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  1. THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE HOLY ORENIAN EMPIRE: Volume VII; Glory and Decay Written by Justinian Nafis, heir to the County of Susa and Adolphus Gloriana, Earl of Suffolk, Prince of Sutica Glory and Decay “If this kingdom of apostates insists upon bloodying the pages of mankind’s history once more, then we will meet them in battle. They will be recorded as a footnote, another in a long list of evil and impossible attempts to foil Providence. We will repel this invasion, as we have all others.” - The Imperial Response to the Tenth Nordling War, Emperor John VIII The reign of Emperor John VIII marked the apex of the Petrine ideology. While Joseph II was able to fully-realize the dream of defeudalization, extensive bureaucracy, and centralization that had begun with Peter III, he did not live to see the fruits of his toils. This reward, though also a task in itself, fell to his eldest son. Under John, he was able to maintain the systems of Pertine governance and demonstrate the might of a unified Empire during the 10th Nordling War. However, cracks began to break the peaceful stability that has come to define his reign. Towards the end of his life, government stagnation, an unpopular heir, and a lack of reforms threatened the future strength of the Empire. Despite this, he remains one of the more beloved personalities to sit atop the throne, and it is said that the common man of Oren did not live a better life than under Emperor John VIII. The ascension of John Charles, the Duke of Helena, to the Orenian throne was a long-awaited event. At the age of fifty six, he was among the oldest men in history to ascend to the throne, though the ascension of his brother, Philip Augustus, at the age of seventy-eight stands as the clear record. Unlike the latter, though, it was evident that John VIII was well-prepared for his position. Although he did not have the same extensive judicial and governmental experience as his father, he had served in the ISA since the Sutica War. Although he never rose past lieutenant, and did not see major combat, he had served well and ably in each Imperial conflict and had earned the respect of the citizenry and soldiery for it. Additionally, throughout his parent’s reign he had often sat in on council meetings, and by the end of his father’s reign he had served as regent. Immediately upon his ascension to the Imperial throne, the question of succession was the pressing issue of the day. As a young man, the future Emperor had been betrothed to Lady Irene Ruthern, the daughter of the Count of Metterden. However, on the eve of their wedding, Irene Ruthern vanished without warning, leaving the young John Charles without a bride (Irene Ruthern herself would later emerge and occupy a substantial position in Haeseni politics as Lady Speaker of the Duma. She would eventually marry Franz de Sarkozy in 1803 before being executed in 1814 after her attempted assassination of King Heinrik II of Haense). In the search for a suitable wife for the Duke of Helena, Wilhelmina Helvets, the daughter of the Duke of Cathalon and a prominent lady of the Imperial Court, was chosen. However, this marriage was infamous for its lovelessness, betrayal, and spitefulness. The pair could hardly be near each other, and Wilhelmina often threw herself headfirst into petty plots and schemes. They had no issue, though Wilhelmina had several by multiple men, and in 1814, on the eve of Emperor Joseph II’s death, the two were officially divorced. John VIII’s lack of a proper heir gave rise to slanderous rumors, even in his time. Although many originate from Wilhelmina Helvets and her allies in court, it was a commonly-held belief that the Emperor had greater fondness for men than women. As John Charles was often found with male courtiers during the late hours of the night, and never female courtiers, the rumors were only stoked. However, these accusations are simply lies. It is well-known that he fathered an illegitimate son in 1803 by the beautiful Theresa Mae Halcourt. Indeed, it seems that the reason John Charles never took readily to women is that he was so greatly attracted to the female sex that he refused to lay with a woman who met his great standards, unmatched by any other man before or since. Because he was so greatly attracted to women, his wife, Wilhelmina, simply could not meet these standards, and thus he refused to conduct his duties within the spousal bedroom. Regardless, the Emperor’s lack of a legitimate child, unwillingness to marry after his divorce, and advanced age, meant that his brother, Philip Augustus, the Duke of Crestfall, stood as his heir-presumptive. While it can be said that Philip Augustus held strongly to his faith in the Lord, few other compliments have been paid his way. Reviled by the Orenian populace, commoner and noble alike, and ill-prepared for the throne, many begged Emperor John to sire legitimate progeny or otherwise remove his younger brother from the succession, legally or otherwise. While the problems stemming from this ill-fated succession would not emerge until near the end of Emperor John’s reign, it hung over the Empire as a specter of a bleak future. Despite the attention given to his inability to sire an heir, succession was not the sole problem that arose during the start of Emperor John’s reign, nor was it the most dangerous. The first four years of his reign began well and peacefully, owing to the successes of his predecessor in stamping out the most prominent rebellious sentiments within the Empire. The new Archchancellor, Ledicourt d’Azor, and his Council of State, managed the realm ably and with little difficulty. Save for one issue in 1815, when Tiberius Hartcold, a traitor to the Empire who had fought with the Sedanites during their rebellion, was captured and executed by the Emperor via nailing a wig to his head, little disturbed the peace of the realm. It appeared to many that Emperor John’s reign would take the course of his father’s, though perhaps with even fewer disturbances. Little did the people of Oren know, the events of the coming years would make this hope short-lived. The prelude to the Tenth Nordling War began with the visit of an unnamed fatherist priest to Providence in 1816. A fatalistic and evangelist sort, the preacher took to the streets to proclaim that the end times were near and that the Empire would soon sink into a sea of fire. The populace of Providence, staunchly Canonist and righteously annoyed with the priest’s antics, savagely beat the man for his false-prophecies. By the time a few ISA soldiers arrived to apprehend him, he was on the verge of death. Later that night he would perish while confined to a cell within the Bastion. The second, more infamous, incident occurred several months later, and is subject to much scrutiny and controversy. The official narrative, propagated by the Kingdom of Norland and used as the defining casus belli for the coming war, states that brigands from a group called the Sons of Horen raided a few farmstead on the outskirts of Norland, slaughtering several cattle and injuring a farmhand. According to both Norland and the Sons of Horen themselves, the latter had ties to the Empire and the Canonist Church, and was said to be acting on their orders. The Empire and the Church disputed these accusations, alleging that the Sons of Horen, a group that had never been heard of before, was created by Norland to stage a false-flag attack against themselves to justify a war against Oren. A handful of later historians, utilizing census information found on a few supposed Sons of Horen, believe the attacks to have been staged by lingering elements of the Josephite Mafia (though the Josephite Party had officially been disbanded by this point). A Norlandic replication of their sacred burning bush. Said to be the most advanced work of art in Norlandic history, date unknown By 1817, the ruling King of Norland, Sven Edvardsson II, had what he needed to make his demands. On the 13th of Godfrey’s Triumph, 1817, he officially released a series of demands to the Empire, foremost among them being reparations for the slaying of the fatherist priest and the damages dealt by the Sons of Horen raid. Himself having ascended to the throne just a year earlier, the bellicose and warlike Sven desired to cement his rule by uniting the disparate clans and factions of Norland against the Empire. Additionally, since the expulsion of Haense from the Empire in 1786, the three powers of Norland, Haense, and Urguan had been consistently joined together in an alliance known as the Iron Accord. Sven II believed that upon declaring war on the Empire the rest of the Iron Accord would come to his support, but he was woefully wrong. Inexperienced and ill-trained in matters of war and politics, the King Sven would soon be dismayed to find out that Norland would fight the coming war alone. Knowing that war was soon to come, Emperor John made immediate preparations to mobilize the Empire. The ISA, though still strong, had been subject to untimely resignations and budget cuts in the aftermath of the Sedan Rebellion, as it seemed peace had been well-secured. The well-liked and esteemed General Peter d’Arkent, Duke of Sunholdt, had died in 1814 of old age. His replacement as General, William Darkwood, the Baron of Darkwood, was a loyal, hardworking, and experienced man; however, his time as an officer had been spent managing logistics, not soldiers and combat. Few of his subordinates liked or respected him as they had General DeNurem or General d’Arkent, and he was a below-average battlefield tactician and campaign strategist at best. Knowing the limitations of the current ISA leadership, the Emperor appointed Iskander Basrid, Count of Susa and hero of the Sedan Rebellion, as Field Marshal. A popular figure within the Empire, and the husband of the equally-beloved Princess Imperial, Elizabeth Anne, the Count of Susa was the perfect man to lead the war effort. Although he was only a major in the ISA, his appointment as Field Marshal gave Iskander effective control of the entirety of the Empire’s military resources. To supplement the current ISA forces and give his new Field Marshal an effective fighting force, the Emperor also tasked the retired Franz Sarkozy and Simon Pruvia, the Viscount of Provins, with finding mercenaries and allies. The official declaration of war came on the 13th of Godfrey’s Triumph, 1818. A day later, the garrison of Southbridge came under attack by a raiding party of nine-hundred Norlanders. Having been led to allied Urguan weeks in advance in preparation for the official declaration of war, the Norlandic force caught the garrison of Southbridge by surprise, driving them out despite possessing fewer numbers. However, the fighting was restricted to a few volleys of arrow fire, which resulted only in a few minor injuries. Led in person by Donovan Freysson, their tribal war leader, Norland had scored the first victory of the war. It would turn out to be a minor affair, though, as after ransacking Southbridge, the raiding party was forced to withdraw back into Urguan after receiving word of a large ISA force bearing down on them. Urguan’s role in the war, though expected to be large, turned out to be fairly minor. Caught unaware by King Sven’s sudden declaration of war, the Underking had not yet mobilized the clans of Urguan and made war preparations. Furthermore, several years of drought, crop failures, and economic instability had rendered Urguan unable to effectively field a large army for the time being. Although small bands of dwarves could be spotted joining their Norlandic allies, and Urguan officially announced that it would honor the terms of the Iron Accord and join Norland in the war against the Empire, the Underrealm did little more throughout the war than serve as a staging ground for various Norlandic raiding parties. A further blow to King Sven’s cause was dealt when Haense signed the Greyspine Convention with the Empire, a pact of neutrality officially mediated by High Pontiff Jude II. Fearing defeat were he to join Norland without Urguan’s support, and not wishing to join a pagan offensive against a Canonist nation, King Heinrik II of Haense agreed to refrain from joining the war in exchange for the promise that no Canonists would be harmed. It is said that when he received the news, the Norlandic King broke down into a nervous wreck. Without his two strongest allies, Norland would be forced to fight the war alone, though they did receive substantial support from the Ferrymen mercenaries. Emperor John, on the other hand, found himself enjoying a strong position. A week after his treaty with Haense was concluded, he received word from the Viscount of Pruvia that the Consul Olivier Renault de Savoie of the Free City of Luciensburg had agreed to lead his personal mercenary company, the Metinan Company, in support of the Empire in exchange for some monetary considerations. Although Luciensburg was a young city, founded by Savoyards exiled from the Empire in the aftermath of the Sedan Rebellion, the Metinan Company was professional, disciplined, and effective. For his part, Olivier Renault had little love for Norland and was sympathetic to the Empire, only joining the rebellion against it in the hopes of restoring it to its past glory. With this contract formed, Emperor John now had a strong core to augment the ISA regulars. The Empire’s strike back came on the 1st of Tobias’s Bounty, 1818, in the dead of winter. The Count of Susa, leading a small Imperial raiding party of a thousand men, rode through the Duchy of Elysium, the largest and most powerful of Norland’s vassals, putting the main city to the torch and capturing the Duke of Elysium himself without losing a man. When the Duke of Elysium was brought back to Providence, it was advised by Archchancellor d’Azor and Franz de Sarkozy that he be executed, but Prince Philip, the Duke of Crestfall, overruled the two. He made the Duke of Elysium sign a treaty officially withdrawing from the war before setting him free (the Duke of Elysium would later renege on the treaty, citing that his signature had been made while under duress). The next year, 1819, was marked by small-scale raids and skirmishes fought between the professional cores of the Imperial and Norlandic armies as both nations mobilized their full might. Both nations burnt farmsteads, villages, and mills as they sought to demoralize the populace of the opposition. Much of the Lower Petra and the Grenz of the Empire was left in ruin, though not irreparably so, while almost the whole of Norland was sacked at some point or another. On the 16th of Horen’s Calling, 1819, the Count of Susa led a force of one-thousand to raid Elysium again, but was ambushed by a force of over two-thousand led by the Duke of Elysium. Outnumbered and taken by surprise, the Count of Susa commanded a stout retreat, killing nearly a thousand Elysians while suffering only a few hundred casualties of his own, but was forced back into the Grenz. Donovan Freysson’s raid into Providence on the 13th of Godfrey's Triumph, the first anniversary of the start of the war, was far more successful. Storming a few undermanned, outlying forts protecting Providence, Donovan’s force of one-thousand two-hundred killed and wounded nearly one-thousand three-hundred ISA soldiers and came close to capturing the Archchancellor. It was only the intervention of the city garrison itself that forced the Norlanders to withdraw to Urguan. A few more minor skirmishes were fought throughout the year, but few were decisive. The next year, 1820, saw more of the same, though it was here that the war’s longest battle was fought. From the 7th to the 8th of Tobias’s Bounty, a force of around one-thousand two-hundred Norlandic-Ferrymen raiders led by Donovan Freysson fought bitterly with an army of three-thousand five-hundred ISA-Metinan soldiers commanded by Olivier de Savoie. Around the towns and farms lining the Southern Highway of the Lower Petra, the two forces did battle. While Donovan’s force performed admirably against the larger Imperial army, they were worn down over the course of the two days’ worth of fighting and were forced to retreat. Despite both sides having seen their fair share of successes, it was evident that the