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  1. THE HYSPIAN COURT COMPENDIUM A COLLECTION OF ALL HYSPIAN WORKS La Corte de Girasol The 1st of Horen’s Calling of 110 D.R. In the effort of preserving history for the coming generations of Hyspia, the courts have pulled together a compendium of Hyspian works, for the Sovereign States perusal. Songs will be noted, alongside cultural missives, for a Hyspian should know their home, culture and history. This compendium shall never be complete, added onto as more is found or comes to be. Alongside the noted missive is the person who wrote it, and their namesake and title at the time of writing it for history purposes. PERSONAL WRITINGS, LETTERS AND JOURNALS This section details a series of letters, missives, journals and personal writings written by the Hyspian people over the ages. Public Denouncement of the Canonist Church by Prince Antonio de Rivera A Letter to Owyn III by Bishop Francisco Altamirano of Hyspia The Conversion of Prince Antonio by Prince Antonio de Rivera The Hyspian Intercitude by Father Basil Moroul A Diocesan Letter to the Hyspians by Cardinal Pelagius-Albarosa A Public Letter to King Antonio de Rivera by Carlos Mendes The Attack by Father Agustin of Cordoba A Clash of Steel by Señor Caesar Einarsson Kvitran Address to the Hyspian Flockby Bishop Hernando Altamirano House of Monet by Baroness Frisket Monet Das de Esperanza by Viceroy Cesar I For the Glory of DIOS by Viceroy Cesar I A Childs Prayer by Princess Sofia of Hyspia The Hyspian Herald: Volume 1 by an Unknown Citizen The Hyspian Herald: Volume 2 by an Unknown Citizen The Hyspian Herald: Volume 3 by an Unknown Citizen The Hyspian Herald: Volume 4 by an Unknown Citizen The Hyspian Herald: Volume 5 by an Unknown Citizen The Children of Hyspia and Their Camping Trip Shenanigans by Lady Amity Morovar The Santos Family by Señorita Callista Santos A Report on the Silver Isle Smugglers by Crown Prince Francisco A Confession and Prayer by Princess Sofia of Hyspia Confession by Señor Alejandro Sands Hyspian Romance by Lady Anne von Leopold Interview of Queen Sofia by Señor Jonathan O’Kieran A Son of Hyspia by Señor Jose Fuentes A Call to all Farfolk by an Unknown Citizen The Maors Missive by the Baron Erland Maor Paladins, No Better than Bandits by a Concerned Citizen A Call for Calm by Señor Vicente Murietta II To the Government of Hyspia by Ser Jose Fuentes To Confront a Crisis by Viceroy Cesar II DIOS no Esta Muertoby Viceroy Cesar II A Crossing of Blades by Señor Vicente Murietta II A Perspective of the Happenings of the Hyspian Independence Meeting by Sovereign-Consort Dimitri of Koravia The Patriots Oath by Ser Jose Fuentes Vandalism and Principles by Sheikh Shamil Clash of Sands by Princess-Royal Renata Alba Cold by Señor Nicolas Murietta Toil and Till by Señor Luis Murietta ON HISTORY This section includes scholarly missives on Hyspias history, alongside authentic missives of history taking place during the writing of such. A Writ of Dissolution by Archduke Cesar II A Peaceful Settlement by Prince Antonio de Rivera The Life and Times of Cesar I "the Founder" by Cardinal Francisco Altamirano The Hyspian Summitby Baron Javier de Pelear The Second Hyspian Summit by Baron Javier de Pelear To All Hyspians by Baron Javier de Pelear The Barony of Arenisca by Baron Javier de Pelear The Viceroyalty of Hyspia by Viceroy Cesar I To Daeland and Balian: A Hope for Peace by Viceroy Cesar I The Enfeoffment of the Hyspians by King Karl III The Histories of the Hyspian Schism by Viceroy Cesar I Certificate of Honorary Citizenship by Viceroy Cesar I The Passing of the Throne by Viceroy-Emeritus Cesar I The Investiture of Francisco I by Viceroy Francisco I The Hyspian Abdication by Viceroy Francisco I The Paraiso Agreement: Hyspian Independence by Viceroy Cesar II The History of Hyspia by Señor Vicente Murietta II An Amendment to Titles by Sovereign Ramona I A Change Long Overdue by Sovereign Ramona I The Succession of Hyspia by Sovereign Ramona I HYSPIAN LITERATURE This section hosts a series of poetry, songs and stories of the Hyspian people. El Matador by Bishop Agustin of Cordoba Perdida Del Amor: A Hyspian Poem by Señor Vicente Murietta I Welcome to Ciudad de Plata: A Hyspian Song by Princess Sofia of Hyspia Oh, Blessed Amity!: A Hyspian Song by Princess Sofia of Hyspia Dear Analiesa: A Hyspian Song by Princess Sofia of Hyspia La Dorada: A Hyspian Song by Queen Sofia Barbanov-Bihar of Hyspia A Tale of Horse and Crow: A Hanso-Hyspian Folktale by Queen Sofia Barbanov-Bihar of Hyspia ON THE COURTS This section has varying court missives of the Hyspian peoples detailed for your perusal. The Hyspian Culture by Viceroy Cesar I A Notif of Dama de Honor for Wilhelmina Wick by Princess Sofia of Hyspia A Notif of Dama de Honor for Callista Santosby Princess Sofia of Hyspia A Notif of Dama de Honor for Isidora Antunez by Princess Sofia of Hyspia The Second Notif of Dama de Honor for Isidora Antunez by Princess Sofia of Hyspia A Notif of Dama de Honor for Anne von Leopold by Princess Sofia of Hyspia The Second Notif of Dama de Honor for Anne von Leopold by Princess Sofia of Hyspia Sobre Perfumeriaby Princess Sofia of Hyspia A Notif of Trial for Albunus Alfonzo by Princess Sofia of Hyspia Corrida de Toros in Honor of Princess Sofiaby Señorita Isidora Antunez Wards of Hyspia by Vicereine-Consort Amity of Ghaestenwald Cosmeticos de Hyspia by Vicereine-Consort Amity of Ghaestenwald Idioma de Las Fans by Crown Princess Esperanza The Etiquette of Writing Letters by Queen Sofia Barbanov-Bihar of Hyspia La Dorada: Our Golden Home by Viceroy Cesar II Flowers of Hyspia by Vicereine-Consort Karyna of Malkovya Consejo de Flores by Vicereine-Consort Karyna of Malkovya Hyspian Language Guide by Vicereine-Consort Karyna of Malkovya An In-Depth Look Into Hyspian Fashion by Infanta Renata Alba The Hyspian New Player Guide by Señora Mariposa Murietta The Common People of Hyspia by Señora Mariposa Murietta El Puente: Informational Guide by Infanta Renata Alba The Coming of Age Traditions of Hyspia by Sovereign-Consort Dimitri of Koravia Courtly Changes by Sovereign-Consort Dimitri of Koravia A Handbook to Hyspian Court Etiquette by Baroness Fleur Halcourt The Hyspian Calendar by Princess-Royal Renata Alba What is an Infanta? by Princess-Royal Renata Alba Los Signos Del Zodiaco de Hyspia by Princess-Royal Renata Alba The Guide to Servantry Handbook by Princess-Royal Renata Alba The Hyspia Servantry Directory by Princess-Royal Renata Alba THE WORKS OF HOUSE DE PELEAR This section details the writings and works of the royal house of de Pelear. The Baronial House of de Pelear by Baron Javier de Pelear The Disownment of Alejandro de Pelear by Viceroy Francisco I Medical Notes of the Hyspian Crown Princessby Crown Princess Esperanza A Game of Aviary by Princess Sofia of Hyspia The Viceroyal House of de Pelear by Viceroy Francisco I THE WORKS OF HOUSE DENODADO This section details the writings and works of the noble house of Denodado. The School of Veronica by Viscount Demitrey Denodado A Writ of Disownment by Baron Demitrey Denodado The Rams Appeal by Baron Demitrey Denodado Writ of Challenge: Audo Weiss by Baron Demitrey Denodado A Retraction of Words by Baron Demitrey Denodado The Abdication of Demitrey Denodado by Viscount Demitrey Denodado THE WORKS OF HOUSE SALAZAR This section details the writings and works of the noble house of Salazar. The Salazar Household by Baron Joaquin Salazar THE WORKS OF HOUSE DEL MARAVILLA This section details the writings and works of the noble house of del Maravilla. The del Maravilla Household by Princess-Royal Renata Alba MISCELLANEOUS This section details miscellaneous works and writings that don’t fit in any particular section of its own. Edicto de Serria by Viceroy Cesar II Edicto de Montenno by Viceroy Cesar II El Zodiaco de Hyspia: I by Infanta Renata Alba El Zodiaco de Hyspia: II by Infanta Renata Alba El Zodiaco de Hyspia: III by Princess-Royal Renata Alba A Changing of Banners by Sovereign Ramona I Letters for the Barony of Campagnon by Sovereign Ramona I Letters for the Viscounty of Banderas by Sovereign Ramona I Letters for the Barony of Campos Salvajes by Sovereign Ramona I Letters for the Dual Barony of Soles Gemelos by Sovereign Ramona I El Zodiaco de Hyspia: IV by Infante Rafael Arsenico Signed, HER ROYAL HIGHNESS, Renata Alba del Maravilla, Princess-Royal of Hyspia, Duchess of La Dorada, Baroness of Clemente, Gran Chamberlan of the Girasol Courts
  2. THE MONARCHS OF BALIAN A Completed Study and Report of the Past, Present, and Future Monarchs of the Kingdom of Balian Written, Updated, and Edited By: Lord Casimir Marius Vilac 一 The Monarch of Balian, is the absolute ruler and authoritative figure in the Kingdom of Balian. The only authority higher than the Crown is GOD. The Monarch has the final say in all matters of state and has no equal in legal power. In order to effectively rule, the Monarch of Balian elects a Duana, originally known as the Ducal Chamber, which is a small, trusted group of individuals that carry out specific tasks in the governance of Balian. The Duana contains the Constable, Legate, Domus Ministri, Magister, Procurator, Palatiodora, and Amiratus. The Amiratus, or Chief Minister, is the King’s personal advisor and the penultimate authority within the Kingdom. The Amiratus also manages and runs the Duana. The Monarch of Balian is never seen far away from their Consort. All Queen-Consorts and Prince-Consorts thus far have been of noble lineage, hold considerable sway in matters and help run the kingdom effectively. Note that they do not have equal power to the Monarch. The current ruling family in Balian is House Novellen. Once the Imperial House in the Holy Orenian Empire, the remnants marched South after the Brother’s War and founded the Grand Duchy of Balian under King John I. House Novellen has existed since 1753, after the Union between Joseph I and Anne I, and has a strong future ahead of it. 一一一一一一一一一一 I King King John I of Balian John Casimir Novellen 1817-1900 | 21 B.A. - 33 B.A. | 1867 - 1900 @Imperium Consort: Gwenyth of Karosgrad Children: Alexander I, King of Balian, Princess Royal Constantia Irene Novellan, Princess Augustina Therosia Novellen, Countess of Salia, Prince Constantine Antonius Novellen, Archduke of Petra, Princess Persephone Maxima Novellen-Vilac John Casimir, or John I, was the first King of Balian and the only Grand Duke of the Grand Duchy of Balian. Born in 1817 in the Holy Orenian Empire under the reign of Philip II, he was the second son of Prince Philip Aurelian Novellen, the Heir Apparent of the Empire. The early years of John I were unremarkable, to say the least, and he fell into the background, as he was never meant to rule. But rule, he did. Growing up as a member of the Imperial Household, John Casimir had access to the finest education and became proficient in a multitude of fields, including Military Command, Politics, Economics, and others. However, he had a remarkable prowess for militarism, as was shown in the later years of his life. When the War of the Wigs erupted between Oren and Urguan, John served alongside his brother, Philip III, and fought in numerous battles, including the Siege of Haverlock and the Battle of Lower Petra, two major victories for the Imperials. Soon, though, the golden years of the Holy Orenian Empire came to a close after the tragic deaths of John’s brother, Philip III, and his wife. When the Brother’s War erupted between Prince Frederick Novellen and Peter IV, John sided with the Imperialists. After a decisive battle in New Providence, Peter IV is slain, and John Casimir rallies what little remains of the Imperialist forces. Facing utter defeat from the Royalists, John leads the remnants south, following the Star of Saint Lothar. Crossing oceans and wandering through deserts, John Casimir eventually landed upon a mount, which was named Monterosa. There he declared the formation of a new nation, the Grand Duchy of Balian, and the construction of a new city, Atrus. With the help of his consort, Gwenyth of Atrus, John I built up the city of Atrus and led the Orenian remnants in creating a new haven for all. Still, the new Balianese found backlash and heartache from the original inhabitants of the land: the Nashifah Confederacy. In what would become known as the War of the Ruffians, the Grand Duchy of Balian, alongside their Norlandic and Hyspian allies, fought against the Nashifah and secured their foothold in the southern deserts of Almaris. In the aftermath of the war, John continued to develop the Grand Duchy of Balian, implementing the Ducal Chamber and other changes. The Grand Duchy and its citizens flourished in the desert, and soon it would no longer be a Grand Duchy but a Kingdom. Finally, in 21 B.A, John Casimir Novellen is crowned King John I of Balian, beginning his twelve year reign as King. His Queen-Consort, however, became more absent, shying away from the public. Though the two remained loyal till the end of their days, the public rarely saw the Queen-Consort. So much so that it was assumed she perished. John I, unwavering, continued to develop the Kingdom of Balian, issuing land permits to the noble houses. Finally, in 1900, 33 B.A., John I fell ill and became bed-ridden alongside his loyal wife, Gwenyth Anaystasia. John I continued to try and govern the Kingdom alongside his Royal Chamber, but it was in vain. It was the royal couple’s time to depart. The Queen-Consort passed on, and in the very next hour, the reign of John I, First King and Grand Duke of Balian, came to an end. 一一一一一一一一一一 II King King Alexander I of Balian Alexandros Casimir Novellen 1861-1921 | 33 B.A. - 54 B.A. @Shmeepicus Consort: Yelena of Marsana Children: Adrian I, King of Balian, Prince Alexios Michael Novellen, Count of Pavano, Princess Royal Elena Casimira Novellen de Lyons, Countess of Rosemoor, Princess Lydia Antheia Novellen, Countess of Caluzzo Alexandros Casimir Novellen, more commonly known as Alexander, was the firstborn child of John I and Gwenyth of Atrus. Born in 1861 in the Holy Orenian Empire, under the reign of Philip III, his childhood was a tumultuous one, filled with wars and violence. Living through near back-to-back wars, Alexander never had the childhood a child deserves. At the age of only 7, Alexander and his father, John I, led the Imperialist remnants south to rebuild after the loss of the Brother’s War. After establishing the Grand Duchy of Balian atop Monterosa, Alexander began to adapt to his new life in the South. During his teen years, it was common to see Alexander training with the Company of Balian among its officers. While he never officially took up rank within the Balian military, it was noted that he displayed remarkable proficiency with the bow on horseback. Some may say that Alexander’s training with the Company may have saved his life on numerous occasions. Alexander continued to participate in various skirmishes and battles as the Grand Duchy of Balian maintained its foothold in the South. He fought alongside John I in the War of the Ruffians, helping to secure multiple decisive Balian victories. At a young age, Prince Alexander began to develop feelings for Yelena Lorena vas Ruthern. Yelena had grown up much like Alexander in the shadows of the Brother’s War and retreated to Balian alongside the rest of the Imperialist remnants. As the pair grew closer in the Grand Duchy, they both fell in love and were wed in 1882. Alexander continued to help with the ruling of Balian, standing in for his father when needed. When the Kingdom of Balian was formed, Alexander took on the role of heir apparent, not to a Grand Duchy but to a kingdom. A king to be. Following the death of King John I in 33 B.A., Alexandros Casimir Novellen ascended the throne as King Alexander I of Balian, thus beginning a twenty-one year reign. In many ways, Alexander’s reign was marked by peace, justice, and prosperity. After the chaos of his childhood and the chaos that befell the Orenian Empire, Alexander led the kingdom of Balian into an era of opulence. That is, until tales of a vile beast began to spread around the continent. A name that made even the strongest of knights tremble in fear. Cloudbreaker. Thus began one of the largest mobilization efforts in the history of Almaris. A war against the dead was about to be waged. As the forces of Iblees began to enact terror on the land, the soldier King led the charge against it. Alongside his Duana, Princess Lydia Antheia, and Seneschal Ledicort Vuiller, a covenant was drafted that was named The Atrus Covenant. In one of the most spectacular accomplishments of the Kingdom of Balian, for the first time in what seemed like decades, the descendants were united. From Urguan to Vortice to the Iron Horde, a united front was built with the singular goal of slaying the undead. And so, the day came. The sky above Atrus darkened, and the crackling of crimson lightning was seen throughout the desert. The Atrus Covenant stood ready to defend the city. As the siege began, that vile beast was spotted—a cruel, imposing skeleton of what once might have been a majestic being. Undead flesh hung from the wings and bones of the creature. Teeth the size of longswords lined its jaw, ready to crush a man in seconds. The drake flew towards Atrus, and the fight began. The soldier King stood with his men and even his children, organizing the effort to destroy the evil Cloudbreaker. The Atrus Covenant fought tooth and nail against the undead until, finally, victory was achieved and Atrus was saved from annihilation. King Alexander I had slain a dragon. Despite the incredible feat of killing the undead, Alexander became known for more than just fighting. After the events of the Siege of Cloudbreaker, the soldier King became no more. Instead, he began a dream. A dream that is shared by his son and heir, Hadrian. The dream of Pax Humanis. Even towards the end of Alexander’s rule, when the Adrian rebellion took place, he never wavered in his dream of peace. In the waning hours of his reign, Alexander I formed a new covenant, or a League. The Canonist League was formed, uniting much of humanity under one banner. As he grew older, Alexander came down with a terrible disease, much like his father. For two years, Alexander’s son Hadrian and Gaius var Ruthern ran the kingdom. Night befell the Palatio Monterosa in Atrus. Tales began to circulate within the palace that Alexander’s time had come. As his children and close relatives were called up to his room, it became clear what was happening. One by one, the visitors came and went, saying their goodbyes to their King. And as his chest fell still, King Alexander I, ‘the Just,’ of Balian joined his brother, mother, and father. 一一一一一一一一一一 III King King Adrian I of Balian Hadrian Casimir Novellen 28 B.A. - 89 B.A.| 54 B.A. - 89 B.A. @ErikAzog Consort: Andromeda of Ba’as Children: Princess Johanna Casimira Novellen, Princess of Monterosa, Heir Apparent to Balian, Prince Alexander Casimir Novellen, Count of Pontazuro, Sybille I Queen of Balian, Countess of Senna, Princess Eirene Daria Novellen, Countess of Caluzzo, Prince Michael Marcellus Novellen Hadrian Casimir Novellen, also known as Adrian, was the firstborn child of King Alexander I of Balian and Yelena of Marsana. Born in 1895, Hadrian Casimir Novellen lived a relatively peaceful life throughout his childhood, quite the opposite of his father. During the Siege of Cloudbreaker, he and his sister, Lydia, took up arms against the beast and the undead. As Hadrian aged, he became more interested in the arts of alchemy, taking various lessons and learning a variety of skills, becoming one of the most skilled alchemists in the Kingdom of Balian. During his teenage years, the Prince became acquainted with the newly arrived Princess Andromeda of Ba’as. A striking and elegant figure, Andromeda quickly made a name for herself within the Kingdom and on Hadrian. Approving of the match, King Alexander I of Balian announced in a missive the eventual marriage between Hadrian and Andromeda, which was scheduled for the year 1920, 27 B.A. The wedding and celebrations took place, and it was soon known that Princess Andromeda was with child. As the years changed, it became clear that King Alexander would not see another year. Hadrian and Andromeda said their goodbyes to the aging king, and King Alexander passed away. Hadrian Casimir Novellen ascended the Balianese throne as King Adrian I of Balian, beginning his thirty-five year reign. Before the coronation of Adrian I, Andromeda of Ba’as gave birth to the Heir Apparent of Balian, a spry Princess! Princess Johanna Casimira Novellen became set to inherit the throne of Balian Adrian I continued his father’s wishes, condemning the Adrian Rebellion and continuing to build relations with other nations as well as strengthening the Canonist League. However, the most defining moment of Adrian’s reign thus far is soon to come. Whispers across the continent of Almaris began to surface of a new foe, stronger and more powerful than the undead faced at the Siege of Cloudbreaker. They were soon given a name. The Mori’quessir. As the Mori Invasion began to carve its way throughout the continent, the descendants banded together once more to put an end to this seemingly impossible foe. Skirmishes and battles were fought all across Almaris as every nation faced the threat head on But it soon became apparent: The Mori would succeed. Still, the descendants fought back, even after the Fall of Alisgrad in Norland and other strongholds, until the Mori began knocking at the gates of Atrus. A sandstorm kicked up, and Atrus came under siege. The Mori surged forward, and the Balianese, led by Adrian I, fought back. For the veterans of Balian, it was reminiscent of the Siege of Cloudbreaker. But for many, it was their first taste of combat at home. As the battle waged on, the Balianese saw that it was to no avail. Where one was killed, two took their place. An evacuation order was announced, and the citizens of the Kingdom took refuge in the ruins of Savoy. That was the last stand against the Mori’quessir. The time grew near, and the descendants gave it their all. Every survivor, soldier, woman, and child fought with everything they had. But it was no use. Adrian I led his people to safety, aboard ships that carried the survivors to new, uncharted waters. After a brief stop on the island of Failor, Balian found its new home on the continent of Aevos. There, King Adrian I and Queen-Consort Andromeda of Ba’as established a new city: Portoregne. The Kingdom of Balian grew strong and prosperous in the early years of Aevos. The Royal Balianese Armada was formed. New peerages were given, and new lands were discovered and claimed. The Kingdom of Balian became a large supplier of military equipment, including the newly discovered Daemonsteel. But a joy in the hearts of all was soon taken away. Princess Johanna Casimiar Novellen, heiress of Balian, set sail on a voyage in the early hours of a fateful morning. Soon, a storm came, taking her ship with it. Adrian I sent the Marines of Balian’s Armada to find her, but it was to no avail. The only thing left of the spry princess was the wreckage of her ship. The Heiress of Balian was announced to be dead, and the title passed to Adrian’s firstborn son, Alexander Casimira, and soon after, to his daughter: Sibyl Gwenyth Novellen. As the kingdom mourned the loss of their beloved princess, the years came and went. Adrian continued to learn alchemy, delving into the art of smoggers. A decision that would ultimately be the end of him. His steadfast Amiratus, Gaius var Ruthern, retired, and in his place, Elena Casimira Novellen de Lyons became the kingdom’s next Amiratus. Adrian and his sister would lead Balian into the next era and through the darkness that loomed on the horizon. But before the continental wide conflict, a personal conflict occurred at home for the King. His Queen-Consort, Andromeda of Ba'as, sought to emancipate herself from the Kingdom of Balian, claiming that Adrian I was an “unfaithful king.” The King of Balian responded swiftly to the Queen Mother, and a divorce for the royal couple was soon ratified by the Church. Adrian stated the treasons of Andromeda, and for this, he gained the respect of his subjects. I have never seen the Queen Mother since that fateful day, but I doubt she is as beautiful as she once was. I am doubtless, though, in the wickedness of her heart. After the debacle at home, Adrian continued to lead his people, but there was no more peace for him. It became known that up north, the League of Veletz and its ally, Stassion, were causing trouble. They harbored ferrymen and bandits, highwaymen and raiders, and brought hate to this world. The Crown Princess of Balian, Sibyl Gwenyth, and a small party were traveling north. The Princess was heavily pregnant at the time with her first child but Veletz and Stassion did not care. They preyed on her and took her. In response, the Canonist nations rode out to rescue the princess under the Church’s banner. She returned home and soon gave birth to a son: Alexandros Casimir Novellen. As the child was born, so too was war. More crimes became known of the League of Veletz. They abducted children. They assassinated a King. They abducted pregnant women and preyed on the weak. The continent of Aevos could not idly sit by and let these atrocities go unanswered. Adrian I of Balian, alongside Aleksandr II of Haense, Cesar II of Hyspia, Catherine I of the Petra, and Garedyn the Emerald of Urguan, formed the Covenant of Five, better known as the Covenant. Soon to be joined by the Kingdom of Aaun, the largest army ever assembled prepared to fight. Banners were raised and steel was sharpened for the unrighteous blood of Veletz, and Stassion would stain the Heartlands. Operation Anchor began. The Siege of Breakwater was the first large-scale battle in the War against Veletz. The Covenant smashed Breakwater, leaving nothing but burnt stumps and dust from the stone walls that once stood menacingly over the Heartlands. Then Operation Overdraft occurred. Better known as the Siege of Brasca, the Covenant again smashed the walls down. To many it seemed that the war was going to be over soon, after only two years of fighting. How naive we were. Operation Ashen Sky was a field battle, near the ruins of Brasca. In fact, the shattered walls of Brasca loomed over the field that Ashen Sky would try to take. The Covenant heavily outnumbered the forces of Veletz and Stassion two to one. It was one of the largest armies ever assembled. And it was cut to shreds. Eighteen thousand men and women were cut down due to the slow Daemonsteel armour that the covenant wore. A monumental defeat for the Covenant and the League began their offensive, aiming their sights at the Kingdom of Balian. The Defense of Balian, or the Battle of Hippo’s Gorge, was a fight like no other and Adrian I of Balian did not live to see it. The years of perfecting his alchemical craft destroyed his body. The smog from his machines coated his lungs. Hadrian Casimir, my cousin and friend, passed away, surrounded by his friends and family. His father’s dream of Pax Humanis was passed on to his daughter. 一一一一一一一一一一 I Queen Queen Sybille I of Balian Sibyl Gwenyth Novellen 59 B.A - Present | 90 B.A. - Present @HIGH_FIRE Consort: Ezren of Tuvia Children: Prince Alexandros Casimir Novellen, Prince of Monterosa, Duke of Atrus, Heir Apparent of Balian, Princess Royal Ariadne Casimira, Duchess of Rosemoor, Princess Elianos Hadrian, and Princess Ophelia Johanna Born Sibyl Gwenyth Novellen, Queen Sybille I of Balian, is the third-born child of Adrian I and Andromeda of Ba’as. After the tragic passing of her sister, Johanna Casimira, and the unwillingness to take on the role of heir from her elder twin brother, Sibyl was named the Princess of Monterosa and became the Heir of Balian during the latter years of her father’s reign. Instead of following in her father’s footsteps in studying alchemy, Sibyl has become a fashion icon in Balian. Representing the vibrant culture of the Kingdom through stark contrasts of color and striking outfits, she is the very definition of Balian. The early years of Sibyl Novellen were during the peace of her father’s reign. During her childhood, she grew close to Ezren Kervallen, son of Ser Ephrem Kervallen, Viscount of Tuvia. The life of Ezren Kervallen is covered in The Consorts of the Kingdom of Balian. The two would later marry, and Ezren would become the kingdom’s first Prince-Consort. As previously mentioned, Sibyl's first pregnancy was a cataclysmic one, which became one of the reasons for the war against Veletz. Thankfully, the Princess of Monterosa survived and gave birth to her heir. The horrors of war stained the continent, and Veletz was bringing it close to home. Adrian I passed away, and Sybille I inherited a kingdom on the brink of invasion. The Battle of Hippo’s Gorge will go down in history as one of the most significant battles in all of Aevos’ history. The Covenant, limping from a heavy loss of eighteen thousand men, took the long march south to the archipelagos of Balian. There, they stood. The Covenant held firm on a small peninsula. Small fortifications dotted the landscape as cavalrymen rode in and out. The lines held firm. An elite strike force darted through the lines, targeting the higher ranking officials in the League’s armies. The order to ride out came. Once. The League reorganized. The horns blew again. Twice. The League’s line began to break. The ground thundered with the hooves of horses and Balianese hippos. A shout was heard. Thrice. The League’s line broke. Fifteen Thousand Covenant soldiers stood. The League kneeled. The League soldiers, who were not slaughtered by Covenant forces, were attacked by the beasts of the gorge. All defended their homes on this day. This was the crucible for Sybille’s reign, and she came out of the fire as pure gold. Following the defense of Balian, the Covenant executed Operation Equinox, aimed at eliminating the League’s foremost ally: Stassion. The Covenant marched north. Since the beginning of the war, the Covenant of Five has grown to eight and has been joined by Aaun, the Kingdom of Numendil, and the Kingdom of Norland. All banners helped defend Balian, and all banners marched now to Stassion. A large Covenant force amassed outside the hideous walls of Stassion. There, the Covenant massacred them. No soldier, who stood within the walls of the Anthill survived. Operation Solstice sieged the fort at Drusco. The battle was over in moments. The covenant scaled the cliffs of the river Petra, traversed across the bridge, and took the fort in mere minutes. Operation Talionis took the Northern Hinterlands of Veletz. The Covenant learned from their first field battle and slaughtered their foes. The League of Veletz was dissolved and formed into the Duchy of Adria. No matter, the Bull must die. Operation Retribution was announced, a three-pronged operation containing Operations Rising Tide, Setting Sun, and Dawn Comes. This operation never took place as peace talks began. Sybille I, along with her allies in the Covenant, issued the Winburgh Proclamation. The decade long war was over. A promise was kept to her late father that Balian would see the dawn. After a small group of rebels tried to declare independence, the Covenant officially established victory. A dream of Alexander I and Adrian I was now on the horizon. Pax Humanis. Following the decade-long war, Sybille has remained at home in Balian. The peace has been maintained, and my generation is slowly returning to the earth. Elena Casimira Novellen de Lyons, Amiratus of the Queen, was tragically killed. Her second son, Percival de Lyons, was appointed the next Amiratus. More tragedy loomed on the horizon. A fire was started in the Church of Portoregne. The Prince-Consort was one of the first to arrive. He, along with Sybille, faced a near omnipotent foe. Fire began to engulf the building. The Queen was trapped. Brave souls helped her escape the collapsing church. But Ezren stayed. The Prince-Consort was wrapped in a blinding light. His soul was given to Malchediael. The first Prince-Consort gave his life for his wife, his Queen. The pains of this time were felt by all, including myself. Ezren of Tuvia helped me find a wife, and Princess Elena was a close friend of mine. No one else will fill the hole that their deaths have left in my heart. I miss them dearly. Percival de Lyons stepped down from his position of Amiratus. His successor and current Amiratus is Kristoff var Ruthern. The Queen’s Duana has been hard at work to bring more culture and presence to the Kingdom of Balian, following the war. Sybille I recently joined her kingdom in celebrating the Balian Centennial. Yet, one of the most impactful moments of her reign occurred just recently. The Covenant that fought against the League of Veletz and the Duchy of Adria has been reformed into the Covenant of Man. The Covenant of Man is a united mankind. It is Pax Humanis. The continent of Aevos has entered a new age of peace and prosperity. Sybille I entered her reign on the brink of invasion, but her reign continues into the dawn of Pax Humanis. 一一一一一一一一一一 The Future King Prince Alexandros ‘Xander’ Casimir of Balian Alexandros Casimir Novellen 85 B.A. - Present @Harald Prince Alexandros Casimir Novellen is the first-born son of Sybille I and Ezren of Tuvia. Born at the beginning of the Covenant’s war against Veletz, he lived much of his early life sheltered inside the walls of Portoregne. Since the peace of the Winburgh Proclamation, Prince Xander has taken to exploring the wider continent of Aevos. There is still much life in the young prince and much more ahead. While I doubt that I will see his reign, I have full faith in his abilities. The high sun of Balian is still ahead of us all. 一一一一一一一一一一 SIGNED, Her Royal Majesty, Sybille I, by the Grace of GOD, Queen of Balian, Princess of Providence, Duchess of Helena, Reutov, Sunholdt and Lorraine, Countess of Pompourelia and Kositz, Viscountess of Eflen and Anatis, Baroness of Renzfield, Brucca, Valens, Malenos and Ciavola, Lady of Portoregne, Atrus and Monterosa, Warden of La Costa Rubinissima, Protector of the Heartlanders and the South, etcetera. His Excellency, CASIMIR MARIUS VILAC, Baron of Valio, Patriarch of House Vilac, Gran Don of Balian, Lord Camareiro of the Palatio Arancione
  3. THE REINMAREN DUTY Art depicting an instance of Reinmaren commerce. DIE REINMAREN-PFLICHT | THE REINMAREN DUTY Issued by Leon II, Prince in Reinmar In the year of our Lord 1969 Medieval II Total War Music "The Widow" ÖHNE UND TÖCHTER VON REINMAR, THE REINMAREN HAVE ALWAYS ANSWERED TO CALLS AND POWERS HIGHER THAN THEMSELVES. From the lowly burgher to the high chief, every Reinmaren has a duty to serve. This text shall provide context to our system of hierarchy and how our ancestors fulfilled their obligations. In contemporary society, the Reinmaren hierarchy has come to include outlanders who fall under the burgher class. During the times of Theoderic and Gelimar, one would seldom find an outlander in a Reinmaren holdfast, which was typically only inhabited by a chieftain and his sworn men. A Reinmaren man accredited his successes to the gods of the forests, mountains, and rivers. He owed his loyalty to his clan and family. He was compelled to break bread with his brothers, and make sacrifices to his forefathers. THE WARRIOR The warrior made up the base of Reinmaren society. He was duty-bound to offer his spear to his chieftain’s warband during times of war, and to till the land his chieftain allowed him during times of peace. A warrior was owed land, a share of the spoils from battle, and a place at his chieftain’s assembly. What he did not eat or sacrifice would go to his chief. THE REEVE The reeve stood above the warrior and was typically the most senior member of a chief’s holding. He was expected to collect taxes on behalf of his chief, and was entrusted with ensuring that loot was shared amongst the chief’s men, from which he was entitled to the greatest number of horses. He was pledged to gather the spears of the Reinmaren during times of war and act as their commander. Reeves were owed a place at the chieftain’s table and rights to appropriate his villagers’ horses and livestock if necessary. THE HIRDMAN The hirdman was the most trusted companion of a chieftain. He was appointed to the protection of his chieftain, the master of the hird, and offered him counsel. The hirdman was sent to ensure tasks were completed according to the chief’s will, an embodiment of his hand. A chief would refer to his hirdmen as brothers, extending to them the same privileges as his own kin. While his lord lived, the warrior owed him loyalty unto death. If his lord were killed, the warrior had to avenge him or die in the attempt. When a chieftain broke bread, the first portions would be reserved for him. A hirdsman was entitled to the first pick of the spoils of war, the right to wear a torc and ornaments befitting a noble warrior, and the privilege of carrying a chieftain’s body and possessions to his funeral pyre after death. A heroic warrior brought up in the fellowship of the hird would show a reckless disregard for his life, sacrificing all for the wellbeing of chieftain and tribe. Whether he was doomed or not, courage was best, for the brave man could win glory among men, while the coward might die before his time. This is the spirit which inspired the code of the Hird. THE CHIEFTAIN The chieftain was the head of his clan. Some were bound to serve a high chief or another chief as a tributary whilst others answered to none but the gods themselves. He was expected to protect his people from harm, lead his tribe in sacrifices, and galvanize his assembly. As chief, he was compelled not only to act justly, but also to ensure that his hirdsmen, reeves, and warriors were free of corruption. His sacred duty was to defend the mountains, forests, and rivers his clan inhabited, safeguarding the lands where their ancestors rested. The chieftain enjoyed a multitude of privileges and maintained the right to command every man within his lands, for their farms were his farms, their animals were his animals, and their spears were his spears. The lord in turn had the duty of being generous to his warriors. He himself had to be a formidable warrior to draw capable men to his side, and a figure of noble and generous character to maintain those men within his service. This system of obligation and duty ensured cohesion in every clan. The Reinmaren stood as one, from tribesmen to chieftain, every member of a tribe contributed to its success. We continue these practices in a way to this day, for duty and hierarchy ensures the stability of our great tribe. WER RASTET, DER ROSTET HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS, LEON, Prince in Reinmar and of Minitz, Count of Neu Brandthof, Viscount of Tucay, Baron of Boriënwald, Lord of Durres, Chieftain of the Reinmaren, Warden of the Franklands and Ferdenwald HER LADYSHIP, FREDERICA, Baroness of Sigradz, Seneschal of the Heather Court
  4. Historia Caeliae I. A Collection of a General History of the Caelian People. GENTE CAELIANVS [A.V.V. I] During the time of Velia, within the walls of Colonia Aeqivm the Contuberniae of Caelianvs and the supporting Cohort were driven out from the walls of the colony. This was after an altercation with a tribe of Ravenous Orcs terrorizing the Velian countryside. Due to an egregious emphasis on patricii the men who would soon be known as Caelians would pledge their support for Caelianvs of Ramneseivs; their pledges were hails of Imperator. Knowing the humbleness of the situation, Caelianvs would deny his title of Imperator and instead insist on the name of Praefectvs simply meaning the man in charge. Whilst the tribes of Caelia were marching from their colony in hopes of finding a new land to settle, the truth of divinity would make itself known to Caelianvs, that being his father who was the God of War Sacra Belldevm. Fighting off the forces of the void the Caelians would find themselves battered and beaten by the terrain and monsters that roamed the wilderness. Their ties to the gods were deepend by such tragedies; this can especially be said after the massacre committed by the Unicornii who stampeded into the Caelian camp and slaughtered the inhabitants of which totaled upwards of hundreds of the only 800 Caelians. Once arriving at what seemed to be a suitable spot for settlement the news of an invasion sweeping all of Atlas reached the Caelian Tribes of which preparations were made immediately. Setting sail the Caelians took a similar treacherous path to the rest of the descendants as they sailed south around Atlas into what would be known as Arcas. The Caelians had made landfall on an island to the south of the rest of humanity, there a harsh desert marked the northern border of their people and life was prosperous. [A.V.V. XVII] All could not be well within Caelia forever as the two sons of Caelianvs whom had grown up along their path in Atlas were now men and greed would soon take the better of them. Out of greed the older son Filione would murder his father in his sleep, the culprit was caught red handed by the Legionnaires as his flee was attempted. A small group of his supporters followed and a clash between those few followers and the Caelian Legion commenced in which the Younger Son Ivllianvs Ramneseivs vanquished his brother having him crucified and was hailed as the next Praefectvs. The Reign of Praefectvs Ivllianvs would last for 6 years before the settlement grew complacent and would become engulfed in a series of raids by bandits; the Caelian legion was routed and the civilians scattered into the Korvassan Desert. Humiliated by the loss Ivllianvs would take his own light upon life, surrendering his soul to the seven skies. [A.V.V. XXIII] CONTINVANDVM HISTORIA CAELIAE SECONDA CAELIA INVICTA SENATVS POPVLVSQVE. CAELIANVM
  5. [!] A missive would find itself in the mailboxes of all Lords, Ladies and Commoners in the realm. A STUDY INTO HAENSETI JEWELRY MEANINGS THROUGHOUT THE AGES: Amethyst and Pearls Issued by Lady Ofeliya of House Weiss Naf zwy 10th hag i Gronna ag Drova i 509 E.S. [A depiction of the young Lady Weiss and her studies.] Over the ages of our Kingdom, the courts under each Queen have drafted and published their missives. This study that I am writing looks into these published missives, and more specifically, the ones on Haenseti jewelry, its meaning and its restrictions throughout our class system. In studying this, I have found contradictions and parts that coincide alike but I am proud to say that a majority of it coincides, and builds upon the previous missive, even many years apart. With thanks to the Royal Courts Compendium, it has allowed me to gather much of my research material which will be tacked onto this for reference as to my work. To start with in my paper today, we look at two previously written missives, the earlier missive written under Her Royal Majesty, Queen Emma's reign, ‘Moda i ve Kort: Gemstones’. It touches on gemstones and their respective symbolism in the courts of Haense, speaking on varying jewels that have not been touched upon further in newer missives. What I am most interested in is the jewels that have been touched on since. Our first gemstone is the amethyst, in Her Majesty's missive, it speaks on it not being common within the nobility of Haense and instead being used more primarily by scholars and scientists as a symbol of their work and devotion to scholarly arts. Touching further upon this, it speaks of the stone being known for bringing clarity and wisdom alike. In the second missive, published under Her Royal Majesty, Queen Amaya's reign, ‘The Haeseni Birthstones’, it touches on the birthstones linked to the Haeseni Zodiacs and on their meanings. Once again, we see scholarly work upon the amethyst gemstone. There are aspects to this that coincide with the previously touched on missive, and contradict alike, showing how the viewing of jewels and gemstones in Haenseti life can change overtime. In this instance, as opposed to amethysts previously, it speaks of it being associated with nobility and royalty alike. Self-sacrifice and the willingness to do something for others at the cost of their own health is touched on quite heavily, but as add-on to the wisdom and knowledge spoken of in the previous missive. Pearls throughout the ages of our Kingdom have a history of contradictions, while in parts coinciding with previous missives but the one thing to stay the same throughout the passing of time is the importance of them. In Her Royal Majestys, Queen Emma's missive touched on previously, it seems to be the time in which the usage of pearls was most prevalent. It speaks on Haenseni freshwater pearls in particular, which were in abundance during that time and thus led to them being a staple in the courts. Men and women both added pearls to clothing and jewelry, and it speaks of how it is improper for a Lady to add them to her Kokoshnik. Adding further to the cultural value, one might note that widows were known to don pearls on their wrists or necks. In a second missive by Her Royal Majesty, Queen Emma, ‘Moda i ve Kort: Koenas Brooches’, it shows that continued staple of freshwater pearls and their use. The amount of pearls varied by the ranks, from a string of three pearls donned upon the Queens broach herself in the lower-left hand corner to lesser amounts of one such pearl upon a brooch. Most interesting is the positioning of the pearls holding their own meanings, if you are to look at the provided depictions, you will find that the Queen, and those of her councils brooches pearls all dangled from the lower left-hand corner as a means of identifying who is who. The amount of pearls and where the pearls sat showcased how high you sat upon Her Majesty's council. Should you have been honored with the Queen's commendation, though, it is on the opposite side entirely - the lower right-hand corner, just another aspect showcasing the importance of pearls in that time. What I find most fascinating is the contradiction in Her Royal Majesty, Queen Amaya's writings, though I have since come to believe that as this touches on oceanic pearls - the different pearl types have different meanings of their own. As opposed to freshwater pearls associated with the meaning of loss, the oceanic pearls take on the meaning of wisdom and serenity. It goes on to further speak on how the oceanic pearls compare to the offering of sacrifices by sailors seeking favor throughout history, going on to be treasured as symbols of protection and being blessed by the sea. In another missive, published by Her Royal Majesty, Queen Amadea, ‘Moda i ve Kort: Mourning’, it keeps with Queen Emma's missive that pearls are associated with mourning. A type of pearl is not mentioned in this, instead writing on pearls - presumably but not known for fact freshwater pearls, are the gem of death and class. They are seen as a relevant style of gem that can be worn during mourning, other than the Hussariyan or Lorraine cross or jewelry of the now deceased. The only difference in missives is that this touches not only on the widow being able to don pearls in mourning, but men and women alike, as they share similar mourning etiquette. --- In conclusion, I would like to thank my Mamej for looking this over when I was done and helping me with the bigger words used. I love you a ton! [!] Attached below are the missives in the order referred to. Moda i ve Kort: Gemstones The Haeseni Birthstones Moda i ve Kort: Koenas Brooches Moda i ve Kort: Mourning Signed, Her Ladyship, Ofeliya Fabienne Weiss
