The War of the Hundred Years was a devastating series of overlapping wars among constantly shifting alliances that erupted in the wake of the death of the High King, Artur Hawkwing, who had united all the Westlands as one Empire. With the deaths of all of his surviving children in the Westlands (the fate of others in Seanchan and Shara were unknown at that time), there was no designated heir to inherit the mantle of High King. As a result, the Empire fragmented and collapsed. Over the course of 123 years of incessant fighting, the nations of the present day (plus another ten which have fallen in the interim) were formed.
Hawkwing united the Westlands under his rule in a war known as the Consolidation from FY 943 to 963. He ruled for over thirty years, but the latter part of his reign was marred by conflict with the Aes Sedai. The White Tower, and particularly Bonwhin Meraighdin, the Amyrlin Seat, had been attempting to manipulate and control Hawkwing since even before he had united the Westlands, but after soundly defeating his enemies, Hawkwing and the Tower had essentially called a truce. However, all that changed with the emergence of a man named Jalwin Moerad. This man seemingly appeared out of nowhere with no history that anyone could uncover, but within a year of arriving at Hawkwing's court, he succeeded in making himself the King's chief advisor and most trusted confidant. Openly contemptuous of Aes Sedai, he counseled Hawkwing to dismiss all his Aes Sedai advisors, and eventually was able to convince him to besiege Tar Valon for almost twenty years (FY 975 - 994). Hawkwing had taken little convincing, as he had suspected for years that the attacks which had forced him to undertake the Consolidation had been conducted at the behest of Meraighdin and the Tower, though it was impossible to prove it.
Hawkwing had several children, but his eldest son Modair perished in the Consolidation and his other children from his first marriage were poisoned along with their mother in FY 941 in an assassination attempt. Hawkwing had several more children with his second wife, Tamika. In FY 992 he dispatched his eldest son Luthair Paendrag Mondwin, with a fleet and army, across the Aryth Ocean to subjugate the lands he found there. The following year he sent another fleet under a daughter (name unknown) to conquer Shara. The fate of this latter expedition is unknown, although the Sea Folk report the invasion fleet was destroyed at anchor by the Sharans after the initial landings had taken place.
Within days of Hawkwing's own death in FY 994, his surviving daughter Laiwynde had also died, apparently along with her son Tyrn sur Paendrag Mashera. Ten years later, the ruling council of the city of Mayene produced a young man claiming to be Tyrn, and appointed him First Lord of the city. The other Westlands have never recognized this claim and the individual claiming to be Tyrn made no territorial claims beyond Mayene.
These events left the Empire with no blood-heir of Hawkwing's to claim the throne, and civil war was inevitable.
During this period, it was noted that Jalwin Moerad vanished, 40 years after his arrival, as suddenly as he had appeared. His existence and history were a mystery for centuries, but it was eventually discovered that he had in fact been the Forsaken Ishamael during one of his periods of freedom from the Dark One's prison. He had deliberately set the stage for the War of the Hundred Years by assassinating or sending away all of Hawkwing's children and any other obvious contenders for the throne, and by deliberately setting Hawkwing against the White Tower. He hoped in this way to undo as much of humanity's progress in stabilizing civilization as he could.
Course of the conflict
Although political wrangling and intrigue had begun even before Hawkwing had died, the actual start of the war is generally held to be when, following the resignation of her mother Endara, Ishara Casalain assumed control of the city of Caemlyn in the Imperial Province of Andor and proclaimed herself Queen of the sovereign nation of Andor. She was aided in this by General Souran Maravaile, commander of the armies besieging Tar Valon. The new Amyrlin Seat, Deane Aryman, convinced Maravaile to lift the siege, as it no longer served any purpose with the death of Hawkwing. Maravaile was Ishara Casalain's lover and between them and Deane, they agreed that Ishara should take this course of action. Caemlyn and Tar Valon became allies and Maravaile's tactical skills and what was left of his army were used to safeguard Caemlyn and the surrounding territory.
Almost immediately upon the news of the death of Hawkwing, Lord Istaban Novares and Lady Yseidre Tirado assumed control of the Stone of Tear and the surrounding city, apparently with the support of the nobility. Over the course of the war, with no one person strong enough to proclaim themselves King or Queen, the ruling body of the High Lords of Tear was formed instead. By the end of the war Tear had reached its present size.