Imperial’s overwhelming advantage in manpower was the decisive factor. As King Sven gathered his army, Donovan’s own raiding parties grew smaller and smaller. By the spring of 1821, the war chief received word from his king that in a few months’ time the Norlandic host would be marching south to join forces with Urguan, which had managed to raise a small army of its own. Donovan protested this action, advising the king that it would be wiser to prepare Norland’s defenses for an imminent Imperial invasion, which would come with a larger army than they could muster. The king, desiring a quick blow to end the war, rejected these plans, and authorized one last raid into the Empire before the war chief was to join the main Norlandic host. This raid would come on the 17th of Horen’s Calling, 1821. Having already ridden north to take command of the main army, Donovan Freysson had allowed the Ferrymen one last raid into Providence, ostensibly to disrupt the mustering of the Imperial army. However, unbeknownst to the war chief, plans of the Norlandic march south had been intercepted by the Viscount of Provins and Anastasia O’Rourke, the Countess of Halstaig, who had relayed the information to the Count of Susa. Not wishing to squander the opportunity to smash the Norlandic host before they could unite with Urguan, the Count of Susa and Emperor John himself had departed with the main Orenian army mere days before the Ferrymen raiding force had arrived. When they did finally reach Providence, they were surrounded and slaughtered by the city garrison, led by Erik var Ruthern, the Count of Kositz. This would be the penultimate action of the war, and the last threat to Providence itself for over thirty years. The final battle would come on the 4th of Tobias’s Bounty, 1821, at the Battle of Outer Arentania. Unaware of the incoming Imperial force, the King of Norland had ordered his army, numbering about four-thousand two-hundred, to march through the outer edges of the Empire in order to reach Urguan faster. Although winter had set in further north, the first snows had yet to reach the center of Almaris, and the terrain was still suitable for marching. On the eve of the 3rd of Tobias’s Bounty, the Norlandic army had come to a stop in a valley surrounded by great hills on each side in order to camp for the night. King Sven, against the advice of his chief war leaders, had refused to send out any scouts or place pickets around his camp, believing his army to be completely safe. The Emperor and the Count of Susa had reached the area just hours after the Norlanders, and the two had wasted no time making preparations in the dead of night. Although Emperor John was in nominal command of the Imperial army, he lacked battlefield experience and had not seen action for years. True command was given to the Count of Susa, who, through consultation with his staff and the Emperor, devised a plan to bait the outnumbered Norlanders into a trap. Possessing an army numbering nine-thousand four-hundred, the Count of Susa ordered it to be split, with one-thousand six-hundred men of the Metinan Company taking positions on the hills to the south and the rest laying in wait near the more rugged cliffs to the east. The smaller force, to be led by Olivier de Savoie, would pose as an isolated raiding party and bait the Norlandic host into charging uphill, while the rest of the army, led by Iskander himself, would swing around and hit the Norlanders from the rear and flank. From the east, cannonade fire, directed by the Countess of Halstaig, would pin the Norlanders in place and keep them from fleeing. After the plan was confirmed by the Emperor, orders were distributed, and the men and women of the Imperial army went silently to their assigned places under the cover of night, not alerting the Norlanders. At dawn the following morning, the Norlandic host awoke to see a small force of Imperials, less than a third their own size, shouting and jeering at them from atop the southern hills. Fearing it was a trap, Donovan Freysson and some of the older clan chiefs advised King Sven to pull back atop one of the hills and take a defensive position. The Norlandic King merely laughed and accused them of cowardice. Instead, he took the advice of his younger, more impetuous vassals to heart. He gave the order to prepare the army to advance south and sweep past this meager force. Within two hours it was done, and the king gave the signal to advance. From the cliffs to the east, the Count of Susa grinned while his own men suppressed their cheers. The Norlandic foot had made it halfway up the hill to meet Olivier de Savoie’s force when suddenly horns, drums, and shouts from the east could be heard. Within minutes, over the rolling hills, the great second force of the Imperials, numbering seven-thousand eight-hundred, could be seen bearing down on the Norlandic host with Iskander Basird, dressed in brilliant gold-encrusted armor bearing the sigil of his house, at the head. It is said that upon seeing that he had been trapped, King Sven II took the fastest destrier he had and fled immediately, sparking confusion within his ranks. Not knowing whether to retreat with their king, brace for impact, or continue to advance, the Norlanders fell into a confused panic. Donovan Freysson attempted to rally the army to make a fighting withdrawal, but they were soon struck from the front by Olivier de Savoie and his portion of the army. Moments later, the advance elements of the main Imperial host had reached the rear and flank of the Norlandic army, pinning them against the Metinans. Well-placed cannon-fire from the Imperials struck the very center of the Norlanders ranks, turning the confused mess into a sheer panic. Overlooking the battle from the cliffs of the east, where the artillery had been placed, was Emperor John VIII. According to popular rumor, he had made a bet with the Count of Susa and General Darkwood as to how quick the battle would be. The Count of Susa had predicted under five minutes, General Darkwood had predicted within five to seven minutes, and the Emperor had predicted within seven to ten minutes. Keeping track of the time, the Emperor recorded the battle as having taken five minutes and seventeen seconds, giving rise to the popular moniker The Five Minute Battle, for the Battle of Outer Arentania. It is also said that after receiving his winnings from the Count of Susa and the Emperor, General Darkwood bought a month’s supply of wine for each of his men who had participated in the battle (perhaps the only time he enjoyed the popular support of the ISA). Emperor John VIII overlooking the Battle of Outer Arentania, 1821 Whether the account of Emperor John’s time-taking is truthful, it cannot be denied that the Battle of Outer Arentania was one of the quickest engagements in known history. Within minutes, the Norlandic host had been shattered: around four-thousand one-hundred of the men who had marched south with King Sven lay dead, missing, or captured in the aftermath. Among them was Donovan Freysson, who had been captured by Olivier de Savoie personally after a duel between the two of them. The losses by the Imperials were minimal, though most had been suffered by the Metinan Company, who fought primarily against the Ferrymen mercenaries, perhaps the stiffest resistance to be found in the Norlandic army that day. By the next day, the Imperials resumed their march towards the border of Norland, preparing to invade the kingdom. It would never come, as within days of the expected Imperial offensive into Norland, King Sven offered terms of peace. Norland would withdraw from the Iron Accord, cease all expansion to the south and the east, and pay forty-thousand minae to the Empire in reparations. The Emperor agreed to a ceasefire, and for the next two years the two sides would haggle and negotiate, but by the end the terms would remain the same, save for some minor additional territorial clauses. In this time, the Metinan Company, reeling from their losses, threatened mutiny against Olivier Renault, citing unpaid wages. The Savoyard was forced to disband the company and return home to quell internal tensions within Luciensburg, which had suffered adverse economic effects from the war. Despite this, the ISA remained strong, and additional recruits were drawn from the Grenz to supplement them. However, they were unneeded, as on the 9th of the Sun’s Smile, 1823, Emperor John officially announced that the peace talks had been concluded. The ISA, which had been stationed outside of the Norlandic border on-and-off for two years, was finally allowed to demobilize and return home. Two months later, on the 10th of Sigismund’s End, the Treaty of Providence was signed, officially ending the war. Despite the immediate challenge that he had faced upon ascending to the throne, Emperor John had acquitted himself well in the conflict. The whole of the Empire had rallied around the war effort, and Norland’s overwhelming defeat in the war had broken its power. Even today, the kingdom has not recovered from the loss of manpower, prestige, and honor from their failed invasion of the Empire. So thorough was Emperor John’s victory that an entire week was devoted to games, festivities, and feasts in honor of the victory. The strength of the Empire had been proven once again, and it seemed that a new age of glory would soon be upon Oren. The atmosphere was jubilant, the ISA was bristling with new recruits, the economy, boosted by Norland’s reparations, was booming, and the courts were consistently filled with the dazzling lords and ladies of the realm, all enjoying the fruits of triumph. However, famously, or infamously, the rest of Emperor John VIII’s reign would be characterized by the same quietness and stability that had been expected of it at the start. His reign is best-known for the Tenth Nordling War, but it only occupied five of his twenty-three years of rule. What, then, can be said of the remainder of his reign? In truth, it is little much, and it is these years that the harshest critics of his reign point to. While this period was a peaceful, prosperous one, it also was plagued by a decline in the ISA, the looming succession of the unpopular Duke of Crestfall, the stagnation of the government, and a plummeting interest and participation in the Imperial Diet, and the Rosemoor Movement. One understated issue to emerge came from within the Church. Tragically, the sensible and prudent High Pontiff Jude II had been assassinated by Norlandic agents in 1820, which made him a martyr to the Imperial cause and drove several members of the clergy to more openly support the Empire. However, this void was one that could not be filled, as with Jude II died the line of pragmatists that had governed the Church (save the interruption with Owyn III) starting with High Pontiff Pontian II in 1702. To follow would come a line of Haeseni Pontiffs, primarily from the House Barclay, who were far more interested in attempting to expand the Church’s social and political influence. Jude II’s successor, Tylos I, was an archconservative, former soldier and politician in Haense, and possessed little of the sense and diligence of his predecessor. For fifteen years he absently sat atop the Pontifical throne, doing little, harming the Church, and causing the faith’s influence to wane in the Empire. While Emperor John wished to continue the policy of his forebears by refraining from joining in political affairs, the deteriorating religious situation gave rise to political factions inspired by Tylos I’s cultural beliefs, but repulsed by his laziness. The Risorgimentists and Adrianites were both reactionary parties that attempted to form in the late 1820s. Conservative, despising liberal thought and institutions, and devout followers of the faith, they sought to take charge of the Empire’s moral and spiritual character where the Church had failed by radically altering society and returning it to its more feudal, decentralized roots. The Emperor, a staunch opponent of those who sought to alter the status quo, heavily suppressed the two parties and their associate organizations across the Empire. From the dissolution of the Josephite Party in 1815, the government had been dominated by Ledicort d’Azor’s National Party ever since. However, by the middle of Emperor John’s reign, a breakdown of interest in the Diet had become a noticeable issue. With opposition parties either being repressed by the government or struggling to win against the Nationals, few except the most staunch allies of Archchancellor d’Azor continued to take interest in politics. Election after election, voter turnout plummeted, incompetent candidates found seats in the House of Commons, and few bills were produced from the Diet, and fewer still sensible enough to be approved by the Emperor. Many began to regard the Diet as a useless institution, good for little else than rubber-stamping the agenda of the Azor Ministry, which was itself beginning to lose the ambition it had set out with, but events in the late 1820s turned this around. We speak, of course, about the Rosemoor Movement. The Rosemoor Movement had its roots in the activism of The Princess Imperial and Countess of Rosemoor, Elizabeth Anne. Elizabeth Anne, having herself served in the ISA and the House of Lords, and having seen her mother perform the duties of an Empress-regnant admirably, began to question why the laws of inheritance within Oren favored men. At that time, the Empire, along with most other nations of Almaris, followed a system of male-preference primogeniture. The titles and properties of a deceased lord or lady would be given to their eldest son, regardless of whether he had elder sisters or not. If the son had died, but not his son, then the titles would be given to him, and so on. Only if there were no male descendants to be found could the eldest daughter inherit. Elizabeth Anne, joined by many other prominent noblewomen in the Empire, among them Claude Elizabeth de Savoie, daughter of Olivier de Savoie, Alina Basrid, and Anastasia Victoria vas Ruthern, granddaughter of Count Erik of Kositz and the future Empress Anastasia, began a movement in support of the ‘Rosemoor Bill’, which was a bill authored by the Princess Imperial herself that would give women equal inheritance rights as men. This movement was bitterly contested by the more conservative elements of the nobility, chief among them the Duke of Cathalon. Others, such as the Viscount of Provins and the Archancellor (now sitting in the House of Lords as the Count of Azor) did not necessarily oppose the movement, but disagreed with the wording of the bill. The Emperor himself was partial to his older sister’s cause, but did not want to intervene entirely, and instead left the matter to the House of Lords. However, the Rosemoor Movement was growing, and weekly street demonstrations, rallies, and organized events made the issue of equal-sex succession the most prominent topic in the Empire. This worried the Duke of Crestfall in particular, who, as the head of the House of Lords, had significant sway over whether the bill would pass or not. During his brother’s reign, the power of the nobility had been reduced to its lowest point, and the nobility of the Empire was mostly constrained to the Augustine Palace, where they were kept docile and useless. Save a few prominent peers who joined the ISA and partook in politics, the majority of the aristocracy, until now, had been content with their soft lifestyle, exerting themselves only for the many balls and feasts hosted. If they could be mobilized so effectively here, then they could be mobilized against the Crown in an effort to champion other privileges they desired, so thought Philip Augustus. It was here that he resolved to end the Rosemoor Movement. During a session of the House of Lords in the waning winter months of 1830, the Princess Imperial officially brought the Rosemoor Bill to the floor of the legislative body. For hours it was debated over, and, just as a vote was to be taken, the Duke of Crestfall paused the proceedings. Using his powers as head of the House of Lords, he castigated his elder sister for taking to the streets with her political whims and attempting to weaponize public opinion in an effort to have the Rosemoor Bill passed. He immediately held a vote to censure Elizabeth Anne