  6. Published by the County of Malkovya ISSUED ON THE 10TH OF VYZMEY AND HYFF, 491 E.S. Penned by the hand of The Right Honourable, Anabel Elia Colborn, Countess of Malkovya and Keeper of The Book "Historia av eldernvar visdomi av viselagda." - Anadan the Wise "History is the old world’s wisdom as seen by those before us." - Scyfling Proverb A significant portion of my work as Keeper of the Book of House Colborn is dedicated to the memory and preservation of our history; those great many practices upheld by our Scyfling ancestors many generations ago that have nearly been lost to history if it were not for the relics and records safeguarded by my predecessors. In part, it is due to the seclusion and protections placed on the Colborn library – an archive guarded by House Colborn ever since the day that our Founder, St. Carr of Carrenhall, met that famed young boy, St. Karl Barbanov – that this rich cultural history has been defended for so long. However, it is also due to the library’s concealment that the youth of today are uneducated on such topics. Therefore, it is part of my duty as the Protector of Scyflings and Keeper of this hallowed Book – in conjunction with the preservation efforts of the Head Librarian of House Colborn, Amelia Ceciliya Colborn – to share the tales, beliefs, and storied traditions of our Ancient Ancestors. Besides this Study, only word of mouth, the writings of our more recent ancestors like St. Carr, and past archaeological discoveries preserve them. There are a great many aspects of our Ancestors’ lives unable to be included in this publication, but it is my hope that any insight into our very ancient past might be preserved in the memories of youthful scholars. Naturally, the current traditions regarding such topics as Marriage and Burial among prominent Scyfling groups like the Comital House of Colborn in Hanseti-Ruska may have developed over time, and will therefore differ from the beliefs and practices detailed herein; such is as the ebb and flow of time dictates. However the perceptive Scholar may notice certain similarities that may indicate where and how current customs have come to be. It is also worth mentioning that it was only due to St. Carr’s influence that the Scyfling people were converted to follow the word of Godan, and that prior to this, Scyflings were a pagan group that followed their own pantheon of gods and goddesses. An ancient portrait picturing legendary warrior queen Brynhildr; famous for killing the hero Siefried after he tricks her into marrying a chieftain named Gundahar. , during the times prior to Scyfling conversion to Canonism, came from a need to attract the attention and blessings of the pagan Gods that were worshipped at that time. Earning these blessings were vital in order for the couple to become parents in the future and continue their bloodline. To allure the attention of the Gods, wedding traditions were intricate and complex, however this was also because of the legal implications that any marriage would have. Marriage was viewed as not only a Union of the bride and groom, but a Union of the two families from which they hailed, thus they could have an effect on mutual family property and/or lines of inheritance. At the time, an unmarried lady would attract the attention of the groom’s family who would gather their legal delegates to decide the value of her dowry, the value of the groom’s assets, set a date for the wedding, and to negotiate the wedding gift from the groom’s parents. The date was a vital thing to decide; weddings were traditionally held in the goddess of marriage’s sacred month, snow made winter weddings impossible, and weddings used to last a full week. After the groom’s family have agreed, they gather with their counsel, and other local figures to bring the proposal to the bride’s family. With the proposal, they promise to support and assist the bride’s family in future endeavors, and both families agree on mutually beneficial terms for the marriage. Often, the bride’s father and/or brothers would consult her on their betrothal choices before making a decision, as it was both legally difficult, and marriages frequently ended poorly if she was not complicit. Other ancient traditions were very intricate and complex, and each ritual was integral to earning the blessings of the gods for a future successful marriage. A group of Scyfling men celebrating and negotiating the gifts to offer a prospective bride’s family. occurred in the time period leading up to the wedding. The bride and groom would be separated with their parents, married siblings, and other married family and friends of each individual’s respective gender so that they can cleanse and strip away their former selves before entering a new life together and, for the bride, a new family. For the groom, he and his male family and friends would participate in a symbolic sword ceremony to rid him of his bachelorhood. It is said that he would be required to break into an ancestor’s grave-mound to retrieve their coveted family sword; it is believed that he ‘enters death’ as a boy and re-emerges back to life from within as a man reborn. After completing the ritual to obtain his sword and manhood, he and his family would wash away his bachelor status in a bathhouse to symbolically cleanse himself before the wedding. In this time, he would be instructed by his male relatives on his husbandly and fatherly duties going into a new life. After this bathing ritual, the groom would dress for his wedding. There was no official costume to wear, however the groom would carry with him the ancient sword of his ancestors, and a symbol of the god of lightning; a hammer or axe. These weapons symbolised the groom’s mastery of his marriage and was to ensure a fruitful marriage blessed by the gods. The bride would also undergo a similar cleansing ritual surrounded by her married female friends and relatives. Her kransen - a circlet symbolising her virginity - likely the item which inspired the roggeband years later, would be replaced by the bridal crown, and her other clothes associated with maidenhood were stripped and removed. The kransen was stored for the bride’s future daughters. She would cleanse herself in a bathhouse - according to the standard bathing practice - in which hot stones were placed in tubs to produce steam and birch twigs were used to induce sweating which was thought to wash away the bride’s maiden status. Lastly, the bride would plunge herself into cold water; closing her pores to complete the cleansing process. The bride’s hair was, at the time, more important than the dress she wore as it represented her sexual allure based on its length. To decorate the hair she would wear a family heirloom bridal crown, some of which still exist now. The bride would then be escorted to the location of the wedding by a young kinsman of hers who carried a sword which she would gift to her new husband. A clannish Scyfling woman preparing herself as part of the pre-wedding cleansing rituals. A picture of the goddess Iðunn, known as “the rejuvenating one” - she was associated with youth and was believed to keep the gods and goddesses young. , like most other things, was a highly symbolic affair. The groom and bride’s family would convene prior to the ceremony to exchange the dowry and bride-price before the religious ceremony could begin. Likely inspiring the present House Colborn practice of gifting a goat or sheep to the married couple, a sacrifice would then be held in which one goat and one sow respectively would be slain to honour the gods that would bless the marriage. The flesh of the sacrificed animals would later be used as part of the wedding feast, and the blood gathered from the killings in a sacred bowl was placed upon an altar made of heaped stones and twigs dipped into the blood. These twigs would then be sprinkled upon the couple and guests to confer the gods’ blessings upon them. The groom presents his recently-obtained ancestor’s sword to the bride - representing the traditions of the groom’s family and the continuation of his bloodline, which she would hold in trust for their future son, and she then gifts him with the sword brought to the ceremony for this purpose - representing the transferral of her father’s guardianship and protection to the husband. This exchanging of swords represents the sacred bond of marriage and is followed immediately by an exchange of divine rings presented upon the hilt of each partner’s newly received sword. With the rings upon their fingers, and the couple’s hands upon the hilt of the husband’s sword, they would each speak their vows to one another. A depiction of the brief courtship between a Scyfling man and his prospective bride. followed the ceremony and began with a ritual known in ancient texts as “bruð-hlaup” or, in common, bride-running for the bridal party. For the bridegroom, it was known as “bruð gumareid” or bridegroom’s ride. Whereas nowadays all attendants make their ways to the wedding feast in a rather dignified horse or foot procession, it believed that the bride-running procession was a race between the two families to make it to the feast hall first, and that whomsoever arrived last was obligated to serve ale to the other party for the remainder of the night. As the name suggests, the bridegroom’s party were permitted to mount while the bridal party had to go by foot, thus it was expected that the groom would win every time. The bride would be met by her husband at the door of the feast hall so that he could lead her through the door and ensure that she would not stumble. Doorways were thought to represent a portal between worlds, and also encompassed the bride’s transition from that of maidenhood to the life of a wife. Furthermore, it was believed that spirits would gather around doorways, and often the doorway of an old homestead would be the grave of the house’s founder who would protect it against evil. If the bride were to trip on her way through the door, that would be an omen of great misfortune for the marriage. Once safely inside the feast hall, the groom used to drive his sword into the supporting pillar of the house and the size of the dent he made would indicate the luck of the marriage, in other words; the children produced by the union. This was representative of the strength of the family’s barnstokkr, the ancestral family tree also known as the “child tree” because its branches would be clasped by the women of the family at the time of childbirth. The bride and groom would then share and drink and and toast to their respective relevant gods or goddesses, and then an emblematic hammer would be placed in the bride’s lap to bless her while the gods were invoked to bless the union. Following this, drinking and merriment would begin and continue throughout the remainder of the week. The bride and groom would share their wedding night together, the bride’s dreams would be noted as they were believed to be prophetic to the number of children she would bear, the fortune of her marriage, and the destinies of her descendants. An artist’s rendering of the god and goddess associated with and honoured at weddings. A party of mythological warriors and shieldmaidens riding to war. , before the good word of Canonism reached the ears of ancient Scyflings, were that Odain the One-eyed would select the most brutal warriors to be guided by his force of Shieldmaidens to his own Gravhalla, or “Hall of the Dead” in the afterlife; an enormous mead hall supposedly constructed from spear shaft rafters, a roof made of gleaming shields, and its gates guarded by colossal wolves. There the warriors that ascended to Odain’s hall, those most honoured and battle-worn champions, would spend all day battling one another in preparation for the final conflict that precedes the end of all things. In contrast to the “Hall of the Dead”, there were other destinations for Scyfling souls. For example, the goddess Vanadis presided over her Folkvangr, or “Field of the People”, while the halls of sea goddess Rán are home to the Scyflings who died at sea. It was a great honour to be chosen for Odain’s mead hall, but it was thought that only those who died honourably and fearlessly would be admitted. These Scyflings believed in a predestined day of death, meaning that one would die on the same day regardless – but it was how they died that would dictate whether the Shieldmaidens would meet them, having passed on. As such, it is common in the surviving sagas for a doomed hero to resist dying a slow, painful, or cowardly death, as such would bar their way to Odain’s side in the life to follow. A legendary Scyfling Shieldmaiden comforting a dying warrior as he passes on. would be held among their clan once their body and possessions had been recovered. The funeral was always, like many other affairs in these times, highly ritualistic as it was intended to bring peace to the dead as they transition to the life to follow, and provide structure and strength for the bereaved to continue on without their kinsman or woman. Traditionally, the women of the clan would take a leading role in arranging the funeral. First, the body had to be prepared for burial. It is thought that the deceased’s riches were used to finance his funeral. One third would go to support his family, one third would pay for his funeral clothes, and the final third would pay for the alcohol served at his funeral. In preparing his body, it had to be draped in clean ceremonial cloths and adorned in jewels. Certain clans also removed the dead’s fingernails, as they believed they would be used to construct the ship Naglfar, a vessel made entirely of fingernails employed by the gods. During this preparatory time before the funeral ceremony, it was possible for a sighting of the deceased as some kind of undead creature to occur – this was considered an omen for the relatives of the dead; a sign that more of them would die. In this case, it was thought that the dead had to die anew, and a stake might be put through the corpse, or its head might be removed to prevent them from becoming undead. The funeral might be drawn out over several days, but was usually an elaborate ceremony featuring songs, chanting, music, and animal sacrifices. Often, a Scyfling funeral was held at the top of a mountain; a practice that persists in current Scyfling burials, and the funeral would be followed by a series of grand feasts held in the fallen warrior’s memory. The funeral of a valiant Scyfling warrior, attended by members of his clan. is the most fascinating practice, as different clans appear to have employed different methods. Some clans restrict themselves to ground burial; in which the deceased’s kinsmen dig a grave for their body to be buried in, whereas other clans are defined by the practice of burning the corpse upon a pyre – much like what is currently practiced by House Colborn, indicating that this tradition originates in the Slesvician clans. On the other hand, clans associated with coastal areas – especially wealthy ones – are cited as constructing burial ships for the dead to be sent out to sea on, only for the ship to be burnt. However, all three methods feature the common thread of relinquishing the possessions of the deceased to travel with them to the next life, allowing them to maintain their social status or profession – these possessions are known as grave goods. Even if a boat was not burnt, imagery of a ship was often invoked by placing gravestones in the shape of a longboat, a practice known as a ship setting. It was believed that these vessels represent safe passage to the afterlife for the dead, while the smoke from a funeral pyre would carry the spirit of the departed to their destination. It is suggested that grave goods served both a religious and a practical function as, due to an absence of rigid inheritance law, burying the possessions of the dead may have helped to mitigate possible inheritance conflicts. A Scyfling warrior would always be burnt or buried with their weapons and riches, an artisan was buried with his tools, and a cavalryman may even have been buried with his horse. In contrast, a woman was more likely to be buried with her favourite household items, jewellry, or special brooches that likely inspired the sølje still worn on Scyfling bunads. It was also common for an individual to receive items representing key moments of success in their lives, such as arrows symbolising military prowess. A burial for a Scyfling chieftain, featuring a ship being set on fire as it goes out to sea. it can be enlightening for Scholars to learn about the habits and practices of those who came before us – that is the role of historians; to learn from the mistakes of past civilisations and discover how we in our current state can avoid them. I myself have expanded my research scope from where I began; my first scribblings were limited to my own family, House Colborn, and they then expanded to cover the historical area of Slesvik, eventually growing to envelope the entire region of Curzken that our people inhabited. It is my deepest hope that our descendants might in turn learn from my experiences and works; it is only through building off one another that descendants shall rise. In addition, it is of great importance of me to highlight that any musings of a period can only provide a mere illustration of happenings at the time of publishing, and that time moves continuously forward in a linear fashion. We cannot return to the period we read about and experience that way of life. It feels pertinent to quote some of my first thoughts on this subject, as youth so often bears wisdom: “But put together these portraits [of culture] and they can illustrate a breadth of ever-changing civilization for the eyes of the resilient Scholar.” It is with those words that I conclude, however I wish to extend an invitation to anyone wishing to discuss any of the above topics in greater detail and forward them to myself. Should anyone have questions also, I shall be more than pleased to speak on them. The Right Honourable, Anabel Elia Colborn, Countess of Malkovya, Viscountess of Venzia, Baroness of Bethlenen, Lady of Vorenburg, the Protector of Scyflings, Keeper of the Book, and Secretary of the Esrova Courts
  7. The story of Aegrothond is complex, riddled with controversy and bitter enmity. From a small island refuge to grand seaside citadel, the Principality of Aegrothond’s rise to prominence from the ashes of the Dominion of Malin was set to the backdrop of what is now known as the Elven Cold War. This account chronicles the founding of Aegrothond on Atlas but falls short of the events which transformed the Principality of Aegrothond into the Crown of Elvenesse and later the Crown of Amaethea. Preface: The House Sylvaeri and Clan Ithelanen Conflict It is important to understand the enmity between House Sylvaeri, rulers of the Principality of Aegrothond, and Clan Ithelanen (sometimes known as House Ithel’an), rulers of the Kingdom of Gladewynn. Both states claimed spiritual successorship to the collapsed Dominion of Malin, and the conflict between the ruling families is the central cause of the Elven Cold War of 1686–1712. Belestram Sylvaeri and Kairn Ithelanen—Bronze Princes alongside Khaine Csarathaire—were central figures in the Dominion of Malin in the wake of the Bronze Rebellion of late-Axios. However, the beginnings of conflict between Belestram and Kairn began to stir with the crowning of King Abelas Caerme’onn in 1676. Belestram, in the tradition of the reformed Dominion, intended to be named High Prince Kairn’s successor by moot. However, Kairn controversially declared himself King following the War of the Loftywoods and later bestowed the Kingship on Abelas Caerme’onn, forgoing the traditional voting process of the moot. This succession was later confirmed by the Upper Council of the Dominion of Malin, and Belestram was named King Abelas’ Lord Ambassador, claiming a seat on the Upper Council. Although conflict did not directly arise between Belestram and Kairn at this time, these events would later be the basis of the principled claim made by the free Elves of Aegrothond that there is “No King but Malin”. An additional cause of the conflict was Belestram’s marriage to healer and fellow diplomat Illynora Aureon. Illynora and Kairn were betrothed, with Illynora having received the esalathe’lan (cultural tattoo) of Clan Ithelanen in anticipation of their marriage. The relationship was fraught with tension due to Illynora’s induction into the Aureon Seed, a family which Kairn was engaged in a decades-long blood feud with. More fractures arose when Kairn engaged in a duel with the Rex of Krugmar, the outcome of which would determine the fate of Caras Eldar. Illynora was opposed to the duel, claiming Kairn's hubris put the Elven people and way of life in danger. These differences proved to be irreconcilable, and the pair separated. Some years later, in 1678, Illynora and Belestram were wed in a private ceremony in the Naelurir Grove by none other than King Abelas, who was a druid priest of the Naelurir also known as Brother Caribou. There is speculation as to whether Belestram chose to pursue Illynora in an attempt to wound Kairn’s pride. The Elder Alliance and Slaying of King Abelas: 1678–1679 Lord Ambassador Belestram Sylvaeri and diplomat Illynora Aureon orchestrated the Elder Alliance of 1678, ratified in 1679. The purpose of this alliance was to recognise the sovereignty of the Dwarves of Ord as the true inheritors of Urguan as opposed to the Frostbeards of Kaz’Ulrah. The Dominion of Malin and the Dual-Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska hereby recognize the conglomerated Kingdom of Ord and Temple of Az’adar as the true and only representatives of moral Dwarvendom upon Atlas, and recognize also their unilateral claim as inheritors of the legacy of the Grand Kingdom of Urguan, which has been lost. The undersigned denounce forthwith the traitorous Kingdom of Kaz’Ulrah, born of kinslaying and murder- and oath that they shall not rest until the banners of the Azwyrtrumm are torn and bloodied beneath the bright sun of Urguan born anew. The hordes of Haense are unleashed, the emerald banners of greater Elvendom fly, and all righteous Dwarves march in lines to war. Although this cause was believed to be righteous and just, it must be noted that Belestram had a personal connection to the Dwarves of Ord and Runelords of Az’adar by virtue of the fact he was a Runelord himself. In light of this, some posit that he should have raised the Sylvaeri banners independently of the Dominion of Malin, rather than use his position as the Lord Ambassador to rally the Virarim of the Dominion to this war. Nevertheless, King Abelas undersigned this alliance with the understanding that other human nations would remain neutral in the upcoming conflict. However, during negotiations, the Empire of Man rose to prominence, and the Kingdom of Haense withdrew from the alliance as it became a part of the wider empire. Despite this, the Elder Alliance continued. When it became clear that the Empire of Man would side with the Kingdom of Kaz’Ulrah in any upcoming conflict, King Abelas unilaterally withdrew from the Elder Alliance without consulting the ambassadorial arm of his council. The purpose of this was to save the Elven people from the horrors of war, having so recently recovered from the Orcish conflict in the War of the Loftywoods. Dwarves are an ancient and proud people, and King Abelas’ method of withdrawing from the Elder Alliance was seen as a deep slight which demanded recompense. A delegation of the Dwarves of Ord, lead by Atandt Irongringer, entered Caras Eldar and challenged King Abelas to an honour duel. He lost and was subsequently slain. History becomes murky at this point in terms of Belestram’s involvement—some say that he intentionally allowed the Dwarves into the city with the knowledge and intention that they would assassinate King Abelas. Belestram speaking the words “Do with him as you will” when looked to by Atandt Irongrinder at the conclusion of the duel was seen by many as an invitation for King Abelas’ execution. Others say that Belestram could not have intervened in the duel, as this would have been a besmirchment of Abelas’ honour. The latter was the prevailing narrative among the Elves of Aegrothond in later years when King Abelas’ slaying sparked the most bitter conflict in Elven history. Immediately following the duel, Kairn called for Belestram’s arrest. During the trial, Belestram had his right hand—the hand that signed the Elder Alliance on King Abelas’ behalf—cut off by Kaz Ithelanen on Kairn’s orders. He was then banished on account of treason from the Dominion he had helped to build. Exile: 1679–1684 Immediately following the banishment, Fëanor Sylvaeri, who was Praetor of the Dominion at the time, accompanied his wounded father to the Runelord Palace of Az’adar in Holm. He wrote to Illynora, urging her to travel to Holm at once to tend to Belestram’s wounds. Belestram’s connection to the Runelords meant that he was swiftly outfitted with a hand carved from basalt and animated with glowing red runes. Belestram had assumed that his son would resign from his position and join him in exile, but Fëanor waited until his father’s wound was healed to inform him that his duty was primarily to the Elven people, not to House Sylvaeri. He returned to the Dominion of Malin, where he continued to serve as Praetor and the head of House Sylvaeri in his father’s stead. Meanwhile, Illynora leveraged her position on the Dominion’s council to petition her husband’s banishment. As Head Healer of the Caras Eldar clinic, she had close ties with much of the citizenry, and used this as an opportunity to begin rebuilding Belestram’s reputation among the people. Queen Renn initially entertained these petitions, but when it became clear to Illynora that the banishment would not be lifted, she resigned from the council and left the city in 1682. This led to a rift forming between Illynora and the Aureon Seed, particularly her Seed sister and mentor, Awaiti. Awaiti had a child by King Abelas who they named Artanis. Illynora had helped bring Artanis into the world and tended to Awaiti in the aftermath of a battle with the September Prince, where she was rendered unconscious. Awaiti in turn was Illynora’s druidic guide and had begun instructing her in the teachings of the Emerald Way. When Illynora left Caras Eldar, this also ended her dedicancy. While in exile Belestram was contacted by Kaz Ithelanen and agreed to meet him in the neutral Trade Nation of Sutica under the rule of Trade Princess Cyrene. During the meeting Kaz proposed a deal: he would vouch for the lifting of Belestram’s banishment if Belestram agreed to bring Atandt Irongrinder to the Dominion of Malin to face trial. Belestram refused to betray the hospitality of the Dwarves of Ord, who had allowed him to live in Holm, and declined. Despite this Kaz still saved the lives of Illynora and Belestram when a group of Orcish assassins waylaid them as they left the city. Belestram and Illynora later moved to the human village of Nordengrad under the rule of Earl Thoromir II Ruric where Illynora served as the village healer and Belestram as a humble blacksmith. They lived a quiet, anonymous life in hopes that no further assassins would be able to find them. It was during this time that the Isle of Mists (discussed in the next chapter) was founded, although Illynora and Belestram continued to partially reside in Nordengrad. It was only after the Siege of Nordengrad in 1690 where Belestram fought and Illynora tended to the wounded that the pair left the settlement for good. More and more Elves flock to the island, circa 1690. Isle of Mists: 1684–1689 The Dwarves of Ord gifted Belestram and Illynora a tiny, crescent-shaped island west of the mainland in 1684. Belestram set to work on construction, carving living spaces out of the stone in the traditional style of the ancient Almenodrim. Over the next several years the island transformed. What was once a crag of rock with scraggly trees and rough stone beaches turned into a comfortable seat for the exiled House Sylvaeri. At the centre of the island was a small cavern which was dug out to form the Great Hall; an open-plan room consisting of a hearth and long dining table, the forge, and a curving staircase to a rudimentary library on an upper level. Windows framed by stone arches looked out over the small bay, hugged on either side by the arms of the island. The western arm was home to natural freshwater springs—discovered when excavating Illynora’s subterranean clinic—and a stone pavilion where Belestram and Illynora resided. The eastern arm housed the entrance to the island, a watchtower, and a shrine to Sonnos. In 1685 Belestram and Illynora welcomed their first and only child together, naming her Serinwë after the ancient matriarch of the Almenodrim. It was in this same year their first guest came to the island: a human by the name of Swithun Aldor, whom Illynora had befriended during her visits to the northern lands of Haense. Swithun was the tutor and close confidante of Elizaveta var Ruthern, later Queen Elizaveta of Vidaus, whom Illynora had tried to treat for her childhood illness. A disagreement between Kairn and Queen Renn of the Dominion culminated in the formation of the Kingdom of Gladewynn, a nation of great military strength which would later assist the Empire of Man in the successful Siege of Nordengrad. In 1685 Illynora was still in contact with Mae’lyrra, a cleric who had also been a healer in the Caras Eldar clinic and someone whom Illynora considered so close as to be a sister. This relationship fractured with Mae’lyrra’s induction into Clan Ithelanen, although the two remained in infrequent contact. It was Mae’lyrra who informed Illynora of the rising tensions between the Dominion of Malin and Kingdom of Gladewynn, which is why Belestram and Illynora elected to keep the island fortified and closed to most guests. Exceptions to this were Cedlas, Belestram’s adoptive son, and Fëanor, who was at that time still the Praetor of the Dominion of Malin. Tensions were rife between father and son; Belestram maintained the belief that Fëanor should abandon Caras Eldar and permanently reside with his family on the Isle of Mists. Fëanor remained true to his belief that his place was in the Dominion of Malin, the heart of the Elven people, so that he could attempt to ease tensions between the Dominion and the rising Kingdom of Gladewynn. An additional source of tension was the fraught relationship between Fëanor and Illynora. Fëanor had known Illynora first as his healer and peer; she had tended to his malefic burn wounds, and although she was fifty-two years his senior, their initial relationship was one of collegiality. When Illynora married Fëanor’s father, she stepped into the position of a mother-like figure, even though Fëanor’s mother, Eris Storne, was still alive. It took many years for the stiffness of their relationship to thaw. It was Fëanor’s clear adoration for his sister, Serinwë, that eventually brought him and Illynora closer together. By 1689 the Isle of Mists consisted of half a dozen stone pavilions, housing the small number of Elves Belestram and Illynora had tentatively allowed to live on the island. First came Victivus in 1687, otherwise known as the Ravenkind. With him came a gnarled, barren tree which sprouted through and around the watchtower on the eastern arm of the island. The Ravenkind claimed it was the Widukind but the truth of this remains lost to time. Although Illynora was not a druid, as her dedicancy under Awaiti had been severed upon leaving Caras Eldar, she was a devout Aspectist. The presence of the Widukind filled her with unease and she considered it an affront to the Aspects, although she could not quite articulate why. The ideological differences between Victivus and Illynora lead to her banishing him from the western arm of the island to keep him away from the clinic and her healing students. One such student was Salhassan Sa’roir, the late King Abelas’ granddaughter. Most students, such as the Forest Dwarf Bjor, travelled to the island for lessons before returning home. However, Salhassan and Illynora came to form a familial bond, leading to ‘Sal’ residing on the island in 1688. Although Belestram was banished from the Dominion of Malin and shunned from the Mother Grove for the part he played in King Abelas’ death, Illynora was free to travel as she pleased. She made several trips to the Mother Grove to pray to the Aspects and refill her dwindling healing supplies. While there, she came to befriend Eretria (Sister Wildlife) and Nerrin (Brother Bat), who later moved to the island. She also met frequently with Miklaeil Silma, head of House Silma, but Miklaeil was hesitant to commit his family to a side in what he foresaw as an ugly and brutal conflict. This was a wise stance, for the fledgling Kingdom of Gladewynn continued to rise. Belestram was formally unbanished in 1688, however, no official announcement was released by Queen Renn for fear of angering Gladewynn. A scant year later, Queen Renn would be challenged to a duel for the crown by Awaiti Aureon, who had previously been High Princess of the Dominion. After Awaiti won the duel and became Queen, it was her first and final act to dissolve the Dominion of Malin, ceding Caras Eldar and the Dominion’s lands to the Kingdom of Gladewynn. The Company of Aegrothond preparing to defend Caras Eldar against the September Prince, circa 1695. Friends and Foes: 1690–1705 With the Dominion no more and the Kingdom of Gladewynn at the height of its power, it was time for Illynora and Belestram to gather allies in anticipation of an attack. 1690 saw Fëanor and his partner, Delmira Aureon, move to the island, followed in 1691 by the majority of House Silma. By this time the island’s population had greatly expanded, necessitating the construction of a system of warrens to house Elves fleeing the collapse of the Dominion. This resulted in the appointment of an Elf named Leyne as Madam Steward to manage the increasing administrative burdens that came with such a rapid expansion. With the city of Caras Eldar in a state of chaos, Fëanor was able to recover the city’s large bronze bell and bring it to the island. It is a relic that exists to this day in the Realm of Amathine. Belestram and Illynora searched far and wide for potential allies. Diplomatic talks with Princess Cyrene of Sutica were warm, but when she abdicated in 1693 her successor remained firm in Sutica’s long-held stance of neutrality. Illynora turned her eyes southward to where the Elves of Fenn had made their home in the frozen wastes. Illynora, alongside Elros Silma, frequently travelled south to coordinate with the Fennic Elves on the threat posed by the Vaeyl. Aegrothond and Fenn would later go on to sign an official Pact of Friendship in 1696. As part of this, the two groups attended feasts in one another’s lands and Illynora traded healing knowledge with Fennic healers. In return, Prince Aelthir permitted her to harvest herbs only found in the frozen crypts beneath the city which housed the Fennic dead. At one point, Elves from Fenn, the Warhawkes, and the former Dominion sat around the table in the great hall, awestruck that there had been a time they all battled against one another and now they were friends and allies. Illynora and Delmira travelled to the human realm of Rosenyr to discuss diplomatic relations, but with the Empire of Man posed to devour all human nations, the people of Rosenyr were not prepared to enter into any formal agreements. Around this time, Vydrek Volaren pledged men to House Sylvaeri to aid in the upcoming battle against Gladewynn which all were certain was coming. This was viewed as a certainty because an assassin arrived on the island, allegedly sent by Layla Le’Cai, and a few short weeks later Fëanor received letters from Kairn saying that he was coming for Belestram’s head. Despite these threats, it was not Gladewynn they should have been worried about, but the very ocean itself. A giant hermit crab attacked the island in 1695 and Tanager Volaren lost his life while protecting Belestram from certain death. While the Elves of the Isle of Mists tended to their wounded, Azkel ‘the Scholar’ Frostbeard arrived on the island with Swithun, who had since been banished from the Kingdom of Haense by his former pupil— now queen—Elizaveta of Vidaus. Together, Swithun and Azkel grew the library. This was the precursor to the famed knowledge guild founded by Azkel in Arcas. Tensions with Gladewynn continued to brew under the surface, but there were frequent attempts at mediation and peace. Khaine Csarathaire called for a conclave between the three Bronze Princes, but when a neutral meeting place could not be decided, this fell through. Guyden Aureon also tried to speak with Illynora about the possibility of unity with Gladewynn, but she turned him away. The only time that reconciliation seemed possible was when the Elves of Aegrothond and Gladewynn fought side by side against the September Prince in the wreckage of Caras Eldar, a city they had once all called home. When the battle seemed lost, the Aegrothond Company managed to flee with all intact. That was the first time Aegrothond and Gladewynn fought together against a common foe, but it would not be the last. The second time would be against a group of slavers when the Kingdom of Gladewynn had been transformed into Alderyn on the continent of Arcas. Other Elven groups were not the only ones who wished for unity between Gladewynn and Aegrothond. On a diplomatic visit to the Empire, Emperor Augustus told Belestram and Illynora that he wished for the Elves to be united. Diplomats from the human nation of Curon—Lady Ambassador Klaudia Suffolk and Lady Rosemarie Stafyr— expressed similar ideas. Although not reaching diplomatic agreement at this time, Curon sent healing acolytes to be taught by Illynora. The Wild Faith was prevalent on the island. Miklaeil and Illynora became the unofficial leaders of the faith, leading frequent prayers and sermons to the Aspects, Hamatsa, and Sonnos. Artimec Caerme’onn called Illynora and Miklaeil to the Naelurir Grove in Caras Eldar for what was supposed to be a gathering of the faith but turned into an attempt to negotiate a pact of non-aggression. It was at this point that followers of the Wild Faith began to break away from the Naelurir Grove and form their own sect on the island. There was discussion of the creation of a new grove, for those followers of the faith who were also druids. The tensions grew so high that some druidic teachings became circleless. While Illynora was not a druid, she guided Nenar Terin (a student of Artimec’s) on some of her dedicancy tasks, including teaching her of Kwakwani the Trickster and gathering feathers on the beach. Nenar later went on to become Sister Wicker and helped to found the Vale of Nevaehlen, home of the Father Circle. Despite the influence of Wood Elven culture, many aspects of the ancient culture of the Almenodrim were revived on the island. First came lesser renarias, the art of embedding seashells, sea glass, and bits of coloured stone on clothing, jewellery, and household objects such as door frames. The tradition of epic poetry also returned, with Edrahil Sylvaeri often telling tales from the Lay of Aegrothond—the ancient writings which record the history of the Almenodrim from the time of Sylvaen Everflame. House Kaeronin (one of the Great Houses of the Almenodrim) arrived on the island at this time, prompting an acceleration of cultural revival. Most starkly was the culture seen when Cedlas Sylvaeri, adoptive son of Belestram, was Name Cleaved. Name Cleaving is the brutal process of removing a disgraced Elf’s ring finger, the finger which bears the oath ring they took upon becoming a member of the Almenodrim. In this way, they are ousted from their family and from the culture. This was done to Cedlas after he attacked another Elf on the island. At this time, there were no official laws in place on the island. The final word of law came from the Lord and Lady Sylvaeri as heads of the Seastone Court. Cedlas’ attack precipitated the drafting of a legal codex. The unsanctioned attack by Solaria on an Orcish settlement that Turge was involved with prompted the construction of a gaol. Both the laws and system of punishment would not be finalised until the migration to Arcas. Gladewynn continued its aggression, sending agents to gain access to the island. The Seastone Court was assembled and the Harbourblades created—the fledglings of what would later become the military force of the Principality of Aegrothond in Arcas. Aegrothond also entered into official defensive alliances with both Fenn and Agnarum in preparation for an attack. Once again, the attack did not come from where anyone expected. A wyvern attacked the Fennic capital and the Harbourblades assembled, coming to their aid. Illynora helped to heal the Fennic people after the attack, including Prince Aelthir. In addition to the Harbourblades, a force of healers had been assembled, called Serinwë’s Hand after the healer-warrior matriarch of the ancient Almenodrim. After Khaine Csarathaire’s ascension to Archchancellor of Gladewynn, the blatant aggression ceased. Khaine attempted to engage in diplomacy with the Seastone Court. He suggested he send Artanis, son of Abelas Caerme’onn, to Aegrothond to serve as ambassador. In response, Belestram demanded that: the accusations of kinslaying for the death of Abelas Caerme’onn be withdrawn, and an apology for Belestram’s maiming at the hands of Kaz Ithelanen be made; and denouncements of House Silma and other Elves of Aegrothond be retracted; and claims by Gladewynn to be the sovereign of “all Elves” be relinquished; and the attacks by the Silver State upon Aegrothond (the Silver State was at that time a vassal state of Gladewynn) be denounced. This was met with a scathing response by Khaine, prompting a gathering of the Seastone Court. In discussion with the people, it was decided that the Ithelanens were still not permitted on the island, and the Csarathaires were now similarly considered persona non grata. In the words of Belestram, “We are the hope of the People. When this is done, they will remember us as those who were strong and resolute when times were dark and stormy—the Flame of Malin the Everliving, guiding the People ahead.” An exodus to new lands was swiftly approaching. Illynora and Elros Silma led a congregation to Endmoor for a meeting with the Vaeyl. At this meeting, they learned of the grave threat posed to the continent, and plans were prepared for how to flee to new lands. Great ships were constructed, supplies gathered, and the Elves of Aegrothond thought they were as ready as they could be. Elros led an expedition into the Darkways, where Nenar went missing. Illynora ordered a scouting party and Nenar was recovered with minimal injuries. Still, the experience had shaken her, and shaken the resolve of all of the Elves of Aegrothond, who were afraid of the cataclysm which would devour their world. All their preparations proved to be for naught because all of the denizens of Atlas had to travel by foot over the southern ice wall, coming to make camp in Serrimor. Aegrothond stayed close to Fenn’s camp, and it was at this time that Vulnir Syllar from the Sable Enclave entered into talks with Belestram and Illynora with dreams of a future for the Dark Elves. High Prince Fëanor holding an assembly of the Seastone Court, circa 1710. The Seastone Citadel: 1705–1712 The Principality of Aegrothond was founded on Arcas in 1705. The city itself was a large island just off the shore of the mainland with a central cavern at the centre. Subterranean housing was built in the lower levels of the cavern, while guilds, restaurants, and shops were tiered and led out into the open spaces of the island. At the very top of this Seastone Citadel was more housing open to the sea air. Looking out across the waves were two huge statues carved in the likeness of Sylvaen Everflame and Aegnor Starfinder, who Aegrothond was named for. With more room, the art of greater renarias came into fashion—great sea glass mosaics on the cavern walls and on the cliffs around the citadel. Cullas Sylvaeri constructed most of the mosaics seen in Aegrothond in Arcas. This tradition continues to this day in both the Crown of Amathine and the Sanctum of Illivira. Many new initiatives came to fruition in the early days of Arcas. Belestram, as Sea Prince and High Prince of Aegrothond, was responsible for the external affairs of the nation, including international relations, trade, and the military. Illynora, as High Princess, was responsible for the domestic affairs of the nation, including stewardry, law, and religious affairs. In this role, she entered into discussions with Guyden Aureon about the construction of a grove. She also wrote the Aegrothond Codex of Law, a simple document outlining the de facto customs which had already been observed but never set to paper. It was also at this time that Illynora created the Gatekeepers—an organisation that was responsible for who could be allowed into the Seastone Citadel and who could be granted citizenship in the Principality of Aegrothond. Illynora had sent Serinwë away to keep her safe, but she returned as a young woman in the Principality of Aegrothond and became one of the Gatekeepers. Other Gatekeepers included Annil Silma, Cassius, Cullas Sylvaeri, Delmira Sylvaeri, Edrahil Sylvaeri, Elros Silma, Fëanor Sylvaeri, Kacper Silma, and Miklaeil Silma. This was a complex system filled with bloated bureaucracy, meaning visitors to the city were frequently turned away. Aegrothond was accused of xenophobia, considering the high reluctance to allow non-Elves into the main city. In later years, Illynora was known to say that this was one of her deepest regrets, and that their position of power and safety on Arcas should have been a time of sanctuary for any who wished to enter. The lifeblood of society were the three guilds housed in the central cavern of the Seastone Citadel. These were the Maehr’evar Order (Guardians of Knowledge), founded by Elros Silma and Cullas Sylvaeri; the Institute of Healing, founded by Illynora Sylvaeri, and Sylvaen’s Hammer, founded by Fëanor Sylvaeri. When Illynora abdicated as High Princess in 1707, she passed leadership of the Institute of Healing to Eraami Aureon, who later passed it to Medli Amaeden. Sylvaen’s Hammer was renowned for producing master gemcrafts and exquisitely detailed arms and armour. It was endorsed by the Dwarves as a leading place to learn the art of smithing—a high honour, considering the Dwarves’ considerable skill with metalwork. In the early days of Arcas, Gladewynn became Alderyn, ruled by Empyreal Princess Layla. Alderyn was in its dying gasps at this time, and did not pose much of a threat to Aegrothond. However, Aegrothond still kept up its diplomatic relations with Fenn, including attending a festival in the new lands. There was also a meeting with the Vira’ker Council, where it was agreed that the island of Harlond would be passed to the Sable Enclave as a vassal state of Aegrothond. The halflings also came to reside in Aegrothond’s lands in a village on the shore just beside the Seastone Citadel. The Matriarchy of Siramenor would also come to reside in Aegrothond’s lands, but not for a number of years yet. When Nenar and Ailis were captured by slavers, Aegrothond, Fenn, Agnarum, and Vira’ker rallied forces to save them. Artimec Caerme’onn rallied the dwindling forces of Alderyn to assist; this was the second time that the Elves of Aegrothond and Gladewynn fought side by side. Soon after, Belestram and Illynora met with Princess Layla, who was willing to concede and have Alderyn absorbed into Aegrothond. Layla would later go on to marry Miklaeil Silma, who ceded the title of Lord Silma to Elros in order to create a new Wood Elven Seed with Layla known as the Arvellon Seed. In modern day, this Seed resides in the Vale of Nevaehlen and is led by Eretria Arvellon (Sister Wildlife). Having decided that Aegrothond was in a stable place, Illynora and Belestram abdicated in 1707, passing the titles to Fëanor. Fëanor had always been concerned that House Sylvaeri was less a family and more a political entity. This concern would guide his own reign as one of peace and prosperity. He was successful in forging a peace between Sylvaeri and Ithelanen in the Compact of Lathadlen 1712. Article II of the Compact read: The Principality of Aegrothond, following the dissolution of the Amber Throne of Alderyn, discards its previous identity as a splinter state of the Dominion of Malin to henceforth establish itself as the Crown of Elvenesse, with High Prince Fëanor Sylvaeri presiding over the unified peoples of Aegrothond and Alderyn. Illynora remained in retirement for well over a century and was thought to be dead. Belestram, loath to relinquish power, returned to Aegrothond in the later days of Arcas and early days of Almaris. His renewed involvement in what was now the Crown of Elvenesse led to civil strife and the splintering of a faction of Wood Elves which would later become the Vale of Nevaehlen. That tale, however, is not within the scope of this chronicle. Conclusion History is a living tapestry for the Elves. There are Elves alive today who were alive at the time of Aegrothond’s founding. The concept of the past is difficult to comprehend, as what would be considered historical events in the eyes of Man are one long strand of the present in the eyes of the Elves. Enmity and blood-feuds burn brightly for decades or centuries, without the death of their instigators to quell the flames. Fëanor’s commitment to peace and ending the blood-feud between House Sylvaeri and Clan Ithelanen is the guiding star in the constellation of his centuries-long reign. Medli Amaeden (later Silma and now Oranor) was a young Elf of only fifty years when she became Illynora’s student on the Isle of Mists. After Eraami’s retirement as Healer on High of the Institute of Healing, Medli took on this role and continued the legacy of traditional Elven healing practices for a new generation. In later years, she married Evar’tir Oranor and became the High Princess of Amaethea—the successor-state of the Crown of Elvenesse. In founding the Sanctum of Illivira, she continues the traditions of the Almenodrim that she learned in those early days. Finally, with Idril Sylvaeri as the High Princess of Amathine—the successor-state to the Crown of Amaethea—House Sylvaeri returns to the upper echelons of Elven society. In the ongoing history of the Elves, hers is a chapter still unfolding. No doubt her legacy will be woven in the tapestry of Elven history, just as many others of her House have.