Very early in the war, a group of nobles seized the city of Cairhien with the intent of re-founding the nation of Tova. However, during a grand ball held to celebrate the occasion every surviving descendent of the Tovan Counselors was slain. After months of politicking and subterfuge, Lord Matraine Colmcille proved strong enough to claim the throne, and became the first King of Cairhien. Cairhien was frequently ravaged by fighting during the war, but emerged with roughly its current borders after its conclusion.
Once it became clear that the Empire could not be saved, the rulers of the five Borderland provinces met to discuss the situation. Lady Mahira Svetanya of Arafel, Lord Rylen t'Boriden Rashad of Saldaea, Lord Jarel Soukovni of Kandor, Lady Merean Tihomar of Shienar, and Lord Shevar Jamelle of Malkier, supported by their people, proclaimed themselves the Kings or Queens of their respective nations and pledged to ally themselves with one another against both the Shadow to the north and any threat from kingdoms to the south. This pact prevented the Shadow from taking advantage of the chaos of the war to launch an invasion.
In FY 1006, Lord Haren Maseed, Lady Tazenia Nerenhald, and Lord Boral Amadia seized control of the city of Tanchico and proclaimed the founding of the Kingdom of Tarabon. They resurrected the former governmental structure of Balasun, with Lady Tazenia becoming Queen of Tarabon and Lord Haren becoming Panarch. Boral died under murky circumstances. By the end of the war Tarabon had reached its present size, although the tradition of the monarch being male and the Panarch female was not fully established for another five hundred years.
In FY 1021, distressed at the chaos and evil gripping the world as he saw it, a man named Lothair Mantelar wrote a book called The Way of the Light which proclaimed that humanity should try to follow the strict, ascetic principles of the Light. The book notably criticized the Aes Sedai for their use of the One Power, which it considers the province of the Creator alone. A group known as the Children of the Light came into existence, spreading the teachings of the book to the people and hunting down Darkfriends. Initially non-violent, the Children were forced to take up arms to defend themselves and by FY 1111 had become a fully militarized organization, devoted to the destruction of Darkfriends (amongst whose ranks they placed the Aes Sedai, Warders, and all who support them, including the royalty and nobility of Andor).
In FY 1047 Lady Katrine do Catalan a'Coralle captured the city of Lugard in battle. She named the surrounding region Murandy after an ancient term of the area, but was assassinated barely a year into her reign. During the War of the Hundred Years a new ruler typically lasted two years on the throne before being killed. Even after the War of the Hundred Years ended, Murandy remained internally unstable until about 200 NE, when nobles began ignoring the throne to rule their own lands autonomously.
In FY 1084 Deane Aryman came close to convincing the major warring parties of the conflict to agree to Aes Sedai mediation to bring an end to the war. However, she died in a riding accident and her successor failed to capitalize on her successes. Thus, the war was prolonged by another thirty years.
During the latter part of the war, Lord Nicoli Merseneos den Ballin seized control of the city of Illian. A popular, charismatic ruler, he proclaimed himself king, named the new nation after the capital, and expanded it to its current borders by the end of the war. He also created the Council of Nine and the Assemblage. His family went on to rule the kingdom for a further three centuries.
In FY 1109, Lord Kirin Almeyda, Lady Valera Prosnarin, Lord Cynric Talvaen, and Lady Iona Ashmar assumed control of what had formerly been the kingdom of Dhowlan along the southern Mountains of Mist. Kirin was proclaimed King and the rest became the Crown High Council. The new kingdom was named Ghealdan.
By FY 1117, the war had finally petered out, leaving no remnants of Hawkwing's Empire behind. Every statue of the man had been destroyed, even the huge monument to his victory over the Trollocs at Talidar, and huge numbers of books mentioning his name had been burned, with the consequence that records of this and earlier times are spotty and incomplete. Twenty-four new nations arose out of the ashes of the War of the Hundred Years, including the nations of the modern age. The failure of the Aes Sedai to end the conflict and the rise of the Children of the Light in opposition to them, combined with the dwindling numbers of new Aes Sedai recruits, also saw the power and prestige of the Aes Sedai severely damaged by the conflict and its aftermath.