and prevent a vote from taking place on her bill. Supported by a number of conservative members of the House of Lords, the motion passed, and the Princess Imperial was barred from speaking for the rest of the session. This betrayal from her own brother struck grief into her heart and sparked outrage from nearly all the public. This only grew when, mere weeks later, the Princess Imperial was announced to have died. The Duke of Crestfall attempted to defend his actions, citing their legality, but public opinion against him had sunk. The Count of Susa, enraged, resigned from the ISA. The hero of the Sedan Rebellion and the Tenth Nordling War, having loved his wife dearly, would only be able to manage living another year without her. Even the Emperor was incensed at his brother’s actions, though he held his tongue in public. The censuring of Princess Imperial Elizabeth in the House of Lords, 1831 The resignation and death of the Count of Susa could not come at a worse time. Experienced, successful, and a hero of the Empire, Iskander Basrid had been the favorite to succeed the failing General Darkwood, whose mismanagement of the ISA had run it into near-ruin by 1830. Although it remained a popular and strong institution by the end of the Norland War, a series of resignations and discharges had decimated the ranks of the army. General Darkwood’s notorious temper and conduct with subordinates had led many loyal soldiers to abandon the force altogether and made prospective troops second-guess joining. The Emperor, again reluctant to intervene, was forced to watch as the once-proud ISA floundered during the years of peace. No help could be found from the nobility, who had grown fat and lazy within the halls of the Augustine Palace, and were ignorant of the severe lack of talent within the ISA. By 1832, only one man could possibly restore the decaying army: The Count of Kositz, who had fought for the Empire with distinction since the Inferi War and had been the Count of Susa’s right hand man. When the aged General Darkwood finally retired that summer, Erik var Ruthern was named the new General and tasked with repairing the ISA. This came just in time, as down south events were unfolding to the south that threatened to drag the Empire into war again. Ever since the betrayal of King Corwin I of Sutica, the city-state had floundered under misrule by the pagan servants of Iblees. Ruler after ruler had prayed to the gods of Hell to fill their homes with citizens, cause their crops to bloom, and fill their empty coffers with coins, but to no avail. Instead, the Lord our God looked favorably upon two individuals: George Barclay, a cousin of the Dukes of Reinmar, and Johanna Alstreim, a distant relation of King Corwin himself. Wishing to liberate her ancestor’s lands from the sin and villainy that gripped it, Johanna assembled an army of mercenaries. George, a man of martial aptitude, led this small force down to Sutica, stormed the city, and purged it of its sinful inhabitants in 1821. The two then crowned themselves King and Queen of Sutica and reigned as co-monarchs. However, since their glorious crusade, their co-reign had been tumultuous at best. King George I, a strong warrior to be sure, cared little for governance and administration. To make matters worse, he was unwilling to abide by his wife’s right to rule, and threatened violence against her were she to exercise her authority. With the far more brilliant mind of Queen Johanna suppressed by coercion, and a man who cared little for ruling at the helm of the nation, the newly-Canonist Sutica suffered. By 1832, however, King George died in a hunting accident, leaving his wife as the sole monarch. In 1834, Queen Johanna took Franz de Sarkozy, the former Imperial Archchancellor, as her consort, given his aptitude for statecraft and willingness to allow her to exercise her full rights as monarch. However, that same year, a small number of pagan vassals in the furthest corners of the Sutican desert, having long-chafed under Canonist rule, revolted in the hopes of toppling their Alstreim overlords. Immediately, the Canonist world was called to come to the defense of Sutica, and it was here that the flaws of the ISA were exposed. General Ruthern, deprived of a steady, experienced officer corps, struggled to find a suitable commander for an Orenian expeditionary force. Eventually, Erik Othaman, the Count of Valles, and Olivie de Savoie, having been a courtier in the Empire for several years after the fall of Luciensburg in 1827 to local bandits, were given command of the expedition. The Kingdom of Haense, on the other hand, was quick to send a small contingent of three-thousand soldiers to their Canonist brother in Sutica, joining with the Sutican army, which numbered seven-hundred. Before the ISA detachment could even arrive in the southern continent, the combined Sutican-Haeseni army had shattered the rebel forces in the Battle of the Rhein on the 12th of Tobias’s Bounty, 1834. By the time that the ISA contingent did arrive, the rebels had surrendered, and there was little else to do besides security operations. Although this appeared to be little more than a mild event in a war of no particular importance, the consequences of this conflict would soon come to plague the end of Emperor John’s reign, and the entirety of his brother’s. Olivier de Savoie, having garnered a reputation for his service in the Tenth Nordling War and the Sedan Rebellion, was offered lands, titles, and a place at the court of Queen Johanna of Sutica, which he readily accepted. When the queen died mere months later, on the 14th of Harren’s Folly, 1835, she bequeathed Sutica not to her sons, nor to any other family, but to Olivier Renault himself, believing that he could lead the newfound Canonist realm to heights that she had died too young to do herself. So it was, a year later, in 1836, that Olivier Renault de Savoie proclaimed the dissolution of the Kingdom of Sutica and the establishment of the Principality of Savoy, and named himself Prince Olivier I of Savoy. As soon as it was announced to the whole of Almaris that Savoy, an old, storied state that was thought to be lost to the annals of history, had now reformed, many flocked to the new capital of San Luciano. Although most of the influx came from Savoyards residing in the various Canonist realms of the world, there was also a substantial number of people who traveled to the principality in order to take advantage of the opportunity a young nation would provide. Although much of the exodus from the Empire would not come until the beginning of Philip II’s reign, many, including Emperor John himself, feared that the rise of a strong Savoyard state could challenge the might of Oren. 1836 also dealt another blow to the Imperial Crown. At the end of that year’s Social Season, an event renowned for its dramatics and controversies, the Prince Philip Amadeus, son of Prince Philip Aurelian, Count of Renzfeld, and grandson of the Duke of Crestfall, was wed to Lady Anastasia vas Ruthern, granddaughter of General Ruthern, the Count of Kositz. The spectacle was said to be one of the greatest in Imperial history, and the wedding attracted perhaps the largest crowd known to date. From Savoy to Haense, Elvenesse to Krugmar, the people of Almaris flocked in droves to see the union of these two popular figures. Although the Duke of Crestfall was quite despised by the Imperial populace, and Philip Aurelian was an obscure figure, Philip Amadeus was beloved by all. Only his peer, the Crown Prince of Haense, Sigismund Karl, could be said to match him in potential and popularity in the eyes of the world. Anastasia Ruthern herself was similarly held in high esteem, and it was predicted by many that she would prove to be one of the more shrewd and energetic consorts to reign when she and Philip’s time came. Comparisons were made between the Imperial pair and Anne Augusta and Joseph Clement, with others believing that they would come to surpass their predecessors. Emperor John, himself not one to miss out on a joyous occasion, conferred the Duchy of Furnestock onto Philip Amadeus and granted the pair a small fleet of ships so that they could tour Almaris. Prince Sigismund of Haense, himself also in attendance, is said to have spoken with the newlyweds, and all three of them excitedly discussed their plans to better the world of Canondom when their time came to sit the thrones of their respective realms. The wedding was a resounding success, and it appeared that, even with the mild difficulties of the past decade, the future of the Empire remained bright. However, only two months after the wedding, the Imperial couple were found to have disappeared from the Empire. A search was conducted, and it was soon discovered that they, along with a handful of retainers, had taken the ships gifted to them by the Emperor and sailed east in search of new lands. The reason behind the infamous flight of Philip and Anastasia is unknown. While the Duke of Furnestock himself, upon his eventual return to Almaris twelve years after, would later claim that he and his new wife did not wish to accept the burdens of the Crown, and instead desired to live a life of obscurity elsewhere, that has not stopped continued speculation. Some believe that the Duke of Furnestock harbored a grudge against his grandfather, the Duke of Crestfall, and had no desire to serve him. Others allege that the Duke and Duchess of Furnestock had been implicated in a plot to either overthrow Emperor John or the Duke of Crestfall, leading either to their preemptive flight or forced exile. Despite the unclear circumstances at the time, the effects of Philip and Anastasia’s departure were felt bitterly. Having accrued a large following throughout the Empire and being seen as the hope of the House of Novellen, their absence left a hole that could not be filled. As with Savoy, the ramifications would soon come to bite the Empire in the back, but not as long as Emperor John held the throne. Unfortunately, that time would not last for much longer. Now eighty years of age, it was clear that the Emperor’s time was soon to come to an end. While the Emperor’s personal involvement in day-to-day affairs had expectedly decreased as he aged, the Council of State had not adequately stepped forth to assume these necessary duties. Archchancellor d’Azor, although having begun his ministry with earnest and zeal that was characteristic of him, was now at the head of a lethargic, slow government. To make matters worse, his rumored involvement in the assassination of his daughter in 1827, and the sudden disappearence of his well-liked Vice Chancellor, Keaghen Armas, caused public opinion to sour on the Nationals. The instruments of state, once renowned for their efficiency, productivity, and ceaseless work, were now beginning to slow down. Seriously-needed reform and rejuvenation was put off for years. Still, the realm enjoyed its peace, and the government, while slow, was not failing. The last months of Emperor John’s reign were without strife or controversy, and his time came to a close, it is said that so too did the last quiet days of the Empire fade with him. On the 12th of Owyn’s Flame, 1837, Emperor John VIII, having battled an illness for the past three days, died quietly that evening. It is claimed by many that the death of his beloved sister, Elizabeth, the wedge driven between him and his brother, Philip, and the departure of the Duke and Duchess of Furnestock, deprived the Emperor of his will to live, and it may be that it is the case. For the last year of his life, the ever-jubilant, affable Emperor sunk into a dour reclusion. He took few guests, ate and drank little, and rarely left the confines of his room. While a broken heart was not the true cause of his death, his living conditions from 1836 to 1837 certainly did not prolong his life. When his death came, Emperor John VIII was widely-mourned by nearly all of the Empire. Although he made no great conquests nor radically altered the nature of his Empire, he had, as his father had advised him to do, reigned capably and securely for twenty-two years. The life of the average Imperial citizen had improved during his reign, and the economy had flourished. Even at the end, when conditions had degraded from their heights in the mid to late 1820s, the effects had yet to truly be felt. Had a man more capable than the Duke of Crestfall ascended the throne after Emperor John, it can be reasonably assumed that the problems that emerged would have been better-addressed. Furthermore, few scholars discuss the impact of the Tenth Nordling War, and how it definitively broke the power of one of the Empire’s more persistent enemies. While the Kingdom of Norland would continue to join coalitions against the Empire, it would do so as a minor partner, and its contributions to any given war effort would remain minimal at best. Even today, Norland remains a husk of the great power it once was. While few rate John VIII as among the greatest of the Emperors, none rank him low, and indeed it can be argued that if one were to live through any point in history, the 1820s stands as one of the better choices. However, this does not entirely exculpate Emperor John from the flaws of his reign, nor does it presume that only the sole actions of his successor cause the Empire to later teeter on the brink of ruin. While Emperor John’s inability to sire an heir has been previously discussed, and will have its consequences examined in full later, Emperor Philip II would have a number of problems to contend with upon his ascension to the throne. A decaying ISA, a lethargic government, a growing rival in Savoy, and the lack of interest in the city government of Providence and the Imperial Diet all began in the 1820s. However, in keeping with the liberal attitude of the Novellens, Emperor John rarely took matters into his own hands. It is here that the greatest failings of liberalized, democratized government begin to show. When power is too greatly delegated to those unfit for the responsibility of it, and possess neither the training nor the innate competence to wield it, the functions of the state wither. Had Emperor John not been so reluctant to sweep aside these supposedly sacred institutions and either reformed them or abolished them as needed, then perhaps the Imperial administrative apparatus would have remained healthy. Furthermore, although this was an unforeseen problem with the general dynastic aim of defeudalization and centralization taken up by the Novellens at large, and not solely a mistake of Emperor John, the growing decadence and uselessness of the aristocracy deprived the Empire of a critical source of talent and manpower. While nobles of before provided service to the Empire as politicians, councillors, and the leaders of armies, in the Petrine Empire they simply paid a small sum of taxes. With a strong ISA, bristling bureaucracy, and functional Diet, the drawbacks of this could be easily overcome, but as those institutions began to crumble, some of the flaws of the great Petrine project began to emerge. Still, it cannot be said that Emperor John VIII’s reign was poor by any measure. While his time is often overlooked in the modern day, given the more exciting events during the reigns of Peter III, Philip II, and Philip III, and he is rarely looked to as a guide by young, energetic monarchs, those who are old and wise frequently consult the deeds and mannerisms of Emperor John. Triumphant in war and peace alike, he accomplished something few monarchs in history, especially those upon Almaris, can claim to have obtained for their own realms. It is for this reason that, despite its problems, his reign ought not to be looked upon with a cynical, loathsome lens, but instead be appreciated as one of the last times the Empire enjoyed its unmatched supremacy in the world. Vale, John VIII ‘the Good’ 3rd of Horen’s Calling, 1757-12th of Owyn’s Flame, 1837 (r. 23rd of Sun’s Smile, 1814-12th of Owyn’s Flame, 1837) O Ágioi Kristoff, Jude kai Pius. Dóste mas gnósi ópos sas ékane o Theós. Poté min afísoume na doúme to skotádi, allá as doúme móno to fos tis sofías kai tis alítheias. O Theós na se evlogeí. The reign of Emperor Philip II and the Aster Revolution shall be covered in our next volume of The Decline and Fall of the Holy Orenian Empire.
