Contrary to the claims of Geoffrey Anjou, Arthur was a descendent of Justinid I, although his relationship to the original royal line was distant; however, his claim to the throne was as valid as that of Lucinian IV, his main rival.
Arthur became ruler of Aladda in April 871 when his father was killed by marauding orcs. Arthur's first task was to rebuild the shattered Aladdan army. From the remnants of his father's army he built an experienced troop of heavy calvary: the famous Reds. The best of the Aladdan recruits were formed into a bow unit: the Greens. The rest were formed into a heavy infantry phalanx: the Blues. Arthur's new army was immediately tested when the orcs which killed his father returned. At the battle of Aladda, the new army defeated the orcs, and Arthur recovered his father's lance.
The next year was a busy one for Arthur. Aided by the first of his many commanders, Lancelot, Arthur killed a minotaur that had been terrorizing the local area. He also lead his army to victory over a cyclops, and defeated a band of goblins, although he was too late to save the goblins' prisoners. His pardoning of the obviously' guilty prisoner was an actual historical event that took place during this time. It is one of the few popular legends of Arthur that actually occurred. However, there is some uncertainty as to whom Arthur actually pardoned, and this episode has been the source of many an Arthurian fable.
In the spring of the next year, Arthur took the first step that would lead him to the throne at Tetrada. Duke Gardwell of Marinia died, and a rabble took control of the city. Sensing an opportunity that would never come again, Arthur marched to Marinia with the Reds and Greens, leaving the Blues behind to protect Aladda. When Arthur arrived at Marinia, he found the city besieged by the followers of Malacon, the war master of the old Duke. Even at that early age, Arthur displayed a wisdom that Lucinian IV never had. He persuaded Malacon to become his vassal. Together their combined army routed the rabble, and Malacon became the new Duke of Marinia.
The rescue of Malacon's daughter, Guinivere, from prison is one of the few instances where legend is more colorful than reality. It was a group of Arthur's soldiers - not Arthur - who rescued her. One of the soldiers, Gallahad, is known because he became the leader of the Reds. Contrary to popular legend, all the historical records are in agreement that Guinivere loathed Lancelot who, by all accounts, was a vulgar knight of dubious gentility, and lived up to his name both on and off the battlefield.
The relationship between Arthur and Malacon was a long and stormy one, although Malacon was not the venal idiot of popular legend. Malacon was a better businessman than he was a soldier. The frequent attacks on Marinia by giants from across the Western River was beyond his control. His defense of Marinia was competent, but uninspired, requiring Arthur to keep a strong army in Aladda just to protect Marinia. Malacon was not ungrateful. He eventually increased his vassal fees voluntarily from 250 gold to 450 gold to help offse the Arthur's cost of having to maintain three full-strength phalanxes in Aladda at all times.
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