  8. NÚMENARANYË The Exilic Kingdom of Númendil [MUSIC] Since the harrying of the Adunians from Aegis in times long past, many Adunian states have arisen, and many more cast down and sundered, for long it has been since that folk determined their own fate. For centuries, the Free City of Brolwic was the only true Adunic state, and being so detached in Aeldin from the majority of Adunians. On the continent of Almaris, the Adunians therein were scattered and leaderless, and often victims in wars they had little sway in. That was until one arose to unite them, Nauthon Marsyr, who was called John in the common tongue. Through deft diplomacy John united the errant Harren’hil of Almaris into the realm of Cartref Mor, but tragically, this hero of Harren’s folk died before his mission was completed, and his son, lost to darkness, failed to carry it forth. As it looked like once more the Adunic peoples would be divided, Ser Uther, later known as Uriel, took up the cause. With kindly words and fiery sword, he united the Adunians of Almaris, and rather than swear fealty to distant Brolwic, instead struck out upon his own path, carving out a Kingdom in the Barrowlands of that continent. Despite great efforts being made to hold, the Adunians would be driven from the Barrowlands, and Almaris as a whole. But this time they were not leaderless. Under the guidance of Tar-Uriel, the Adunians came with the other descendant realms to the continent of Aevos. Here, Uriel’s folk traveled inland until coming upon the land of Sharad'et'alkayaban, wherein a race of Farfolk called the Sharadûn dwelt, and Dedgîrth Imrîd was their King, called the Imr-khagn in their tongue. At first, Uriel’s folk sought parlay with the Sharadûn, and for a time, were permitted to dwell at the foot of the oasis of Albak’an, underneath the great white mountain, Alkayaban. Such peace was only held for a few months before the Sharadûn, feeling threatened by the sudden influx of foreigners upon his continent, took action. In the dead of night, Sharadûnic warriors armored in lamellar brass and iron attacked the Adunian encampment, slaying many and wounding many more, including the Adunic King, who remained on death’s door for a number of days, during which Steward Alwyn guided their people north into the plains, harried ever on by Sharadûnic Cataphractii and horse-archers. After three days of grueling retreat, the Adunians, low on supplies, turned to face their attackers, outnumbered and wounded, the Knights of the Barrowlands set to make a rearguard action, and in their sacrifice allow the women and children to escape with their comatose king and his heir, young Caraneth Aryantë. Just before the horns sounded however, those heavy riders were joined by none-other than their king, Uriel, resplendent in his armor, with the radiant sword, Caledfwlch in hand, and the crown of the March upon his brow atop a bloodied bandage. Roused from his unwaking state by powers unknown, Uriel’s sudden arrival caused morale to soar among the Adunians- Who went forth then, not in sacrifice, but to bring the enemy to battle. With a blinding flash from the Adunic King, the Sharadûn were driven into a rout, those whose horses failed them were struck down by the Adunians. There, within the vast plains of central Aevos, Tar-Uriel swore vengeance for his people upon the Imr-khagn, and swore such on the name of the Creator. Burning their dead and giving those wounded who could fight weapons to do such, Tar-Uriel led his band back to Albak’an. There, underneath the mountain of Alkayaban, with arms blessed by the Cardinal Antonius, the Adunians brought the forces of the Imr-Khagn to battle. At Albak’an, the martial prowess of those descended from Harren the Conqueror was once more proven, and the Sharadûn were broken when Tar-Uriel rode forth, and met Imr-Khagn Dedgîrth and his sons Sórthu, Ködgung, and Ömüg in combat, cutting down the four, and bringing the Imrîd dynasty to a climatic end. After the battle, those that remained tried to rally to the citadel built atop Alkayaban, only to find that a small force under Siegemaster Bedwyr and Ser Garen Glennmaer had already taken the sparsely-defended fortress (so sure of his victory was Dedgîrth, that he had brought almost the whole of his forces to bare on the Adunians.). Faced with this, the Sharadûn surrendered to Tar-Uriel, offering him oaths of fealty, or fled into the western desert to continue the fight, ceding Sharad'et'alkayaban to the Adunians either way. Now ruling over the Adunians and what remained of the Sharadûn, Tar-Uriel sought to remake Sharad'et'alkayaban, renaming the land the Númenaranyë, or ‘the Royal Realm of the Númenedain’ in the common-tongue. Above Albak’an, the White City of Númenost was built, and two great citadels raised, one to guard its entrance above Albak’an, facing the northern plateaus, and the other atop the white mountain of Alkayaban, where the old Sharadûn citadel once stood. Ruling over a land far richer and vaster than the Barrowlands, Uriel saw fit to adorn himself and his men in regalia of old, harkening to the first Harrenic Kingdom, in practice wishing to revive the culture of that land, without any of the wickedness that wrought its downfall. At the peak of Alkayaban, Uriel, who was once Uther, took a third and final name in the styling of the ancient Adunic kings, Tar-Númenatar. His house too was granted a new name, though still called Pendraic in the common tongue, Arthalion (pl. Arthalionath) meaning House of the Dauntless King. Many of Tar-Númenatar’s subjects followed this example, adopting names in the original Adunic tongue, while many further still kept their Highlander or Heartlander derived names, or some, such as Tar-Númenatar himself, continued to be addressed and go by these common-names outside the lands of the Adunians informally, wherein the Númenaranyë, only the Adunic rendering was proper. Naming conventions were not the only facet of Adunic culture revived in Númenost, which was built in the Idunic style. The fashions of Idunia of old, which had already begun to gradually see reuse during the reign in the Barrowlands, were brought back once more, resplendent in color and finery, though markedly more modest, accounting for the newly deeply pious nature of the Adunians, medicine and technology advanced thanks to the efforts of the Scholarium of Queen Orelia. All of this and more was afforded by the great luck and wealth the Adunians found themselves after the conquest, for within the mountain of Alkayaban, vast silver deposits were uncovered, suddenly making the Adunians one of, if not the wealthiest realm of men, jewelsmiths worked away within the White City, crafting beautiful works, and bartering their wares down the river Foroduin into the other realms of men, all this bringing exorberent wealth to the Adunic realm, which was shared by Tar-Númenatar with his subjects gladly. Of the Sharadûn that had sworn fealty to Tar-Númenatar, they were allowed to live as they had before, though greatly changed by the coming of the Adunians- Now called the Númenedain. Though unlike Harren of old, Tar-Númenatar did not oppress the Sharadûn, recognizing their stronger ties to the land now called Númendil, and in truth, was a kinder ruler than the Imr-khagn, though he did insist upon their conversion to Canonism, banning the worship of the bloody serpent god of the Sharadûn. One thing was a certainty in this uncertain new land, the Adunians would not be made subjects again. To read more about the Númenedain and the Númenaranyë, [click here]
  9. Music to listen to while reading my book A HISTORY OF The Goldhand and Grimgold Grudge. By: Voryn A’Daragon OPENING STATEMENT This is a History of the Goldhand and Grimgold Grudge, which details their long lasting feud stretching back several hundred years. Both clans can trace their lineage back to the “Line of Tungdil”, a famous dwarven lord who was known for his love of children and ability to make gold faster than any other dwarf. The Grimgold Clan are the descendants of the older son of Tungdil, while the Goldhand Clan are the descendants of the younger son of Tungdil. Their rivalry is that of a sibling rivalry. The Goldhands were a more successful clan than the Grimgolds, and were granted “Elder Status” for their services to Urguan. The Grimgolds, on the other hand, did very little of note until their Clan Father, Glod Grimgold, took over power of the Clan. FIRST ERA GRUDGE In the year 689 of the First Era, the first signs of the rivalry had begun. Bumble Goldhand, a Cheese Merchant, had fallen in love with the beardling Blod Grimgold. Unfortunately, the Clan Father of the Grimgolds (whose name is lost to time, as he was irrelevant), forbade the marriage. Bumble was enraged. He went to his Clan Father (Thoak Goldhand), and told him that the Grimgolds had refused the marriage because they “Would not marry a disgusting Shithand”. The Lord Thoak then killed almost the entirety of the Grimgold Clan. The Goldhand’s believed that their ancient enemy was now slain. Unfortunately for them, (and fortunately for us, as will be discussed later), several Grimgolds were away on their ker wife finding missions. As a side note, the Grimgolds are known in the Dwarven Kingdom for taking “Dark Elven Concubines.” To the Goldhands, a lot of the Grimgolds are not even dwarves. They are considered Dark Elves. One of the Grimgold’s that survived was known as Klouf Grimgold (Not to be confused with Klouf Grimgold). Klouf was a famous warrior, and took the survivors to live in caves. That is not an insult to dwarves - many of them actually live in caves (insane). Klouf had several warriors in his retinue. Thorin Grimgold, Bombur Grimgold, Gimli Grimgold, and most importantly of all, Thorin ‘the other Thorin’ Grimgold. Thorin ‘the other Thorin’ Grimgold will now be discussed. Thorin ‘the other Thorin’ Grimgold was the Captain of the Ship called the Fist of Dungrimm. He was a famous pirate, adventurer, and explorer. Thorin ‘the other Thorin’ Grimgold had slain dragons, fought in countless battles, and most importantly of all - had a dark elven mother. This allowed him to look conventionally attractive, while retaining the brute strength of the dwarves. He carved out his own island kingdom known as the “Grim Isles”, where a subsection of the Grimgold Clan fled to. There, they engaged in dark magic, cannibalism, and created quarter dwarf, quarter ker, half pig hybrids. Thorin ‘the other Thorin’ Grimgold soon became an accomplished wizard. He studied for many years, perfecting the craft of organic transmutation. Soon, the entirety of the Grim Isles was full of his creations. Gone were the descendants that one lived there, replaced by the abominations of Thorin ‘the other Thorin’ Grimgold. Thorin ‘the other Thorin’ Grimgold then found the Sea-***** Witch known as Elsa. Understanding his power, the Sea-***** Witch known as Elsa gave Thorin ‘the other Thorin’ Grimgold the power to create skin-walkers from his creations. His former clan members were now cursed with the ability to skin-walk, and took any form they wanted. Klouf Grimgold had heard of this dark magic, and he sailed to the Grim Isles. It was there a legendary fight took place between Klouf Grimgold and Thorin ‘the other Thorin’ Grimgold. While historical records show that Klouf Grimgold had won the battle, who is to say that Thorin ‘the other Thorin’ Grimgold had not won and simply skin changed into Klouf? For the academic purposes of this book, we will take the argument that Thorin ‘the other Thorin’ Grimgold won the battle. This is because skinwalkers have difficulty keeping the shape of a face. The Grimgolds typically wear masks, and are most likely the Skinwalkers that plague Almaris. When Thorin ‘the other Thorin’ Grimgold, disguised as Klouf, returned to the mainland he was greeted by his clan members who stayed behind. Slowly, he turned all of the Grimgolds into Skinwalkers who could take the shape and appearance of whatever they wanted. The Goldhands had magic. Thoak Goldhand was blind, but he could see. When the Grimgold Clan had returned, Thoak began to exterminate them. Unfortunately, Skinwalkers are crafty. Several of them became attached to his Clan as well, and thus the Skinwalker menace had spread between the dwarven clans. Thoak, with his magical eyes, could sense the skinwalker presence. He would strike down those he thought were skinwalkers, including his own son (also named Thoak). It was then the remaining true dwarf Goldhands held a meeting. The “True” Goldhands held a meeting. Thoak told them that they had to come up with a cunning plan: to become Grimgolds. The meeting erupted into chaos. But then, they realised this was wise. So they immediately all put on the armor of the Grimgolds. The former Grimgolds under Thorin ‘the other Thorin’ Grimgold became Goldhands. For several hundred years, the Grimgold Clan was actually the Goldhand Clan - and vice versa. The Skin Walking Grimgolds were able to take the appearance of anyone they wished. The Goldhand Grimgolds remained in hiding, far away from the political intrigues of the dwarves. This is where it gets interesting. This is a fragment from a piece of pottery I found. I will put it in quotes. “I heard a tale once from a strange fellow deep in the desert. They spoke of this Temple which worshipped the Skinwalkers, who believed they would bring about the end of the world. I thought him mad! He only laughed at me.” “Four legged dwarves, with bat wings would attack those in the desert. These were the Grimgolds (not the Goldhand version). As he discussed that they existed and that they were worshipped by the nomadic desert folk, a group of them attacked us.” “We fought them off as best as we could, but the desert nomad was carried off by these Grimgolds. I cursed them, (as I was a powerful wizard with access to many magics), and they forgot that they were Skinwalkers).” As this fragment shows, it was common knowledge that four legged bat dwarves roamed the world, and attacked travelers. These four legged creatures were, obviously, Grimgolds - yet the Grimgolds are disguised as the Goldhands. Does this mean that the Goldhands were the bat creatures, or the Grimgolds? The author of this book believes that these were the Goldhands from Thoak. Thoak had incredible magical powers, and was able to use his magic vision to make others see what he wanted them to see. Thus, the Goldhands were the bat people - but they were also disguised as Grimgolds at the same time. In the year 894 First Era, the old tales were forgotten. The Grimgold Clan had vanished, and the Goldhand Clan became powerful. During that gap of history, it is unclear what had happened. I met a drunk dwarf who told me that Torsun Goldhand, Clan Elder of the Goldhands in the Year 88 of the Second Age, was actually Thoak Goldhand who had turned himself immortal. It is possible, therefore, that the Goldhands had reclaimed their true lineage and cast out the Grimgolds. Unless, of course, that Torsun Goldhand (Thoak Goldhand) is a skinwalker who is actually Thorin ‘the other Thorin’ Grimgold. Due to the Goldhands being known traitors to Urguan, I believe this is the case: The current Goldhand Clan are the Grimgolds. However, almost all of them have forgotten their ancient powers due to the curse - save for Thoak Goldhand, aka Torsun Goldhand (real name Thorin ‘the other Thorin’ Grimgold). Regardless, all one has to know to understand the current standing grudge in the year 88 of the Second Era is this: the two Gold Clans hate one another. Be it from an ancient same sex marriage that failed, the skinwalker saga, or due to the Goldhand’s claiming elder status over the Grimgolds. We will now begin the tale of the “Second Era Grudge”, and move away from the First Era. THE SECOND ERA GRUDGE: Song link for Second Era In the Second Era, the Goldhand Clan is led by Conan ‘No-Shirt, No Pants’ Goldhand. The Grimgold Clan is led by Glod ‘Godborn’, Grimgold. This book will now discuss both men in depth. (Note: I have not met either of them). Conan ‘No-Shirt’ Goldhand is a senile old dwarf. He routinely burps, farts, and shits his way out of anything important in Urguan. It is said that his clan member Tholgrim (or whatever he goes by now), holds up cue cards for Conan when he is delivering speeches. The important clan activities are done by three dwarves. Hekkaes Anvilhammer, The Iron Baron (needs no introduction, as he is known for having bad teeth and unable to comprehend the common tongue), and “Torsun Goldhand”. Torsun is put in quotes as, most likely, he is Thorin ‘the other Thorin’ Grimgold. The three shadow leaders of the Goldhand Clan, therefore, are not even Goldhands. Conan, weak and feeble and unable to do anything to stop this, has been forced to agree to their demands of a Clan War. Glod Grimgold, on the other hand, is considered the strongest, wisest, and most powerful dwarf in Urguan. What he says is deeply considered by every single dwarf. While his clan are made up of lackluster nobodies, Glod really shines. Glod was (and perhaps still is) worshipped by humans for his apparent divinity. While Glod has outright refused these claims, he has still earned the title of “the Godborn”, due to his unwavering loyalty to the Brathmordakin. Glod is a famous Senator, Commander, and Battle-Hardened Warrior. Compared to Conan, one would wonder why the Goldhands would dare oppose him. It all goes back to the First Era grudge: The Elder Status of the Gold Clan. Should it go to the Grimgolds, or to the Goldhands? The challenge was issued. Glod was unable to attend the meeting (or felt it was beneath him), and sent a lowly beardling to attend the meeting. This beardling insulted the Goldhands, by openly declaring that the Grimgolds were the trueborn sons of Tungdil and that the Goldhands were not even true Goldhands. He demanded they vassalize under Glod. The Goldhands laughed in the face of the envoy of Glod. They cut his manhood off, and took his tongue out. They demanded that the Grimgolds admit they are the bastard clan of Tungdil, and that they need to pay them twenty five thousand minas. In addition, they wanted the land the Grimgold’s owned. The Goldhands and their vassal clans the Ironguts and Irongrinders marched to war against the Grimgolds. They killed many of their men in the field of battle, overwhelming the poorer clan through sheer numbers. Glod and his clan sought refuge with the Jungle Dwarves. Glod, fearing that the dwarves under his command would be killed by the potential skinwalker clan, sought out a truce. They would pay the money, help the Goldhands acquire new land - but they would not denounce the fact that they are the sons of Tungdil. This is where the history ends - as it is still ongoing. This is a deep look at the psyche of the dwarves, and why they attack one another. Honour, duty, and greed. Signed, Voryn A’Daragon, Master Historian.
  10. Narvok oz ok Arkon Thrummaz [!] A messenger bird arrives to dwed across Urguan, relaying the news! [!] A blessing, and a joyous discovery! The expedition for knowledge in Ogradhad's name has been completed, and with it were recovered some preserved ancient texts, written by old dwed of continents long passed. And along with such precious texts, some relating to the nature of the Rhun, came also the discovery of a story to this old place. One of a brave and devout dwed... who stood to defend what he believed in. An encounter with giant spiders complicated the investigation but was dealt with accordingly... The ancient texts were discovered within the ruins of a small library... likely a safekeeping for the follower of the Warden of Knowledge that watched over it. Most incredibly however, a hole in the roof had rendered most of the texts destroyed... except for four books, those that sat nearest to the shrine of Ogradhad contained within... These texts will be put on display within The Grand Library in Kal'Darakaan, for all to view. Rare is it that the Brathmordakin reach down and show their influence upon the realm of the descendants. To honor such a blessing, Da Kirkja Verga will renovate this old place, and it shall be reformed into a grand temple in worship to Ogradhad, so that all may show their veneration to him in the hallowed place. Tuzic Mossborn, Prophet of Ogradhad
  11. Calavénon Talonnii Talonnii History The Calavénon's have continuously proven to be a rather versatile talonnii. Always have they been willing to reform and evolve to adapt to a particular environment, but never have they lost sight of who they are whilst doing such. They take pride in the fact that no matter what obstacle or string of challenges may cross their path, no matter who or what may stand in their way, they will always manage to find a way to overcome it. Today, they continue to walk the lands of Almaris hand-in-hand, closely knit, and never to be divided. The Talonnii had its start within Elvenesse - or, what is known today as the Crown of Amaethea. Their bloodline is derived from the very Illitian elves that inhabited the lands, and after moving on from the luscious soils of the mali'ame, the Calavénon's sought to live within the Kingdom of Oren, where they were quick to become Nobility, and later on, came to lead Selestia. Despite their humble beginnings within Elvenesse, it is safe to say that Selestia is truly where the talonnii began to cement themselves. Then came the Monarch Vivian, the past monarch of Vortice, who evicted the lands granted by Gail Cordius. The County of Selestia, after Jakob Castington and his people were wrongfully evicted and accused of not paying taxes to the Monarch, decided to rebrand as the city of Ando-Alur. Jakob Castington, alongside five Dark elves came to discuss the founding of a new state after what became of their old County, where born from the disunity present within their brand of elves at the present time. The meeting was long, many plans discussed and thrown out before they settled on a state freely accepting all, including Magicians - a stark contrast to all previous Dark Elven establishments. They decided on a location within the High Elven borders to settle, creating a city boasting a warm and friendly environment. The first Ando Alur city was led as a Princedom, by Prince Vulnir Syllar, and Prince Jakob Castington, with a council beneath them. Though small at first, the city began to slowly gain traction with its values - inevitably leading to the further gathering of allies and new residents. However, not all was easy; creatures of the depths soon rose from the waters that surrounded the city. The solution to this seemingly never-ending swarm of monsters was one used before, so long ago in previous realms, it was almost forgotten as a possibility; the use of a Voidal Tear. With Mages from across the continent gathered, enough energy was collected to punch a hole into the magical realm, causing a never-ending flow of magical energy. This was utilized by those gathered in order to enchant the city itself, tearing it from the earth and into the sky - safe from the monsters below. But of course, all good things must come to an end. After circumstances that were once lost to time, much like the history of the ancient elves, the family has at long last chosen to reclaim their lost history. They are doing so by adopting their true family name, ‘Calavénon,’ to honour those who came in times before them. Physical Traits and Appearances The Calavénon are in the juncture between housing leaner mali and bulker mali. There is naught the pressure to pick one path when it comes to militaristic and arcane matters - for was it not Ando-Alur who accepted both with open arms? More often than not a child of the Calavénon lineage will be born with varying shades of crimson and auburn for hair, the few that do not have paler ashy blond(e) locks. In terms of eye colour the Calavénon are often seen sporting lovely shades of blue or green - rarely is there a Calavénon with gold or purple pigment within their iris’, but it is not a phenomenon that is unheard of. Traditions A Candle's Flame - The ancient ceremony of intertwining fates is a festivity the Calavénon take rather seriously, but despite this, the day is bound to be full of entertaining games and delectable treats. Whilst the ceremony is in motion, the to-be-weds are expected to bring with them a candle - one adorning the signature hues of that individual's talonii. It is these candles that they will be setting alight. Once the vows have been shared should the flame of either one of the candles blow out for any reason, it would signify the union unsuccessful and bound to fail in the near future. It is considered shameful and is looked down upon by the Calavénon's should the wedding persist after such a phenomenon. At Twilight - The death of a Calavénon is truly a sorrowful occasion. The aching feeling of losing a loved one, losing blood is a circumstance never to be wished upon anyone who walks these lands. To honour those who they lost, the talonnii will cremate the lost loved one in a ritual. The ritual is held outdoors at twilight, and notably, beneath a clear sky. In order for the ritual to be complete, the ashes are scattered, to be either taken away into the wind, or upon lanterns up into the sky. Whichever one is chosen is based on what the deceased was said to have preferred. It is believed that the light of the sun and the moon together will guide the spirits of their loved ones to a better place. The Night of Spirits - A celebration to commemorate their loved ones - living or dead. It is a festivity open for all where attendees will be asked to dress in their finest garments and adorn a mask. To bring the festivities to a close, any who wish to participate will write a note and place it within lanterns that will be provided by the talonnii - these lanterns will then be sent into the sky with hopes that The Grand Spirit will guide the lanterns into The Spirit Realm for the deceased to receive. Boozy Bazaar - The Calavénon talonnii is known for their exquisite wines and other fruity beverages. As such, every so often, the talonnii has made it tradition to host various festivities to celebrate their success in this industry - this festivity in particular being their 'Boozy Bazaar' where people will come together to enjoy their drinks. A fan-favourite game within this event is 'Quip or Drink', where participants will be asked a question that they must answer or be forced to drink. Family Tree https://www.familyecho.com/?p=START&c=138r4dlxhfi&f=604347530538248458
  12. THE MINTING OF BALIANESE FLORINS Florins is the coin those within Atrus use most prominently, as referred to in the ‘Nomenclature in the Language of Balian’ written by Mariano Saturnino Ferraz, albeit briefly, it speaks as to, “How many florins for the woven carpet, Segnor?”, under Formal Forms of Address, section two Segnor and Segnora, example one. This piece is meant to touch further on the Balianese currency and shine a light as to a bit of its history, what their appearance is based on and just what they are made of. A depiction of the Balianese Florins is here for perusal, the backs engraved with the star of St. Lothar. Keeping in mind that of the depiction above, each Florin has a different value and meaning to it alike. The gold Florin is worth 20 minas for the common term used amongst Almaris, though with its value, it too, holds a valuable meaning. As with the tradition made, the golden Florin hosts the face of Balians first Monarch, John I. A depiction of the golden Florins front-face, John I engraved prominently upon it. The golden Florin is reserved respectfully for that of the prior Monarch before that of the current one. In this instance, it is John I, followed by the current Monarch, Alexander I upon the silver Florin. The golden Florin is a majority gold as is the namesake, the exact percentages known only to the Procurators Office who mints the coin, with a percentage of Qalashi steel bringing it all to weigh all of one ounce, and only 1.2 inches in diameter. A depiction of Kadarsi ore before being forged with other elements so as to make Qalashi steel. A depiction of the silver Florins front-face, Alexander I engraved prominently upon it. The silver Florin is reserved respectfully for that of the current Monarch before that of their heir. In this instance, it is Alexander I, followed by his heir, Crown Prince Hadrian upon the copper Florin. The silver Florin is a percentage of silver, Qalashi steel and iron known only to the Procurators Office that mints the coin, bringing it all to weigh all of one ounce, and only 1.2 inches in diameter. A depiction of the copper Florins front-face, Crown Prince Hadrian engraved prominently upon it. The copper Florin is reserved respectfully for that of the heir of the current Monarch. In this instance, it is Crown Prince Hadrian upon the copper Florin. The copper Florin is a percentage of copper, nickel alloy and Qalashi steel known only to the Procurators Office that mints the coin, bringing it all to weigh all of one ounce, and only 1.2 inches in diameter. The last of the three to be had at any given time, it is when the heir to the previous Monarch goes on to be coronated, that an entire new set is minted. In this case, the golden Florin of John I will be retired from use and Alexander I will take up the mantle upon the golden Florin, with the now Hadrian I upon the silver and his newly name heir upon the copper Florin. And so it will continue in perpetuity. Signed, Her Excellency, Johanne Alstromeria Vuiller, Lady Procurator of the Kingdom of Balian.