  2. THE TEMPLE OF THE ENTWINED STAR GOD The Slumbering One, "The Glodites" The Prayer of the Slumbering God "But the Dream, and the Slumber." [!] Strange Posters, Letters, and Pamphlets would be thrown about the poorer slums of Almaris. ============================================================================================================== Greetings Dreamer, Long have WE watched you sleep. Unaware of the reality of which blankets you, and clouds your vision. Praising false Gods such as the canonist "Creator", the "Brathmordakin", and the "Aspects". The Aenguls and Daemons you so fear are but mere illusions, aspects cast by the Slumbering God. Have you ever felt their watchful gaze, as you sleep? The eyes are always watching, Dreamer. The Slumbering God has begun to awake, and their power can be felt all throughout the realities. His chosen champion, Glod Grimgold, has manifested in this reality as his "living aspect". Everyday, our spells grow stronger. Now, it is time we reveal ourselves to the world. If you wish to join our Temple, you must prove your loyalty. The youth of Almaris are unguarded. They walk the streets without guardians. Babies are left in cribs, in unlocked rooms. Take these sacrifices, and slay them. Their blood will mark your initiation into the Temple as an Acolyte. If one is unavailable, the sacrifice of a Canonist Priest, Brathmordakin Forgeguard, Druid, or Paladin will suffice. Do not feel this is an impossible task - work in the shadows, and slaughter those who work against the Dreamer. Seek out the book known as "The Chronicles of Glod" to begin your path to enlightenment. To show you apart of our powers, the back of this note will include a single spell from our Arcanium. Once you feel the gaze of our Lord, you will know you have become a true "Glodite", and have entered our rank as an Acolyte. ============================================================================================================== MYSTERIUM SOMNIUM ARCANUS ____________________________________________________________________ __________________████____████________████____██████________________ __________________████____████________████____██████________________ ______________________████████████████████████______________________ ______________________████████████████████████______________________ __________██▓▓____██▓▓████░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░████▓▓████____████________ __________██▓▓____████████░░░░░░░░░░░░░░__██████████____████________ __________░░░░▓▓▓▓░░░░░░░░░░░░▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░░░░░░░░░░▒▒▓▓▓▓░░__________ ________░░░░░░████░░░░░░░░░░░░▓▓▓▓▓▓██░░░░░░░░░░░░░░████░░░░░░______ __████__░░██▓▓░░░░░░░░____████░░__████████____░░__░░░░░░████░░__████ __████____██▓▓░░░░░░░░____██▓▓░░__████▓▓██____░░__░░░░░░████░░__████ ______████░░░░____░░__░░░░██▓▓████████▓▓▓▓░░░░░░__░░░░__░░░░████____ ______████░░______________██▓▓████████▓▓██______________░░░░████____ ________░░▓▓▒▒______________░░▓▓▓▓▓▓██__________________████________ __________██▓▓________________▓▓▓▓▓▓██__________________████________ ____________░░████__________________________________████____________ ______________████__________________________________████____________ __________________████████__░░░░░░░░░░░░░░██████████________________ __________________████████░░░░░░░░░░░░░░__██████████________________ __________________________████████████████__________________________ __________________________████████████████__________________________ MYSTERIES OF DREAMING ARCANE
  3. Royal Poetry Volume 3 - Katerina Foreword Upon closer correspondence with Haeseni Royalty and the people within Haense, Felyx becomes inspired to write yet another addition to the Poetry Series. This hobby of his has been expanding, and may be something serious simply by handing these works to their respective muses, who hold great power. Nevertheless, as the young Colborn sits down to put quill and ink to paper, he is reminded by the semblance that the name "Katerina" holds against his first poem's "Karenina", thus silently vowing to match his previous standards to fit at least a single aspect of the many diamond fractals of an equally incredible individual. 'Katerina' Waves and waves of light are shimmering Into which, no man may see. For the pond of life within this vessel As a fiery summer's breeze grow free. The eyes of the maelstrom The onion layers of sun will capture - Out of melted icy footprints The mind shall drift to what entraptures. Allusions of flame dancing on a red wall Bring forth slender fingers around gold to linger. Yet as men stand tormented in transparent halls, A graceful figure here shall make its stand. Age has a number that ripes like fine wine Which, as poured, pours into many souls in time, To form a web of fine gold strands - And band us together lest we fall from our climb. The slender hand arches up, to clutch her Lorraine For belief alone may keep us all sane - So our trust placed in her to guide us the way, By the mercy of God we shall not astray. Blunt as a mace, her protection can kill Those who threaten her kin of the Land. In snow-capped red dress, and golden necklace Her temper comes forth like winter's fury unmanned. In time the laughter-lines grow, A temper subsides and a gold heart does show, With firm slender hands she holds her Lorraine, Within her still waves, to lap up her pain. As strong as a comet, a will resolute Within you'll find diamonds before it is spent For within us she sees just who we are Through countless ages and not just one scar, So let yourself be healed by the Lady; "Katerina Ceciliya Barbanov-Bihar" Afterword There is only one copy of this poem in circulation (IRPLY) and it is the original, signed by Felyx Colborn himself. What has been writ cannot be undone, and more royal poems are sure to come... Signed,
  4. Kingdom of Lechia LECHIAN CULTURE SUBGROUP OF LECHITIC PEOPLES HISTORY THE ORIGINS Depiction of Lech and his two brothers, looking for a place for a new settlement The Lechian people derive from the group of Lechitian peoples. According to the so-called pre-Lechitian myth, the founders of the three main Lechitian cultures came to the continent of Vistulia in search of a place to settle. The eldest of the brothers, Ruth, went east and established a settlement on a great river. From his name the people took the name Ruthians. The youngest of the brothers Tschech settled in the land between the mountains, where the Tschech culture has its roots. The third of the brothers, and at the same time the second oldest, Lech, followed the huge white eagle to its nest and established his seat under the tree where the eagle had its nest. From this event, the Lechian coat of arms and the name of the first capital, Gniazdo (Nest), were derived. Ever since that moment Lechian culture flourished and developed vigorously. Lech established the first state structures, customs and beliefs. The beliefs of the first Lechians were quite primitive and focused on the worship of many deities. However, this belief differed only a little from the general Lechitian Rodnovyery. In addition some of the early Lechian chronicles mention a few more names of the first rulers, these were among others: Siemowit, Lestek and Snowid. EARLY YEARS OF CANONISM IN LECHIA Depiction of Prince Mieszko being baptised After centuries of slow development, the first monks of the Canonist Church arrived on the continent of Vistulia. According to old documents they were led by Vojtech, of Tschech origin, as Tschechs have accepted Canonism before the Lechians. Thanks to his diplomatic skills, Vojtech convinced Mieszko to accept baptism, marry a canonist Tschech princess, and at the same time incorporate Lechians into the canonist community. As a new ruler within the canonist church, Mieszko united the Lechian tribes and conquered far more land than any of his ancestors. The country stretched from the sea in the north to the mountains in the south. Vojtech, who stayed at Mieszko's court for some time has crowned him as a prince, as Mieszko found himself unworthy of being a King. This gave rise to the first dynasty of Lechia - Piast. As new cultural norms grew, churches were built, a network of stone roads developed and the first church structures were established in the capital. Unfortunately, the times of peace passed after the missionary Vojtech's expedition to the northern tribes, who bestially murdered him and quartered his corpse. Mieszko still remembered Vojtech's merits and set off to the north to fight for justice. The soldiers of Mieszko had no mercy on the pagans and slaughtered the population of the local settlements in the same bestial manner while imposing the Canonist faith on the survivors. Despite the long process of converting the Lechians to the true faith, which sometimes met with armed resistance from the native believers, Mieszko's reign is remembered as decades of peace. TIMES OF BOLESLAW AND HIS SONS Depiction of Boleslaw and his sons, arriving at Krakovia The times of Boleslaw the First echoed among the Lechitian tribes. Immediately after his coronation, he began a period of conquests, and greatly expanded the dependent territory of Lechia. As the first of the Kings, since his father did not accept the title of the King of Lechia, he ordered to make a sword intended for coronation of further Kings, and a Crown decorated with many precious gems. The sword called "Szczerbiec" ("Chipper") played a significant role in the reign of Boleslaw and later his sons, as it became a symbol of Lechian nationalism and a sign of victory over foreign powers. Legends say that it took its name from the moment when Boleslaw chipped it against the gate of the capital city of a neighbouring state, to mark Lechian annexation of the border areas. Unfortunately, he did not enjoy his reign long after this event. King Boleslaw died three years later of an unspecified illness. For Lechia there came a time of sorrow, as Boleslaw had many sons and each of them claimed his father's crown. Having divided the country into parts, a fratricidal struggle for the crown of Lechia began. The eldest of the brothers, Mieszko III occupied the capital and held it for many years. The brothers from the western, northern and eastern parts meanwhile held talks about a new order after the end of the civil war. The quarrelling brothers chose as ruler someone who had never known a taste of power - Kazimierz, the youngest of the brothers, who ruled over no province. Mieszko III, faced with the overwhelming power of the united brothers, renounced the crown and the Bishop of Krakovia crowned Kazimierz as the new King of Lechia. The times in which Kazimierz reigned were the best in the history of his family. He rebuilt the destructions of the civil war, developed the monetary system and established the first university in Lechia. He died at the age of 70, leaving no male descendant. JOAGILAN RULE AND LECHIAN DECLINE Depiction of Wladyslaw proclaiming the Union After Kazimierz's death, the only person of his blood was his daughter Hedwig. She married a powerful leader of a neighbouring country, and united the two countries in a personal union. Despite the power of the great state, pagan tribes still lived in the north and invaded the lands of Lechia. To remedy this, Wladyslaw, for that was the name Hedwig's husband, called upon the help of the strong Waldenian Order. He was unable to foresee the cunning and guile with which the Knights operated, and allowed them to occupy the land of the pagans so that they could continue to help the Lechians spread Canonism. Soon after, the knights turned on Wladyslaw and formed an alliance to help them conquer the lands dependent on the Joagilan dynasty. At that time, there was great social unrest in Lechia, with tendencies calling for the introduction of sanoism, priorism but also absolute power in the government. There were many clashes between Lechian priorists and sanoists, who had two different concepts of the state. The Sejm (the equivalent of the Duma in Haense or the parliament in Oren) rejected all attempts to reform the state, thus stagnation deepened and Lechia was exposed to blows from the outside. The powerful alliance formed by the Waldenians, and the neighbouring powers as well as, the constant skirmishes with them caused the disintegration of the state. Lechia has not appeared on world maps since then, yet the people still remember their roots and will never abandon them. CULTURE OF LECHIA WAR CULTURE Depiction of Lechian warriors going on a hunt Lechians are known for their fighting stubbornness. This is due to their culture, which grew up on warrior values because of the many threatening neighbours around their state when it still existed. Young Lechians were trained from the age of 16 to become infantrymen, archers or horsemen. Women could also train if they wished to, but they usually stayed at home and took care of the hearth and home. Among Lechian soldiers the highest value is honour, which should never be tarnished. There are many chronicles about the heroic deeds of the Lechians in their fight against the invaders, especially about the skill of their cavalrymen, who, with much smaller numbers of troops, were able to destroy the Waldenian armies with very few losses. Lechian troops were usually lightly armed with spears, short swords and shields, or short bows. There were also heavy regiments called "Druzhina", and their main role was to defend their Lord, his family and his property. The Druzhina could act as horsemen, but also as infantry, and were symbolised by the family insignia on their armour plus better weaponry paid for by their lord. Depiction of Druzhina PEASANT NATION Depiction of Lechian landscape Lechia was mainly located in the lowlands, which favoured the development of agriculture and peasant culture. The first Lechian Kings issued various privileges for the peasants in return for their hard work for the homeland. The Lechian peasants mastered the so-called three-field system on the basis of which all farms, private and state, operated. In the fields, peasants worked from dawn to dusk, in every season except winter. They worked hard at harvest time, and 1/3 of the harvested crop was to be given to the local overlord - a baron, count or duke. Local peasants were also very fond of animal products, so they bred a variety of pigs, cows and sheep from which they could obtain the materials they needed. A highly prized product among the middle class was bee honey. Only trained peasants were allowed to own and run an apiary and extract honey from it for personal and commercial use. Another highly popular occupation among the villagers was brewing. Many peasants were employed in private breweries where they produced high quality alcohol in the form of beer, vodka or wine. One of such brewery brands is Harnaś Brewing Company, owned by House Jazloviecki. Depiction of a Lechian town Cities founded by various Lechian noble families were usually located on hills, slopes or cliffs, where danger could come from one side. The wealthier towns were surrounded by a wall, usually made of stone or bricks, and there usually was a drawbridge leading to the gate with at least one tower. In every town there was a church or chapel where local people could worship God and pray for a successful harvest. The houses of Lechian families were made of stone, wood and thatch as a roof, as these were commonly available raw materials. Wealthier families from the middle and high nobility could afford to build houses from more expensive materials such as white stone or expensive varieties of wood, unattainable for ordinary peasants. It was not very often that you could see noble houses within the walls of cities, as high ranking families usually had their own estates that operated independently. The same applied to the castles of local rulers. They were usually solitary standing on advanced rock formations where it was difficult for enemies to get to during an attack. Depiction of a Lechian castle A typical Lechian castle was surrounded by a thick wall made of stone bricks and was dominated by the roofs of towers and the main building where the throne room and the feast hall were located. In the castle there was usually a small chapel, and in front of the bridge leading to the castle there was a small settlement for the castle workers - guards, priests and officials. A life in a