Litash's infrastructure, agriculture, and economy left all but the most wealthy Litashians in poverty. Any who tried to flee the tyranny of the cities had to contend with the unchecked and lethal animal population.
But no one could yet call this a war, for Euracia had not found a way to get enough troops through the Forest of Riddles to continue his conquest. When he did meet resistance, it was in the form of a localized rebellion led by Entrais Verzaer. Entrais knew that he did not have the resources nor manpower to go against Euracia directly. So, after establishing a camp in the Forest of Riddles where he would not be found, Entrais perfected the art of guerilla warfare. He and his men survived in this manner for eight long years.
It was after that when Entrais discovered that the Ethian heirs had escaped Euracia's massacre and had been scattered across the Macridean Sea for their own protection. In the company of Astra and Soletuph (previously thought to be the only Ethian survivor), Entrais set off on a mission to bring the Ethians home.
With the rightful rulers now returned, the credibility of the rebellion began to grow. Entrais was able to strike a deal with the displaced king of Alarune, King Arican. In exchange for helping him regain his throne from the usurper, Tyron, Arican would then help Entrais regain his homeland. From the north, King Omath of Merimeethia watched with interest and promised his aide--but only if Alarune was retaken successfully.
And so "The Great War" only held two major battles. For as soon as Tyron was defeated and Alarune returned to Arican, Euracia withdrew all of his troops to his palace and simply waited. Entrais marched across a completely unguarded Litash with an army of Alarunians, Merimeethians, Elves, and Dragons (Astra never did tell anyone how she rallied the Dragons to their cause...). It was the first time in centuries that so many different factions had gathered together under one banner; not even Euracia could stand against them.
When the dust of that final battle had settled, the struggle of rebuilding Litash began. Entrais was now the face of the rebellion both within and without Litash. On top of that, he found himself next in line for the throne of Cithan (the city-state of the Elves) when their king and heir fell in battle. So when his betrothal to Judican's hair and eldest--Jade--was announced, he became the obvious (and popular) choice for the next king. Seeing no better option, Entrais accepted the crown and all of the burdens that came with it.
Here begins Of Shade and Shadow.