  13. Nobelissimos: The August Heroes of Balian “Above all other affairs of state rests the duty to propagate the spirit of the nation. A great army, a flourishing court, and a strong arm of law are all essential, but we look only to our ancestors in the Empire to see where that may not be enough. Without national spirit, the age of heroes is lost, and communities become undone to greed, ambition, and personal interest. One way to hone national spirit is by honoring those among us who have made significant contributions to our traditions, who have selflessly lived their lives to enrich our people and our way of life. In Balian, we will call these individuals Nobelissimos, or most noble, and they serve as shining examples of the honor, virtue, kinship, and ingenuity that define our culture. Through the creation of the Nobelissimo state honor, the Kingdom of Balian not only celebrates the deeds of these individuals, but also imbues the youth of our realm with the values and ideals that have made our traditions great. The Nobelissimos will inspire future generations to strive for greatness, to put the needs of our people before their own, and to always defend our culture with honor and integrity. It is with great pride and humility that We declare these individuals as Nobelissimos. Their names will be forever etched in the annals of our history, and their deeds will be remembered for all time. We urge each and every one of you to take the time to learn about these heroes, to tell their stories to your children and grandchildren, and to live by the examples they have set. Together, We will ensure that our culture endures and thrives for many centuries to come." King Alexander on the Nobelissimos, 111 S.A., delivered at court. By bringing together the Petrine institution of Generalissimo with the eastern institution of the ‘state hagiography’, the Crown of Balian has created the state honor of Nobelissimo, or most noble, to consecrate those who have cultivated incalculable influence towards the Balianese identity. As the state believes that the Balianese culture emerged as an off-shoot of the Petrine one, these heroes should not chronologically predate the Eighth Empire, and instead should be modern heroes who have lived towards the values that the Balianese aspire towards. There are three ranks that make up the state honor. It begins with the title of patricos, or patricians in the Balianese language, which is granted to those who have lived virtuous and exceptional lives worth emulating, and are often tied to one particular concept. They are given a title in Balianese, most often the trade that gave them such renown i.e. “She is loved in this country like the Magissa.” Then there are the nobelissimos, or most noble - they are the heroes that predate Balian whose contributions to state culture have left consequential legacies in the Kingdom’s society. To be named nobelissimo is to be named without peer in a particular facet, and one is given a sobriquet that corresponds to what they are known for. For example, High Pontiff St. James II is regarded as Al Vetraissimo, or the most exceptional glazier, - the way he lived, there shall never be a glazier as grand. Another example is Anne Augusta, or La Rubinissima - the way she lived, there shall never be a ruby as grand. These sobriquets can be used to refer to these figures in popular conversation i.e. “She commands like the Toroblancissimo reborn.” “His stories have the Vetraissimo’s touch.” Finally, there are the Balianissimos, or the most Balian. They are the nobelissimos that actually lived in the Kingdom of Balian and directly contributed to Balian’s identity, rather than indirectly. Thus, they are distinguished even further. At the onset of this new honor, only one figure of history has earned the title of Balianissimo, and that is John I, Balian’s founder, who wields the sobriquet Protobalianissimo, or roughly translated, the most exceptional Balianese above other exceptional Balianese. This state honor has been given to eleven figures directly by the King in the year 111 SA, however, a formal procedure by which a representative body of the people can raise a hero to such titles is expected to be organized every ten to twenty-five years, beginning with either Balian’s 50th anniversary, or its 75th. The Balianissimos John I ‘The Founder’, First King of Balian: THE PROTOBALIANISSIMO There should be little question as to whether Balian's Gian al Gran, or John I, deserves the great state honor of Nobelissimo. He is the prototype of the Balianese identity. When faced with the ruin of the Holy Orenian Empire at the end of the Brother’s War, it was he with the foresight to envision a new society free from the trappings of the old regime. John navigated multiple crises, from the initial Petrine exodus from the northern continent into the Terra del Sur to various armed conflicts such as the Harvest War, the EATO War, and the Ruffian’s War. He also oversaw the initial construction of the oasis of Atrus upon the Monterosa and settled its many nobles. As Balian’s first duke and king, the country would never have come to prominence without his personal investment and leadership. He is styled Protobalianissimo, or the most exceptional Balianese over other exceptional Balianese, for his role in founding the nation. Important Works https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/212446-a-righteous-coronet/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/215741-completed-nation-kingdom-of-balian/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/215796-the-faithful-prosper/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/216566-to-answer-a-call/ The Nobelissimos Bl. Anne Augusta: THE RUBINISSIMA Anne I, Holy Orenian Empress, also known as Anne the Good, has earned a special regard in Balianese society as one of its great heroes and ancestors. While all Balianese would acknowledge their Petrine roots emerge from Peter III’s reign, Anne’s war against the Inferni in the sands of Korvassa, as well as her nation’s exodus from Arcas to Almaris ring closer with the spirit of Balian, which also suffered darkspawn calamity at the hands of the undead dragon Cloudbreaker, as well as a similar exodus from the heartlands to the dunes of the southern continent. Anne is seen as a national hero who managed to weather the greatest of crises to build Providence, both literally as in the city, and figuratively as in a model society. For many of Balian’s founders, her reign was one where they entered their adulthood and began their professional journey in the empire. Thus, even over generations, there is a special fondness for Empress Anne. Her personal character as a monarch of great contemplation and resolve is one that speaks to the values of Balianese society as well, with her portrait and namesake found all throughout Balianese culture. She is styled La Rubinissima, or the most exceptional ruby, for her role in maintaining imperial dignity while weathering the great political and military conflicts of her time. Important Works https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/191118-the-imperial-mark/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/194089-the-empires-inquisition/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/195023-the-imperial-coronation/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/195262-edict-of-separation/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/195965-on-matters-of-inferi-an-open-invitation/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/197456-anne/ Alren DeNurem: THE TOROBLANCISSIMO The 4th Generalissimo of the Holy Orenian Empire, Alren DeNurem is regarded as a military commander and strategist that is unparalleled, and the chief influence of all Balianese military operations. He emerged among the officer corps during the Holy Orenian Empire’s formative war, the Rubern War, and delivered key military reforms to turn the Imperial State Army from a vision into the largest army of its time. In his personal life, Alren was a noted military engineer, pioneering the return of cannons into imperial warfare. Alren’s penchant for military logistics and drill cannot be understated, building a new cadre of imperial patriots through his command. He remained Oren’s top military mind beyond his victory in the Rubern War, weathering Oren through the controversial Merryweather War and emerging as a forefront leader in the war against the Inferi. Many of the founding members of Balian were proud products of the ISA system that he cultivated, and much of Balian’s logistics and pool of resources come from the institutions he built within the army. Every Balianese commander can only hope to emulate his successes. He is styled as Al Torocblancissimo, or the most exceptional white bull, for the sobriquet he earned under the reign of Peter III as the White Bull of the Empire. Important Works https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/188616-isa-1st-regiment-fieldguide/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/194744-the-ministry-of-war-1783/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/192030-isa-service-medals/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/194437-general-alren-denurem-the-white-bull/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/194377-victory-in-defeat/ Elizabeth Anne: THE SCIACALISSIMA The title of Princess Imperial had meant little until the time of Elizabeth Anne, who transformed the position into one of great influence through her progressive endeavors. Born as the eldest child of Anne Augusta, some in Balianese society even reflect that she may have made for a greater monarch than her more military minded brother John VII, and certainly the dotard Philip III. Her career spans from serving in the ISA as a Lieutenant in the Imperial Medical Corps, a stint as Chancellor of the Imperial State University, and a landmark tenure as the first woman Imperial Grandee in the House of Lords. She also organized the innovative Social Season, strengthening imperial ties and sentiments by bringing nobility from all across the empire to the capital for merry-making and introductions. Above all her successes though is her resilience in proposing the Rosemoor Bill, a piece of legislation that would have eliminated male-preference inheritance for peers and instead afford equal inheritance for both genders. While defeated and later censured from the House of Lords for her efforts, the proposed policy ended up so popular that Philip III was forced to adopt it anyway. Given that Rosemoor Succession is now Balianese crown policy and the Social Season endures in Balian as the Symposia, she is seen as a pioneer in national service and a model for all Balianese to aspire toward. She is styled as La Sciacalissima, or the most exceptional jackalope, after the venerable pet jackalope Atticus she kept. The animal mirrored the regal and dignified nature she brought to her various offices, and came to be known later in Balianese society as her personal motif. Important Works https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/199586-the-social-season/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/201446-the-nature-of-the-title-of-princess-imperial/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/197196-the-imperial-university-of-providence/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/194124-comprehensive-guide-to-field-medicine/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/203578-the-rosemoor-convention/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/204301-providence-a-reflection-of-the-past/ Jahan Basrid: THE SUSISSIMO Of all the imperial heroes that the Balianese pay homage to, there is not a more influential storyteller than that of the great governor of Peter III’s palace, Jahan Basrid. While his formal role in imperial society was that of chief diplomat as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, informally, Jahan Basrid regaled the legends of old Rhen to many of the noble youths of the imperial palaces, raising multiple monarchs such as John VII under his tutelage. The premises of these stories later served as a founding principle for King John the Founder’s vision for a new society, one that looked east and south for new inspiration on a civil society. Without Jahan’s tales, the Akritian and Rhenyari influence that colors Balian would not be found. The tales of heroes like Akritara, Magara, and Radagha, or the inspirations for the Balianese fusta, all were delivered west through the Sage of Susa’s will. He is styled as Al Sussissimo, or the most exceptional Susan, after the title he held as a peer, the Count of Susa. Important Works https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/192566-the-novellen-palace/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/187995-the-imperial-office-of-foreign-affairs/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/193544-once-a-soldier-always-a-gunner/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/205439-the-high-culture-of-the-rhenyar/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/204988-the-arcane-zodiac/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/198566-the-final-story/ High Pontiff St. James II: THE VETRAISSIMO The Church of the Canon owes a great deal to the efforts of St. James, so much so that he is often called the modern St. Daniel. After decades of religious indifference and controversy, the 18th century High Pontiff ushered in a new age of contemporary faith, bringing the Church into harmony with a modernizing empire. His greatest work was the adaptation of the entire Holy Scrolls into the common tongue, completing the work begun by his predecessors some three centuries prior. In doing so, he initiated a resurgence of Canonist literacy which has not yet abated. His renown in Balian is in large part owed to this; he was personal catechist to the ancestor of many Balianese, and every copy of the Holy Scrolls includes both his name and personal commentaries on the translation. Beyond even these accomplishments, St. James is responsible for the Church’s contemporary character and its relationship with the faithful. His revisions of the canon law resolved key issues of ecclesiastical authority that had plagued humanity in centuries past, establishing a framework for permanent harmony between crown and laurel. He canonized an unprecedented number of saints, and is today responsible for fully 1/6th of saints in the modern calendar. The Pontiff’s contemporaries considered his moral character to be unimpeachable and possibly otherworldly; he had encountered numerous saintly apparitions and called down the physical intercession of the Archangel Michael. At the height of his 49 year reign, St. James' reputation was so great that he commanded even Emperor Peter III himself, bringing an end to the Sutican War and uniting all Canondom in a crusade against the Inferi. He is styled as Al Vetraissimo, or the most exceptional glazier, after the humble profession he practiced before entering the priesthood. Important Works https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/189659-the-holy-scrolls/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/192506-epochs-of-the-empire-volume-i-the-prophetic-era/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/197696-codex-iurius-canonici-danielus-pontifex-second-edition/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/195249-the-age-of-reason/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/193846-transcript-of-the-imperial-quadricentennial-mass/ The Patricos Mariano Saturnino Ferraz: THE LINGUISTA Mariano Saturnino Ferrza maintains the status of Patrico as the founder of the Royal Balianese Academy, an influential institution that spurs much cultural development in Balian, as well as codifying the Balianese language for public consumption. He is styled as Al Linguista, or the linguist, for his academic and linguistic pursuits. Important Works Yuliya Styrne: THE DRAMMATURGA The greatest playwright in Canonist history, the crippled Yuliya Styrne rose far beyond her station to rivet imperial society with a catalog that spans almost fifty years of work. Balianese society holds a deep affinity towards the arts, and to recite Yuliya’s works is considered a sign of great virtue and intelligence within the country. She is styled as La Drammaturga, or the playwright, for her prolific body of work and good character. Important Works https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/193198-the-collected-works-of-bianca-la-fleur/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/199208-1809-providence-open-badminton-tourney-registration-open/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/197197-course-syllabus-writing-for-the-stage/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/200177-%E2%9C%A9-rising-stars-of-providence-%E2%9C%A9-winners/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/200204-pk-%F0%9D%90%9F%F0%9D%90%A2%F0%9D%90%A7%F0%9D%90%9A%F0%9D%90%A5-%F0%9D%90%9C%F0%9D%90%AE%F0%9D%90%AB%F0%9D%90%AD%F0%9D%90%9A%F0%9D%90%A2%F0%9D%90%A7/ Joseph Adler: THE CONSULIER A hero of Peter III’s Holy Orenian Empire, Joseph Adler emerged as the founder of the Imperial State Constables, as well as its first influential Solicitor-General. The Consulier is given full honors for spearheading the legal reforms in the Empire that serve as the foundation of Balianese law today. He is styled as Al Consulier, or the lawman, for his service as captain of the imperial Constables and chief lawman of the empire. Important Works https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/191197-the-imperial-constabulary/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/190649-the-crown-v-othaman-and-alimar/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/200509-renewed-request-for-judicial-review-article-i-of-the-non-partisan-courts-act-1768/ Alpha Carrington: THE MAGISSA The daring half elf daughter of the great merchant Green Carrington, Alexandra Carrington, otherwise known as Alpha, is renowned as one of the great workhorses of the Carrington mercantile empire as well as a powerful mage. Her travels and exploits are made into myth in Balianese society, as she forged powerful trade companies and spread arcane knowledge wherever she went. She is styled as La Magissa, or the mage, for her service as a wandering wizard that empowered the fortunes of many of Balian’s ancestors. Important Works https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/192525-the-honorable-company-of-vintners-brewers-innholders/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/189875-the-brave-and-noble-sir-humphrey-the-musical/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/189565-the-carrington-gambling-house/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/188761-mayoral-proclamation-resignation/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/196363-carrington-co-the-end/ Ivan var Ruthern: THE MARTIER Ivan Ruthern is seen as a great martyr of the Brother’s War, having sacrificed himself to save a generation of noble children when expected to turn them over to royalist forces. His sacrifice ensured many youth, namely the entire Vuiller line, to continue a new life in Balian, over facing imprisonment and death at the hands of Frederick’s men. He is styled as Al Martier, or the martyr, for his personal sacrifice. Important Works https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/211774-pk-by-bones-and-barrows/
  14. The Comital House of Vuiller "With the Eagles foresight, we reign victorious." The Vuiller Household was founded towards the beginning of Arcas by who is now known as Saint Harald Vuiller. Through the many generations that have now come through, it has come to be that of the current head of household, Countess Johanne Alstromeria Vuiller of Aquilae. The first Countess of Aquilae, Johanne Vuiller. The family colors are that of blue and silver, and the families animal customarily a Silver Eagle. Family traditions find that when those of the Vuiller Household come of age, they are to be granted an Eagle to bond and hunt with. The blue tulip is the houses acclaimed flower, with its own tradition centered around those of the household who have shown their true colors, love and honor to house Vuiller. Traditionally, a medallion of blue tulips is placed upon the graves of those who have passed and were granted the title. [!] A detailed copy of the Vuiller family tree is here, alongside a comprehensive list of the currently living members of the Household. https://www.familyecho.com/?p=JB8I7&c=v547tnrxh0&f=799190991874943632 Countess Johanne Vuiller @tadabug2000 Lady Eirene Vuiller, Heiress to the County of Aquilae@Me_llamo... Lady Rosemary Vuiller, Countess-Dowager @SapphirePool Lady Liliyana Vuiller, Countess-Dowager @Raijen Stars Lord Ledicort Vuiller @HIGH_FIRE Lord Edvard Vuiller @Harald Lord Alf Vuiller @TheBigBubbles Lord Oliver Vuiller @ECS11 Lady Kaira Vuiller @Weebmaster36 Lord Maximin Vuiller @Datweirdguy Lady Helane Vuiller @Roza Lady Aurora Vuiller @chihutori Lady Ravn Vuiller @Truppler Lady Aurianne Vuiller @Moo_bot Lady Henriette Vuiller @Xx_Scarlet_xX Lord Drasus Vuiller @Harald Lady Celine Vuiller @Lokvank Lord Gabriel Vuiller @SharpString Lord Rickard Vuiller @Temporal Lord Duncan Vuiller @Kyrrn Notable Figures Saint Harald Vuiller The churches depiction of Saint Harald Vuiller. https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/197356-the-life-of-saint-harald-vuiller/ Cardinal Johan Vuiller A depiction of Cardinal Johan Vuiller, haunted by the ghost of his father, Saint Harald Vuiller. https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/206088-an-aged-mans-confessions/ Sir Rev Vuiller and Dame Diana Vuiller A depiction of Sir Rev Vuiller and Dame Diana Vuiller. Sir Rev Vuiller was the first Baron and Viscount of Vuillermoz, he was the first generation of Vuillers as nobility within Oren. Alongside this, the first Count of Aquilae in Balian. Dame Diana Vuiller was the first Baroness-Consort and Viscountess-Consort of Vuillermoz, she taught the family what it was to be Nobles and that of etiquette. Alongside this, the first Countess-Consort of Aquilae. https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/217180-aquila-volat-ultra/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/217192-the-death-of-the-last-true-d%E2%80%99azor/ Sir Duncan Vuiller A depiction of Sir Duncan Vuiller. A man of many means, he began what the Vuiller family dubbed the Sheeps War when Irehearts attacked his four and five year old sons, Johan and Lucien. https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/218103-sir-duncan-the-hound-hoh/ Notable Relic(s) The Cross of Saint Harald Vuiller A cross made and blessed by Harald Vuiller when he was still alive, kept in the family for many generations. The Trident of Cardinal Johan Vuiller The trident is a family heirloom that had passed down for generations until going lost. Then found by Saint Harald under the first Vuillermoz keep when a cave collapsed showing a crypt of long dead Vuillers and the trident hanging upon a wall. The trident was the chosen weapon of the Vuiller house and tribe for hundreds of years. The Wedding Ring of Rosemary Vuiller The wedding ring of the Countess-Dowager of Vuiller, made special and passed down now for a few generations. The Saintly Lantern of Saint Harald Vuiller A lantern said to be used in the dark crevices of the Vuiller crypts, that Saint Harald himself had used. The Cane of Saint Harald Vuiller The cane of Saint Harald Vuiller has been passed down for ages, being used by the heads of house when they come upon older age. House History [History within Oren] https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/210814-the-vuiller-family/ [History within Haense] https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/218181-the-life-of-maela-vuiller-genealogy-records/ [The Brothers War] https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/211799-the-half-a-day-peace/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/211831-a-day-of-savegry/ https://www.lordofthecraft.net/forums/topic/211899-a-guardian%E2%80%99s-viewpoint/ [History within Balian] After that of the Brothers War, the Grand Duchy of Balian was founded. The Vuillers found themselves making up a majority of the leadership, Sir Rev Vuiller as the Seneschal, Dame Diana Vuiller as the Censor, Johanne Vuiller as the treasurer and Ledicort Vuiller as the Magister. Thus, the first Royal Vuiller Chamber was had. All families began as Baronies, but the Vuillers had quickly risen to County, in an unprecedented dual promotion by John I, directly from Barony to County with the work they'd put into the new lands. Since then, Sir Rev Vuiller had heralded the construction of the city, having passed on upon its conclusion and a statue risen in his honor, his wife, Dame Diana Vuiller having followed shortly afterwards. Ledicort, the son of Rev, went on to become the Seneschal, now called Amiratus, making what is now the second Royal Vuiller Chamber. Ledicort had seen us through the Cloudbreaker siege, bringing together nearly the entirety of Almaris with his work. Since then, varying members of the family have taken up varying chamber chairs, roles within the government, military and palace and have sacrificed their lives for that of Balian. Signed, The Right Honourable, the Countess of Aquilae, Johanne Alstromeria Vuiller, Countess-Dowager of Renduzzo, Lady Procurator of Balian.
  15. The Life of Maela Vuiller Arcas, Haense Born to Darien Frostfire and Althea Frostfire --- Maela Frostfire, the one and only daughter of Darien and Althea Frostfire. Her father, a soldier within the BSK. Her mother, a baker. She grew up within the Kingdom of Haense, during a time of strife. Maela hadn’t known of any other family a majority of her life, the grandparents on both sides having long passed. No cousins, no siblings. Haense had a way of being cruel. She’d awaken within their small abode, tucked away in a corner. Her room, hidden from any inspectors. Maela would exit, stomping off snow as she’d grasp at her mothers hand, making way for the bakery. They’d bake, steam pouring out and warming the humble shop. She’d often been told to keep to herself growing up, and so when the baking finished, the reading began. Varying books of all sorts, sinking into whole new unknown worlds. There’d been times when she’d attempt to talk to another, only to be ignored. She’d only been a commoner, afterall. She’d make friends, those friendships lasting all of a few months before they were gone, slipping away like a snowflake on the wind. It’d been one of those days, she’d may have just hardly turned ten, maybe eleven. Her mittens rubbed together, in an attempt at generating warmth as she’d idle by the tavern, having finished her work alongside her mother for the day and her father still on his shift. Maelas breath frosted out in front of her, smoky as it filtered out, crystal blue eyes taking in the scenery. A young boy, his name lost to time, soon approached, speaking with her. A smile formed, talking easily with her fellow child and soon, he’d introduce her to his friend, Oskar Wick. Maela hadn’t met the young boy again but she’d become fast friends with Oskar. She’d awaken, bake with her mother and slip off to join him in fun escapades about the city, often bringing treats she’d slipped beneath her coat for them to enjoy together later on. Wet, squelching footsteps would sound within the sewers they’d all too often explore. The squeaking of rats as they’d duck into cracks and crevices along the ground, while others watched the duo with beady eyes, always, always watching. Oskar, donned in a fine yet worn coat would always protect Maela. They were like night and day, the two. The boy with dark hair and gray eyes, personality like midnight on a rainy day. The girl with pale hair and blue eyes, personality like sunshine bouncing off a window. Opposites and yet they’d gravitate towards one another. --- Time passed. The duo were thirteen and the Inferi war was taking place. Maelas father, Darien Frostfire, ever the loyal soldier had taken to the battlefield. Only to be felled. He died on the field, hit by a misshot arrow from his own side. It was never known who’d shot the arrow. Whether it be a mistake or purposeful. His body, brought home upon a board and a funeral soon hosted. Grief, it overtook the Frostfires. Now, only a widowed mother and a lost daughter. And yet, life did not let up. Darien Frostfire had secrets, a history unknown by his grieving family and so when the knock came, of Holy Knights at the door, shock came past the grief. They were there for Maela. Althea Frostfire, distraught, sent the Holy Knights away, for they were not to take her only daughter. But things only grew worse. With war, came a time of strife, of pain and wanting. --- A scholarly missive. The duo were now sixteen. Maela visited the home of Oskar Wick once more, with a freshly baked treat, steam wafting off of the dish and offering warmth in the frigid cold. She sat upon the chair, peering up at Oskar with the adoration she often did. Their childhood friendship turned to more as she found herself growing to love him, hoping that he may marry her someday. He took his hand in hers, taking her in with a look that said all was not well. He was scheduled to be executed the next day. His missive had gotten too much attention. Oskar, of course, was quick to assure her. This night, he’d fake his death but before that, he had a question: “Will vy marry me?” The answer was obvious, perhaps always obvious to those who’d seen the two together. “Da, always da.” And so a body, near unrecognizable, was found in his home that night, a note at its side. --- Maela played her part well. She grieved her friend, and unknown to those, fiancee. Clipped, dried flowers would be laid neatly at the entrance of the sewers. A shrine, in its own way. Family, it was something odd to her. Having always thought of herself alone, besides her late father, mother and now fiancee. But now, once more, those Holy Knights came back. A grand-uncle, heading the Holy Knights in the pilgrimage to come to new lands. The Inferi war had ended, and disaster struck again. Endless natural disasters, destroying her city and home. Holy Knights at her side, guarding her as she’s safely escorted to the City of Man. How many people must she have fed? Somehow in the chaos, her basket of goodies, meant to be brought to her fiancee wasn’t last. It went to the people, those starving as they awaited news of their homelands. And then they sailed on, to a new land, Almaris. --- A new home. It was odd, really. The buildings towered and the cold didn’t bite at her cheeks. Maela Frostfire and her fiance, Oskar Wick turned “Theodore Napier”, settled within the city of Providence. The first to marry within the church and certainly not the last, they stayed with a family friend as those got settled into their new homes. Maela, wishing to provide what she could, decorated the home. She’d bake and bake and bake, the ever-present scent of baked goods wafting through the kitchens and the hallways. Her now husband, he’d joined the ISA. Soon, waddling as she was with child, she’d bring him a lunch each day at work. A thermos of cocoa, to go with a slice of apple pie, freshly made whipped cream drizzled over the top and a second thermos of beef stew. Each meal, each dish, something different. Soon enough, he’d been elected Alderman and doing another line of work. Their first child was born, Darien Napier II, named after her late father. Their second came shortly after, Ophelia Napier II, named after Oskar Wicks twin. Maelas mother, Althea Frostfire, soon passed on. --- A time came, then. They could no longer hold the name of Napier, having outstayed their welcome with the trusted family friend. And, so with permission of their cousin branch as Oskar, ‘Theodore’ still kept his beating heart a secret, they took on Vuiller. Oskar, ‘Theodore’ passed one day when on the job and Maela followed shortly after. One might say it of a broken heart, as the woman withered away day by day after the loss of her beloved. --- In the name of genealogy, their current descendants, living or otherwise are as listed: Darien Jonathan Vuiller II Ophelia Althea Vuiller II Antonio Pepino, son of Ophelia and Guillame, her first husband Livia Joanna, son of Ophelia and Dmitri, her second husband
  16. THE TRAGEDY OF KING MARIUS I Dramatis Personae Marius, King of Haense Tobias, King of Courland Otto Heinrik, Crown Prince of Haense, brother of the king Karl Sigmar, Uncle of the king, Regent Lukas Vanir, Chancellor of Haense, the loyal minister Merric Staunton, Prince of Courland, cousin of Tobias Diedrik Barrow, the disobedient Interior Minister Sergei II, Cavalry commander, Lord of Kovachev, Duke of Carnatia Brynden Vanir, Lord Marshal, Lord of Vanir, Margrave of Vasiland Boris, Lord of Ruthern, Count of Metterden Otto Marius, Lord of Baruch, Baron of Ayr Adolphus, Lord of Vyronov, Baron of Graiswald Owyn, Lord of Amador, Baron of Mondstadt Alistar, Lord Commander of the Golden Crow, renowned poet Julia, Aunt of the king Tatiana, Aunt of the king, wife of Brynden Reza Elizaveta, the Queen-Mother Rory Othaman, Archbishop and Commander Sergeant, veteran soldier Reeve Brawm, traitor ACT I SCENE I. St. Karlsburg. The courtyard of Ottosgrad Palace. It is the winter of 1586. Alistar, a close confidant of the royal family walks outside of the castle holding a leash with a small grey puppy. There are thick heaps of snow that cover across the ground. ALISTAR (Enter Alistar, holding a leash with a young grey pup. Alistar picks up the young king and props Marius on his lap as he clears his throat.) Come Do you know the story of your namesake? Attend, young boy to Gaius Marius! The strength of GOD was vested upon him, Bringing with him the pride of Hanseti. For great was his brav’ry against his foes. To thee, young king, this ode I utter thus, Harken to his name, Gaius Marius! Today you are the one who stands on high, A great destiny few men seek to try. (The young Marius sits quietly, looking up at the poet’s narrative in awe. Enter Julia with courtiers.) JULIA Alas, poor boy, afflicted by neglect. I am baffl’d and disgraced to see him. Myself I throw dread monarchy at thy feet. Destined art thou to fail at eagle’s nest. Kings are but gilded snow and melted ice, Glistening upon the highest mountain. How great the mountain stands above the rest, Until the time of the season must change. All glistening of snow thus melts away. The wond’rous winter has but now elapsed, Leaving behind no trace to behold. Such became of the reign of his father, For now the season’s change has now arrived. (A gentle cascade of snowflakes descends to the ground.) ALISTAR Have hope dear princess, lest we be faithless! Woe to us, for GOD calls men to be strong. To what do we owe this ode of pity? There is no room for gloom and heartlessness, Deriding the blessing that GOD doth give. (Alistar hands the leash to Marius.) ALISTAR A wolf pup is a loyal companion, Surely a friend for life and unto death. The deep cold of the winters here in Haense, Test the soul to all that you shall hold dear. As a wolf is nourished by his master, So does a land from the love of their king. (Exit Julia and Marius.) ALISTAR My GOD, if thou hearest me in prayer, Look with pity and on the sins of the past. Strengthen those who need your guidance the most, And for this blessed Northmarch, redemption. Shed the angst of Andrik’s folly and vice, Renew the hearts of those who fear this life, And give us the grace to handle our pain. (Exit Alistar. Scene closes.) SCENE II. St. Karlsburg. The sparring arena within the Golden Crow barracks. Enter Otto Heinrik, Alistar, several Golden Crow guardsmen. OTTO HEINRIK (Otto picks up a sparring sword.) From the seas of Serpentstone to Greyspine, A warrior will I be to the north. So vast this land, yet I shall see its ends, From the mount of my strong and steady steed. Enemies to the right, and to the left, So great they are but still unmatched for me. ALISTAR Lo, Otto use your sense and keep your head! The enemy may come, or they may go, But the defender always stays en guarde. OTTO HEINRIK Heartily, I speak the truth, do I not? Great are the gifted fathers of Joren, So too am I, to follow in their stead! GUARD (Bellowing.) Entering His Majesty the King! (Enter Marius, flanked by his retinue of courtier and Gold Crow guardsmen.) MARIUS So great is Otto, who else can compare? Perhaps a jester roaming the manure! I kid, good brother for no one compares! (A nun comes forward, setting a desk for Marius’ study.) The words of yore still strike us true, Ever to keep us on our watchful eyes. Let none deceive or hinder, the glory Of the glacial and majestic winter. Whoso wishes to deny GOD’s elect, the Highlander and their great free spirit? ALISTAR I see you have excelled in your studies. It takes more than just one’s strength and one’s pride, But an unwavering mind that can see all. Barbanov never falls short of duty. (Exit all. Scene closes.) SCENE III. St. Karlsburg. The throne room of Ottosgrad palace. Enter Karl Sigmar, seated at the throne. Royal courtiers fill the peripheries of the palace throne room. Marius, Otto, the Queen-Mother flank Karl Sigmar. The Haense peerage are all present. The issue with the inclusion of House Brawm divides the Crown and the House of Kovachev. KARL SIGMAR (Seated at the throne. His face is shrouded in fatigue) My lords, we convene to discuss disputes, Concerning the lands within Carnatia. With that, the Duke Kovachev may rise forth. SERGEI II Your Highness and my fellow noble lords. Tis but a day of sad regret I rise, A man of loyalty and reverence To our Northern pride and our Northern crown. Why must we, the very House that sheltered Our king and gladly sacrificed our lives For the Kingdom, fight for security? KARL SIGMAR His Grace will cease his statement of dispute. Alas, the Duke heeds not my prior words, And with deaf ears he proceeds to this court! (Brawms snicker in the background.) SERGEI II Damned if I should act, damned if I do not. (Looks around to the courtiers.) His Highness seeks to silence me, but the Sun shines both on the good and the wicked! Woe to this court should complacency rule! We serve the right, not the dogs that were set On our duly earned Carnatian land. Friends, kinsmen, pledge your attention to me! I come to petition this esteemed court Not to sow dissent nor anger your hearts. May he not forget my own sworn duty, Not to the fallible whims of myself, But to Haense and the lands which I defend. Nor have I stood here to exhaust contempt I demand all for my kin what is due, Riddance the plague that is House Brawm in Haense. KARL SIGMAR You stand in my court, audacious and proud. Careful with your use of such words, Your Grace. They do not serve you well for your demands. Our union of vassals stands without doubt. Perhaps it is that pride of yours to fix. To all who here, to thine ears I impart, The Crown is uncontested in all respect. For if anyone should show dissent here Let he be admonished in our presence. I hereby grant in this place our assent, that those of Houndsden shall dwell among us. (Exit all but Karl Sigmar and Marius.) KARL SIGMAR My nephew, I pray you know the burden. Let neither duke nor count speak over you. The lofty ambitions of your vassals Must never come before you nor the Crown. As GOD commands the snow fall all around, He blesses the land with wintry wonder, That where it falls, your reign shall reside. Know this fully and keep this in your heart, For the day of reckoning shall be had. (Karl Sigmar gave a sigh prior to departing the throne room.) MARIUS (Looked around at the empty room, the portraits of his father and grandfather prominently peering down upon him.) To stand or fall, this I must decide now. Shall I be condemned a life of burdens, Or shall I bring honor to this great house? Is it greater to endure the pains of this crown, Or to look upon strife as total strength? The swooping talons of rival birds strike, But the noble crow is steadfast to fight. For in death, I can sleep in quick respite. But what glory does that bring to the north? Who would stand in my stead to take on such? The spurns of this station define this life. What life have I been given to define! No limits bear down on me but my thoughts, The fears that dwell within this naive mind. For it is true fear that creates weakness, Furthering blinding the sight of resolve. I pray, yet I hear nothing from the saints. Oh gracious GOD and by Karl and Otto, By Petyr and Andrik, let me succeed. May this be your good will above indeed. (Exit Marius. Scene closes.) ACT II SCENE I. St. Karlsburg. A hallway within Ottosgrad palace. Marius is seated along the staircase of Ottosgrad, accompanied by Tatiana who is weeping. MARIUS (Comforts Tatiana and speaks in a jovial tone.) Pray, good aunt, confide in me your sorrows! What vice has afflicted your graciousness? TATIANA My dear young boy, I should not burden you. I shan’t wrest you away from your affairs. MARIUS No, dear aunt. I enjoy your company! TATIANA How gracious you share love for all. Alas, your uncle Brynden shows disdain, For his mindless actions cause much pain to me. His deep ambition remains above me, His mind has no care for our family. For love is scarce among men in this world. But you, o’ king and loving toward all. Give to the north your hand and heart with glee, Never to let go of your greatest vow: To be true and faithful in all your deeds. MARIUS To you I vow always to be truthful. Never shall I shirk this given mandate. To all who give their just and wise counsel, I attend with heed to what I must do. For you, dear soul art a blessing to me, Showing pure what love can bring to us all. Tis more than love that I have learned from you, But loving those who give not back the same. Such is the duty of this great station. (Exit all. Scene closes.) SCENE II. St. Karlsburg. The throne room of Ottosgrad palace. It is the day of King Marius’ coronation. The noble lords, courtiers, clergy, and royal family are congregated within the throne room at Ottosgrad. King Marius dons royal attire. REZA ELIZAVETA At last the day of accession is here! You shall finally wear the Franciscan crown, Take the scepter in hand and show to all, That you will be a king of great courage. Look in awe dear son, for you now wear gold! (Reza gestures toward the Franciscan Crown, a gold circlet with protruding features each ornately adorned with rubies, sapphires, and diamonds.) MARIUS Gold I shall wear but worry fills my heart, For this gold has ruined many a man. Mine own father was corrupted by it, And the Kingdom suffered for his great sins. (Marius’ face is filled with worry, but he cannot break his gaze from the crown. Reza places a comforting hand on his shoulder.) REZA ELIZAVETA Remember my son, you are not Andrik. MARIUS Truly mother, my father I am not. My people look upon me with great hope; For their sake and mine own, I must triumph. (The crowd quiets as Rory Othaman, Bishop of St. Karlsburg, processions to the throne followed closely behind by altar boys and the nobles of the realm.) RORY OTHAMAN Kneel, King, and accept the blessing of God. (Marius kneels, beads of sweat forming on his brow. Rory turns to an altar boy, and dips his thumb into a glass vessel filled with oil.) RORY OTHAMAN Be now blesséd by this holy chrism, O King, chosen by God to rule us all. Let no evil into thy heart, for you Shall walk with the Almighty as your guide. (Rory draws a Lorraine cross with the oil on Marius’ forehead. He then takes the Franciscan Crown and holds it above Marius’ head.) RORY OTHAMAN Swear thee now, King, to serve dutifully And, with whole of mind and body, protect Thy subjects who gather now before thee? To uphold justice, strike down evil men, Strive for peace between brothers and nations, And hold in great esteem the laws of God? MARIUS So I swear. (Rory lowers the crown onto Marius’ head, then steps back. Marius rises.) RORY OTHAMAN Long live the King! REZA ELIZAVETA Long live the King! (The Crowd cheers and continues the chant until Marius raises his hands to signal for silence.) MARIUS Whether this life be brief or storied thus, To my leal vassals, I stand in your midst, To proclaim to you a firm and resolute realm. Now that the drums of war have been ceased, Our people shall commit ourselves thusly: To strengthen this kingdom with unity. Let us rebuild honorable custom, And the respect that every man is due. It is the cause of every Haeseni, To fulfill their destiny under God, Honoring our fathers with sacrifice, Reaping the harvest of honest labor, And leaving bounties when we are in graves. (Exit all. Scene closes.) SCENE III. St. Karlsburg. Marius’ office within Ottosgrad palace. It is early yet in Marius’ reign, and already he makes plans to meet with Lords Amador and Ruthern to settle a dispute between them. He waits in the royal office with his newly appointed Chancellor, Lukas Vanir, and his brother Otto Heinrik. MARIUS Come, Lukas, and tell me thus: that you have Grown accustomed to your new position. Few men may boast of such a rise as yours, From lowly mayor to noble Chancellor! You are surely proud of your achievement. LUKAS VANIR Ambition is not my wont, my lord King. I desire only to serve the Kingdom; The Greater Man places her above all. MARIUS A comfort, indeed, to hear you say so. Lacking faith in one’s councilor brings no Rest to one’s heart, but know that I place my Trust in you to serve this Crown loyally. Tell me, for what purpose have we been called? LUKAS VANIR To rule on a