noble keep differed from village life, as there the king's representatives came and there the future of the region was debated. RELIGIOUS SOCIETY Depiction of a Lechian monastery Lechians are a people proud of their religious affiliation. Processions and solemn masses for the homeland and the king were very common during the time of their state. The king, according to official state propaganda, had authority from God, and additionally filled important places in the government with church officials. The most important seat of the church in Lechia was Krakovia where the Archbishop resided. There was also the cathedral of the Virgin, where the kings of Lechia were crowned. The Church in Lechia strictly outlined the rules of morality and punished the disobedient. Despite this, the church was highly respected by peasants, the middle class and the nobility. Many Lechians turned away from the church when they secretly formed alliances and agreements with the Waldenians regarding their position after they occupy these lands. Today, despite the diaspora in which Lechians live, the church still plays a significant role in their lives. TRADITIONS Depition of Krakovia before an upcoming fair Dożynki Originating from the provincial part of Lechia - Dożynki (in common the Harvest Festival) played a great role in the life of small towns and villages. Dożynki were a special time of the harvest where people gathered in squares or clearings and set up poles with colourful streamers, tables with white tablecloths and surrounded everything with bales of hay. In the middle, a bonfire was lit over which meat bought by the peasants to celebrate the success of this year's harvest was roasted. On the tables, however, there were colourful vegetables and fruit, and everything in the theme of the harvest. Drowning of Marzanna Drowning of Marzanna was an important part of the Lechian folklore. When winter ended and spring began, children from towns and villages made puppets stuffed with hay and decorated them to resemble women. Drowning the puppet in the river, or sometimes burning it, symbolised the passing of winter and the arrival of spring. The death of Marzanna was to symbolise the passing of the month associated with death and the arrival of new life in spring. Night of Kupała Lechian customs and rituals related to the Kupała Night were supposed to ensure health and fertility. Fires were lit, in which herbs were burned. Various kinds of fortune-telling and dancing took place during the joyful games. Girls would throw garlands with lighted candles into the rivers. If the garland was fished out by a bachelor, it meant a quick marriage. If it floated, the girl would not marry soon. If it burned, drowned or became entangled in rushes, it boded ill for old age. It is thought that these are probably the remains of old pagan spring rituals, that Lechians have incorporated into their culture after converting to Canonism. LECHIAN LEGACY Depiction of City of Krakovia, seat of House Jazloviecki in the Margraviate of Lvinsk Although centuries have passed since the fall of Lechia, the spirit of the Lechians has never died. The first verse of their favourite patriotic song says "Jeszcze Lechia nie zginęła, kiedy my żyjemy" - "Lechia is not yet lost, as long as we live". The most widely known family that still maintains the Lechian legacy and culture to this day is House Jazloviecki. It first became famous for the military genius of the founding fathers of the family - Aleksander Batory and Mikhail Svarogovich, who fought alongside Wilheim and Tylos Barclay, as well as Bogdan Canoslav in the War of the Two Emperors. After many years of separation, the two brotherly families of Batory and Svarogovich were united under the sign of the White Eagle without the Royal insignia, as it is the national symbol of the Lechians. To this day, memories of nearly 200 years ago are still vivid among family members. After decades of effort, the Lechians have finally won a place to live where they can propagate their culture and traditions in harmony. The Margraviate of Lvinsk, is a refuge for Lechians, where everyone is welcome, native or foreign. Under the rule of Borys Jazloviecki, the first Margrave of Lvinsk, and August Jazloviecki, the first Baron of Triglav - the Margraviate constantly develops. After the fall of Savoy, Jazlovieckis decided to take their fate in their hands and openly asked King of Oren, Frederick I about the possible relocation. Thanks to his wife being a Savoyard, and the prestige their family earned through the years, King Frederick didn't even think but allowed them to settle in the western part of Oren, where their keep is surrounded by mountains and meadows. Now under the rule of Margrave Jazloviecki, the Lechian culture is safe and ready to flourish once more under a new banner. Lvinsk and Grodno Coats of Arms THE GREAT GROD MYTH Depiction of The Great Grod, defender of the highlands and patron of Grodno Since ancient times, Lechians have worshipped the old gods. One of these gods was THE GREAT GROD. A mighty stony beast, resembling a mountain - several metres high, covered in moss and runes. According to the myths, it has the power to erect and demolish rock structures. Belief in this idol returned with the creation of Grodno, a land subordinate to the Jazlovieckis and named in his honour. While in Grodno, one can often hear phrases such as: What on Grod?; Good Grod!; What is Grodning up? - and many more. Even the people of the land refer to themselves as Grodnoids. Some of them argue that the Great Grod is not a legend..... SARMATIAN CULTURE Depiction of traditional Lechian noble outfits Sarmatism is a culture developed by the Lechians during the Joagilan rule. It presupposed a golden liberty for the nobility, which allowed them to meddle in the interests of the kingdom without the right of intervention by the King. The nobility would gather for Legislative Sejm, which allowed for new laws, reforms or even the writing of a constitution. However, the Golden Liberty assumed a right of veto on the part of anyone in whose veins noble blood flowed. The representatives of the high nobility bought off the lower-born and less wealthy nobles to vote no and use the veto, which broke up the sejm and prevented state reforms. Very characteristic was the nobleman's dress worn during Sejms, called Kontusz, and sabres or maces at its belt. Golden Liberty also had other drawbacks. The nobility, enjoying a high degree of autonomy, built their manors in forested retreats around which stretched hectares of land subject to them. The manorial system developed by the Lechian nobility was based on the principle of serfdom, that is, the forced and enslaved labour of peasants. Farmers were not allowed to leave their lord or his land under any circumstances, and were only exempt from work on church and national holidays. Multigenerational families poured their sweat and blood on the land of the Lords, getting nothing in return. The end of Sarmatism and Golden Liberty is marked by the fall of Lechia and a peasant uprising, which in its fury slaughtered and hanged the Lords mercilessly. SONGS AND MUSIC The songs of the Lechians are very distinctive. Their music is usually grave, but there are also more cheerful songs, to which you can dance despite the message. This state of affairs stemmed from years spent in the diaspora - scattered to the ends of the world, with no place to live. Without a piece of land, a homeland to call their own and with fading sense of independence, the Lechians carried the light of Lechia in the form of poems, books and, first and foremost - songs. What did the Lechians write songs about? There were many themes - love for a girl, love for the homeland, grief for the homeland or a call to arms in an attempt to reclaim lands seized by invaders. The music is usually played on the piano or violin, as these were instruments considered highly esteemed in the circles of Lechia's upper nobility. Words to some of the Lechian songs can be found below: Lechian Anthem: Boże coś Lechię - God Thou Hast Lechia Śpiew Włościan Krakowskich - Song of Krakovian Peasants Duma Rycerska - Pride of Chivalry Anthem of Lechian Volunteers The Camp Prayer (one of the few songs you can sing along in common) Kasieńka - Catherine LANGUAGE All letters of Lechian alphabet The Lechian alphabet consists of 36 characters and resembles the Ruskan and Raevir languages in places. Although these groups did not have much in common, they managed to develop similar words and phrases. Good examples are the words "Good - Dobry" and even the negation "No - Nie". In many books you can find basic words and phrases in this language. Example of a Lechian dictionary OOC: Culture is still a WIP
  5. Royal Poetry Volume 1 - Karenina Foreword One day, when Felyx Colborn was attending a Royal Birthday, he happened to chance on the longest-reigning Queen of Haense; Emma Karenina Barbanov-Bihar. Inspired by the singular name: "Karenina", a poem enters the mind of the Colborn, itching to be written down. So, with the goodwill of the Prior-Queen, he sets to work... 'Karenina' Graced beauty kills the beholden. She is more deadly the longer she lasts. She is the Northern wind that tugs your clothes like an insistent lover. Her soul, a vast landscape with rays of sun illuminating the fractals of a thousand crystals. Ageing and Ageless her temporal eyes stare unflinchingly into the past. Her beauty is a curse that sinks wayward souls deep into an icy abyss. Her beauty is a blessing that keeps those who manage to endure afloat to marvel at her bliss. Yet those who stare deep into her soul have the bone hand of Death tugging them onwards. She has many children, to which she grants her good looks fatally as her icy kiss. Beneath the surface of her kin lie the currents of eternal layers. A heart locked within flesh and bone, its key locked deep within the crevice of the soul. Where the realm of intellect begins, names command her power. She knows; kin to the icy lady who resides in the halls of the onion towers. Her being, her spirit, her soul an onion of layers - invaluable to the support of the perennial Kings. Of which she is bound, a curse, a "God bless" to the golden marriage rings. A rosy smile behind a crimson scarf, as red as blood flashes by. Her own kin is the Land on which the wheels of her carriage roll smoothly, and her people whose spirits fill the entire sky. Her name, on the tip of your tongue as if from a childhood dream long gone by. "Emma Karenina" Afterword There is only one copy of this poem in circulation (IRPLY) and it is the original, signed by Felyx Colborn himself. What has been writ cannot be undone, and more royal poems are sure to come... Signed,
  6. HOUSE FLORENTINO OUR ARRIVAL TO THE MAINLAND Issued by, THE PATRIARCH OF HOUSE FLORENTINO 14th of Malin's Welcome, Year 1881 _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ CHE DIO MOSTRA MISERICORDIA SUI NOSTRI NEMICI, To the Illatians of Almaris, After the long years our ancestors have spent on the beautiful Isles of Illatia, flourishing even during times of conflict on the mainland, the corruption has finally reached our birth home. We, the Florentino family, have lived quietly upon the island, following our faith and pursuing the well-being of our people. Even so, there are people who are jealous of our name and seek to stain it with the blood of innocents. We are the true descendants of the Baron of Illatia, Marco d’Montelliano- the blood of the great pheasant runs through our veins, and we will not stand for this. The House of Cantacuzino has deceived our family and amassed an army to take the historical Castello di Santa Maria, our ancestral home on the island of Illatia. It was constructed decades ago for our great-grandmother. Duchess of Bravuna, Mariya de’ Drăghicescu, after she fled the nation of Haense. The Cantacuzino family has taken our mother as a hostage after they murdered our father in cold blood. Our mother’s sacrifice and exchange of her freedom has granted us, her dear children, ours. As we now enter the ports of Almaris we receive news that an offspring of the Cantacuzino family had left prior to the battle, now residing in the Kingdom of Oren, and hoping to gain supporters in what we know as their evil conquest against us and all Illatian people. So, we ask that all Illatians of Almaris would bring us the boy whose family would have us slaughtered if things happened differently. For the well being of our culture and people, we urge you to do so. Ave Illatia! To the Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska and her people, The House of Florentino would like to make itself known to the great nation of the north. We are foreign nobility from the Isles of Illatia, and be that as it may, we do not come demanding power nor respect. We wish to earn such through hard work and continuous acts of loyalty. Personally, I am well adept in the cultural arts as well as politics, so I believe I may find my place among the courts. I may even find myself useful in the company of the military. As for my siblings, my sisters have worked with many charities in the past upon the Isles, to help the less fortunate, and so they hope to involve themselves with something similar within the city. As for my brother, he has found himself highly devoted to our faith and to GOD, so the church may be for him. Simply, we all hope to contribute to the growth of this great nation and people. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ CHE LA CASA FIORENTINO FIORISCA Vittorio Vincenzo Florentino, Patriarch of House Florentino, Lord Protector of Lazio and Bravuna~
  7. [!] A rather worn piece of parchment with faded golden streaks lining the edges. As I sit upon this ledge, my gaze set upon the horizon. Bouncing back and forth between the stars, constantly pondering what's next to come. What is next for me? A lonely Paladin who constantly wonders what is to come the following day. What battles lie in front of not only myself but the communities I live within? What comes next for the Vale? What comes next for the Paladins of Xan? Even what comes next for Haense or even that of Oren? I sit here ‘pon my ledge, the years are slowly catching up with me. My reflexes slow, I grow with more wisdom than strength these days but am not afraid to put a young one in their place. Perhaps the following day will be my last, perhaps yet another thirty years to go. Either way, all I take is one step at a time, take a little bit through my day to watch the sky touch the ocean, watch the stars rise then fall, the moon taking the place of the shining sun then vice versa. Day in and day out, always the same and different. I am just an aging man, forever cursed by Horen with a shortened life span. I’ve lived a rather decent life, some I wish I could go back and change, alter how my actions and decisions affected the outcome of certain circumstances. There is nothing I can do to change the past, all I can do is take it, and use it as a mold for the future. For now, all I do is be thankful to wake up each and every day, perhaps even live it like it’s my last day. As I grow old, the gray overtakes the blonde more and more, my eyes grow heavy, and my face shows my age and battle-scarred visage. But that is only the surface and well, that is all some need to know. Their father, lover, son and grandson, friend, he is one who only shows what needs to be shown, for what lies deeper shall remain hidden until the time is right. When that time may be, is still unknown. Alas, here I sit ‘pon my ledge, my gaze dancing along with the stars to the unknown. Is it truly unknown or must we wait until our forever slumber arrives to fully know and understand what our lives truly meant to those around us? Upon the ledge, a graying man sits alone with a quill held tightly between his thumb and pointer, a journal resting atop his lap. Days in and day out, the old can be spotted, lost in his thoughts and the world around, drowning out the conversations, the sounds of nature ringing through his ears. Word after word, page after page, until the book was full then a subtle SNAP, the quill lay in two, falling to the pond below. For that old man dare not move from his ledge, for he would rather not be seen nor heard at times, merely listening from a distance. Oddly enough, this has been left unsigned, it could be that of just an old man's rambles...
