The Acorn Uprising
The Acorn Uprising took place from YE 531 to YE 533 and it marked the transition between the Second Age of Hycath and the Age of Equality. The name refers to the crest of the Oliver family, originally one of the founding families of East Mercia, which shows an acorn against a hill. The Olivers waged a campaign against the other Queendoms, which was ultimately defeated by the combined forces of East Mercia, Cymru, York, and the Archduchy of the North.
After Matilda “Maud” Beauclerc (Empress Matilda I) ascended to power and ushered in the First Age of Hycath, all transfer of titles and lands occurred through maternal lines. After the Sacking of the Vatican ushered in the Second Age of Hycath, East Mercia became a queendom led by the Fitzwalter family and supported by a council of two other founding families, the Loxleys and the Olivers. During this period, some laws surrounding the inheritance of wealth were expanded to also include male heirs. Though this was an improvement, many believed it was little more than an empty gesture, as female heirs still took precedence.
Belonging to one of the founding families, the Olivers held a tremendous amount of political pull in the newly formed country. But even after the marriage of Gregory Oliver to Princess Cecily Fitzwalter in YE 297, their agenda of equal rights between the sexes was still unable to move forward. The most vocal advocate was Gregory’s older brother, Merrick Oliver, who stood to lose his own inheritance to a female cousin, Bathsheba. Gregory was put in a treacherous position when Merrick gathered allies to move against the throne.
Though the Loxley family originally supported the uprising for their own political gain, Adelaide Loxley, 3rd Margrave of Huntingdon, eventually withdrew their support and sided with the Fitzwalters. She betrayed Merrick in YE 309, and he was sentenced to death. The entire family, including Gregory, was banished from East Mercia. Before they fled to Rochdale, their lands and titles were confiscated and divided between the Loxleys and Fitzwalters. In retaliation for the Loxley betrayal, Merrick’s son Algernon Oliver murdered Adelaide Loxley in YE 324.
Over the centuries to come, the Olivers ingratiated themselves with Rochdale’s court. Rebecca Oliver married into the royal family, and the capital of Rochdale was eventually renamed Fort Oliver in YE 425, consolidating their power.
By YE 518, Lionel Oliver was King. Together with his niece and nephew, twins Oswald and Lydia, he began a campaign of conquest across the Isle in the name of equality, though it could be argued it had more to do with retribution. Their army reached East Mercia in YE 531. Oswald murdered Queen Alviva and her daughter Gabriella, the last Hycathae of the Fitzwalter line.
Jonathan Fitzwalter became King of East Mercia, and the combined armies of East Mercia, York, Cymru, and the Archduchy of the North united against the Olivers. After the victory in YE 533, Jonathan married Eleanor Loxley to further shore up his political power. The Fitzwalters have continued to rule to this day.
Despite their defeat, the Olivers’ cry for greater equality of the sexes had taken root. After the uprising, the laws were changed to give equal inheritance rights to male and female heirs, leading to the Age of Equality and the first King for East Mercia: John I.