dispute as regards the Barony of Marbrand, seated between Lords Metterden and Mondstadt who presently Make way to your majesty’s grand office. (A knock at the door.) MARIUS Whence is that knocking? Come, let us see you. (Enter Boris Ruthern and Owyn Amador) MARIUS My lords, what troubles bring you here to-day? BORIS My liege, here is a villain and a traitor Who, by his own greed, seeks to take from me That which was granted by Petyr the King. My royal sovereign, my claim over the Greyspine Gate and my duty to guard it, A duty in which I have not failed thee, Are now both besieged by Lord Amador. An Owl he is assuredly not, For the lowest of rats alone cause such Havoc betwixt Haeseni brothers. OWYN My noble King, thou mustn’t listen to These false charges; truer words have come from The mouths of pagan Norlanders, who kill Freely and worship a false flaming God. Baron Marbrand has faith not in Lord Ruthern, For the shark has shown it will bite whatever It must to attain its true goal, the crown. Why then should any man serve the will of A lord who himself acts in poor faith? Be wary, my liege, for even now the Traitor conspires to take from thee thy throne. BORIS You clay-brained fool! Damn’d be your family! I ought to strike you down where you stand, knave! LUKAS VANIR We are in His Majesty’s company! Neither the dwarves of Urguan nor the Elves of Haelun’or carry themselves so! Raise you again your voice in aggression, And cursed be the day you choose to do so. Now step back and allow us to discuss. (Boris and Owyn scowl at Lukas, but silence themselves and step away whilst Lukas speaks in a lowered voice to Marius.) LUKAS VANIR See how they bear themselves, Your Majesty, As though crowned with allegiance and good faith? I am of one mind with your Lord Uncle, You must never allow your vassals to Dictate your actions unto you, my King. Regardless, this dispute has all signs of Peril, should either man feel insulted. Sire, assign an envoy to speak in Your name to keep you, in their hearts, friendly. (Marius nods. Lukas motions for Boris and Owyn to return within earshot.) MARIUS Lords Mondstadt, Metterden, be calm I say. This issue is of great import to us, And it is our interest to see it solved. Our brother Otto who has our respect, For he has done a great many things to Earn it, shall intercede on our behalf And bring to resolution this matter. None shall interfere in our goal to build A resolute realm; you will accept his Decision, whatever it may be. BORIS Thank you, my liege. OWYN Most gracious of you, sire. (Exit all. Scene closes.) SCENE IV. St. Karlsburg. The throne room of Ottosgrad palace. Marius sits in court, speaking with his gathered nobles and family. (Enter Sergeant) SERGEANT Pardon for the interruption, my King. Lord Reeve Brawm seeks admittance to your majesty. MARIUS We’ll give him present audience. Bring him. (Enter Reeve Brawm) MARIUS What message have you from our lord Houndsden? REEVE BRAWM Thus says my lord: To Marius King of Haense, Knave, polisher of Imperial boots, Only contempt and slight regard for you. Here lays our demand: full independence And freedom from your tyrannical shackles. No longer shall Hound lick the feet of the Crow, Who is unworthy of the crown it bears. In the name of my lord and our house, (Reeve Brawm removes his left glove, tossing it at Marius’ feet. Gathered nobles and courtiers gasp in surprise.) There lies our challenge to this mockery That fools may call the Kingdom of Haense. What message shall I return to Houndsden? (Marius picks up the glove and looks at it before responding.) MARIUS To your master say thus: that we accept His challenge and take arms against him. Houndsden shall regret this folly, see his Mistake, and regret the day he chose To turn his back on us, who have only Defended him to this court of our peers. Accused of tyranny, what nonsense. The only present mockery is his, The ruin he has but guaranteed for his house. Our response shall be like thunder, an earthquake, So hot an answer of it that all shall Return his mock and the people of Haense Shall see our actions as matching to his Frivolous and unwarranted insult. Leave now, tell your master what we have said. REEVE BRAWM I shall deliver so. Thanks to your highness. (Reeve bows and exits.) MARIUS What say you, Uncle Vasiland? Are the Armies of Hanseti-Ruska prepared To face this threat which has reared its ugly head? BRYNDEN VANIR Your soldiers stand willing and ready, sire. As do your loyal lords who gather here To-day, who shall stand with you to-morrow, And ev’ry day thereafter until these Traitors are brought before God Almighty. SERGEI II Your Majesty, most humbly I request The lead of the vanguard against these dogs, Who have mine own family harassed and Now make war against thy most august crown. MARIUS Take it, Carnatia, lead us to glory. Vasiland, Metterden, Ayr, great lords all, Raise your banners and rally your forces For we shall make war on these dogs of Brawm! BRYNDEN, ADOLPHUS, SERGEI, OWYN, and BORIS To war! (Exit all. Scene closes.) SCENE V. Houndsden. The royal command tent in the siege camp. Marius, Lukas, Brynden Vanir, Adolphus, Sergei II, and Otto Marius have all gathered within the royal command tent in the Houndsden siege camp. ADOLPHUS Mighty is your artillery, my liege! For even now the dogs within the fort Cower in fear and await their slaughter! OTTO MARIUS Tis a shame that men of Courland should die After, by trickery, entering the fort. BRYNDEN VANIR A shame, nay, an honor my Lord Baruch! Long have my kin clashed with those of Staunton! We know well their penchant for deception And their love of war and all things evil. OTTO MARIUS Aye, you speak truly, my Lord Vasiland. Never again can the white eagle be Allowed to spread its wings across the land. (Enter Rory Othaman, sweaty and armored.) RORY OTHAMAN The enemy’s wall has crumbled, my liege. Your soldiers, with hardened heart and clenched fist, Stand ready to attack and take the fort. MARIUS Then take it, Lord Bishop, as you have said. Bring us victory. God be with you all. (Exeunt Lords after bowing. Marius breaks composure and kneels before a cross.) MARIUS O God above who watches over us all, Steel my soldiers’ hearts, take from them doubt and Fear, for those shall bring them death in battle. Rather, grant them to this thy leal servant. Is this then the true weight of the crown? Men shall live and die by my command, and Yet I know not whether my acts are just. My grandsire did nobly fight and win war, Forming this crown which now rests on my head. Did he ne’er doubt himself? When taking arms Or striking men with steel, did he not care For the widows made from his ambition? Of mine own father, a veteran of war, Songs are sung of his conquests and glory, Yet guilt did not preclude his violence. Why then hast thou chosen me, mighty God, Who withers and writhes with guilt and conscience? (Marius pauses, staring at the cross for a moment.) But this is not mine to question why, But to do as you have commanded me. This I know to be true, that for the better Or for the worst, the crown rests upon my Head, and I am King of Hanseti-Ruska. Such is the burden that I must carry. (Enter Sergei with blood on armor and sword.) SERGEI II The flag of surrender is raised, my King! The castle has fallen to our great arms! MARIUS And how many among us do lie dead? SERGEI II But one of the eight thousand whom you sent. A slight amount, Your Majesty. Minor. (Marius nods, Sergei bows then exits.) MARIUS One thousand more orphans, yet slight he says.. (Exit Marius. Scene closes.) ACT III SCENE I. St. Karlsburg. The throne room in Ottosgrad palace. Some years have passed since the Brawm Rebellion. Marius wraps up a diplomatic meeting in court with Prince Merric Staunton in hopes of reducing tensions with Courland. (Enter Marius, Merric Staunton, Diedrik, and Lukas.) MERRIC STAUNTON Great words between us, royal brother! I’ll report to my kingly coz that you Peace have invested in, that no more blood Be shed for any cause between our realms. DIEDRIK BARROW (Quietly to Lukas) How low the crow does fly to treat with such? Why entertain the scum of Courland, they Who unjustly buried our great Empire? LUKAS VANIR Your tongue is rough. Pray the King does not hear, Or pray that it should fall from your mouth, Lest you lose more than you wish to part with. Peace is the wish of all, both Man and God. When has our sovereign led us astray? DIEDRIK BARROW (Quietly to self) What fools do wear the crown to lead us all! Peace should not so dull a Kingdom, its swords Must not rust, nor its people grow lazy. Would that these twits see this friendship is naught, These praises covering ambition with A coat of humility and finesse. Tis now that defenses ought to be made, Soldiers fitted and armed, forts brought up. War will come upon the land once more, brought By the talons of Courlandic eagle. Did not these Courlanders send aid to Brawm When those dogs bit the hands which fed them? Pure truth must surface and be made known lest Death will, with his great scythe, cut down all here. The instrument of truth I shall be, and Strike down with my blade this disguised devil! (Diedrik pulls out a dagger from under his cloak, stabbing Merric in front of the court. Merric collapses, dead.) MARIUS You fool! Know you what disaster this brings? DIEDRIK BARROW I have only done that which is good for Haense. MARIUS Arrest the murderer, and bring here a Priest to inter a man who would be our friend. (Guards arrest Diedrik. Exit soldiers and Diedrik with Merric’s body.) MARIUS (To Lukas) Ambassadors to Courland send, that peace May yet be saved despite the blood spilled here To-day, that it may not all be in vain. (Exit all. Scene closes.) SCENE II. Cloud Temple. A round table within a peaceful grotto. After the murder of Merric Staunton, Tobias and Marius meet for a diplomatic council on the grounds of the Cloud Temple. Tensions are high, as a less-than-successful meeting could result in world war. TOBIAS My people will not be cowed by your threats, Nor will they quake at the drawing of steel, For Courlanders are made of sterner stuff As shall be witnessed should we come to blows! MARIUS Stay your hand, my royal brother Courland. Your coz Merric and I were of one mind, That ne’er again can war destroy our realms, So our princes may be not captiv’d by The black hand of Death, servant of Iblees. TOBIAS If, King of Hanseti, you would the peace, Whose lack gives home to these imperfections Which you have naively explained to us, Then now explain you must why Merric lies In eternal slumber beneath the dirt. Brother he was to us, confidante when Discretion was demanded of us. As friend no equal did he have, no man As gracious nor as loved was he by all. Why then lies he with worms below our feet, Whilst you, who brought his death, walk free with life? MARIUS The crime of which you speak was done not in My name, but by a fool, a rogue who acts For self and pride, who wants above all, war. Put to arrest he was, executed For justice and in furtherance of peace. Thy cousin was accordant with my want, My aspiration for peace between us. Scorn not his memory through thy pursuit Of war, rather honor his sacrifice. Let his blood mark a new beginning for Our realms, a path towards great prosperity. TOBIAS To yet place my trust in the King would be To treat with men who but ten years prior Raised arms against my realm in defense of Horen and their great crimes against the world, Who stomped upon the necks of the uruks, Who burnt Savoy out of spite for their lord, Who sought to end the line of the dwarf kings! Desire not my people to return to The ways of the Imperium Quintus, Yet I believe with all my heart that you Yearn for these days of old in which you ruled. How then can I with good conscience believe That you do not aim to restore Horen? MARIUS Loyal service I gave, for that’s my oath. When I, like all, am interred in the ground, To rest with my father and all before, With me shall go no gold, nor silk, nor jewels. All these and more may be taken from me, But my honor shall be mine forever. Shame to him who leaves this life with dishonor, For his stain shall not be made clean in death. To quit my liege in his hour of great need Would so sully my soul that no good deed Would wipe away the shame of my deceit. How then can you say, ‘I do not trust you’? By my acts I have shown my commitment To all pacts which shall bear my signature. My one concern henceforth will be to guard My people, from youngest child to oldest man. What reason then have I to lie to you? In spite of your lack of faith in my words, I will offer to send envoys to thee, So that swords may stay sheathed and words shall then Resolve conflicts that rise between our realms. This I say to ease thy mistrust of me, So you may see my heart is pure and true. TOBIAS Not out of love shall I agree to this, But in remembrance of my sweet cousin. Fare thee well, brother Hanseti-Ruska. (Exit all. Scene closes.) SCENE III. St. Karlsburg. The throne room of Ottosgrad palace. Months after the diplomatic council, ambassadors have gone back and forth between Courland and Haense, ensuring the tense peace between them remains in place. Marius stands in Ottosgrad, speaking to Rory, Sergei, Otto Heinrik, and Brynden Vanir. (Enter Lukas.) LUKAS VANIR Grave news my liege, for in pursuit of peace Sent I Count Metterden to see Staunton And in this endeavor, death has taken him. MARIUS Murdered? God preserve us, all will be lost! A babe, fresh from the womb, was our new peace, Fragile and new to this world’s cruelties, Protected only by good will of men, Smothered now whilst laying within its crib! Give me your thoughts my lords, what should be done? RORY OTHAMAN An opportunity given by God, Planted at the feet of one who must answer. His Holiness shall place God’s grace on us, Should we, with all expedience, make war On Aleksandria who dare appoint A false Pontiff in challenge to His Grace. Tears shall be shed for Count Metterden, yet Others will follow if we idle and Permit this hope for justice to slip us by. Hear me, gracious sovereign, and you peers, That owe yourselves your lives to this grand cause, That what was torn asunder may be new, And be re-united under our God. I speak, of course, of our Imperium, Risen from the flames of our holy war. Gracious lord, stand for what is your duty, Unfurl your flags of war as your forebears Did for generations before you and Restore Humanity from fallen state To life in our Holy Oren Empire. MARIUS To breathe new life into Humanity Is my solemn duty, but to declare On brother Courland for Orenia? A hypocrite would I be should I do What you here now suggest to this grand court. Marshal Vasiland, speak your mind to us. BRYNDEN VANIR I am one with your mind that Empire is Not cause enough to send men to battle. Yet I agree that war must be declared. Years have passed since the collapse of House Brawm; Your peers and soldiers grow tired and restless, Eager to prove themselves worthy of the Legacies of their ancestors before. War will grant them such opportunity, And make known to the world that Haense remains Strong as ever to fight all who attack. MARIUS Brother Otto, where stands your mind on this? OTTO HEINRIK Your peers lack in caution, royal brother. Courland is no small dog like that of Brawm. The wings of the white eagle stretch out far, Its talons long and sharp, its beak jagged. Forget not how Horen lost their great crown At the hands of a mighty coalition Assembled by the cunning of Staunton. To war them now would be to risk such fate Upon us all, to change the maps of the world. MARIUS Lukas, chancellor, where does your mind fall? LUKAS VANIR Metterden was no minor peer, my King, But one of the great houses of the realm. To not act now would be to turn your back On those houses which have served you with faith. Complaints of insincerity will come After your words in council with Tobias, But your nobles shall think you weak if you Fail now to avenge the death of their own. A tough choice lies before you now, sire. No matter what decision you shall make, I am forever your loyal servant. (Marius pauses, thinking to himself.) MARIUS Let it be war then, and may it be swift. BRYNDEN VANIR (To other peers gathered) Raise then banners of war, my lords. Make haste To call upon your men; let us repeat The grand subjugation of Houndsden now! (Exeunt all. Scene closes.) SCENE IV. St. Karlsburg. The courtyard of Ottosgrad palace. After declaring war on Courland, Marius dispatched his army to the forest crossroads of Elba, one of the many pathways into the Kingdom. He paces anxiously within the palace courtyard while waiting for news. (Enter Lukas and Sergeant.) LUKAS VANIR Here comes now a man who fought at Elba. MARIUS Come Sergeant, and give your report to us. SERGEANT My honorable King, I bear ill news, For though eight thousand stood to fight House Brawm, Only came four to fight against Courland. Such ill can only be caused by Vanir, Who failed in his duty to properly Maintain and train your host to be ready For the war which we now find ourselves in. This gross incompetence and mismanagement Has made many a man desert his post, For none of sound mind wish to die for the Mistakes of another, in command or In battle, as was the case at Elba. It was two to one and Courland was fresh, With full bellies and warm clothing to wear. Disaster continued as we sought to Rout their cavalry with our own; in this We failed and so were forced with all haste to Quit the field and surrender the ground with shame. Retreat was costly and we just escaped, Though not without the loss of many men. Slaughter it was, the frozen ground turned red With the blood of the defeated fallen. MARIUS Oh God, from where have they this mettle? Are they not from warm and cozy climate? Their men not raised in lives of great comfort? From young age are our boys taught to survive, Yet they now find themselves bested by sheep! I shall put it out of my mind, it is No matter, for Metterden now stands tall, Ready to weather the strikes of Courland. As the rocks of the coast do with great waves, So shall our fort withstand assault by men. (Enter Sergei.) SERGEI II Lies and deceit betray us all my King! For now Staunton marches his men around Greyspine Mountains, his aim to siege the fort At Vasiland and take our coast to build Routes of supply to feed his vast army! MARIUS Hubris and vanity cost us this day, For in our ostentation we failed to Properly fortify our coast, a sin That shall cause us great pains in this conflict! Scurry yourself and what soldiers remain To Vasiland to garrison the fort. I too shall go with you, to be a beacon Of hope and raise the spirits of my men Who, soon enough, shall fight in defense of This crown I wear which makes men call me King. LUKAS VANIR To permit you leave would be to put your Life in grave harm, my King, too great a risk Does this pose to our realm that I, with all Intensity must refuse your desire. You must, for the sake of us all, remain. MARIUS Accept then I your judgment of my mind. In safety I shall stay while Carnatia Commands the defense of our eastern land. Spare neither cost nor time, do what you must. Bring victory so we may see another day. (Exit all. Scene closes.) ACT IV SCENE I. St. Karlsburg. The throne room of Ottosgrad palace. Marius waits in St. Karlsburg, anxiously waiting for news of the Siege of Vasiland. (Enter Lukas, Otto Heinrik, all Haeseni Lords, bloody and defeated.) MARIUS Lukas, Chancellor, friend, what news have you? Has our tactic played out as we intended? LUKAS VANIR Reproach, ruin, and shame, Your Majesty! All our ranks are broke; men flee for their lives. Fire, the enemy artillery did, At our walls which could not withstand such a Barrage of stone and flame, and came crashing To the earth, scores of men following them. Die well they did not, and there shall be many In Haense to-day lacking husband, father, or son. Woe to us who sent these men to their end! Once more back again to the field we must go, To die with honor and fall beside the Men whose souls now rest with the saints above! MARIUS Stay your hand, gentle Lukas, for God still Has purpose for you and us fellows all. Defeated in battle we may be, but Fulfill I must the duties of the crown. Proclaim it through my host and my realm that Purses shall be made for flight to Mardon, That none who wish to live in subjugation Must do so, and may rather join us in That southern asylum which we must call home. Shame and dishonor may follow me for The rest of my life, but my people shan’t Suffer for the mistakes of their ruler. Go and do it now, quickly. OTTO HEINRIK It shall be done, your highness. God bless you. (Exeunt lords with a bow except Lukas.) LUKAS VANIR And as regards the war, my sovereign? MARIUS Send messengers to Courland for Staunton. Peace shall, nay, must be made no matter the cost. (Exit Lukas with a bow.) MARIUS (buries his face in his hands, weeping) May Almighty God have mercy on me. (Exit Marius. Scene closes.) SCENE II. Mardon. A street-side bench within the city. Some time has passed since the flight to Mardon. A peace treaty was signed giving away all Haeseni territory to Courland, but Marius retained the titles of King of Hanseti and Ruska. He sits alone on a bench in the city, bottle of wine in hand. MARIUS In all of life’s woes, no comfort is found: Let’s speak of crumbled stone and ashen flags, Of hollow armor where knights once adorned. Inscribe sorrow on graves of our fallen. For when we join them, our last wills are read. And yet at our death, what do we pass down? Nothing shall remain but our memory. Our lands, our lives, our homes are all Staunton’s, Nothing left we call our own but demise, And all the shallow graves of distant lands, Which are final rest to our flesh and bones. For God’s sake, let us sit where we so please And share sad stories of the death of kings: How some overthrown or slain in battle, Some cursed by the sins of their father’s deeds, Some poison’d by their queens, or killed by fate. All struck dead whilst wearing the weighty crown, That gilded vice taking the king hostage, Where death awaits and lingers all around, Taunting his state and cursing his first born. Yet life gives him leave to suffer a while, Allowing him time to govern in vain, Entrapping him in duty before death, As if this body were made of stern stuff. When he finally feels safe and secure, Death comes at last to shame his vain conceit. Like a trebuchet in the dark of night, At a moment’s release, bores through his keep, And alas they shall say, “O’ farewell king.” For death is truly our fate’s great master, Mocking our fragile lives at any time. But for now, let me not think of duty, Mandate, ceremony, or tradition, For you have mistaken me all this time. I suffer like you, grieve much, long for hope: How can any of you say I am king? (Marius sips from the bottle, then falls off the bench dead.) FIN
  17. HOUSE STAFYR INTRODUCTION & FOREWORD By Arthur K. Stafyr 23rd Lord & Guardian of House Stafyr The legacy of the House of Stafyr is a rich and prestigious one. One of the oldest families in humanity, we Stafyrs have weathered the rise and fall of many an empire and kingdom alike. From windswept Shadowcastle to glacial Nenzing, my family has seen it all. Our eternal virtues of Law, Honor, and Loyalty are what have held us together. Our history is part and parcel to who we are. Yet, in recent years, the several lines of Beorn have been scattered like chaff in the wind. The heritage which we champion has begun to slowly fade from living memory. In an uncertain world, we cannot forget what makes us that which we are. Let the culture, customs, and traditions of the Almannir tribes and of the Stafyr family not go unrecorded. I pen this ethnography and history, the latter of which I have edited and modernized from the works of Leopold, Count of Nenzing and Nikolas Flynn Stafyr so that our name might not be forgotten. Indeed, I further write this compendium with the help of my Uncle Thondorus, and my beloved Elia, so that it may be spoken by living tongues once again. A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ALMANNIR Almannir Horsemen in the Highlands of Aegis, c. 572 On Almannir History An excerpt about the Almannir people and their history by the current keeper of the Book of Tales, Thondorus II. of House Stafyr Foreword This brief summary shall give the reader some insight in the ancient and thus far very unclear history of the Almannir people. The contents are based on a combination of collected records, fragments of history and a more proper translation of the stories in the Book of Tales. A degree of conjecture is present, but the reader must forgive as this history is many centuries old. Without further ado, I bid the reader an enticing or equally boring read. Overview Etymology and meaning History: Foundation, Aegis, transition into modern records (the Verge) The five Houses Altbaum, Altbom, Oldtree Steinkachel, Stoakachl, Stonetile Weidenfrau, Wiidafrou, Meadowswife Steinfeuer, Stoafyer or Stafyr, Stonefire Rettersmann, Rettersma, Saviour The Galdr The Book of Tales and its stories Closing statement Part 1: Etymology and Meaning Part 2: History: Foundation, Aegis and The Transition into Modern Records (the Verge) Part 3: The Five Houses As described in the preceding part, five Houses led Almania at its peak with the first one being of kingly status. Unfortunately the records are quite limited as to what are their traditions and customs but a few basic pointers may be given. Part 4: The Galdr Part 5: The Book of Tales Closing Statement This brief excerpt should give some insight into the history of the Almannir, their origin and who they were. It is by no means exhaustive and there are many more secrets to be found within the fractured sources spread through the libraries and memories of the people all around. What matters the most, is that the people descending from these heroes of olden days remember their roots and never forget their origin. History is part of who you are. THE HISTORY OF HOUSE STAFYR The Siege of Schattenburg, c. 1435 The Birth of House Stafyr (UNKNOWN - 1353) The Rise of Saint Godwein (1353 - 1426) Clash of Brothers (1426 - 1435) The Golden Age of Stafyr (1435 - 1464) The First Falcon’s Fall (1435 - 1521) Stafyrian Renaissance (1529 - 1718) The Bear’s Regency and the Erichian Era (1718 - 1744) The Second Falcon’s Fall (1744 - 1794) THE THREE LINES OF BEORN An Artist’s Depiction of the Siblings Galtor and Sybilla as Youths The three familial lines of House Stafyr all descend from the children of Beorn Stafyr, the founder of the House. They are aptly named Hanethor, Galtor, and Sybilla. While there have been known to be Stafyrs who have broken the stereotypes associated with their lines in the past, the Three Lines of Beorn are often associated with the particular characteristics and occupations for which they are renowned. Hanethorian Line Galtorian Line Sybillan Line ALMANNIR & STAFYR CULTURE Leana & Katherine Stafyr Riding Horses, c. 1732 By Katerine Ruthern nee Stafyr (@Sirenscall) THE TRADITIONS OF HOUSE STAFYR Over the centuries, House Stafyr has developed for itself a set of unique ceremonies and traditions. Many of these are Almannir in nature, though several are unique to the Stafyrs as an ancient family in their own right. Though the customs and traditions of Stafyr are vast, I shall endeavor to document the most important to which almost all are accustomed. Even among our disparate members and branches, these coming of age rituals are all widely acknowledged. Coming of Age 1.) The Hatching (Age 13) 2.) The First Pilgrimage (Age 16) 3.) The Falcon’s Flight (Age 16+) Almannir Funeral Rites Equestrian Festivals Mummer’s Shows Almannir Lullabies CULTURAL HERITAGE Over the centuries, House Stafyr has developed for itself a set of unique ceremonies and traditions. Many of these are Almannir in nature, although nearly a half millennia of nobility has led to the adoption of some which are unique to the Stafyr family. Traditional Foodstuffs Clothing Jewelry & Regalia The Men of Stafyr The Women of Stafyr THE VIRTUES OF HOUSE STAFYR St. Godwein Imparting the Virtue of Law Unto Ser Edmund, c. 1418 The House of Stafyr is renown for the motto which it has championed throughout the ages, this being the phrase “Licent, Honorem, Pietas.” Roughly translating into “Law, Honor, and Loyalty” in the language of Flexio, a true Stafyr from any branch of the House will always strive to live by these virtues to the best of their ability. To live by these virtues is of paramount importance to any Stafyr. Failure to abide by these virtues will rarely fare well for a Falcon, often proving to be their downfall. This is a recurring theme throughout Stafyr history, as its members strive to emulate the lofty example set by Saint Godwein of Huntshill throughout his life. Though there have been definitive villains throughout the House’s history, those who have remained true to these virtues have thrived and prospered. ‡ LICENT ‡ ‡ HONOREM ‡ ‡ PIETAS ‡ THE LORDS OF STAFYR Ser Edmund and Ser Farley: A Clash of Brothers, c. 1428 Beorn Stafyr Born - Unknown Death - Unknown Titles: 1st Lord of Stafyr and Guardian of House Stafyr. Hanethor I. Stafyr Born - Unknown Death - 1349 Titles: 2nd Lord of Stafyr and Guardian of House Stafyr. Master Thondorus Stafyr Born ~ 1300-1305 Death - 1355 Titles: 3rd Lord of Stafyr, Founder, Master and Bailiff of Rivacheg Master Graveth I. Stafyr Born ~ 1320-1323 Death ~1380-1390 Titles: 4th Lord of Stafyr, Master and Bailiff of Rivacheg Saint Godwein the Honest of Huntshill Born ~ 1360-1365 Death - 1426 Titles: 5th Lord of Stafyr, Marquis of Schattenburg, Baron of Feldkirch, Baron of Huntshill, Lord High Treasurer and Grand Justice of the Holy Oren Empire. After his death sanctified as the Patron Saint of Honesty, Woodworkers, Fungi and Skin-afflictions. Lord Edmund I. Stafyr Born - 1392 Death - 1435 Titles: 6th Lord of Stafyr, Lord of Geminine, Marquis of Schattenburg, Baron of Feldkirch, Lord Privy Seal of the Holy Oren Empire, Noble Ser of the chapter of the Lion, Knight Commander of Renatus. Lord Farley II. “The Young Lord” Stafyr Born - 1431 Death - 1464 Titles: 7th Lord of Stafyr, Count of Shadowcastle, Baron of New Huntshill and Fieldchurch, Lord Privy Seal of the Holy Kingdom of Oren, Warden of the South. Lord Symon “The Bread Count” Stafyr Born - 1445 Death - 1509 Titles: 8th Lord of Stafyr, Count of Werdenberg and Shadowcastle, Baron of New Huntshill, Fieldchurch, Commander of Eastgate and Master Keeper of the Imperium Tertius. Lord Athelstan II. Stafyr Born - 1460 Death - 1535 Titles: 9th Lord of Stafyr, Count of Werdenberg and Baron of Katzburg. Lord Thomas Stafyr Born - 1474 Death - 1515 Titles: 10th Lord of Stafyr, Count of Werdenberg, Baron of Katzburg and Waldstadt Lord Jakob II. Stafyr Born - 1477 Death - 1521 Titles: 11th Lord of Stafyr, Baron of Waldstadt. Lord Altaron II. Stafyr Born - 1529 Death - 1599 Titles: 12th Lord of Stafyr, Baron of Arnaut and Master of Coin for the Archduchy of Lorraine. Lord Eadwulf Stafyr-Thurant Born - 1579 Death -1622 Titles: 13th Lord of Stafyr, Duke of Raetia and Baron of Thurant Lord Kristoff Ludvic Stafyr-Grauspin Born - 1592 Death - 1632 Titles: 14th Lord of Stafyr, Viscount of Grauspin, Ambassador and Emissary of Haense Lord Sergei Heindrik Stafyr-Grauspin Born - 1621 Death -1707 Titles: 15th Lord of Stafyr, Viscount of Grauspin, Baron of Thurant and Lord-Marshal of Haense. Lord Leopold Kristoff Stafyr-Grauspin Born - 1688 Death - 1718 Titles: 16th Lord of Stafyr, Count of Nenzing, Viscount of Grauspin, Baron of Thurant, Lord-Palatine and Chancellor of Haense Lord Erich Stafyr-Grauspin Born - 1712 Death - 1744 Titles: 17th Lord of Stafyr, Count of Nenzing, Viscount of Grauspin, Baron of Thurant, Royal Envoy of Haense, Commandant of the Brotherhood of St. Karl Lord Alaric Leopold Stafyr-Grauspin Born - 1735 Death - 1775 Titles: 18th Lord of Stafyr, Count of Nenzing, Viscount of Grauspin, Baron of Thurant, Commander of the Royal Expedition to Athera (1756) Lord Hektor Stafyr-Grauspin Born - 1755 Death - 1794 Titles: 19th Lord of Stafyr, Count of Nenzing, Viscount of Grauspin, Baron of Thurant Master Damron Stafyr-Beron Born - 1735 Death - 1807 Titles: 20th Lord of Stafyr and Guardian of House Stafyr. Master Morvon Stafyr-Beron Born - 1787 Death - 1856 Titles: 21st Lord of Stafyr and Guardian of House Stafyr. Master Nikolas II. Stafyr-Beron Born - 1827 Death - 1884 Titles: 22nd Lord of Stafyr and Guardian of House Stafyr. Lord Arthur Konrad Stafyr-Beron Born - 1868 Death - 1929 Titles: 23rd Lord of Stafyr, Baron of Thurant, Palatial Secretary, Royal Inquisitor, Chief Jovenaar of Haense Lady Elia Eryka Stafyr Born - 1871 Death - Titles: 24th Lord of Stafyr, Baroness of Thurant, Curator of the Haeseni Crown Jewels Lord Edmund II. Hannes Stafyr-Beron Born - 1895 Death - Titles: 25th Lord of Stafyr, Baron of Thurant Lady Katrin Eryka Stafyr-Beron Born - 1928 Death - Titles: 26th Lord of Stafyr, Baroness of Thurant THE STAFYR HEIRLOOMS The Vault of Old Nenzing, c. 1745 ‡ ANCIENT HEIRLOOMS ‡ ‡ MODERN HEIRLOOMS ‡ APPENDIX OF HISTORICAL WORKS [[THANKS AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:]]
  18. THE HOUSE OF RUTHERN “By Bones and Barrows” Introduction The House of Ruthern is the current ruling family of the Duchy of Vidaus and vassal of the Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska. Originating as a bastard cadet branch of the House of Carrion through Boris I, King of Raev’s bastard son, Ruther ‘Bonebreaker’ Barrow. The House of Ruthern originally rose to prominence under Exalted Sigismund and the succeeding Carrion monarchs, King Heinrik I and King Franz I, and again at the founding of the dual Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska under the Barbanov King Petyr I. House Ruthern has remained at the height of human politics and conflict ever since. The Histories Origins The House of Ruthern is one of the oldest houses of humanity; originating from the imperial House of Carrion. House Ruthern descends from the bastard Ruther Barrow, born out of wedlock between the Prince Boris Carrion and a courtier believed to be by the name of “Elizaveta”. Although a bastard, his mother sought out good treatment for the Barrow and had him cared for by the servantry and other governesses of the castle. Elizaveta spoke honeyed words to those around her to secure a safe homestead for the child under another Carrion, Lord Borislav. He was “[...] ill-tempered and cruel; and [Ruther] had always been spiteful of those around him, taking pleasure in torture and pain.” Ruther had a notable, intense phobia of bloodshed and reveled in forms of blunt trauma and torture to satiate this. A hammer was his weapon of choice to inflict these acts and to further himself throughout all his military endeavours, oftentimes partaking in naval warfare of cold blue seas amidst war if not in the thick of the bloodshed and battle. Ruther was despised for his cruelties, and the courtiers and servants alike begged for the Lord Borislav to have the boy killed in war to die upon foreign soil. Seeing their pleas as plausible against the ill-mannered Ruther Barrow, the boy was sent off to war again (with hopes from those at his home that he would die) with sixteen longships gifted to him and a levy mixed with convicts and conscripts. Against all odds, Ruther and his men infiltrated the rival Kosanov Holding and decimated the populace in its entirety amidst the Raevir people’s civil conflict. When the Carrion lords that he so served under attempted to claim the hold in which Ruther had won over, he garrisoned the castle and demanded legitimization for his pivotal effort in the war. Legitimization would make Ruther a true Carrion, and those who knew the boy were in open opposition to this occurrence. Lord Borislav, among the men demanding the stronghold of Kosanov, refused the legitimization outright. However, Ruther was granted a barren beachline for his warband out of appeasement and high wishes that such would satisfy the wicked bastard. Soon, Ruther was forced to abandon his lands as war saw itself in a spiral. Through fury and insanity, he navigated his fleet away from the House of Carrion’s and drove the people along with him to a variety of island civilizations between the continents of Asulon and Anthos. Ruther’s passing was sudden and unknown, only to be followed by his trueborn son; Boris. Boris garnered the sigil of the hammerhead shark for the creature’s savagery, hammer-head in symbol of his father’s weapon, and affinity in water. Boris continued his father's legacy of establishing violent campaigns against various trade archipelagos, and bore two sons; Ivan and Ailred. Boris, however, did not have the unrelenting tenacity and violence as his father. He faltered and in doing so his second son, Ailred, was kidnapped at a young age by rival slavers. Ailred was lost to the family, being raised as a Dreadfort child soldier after being sold to Augustus Blackmont in Anthos. Boris eventually contracted scurvy, dying and sending the “Fleet of Bones” scattered throughout the wild seas with each Captain having a will to claim the mantle Ruther and Boris had held. The ensuing, blood-filled conflict of brother against brother and friend against friend became known as the “Night of Broken Ships”. In the following year, Ivan, possessing a knack that his father did not, was able to consolidate his own forces from new recruits and remnants of the Bones’ crews where he gained knowledge of a new landmass and began making plans. Crimson Chapter [Anthos] Ivan took what little streltsy conscripts and thralls he’d mustered to head for Anthos. He had figured the continent settled and ripe for war, despite his weakened fleet. Upon arriving on the Crimson Isles, Ivan and his fleet are met on the shore by a retinue of soldiers loyal to House Blackmont. Agreeing to a meet between himself and Lord Augustus Blackmont, Ivan and his crew members are escorted to the Dreadfort; a towering, dauntingly fearsome place. Inside, the conversation that ensued was a productive one where Ivan saw his views align with Lord Augustus’ own leading to the integration of his men into the Flay forces with Ivan as an officer, serving the awe-inspiring bandit lord as a formidable brigand in his own right. In what can only be described as a fortuitous twist of fate, Ivan reunited with his brother, Flay bannermen Ailred, who had come to be nicknamed “Red Ruth'' for his flayish brutality in their time apart. Ailred had grown up with a harsh sort of way before earning his freedom and rising through the ranks due to his skills as a swordsman and commander of men. The years that came after this were prosperous for the Ruthern brothers and their men, banditing, raiding and accumulating power and influence aplenty. Like every good thing, it comes to an end though and the House Ruthern’s time as bannermen was no different. Augustus Blackmont, the man who had garnered the respect and loyalty of many, died, leaving his son Tiberius, known to be incompetent, to inherit. The climax of Tiberius’ ineptitude came in what has come to be remembered as the “Crimson Banquet”, where a feast in the Flay keep devolved into the throwing of wild accusations and fighting after Tiberius died at the hands of an unknown poisoner. The ensuing chaos and blood spilling results in the Dreadfort being set alight, reduced to rubble once the flames died down. In the aftermath many of the formerly Blackmont loyalists join the large swathes of people in the Great Exodus, leaving behind the lands of Anthos in search of the fabled land of Aeldin after the death of Horen V and the dismantling of the First Orenian Empire. Ivan and Ailred stayed and governed the lands that were once belonging to House Blackmont, their status once more risen. Second Orenian Empire [Anthos] In lieu of the Orenian Empire, the Kingdom of Ruska rose in its place as the dominant kingdom for humankind. At the head of it is Siegmund Carrion, King of Ruska and second cousin to Ivan and Ailred. A charismatic and captivating figure. King Siegmund sought out Ivan and Ailred to express his desire of a unified humanity once more under one banner of which they would be included. Convinced of his sincerity and lack of ulterior motive, Ivan and Ailred agreed and thus the lands held by the Ruthern siblings fell under the Kingdom of Ruska to further Siegmund’s cause. In the coming years the vision proves an ever more tangible one when the remaining human states join the fold and makes the Apostolic Kingdom of Ruska the sole nation of mankind, to be reconstructed as the Second Orenian Empire with a Kaorvic at its core. Ivan and Ailred were bestowed the benefits of their loyalty, rising in status as Marquess and Counts and forming the Decterum Order, the largest and later state military of the Empire, with Ailred assuming the position of its Marshal. In the years that were to come, Ailred’s power and influence advanced whilst his brother Ivan grew frail and weak, wracked with rapidly oncoming old age. In late Anthos, Ivan takes his final ragged breath and passes away in his bed in the middle of the night, leaving behind both trueborn and baseborn children but leaves Ailred as the new patriarch of the House of Ruthern. During the same period of time, Emperor Siegmund I died and, without a viable son to become heir due to either their taking of holy rites or mere dullness, dismantled the Empire and willed the throne of the Kingdom of Oren to be taken by his nephew Heinrik ‘the Warrior’ van Roy, who became King Heinrik I. Several years later, the continent of Anthos sank beneath the waves after routine floodings swallowed large swathes of land and forced the Rutherns, with the rest of the Kingdom, to flee to the Fringe, a temporary land mass where the descendants made home for a decade. The Fringe saw the bloodiest, most ruinous chapter of the history of the House of Ruthern that began with the death of the King. Oren Civil War [Fringe] Upon the death of King Heinrik I of Oren in 1456, Franz Josef Carrion, the thirdborn son of Exalted Emperor Siegmund and nephew of Heinrik, was proclaimed heir to the throne in the last will of the deceased king. Controversially, Franz had previously been High Pontiff (referred to as High Ecclesiarch at the point in time), under the name Radomir I, but abdicated his pontifical titles and returned to secular life as a Prince of the Kingdom of Oren. Franz was well known for his diplomacy and machinations and it was believed amongst the people of Oren that he would bring a more peaceful time after the abundance of war, raids and military actions of his predecessor. Despite his reputation, there were those from the nobility and clergy who were opposed to his crowning, chief among them the High Pontiff Regulus I and Archbishop John Jrent of Darfey. Regulus believed that it was wholly wrong for a Pontiff Emeritus to seek a crown, an act which was in violation with Franz Carrion’s own papal dictates, and grew paranoid over the quickened spread of Ruskan Orthodoxy, which Regulus and his predecessor High Pontiff Lucien II had already had to make numerous concessions for. As such, High Pontiff Regulus I delayed and avoided crowning Prince Franz Carrion as King of Oren for many months. Only the true High Pontiff may crown a King of Oren and thus Franz Carrion sought to circumvent the process by being crowned as King of Ruska by an anti-pontiff of his own choosing instead in the City of Vekaro. During his coronation, the Order of Saint Lucien being present took it upon themselves as a Holy Order loyal to High Pontiff Regulus I to arrest the anti-pontiff. They failed in this attempt when an attack on the fortress by minions of Iblees known as the Scourge began, forcing the Lucienists to deal with them rather than continuing their detainment of the false pontiff. Tensions grew when this act was misinterpreted as a failed assassination attempt and Regulus condemned Franz’ actions. After the denouncement of King Franz’ undertakings by those of the True Church, Franz proceeded according to his plan and issued a letter to Pontiff Regulus stating that he had defrocked his own anti-pontiff and wished to repent on the condition that the Pontiff enthrone him as King of Oren. King Franz Carrion would never see this come to fruition as the Archbishop John of Darfey, Chancellor of the Council of Bishops, had conspired with the leader of the Decterum and Lord Marshal of Oren, Count Ailred Ruthern, to depose King Franz by any means necessary. The Archbishop had supposedly offered Ailred the crown of Oren, a promise he had no power to give, and Ailred accepted. Feigning continued loyalty to his Ruskan liege, Ailred and his Decterum were granted entry into Vekaro where they began to stage their blood coup. Franz and those in his court, being Lord Chancellor Wilfriche Buron later to be canonised as Saint Wilfriche of Hanseti, Baron Lorethos Basileus, thirteen year old page Damon Kovachev, nine lowborn courtiers, and one priest, were killed by the men of the Decterum and Lucienists. King Franz Carrion was murdered by Ailred Ruthern personally with half-a-hundred stabs before he collapsed, only to be set upon by the other conspirators who mutilated him further. High Pontiff Regulus I disapproved of the betrayal that would henceforth be remembered as the ‘Franciscan Massacre’ of 1456 but appointed Ailred Ruthern and Commander Jack Rovin of the Order of Saint Lucien, amongst other notable leaders of Human factions, as a member of the Tetrarchs, a temporary regency council, as the Pontiff was unwilling to name a single successor to the throne to avoid further