  8. B.S.K NOTICE & ALL YE HAESENI CITIZENS ________________________________________________ (OOC: Such Noticeboard maye be found pinned across the streets of Haense) DEARE Citizens of Haense and Members of the Crown's Proud Brotherhood of St. Karl, It gives me great pleasure to announce a Joint-B.S.K and Colborn organised Beer Night and Brawl at the Old Stout Crowe Tavern. This is a chance to Drink and converse with Friends and Strangers, lift your mood, and partake in a jolly good fistfight supervised by the B.S.K. For the right honourable individuals less interested in a round of fisticuffs, ye shall have time to tell and listen to stories from many an individual, playe tavern games, and p'rhaps trade and make connections with people! There's plenty to go around! So do not forget to attend, and bring your friends for a spiffing time! (OOC: Event will take place in the Old Stout Crow Tavern in Haense at 3pm EST on Wednesday 29th of June, 2022 - Hopefully to be repeated :)) Signed Cordially,
  9. FIFTH BIRTHDAY EXTRAVAGANZA A painting of a past garden party. Va Birodeo Herzenav ag Edlervik, Her Royal Highness, Klara Elizaveta, Duchess of Baranya, on behalf of her son, His Lordship, Andrei Sigismund Morovar, is pleased to invite the denizens of Hanseti-Ruska and beyond to a garden party featuring a scavenger hunt within the gardens of Karosgrad celebrating his birth. In addition to a scavenger hunt, guests will be able to enjoy various games, including pin the tail on the crow. Formal Invitations Her Grace, Johanna Barclay, Duchess of Reinmar and her noble pedigree @Zaerie His Grace, Mikhail var Ruthern, Duke of Vidaus and his noble pedigree @indiana105 His Lordship, Filip Amador, Baron of Mondstadtand his noble pedigree @Lomiei Personal Invitations His Majesty, Karl III, King of Hanseti-Ruska and his royal pedigree @GMRO Her Grace, Isabel Baruch, Duchess of Valwyck and her noble pedigree @sarahbarah The Right Honorable, Adele Ludovar, Countess of Otistadt and her noble pedigree @CopOwl The Honorable, Nikolai Kortrevich, Viscount of Krusev and his noble pedigree @Phersades His Lordship, Leopold Morovar, Baron of Ghaestenwald and his noble pedigree @HogoBojo Her Ladyship, Sibylla Ludovar and her family @CupOTea__ His Lordship, Sir Borris Kortrevich and his family @tcs_tonsils_ His Lordship, Eirik Baruch @gusanoarentonio Erika Vatornik and her family @MissToni SIGNED, Her Royal Highness, Klara Elizaveta, Duchess of Baranya His Lordship, Andrei Sigismund Morovar [OOC: To be held on Thursday, the 16th of June, at 5:00 EST.]
  10. Almarism What is Almarism? Almarism is the most recent incarnation of an ancient religion dedicated to worshiping and protecting the goddess Almar, the so-called "Lady of the Lake." This ancient religion was founded millennia ago, at the very dawn of Almaris' creation, by the first people of Almaris. Its history and tenets are recorded in the Book of the Lake, an ancient fragmented text discovered in a hidden cavern near the Lady's Lake (Eye of the Lady). Modern-day Almarism is the state religion of Redclyf, whose rulers and citizens alike are called to pledge their loyalty and service to the Lady. The spiritual head of Almarism is the Fey Enchantress, who communicates Almar’s words and actions to us through dream-walking in Almar’s sleep. Who is Almar? Almar, Lady of the Lake Almar is the ancient goddess responsible for the creation of the nine realms. Originally part of the prehistoric pantheon of Old Ones, Almar broke away from the old gods when they became no longer content to rule the cosmos and instead began to feed on it. A goddess of life and creation, Almar stood against the Old Ones in an ultimate defense of light and life. Who are the Old Ones? The Old Ones are the progenitors of life and death in this world. Their pantheon is composed of at least nine gods: Aeg, Asul, Anth, Athe, Vail, Axi, Atla, Arc, and Almar. More may exist, but their names are lost or indecipherable in the fragmented text of the Book of the Lake. How did Almar create the nine realms? Long before the realms we know today were created, the Old Ones ruled over many ancient realms. One day, however, the god of death, Aeg, became no longer content to feed on those who died in the ancient realms he ruled over. He became possessed with an unquenchable craving and began to consume worlds upon worlds. The Old Ones stood against him, but they too fell and were consumed by Aeg, emerging as new gods of death, sharing in his eternal hunger. Only one Old One remained - Almar, the great Mother-spirit, goddess of life and nature. Her nature was so opposed to Aeg that he could not consume her, and so their two wills locked into an unceasing battle. Fearlessly, she struggled against him for eons, the force of their wills striving against each other shaking the very stars. But this battle commanded so much of her attention that she could do nothing as the rest of the gods ate up world after world until none was left. But still Almar battled on, and once every world was devoured, the Old Ones turned their attention back to her, preparing to overwhelm her and utterly annihilate her. Aeg devours the cosmos It was here, in this moment of desperate determination, where Almar finally called on her true power and realized how to defeat the Old Ones. She could not destroy the Old Ones, for she is the goddess of life, and they of death, and they thus held more power to destroy than she did. Therefore, no longer did Almar seek to destroy Aeg; instead, she called upon her powers of life and defeated the gods of death and decay in a single ultimate act of creation. Stretching out her hand, Almar called matter into existence, creating new worlds and locking each god into a world-prison of earth and stone - a continent designed to hold them fast for eons more. Aegis, Asulon, Anthos, Athera, Vailor, Axios, Atlas, Arcas - instead of the gods devouring worlds, these new worlds now devoured the Old Ones, drawing them down deep into their bellies. And where Almar touched each realm, life sprang into existence, bountiful nature covering each of those stone prisons in verdant splendor. There the Old Ones remain to this day, clawing at the dirt above heir heads, destined one day to break free and once more terrorize the realms. How did Almaris come to be? When Almar had finished binding the gods in their prisons, a great sleep fell upon her, for the eons of struggling against Aeg and the Old Ones had brought her to the brink of death. Almar laid her head down and fell asleep, and where her head lay, bountiful life again sprang up all around her. A newborn realm dawned around her - the land of Almaris. The curves of her body became green mountains and hills, and her hair became great pastures of green grass. The Creation of Almaris One great eye closed in slumber, but even as she slept, one eye remained open, ever watchful of the return of the Old Ones. And where that eye stared up at the heavens, it became a brilliant blue lake. There her new creations, the first people of Almaris, gathered to settle, guarding the Lady of the Lake vigilantly even as her eye vigilantly watches the sky. It was here that they wrote of her battle against the Old Ones in the Book of the Lake, and even once they passed on and became extinct, their writing remained, waiting to be rediscovered, waiting for a new generation of Almarists to rise up and settle around the Lady's Lake: a new order of Almarists once again dedicated to defending the Lady as she sleeps, even as she once defended their ancestors. What is the Sisterhood of the Lake? Foremost among the followers of Almar is the Sisterhood of the Lake, an order of priestesses dedicated to ensuring Almarist devotion to the Lady. The Sisterhood shares the load of responsibility amongst them, taking turns to lead ceremonies, plan religious festivals, induct citizens into Almarism, and tend to the needs of the Fey Enchantress. Any woman may volunteer as a Sister of the Lake, provided that they are sincerely dedicated to the protection of Almar and her people, and that they are not denied entrance by either the Fey Enchantress or the Duke of Redclyf. Who is the Fey Enchantress? The Fey Enchantress is a highly respected prophetess among Almarists. One pure of heart, the Fey Enchantress is chosen by the servants of the Lady, with the Lady’s guidance. The Enchantress possesses the unique ability to communicate with Almar herself in her dreams. When she lays down to sleep, her purity of soul causes the Lady’s dreams to interweave with the Enchantress’ own dreams. Through these dreams, the Enchantress can gain insight into Almar’s thoughts and desires. In order to prevent harmful misinterpretation of her dreams, however, the Enchantress is not tasked with both dreaming and interpreting. Before communicating her dream to Almar’s leaders and people, the Enchantress first convenes with a rotating cast of two Sisters, who listen to the Enchantress’ words and help her to distill the essence of the dream. Following that, it is then told to the Duke and his advisors, as well as to the people of Redclyf, if the Enchantress and Duke deem it worthy to be announced. What is the chief purpose of Almarism? The Book of the Lake speaks of the inevitable return of the Old Ones. Their prison-realms cannot hold them forever, for all life gives way to death. On that day, when the Old Ones break free of their prisons, they will once again converge on Almar with murder and destruction in their hearts, seeking to destroy her and devour all of reality, and then each other. If the Lady is blinded or crippled before that day, then she will not be woken until it is too late, and both she and all of Almaris will perish. Thus, it is the primary purpose of every Almarist to guard the eye of the Lady, so that she may be roused from her slumber by the coming of the Old Ones and may rise to defend Almaris. Why should I convert to Almarism? Almarism is not a "faith," unlike Canonism or the Red Faith. It does not demand a personal belief from its followers, does not impose a creed on its subjects, threatening excommunication and execution for violating its directives. There are no laundry lists of rules, no tomes of thousands of pages of arbitrary theology, ranks of religious leaders jockeying for power and political favor. Almarism is a single, strong call amidst the chaos of this world, welcoming to all, its message ringing true and clear above the strident screeches of death and damnation from other religions. Almarism is not a "faith;" rather, it is a duty. Its single principle is this: "Protect the Lady of the Lake." Whether you believe in a hundred other gods or none at all, you have a place in Redclyf, guarding the Eye of the Lady. Whether you think her a goddess or a mortal, so long as you raise a sword against those who attempt to destroy the Eye of the Lady, you are as family to those of Redclyf, from the humblest Sister of the Lake to the Duke of Redclyf himself. Guard the Eye of the Lady! Move to Redclyf today!
  11. The Construction of Redclyf 11th of the Deep Cold, 76 SA Independence Following the dissolution of the Principality of Savoy, Redclyf, and all other vassals, have been granted their independence by the ex Princess Renata of Savoy. Having this many newly independent small groups on the southern continent has created uncertainty. Due to this fact, it is necessary and also the best time for Redclyf to expand from a small keep into a thriving town. The Red Company and the Mösu Clan are taking the steps necessary to establish the settlement as its own independent County. Citizens Times of chaos are running through Almaris, not just with the dissolution of the Principality of Savoy, but the war raging in the western part of the continent. Cities are being sacked and burned, and citizens displaced. With that in mind, the gates of Redclyf are open to any ex-Savoyards, any refugees of Elysium or other wars, or any man, woman, or child who wishes to have a fresh start in a new land. The County of Redclyf is hiring masons, carpenters, blacksmiths, farmers, or any other laborers or craftsmen. Construction The main goal of the new construction projects is to create new housing for inhabitants in Redclyf. Efforts will also be put into prepping for the future, as we must anticipate for the town to grow. The settlement will be open to all groups of people who wish for the opportunity to live here, but as Savoy and Norland will be the two main cultures of Redclyf the building style will reflect that. We aim to draw inspiration from both of those cultures and establish a style and culture unique to our town. Come for a new life in the warm southern continent!
