Ardfelun's life started as an Erhart prison colony founded by the King Elrik Erhart II some two hundred and fifteen years ago during a period of political instability and famine early in the nation's history. Originally named 'Tideswatch Prison' due to its position as the furthermost known island to Erhart and it's proximity to The Dark Tides, it was renamed after a violent uprising of 'hard felons' led by a small group of exiled wizards overthrew the local governor only fourty years into its history. The term 'hard felon' is considered the origin of the name.
Originally considered a dumping ground for malcontents, thieves and other undesirables, with little to no valuable resources it was ignored by the incumbent monarch Charles Erhart I after it declared independence. It was thought that the populace would starve within a year and open diplomatic relations with the home country seeking forgiveness, but the hardy inmates established trade ties with the Bachenaux Republic, and with promises of safe harbor out of the reach of the Erhart Kingdom to its rivals- rather than wither, the port flourished. Within a decade the inmates had become gentlemen of wealth and prestige, though perhaps a little rough around the edges, as the prison grew to a port city, it became a thriving trade port that various nations would use to bypass and escape the ever increasing tithes of the Erhart Kingdom's control of the Erhart straight.
This, ultimately, was the impetus of the disastrous attempt at reconquering the island nearly twenty years after its secession. A full fleet of Erhart ships, transporting fifteen thousand men led by the heir to the throne Reinhardt Erhart met a watery grave at the hands of the powerful Archmages who called down destructive force that the ill-prepared Erhart Navy had not accounted for. This loss forced the Kingdom of Erhart to recognise Ardfelun as an independent port city, so that they could also partake in the lucrative trade between the southern continent and the north via the western route.
Over the next eighty years Ardfelun prospered as tensions rose between The Bachenaux Republic and The Kingdom of Erhart. This spurred on attempts by The Bachenaux to incorporate the island city-state into its associated territories through diplomatic means. These ovetures were rebuffed by the Ard, who preferred a policy of strict neutrality, and repeated increasingly desperate offers of concessions were made to no avail.
With the inner sea straights tightly under the heel of the Erhart, The Bachenaux out of desperation attempted to take the island by force, with a fleet and deployment of twenty thousand soldiers and several Arch Mages sent to secure the island and its trade routes. Yet again, the Arch Mages of Ardfelun called on the power of the sea to destroy their enemies and whilst incredibly destructive magical energies crackled in the sky and the sea below, the free flotilla of Ardfelun took the fight to the pride of The Bachenaux fleet. Victory was hard won, but ultimately the offer of surrender was given by the highest ranking commissioned officer to survive the battle.
Having shaken off the interests of two great powers, Ardfelun has garnered the respect of both and now sits with its position secure.