divides between mankind. At the same time, Velky-Strannik, roughly translated to Grand Knight, Fredek Royce of the Order of Stranniks, bastard son of King Heinrik I, was present in the royal castle in Vekaro whilst the Decterum and Lucienist forces killed all men present and loyal to King Franz Carrion. Fredek, upon discovering the betrayal, had the sense to remain undetected whilst he made his way out of the castle. Along the way he came across the boy Dederick Varodyr, who he whisked away to the relative safety of the Flay owned, Mount Augustus. Fellow surviving witnesses and the Raevir inhabitants of Vekaro had made their way to Mount Augustus also where they recounted Ailred’s treachery to any who would listen, earning Ailred Ruthern the moniker ‘the Turncloak’. Once Dederick Varodyr was out of harm’s way and reunited with his kin Tuvya and Boris Carrion, Fredek Royce rode back to his encampment of Stranniks where he ordered the men to rally up and climb atop their horses. Galloping back to the city, the Stranniks had the intention of reclaiming the city or, failing that, recovering the body of King Franz Carrion. Among their numbers was a Ruthern bastard by the name of Dmitri of the Dreadfort, thought to be a grandson of Ivan ‘the Seafaring’ Ruthern, serving as Borsa-Strannik, the second highest position in the order. Once inside Vekaro, the Order of Stranniks was met with more numbers than Fredek Royce had anticipated and after fighting for hours on end, the Stranniks were finally forced to retreat into a corner of the city. Knowing that there was little chance of success or escape, Fredek Royce, Dmitri Barrow and the remaining Stranniks made one last charge into the Decterum and Lucienist forces in a last ditch effort to break through their line in what contemporaries have referred to as a suicide charge. All of the Stranniks were cut down against the far superior numbers. Following the Franciscan Massacre and the final Strannik charge, Ailred maintained control over Vekaro for a number of weeks with reinforcements from the Order of Saint Lucien and warded off any attempts to reclaim the city. Dissent began growing within the ranks of the Decterum however, only exacerbated by the growing belief that Ailred Ruthern would not be crowned the next King of Oren and a general disdain for the extreme actions taken by him. Coming to a climax on the 11th of the Deep Cold, 1456, Ser Abner Rahl ‘the Red Crow’, the most veteran soldier in the Decterum, slay Ailred Ruthern. With the assistance of fellow Decterum knight Ser Rowan McHaryn, Abner assumed control of the Decterum as Marshal and turned the majority of the ordermen back to serving as Carrion loyalists which held Vekaro in their name. Despite their restored allegiance, the Decterum fought for neither side in the ensuing Siege of Mt. Augustus, instead focussing on reorangising the order. Ailred Ruthern’s son, Lyov Ruthern was proclaimed as patriarch of House Ruthern as detailed in a letter issued by Ser Abner Rahl wherein he also formally apologised for the actions of Ailred and the Decterum to the House of Carrion. The bodies of the fallen Stranniks, including that of Dmitri Barrow’s, were returned to the Carrion loyalists in Mt. Augustus and given the appropriate final rites before being laid to rest. Dmitri, for his role in the attempted reclamation of his liege’s body, was made Blessed and legitimised posthumously as Dmitri Ruthern. Tuvya ‘Rosebud’ Carrion, the baseborn half-brother of King Franz Carrion, prepared the defence of Mt. Augustus for the imminent siege that had been planned by Ailred before his murder. The usurping Orenian forces had bolstered their army with Urguani hordes and other non-humans (becoming known as the Zionists), beginning to surround the fortress. Days went by but the thick walls gave nothing and repelled the frequent attacks but the Carrion loyalists inside could only withstand so long with limited food and men, outnumbered four to one. Whether caught by surprise or due to having lost Ailred Ruthern, their most veteran commander, the besiegers were killed after the Carrion soldiers stormed out to meet them in a battle that came down to the wire. A Carrion victory left the future of Oren open ended and uncertain. Such was the case until a missive from the High Pontiff Regulus I made known that an apparition of the Exalted Godfrey appeared to him and his retinue on a pilgrimage to the ruins of the Imperial capital of Abresi. The apparition called for Peter Chivay to be crowned and reform the Empire of Oren. The Pontiff sent letters instructing the Chivay to return from Aeldin. He landed on the shores of the Fringe with the Order of the White Rose in tow where he was crowned as Emperor Peter I of Oren by Regulus. Emperor Peter made a truce with the Carrions under the terms that Boris Carrion, Tuvya’s son and thus grandson of Exalted Sigismund, be made a Prince with land for the Ruskans. For Ailred’s leading role in the Franciscan Massacre and Carrion overthrow, House Ruthern had little place in the Third Empire with the ire of all the Raevir peoples on them. His gamble for the kingdom had failed. As such the few surviving Rutherns lived in exile, thought to be extinct, until the days of Vailor. The last reminder of them, the Decterum, was disbanded in early Athera once a Carrion monarchy was thought secure again. Erochland and the County of Metterden [Vailor | Axios] In their exile, a descendant and namesake of Blessed Dmitri with his wife Emma gave birth to the twins Alric and Maric. Into their adolescence news reached across the waves of the result of the Dukes’ War and the Horen Restoration that saw King Guy de Bar assassinated and John Frederick Horen raised as Emperor John I of Oren. The twins set sail for Vailor and arrived years later to carve out a future amongst the relatively new Fifth Empire. The two found themselves shored up at the Province of Erochland, a place of great turmoil since its’ annexation, governed by Emperor John I’s son, Prince Alexander Louis. With opportunities aplenty, Alric and Maric stayed and pledged their services to Prince Alexander. Paramount amongst those under Alexander were the Colborns, a house whose rise to influence had been heightened when Carr Colborn had built the Duchy of Haense along with its Duke, Karl Barbanov, a Carrion descendant. Carr’s son, Osgod, continued the Colborn’s renown for exceptional service as he was both faithful to the Governor of Erochland and the Barbanovs still, who had found themselves building up another Northern state in the Duchy of Carnatia that acted as a rump state for the displaced Haeseni. Both Alric and Maric took spouses of noble stock in similar fashion to Ivan and Ailred’s tact over a century earlier. Alric was wed to Lopkaea Marbrand and Maric to Isabel Stafyr. Alric had only one child with Lopkaea, Joseph, whilst Maric and Isabel had a plethora of children, starting with the twins Dmitri and Marjorie that was quickly followed by Godric, Odette and Arik. Osgod Colborn, either having seen potential in them or to keep them loyal, parted with one of his Imperial titles, the County of Metterden, and bestowed it upon Alric Ruthern. Alric was an excellent warrior and commander, given the title in recognition of both his noble stock and his abilities to successfully manage the Southern Chapter of the Golden Corps in Osgod’s name. Alric was not a well man though, and suffered from bouts of depression and despondency that left him insensible at times. Coming to a culmination after a further breakdown in Alric’s mental state, he disowned his only child, Joseph, leaving him to take his mother’s family name, Marbrand. In addition, Alric left his wife and vanished, last seen having entered the dense woods outside of the Imperial capital, Felsen, never to be seen again. Alric’s twin brother Maric Ruthern became the next Count of Metterden in the fallout of Alric’s radical final acts. Maric, having the sense his brother lacked, made haste in restoring his estates and minor provinces, proving an effective replacement for his predecessor and would see his fortunes raised in the wake of Prince Alexander’s death. Osgod Colborn was raised as Duke of Erochland in view of the pacification and control of the island’s lands and peoples. Osgod’s obligations to the north had proven cumbersome and thus he appointed Maric as Lord Regent of Erochland, to rule the island when Osgod was otherwise occupied or absent. When the Orcish plague claimed all of Vailor, the descendants had no choice and fled to sail towards the Axios Isles. With Vailor lost, so too was Erochland. Maric had proved himself an apt Lord and regent, much to the satisfaction of Osgod who vouched for the House of Ruthern and Count Maric to King Petyr I of Hanseti-Ruska, a newly formed dual Kingdom within the Empire. King Petyr, a Barbanov, was the descendant of the last Carrions but forgave House Ruthern for Ailred’s role in the Fransiscan Massacre; the stain of regicide finally wiped clean. He welcomed Maric in as a vassal of Hanseti-Ruska and had the County of Metterden transferred under him, making Count Maric the first in a long line of Haeseni Ruthern. Maric aided as best he could in the build up of the new Highlander state until he came down with an unknown sickness that left him infirm. His sons Dmitri and Godric oversaw the construction of the defensible Ruthern castle Alriczan, so named in Maric’s brother’s honour, as they began to assume the responsibilities their father no longer could. It was not long after that Maric abdicated to his son and heir Dmitri. Dmitri, ever the ambitious diplomat, firstly accepts his disowned cousin, Joseph Marbrand, as a vassal beneath him, making him the Baron of Rostig and weds Sofia of the ancient Amador House. To consolidate the Ruthern power in Hanseti-Ruska further, Dmitri has his spouse’s family swear fealty to him until such a point as they proved themselves and were raised as Haeseni vassals under King Petyr I in their own right; an act which formed a strong alliance between the two. Dmitri continued to rule in the coming years as one of the more powerful Haense houses. Deep Cold Uprising and Aftermath [Axios] The most notable part of Count Dmitri’s life came in the Year of the Four Emperors. Emperor John III’s youngest son, Prince Philip Frederick, had been betrothed to King Andrik’s youngest sister, Princess Tatiana, but broke down soon after. To keep the union between both Houses intact, the Princess Royal of Haense Julia was matched with John III’s son and heir John Augustus. Prince John was cruel and bizarre, summarised by Ser Edwyn Harwyn who said “...His Imperial Highness has degraded to the point of sheer madness, cunningly brutal yet brutally cunning." Prince John was well known to have made numerous unsavoury comments about both his betrothed and Princess Tatiana, much to the contempt and vexation of King Andrik who began to grow disenfranchised with the Imperial Crown despite Emperor John III’s best efforts to keep the two conjoined. Andrik’s hatred for Prince John came to a peak when his father Emperor John III was assassinated and he rose to the Imperial throne unexpectedly as Emperor John IV at the age of 17 in 1585. A meeting was held between the newly installed Emperor and King Andrik II as was customary but historians since have spoken to the likelihood of it being used by Emperor John IV as an opportunity to insult and ridicule King Andrik. Regardless of the reasons, what is fact is that King Andrik, alongside his friend Margrave Brandon Vanir, did kill John IV only two months into his Imperial reign. Both claimed after that the Emperor was threatening and about to murder Andrik himself and thus the regicide was an act of self defence. King Andrik’s rebellion had begun and he made haste back to the north to begin fortifying the Haeseni border in preparation of the Crownland retribution that was to come. He bolstered the ranks of the strategically positioned forts and castles with his own men and blocked the path through the Greyspine Mountains, preventing any army from marching on the Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska by land. As time went on, King Andrik’s vassals who had initially supported him grew restless. The Dukes’ War had only taken place two generations earlier and saw the ruin and exile of many Haeseni noble families for decades after. Not wanting to lose their status’ and wealth again paired with the promise of keeping a Barbanov on the Haeseni throne and offered clemency to any Lords from Emperor Philip I in his missive, the Olive Branch Petition, a number of King Andrik’s nobles rose up against him. The first of these was Count Sergei Kovachev, followed swiftly by Count Dmitri Ruthern. The loss of his top vassal’s support and strategic checkpoints, such as the Ruthern owned Greyspine Mountains, meant King Andrik had little viable option but to abdicate to his two year old son, Marus. As a consequence of his failed rebellion, regardless of its true origins, Andrik turned himself over to Imperial forces and was marched back towards the Palace as a prisoner. Emperor Philip executed Andrik by boiling him in milk. Brandon Vanir was captured in the same year by Imperial men and had his hand removed for his involvement in the regicide of Emperor John IV. The Emperor Philip’s word proved to be true as he kept his side of the bargain and allowed the Haeseni vassals to maintain their lands and keep Andrik’s son, King Marus I, on the throne of Hanseti-Ruska. Count Dmitri was awarded land in the Imperial crownlands also. Dmitri, alongside his brother Godric, make use of this almost immediately by forming a worker’s guild that operated in both Johannesburg, the Imperial capital, and Karlsburg, the Haeseni capital. Through astute management and a boom in the economy, Dmitri and, by extension, House Ruthern boasted one of the largest treasuries in Axios. Dmitri’s fortunes turned at the end of the 1500s however when his wife Sofia committed suicide that spirralled him into a deep rooted depression that absorbed the remainder of his life. The riches earned were spent in a matter of months and the worker’s guild’s steep decline into disuse and eventual closure saw Dmitri all but leave his family near destitute. Before the despondent Count could make matters worse, his son and heir, Boris, petitioned King Marus I in 1595 to give him his inheritance immediately whilst Dmitri still lived. Granting it, Boris became the 4th Count of Metterden. Boris’ time as Count was a relatively stable one with only a few unexpected surprises that arised. In his tenure he saw a succession crisis involving the related Marbrands and the Barony title that resulted in Boris seizing the lands and taking the title Baron of Rostig for himself. In the years after, he also arranged the marriages of his sisters, Adelajda and Aleksandra, to King Marus I and Stefjan Kovachev, Count Sergei’s grandson, respectively to maintain the pseudo-alliance formed and remedy any hostilities that may have lingered from the Deep Cold Uprising. Succession Crisis and the Great Northern War [Axios] Boris maintained a strong grip on the County with no challenges to his authority in his six years as Count, however the same cannot be said of any of his immediate successors. Boris never wed or had children, leaving his brother Viktor as the heir presumptive. Boris feared his brother’s competency and character though so created a will in secret to ensure Viktor would never receive his inheritance. In it he detailed that the County would instead go to a distant cousin Arik Ruthern. Tensions rose between the Kingdom of Courland and the Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska in what is now known as the leadup to the Great Northern War. Count Boris is sent by Lord Palatine Lukas Vanir as the Haeseni agent to negotiate the release of the Courlandic Princess Annabelle Staunton who was being held under house arrest. He rode towards Aleksandria, the Courlandic capital, but was met outside the walls by Courlandic knight Ser Demetrios Palaiologos who killed Count Boris. Boris’ will came to light subsequent to his death and caused an immediate rift in House Ruthern between those that backed Boris’ brother Viktor’s claim and those that wanted to respect Boris’ wishes by supporting Arik Ruthern. King Marus I ruled in favour of Arik’s claim to the County and granted it to him which caused the disgruntled Viktor Ruthern and a portion of their kin, notably his uncle Adelwen Ruthern, to abandon Hanseti-Ruska and form a deal with the Kingdom of Courland, swearing allegiance to them in a declaration of fealty. Viktor’s side proclaimed they have been wronged and that Arik’s claim is illegitimate, naming him Arik ‘the Black’. Arik and his supporters denounced Viktor and the kin that followed him as traitors and cowards for siding with the Kingdom that murdered Boris. In the next year the Great Northern War broke out with Rutherns on both sides. A series of losses for Hanseti-Ruska, that came to a climax at the successful Siege of Vasiland that left no more viable defensive points for the northern kingdom, meant King Marus I had no choice but to capitulate to King Tobias Staunton. The former Haeseni lands are absorbed by the Kingdom of Courland with King Marus still laying claim to his titles but being forced into exile with any Haeseni who were unwilling to be beneath the subjugators. Ivan Ivanovich was proclaimed Warden of the North by King Tobias, to govern the acquired lands and keep the conquered Haeseni placated. Ivan died with no children and thus the infamous Archduke Franz Kovachev of Akovia was appointed Warden. With the Courlandic victory, Viktor Ruthern was awarded the County of Metterden in full by King Tobias for his support during the war. Viktor and his uncle Adelwen published the ‘Ruthern Restoration Act of 1604’, officially disowning and renouncing Arik’s claim on the Ruthern name, including lands, holdings and titles. Greyspine Rebellion [Axios] Count Viktor would only hold the title for three years before he died from an unknown cause. His son and heir, Joren, rose as the 8th Count of Metterden at the tender age of seven. Joren, under the guidance of his advisors, repealed the Ruthern Restoration Act of his father and appointed Vladrick Ruthern, a distant cousin and descendant of Ailred ‘the Turncloak’, as his regent. After a few years, House Ruthern took liberties as a vassal and took control of the County of Istria, a de jure part of Akovia at the time, much to the ire of both Archduke Franz Kovachev and King Joseph Staunton who had it declared illegal. Tensions rose between House Ruthern and the Archduke with levies raised at the ready to meet on the field until King Joseph summoned the two to meet before him in Aleksandria, Courland’s capital. It is unsure what actually transpired there but the end result was certain, the child Count of Metterden, Joren Ruthern, was killed alongside some of his retainers, and his kin, Adelwen Ruthern. Vladrick Ruthern was imprisoned, having survived the Massacre at Aleksandria. Count Joren, being eleven at the time, is remembered as ‘the Young’. Joren’s younger brother, Uhtred, became the new Count at the age of eight. House Ruthern was outraged and, under the regency of the Metterden master-at-arms Harren of Metterden, claimed that the Archduke of Akovia had orchestrated the massacre with the help of the King of Courland after Joren had arrived in good faith. In his letter ‘Courlanda Delanda Est’, Harren declared that the men of House Ruthern would start a rebellion to reclaim the Northern lands from the southern overlords. Thus began the Greyspine Rebellion. The Ruthern men combined forces with the House of Baruch, securing much needed numbers and validation that this was indeed the cause to unify Haense once more. Following back and forth raids and incursions into Ruthern and Courland lands from both sides, former Haeseni under the iron grip of Courland flocked to the rebel side and took up arms against the oppressive Archduke and King of Courland. In one of the ensuing raids, Vladrick Ruthern was freed and placed back as regent whilst Harren of Metterden remained his position as chief war advisor and commander. With word spreading across the continent, the exiled Haeseni returned with King Marus I’s son, Stefan Barbanov, at the head of them just in time to take part in the defining battle; the Second Battle of the Rothswood. Vladrick Ruthern and Harren of Metterden, alongside the key work of Count Otto Baruch, Lord Stefan Barbanov and with the support of the Kingdom of Lorraine, killed the mass majority of the Courland forces and ran the rest out of the North in an overwhelming victory that earned the rebels back their land. With the issue of who would rule the reconquered lands, the First National Duma was convened to elect a new King of Hanseti-Ruska. The three claimants were Count Uhtred Ruthern, Lord Stefan Barbanov, the son of deposed King Marus, and the unlikely Adolphus Vyronov, Baron of Rytsburg. After a constant back and forth between the parties supporting a Ruthern king and those supporting the return of the Barbanov royal line, the Ruthern claimant bowed out and gave his support to Stefan Barbanov who won in a landslide victory. He was crowned King Stefan I of Hanseti-Ruska. In the years after the Haeseni victory over the Courlanders and the re-establishment of the Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska, Count Uthred Ruthern mysteriously disappeared; his body never found and no clues as to his fate. With Uhtred ended the line of Ruthern descendants all the way back to Ivan ‘the Seafaring’ Ruthern. Thus in their place, the descendants of Ailred ‘the Turncloak’ Ruthern arose as the new Counts of Metterden with Count Joren and Uhtred’s former regent Vladrick, taking the mantle. Vladrick’s tenure lasted twenty-eight years in what was a steady and consistent time for House Ruthern but a stoney, iron fisted approach to rulership. Supposedly Vladrick was an abusive father as well which earned him the moniker ‘the Cruel’. Vladrick was declared dead of natural causes on the voyage to Atlas. Stalwart Rulership [Atlas] This period was already extensively covered by an earlier set of Ruthern historians in that of the late Duke Maric L. Ruthern and Ser Alric ‘The Cavalier’ Ruthern in their early life. Such can be referred to within their original study written and attached here: Pair of Palatines [Atlas | Arcas] Duke Rhys, having outlived all his children, passed the mantle of Duke of Vidaus to his grandson, Demetrius Ruthern. Demetrius was appointed Lord Palatine at the age of twenty-three and served most of King Robert I’s reign. Demetrius retained his position through his marital ties and close friendship with the King rather than possessing a talent for it. Most of the work done during his tenure was done by his secretary and underlings in the Office of the Palatine with minimal oversight and approval on his part. His time was summarised by his contemporary Lerald Gambinoel in his recorded comment “if he was not the most competent placeholder known to our realm, I do not know who is.” He served as Lord Palatine and Duke of Vidaus until his death at the age of forty-two due to sudden ill health. For his apparent lack of hard work and abundance of freetime despite his ordinarily demanding position, he is remembered as ‘the Fowler’ because of the copious amount of time he spent hunting young wildfowl. Demetrius’ son and heir Konstantin became the 3rd Duke of Vidaus following his father’s death. He also ‘inherited’ his father’s position on the Aulic Council, rising to the rank of Lord Palatine at the age of twenty-one in the same year. He was the childhood friend, companion and relative of King Marus II which gave rise to the widely held opinion that he, like his father before him, only received the position out of bias and nepotism. He would only serve as Palatine for two years, failing to do anything meaningful in the time either because of the stigma against him or because he did not receive the position out of merit and had no knack for it. Regardless, Konstantin resigned from government and remained the rest of his life on his estates, opting to remain out of politics the whole time and in its place aid the church both monetarily and with deeds throughout the first half of the War of the Two Emperors. For this he is remembered as ‘the Pious’. He abdicated to his son Viktor in 1719, only to die suddenly the following year at the untimely age of thirty-four. Duel of the Hammerheads [Arcas] Following his father’s abdication and subsequent death, Viktor II Ruthern became the 4th Duke of Vidaus. He saw and led the House of Ruthern through the remainder of the War of the Two Emperors but failed to lift the stagnation of the House that had set in during his father’s reign. After the end of the war, he was wed to King Marus II’s sister Princess Mariya, following a mutually agreeable courtship. The two only had one living child, Sigmar, whose twin sister was stillborn much to the distress of his wife who had already been stressed with her husband’s growing disregard for his duties and estates while off galavanting for weeks at a time with no word as to where he was going. On one such departure, he disappeared for an extended time which placed worry in the minds of many and led to the start of the end for his marriage and the revoking of the duchy title. Mariya sought an annulment after this for Viktor’s marital negligence, supported by her nephew King Andrik III, but there were rumours she had been entangled in an affair with Prince Vladrick Alimar. In a rage at the news, Viktor returned to Reza and confronted his wife in a private meeting which he stormed out of some time later and berated her to the public as a harlot. A month following, Tuvya Ruthern, Viktor’s younger brother, met him in the Reza main square and openly challenged him to a duel for the position of Count of Metterden. Tuvya voiced his disapproval of Viktor’s actions and failures as Duke and Count, insulting him for losing the title. Viktor agreed to the fateful duel and after he received a fatal stab from Tuvya, he returned with a strike of his own and caved in the skull of his own brother with the House relic Ruther’s Hammer. This came to be known as the Duel of the Hammerheads and a precise example of House Ruthern’s kinslaying ways. Viktor, despite winning, survived only a few hours longer until he succumbed to his wounds and died in the Haeseni clinic. Thus, Viktor’s only child Sigmar became the next Count of Metterden at the age of four. Viktor and Tuvya’s younger brother, Konstantin, became Sigmar’s guardian and regent. Redeemer [Arcas] Sigmar set out on a pilgrimage at the age of fifteen but disappeared on it, to be remembered as Sigmar ‘the Lost’ from then on. With no reports of his whereabouts or news for months, Sigmar was presumed dead and thus his uncle, both his regent and heir presumptive, Konstantin became Count Konstantin II. Four years later, Sigmar reappeared but did not wish to reclaim his title and was content with his uncle being Count of Metterden. Unlike most Rutherns, Konstantin displayed a more patient and methodical way of approaching things which made him an apt student of the law, specialising in Haeseni and vassal legislation. Promptly after the deaths of High Justiciar Gerard Stafyr and King Andrik III, Konstantin assumed control of most of the Justiciar’s responsibilities, namely maintaining the first Haeseni law codex in a time when Hanseti-Ruska was experiencing a decreased level of autonomy beneath the Holy Orenian Empire. Once King Andrik IV assumed the throne he appointed Konstantin as High Justiciar. Throughout his career that spanned twenty-seven years, right up until his death, he served both King Andrik IV and his son King Sigismund II. His tenure focussed primarily on upholding Haeseni specialised law despite being a vassal at the time. Following his death, many of his originalist views have been studied in royal academies the likes of; the Royal Academy of Saint Catherine and the Royal Academy of Saint Charles. The time of Count Konstantin II saw the establishment of the Ruthern cadet branch, House Batavus. Started when the lands formerly known as Brunswick were sieged down in a matter of days by Ivan Ruthern, nephew of Konstantin, and a few of his companions. Following the heretical inhabitants' surrender, King Andrik IV granted Ivan the title of Viscount of Batavia which encompassed the taken lands in exchange for vassalising under him. When issues arose through where the land was situated, being removed from the rest of Haense, King Andrik ordered Ivan to cede the land and return to the Capital where he would gift him another parcel of land soon. Years went by however and no land was given but Ruthern-Batavus’ nobility and status was retained and Ivan was knighted for his many years of military service. More years went by and matters only grew worse when Orenian Emperor Peter III demanded that the nobility of Haense be more in Imperial control which King Andrik IV reluctantly agreed to which saw the Batavus nobility and title dissolved. Under Ser Ivan’s son Ruben, the cadet branch was eventually dissolved and absorbed back into the parent House of Ruthern. Konstantin and his wife, Katherine Stafyr, had four children - three daughters, the three sisters becoming better remembered as the Daughters of Metterden, and one son. Konstantin’s reign saw the Scyfling Invasion of Hanseti-Ruska which made Metterden a repeated target for Scyfling assaults and sieges. The first of these culminated in the kidnapping of Konstantin’s only son and heir, Aleksandr Ruthern. Being abducted by pagans and savages, most assumed that Aleksandr was dead which left Konstantin’s eldest daughter, Viktoria, as heir presumptive despite having wed the young King of Hanseti-Ruska Sigismund II two years prior. Warrior Queen [Arcas] Viktoria Ruthern, better remembered as Queen Viktoria of Metterden and ‘the Warrior Queen’, first rose to prominence through her marriage to King Sigismund II and the almost immediate start of the Scyfling Invasion following it. Viktoria lived up to her name by her overwhelming involvement in not only the Scyfling Invasion, where she herself commanded the defence of Metterden during a siege on it and remained a leader of the war overall, but also in the Boomhill Campaign and in the general workings of the Haeseni Royal Army where she became increasingly popular amongst the soldiery of Hanseti-Ruska. Her fearsome reputation was only made more intense when a Scyfling spear found its mark and slashed across the Queen’s face which led to the loss of her eye, a battle scar to match her moniker. After a near decade as Queen-consort, Viktoria’s father Count Konstantin II’s body was discovered in an abandoned Scyfling camp after the end and defeat of the Scyfling’s invasion. Konstantin, never having accepted that his only son was dead, had been patrolling former Scyfling owned sites for any sign of Aleksandr. Presumably he was killed when he stumbled across remnants of the deceased Scyfling leader Bralt the Boar’s army. With his death and still no sign of Aleksandr, Viktoria, as heir presumptive, inherited her father’s titles and estates. She became the first ever Countess of Metterden but also the first Queen-consort to hold a title in her own right which presented a plethora of issues. Having already given birth to Princess Nataliya and Grand Prince Josef of Kusoraev, the Ruthern titles would be absorbed into the Royal House upon her death. A larger problem arose three years later however when Viktoria’s husband committed suicide at the age of twenty-eight. Being pregnant at the time as well, her and King Sigismund II’s final son, Prince Franz, was born posthumously. Viktoria, now Queen-mother, aided in the transition of power to her son King Josef’s regency council as he was only a boy of seven at the time. In this time too did a solution to the Metterden succession crisis arise when her late father was proven correct when her brother, Aleksandr, returned alive and well and was declared the rightful Count of Metterden in Viktoria’s place. In the time after, Viktoria remained a prominent figure still as she went on to serve not only as Aulic Envoy but also as Deputy Palatine for a number of years. The Inferi War marked the downturn of the Warrior Queen’s fortunes when, against the wishes of her children, sailed on a Norlandic ship to join in the battle against the Damnable Host of demons. It was there that Viktoria lost both an arm and a leg but persisted still, going on in her stubborn way with two atronach limb replacements. In the next decade of her life Viktoria was plagued by her age catching up with her, making use of a cane and suffering the first of her heart attacks. She did not survive the next one and passed away in the palace gardens after attempting to train with her sword outside. The spar caused great strain upon her greatly declining health and, at fifty-one, she died with her sword in hand. Shaped by Scyflings [Arcas] In the time after his capture at the hands of the Scyfling warriors and his presumed death, Aleksandr Ruthern was raised amongst the invading hordes as a prisoner of war until he was rescued by the Haeseni sympathetic Scyfling tribe clan Volik. It was only after the defeat of the warlord Bralt the Boar and the relocation of those Scyfling people who wished to start a life in Hanseti-Ruska that Aleksandr was able to make his way back home with the droves of immigrants. Aleksandr’s homecoming presented a dilemma as he was the only son of the late Count Konstantin Ruthern which made him the rightful heir to the County of Metterden. Being thought dead for all those years, the title had passed to his eldest sister and Queen of Hanseti-Ruska Viktoria. Fortunately for all, Viktoria decided on the most prudent course of action to pass the land and estates associated with House Ruthern on. Viktoria, having willingly returned her titles to the rightful line of succession, ensured that the County of Metterden would remain as the seat of House Ruthern and thus Aleksandr, Viktoria’s brother, became the 14th Ruthern Count of Metterden. Aleksandr was swift in wedding the daughter of one of his Volik saviours, Keldra, whom he had fallen in love with during his time amongst them and together they had the twins Maric and Alric, named in memory of the first Counts of Metterden who were twins themselves, Sigmar, Amalia and finally Camilla. In the rest of his time as Count, Aleksandr became and served for the majority of his life as an Imperial judge, specialised in Haeseni law and its maintenance in relation to being a vassal Kingdom at that point in time. Aleksandr displayed a penchant for medicine also but explored it only after his tenure as Count. During the period of Aleksandr, the Count had been served by a number of Rutherns that upheld the title and the importance of house Ruthern in his stead, such as Ser Ruben Ruthern-Batavus, and furthermore Ser Boris Ruthern. In this period the house of Ruthern gained notoriety as a household of knights, with many thereafter committing to the Marian Retinue and the Order of the Crow. Upon the changing of the squirely trials by Lord Palatine Konstantin Wick, previously damaged by a reform under Sigismund II, Ser Boris was the first to complete these new trials and thereafter led the charge in helping to establish a new age of knighthood as the knight paramount that would see the knighthood enter into a later golden age. Ser Ruben would eventually be disowned after entering into a matrilineal marriage, whilst Ser Boris would go on to later die during the Rimeveld Troll War, having previously served in the Scyfling Invasion, Inferi-War, and the Sutican War. After a near twenty years as Count of Metterden, Aleksandr’s lack of stomach for politics and his declining health led him to abdicate to his fifteen year old son Maric on the voyage to the continent of Almaris. As Aleksandr went on to live unencumbered by any publicly known health complications or long lasting diseases for a number of years, well into his children’s late adulthoods, it is unsure whether or not Aleksandr thought he would die on the ship journey and if that spurred him on to abdicate. Regardless, Aleksandr maintained his intention and saw his son become the 15th Ruthern Count of Metterden whilst he retired with his wife Keldra and became a doctor until the pair of them disappeared. What became of them is unknown. Reclamation of a Duchy [Almaris] Where his father, Aleksandr, had been content, and to some idle, Maric was a breath of fresh life for House Ruthern; ambitious and politically minded. Maric also had the good fortune to have similarly go-getting siblings with his twin Alric going on, utilising his talent and skill with a sword, to become a crow knight and then later Knight Paramount during the reign of King Henrik II. Although he led the Haeseni knightly orders during a time when they were prevalent and effective, Alric is probably best remembered for carrying out the orders of his liege against the disowned princess Nataliya Reza where Alric performed her brutal execution via being burned at the stake and shot with a crossbow bolt. Maric’s other notable sibling proved not as controversial. Camilla Ruthern had a successful career as a Haeseni judge, known as a Jovenaar, for many years and is remembered as having been well suited to the role. Maric’s life is not as easy to summarise. In his debut into Haeseni politics and governance, Maric sat as a temporary substitute for his absent aunt, Lady Speaker Irena, overseeing the Royal Duma, the legislative body of Hanseti-Ruska. In the sitting, Viscount Fiske Vanir began to berate Anabela Vilac and the Bill on Lordship Reforms that she was defending. Unbeknownst to the Duma, the Bill had been primarily compiled and written by Count Maric himself. Maric expelled Lord Vanir from the sitting which caused an uproar amongst the other Lords and led to a walk-out. Outside of the Duma Hall, Maric challenged Fiske Vanir to a duel as a matter of honour over the incident and, after a short-lived fight, Maric proved victorious, beating the Lord handily. Baron Stefan Vyronov issued a subsequent challenge to Maric only to be beaten by the Ruthern Count as well. It is because of this event and his future reforms on duelling that Maric is remembered by the moniker ‘the Duellist”. Maric went on to wed Dame Anabela Vilac and together had Ailred, Antonina, the twins Harren and Tatiana, and finally Marjorie. Anabela died a decade later as a complication of her overwhelming alcoholism. Though he’d found his footing in the political spheres of Haense and had begun to make good headway, family issues arose not long into his time as Count. The son of former Count Sigmar ‘the Lost’, Erik, harboured Imperial sympathies which were at odds with the majority of the Haeseni peoples, including the majority of his Ruthern kin, ever since Haeseni independence a decade or so earlier. A heated argument broke out between him and Maric which resulted in Maric, as patriarch, prohibiting Erik’s wish to move to the Orenian Empire. When Erik disobeyed his wishes, Maric had little choice but to disown him, an act that Oren and Erik largely ignored but still formed a rift between the two branches that persisted throughout Maric and his son Ailred’s entire lives. Despite the familial tensions, Maric and his siblings had raised the importance of House Ruthern within Haense and thus King Josef of Hanseti-Ruska elevated Maric to the title Margrave of Greyspine after Maric had brought a large retinue to court asking to be raised a rank. In the years after, Maric served as Deputy Palatine beneath Lady Palatine Marcella Barclay and four years into the reign of King Josef’s son King Henrik II and the sudden resignation of Lady Marcella, Maric was appointed Lord Palatine of Hanseti-Ruska, a position he served in for the majority of the contentious rule of King Henrik as the voice of reason. One such incident that was spurred on by the controversial King was a scheme that has come to be remembered as the Wives’ Plot, a plot that was masterminded by Maric’s aunts Irena Sarkozic neé Ruthern and Elizaveta Tuvyic neé Ruthern. After the immensely unpopular execution without trial of King Henrik’s own aunt Nataliya, Irena and Elizaveta’s disdain grew and led to two begin their assassination attempt. A botched plan that had intended to see the two murder King Henrik in his palatial office but instead saw Irena captured by Haeseni knights whilst Elizaveta managed to escape. Despite having slipped into a coma after her arrest, Irena was placed on trial for treason and attempted murder of King Henrik II. She was found guilty, sentenced to execution by being hung, drawn and quartered. Her gory remains were sent to her husband in Oren. Elizaveta, who had escaped judgement for the attempted regicide, died in the same year from unknown causes in the County of Dobrov in the Orenian Empire. Fortunately for Maric and the other Haeseni Rutherns, both Irena and Elizaveta had been long retired from Haeseni society and lived in the Orenian Empire prior to the plot so were not seen as being involved with the rest of their family. After another decade of leal service to the Kingdom following the Wives’ Plot to ensure no stain remained on the Ruthern name as a consequence along with the fifteen years that Marc had served as Lord Palatine, Maric achieved his lifelong ambition. King Henrik II returned the ancestral title, the Duchy of Vidaus, as issued and confirmed in “The Lords Edict of 378 E.S” to Maric almost a hundred years after it had been revoked during the ruinous reign of Viktor Ruthern. This is attributed to Maric’s own long and credible service but also the appointments his own children had achieved in their own right with his son and heir Ailred becoming the Lord Marshal and his daughter Tatiana being made the High Justiciar. With his life’s mission complete and the re-establishment of House Ruthern as a powerful vassal and competent contributor to the Kingdom, Maric tied up any loose strings and unfinished works in his Office as Lord Palatine before retiring to the Duchy of Vidaus for the last few remaining years of his life. He spent his last five years in a glad quiet after securing excellent marriages for the remainder of his children to other prominent Lords, Ladies and Princesses which strengthened the House further. During this glad quiet, Maric remarried to Lady Caroline de Selm, fathering another daughter. The ageing Duke even took up a fascination with cooking and the culinary arts, regularly selling culinary goods and treats within the city of Karosgrad. Duke Maric Ruthern, after settling his affairs and ensuring the relative happiness of his children, or at the least attempting to, finally retired to his castle and away from politics, and died from a heart attack incurred with a charred fish in the oven. Legacy of the Brotherhood [Almaris] The life of Ailred Ruthern was dominated by his passion and skill for all things militarily minded. As soon as possible, Ailred enlisted in the Haeseni Royal Army and rose through the ranks due to his natural skill with a sword, being one of the best swordsmen of his age, and his innate commanding capabilities. In his early twenties he was promoted to an officer at the rank of Sergeant and was deployed to reinforce the Attenlund Expedition with a small force under his command. When he returned a year or so later, the then Lord Marshal Friedrich Barclay retired and King Henrik II selected Ailred to succeed him for the abilities he’d exhibited in the Attenlund. Before his departure to the Attenlund and long absence, Ailred had wed his childhood companion the Princess Fenika Lichte and in the time after he’d returned the two sired the first three of their children Mathea, Rhys and Sofiya. After his monumental rise, Ailred set about righting some of the army's weaknesses and shortcomings as he saw them, encompassing all his reforms in an overhaul of the entire army. He reformed the army into the 3rd Order of the Brotherhood of Saint Karl (BSK) to emulate a more traditional approach whilst also putting in place better book-keeping, aided by his implementation of his military censuses, and more standardised and effective training procedures and routines. In the same period, Ailred adopted a larger role in managing his father’s lands and estates whilst he also began to lead House Ruthern politically. Alongside his childhood friend and brother-in-law, Duke Ruslan Baruch, and other pre-eminent Haeseni nobles, namely Count Jan Kortrevich, Ailred’s other brother-in-law, and the Viscount Isaak Amador and Baron Hildebrand Mondblume, Ailred formed the Ducal Union, a political entity made to present shared values and views, especially on the rights of nobility, as a united front. The Ducal Union is accredited to have been the ultimate pressuring force that facilitated the passing of the Voron Edict which increased the responsibilities of the Lord Speaker role, held by Duke Ruslan at the time. More controversially, the Ducal Union was also publicly credited with having pressured the Haeseni Crown to demote the House of Barclay down to a County. Over the decade that followed, Ailred commanded the Haeseni forces in four wars; an unparalleled number in the most recent centuries. The first of these was a consequence of the Attenlund explorers unleashing an ancient evil - the Nachezer Parasite. The parasite, set free, began to collect bodies and hosts in the swamp before spreading east, into Haense proper, as