  12. [!] The following would be sent to the members of The Brotherhood of Balian and The Magisterium Arrest Warrant for ‘Enzo’ From the office of The Magister of The Grand Duchy And Balian +The man who calls himself ‘Enzo’ is to be arrested by the Brotherhood of Balian for his crimes against the state. -These crimes are enumerated as desertion, theft and treason. -According to multiple witnesses he attempted to bandit one Madeline Vernhardt, taking some goods from her before they were scared off by some members of the public. He did this all while betraying his oath to the Brotherhood of Balian. -He is described as having light blue eyes and dark reddish brown hair, he will either be wearing Brotherhood armour or white and black striped plate armour. +The Brotherhood should bring the man to The Magister for him to pass a swift judgement on his actions. Signed, Lord Ledicort of House Vuiller, First Magister of Balian
  13. 𝒅𝒐𝒓𝒆𝒆𝒃𝒆𝒂𝒓'𝒔 𝒔𝒌𝒊𝒏 𝒂𝒖𝒄𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒒𝒖𝒆𝒂𝒌𝒖𝒆𝒍 Hola! It’s been a while but I am back with yet another skin auction! I know it's been a year since my previous one, but I'm back with another one. All the bids will be in USD, because I am need funding. I am moving into a new apartment so all this money will be going to that! All bids will be starting at 11$ USD copy and paste this for the bidding format. DISCORD NAME: SKIN IM BIDDING ON: MY BID Rules ☼ Make sure the person you're trying to outbid is aware! ☼ ALSO! No reposting on PMC, please! Just because you bought the clothing doesn't mean you get to claim credit for making it; I still did! ☼ please contact me via PM. My discord is doreebear#3218 if you have any questions. ☼ I have the right to refuse to sell a skin to anyone. If they are a notorious skin thief, splice-er, post without attribution, or simply a toxic and terrible person, I will refuse to give them my skins. My skins, I feel, should go to individuals who value my work, others, and myself as a person. ☼ Unless I give you permission, you may not resell or put my skins up for sale/auction somewhere else. Auction will close On Friday the 13th at 4pm CST MALE Gray Gothic Blue-Pilled All for One and One for All Always Pay Their Debts You Know Nothing The Mad Prince Prospero FEMALE Adventures and Furs I would always rather be happy than dignified. You Poor Wretched Souls Nordic Goddess I and my Annabel Lee She's From the North
  14. The Laws of The Grand Duchy of Balian The Grand Duchy of Balian’s Legal Code INTRODUCTION - General Provisions and Definition SECTION I - Criminal Law SECTION II - Court Procedure GENERAL PROVISIONS AND DEFINITIONS Written by the first Magister of The Grand Duchy of Balian, The Grand Duchy of Balian (Balian): The country, the nation of which these laws apply. Constitutes both provinces or colonies. The Grand Duke (or Duchess): The head of state of the Grand Duchy of Balian. The Crown: The sovereign of the Grand Duchy of Balian., which controls the Brotherhood of Balian and the Balian Peerage and rules under the direction and advice of the Ducal Chamber . The Laws of The Grand Duchy of Balian: The lawbook of the Grand Duchy of Balian. Seneschal: The Seneschal is the chief minister of the Grand Duchy and is responsible for the proper maintenance and governance of the realm. He wields penultimate authority and is charged with preserving the coronet by all means possible, including in matters of succession. The Ducal Chamber: The various stately offices of the Grand Duchy of Balian, they are comprised of the Seneschal, the Legate, the Censor, the Magister, the Constable and the Procurator. Their roles are to complete the jobs set out for them in their titles, and to advice the Grand Duke on all matters deemed to be necessary by Their Grace. Balian Peerage: The lettered nobility of the Grand Duchy of Balian. The Magisterium: The Judicial branch of the Balian Government, composed of the Magister, Kritai and Tribonian Quaestors. Excerpt Upon the Rights of Man Humanity, created by God in the image of His Prophets, is bestowed upon through His Divine Power the guaranteed, inalienable rights of Man, held above all law and rule. Through the power of the Imperial Crown, they are enforced and protected immaculate and indefinite, only transgressed by committing a mortal sin. The Rights of Man include; ● THE RIGHT TO LIFE, so no man will ever be taken to the Skies so soon. ● THE RIGHT TO LIBERTY, so no man will ever be bonded by the shackles of slavery. ● THE RIGHT TO TRIAL, so no man will ever be wrongly accused when not charged by a trial of their peers. These rights are the backbone of human liberty and law, preventing the slip of chaos as seen in time immemorial, acting as a shield before the dark arrows of tyranny and selfish ambition. All sons of the First Prophet, no matter of blood, language, or culture, carry upon them these golden laurels of freedom, through right of birth and sapienic kinship. - Emperor Joseph I, 1718 SECTION I - Criminal Law BL.01.01 - On Assault A. When a person decides to violently attack another member of the public, causing no lasting injuries, and does not wield a weapon to inflict such damage. This may be punished with a 50-150 mina fine, depending on issues caused. B. When a person decides to violently attack another member of the public, causing lasting injuries, but not permanent and/or does wield a weapon to inflict damage. This may be punished with a 250-400 mina or the removal of a hand, depending on issues caused. C. When a person decides to violently attack another member of the public, causing permanent injuries,. This may be punished with a 750-1250 mina, 5-10 years of exile or removal of both hands depending on issues caused. BL.01.02 - On Manslaughter A. When a person unintentionally kills another person, be this in anger, by coincidence or otherwise. A lack of intent must be proven indefinitely, as judged by the Kritai. This may be punished with a 600-750 mina fine, decided by the discretion of a Kritai BL.01.03 - On Murder A. When a person intentionally kills another person, without the premediation of it. It would require proof or reasoning that there was no premeditation, which a Kritai would judge. This may be punished with a 1250-1800 mina fine, a 20 year to indefinite exile or removal of a limb. B. When a person intentionally kills another person, with premeditation of it. A Kritai will judge whether they believe it was premeditated or not. This may only be punished with death. BL.01.04 - On Mutilation A. When a person removes a body part short of a limb, organ or eye, or causes other permanent damage, with intention. This will be punished with the equivalent mutilation or a 300-500 mina fine. B. When a person removes a limb, organ or eye, causing permanent damage, with intention. This will be punished with a 1000-1750 mina fee, 10-30 year exile or equivalent mutilation, decided with the Kritai’s discretion. BL.01.05 - On Kidnapping A.When a person without legal reasoning, takes another person and confines them against their will. This will be punished with a 750-1000 mina fine, exile for 5-10 years, decided with the Kritai’s discretion BL.01.06 - On Defamation A. When a person would distribute false information about someone else, without the intent to damage their reputation. This will be punished with a 50-150 mina fine. B. When a person would distribute false information about someone else, with the intent to damage their reputation. This will be punished with a 500-750 mina fine. BL.01.07 - On Impersonation A.When a person assumes the identity of another person, without a reasonable excuse or a prior agreement between the two people. It will be punished with a 100-200 mina fee. B. When a person assumes the identity of a peer, soldier, government or public official, without a reasonable excuse or a prior agreement between the two people. It will be punished with a 400-500 mina fee. BL.01.08 - On Torture A.When a person inflicts injury on another while they have captured them. To do this within legal bounds, one must have the expressed permission of The Magister of The Grand Duchy of Balian. This may also be done when concerning an enemy of the state. This will be punished with a 650-750 mina punishment BL.01.09 - On Malpractice A.When a medical practitioner neglects the care of a person in need of medical care, be this refusal of treatment, failing to adhere to medical procedure or otherwise. This will be punished with temporary or permanent revoking of medical licence and a 300-1000 mina fine, dependant on the severity of the case. BL.01.10 - On Theft A.When a person steals the property of another, of the value of up to 400 mina. This will be punished with the returning of the property and a 200-350 mina fine or, if the return of the property is not possible, a 400-500 mina fine or 2-5 year exile. B. When a person steals the property of another, of the value of over 400 mina. This will be punished with the returning of the property and a 600-750 mina fine or, if the return of the property is not possible, a 800-1100 mina fine or 5-10 year exile. BL.01.11 - On Breaking and entering A.When a person makes their way into another person's property without expressed permission, this includes a search of a property without a search warrant. This will be punished with a 200-350 mina fine and temporary suspension from one's force, should it be necessary. BL.01.12 - On Forgery A.When a person intentionally fakes a legal document that they are aware they are legally not allowed to. This will result in barring from public office for 5-10 years and a 100-200 mina fine. BL.01.13 - On Vandalism A.When a person intentionally damages or defaces property that is not their own and is not a government building.. This will be punished with a 100-200 mina fine. B. When a person intentionally damages or defaces property that is not their own and is a government building.. This will be punished with a 500-600 mina fine and exile for 2-5 years. BL.01.14 - On Arson A.When a person intentionally utilises fire to damage or destroy a property that is not their own and is not a government building. This will be punished with a 400-500 mina fine. B. When a person intentionally utilises fire to damage or destroy a property that is not their own and is a government building.. This will be punished with a 1000-1200 mina fine and exile for 20 years up to indefinite. BL.01.15 - On Trespassing A. When a person refuses to leave a property they have been asked to leave, or goes to one in which they have been barred. This will be punished with a 200-300 mina fine. BL.01.16 - On Debt A.When a person fails to resolve a debt to another person, be it small, moderate or significant. This should be brought to The Magister or a Kritai by the victim, and they will render a verdict depending on the facts of the case. BL.01.17 - On Treason A.When a person intentionally commits acts that are intended to compromise the integrity of the state and its government through insurrectionist movements and attacks. This crime will only ever be punished with execution. BL.01.18 - On Sedition A.When a person intentionally distributes information or media, or speaks in a way that brings contempt against the state and its government, in a means to diminish its influence. This crime will only ever be punished with execution. BL.01.19 - On Contraband A.When a person possesses any illegal substances, materials or literature. This will be punished with the removal of such things and a 100-250 mina fine. B. When a person distributes or sells any illegal substances, materials or literature. This will be punished with the removal of such things and a 400-500 mina fine. C. When a person manufactures any illegal substances, materials or literature. This will be punished with the removal of such things and a 800-1200 mina fine. BL.01.20 - On Obstruction A.When a person obstructs or interferes with the arrest, investigation or prosecution of a criminal. This will be punished with a 200-300 mina fine. BL.01.21 - On Absconding A.When a person refuses to surrender themselves to arresting officers or does not turn up to an appointed court date when told to. Anyone who commits this, will be found guilty of the crime they committed. BL.01.22 - On Bribery A.When a person uses money, land or any form of a material gift to persuade a public official, army member, Kritai, Trobonian Quaestor, government official or anyone considered to have power, to conform to their influence. This will be punished with a 400-500 mina fine and barring from public office for 5 years. B. When a public official, army member, Kritai, Trobonian Quaestor, government official or anyone considered to have power, accepts money, land or any form of a material gift to conform to another person’s influence. This will be punished with immediate dismissal from office, barring from public office for 10 years and 750-1000 mina fine. BL.01.23 - On Extortion A.When a person obtains material goods, money, land, titles or influence, through the use of threat or force. This will be punished with a 400-500 mina fine. BL.01.24 - On Perjury A.When a person deliberately lies or withholds important information from an interrogating Tribonian Quaestor or officer of the Brotherhood of Balian throughout the course of any non-treason related crime. This will be punished with a 100-1000 mina fee, decided based on the crime that the interrogation concerned. B. When a person deliberately lies or withholds important information from an interrogating Tribonian Quaestor throughout the course of a treason related crime. This will be punished with a permanent exile or execution. BL.01.25 - On Embezzlement A.When a government official intentionally uses government money or materials for their own personal gains, outside of their office. This will be punished with dismissal from office, permanent barring for public office and a 1000-3000 mina fine depending on the severity of the crime. BL.01.26 - On Unauthorised Military Organisations A.When an individual is part of a private and unauthorised military organisation. This will be punished with a 400-450 mina fine. B.When an individual leads and/or founded a private and unauthorised military organisation. This will be punished with a 1000-1500 mina fine. BL.01.27 - On Duelling A.A duel may only occur as an honour duel between nobles, where they settle personal disputes in this manner. The Magister or Grand Druke must authorise such before it can take place. If this doesn’t occur it will be treated as any other crime. BL.01.28 - On Blasphemy A.When a person speaks in a sacrilegious manner about God or the teachings of the scriptures. This will be punished with a 400-500 mina fine and/or 1-2 years exile. BL.01.29 - On Heresy A.When a person intentionally teaches others about the teachings of a false deity. This will be punished with a 750-900 mina fine and/or a 5-10 year exile. BL.01.30 - On Devilry A.When a person preaches for, worships or partakes in rituals of devils and demons and other devilish faiths. This will be punished with a 1000-2000 mina fine, 20 years to indefinite exile or death. BL.01.31 - On Witchcraft A. When a person partakes in magery that would be considered evil and/or dark by any sane person. This will be punished with exile for 20 years to indefinite, execution or a 1000-1500 mina fine. BL.01.32 - On Fornication A.When an unmarried person fornicates with someone else. This will be punished with a 400-500 mina fine. BL.01.33 - On Adultery A.When a married person fornicates with someone other than their spouse. This will be punished with a 700-900 mina fine. BL.01.34 - On Consanguinity A.When a person fornicates or fosters a romantic relationship with someone closely related to them, such as parents, siblings, aunts, uncles etc. This will be punished with a 600-750 mina fine and exile for 2-5 years. BL.01.35 - On Miscegenation A.When a person fornicates with someone who is not the same race as themselves, such as a human and elf, or orc and dwarf. This will be punished with a 800-1000 mina fine and exile for 5-10 years. BL.01.36 - On Concealment of Identity A.When a person hides their face to a Brotherhood of Balian soldier or Tribonian Quaestor when they were