an all-consuming tide. After the initial Nachezer assaults on Haeseni keeps and lands, most notably Vidaus and Valwyck, Ailred and the BSK led a string of counter-attacks and eventually destroyed the eastern threat by destroying their initial home in the Attenlund swamps. In the same time, Ailred was able to put an end to the decades long conflict with the Rimeveld Trolls, driven to fight the people of Haense by a lack of food in their frigid Northern home. At the end of war on the Nachezer and the conflict with the Rimeveld Trolls, Ailred’s father died of a sudden and unexpected heart attack which left him as the Duke of Vidaus. Having served as Lord Marshal for a number of years already and happily married to Princess Fenika, a woman of impeccable blood and reputation, with three children already, Ailred was in a remarkably well suited position to inherit the title and responsibilities. However, tragedy struck the newly minted Duke when his beloved wife died in childbirth to the pair’s last two children, the twins Grigoryi and Boris. For the next few months, Ailred was consumed with his grief that had sent him into a depression, one he never quite seemed to shake as it was noted when he returned to his duties fully that he was more of a cynic as well as temperamental. His first three children, although young at the time, harboured a deep resentment of their new siblings. The third of the wars Ailred fought was the Silver War against the Haelun’orian High Elves. The war had begun when a Haeseni fugitive, who had besmirched the honour of Prince Otto, had been tracked to the capital of the Silver State. After the King’s diplomat and Ailred’s brother-in-law was attacked by the denizens of Haelun’or and driven out of the city after he’d tried to negotiate an extradition, King Henrik II demanded compensation but when the reclusive High Elves refused to satisfy him he declared war against the Silver State of Haelun’or. This marked the first war against another descendant race since Haense had achieved its independence from the Orenian Empire. However, no major battles were ever fought during the Silver War as the Silver State lacked a conventional army and thus retreated behind their city walls to wait out the conflict. Ailred was however successful in leading a number of raids on their roads and on several occasions managed to infiltrate the city itself but never with a large enough force to take the entirety of the city. Despite this, the High Elven government refused to acknowledge the war for years, much less concede to Haeseni demands, despite the bloodshed. Unable to transport siege equipment so far across the sea, Haense was left with only raiding parties as its tool of war. The war lost considerable steam once it became clear the High Elves would not leave their walls, and as the years dragged on, token raiding parties patrolled the Haelun'orian roads to remind the Silver State of their ongoing feud. This lasted until the end of Ailred’s marshalship and into the reign of King Henrik’s son, King Sigismund III. The surrender of Haelun’or only came about when they had abruptly subjugated beneath the Principality of Savoy. Being another human Canonist nation, Savoy did not wish to be at odds with Haense, and by extension the Grand Kingdom of Urguan who had also been insulted by the Silver State. To remedy the growing issue, Prince Olivier of Savoy forced the Silver State of Haelun’or to surrender and admit their wrong doing whilst also paying Haense ten thousand mina in reparations and ceding Ando Alur, the only continent based land they owned, to the Grand Kingdom of Urguan. The last war that began whilst Ailred was still Lord Marshal was the Sutican Civil War which, despite having started after the Silver War, ended years before the war with the Haelun’orians. Sutica was inherited by Queen Johanna I, wife of the late King Georg, who were relatives of the Haeseni House of Barclay, and they were thus close allies of the Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska. After Johanna's succession, however, one of her vassals - Filippos Komnenos, Baron of Trabzon - rebelled to seize the throne. Ailred marched the Haeseni forces, without receiving permission to do so, to aid the Sutican loyalists, in the Sutican Civil War. Ailred thought it prudent to march the army in the early hours of the morning as the rebellion in Sutica was announced, taking the force into an unoccupied Sutican strategic point; the Barony of the Rhein. This was done without Haeseni or Sutican assent, though such was later approved by the monarchs Henrik and Johanna, as letters were passed back and forth between the Marshal and the Queen. When the Sutican Rebels pushed in to take the keep, the Brotherhood’s forces along with the Sutican troops prevailed decisively over them in a remarkably quick victory which left the rebellion in ruins. Subsequently, the rebellion was demolished, their leaders executed, and the civil war ended in the space of a year thanks to the sharp-witted intervention of the Lord Marshal Ailred. Coming to the end of his tenure as Marshal, Ailred remarried over a decade after the death of his first wife and love Fenika. Ailred and his new wife Madalene, the youngest daughter of the Orenian Baron of Halcourt, had two children together, Angelika and Stefaniya. Ailred also chose to resign from his position as Lord Marshal, with the permission of King Sigismund III, fueled by the completion of the Silver War finally and the wish to spend time with his spouse and family. Ailred did however request and join the Marian Retinue as a knight, taking the moniker ‘the Prevailer’, as well as sitting as a Royal Advisor to the King. After a couple of years, Ailred abdicated to his son and heir, Rhys, who had already started his own family and had been appointed Lord Speaker of Hanseti-Ruska. The end of Ailred’s story starts with the initiation of the Sinners’ War. A war started by Emperor Philip II ‘the Fiddler’ between the Orenian Empire and the Grand Kingdom of Urguan that spiralled into a continental conflict when Emperor Philip III took the throne by dubious and kinslaying ways and exacerbated the issue by continuing the war against the Dwarves, who were satisfied with the death of Philip II, as well as failing to murder the High Pontiff Everard VI, schisming against the Church, and being excommunicated twice. Needless to say, the Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska got involved to defend their allies and fight Oren, who were in a state of anathema for failing to remove their excommunicated monarchs. Ailred was appointed as Field Marshal for the war to command and lead the Haeseni troops during major skirmishes. In the first major confrontation of the Sinners’ War, Ailred was placed in charge of the Tripartite Accord soldiers and led them to the much celebrated and sung about victory at the Siege of Southbridge where the Orenian forces were outmatched and defeated handily. However, Ailred did not get to bask in his win. He had removed his helmet and held it up high with a celebratory shout as the remaining Orenian troops fled only to have a stray arrow from one of them shot into his eye which killed him on the spot. Hailed as a champion and remembered for his iron will and command as ‘the Steelheart’, Ailred became a modern hero in Haense with a huge state funeral put on when Edmund Barclay returned his body from the battlefield. Speaker’s Ride [Almaris] Ailred’s eldest son, Rhys, became the 7th Duke of Vidaus at the age of twenty-three when he abdicated. In his early childhood Rhys’ mother, Fenika, had died in childbirth to his twin younger brothers, Grigoryi and Boris, who he harboured a well known resentment for, labelling them murders and cursed. Although sharing his father’s temper, Rhys was no gifted swordsman or natural born commander which put him at odds with his father Ailred who tried to push him into a life of soldiering. Rhys displayed a proclivity to the more scholarly and literary with the only exception being his near obsession with the sport of jousting. He served as a ward beneath his uncle, Lord Speaker Ruslan Baruch. Ailred, despite his dislike for Rhys’ chosen path in life, arranged a beneficial betrothal, having him engaged to the daughter of Baron Robert Ludovar, Marie. While Marie was well known in the up-and-coming nobility, liked and agreeable, Rhys saw her as nothing more but as a platonic friend, a notion he struggled with after their betrothal was announced. Thus, Rhys grew close to other women in search of the lacking romance. It was not long until Rhys began an intimate relationship with the Royal Elephant Keeper and House Baruch servant Sanja Kutznetsov. Having not been subtle in their inappropriate relationship, Rhys put so much stress on his betrothal that it nearly collapsed when Baron Robert complained to Rhys’ father. The enraged Lord Ludovar wanted to terminate the engagement outright but came to a compromise when Ailred offered to take no dowry and Rhys ended the love affair. In spite of this though, Sanja’s first child, Zoran, was rumoured to be the bastard son of Rhys, a rumour that Rhys denied throughout his entire life. Zoran was the son of Rhys’ cousin Joren Ruthern instead, who had begun a short-lived affair with Sanja after Rhys had ended theirs. Almost immediately after the Sanja incident, Rhys was primed to become the next Lord Speaker after the death of his mentor Ruslan Baruch. King Sigismund III, the chivalric and honourable monarch he was, demanded before his appointment that Rhys redeem himself for the dishonour he’d brought on himself, his betrothed and Sanja. Thus Rhys was made to fight with the Marian Knight Ser Flemius until both of them were satisfied. He lost round after round against the far superior opponent until he was bloodied and beaten and the two women had seen enough. Afterwards, King Sigismund made Rhys the twelfth Lord Speaker of Hanseti-Ruska. Rhys went on to marry Marie Ludovar four years later and notably had a loving marriage from then on. Their wedding was an expensive affair with Rhys paying an outrageous amount to have a huge portion of land flattened and cleared to have an equally expensive tourney grounds constructed that hosted the two’s post wedding festivities. The prizes for the melee, joust and archery were similarly large. Together Rhys and Marie had four children - Viktoriya, the twins Dorothea and Mikhail, and finally Dmitry. At the same time, Rhys became the Duke of Vidaus upon his father’s abdication. Rhys served as Lord Speaker for the longest recorded tenure of any Speaker at twenty-nine years. Rhys put a greater emphasis on the subservient role of Grand Peer of being the Lord Speaker, a role which hones in on the maintenance of noble standards and traditions, one that put him at odds with Baron Sigmar Mondblume who wished to marry a commoner, even still when Rhys offered his own sister’s hand in marriage. The rest of Rhys’ long span as Speaker was relatively uneventful as he kept the Royal Duma running smoothly and efficiently for the most part with only a few notably turbulent sittings. The first of these was when his deranged cousin Joren disagreed on a minor Bill with the Lord Palatine Kaustantin Baruch and as a result stabbed him in the leg. Despite the major crime he’d committed and his immediate expulsion from the Duma, Joren was never even taken to court on account of Rhys’ father Ailred getting the case dropped with his influence on the government. Another such instance was the Duma Riot of 413 E.S where the commoner Simonei Barkov, a displayed farmer as a result of the war with the Orenian Empire in the Sinners’ War, began on a rant which accused the Haeseni leadership of failing the common people. When the chamber erupted in violence, the Royal family and Rhys were rushed out by the Brotherhood of Saint Karl and the chamber eventually quelled. Not all of the significant events in the Royal Duma during Rhys’ tenure were negative though as he was the Lord Speaker who oversaw the momentous passing of the Karenina Accords which allowed for equal succession rights based on gender, otherwise known as absolute cognatic primogeniture. In Rhys’ personal life, limited as his free time was, was spent mostly riding and jousting. Considered one of the finest jousters of his generation, Rhys won several tourneys including the Reinmar Joust at their chief oathing ceremony as well as a number in the capital city of Karosgrad and in his own lands for which he is remembered as ‘the Rider’. Rhys’ love for the sport was not only limited to participation but the hosting of them too which he did often and many times for an assortment of reasons such as to commemorate his own wedding, the heroic death of his father and purely for fun. Most of his tilts came with large prize money, so much so that when paired with the expense of constructing the Vidaus tourney grounds and purchasing a number of horses, Rhys near emptied the Ruthern coffers in their entirety. Desperate to maintain his lifestyle and support his family, Rhys abused his formatting and writing skills to begin to make hundreds of fraudulent copies of an esteemed artefact of Anthos. He also gifted them frequently to different people, namely as a coronation gift to King Karl III, to save money rather than to spend a large amount on some new item or relic. In time, Rhys was extremely successful in making back the Ruthern fortune but had flooded the global auction house with the forged artwork and completely debased the value of them all as time went on. His legacy of counterfeits exists to this day wide and large. Rhys’ shadily acquired rebound in wealth did little to help him though when his beloved wife Marie died in a tragic accident. Crushed by a falling chandelier after she’d pushed the future Queen Amadea of Susa out of its way, Marie died in Rhys’ arms after the two had shared a dance only moments before at the Palace festivities. In his anguish over her untimely death, Rhys drank heavily and without pause, so much so that it began to take a toll on his health and work. Thus when King Sigismund III died and his son became King as King Karl III, Rhys retired from his post as Lord Speaker and the following year abdicated to his son, Mikhail, citing Marie’s death and his sudden illness as his reasoning. Rhys chose in his last years alive to complete the outdated Tome of the Rutherns by documenting the missing centuries as well as rewriting the original pieces that had been lost to time. After its completion, Rhys died in his own bed in Druzstra Castle of his long persisting illness and a disease that sweeped through the entirety of Vidaus, one that also claimed the lives of his cousin Joren and his niece Zoya. Incumbent [Almaris] Duke Rhys’ son and heir Mikhail was by all official accounts an odd child, frequently mentioned in the tabloid of the time, the Hearsay of Hanseti-Ruska. Mentioned to be cruel and unusual, Mikhail was known to lambast his mother and sister’s whilst his father was busy in the capital. He was, reportedly, so far removed from normal life that his best enjoyed pastime was burning animals alive like that of his own pet bird that went missing. The true nature of this rumour can be summed up by the emotional outpour of a mere child and a drumming up of nonsense by the media of the time. Mikhail went on to become a well adjusted adult. Whilst his father was still Duke of Vidaus and in one of the first public outings of Mikhail, what came to be known as the Ruthern Barclay Feud broke out. The feud can be traced back to one event in particular; the Lifstala Presentations. The Lifstala, otherwise known as the Haeseni social season, that year saw Mikhail named the Nikirala Stag (the foremost bachelor) for that season and his twin sister Dorothea named the Ruskan Rose, the female equivalent of the Stag. Mikhail’s good fortune did not last though when one of the judges, Duke Johann Barclay, demanded that the title be taken from him after learning that Mikhail had insulted two of his family members prior. As a knee jerk reaction, the fifteen year old Mikhail took insult and began to berate the Duke and his titular title of Prince of Sutica as well as doubling down on insinuating that the two Barclay girls he’d insulted before were wenches. When Duke Johann demanded an apology and compensation from Mikhail’s father or he’d enter a house feud with Ruthern, Rhys responded with an insulting and rash public letter back where he challenged the House Barclay to a duel of skill between their five best fighters and House Ruthern’s five best fighters as was lawful in the Haeseni lawbook. Thus began the Ruthern Barclay Feud. Duke Johann however, angered and marched a five time larger Barclay retinue into the Duchy of Vidaus and up to the castle gates of Druzstra and nailed into the stonework his own response that challenged House Ruthern to an uncapped fight when Duke Rhys refused him entry and to adhere to his blatant one-sided terms. Whilst the argument between the two continued on what kind of remedy should be found, the House of Barclay attempted to dissuade other Haeseni Houses from aiding Rutherns in any capacity and tried to involve sympathetic Houses to their side should an unchecked conflict have broken out. Outraged, Rhys and his son Mikhail took the two issues to the Royal Duma where they had the Duke Johann’s actions condemned for their lack of honour and near illegality, especially the marching of a private army onto a fellow vassal’s land. With the two Houses at each other's throats, the Crown was forced to step in and impose onto them a five versus five as Rhys had initially suggested. Held within the Grand Arena in Karosgrad, the five Ruthern duellists, Duke Rhys, Mikhail, Joren, Siegmund and Vladimir Barrow, successfully bested the five from House Barclay. The matter settled, House Ruthern and House Barclay came to agree on Mikhail’s demands after Rhys gave him far more responsibility and acknowledged his primary role in winning the feud. House Barclay apologised for starting the feud and for the marching of an armed force into Vidaus and swore never to bear arms in Ruthern land ever again. The final condition was the commemorative ring that was commissioned and paid for by House Barclay, an item that is now one of the House relics passed down from House head to House head. Mikhail went on to wed Margrait Baruch at the age of twenty after the union had been arranged between his parents, Rhys and Marie, and Duke Eirik Baruch and his wife Duchess Anastasya. In similar fashion to his father and mother’s ceremony, Mikhail and Margrait held a large tourney. The two went on to have six children together - Aleksandr, Vladimir, Adelajda, Milena, Kazimir, and Klemenita. In the same period of time, Mikhail’s siblings Dorothea and Dmitry wed Prince Josef and Princess Maya respectively. Four years after their wedding, Mikhail became the eighth Duke of Vidaus upon his father’s abdication. He also went on in the following years to become a Sergeant in the Brotherhood of Saint Karl and then the first Grand Lord of the Royal Hanseti-Ruska Court, where all his predecessors had been women since the position’s inception. Mikhail’s reign as Duke saw the founding of the Vidausian town, Branhavn. Although constructed during his time as Duke, it was in fact Mikhail’s son and heir, Aleksandr, who was the chief architect and led the project by and large with the aid of his great aunt Angelika Ruthern. This was all done following the empowerment of Haeseni vassals and the allowance of vassal towns as a direct result of a push in legislation by Duke Mikhail and his kin Lord Speaker Maric. Traditions of House Ruthern Duel In the past of House Ruthern, it was often family tradition to kin-slay one another and squabble amongst themselves. Whilst the culture has since died with most now considering internal feuds to hinder the family rather than aid it, a new tradition grew from the duels of the past. This is that of the predominant coming of age ritual in the Ruthern family that, by the age of sixteen, to go out into the world and prove themselves through a duel. It is generally frowned upon to not partake in the duel, as such is a cowardly trait. One would rather lose than not fight at all, afterall. When the youth has returned from their duel as a victor, it will generally be celebrated with a large family feast. A Ruthern may still prove their mettle in other fields such as debate at the will of the Patriarch, though it is surely preferable to do it through that of a duel. Foreign Expedition Another tradition rooted in the military heritage of the Rutherns. As their raiders once did traverse the world to seek fights, glory, and gold, now too do their descendants travel the world, albeit with less violent intention, but rather in search of enlightenment and learning. It has become customary for the young Rutherns to spend a year in a foreign nation, what they do there is largely their own choice. The more military-minded may pick up a new fighting style, the more diplomatically-inclined ones may learn of the foreign culture, and so on and so forth. Surname In a reminder of their Ruskan Raev roots, Rutherns still utilise the particle var or vas which are masculine and feminine respectively. Not only is it used to suggest those of noble stock but also of their proud and long heritage which dates back to the days of Crowsmarche in the 1200s. For instance, Rhys var Ruthern means ‘Rhys son of Ruthern’. House Relics* Ruther’s Hammer The most iconic relic of House Ruthern. Ruther’s Hammer is the legendary hammer used by Ruther Barrow and helped him earn his moniker ‘Bonebreaker’. It was lost during the voyage to Atlas for some time until Rhys I, Duke of Vidaus, found it in a shipwreck years later. A symbol of House Ruthern’s origins, power and resilience. This, along with Ivan’s Cross and the Tome of the Rutherns, makes up one of the most important relics of the House. Tome of the Rutherns A tome containing the entirety of the Ruthern bloodline and its history. Originally authored by the Ruther Barrow’s second son Yaroslav, it has been kept updated by dutiful Rutherns for hundreds of years. This, along with Ruther’s Hammer and Ivan’s Cross, makes up one of the most important relics of the House. Ivan’s Cross Made from the mast of his famous ship by Ivan var Ruthern, grandson of Ruther Barrow, to signify his end to piracy. This, along with Ruther’s Hammer and the Tome of the Rutherns, makes up one of the most important relics of the House. Ailred’s Armour A set of armour of the Decturem. Ailred, Count of Caven and Lord Marshal of the Decturem, wore this armour when he betrayed and murdered King Franz Carrion of Oren, distant kin of House Ruthern and son of Exalted Sigismund. Ring of Ruthern A thick golden signet ring depicting a Reinmaren eagle skewered by a pike. Made and paid for by the House of Barclay after House Ruthern emerged victorious against them in a House feud started by the heir to Vidaus, Mikhail Tuvya, in the reign of Duke Rhys II. *Relics are ranked in order of importance to the House. Heads & Consorts of House Ruthern Ruther Barrow | m. Unknown Founder of House Ruthern, Lord Reaver of the Fleet of Bones Boris Ruthern | m. Unknown 2nd Lord Reaver of the Fleet of Bones @seannie Ivan Ruthern | m. Unknown ‘The Seafaring’ Marquess of the Crimson Isles, Baron of Hammerspoint and Saltridge @SirSnowMan Ailred Ruthern | m. Unknown ‘The Turncloak’ Count of Cavan and Visegrad, Lord Marshal of Oren, of the Decturem, Protector of the Eastern Seas, and Lord Reaver of Ruska @seannie Blessed Dmitri of the Dreadfort | m. Unknown Staunch supporter of House Carrion, blessed for his actions to enact vengeance for his Liege Lord’s death at the hand of Ailred Ruthern. Died in a charge to save the corpse of his liege, Franz Josef Carrion. --- @seannie Alric Myakovsky Ruthern | m. Lopkaea Marbrand Count of Metterden, Commander of the Southern Gold Corps, Lord of Averheim, and Protector of the South @whiteferrarii Maric Dmitri Ruthern | m. Isabel Stafyr Count of Metterden, Captain of the Southern Gold Corps, Lord of Averheim, Lord Regent of Erochland, and Protector of the South @RideTheSky Dmitri II Viktor Ruthern | m. Sofiya Amador Count of Metterden, Lord Protector of The Spine, Grand Meyster of the Order of The Golden Gryphon, and Lord of Alriczan @max. Boris II Nikolas Ruthern | m. Unwed Count of Metterden, Baron of Rostig, Grand Marshal of the Order of the Edelweiss, Protector of the Pass, and Lord of Alriczan @whiteferrarii Viktor Alric Ruthern | m. Cecily Amelie Horen-Vimmark Count of Metterden, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the Pass, and Lord of Alriczan @Tibertastic Joren Vladrick Ruthern | m. Unwed ‘The Young’ Count of Metterden, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the Pass, and Lord of Alriczan @Tibertastic Uthred Dmitry Ruthern | m. Unwed Count of Metterden, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the Pass, and Lord of Alriczan --- @Ticklem0nster Vladrick Rhys Ruthern | m. Margret Rykov ‘The Cruel’ Duke of Metterden [title abolished], Count of Metterden, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the Pass, and Lord of Alriczan @Imperium Rhys Vladrick Ruthern | m. Angelika Vanir ‘The Stalwart’ Duke of Vidaus, Count of Metterden, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the South, Lord of Helmholtz, and Lord Marshal of Hanseti-Ruska @RideTheSky Demetrius III Tuvya Ruthern | m. Amalie Caunter ‘The Fowler’ Duke of Vidaus, Count of Metterden, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the South, Lord of Helmholtz, Lord of Ivans Hall, and Lord Palatine of Hanseti-Ruska @Security_ Konstantin Demetrius Ruthern | m. Aaliyah Vallberg-Rovin ‘The Pious’ Duke of Vidaus, Count of Metterden, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the South, Lord of Helmholtz, Lord of Ivans Hall, and Lord Palatine of Hanseti-Ruska @Kanadensare Viktor II Sigismund Ruthern | m. Mariya Barbanov ‘The Young’ Duke of Vidaus [title revoked], Count of Metterden, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the South, Lord of Helmholtz and Lord of Ivans Hall @Imperium Sigmar Otto Ruthern | m. Mariya Vanir ‘The Lost’ Count of Metterden, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the South, Lord of Helmholtz and Lord of Ivans Hall @FireCrimson Konstantin II Joren Ruthern | m. Katherine Stafyr ‘The Redeemer’ Count of Metterden, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the South, Lord of Helmholtz, Lord of Ivans Hall and Lord Justiciar of Hanseti-Ruska @Zaerie Viktoria Sofiya Ruthern | m. Sigismund II ‘The Warrior Queen’ Queen-consort of Hanseti-Ruska, Countess of Metterden, Baroness of Rostig, Protector of the South, Lady of Helmholtz, Lady of Ivans Hall and Deputy Palatine and Aulic Envoy of Hanseti-Ruska @AndrewTech Aleksandr Leopold Ruthern | m. Keldra Volik Count of Metterden, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the South, Lord of Helmholtz and Lord of Ivans Hall @GMRO Maric II Lyov Ruthern | m. Anabela Vilac, Caroline Selm ‘The Duellist’ Duke of Vidaus, Margrave of Greyspine [title abolished], Count of Metterden, Viscount of Greyspine, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the South, Lord of Druzstra and Lord Palatine of Hanseti-Ruska @louislxix Ailred II Joren Ruthern | m. Fenika Morovar, Madalene Halcourt ‘The Prevailer’, ‘Steelheart’ Duke of Vidaus, Count of Metterden, Viscount of Greyspine, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the South, Lord of Druzstra and Lord Marshal of Hanseti-Ruska @Nolan_ Rhys II Mikhail Ruthern | m. Marie Ludovar ‘The Rider’ Duke of Vidaus, Count of Metterden, Viscount of Greyspine, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the South, Lord of Druzstra and Lord Speaker of Hanseti-Ruska @indiana105 Mikhail Tuvya Ruthern | m. Margrait Baruch Duke of Vidaus, Count of Metterden, Viscount of Greyspine, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the South, Lord of Druzstra and Grand Lord of Hanseti-Ruska Other Notable Members Yaroslav Ruthern Original author and keeper of the Tome of the Rutherns Anne Kovachev neé Ruthern Queen-consort of Akovia Elizabeth Barbanov neé Ruthern Duchess-consort of Haense Adelajda Isabel Barbanov neé Ruthern Queen-consort of Hanseti-Ruska Tatiana Elizaveta Barbanov-Bihar neé Ruthern Queen-consort of Hanseti-Ruska Elizaveta Roza Barbanov-Bihar neé Ruthern Queen-consort of Hanseti-Ruska Aleksandra Sofiya Alimar neé Ruthern Grand Princess-consort of Muldav, Baroness of Antioch Ser Ivan ‘the Protector’ Ruthern-Batavus Viscount of Batavia, Crow Knight of Hanseti-Ruska Ser Demetrius ‘the Young’ Ruthern Crow Knight of Hanseti-Ruska Ser Boris ‘the Persistent’ Ruthern Knight Paramount of Hanseti-Ruska Alfred Ruthern Cardinal Nescia and Auditor of the Tribunal Irena Ceciliya Sarkozic neé Ruthern Lady Speaker of Hanseti-Ruska Ser Alric ‘the Cavalier’ Ruthern Knight Paramount of Hanseti-Ruska, Champion of Hanseti-Ruska Harren Anastasyus Ruthern Ambassador to Oren, Electoral Commissioner of Hanseti-Ruska, Monsignor Tatiana Lorina Kortrevich neé Ruthern Countess-consort of Jerovitz, High Justiciar of Hanseti-Ruska Dame Tavisha 'the Independent' Morovar neé Ruthern (Born Barrow) Countess-consort of Jerovitz, High Justiciar of Hanseti-Ruska Sofiya Antonina Ruthern Kossar of the Order of Queen Maya and the Lily, Acclaimed Artist Stefaniya Joanna Ashford de Savoie neé Ruthern Princess-consort of Savoy Maric Baruch né Ruthern Duke-consort of Valwyck, Lord Speaker of Hanseti-Ruska Ser Vladimir 'Hothand' Ruthern Crow Knight of Hanseti-Ruska Kazimir Tuvya Ruthern Grand Inquisitor, Knight General of the Holy Order of Saint Humbert Viorica Ruthern (Born Barrow) Knight-Oracle of Hanseti-Ruska
  19. A Recounting of the Inferi War Battle of the Arts, Blast from the Past Submission Princess Esmae Bint Saqr Al-Nabeel The past flew away from her like the desert sands she loved so, grasping at memories that are long gone as the elder woman often wondered what could have been different. The desert heat had always been a dear friend to the Princess. The sands clung to her, a comfort in even the hardest times. How she missed them now. The image that stood at the forefront, even as she grasped at others, not wishing to remember, was always the Inferi War. It always began like a feverish dream, blurry and unfocused until it became so clear, she could swear that she was there all over again. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Night had come to the Sultanate and Elmirah Esmae bint Qamar Al-Nabeel had found herself at the side of a man she found herself coming to love. He wouldn’t have been the first to ask the Sultan for her hand in marriage and what she wouldn’t know was that he wouldn’t be the last either. The man, lanky and tall, seemed to know her well despite their brief chats. A gift of a telescope, sitting within the Al-Faiz square, large and gleaming, and all for her. Esmae has always been a scholar, and for a woman that was often logical and often found herself feeling nothing, her heart thumped oddly against her chest. That night, she stood at the telescope beside a man who’s name she could not even remember all these years later and looked to the stars. -- That was the night it all began. How the sky twisted and shook, streaks of color flashing past it. It mesmerized those who watched, the timing so impeccable as right as she pressed herself to the telescope, it began. A year of darkness followed. Sunlight unseen during this time. There were times she tried to remember what the desert sun felt like, all too cold within the warmth of her sands. If only that was all, she could have lived with that but it wasn’t. -- Reports of a camp outside their home came in, attacks on their soldiers. And so the soldiers went, they’d fight and they’d lose. Inferi, they called them. Demons of all sorts, large and small. Some akin to bugs, others akin to people. At first, the woman was excited. She spent so long studying scorpion venom, architecture and other odds and ends. She could be a true scholar now, doing what she wished to do all along. Study creatures. And so an order was put out, seemingly simple enough. Get the Princess a creature to dissect and study. Until one is had, she’d visit every settlement, every nation and interview those who encountered them. Learn their numbers. Their strengths. Weaknesses. And yet, with each interview, something new always came. Larger numbers. New types of creatures. More dead. A day had come, a chance to be able to study one of these beings. Soldiers surrounded the bridge, a creature upon the middle in its last throes of life as it was brought down. The Princess was too late. An Inferis body never stayed long, it is why she was never able to study one before. The soldiers thought it dead but she knew better from the gathered information. She’d shout out, scream but not soon enough. The Inferi exploded. Soldiers dead, curious civilians dead. That excitement of being able to study something new, it died. How she wished to go back to the days of studying scorpions, of collecting books but that wasn’t to be. -- The war continued. Groups, nations and the like had come and gone as they’d attempt to stop these beings from taking over. As those lost, the Inferi would set their sights on Al-Faiz after each group gave their attempt and more would die. There came a time when she begged, an odd sight for a Princess, for these groups to stop. The Inferi grew more powerful with each death, let us plan, let us not give them strength. It was for naught. -- The man that was with her at the beginning, he was there for some time. And she can remember still the face of another man, one she’d come to truly love, who she’d given a tour during that first month of darkness. Despite everything, the death, her family being torn asunder, she’d begun to find love. -- Time went on, battle after battle fought. Family member after family member dead. She once had a large family. The family reunions growing up were always chaotic and fun, how they’d visit Sutica in their vacation home. Host feasts within the palace. Her family now dwindled to but a few. Her friends she’d come to love and care for, only one remained. And yet, it wasn’t enough for the Inferi. It never was. -- That final battle or what she thought to be, was the worst. Ferried to an island, meant to wait with the other women and children, as their men and soldiers, allies and friends fought for their city. Her cousin dead. How she loved him dearly. Babies taken. Her people enslaved. What little people escaped, she tended to in the clinic, desperate as her gaze went over each face. They weren’t there. Very few were there. -- Plans were made at camp. Esmae provided what knowledge she had, shared her notes from experience, from the interviews she’d taken. The first man, the one she could no longer remember the name of, he’d disappeared before the final battle. Perhaps dead or perhaps cowardly. The second, she planned with and shared the occasional smile. A light in the ever-pressing darkness. And so the men went once more, the Princess kneeling upon the hard ground as she prayed. How she prayed. It should have been simple, a reconnaissance mission. But the soldiers, the men, they saw a chance. Inferi guarding a caravan. It should have been supplies, for all intents and purposes, nothing gave it away as anything else. But as the caravan lit, flames crackling and smoke drifting, the screams of women and children sounded. Slaves of the Inferi, the Princess’s people, the Qalasheen burning alive. -- The secret wasn’t kept. The man she loved told her and she had to tell her cousin. Her cousin's baby was taken in the chaos. How her lovely daughter may be dead. Broken, hope draining, she whispered broken words to the man she loved. Of forgiveness. That next day, her cousin's body was delivered by wheelbarrow. Jumped from the roof, the soldiers said. And still yet, she tried. For her people, her family, the man she loved, her friends. -- Amongst this all, what had been meant to be a light in dark times, a figure approached the Sultan. He asked for her hand in marriage, only to be given a trial, one seeming near impossible: “Free the Qalasheen and you may marry my Niece.” Against all odds, against every loss, every death, everything her people had been faced with, the trial had succeeded. A great mission, people freed. The motion of using bolt cutters to free her people from their chains will forever echo through her ears, her heart, her mind. -- Yet, it had always been said a Farfolk woman will have troubles of the heart. A story as old as time. Against all odds, a fisherman freed thousands of slaves and gained the permission to marry the last Princess of Al-Faiz. Her cousin's daughter, found within the arms of an elderly woman against all possible doubt. Hope. Finally, there was hope. Happiness bloomed, and as he called her aside, a smile formed only to dampen, heart stuck in her throat. He’d gotten a woman pregnant. And for that, they cannot marry. -- And so she’d lost her love. Her family. Her city. Her friends. She’d tended to the injured and sick, waving away a freed man who followed her, insistent on repaying a debt. -- She walked the desert sands once more. Felt the heat of the sun. And yet, everything was different. Her home in ruins. Her people starving, exhausted and traumatized. How she wished to be studying scorpions. To be leading tours of Al-Faiz. Running away from guards for a moment of privacy. For life to be so simple once more. These memories blew away like the sand, falling through her fingers as she looked out at the sandy hills of a new land, eyes blurred and unfocused. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Upon seeing the Blast of the Past theme, I had to! The RP on her was all very intense, and the Inferi war was something in history. Thank you to any who read this!
  20. Arrival of Clan Kazimir Przybycie Klanu Kazimir Preamble Years ago, the La Waevra Clan was formed by Chieftess Rebeka la Waevra in the Kingdom of Norland. The clan was later dissolved about 15 years later, with the death of Rebeka la Waevra. While much of the family still remains, living predominantly in the Kingdom of Norland and Duchy of Rozania, they are no longer considered a clan. The changing of the names, and the changing of a leader, a new journey for all. A Long Past In 26 SA in the Kingdom of Norland, Rebeka la Waevra, a Norlandic native herself, had officially formed the la Waevra Clan. Consisting of her family and close friends, now bannermen, she embarked out of the Kingdom of Norland to the South to find riches as well as a safe place to settle and help rule. She first held her clan in Sutica, with a large house there that could house all the members. Many dinners were held there, and she made many connections to places near her, The Barony of Rhein and Sarissa. After some time, she began helping those in Sarissa to build a new settlement closer to the North, and near good friends of hers in Yong Ping. Whilst she assisted in building a small Duchy with the Duke William Buckfort, she had laid the foundation of a strong and long-lasting dynasty. Trouble would however find her with the Sedanian and Savoyard’s banditry and the subsequent forced conversions of herself and her kinsmen in the Duchy of Rozania. With the Rozanians crippled, morally and physically, the treacherous Canonists continued their banditry and slaughter. Eventually, with that, the sadness of her daughter Sionnach's engagement to an undead, and the death of her first husband Lomiei, Rebeka was led to take her own life. This impacted the Clan significantly leaving all members shocked, and distraught, and within her final will she requested Clan la Waevra be dissolved. This also dissolved all partnerships, alliances and official documentation between many close groups of the clan, from all over. Leaving her Norland shop to her daughter Leyna. Leyna moved to Norland, and moved much of the remaining members of the clan to a home there. After much debate, Leyna decided that it would truly be best for them to stay a clan, and attempted to relight the candle which her mother blew out. A New Beginning Leyna, the eldest of the La Waevra’s is taking the torch inevitably passed to her. Continuing her legacy, and helping those who feel lost with the death of her mother. She would like to continue on, leading as her mother did. Better perhaps, and having a truly strong, united, peaceful family. From this day forward, the woman who is to continue this path will now be known by the name Leyna Kazimir. This new name, Kazimir, means peace-bringer in Rozanian language. This is due to the kindness, and objectivity that makes them good writers, diplomats and knowledge seekers. They still have a fighting will, and strength paired with their mediation skills which make them ideal leaders. Shall those in the Kazimir Clan persevere and remain strong, in this time of change. All of the La Waevra’s shall now use the name Kazimir, as a show of strength for the changed Clan. Clan Kazimir of The Kingdom of Norland. A strong group with hearts of warriors, brains of scholars, personality and relations of diplomats, and the soul of readers and writers. Where Rebeka first started, Leyna shall now continue, a full circle.
  21. A Missive to Scholars & Writers The Great Crest of the Northern Geographical Society Est. 1762 ✵ The NGS is Now Hiring! ✵ The Northern Geographical Society has found itself in need of writers for a multitude of our exhibit displays. While we take great pride in publishing most of our works internally, there are a number of studies which we have still yet to finish. Aas our organization continues to expand and grow, we have found there to be a need to produce more studies on a variety of different subjects to fill our museums and supplement the work of our own scholars and writers. Thus, we have elected to pay such individuals 50 MINAS PER STUDY from a select list that is submitted to and approved by our Chief of Research, Tanith Vursur, or to Director Elizabeth Brae-Wittenbach. The subject matters in question include the following: Cultural Studies: Urguan - An in-depth analysis of the Dwarven culture and way of life to supplement our existing displays on the Dwed people. [AVAILABLE] Haelun’or - An in-depth analysis of the High Elven culture and way of life to supplement our existing displays on the mali’aheral. [AVAILABLE] The Kharajyr - An in-depth analysis of the Kharajyr culture and way of life. [AVAILABLE] Crowns of Haense - An in-depth study into the Crowns of Haense. The Biharist Crown, Andrian Crown, and the Boyar Cap especially require examination. [AVAILABLE Geographical & Miscellaneous Studies: Ancient Coins - A thorough study on the history of currency in Almaris, namely of the mina in ancient times and those currencies used by various countries throughout the ages. [AVAILABLE] The Athera Expedition - A written, in-depth description of the explorations of Athera by both the Kingdom of Haense and the Holy Orenian Empire. [AVAILABLE] Lands of Haense - An in-depth study into the lands of Haense including Karosgrad, the surrounding countryside, and the kingdom’s Crownlands. [AVAILABLE] ALL STUDIES MUST BE PRESENTED IN AN UNBIASED, WELL ARTICULATED MANNER. Incoherent or biased academic works that do not meet the high standards of the Northern Geographical Society will not be afforded compensation. All books must be at least 15 pages long, but may be greater in length to suit the subject matter or material. If interested in authoring some of these works, please send a bird for more information to Tanith Vursur @Urahra or Elizabeth Brae-Wittenbach @AndrewTech. Thank you for reading this missive!
  22. THE BALLAD OF AUGUSTUS FLAY Performed by Corwin Alstreim for the Northern Geographic Society's 50th Anniversary Banquet Including four never-before-seen verses cut for time from the performance! Concept, verses 1, 4 and the first half of 13 by James Chapel Otherwise by Dame Yuliya Styrne (Sung spritely, with melodramatic menace) 1. My name is old Augustus Flay, The flinty bandit king. So much defamed in recent days - In my defense, I'll sing! 2. Old Godfrey wouldn't have a throne If not for me and mine - He was ashamed to look my way, But he paid us mighty fine! 3. We bandits surely made a splash When we arrived in Oren's court! O'er the nobles, I stood tall and proud - (Though I'm actually quite short!) 4. Though harsh to my opponents, They were mercifully spared By my signature red scarf The sight that's under there! 5. My forces conquered Seventis, Salvus and Hanseti - Eventually, I realized The king I deserved to be! 6. For in my youth, they called me Prince Despite my nasty manner - And a prince should one day take the throne, So I raised my gory banner! 7. I called my soldiers to my side And told them we'd rebel - But the only king I'd ever be Is a king reigning down in Hell! 8. But there were traitors there among Those men I thought were loyal And they shared the news about my plans With the Horen royal! 9. He banished me to live at sea - A punishment most grim, For, you see, I never learned Exactly how to swim! 10. Now I'm stuck deep down in Hell, Right next to the Denier, With fiends mocking me forevermore As I burn here in the fire! 11. Yet if I had just one more chance To do it all again - I can't say I'd change a single thing, Even with this end! 12. For they wrote my name in hist'ry books, In poems, songs, and plays! And that fact will keep me warm Until the End of Days! 13. I might not have been intelligent, Or virtuous, or bathed. But all of Oren feared my name And my bloody, scarlet blade!
  23. Of Freedom and Progress: The Life and Death of the Haelun’orian Republic A Comprehensive Historical Study by Maenor Aildhuin Printed in Karosgrad on the 3rd of the Grand Harvest, 1810 (( Theme Music )) _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ [!] Painting of Karinah’siol, cca. 1800 _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Author’s Note Having lasted for 32 years, and although brief in its existence, the Republic of Haelun’or left distinguishable marks in the history and culture of the Mali’thill. It is this book’s attempt to recollect many of the events that have graced the Republic's short historical time span, lest such a fascinating epoch be forgotten. Despite its falling, the core ideas for its functioning are still adhered to by many. In a sense, while the structural integrity of the Republic ended with the legislation adopted in 1804, it still endures through those few that cling to its ideals of freedom, equality and progress. In many aspects, the Republic is Eternal. I. The Maheral Simply Is _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ [!] Artistic rendition of the protest following Maheral Azorella’s assassination, 1768 _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ To understand the evolution of the Haelun’orian Republic one must first inspect the years prior to its conception. By 1760, the governmental apparatus of the Diarchy was reeking with corruption, nepotism and stagnation. The very structure of this regime, which by this point was almost a century old, was beginning to rot. Then, as now, the High Elves did not possess the right to vote and elect their representatives, all of them being chosen directly by the ruling Silver Council. Simultaneously, the system crushed all dissent with an iron fist and made extensive use of propaganda to control public opinion. But dissatisfaction, over the years, built up within the society nonetheless. And, as it is often the case with oligarchical structures, the leadership utterly failed in recognizing this ever-growing problem. In the late 1760s, the society of Haelun’or would witness an increasing struggle between the Maheral and the Sohaer in attaining dominance over the Silver Council. Attempts were made, in secret, primarily by Sulraell Visaj, the Sohaer, at modifying the law to vest more power into his own position. His ploys would be revealed, however, and the changes reverted. But for about a year, the enmity would continue. It would all culminate with a plot by the Silver Council to assassinate Maheral Azorella Elibar’acal. Thus, Maheral Elibar’acal would find her demise in 1768 when, in the Citadel, one by the name Adeline would be unleashed upon her, the councilors, while in the same room, idly witnessing the fruits of their labor. Chance had it that, at that very same moment, a storm forced much of Lareh’thilln’s population to seek shelter within the Citadel, the place of the assassination. So the murder would be discovered shortly after being carried out as Azorella’s cries of agony drew the attention of all. Naturally, the act triggered massive unrest among the populace. Those councilors involved were arrested soon after and put on trial. But further alienating the populace and in defiance to the people’s will, those Diarchists that remained free sought to downplay the severity of the crime, urging for inhumanely soft punishments for those involved. Acaele Lazul, chosen Maheral after Azorella’s death, failed to remedy the anger of the citizenry. Thus, as the trials went on, a clear schism within the society formed. On one side were the aforementioned Diarchists. On the other were the Maheralists, Mali’thill who believed in the traditional supreme authority of the Maheral, guided by the ancient phrase of the one who led the Mali’thill to their cultural zenith in Anthos, 4 centuries ago, Lucion Sullas: “The Maheral simply is”. In a final act of delusion and desperation, the remaining Diarchists would seek to trial many Maheralists, most notably Ikur Sullas. Arbitrarily, many were called forth by those who still denied the inevitable. Ikur Sullas’ trial never came to be, being postponed, again, arbitrarily. Nonetheless, he climbed the podium still and accused the leadership of corruption, uttering “The Maheral simply is, and Acaele Lazul… you are not”. In that moment, the public collectively agreed that Acaele never was. This moment, in 1771, represents the ending of the Diarchy and the beginning of the Azorella reformation, the transition to the Republic. II. Progress Is the Republic _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ [!] Illustration of the first democratic nominations for Sohaership, 1772 _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The transition to a democratic republic began shortly after Acaele’s downfall and the subsequent collapse of the Diarchy. In these trying times, order was maintained by the Malauriran Avern’dionne and Kelthran Iyathir, alongside Ikur Sullas, who was chosen Maheral by general consensus in 1772. The chief immediate objective of these three was the organization of elections, the first in a century, and the formation of a government to lead the reformation effort. Thus, it would be them who would oversee the democratic processes of 1772. After what could be considered the fiercest nominations and debates in the Republic’s history, Nelgauth Maehr’tehral, Silvos Sythaerin, Dele Seregon, Kaelan Aldin and Elathion Dagre’sae would emerge victorious, filling the positions of Sohaer, Okarir’maehr, Okarir’hiylun, Okarir’tir and Okarir’nor respectively. In such a fashion, the first democratic government would form. The Republic’s establishment was imminent. It was under the management of this primeval ruling body that the first reforms were drafted to anchor the republican dream in reality. The Republic of Haelun’or would materialize formally in 1774 when the New Constitution of Haelun’or would be adopted. It is ofttimes difficult to realize the importance of the times one lives in thus, while few knew it at the time, as Ikur Sullas and Nelgauth Maehr’tehral announced then the foundation of the Republic, the Descendants were about to experience the height of modern Mali’thill civilization. Upon perusal, the intention of the administration to secure democratic principles is evident. The newly secured piece of legislation guaranteed all High Elven citizens of Haelun’or “the unalienable rights to freedom of expression, to enter the city freely, to association, to attend trials and public councils, to due process under the law, to education and the pursuit of progress, and to housing and food within the City of Haelun’or”. As far as the Mali’thill is concerned, there was no constitution more favorable anywhere in Arcas, at the time. If we are to point out a flaw in this paramount act, it would be the sense of irrelevance it created around the Sohaer through the entrusting of most of the power into the Maheral. It ought come as no surprise, however, considering that the first government of the Republic was composed exclusively of Mali’thill who, in the years prior, formed the forefront of the Maheralist movement. Thus, into the Maheral was vested “supreme executive power [...] over all city affairs, [...] the authority to supervise and veto any legislation passed by the silver council, to pardon any citizen found in violation of Haelun’or law, and to interpret this constitution and declare any current or former legislation unconstitutional”. Generally, such investments of power into one individual facilitate dictatorships and are problematic for a democratic system. But while those concerns would demonstrate legitimate later, the authority of the Maheral proved especially useful in the first years of the Republic, representing a strong defense mechanism against the naturally chaotic shift from a society crushed by oligarchy into a democracy. More fortunate still, the position was, at the time, held by Ikur Sullas, who had the forethought not to employ his supreme decision powers too often, letting the democracy shape itself. But what truly substantiated the democratic nature of the Haelun’orian society was the innovative foundation, by the Constitution, of a new institutional body named the Heial’tuva, the Council of All. Legally, many of the actual democratic processes would stem from that institution: “All High Elven citizens of the age of majority (50) shall be inducted into the Council of All (heial’tuva), and granted the rights to public debate, to vote in public election, and to run in and challenge any elected office”. It is true that, in principle, this pseudo-parliament held no actual governing ability or administrative power. Rather, it derived its importance from the ability of its members to elect and challenge those in power. In any case, even if the steering of the nation was not directly in the hands of the people, but more in the hands of those elected by the people, the establishment of the Heial’tuva represented an important step towards democracy and a great improvement from the previous dictatorship. It would not be long before the fundamentals of the newly-founded Republic would be put to the test. In 1775 Kaelan Aldin would retire, as would Silvos Sythaerin in 1776. The seat of Okarir’tir, then left vacant by Kaelan’s departure, would be filled by Celiasil Uradir. His triumph in the election would come as a surprise to many. At the time, Celiasil was not a member of the Sillumiran, the Silver State’s military, and he was faced with the challenge of defeating two more experienced candidates, more notable among them being Storm Elibar’acal. In any case, Celiasil’s tenure began with much work striving to improve the Weeping Blades’ reputation across the entire continent through careful recruitment and drilling of discipline and competence into an army that, by 1776, was no longer at the apex of its power. Celiasil’s replacement of Kaelan would represent the first change between two democratically elected representatives. Thus, the phrase “Progress is the Republic” was born. On a similar note, not long after, the election for the seat of Okarir’maehr would render Silvyr Uradir victorious. This event would prove to be a more unfortunate part of the Republic’s history. Silvyr would go on to display an absolute lack of vision or ability for the administration of the Haelun’orian educational sector. Under his management, the Eternal Library would fall into disuse, while his delayed reforms and lectures lacking any substance would go on to severely maim the intellectual progress of the High Elves. The full extent of the damage caused by Silvyr’s tenure and the following decade of limited academic achievements would become apparent only many years later, in the Republic’s final days. Then, in times of most urgency, a significant part of the population, lacking proper early enlightenment, would find itself unable to combat the depressingly abundant misinformation. Not only that, but the damage done under Silvyr would be used as a chief source of anti-republican propaganda, and as a primary argument against the Republic by those aiming at its destruction. Around that same time, in 1777, probably as a foreshadowing of what was to befall all the Descendants, multiple malicious entities, by all accounts foreign to Arcas, would assail Lareh’thill and its vicinity. One such instance, more memorable, would be that of a giant worm-like creature. Multiple people, the day of the attack, remarked a certain stillness in the nature all around them, as if all life fled. The creature itself was described as “slimey, disgusting yet incredibly large” with a mouth lined with “rows of twisting teeth, like a sharp vortex that would shred anything to dust”. Despite the beast’s mystique and might, the Sillumiran on duty, led by Celiasil, along with those citizens that offered their aid in the struggle, would go on to valiantly defend the Silver City and its residents, slaying the monster while suffering minimal casualties. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ [!] Drawing of chasm in the vicinity of Lareh’thilln _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Those threats would end up duly eliminated and the damage inflicted would be repaired. But the fear instilled by them would endure, and so it would come about that their gravest implications would be on the political stage. In the context of these events, in fear of what other malignant creatures might attack Larihei’s children and with the intent to preserve the life of the Mali’thill, the Silver Council, in 1778, would strike a pseudo-alliance with Azdromoth and its followers, adopting The Pact of the Titan. This piece of legislature would go on to constitute the chief source of contention among the Mali’thill citizens of the Republic. The controversial clauses the document contained, namely “The First Drakaar, Azdromoth, is to be revered within Haelun’or, for it is He and He alone who offers us safety” and “Sons and daughters of The First Drakaar, Azdromoth, Elazdrazi, are to be welcomed into Elcihi and treated with the same respect as our fellow Mali’thill”, understandably alarmed a significant portion of the residents of the Silver State, them viewing the Pact as an affront to purity, as a contract of vassalage. Those in favor of it claimed that it was forged in order to preserve purity. Nonetheless, the Pact, once signed, and despite vocal opposition, still saw public support, primarily fueled by the aforementioned fears of the outside world that, at the time, grew increasingly more grim. What followed was a short period of both internal and external tranquility. In this time that lasted no more than three years, the government attempted to redress the material damage caused by the previous attacks while at the same time to continue the never-ending effort of reformation, improvement and progress. Being a product of the dangerous circumstances of the age as much as of the good intentions of the Silver Council, during this time an ambitious military program was announced by the office of the Okarir’tir with the purpose of educating the general populace in matters of warfare and combat, in case the need to defend the Motherland ever arose again. Around this same period, the medical system of Lareh’thilln, which by now was one of the most modern and efficient healthcare establishments in the continent, would continue to improve under Dele Seregon’s guidance. The first disturbance of this calmness would come in 1781 when the Okarir’nor Elathion Dagre’sae resigned. The election that followed affirmed Effile Ker’vulnir as the new Okarir’nor. At the time there was a noticeable lack of enthusiasm concerning these affairs, with many citizens absenting at the time of the debate. Admittedly, the position did carry less relevance to the Mali’thill people than the others, so the general indifference was not surprising. The actual truth regarding those facts would come about shortly after Effile’s victory, when she would prove ineffectual and absent for the entirety of her tenure but, courtesy of the position’s irrelevance, the effects an idle councilor entailed were massively mitigated. One year later, foreign woes would make their return as well, in spite of the pledges made in the Pact of the Titan. In 1782, a band of foreign and, altogether, irrelevant terrorists would abduct and hold hostage the Sohaer, Nelgauth Maehr’tehral. It is a known fact that, in the end, Nelgauth was rescued unharmed, appearing jovial enough at a soiree hosted by his own kin not long after. However, the circumstances of this incident remain somewhat ambiguous and shrouded in mystery. At the time, the government of Haelun’or kept the escapade a secret from the public in order to contain the agitation and possible spread of misinformation. It would only be revealed after Nelgauth’s rescue, and even then nothing too detailed. The means and reasons for the capture of the Sohaer remain up to debate and personal interpretation thus, as no actual statement from the terrorist organization ever surfaced after the incident. To beguile the Sillumiran and whatever Azdrazi were guarding the city at the time suggests a certain cunning planning and to kidnap a state official of Nelgauth’s stature would have opened many possibilities for the culprits, from amassing massive wealth to blackmailing the government into nefarious activities. But, with the incident long resolved, it is probable that the absolute truth of the matter will never be fully understood. As if the previous events were not enough, the year of 1783 would present the first seismic shift on the political stage of the Silver State. This year would be the year of Nelgauth Maehr’tehral’s abdication from the position of Sohaer. The government of Haelun’or, for the first time since the Revolution, became without a steward. Whether this decision was influenced in any way by the individual’s previous aforementioned misfortune remains up to debate. In any case, Nelgauth would go on to linger for some more time in politics in the quality of Maelunir, which was the Maheral’s direct subordinate and chief aide. However, he would cease to take center stage and would grow increasingly more peripheral. It can be speculated that Nelgauth, at the time, was stepping down from that position of power in hopes of training Haelun’or’s next generation of leaders. In discussing Nelgauth’s character, one must note that he would go on to face criticism throughout most of his political career as well as well after that. It was a known fact that the Maehr’theral was incredibly liberal in private and that, throughout much of his career, he was prone to fits of hypocrisy. In many people’s eyes, he has earned the appellation of Mali’ata. Nonetheless, whatever faults the individual possessed, the actual role of Nelgauth in the foundation and further development of the Republic and of the Haelun’orian democracy is uncontestedly paramount. Being one of the authors of the Constitution of 1774, he laid the path not only for the Silver State’s aspiring politicians, but for all those yearning for freedom. It can be safely asserted that, by all standards, Nelgauth’s political career was impressive. In Nelgauth’s place as Sohaer would rise Eredael Rhenaer, a Mali barely above the age of majority with a good academic career. Despite his very young age, he would go on to best in the election Anethra Uradir. For much of his tenure as Sohaer, Eredael would remain somewhere obscurely in the shadow, focusing more on the diplomatic affairs of the state rather than the acceleration of reforms of the interior. But that is by no means an act of discreditment, for Haelun’or’s diplomacy was, at the time, impeccable, as the state itself was on good terms with most of the other nations of the Descendants. That same year of 1783 would bring one more novelty. One by the name of Aiera Sullas would be named Tilruir’indor of the Eternal Library. It would be under her guidance, after a decade of mismanagement, that life would be restored into this most important institution of the Silver State. Three years later, as another triumph of the educational sector, Silvyr would bless the populace with his resignation. In his stead, as Okarir’maehr, that very same Aiera Sullas would ascend. By 1786 she was already conducting treaties with foreign places of knowledge to better the intellectual progress of the nation. Her triumph would go on to represent the turning point in the matter of academics. After a delay of ten years, work towards reforming the Eternal Institutions would finally be made. To continue the stream of political machinations, 1789 would see the first challenge of an Okarir by a regular citizen of the Silver State. That year, Nuala Telperion would accuse the Okarir’nor at the time, Effile Ker’vulnir, of incompetence and idleness. While not entirely wrong, the act would see the disapproval of most of the citizenry, as Nuala was still remembered as a staunch supporter of the Diarchy in its final hours. This known fact caused a short-lived public scandal between her and those that sought to shame her for her past actions. Taking advantage of this general revulsion towards Nuala, one by the name of Zelios Elibar’acal would go on to nominate himself as well, thus an alternative would present itself through him. Effile resigned shortly after the announced candidatures of the two, having enough courage and foresight to step down. In the end, as expected, Zelios would emerge victorious. The Mali did not present a spectacular plan or campaign, nor was he experienced in matters of economy. Yet, courtesy of the stigma associated with the old regime, Nuala still lost. It would not be long before the competency of the government and the resilience of the Mali’thill would be tested again. At the end of 1789, the most severe foreign attack on Haelun’or would commence. Those that witnessed the horrendous battle remarked a most terrible storm unfolding prior to the creatures’ arrival, one characterized by an unusually high quantity of lightning that threatened anyone not sheltered. On that fateful night, four creatures of dark allegiance, called by some “Shadows of Aegis” launched a monstrous assault upon Lareh’thilln, managing even to destroy one of the draconic wards placed by Azdromoth, prompting the Drakaar itself to appear and defend the city. Apparently, the beasts’ primary targets were the buildings of most importance, namely the Citadel, the Eternal College and the Eternal Library. The latter would be the only one to survive the assault. What is more, the assailants imbued within the Eternal College a sort of plague, this too mystical in nature, which would chiefly corrupt books but also the mind of anyone who would thread within the confines of the building. After a long and arduous battle, the city would be saved with Azdromoth’s aid, but the Citadel and the Eternal College would remain defunct for the remainder of the habitation of Arcas. As a further precaution and at Azdromoth’s own advice, the collection of the Eternal Library was moved to Helena, then the capital of the Holy Orenian Empire, which was deemed, then, safer. There the books would remain, courtesy of the alliance between the Empire and the Silver State, until Helena would too be destroyed. The entire continent of Arcas would end up being corrupted in 1795. Then, Lareh’thill would be destroyed, much like all the other cities. The mountain upon which it was built collapsed into a fiery chasm. At the time, fortunately, the evacuation effort was led by Dele Seregon, who managed to rally the citizenry and organize the escape to the Eye of Man, where the Mali’thill sought refuge until the eventual embarkation to Almaris. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ [!] Picture of the ruination of Lareh’thilln and the flight of the Mali’thill, 1795 _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Arriving on the new continent of Almaris in 1796, the everlasting children of Larihei would settle a fertile island to the far east. There, the High Elves would begin constructing a new home befitting their dreams and traditions. The settlement would be appropriately named Karinah’siol, the Lone Sunrise. It would be this city that would bear witness to the Republic’s final years. They would be as eventful as they would be tragic. Only a year after the Mali’thill’s settling on the island, Dele Seregon would announce her resignation as Okarir’hiylun and the eventual retirement from politics. Thus ended the career of the longest serving Okarir in the Republic’s history, maintaining her function for 25 years of the Republic’s 32 years of existence. It was under her management that the medical sector of Haelun’or grew to be one of the most respectable establishments in the World. The health of the citizenry was, throughout all these years, despite all the challenges, preserved and improved. It was also her achievement the adoption of legislation that sought to improve the experience of the less fortunate of Haelun’or’s citizens through the Citizenship Act of 1782, which bettered the condition of second class citizens, or the Orphanage Act, whose objectives were the protection and education of Mali’thill orphans. She, too, would be subjected to much criticism, however. It can be argued that the Seregon besmirched her purity by quasi-worshipping Azdromoth, an act which she would admit doing. But, it would also be maintained that she did so to protect one of her kin, which was a Paladin of Xan. More fortunately, Dele Seregon would go on to be one of the main critics of the Pact of the Titan and of the Azdrazi, bringing many arguments and much evidence about their violent nature. Regardless, much like Nelgauth Maehr’tehral’s case, Nelgauth who officially retired around the same time, Dele Seregon’s role in the progress of the Republic is undeniable, contributing greatly to all its triumphs and glories. It would be Maeve Elibar’acal who would rise in Dele’s stead, continuing the policies of her predecessor with much ability. An accomplished doctor, to this day, the “Curriculum of Hiylun”, written by Maeve Elibar’acal and her staff, remains the most comprehensive guide in the study of medicine. It would be under her, as well, that medicine classes would formally begin, in a most fruitful partnership with the office of the Okarir’maehr. Still in 1797, an issue that has haunted the Haelun’orian Republic for decades was starting to receive more and more attention. With the settlement of the new continent, the Inferi threat and the corruption of Arcas that instilled fear in the Mali’thill were gone. It was in this context that more and more citizens of the Silver State began questioning the necessity of the Pact of the Titan. By then, the document was continuously losing public support, as many Mali’thill committed the horrific act of turning into Azdrazi, receiving absolutely no punishment for forsaking their purity. Notable among those unguided were Silvyr and Celiasil Uradir, though the latter would end up not fully turning. The number of people calling for the Pact’s nullification was increasing. Perhaps the most unfortunate fact to come out of this situation was Maheral Ikur Sullas’ reluctance to abandon the alliance with Azdromoth, being constrained to use his decisive powers as Maheral to ensure its survival. There have been multiple occasions where Ikur’s distaste for lessers, Azdromoth and the Azdrazi being just that, was obvious. And so, the actual reasons the Maheral then had at maintaining the Pact remain unclear. It would seem that, mayhaps, the Sullas was overly cautious, perhaps fearing Azdromoth’s possible retaliation. Of course, such a fear would have been legitimate, considering that Drakaars like Azdromoth are ill-tempered, corrupt creatures constantly lusting for power. Whatever the reasons, this sad decision of Ikur would serve as yet another subject of propaganda, later, in the effort to destroy the Republic. On this background, the following year would see Celiasil’s resignation. As previously mentioned, at the time, Celiasil was looking to turn into an Azdrazi. This fact alone was the source of much discontent, which only grew after he received the Maheral’s approval in retaining the Okarir’tir position. The Republic was on the brink of having an Okarir not of the Mali’thill race. But it did not come to that, as Celiasil had the wisdom to retire, ending thus a career which lasted for 23 years. He was responsible for the modernization and instruction of the Sillumiran, vastly increasing the quality of the Republic’s military. It would also be him who would lead the Weeping Blades in the Descendants’ struggle against the Inferi. The army of the Mali’thill would go on to valiantly aid their distant cousins in the Siege of Aegrothond and later fight in the battles for the liberation of Korvassa. Observably, the Sillumiran then not only served as a military force, but also as a diplomatic envoy, earning the Silver State much prestige and admiration throughout the conflict. III. Regarding the State of the Republic _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ [!] Sunset as observed from a beach near Karinah’siol, cca. 1803 _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The Republic was a dream. A dream that fell. It seems fitting that we shall now begin to delve into the chain of events that led to the downfall of the democratic system, the system that allowed the intellectual prowess of the Mali’thill to express itself, by first reminiscing what could be considered the last moment characteristic of its nature, the Okarir'tir debate. After Celiasil’s resignation, in 1799 the election for the Okarir’tir position commenced. The nomination and debate were one of the fiercest in the Republic’s history, their vitality being outmatched only by those at the Republic’s birth, back in 1772. And, despite the efforts of the moderators in place, the main discussion that concerned the citizenry then was the views of the candidates in regards to the state of the Pact. In fact, so adamant were the citizens that, after the official debate was over, they organized another, unofficial, but which lasted more than the former. Of all the three candidates, Ellisar Aevaris would be the one to show the least ardor concerning the abolishment of the alliance. Nonetheless, he would still emerge victorious. At the time, his triumph was certainly a surprise to many, considering that his opinions aligned with those of the masses the least. One possibility for his triumph is that the other two candidates, Valorin Celia’thilln and Olrin Hildinyr, in presenting similar stances on many issues, divided their own electorate, halving their votes and cancelling each other out. For better or worse, after a memorable round of elections, Ellisar would become Okarir’tir. Nobody anticipated it at the time, but these elections would go on to be the last with a formal debate between candidates. Despite all this, the state of the interior seemed to be improving. Nobody in the government threatened to turn into something else. That, coupled with the announcement of the formal opening of the Eternal Institutions and the soon arrival of the Eternal Library’s collection, instilled much optimism about the future in the populace. But that was not to last, and the worst was yet to come, though in means so subtle few recognized the danger. In 1801, the heaviest blow to the Haelun’orian Republic would present itself in the unexpected retirement of the Maheral Ikur Sullas. Considering the Maheral’s actions not long before, rashly, many, the author of this book included, viewed Ikur’s resignation as a step forward. But in retrospect, one must admire just with how much ability he led the Mali’thill in these strange times, for democracy was not something many of them ever experienced before. The details surrounding the motives for his departure from the position of leadership matter not. Personal reasons, increasing opposition, those aspects are irrelevant. What is of concern is that he would be the last of the founders of the Republic to leave from the administration of the nation. One cannot think of the Haelun’orian Republic without picturing Ikur Sullas at the same time, they are very much connected. It was he who supervised the system’s development and progress for 29 years. After his retirement, the Republic would only endure for 3 more years. It remains uncertain whether or not the Republic would have fallen had Ikur remained in charge for a little while longer, but mayhaps that counts as a blessing, if not to the Mali’thill, then at least to the former Maheral. After all, the Republic was very much his progeny. It would have been a terrible thing to witness its fall from a position of power. In Ikur’s stead would be invested one by the name of Galanthil Elibar’acal. Most certainly a peculiar choice as Galanthil, having retired long before, was unknown to many. Presumably, this one’s naming was only temporary until a proper successor could have been found. But, rather unfortunately, it would not come to that as a new scandal would arise. Not long after this announcement, the Sohaer Eredael Rhenaer would, rather controversially, challenge Galanthil and name himself Maheral. Despite the boldness of the act, Eredael enjoyed a fair share of public support, thus prompting the Malauriran to convene. In order to prevent a power struggle and an actual schism, a council of Malauriran met and decreed Galanthil’s rise null and void, asserting Eredael in the position instead. It can safely be asserted that from this point on, the Republic’s demise was inevitable. The years that followed would see an ever increasing disregard for the Constitution, the Silver Laws and the customs of the Mali’thill. The year 1801 would see the publication of a document entitled “Regarding the State of the Republic”, signed unanimously by the members of the Silver Council, chief among them Eredael. In it, the primary objectives of the administration were written down: the consolidation of maehr’sae hiylun’ehya, the structural modernization of the Republic, the advancement of meritocracy, the advancement of new educational policies, the formal opening of San’evarir, the renewal of the Heial’tuva and renewed debate around the Azdrazi issue. In this fashion, Eredael managed to gather more support. In a similar mode, soon after, a grand debate concerning the Pact of the Titan was held. Rather expectedly, the matter was settled decisively in favor of abolishing it. Support for Eredael increased still. Now concerning a more depressing matter, in light of the apparent chaotic transition caused by Eredael’s challenge of Galanthil, a great number of inconspicuous individuals began migrating to the Silver State. Many of them never set foot in the Republic before and many of them belonged to families with ties to the Diarchy, like Laraethryn and Valarieth. Their distant stance to the democratic system was evident. It would be one belonging to this group of people, Arelyn Iyathir, that would be elected Sohaer. Securing victory over Nuala Telperion, she would be the first such elected representative without being subjected to a formal debate. Arelyn would set a trend for all the Haelun’orian politicians that followed. From this point on, propaganda aimed at the discrediting of the Republic and its founders began. Arelyn, in her campaign, dared not directly attack the Republic, but still commented on the “liberalism that has poisoned our people” or the “impurity that lurks in the shadows”. As it is often the case with such aggressive populistic speeches, she offered no solutions and pointed to no particular problem, making use only of carefully constructed ambiguous accusatory phrases. Following Arelyn’s ascension, the propaganda would only grow in intensity. Simultaneously, a wave of resignations and departures would occur, primarily from those still loyal to the Republic and the progress of the Mali’thill. It began with Ellisar Aevaris, the Okarir’tir, followed by Maeve Elibar’acal, the Okarir’hiylun, and all her entourage. Not long after, Dele Seregon would announce her departure as well. 1804 would see the leave of Aiera Sullas and her staff. None of their successors would declare themselves in favor of democracy. The greatest schism in recent Haelun’orian history would thus form. As of the time this book was written, the schism still continues. 1803 would see the first flagrant disregards of the Constitution as the offices of Medi’iran and Okarir’san were reinstated without amending the Constitution first. The intents of the new establishment to ruin the Republic and write a new constitution were evident. Sometime later, Eredael would invest Caledor Laraethryn in the position of Okarir’san without an actual election. Caledor would have gone down in history as the first unelected member of the Silver Council since the fall of the Diarchy, were it not for the Malauriran who intervened. In a last effort to save the Republic, the former leaders of Haelun’or would urge for elections, and they would eventually be held. The reality was, however, that it has been more than a year since propaganda began, most of the opposition already fled and the majority of the electorate was composed of individuals with a distaste for democracy. Caledor would win. By 1804 there was virtually no opposition left in the government and works were undergoing towards formally ending the Republic. The last legal bastion of defense was represented by Aiera Sullas who resigned that very same year. The downfall of the system by now was only a matter of time. It remains uncertain how long Aiera Sullas would have managed to delay this inescapable future. However, by analysing the behavior of the councilors at the time, it seems very likely that, had Aiera resisted for much longer, she would have shared Azorella’s fate. It thus came to be that on the 5th of Snow's Maiden, 1804, a new constitution was adopted. The Heial’tuva was abolished, ending the ability of the populace to elect and challenge representatives. All relevant power was taken away from the Maheral and centralized under the Sohaer, who would thenceforth have the ability to appoint and dismiss all councilors. From that moment on, freedom of expression would cease to constitute a constitutional right. Thus, in 1804, despite the initial promises made, Eredael would consent to the formal ending of the Republic he so diligently swore to protect. The rule of the people was at an end and the oligarchy would make its return. If we are to compare the Diarchy’s final hours with those of the Republic, we would notice striking similarities between the move attempted by Sulraell Visaj in 1767 and the legislative changes brought forth by Arelyn. Through means more direct and propaganda more efficient, Iyathir succeeded where Visaj failed, securing the Sohaer’s dominance over the entirety of the Silver Council. Sometimes, the apparent symmetry between historical events is truly astonishing. And so ends the three decades long drama of the Haelun’orian Republic. Its effects and the tragedy of its demise would go on to impact the Mali’thill forever. It would bring forth the existential question of what exactly means to be a Mali’thill. But more than anything else, the fall of the Republic would reveal that even we are fallible and that there is much to learn still. maehr’sae hiylun’ehya.
  24. Excerpt from the Tahkayt Hezzifan, or "Long Story", the oral poetry telling the tale of the A'tmuzigh people. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The Tahkayt Hezzifan is part of a lengthy and dramatic ceremony performed by A'tmuzigh Elders and Oracles, as a form of oral transmission of knowledge. This extensive spoken poem tells the tale of the creation of all things originating from the primordial One, continues by going over the A'tmuzigh's history as a people group, and ends with the prophecy of the end of all life and the world's inevitable return to its primordial state. The Tahkayt Hezzifan differs from tribe to tribe, but its beginning and end stays largely the same regardless of tribal allegiance. The following excerpt takes key sections of this lengthy poem to showcase the A'tmuzighs' beliefs. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ In the beginning At first the world was darkness and ocean, A vast expanse of free spirits in constant motion, The gods in the heavens would all claim their share, Yet could not distinguish what spirit was where, The gods, used to feuding and constant estrangement, Came together as one in an uneasy arrangement, So they created the Sun high in the sky, Hoping its heat, the ocean would dry, The Sun in the heavens, as it shone and it shone, Revealed from the ocean, lands of bare stone, The spirits from water were stranded, and so they would die, Raised their gaze to the heavens and thus they would cry, “Oh water, oh life. Without you, we wither!” Some of these spirits would crawl and would slither, To escape to the ocean, away from the land, Those who did not turned to dust and to sand, The gods were displeased at what had thus happened, The spirits on land left to die and abandoned, So they came together, to save what could be, And created the Moon, to bring the tides from the sea, The tide healed the spirits from the water it grants, Those close to the ocean became creatures and plants, Yet some spirits remained far from the shore, Pleading and screaming and dying in scores, The gods came together for one final time, They took from the water of the ocean sublime, Glanced one last time at the withering crowds, They scattered the water in ponds, lakes, and clouds, In the midst of the deserts, as spirits did fall, From the rain, an oasis, as if by their call, They drank and they drank, ‘til they could drink no more, The spirits soon realised they could see no shore, The oasis appeared, and had been their salvation, Yet now they were stranded, and forced in prostration, Their heads bent to drink water brought from the rain, Their bodies battered by winds who sought to bring pain, The sands and winds, now jealous and vicious, Sought to enslave those whose calls were auspicious, The spirits thus bent, and their bodies assailed, Tried to fight back, but surely so failed, Their skin became tough to combat the storms, And thus, over time, did they change their forms, No longer ethereal, now flesh and bone, Among them, Mezeg, a spirit well-known, Rose up in defiance, with his body as shield, He rallied his kin, no longer they yield, The spirits of plants first came to his aid, So he could make tents out of fibres arrayed, The winds no longer reached those who resisted, The spirits of animals then rose up and assisted, Wool made up their clothing, and from milk they could sip, Free were they now from the sands and their grip, And so in their tents, did the rebels proclaim, “No longer are we slaves, and so we shall name”, “Ourselves for the freedom we have fought to achieve”, “And in remembrance of those we have lost and we grieve”, “The Freefolk we are, A’tmuzigh in our tongue”, “A people whose battle will be heard and be sung.”, And so did he march with his people and brothers, From oasis to oasis to free all the others, Mezeg was his name, the Liberator, his title, A man who believed that freedom was vital, And thus he marched on, breaking the chains, Liberating the others from their plights and their pains, A dolmen he carved at every oasis he saved, To remember all those who died when enslaved, And so that his people, no more would be slaves, Whether to spirits of winds, sands or waves, In the end The gods in their folly made the Moon and the Sun, Dried up the ocean and broke up the One, All spirits were meant to be one and the same, And thus do we see, and so we proclaim, The spirits apart will grow wild, corrupt, This growing imbalance, the world will disrupt, The gods will look down and see their mistake, They treasure this world and so their hearts will ache, First the Moon they remove, their tidal creation, The oceans will rise, flooding every nation, Then the Sun will depart from high in the sky, Thus in the end, all life must die, Darkness once more, the world will envelop, And the primordial ocean will redevelop, The spirits at peace, one and the same, All things as they should, so shall they reclaim. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ This poem is available in-game through a book of the same name, Tahkayt Hezzifan, purchasable on AH or in Valhelm Square, next to the bank. (OOC: If you wish to play an A'tmuzigh character or are interested in the lore, please feel free to contact me on Discord at Northern_Watcher#0790)
  25. The Seed Well In Ancient scrolls and carvings found across the archipelago of Axios, it is said that when the emerald fires of the War faded, the emergence of Druidism brought an unseen age of prosperity to the fauna and foliage that once again scattered the lands. And when the last of the ash was swept away with the winds of progression, the Arch Druids communed with Malin in private quarters, to discuss how they would never again allow such corruption to spread through their homeland, and indeed, all of the Islands that surrounded Aegis. The congregation, including Malin himself, poured every ounce of their combined energies into a well in the seclusion of the distant forests, which would house their unforeseen and self-sustained potency. It became known as the Seed Well, for their intentions were clear. The Druids procured many seeds from the bags they had brought with them, choosing the healthiest of each type to bathe in the verdant waters. Once this had been achieved, they locked the well, returning to their respective homes, allowing the passage of time to nurture their efforts. (The Pale Stranger) Many moons would come and go before the congregation would once again meet at the Seed Well, unlocking the interconnected vines which held it shut. Yet as they lifted the wooden cover, a voice spoke out from the trees. "You pour your energies into this well, unbeknownst to the outcome." It said, emerging forth from the shrubbery. It was a pale Elf, with long flowing hair of pearl-white, and draping robes to match. He rose the gnarled wooden stave in his hand, and proclaimed the dangers of bringing into the world that which had not occurred naturally. Before the communion could respond, the man vanished as quickly as he had arrived. With confusion, they shrugged off the comment as the meanderings of a mad-man, before returning their focus to the Well before them. Everything seemed in order, and the seeds were taken from the well. Malin himself took a handful of the seedlings, and placed them into a container which he had previously filled with the potent waters of the well. From this moment onward, Malin would no longer be seen on Axios again, and the Arch Druids returned to their private lands, tending to the seedlings they had infused with their energies. (One of the trees of the Seed Well) For many decades, these plants would be cared for in clandestine quarters, and would develop into considerable sizes, each a vast and unique array of beauty. Yet they did not grow as usual, for their forms began to split, and the bark began to resemble a humanoid figure. The Arch Druids studied in intrigue, fascinated by the process of this growth, and cared not to meander in their flourishing environments. Instead, they observed intently as the trees continued to emerge. Ellethwen Thendiel was the first of the Arch Druids to witness the awakening of these trees, for each Druid had been assigned to a specific tree, and her's developed at a much faster rate than the others. The bark creaked and groaned at first, the Druid stepping back in shock as she felt the roots beneath the ground begin to detach from the soil, and the oaken limbs emerge from the ground. Before long, an amber radiance began to emanate from the apex of the bark, where the newly conscious creature looked down upon her. She cheered with glee, for her seedling had grown into what later became referred to as Meldamiriel, true Children of the Forest. It seemed aware of its surroundings, yet was incapable of speech and many of the basic functions of movement. Instead it sat, listening to it's mother and those around her as it absorbed information like rich nutrients in the warmth of soil. Soon, the other seedlings began to grow, and before long a family of Meldamiriel graced the Arch Druids with their presence. These were the results of Druidic efforts, and would later become protectors of nature, goliath and foreboding personifications of the Forests, who would scour the land and protect it from destructive forces. (Gambadriel, protector of Ainsharu) Ellethwen would later name her child Gambadriel, and would assign it to a nearby forest that she would also dwell in, for these creatures were still young, and would need the guidance of those that birthed them into the world. With decades passing, these giants served their function with unanticipated effectiveness, and soon began to develop their own tongues; of which only the Arch Druids were capable of understanding, for it was not a language of the physical, but of the deep attunement within nature's stream. Yet all things are destined to succumb to the cyclical nature of the world, and what was once a state of progression would change into one of ruin and degeneracy in one fell swoop. An arrow, of unknown origins, sank into the chest of Ellethwen as she reeled over in anguish, slinking against the bark of a nearby tree. Gambadriel would sense this traumatic event, and would rush to aid his "mother", yet it was too late. Before long Ellethwen had grown as cold as the winds that swept through the forest, and the trees lamented alongside Gambadriel as his core contorted and formed into a seething anger, fueled only by his continued anguish and loneliness. This theme swept across the islands of Axios as one by one the Arch Druids were slain in solitude, their children crying out in pain as they edged on the verge of madness, their forms losing the blooming flora that once adorned them. They became husks of their former selves, little more than vessels of anger that scouted the graves of their long-dead Druids, destroying any life that would dare venture close enough. (Gambadriel's Husk, warding off an Elven Soldier) This growing epidemic shook the foundations of the Elven people, who had already begun to split from one another in pursuits of power and political gain. The once stalwart protectors of the Forests were soon slain in many numbers, rid from the world forever by the Elven people, and the Well of Seeds was destroyed, preventing the process from ever occurring again. Yet from all death comes life, and the husks of these entities would scatter beneath the Ancient Soils of Axios, awaiting the return of the Well of Seeds, where they would once again emerge. OOC:
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