asked to remove it. This will be punished with a 150-200 mina fine. BL.01.37 - On Vigilantism A.When a person, who is not part of the Brotherhood of Balian nor a Tribonian Quaestor attempts to apprehend a criminal or carry out their own justice. This will be punished with a 300-400 mina fine. BL.01.38 - On Disturbing the Peace A.When a person causes problems and an uproar that affects the common peace of the state. This will be punished with a 200-300 mina fine. BL.01.39 - On Harmed Sovereignty A.When a person commits any level of assault on the Grand Duke or any of their Ducal family. This will be considered treason and punished with only execution. BL.01.40 - On Conspiracy A.When a person works with someone else and plans to commit a crime. This will be punished the same way the crime that was conspired. BL.01.41 - On Incitement A.When a person encourages another or incites them into committing a crime. This will be punished the same way the crime that was incited. BL.01.42 - On Attempt A.When a person attempts, but fails to commit a crime. This will be punished the same way as the crime that was attempted. BL.01.43 - On The Draconic A.When a person is considered to be Azdrazi or in any other way draconic. This will be punished with immediate death, a trial is not required when it is obvious that a person is draconic. BL.01.44 - On Minors A.When a person is under the age of 12, they will not be prosecuted for any crime at all. B. A person under the age of 16 will not be able to consume alcohol, and those that procure them alcohol will receive a 100 mina fine. BL.01.45 - On Discrimination A.When a person uses another’s race as justification for violence, theft or anything else that may be seen as an attack on them. This will be punished with a 100-150 mina fine. B.When a person uses another’s religion as justification for violence, theft or anything else that may be seen as an attack on them. This will be punished with a 100-150 mina fine. C.When a person uses another’s gender as justification for violence, theft or anything else that may be seen as an attack on them. This will be punished with a 100-150 mina fine. D.When a person uses another’s sexuality as justification for violence, theft or anything else that may be seen as an attack on them. This will be punished with a 100-150 mina fine. BL.01.46 - On Religious Rights A.Any person in Balian may practice their own religion, however as stated in BL.01.28, they may not preach it to others. BL.01.47 - On Bee Protection A.When a person kills a bee with intent. This will be punished with a 50 mina fine. BL.01.48 - On Civil Offences A.When a person causes physical damage to another. The punishment for this will be decided in court, but may not exceed the cost of the damage caused. B. When a person causes financial damage to another. The punishment for this will be decided in court, but may not exceed the cost of the damage caused. C. When a person causes social damage to another’s reputation. The punishment for this will be decided in court, but may not exceed the cost of the damage caused. BL.01.49 - On Undead A.When a person is found not to be truly alive and having lived passed death. The punishment for this will be execution by removal of the head. SECTION II - Court Procedure BL.02.01 - On Summoning the Court I.The Tribonian Quaestor on the case, or claimant of a civil case, will send a letter to the Magister or make them aware of the case and their intent to pursue it legally. II. The Magister will review the letter and either approve or deny the case. III. If approved, the Magister will nominate a Kritai to oversee the trial and letters will be sent to all involved with the case at hand in order to summon them to court. BL.02.02 - On Trial upon Arrest I.Should it be deemed necessary, a recently arrested criminal may be immediately taken to court for a trial. II. This should be approved by The Magister or The Supreme Kritai before occurring, but if necessary, can be skipped over. III. Any available Kritai will oversee this case and any Tribonian Quaestor will prosecute, after being given the information. BL.02.02 - On Legal Procedure I.At the start of a trial, all shall rise for the Kritai before they take a seat, officially beginning court. II. The prosecution will make an opening statement summing up their side of the case within a paragraph, followed by the defendant also making an opening statement summing up their side of the case within a paragraph. III. The prosecution will then make 1-3 points, using evidence as a point of proof for their case. They should keep their points concise and to the point less they be cut off by the Kritai, should they believe it necessary. IV. The defence will then make their own 1-3 points, using their own evidence, or rebuttal any points made by the prosecution. They also should keep their points concise, less they be cut off by the Kritai. V. Both sides will then make their closing statements, which should again be paragraph sized, the prosecution first and then the defence. VI. The Judge will finally render a verdict after hearing both closing statements, and then the punishment will be carried out by the Brotherhood of Balian. VII. Objections are not to be allowed under any circumstances, as the Kritai will take into account anything they believe to be untoward. VIII. All trials should be documented for future reference by a scribe. BL.02.03 - On Fines I.A fine may be given out by a NCO of the Brotherhood of Balian or above, or a Kritai on the spot, as long as the crime committed warrants a fine of under 500 mina. II. All fines must be given to The Magister, who will subsequently hand the money over to The Procurator. III. If unable to pay the fine, a person will receive either an exile or physical punishment, as decided by a Kritai. BL.02.04 - On Physical punishment. I.A crime may be punished with a physical punishment e.g. removal of a hand. If this is decided upon, then said punishment will be carried out in a humane manner. II. The body part will be removed with a swift swing of a blade, it will then immediately be cauterised by fire, or any other medical procedure should a doctor be present to administer it. BL.02.05 - On Exiles. I.If a person is punished with exile, they will be given a Saint’s day to remove their belongings from the city before they are placed in exile. II. Following this a sketch should be made of the person. This sketch and their name will be posted in the gatehouse, for any guard to see should the person try to return. III. Should they return before their exile is over, they may be subject to further punishment, should it be a longer exile, fine or physical punishment. IV. Exile may be appealed, if this is the case, the person punished should send a letter to The Magister, who will then review the case and determine the course of action from there. V. A letter shall be sent to the exilee once their period of exile is over, notifying them that they are free to return should they please. BL.02.06 - On Death Sentences. I.Should a person be sentenced to death, their death will be dealt with in a humane manner. II. The punished may call for their last rites, as afforded to them by the canonist church, should they be a canonist. III. When it comes time for the criminal to be killed, their head should be placed on a block, for them to be beheaded. IV. Customarily, it is the Kritai who should swing the sword killing the criminal, however this can be wavered should a Kritai not be present. BL.02.07 - On Prisoners of War. I.Should an enemy be captured in war, their fate may be decided by The Magister, a Kritai or any officer of the Brotherhood of Balian, with a trial being overlooked due to the circumstances. II. Should there be a disagreement about how to handle this situation, the view of The Magister or Kritai will supersede the military officials. BL.02.08 - On Military Criminals. I.If a member of The Brotherhood of Balian commits an offence that is not a higher assault, mutilation, murder or treason, they will be afforded a court martial, which the captain will oversee. II. If a member of The Brotherhood of Balian commits an offence that is not a higher assault, mutilation, murder or treason, they will receive a Magisterium investigation and a subsequent trial. III. If a member of The Brotherhood of Balian is found to have abused their powers to fine lower crimes or pass judgement in war time situations, they will receive a Magisterium investigation and a subsequent trial, potentially resulting in dishonourable discharge or another punishment. BL.02.09 - On Peer Criminals. I.If a Peer commits an offence, once they have been investigated by the Magisterium, they will be trialled by The Magister or Grand Duke only. BL.02.10- On Trials of Treason. I.A trial concerning the act of treason will only ever be trialled by The Magister or Grand Duke. BL.02.11- On Defence. I.A defendant may call for their own lawyer to defend them in court should they want to. II. If the lawyer doesn’t arrive within 30 Saint’s minutes, the court will not allow for the defence to have a lawyer and the defendant must defend themselves. BL.02.11- On Repeated offenders. I.A criminal who has before been found guilty of a crime, will have their punishment increased. E.g a 400 mina fine would become a 600 mina fine. II. Should a criminal who commits low level crimes (Those who which receive punishments under 500 mina) repeat their offences, they will not be fined on the spot and subsequently be sent to trial. Signed, Lord Ledicort of House Vuiller, First Magister of Balian
  15. FOUNDING OF ST. CAROLUS UNIVERSITY Haense during the Golden Age of the Old Academy ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ TO ALL CITIZENS OF HAENSE, The Academy of Haense has seen stagnation and little use in recent decades. As I am writing this missive, to be distributed among Haense itself, I - Felyx Francys Colborn - am working to re-establish the Haense Academy to rival and perhaps surpass the Elysium University. With this goal in mind, and with the Justiciar, the Patriarch of House Colborn, and the Crown Prince himself to aid in reconstruction, we heartily invite anyone interested to attend orientation and the upcoming book club events(https://discord.gg/F3HuaCT2qR)! Those of the Child-Kingdom of Hoonseti-Rooska have already been invited, although there truly are NO enforced age gaps to be a student! There will be small, intimate events to promote learning and discussion at the Eve of reconstruction, with the final aim being a fleshed-out curriculum and graduation possibility with diplomas hopefully someday be recognised by the Holy Crown of Haense itself! I hope to see you around. The first events are already being drafted. Drop by the Old Academy on event-times if you are interested! Est. 423 E.S. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  16. VICTORY For the beloved brothers and sisters in arms who fell at the Skirmish of Stone Tower, and for the victory of the faithful. The waves lap at bloodstained stone, And I listen quietly to muffled cries. The cries of the dying and the damned, The cries for mercy. No mercy shall come, For those that betray their faith find no refuge. They find that the silken whispers of Iblees, Mistaken for GODAN, most high, Turn to knives against them evermore. For where I stand beside the faithful, The broken, the beaten, the UNDEFEATED, I can only hear the sweet song of Godan’s aenguls, Guiding my noble brothers and sisters to heaven. For as darkness falls over bloodsoaked ground, And the eerie silence post-battle wanes, I see the glorious light shining upon tomorrow. And may sacrifice usher in a new age of light, A new age of peace and beauty. And as we travel into this new ‘morrow, May our resolve never falter and our faith never waver. Let the joyous cries of the pious and the good, Ring out through this new tomorrow. And let the fallen rest in blissful sleep, Knowing that they have been avenged, And remain unforgotten among the living. May they rest peacefully, bathed in eternal light, Forevermore knowing that we shall remember. SIGNED, Her Royal Highness, Klara Elizaveta, Duchess of Baranya Klara Elizaveta finished her work with a flourish of her pen before climbing the ladder in her room at the Nikirala Prikaz to gaze out at the sky. “Are vy proud of us, Sigmar?”
  17. ☾ ⋆* Delta’s First Ever Alex Skin Auction ☾ ⋆* “Extra pockets!” “Whoa! Magic Pockets!~” Intro + Rules: Welcome to my first ever skin auction! This is a MINA and ALEX SKINS auction only! I will NOT take irl monies. Payment will be taken after the auction closes! Each skin has a reference, if you wish to see it, please let me know. If you want to outbid, make a new comment! Do not edit your comment. Please do not comment unless you are bidding! Each skin has a different price - Bids will increase by 5 mina! Also, please check out my wife's skin auction: envy's skin auction She's got Alex and Steve skins! Bidding Format: Bid: Skin: Discord: Auction Ends: March 30th at 9pm EST Auction fully ends when I comment! Have fun loves xx Golden Rose - 120 Mina A Very Berry Garden - 115 Mina Colorful Robes - 115 Mina Sky Cloud Hanfu - 115 Mina Yellow Fish Hanfu - 115 Mina The auction is officially closed and all skins have been sold! Thank you so much everyone x
  18. ✃♛✃Skin Auction.✃♛✃ ✃Information.✃ Collaboration with my husband Delta, find their auction here. [Updated] I take both mina and GBP bids, but money bids are prioritised. I have both Alex and Steve format skins with reference photos for each one. I'll gladly send them to people if asked. Make a new comment if you wish to change your bidding/outbid another. If you edit your original comment it will not count. soz x All biddings start at 100 mina or £5/$7 and can be increased by the minimum of 25 mina or £1/$1. e.g: 125 mina - £6/$8 150 mina - £7/$9 ♛Bidding Format.♛ Skin name: Bid: Discord: ✃Alex Skins.✃ Three From The Sea. Heart Of The Ocean. Harriet. Vidia. ♛Steve Skins.♛ Tilney. The Pirate Medallion. Pirelli's Miracle Elixir. ✃Auction Ends...✃ ... on March 31st, 2am BST. Bids will not be counted after my comment. ✃♛✃Thank You.✃♛✃
  19. * 15-18 Locked away in my symbolic room strapped to the bars of this comfortable prison I’ve known all my life. Confined to do what people expect of me, /confined/ to the role I am placed in on this chessboard. Locked away by the lump in my throat only wishing to speak but the air becomes still as the eyes stare, stare to me for I am different? Or stare to me because I am brave. Eyes that should be a doorway open and welcoming a door that is shut instead. Doors that keep the social “standard” to its quo, why, father, why are these eyes of winter so compelling to the soul? Mother, why is it when they glance with their winter eyes my feet freeze in place? No answer as I have neither to go to when I am sad nor to call for my achievements; it is only me.
  20. STRANGER For the downtrodden. Come, stranger, and leap Across fairest skies and stone Can you learn to finally reap What you have so desperately sown? The soldier wields his mighty sword And strikes through unmatched He has learned he can’t afford To only leave his enemies scratched Oh, how once fairest skies turn dark Clouds marring the light of day The beauty which did once spark Has faded into dullest grey Tell me, fair stranger, how one such as I Can overcome the blackest night For with such ardor do I purify In attempts to return to GODAN’s light As we find ourselves ever forward And the swirl of time besieges you May we leave our regret unmeasured Such endeavors ended without review Come, dear stranger And embrace the Northern sky Find yourself without filter As time passes you by Even the minstrel forever knows With his strings and his lute That he cannot cease unstoppable flows Lest he rend himself mute Tell me, beloved stranger, tell me why Those fair harvests find themselves unknown In favor of the deathly yields, ever dry As the whole of what you have sown? Let yourself not be discouraged For even the once a gentle soul Who has erred and remains disadvantaged Let not words of others keep you from your goal Find it within yourself, darling stranger To uplift those who would see your end And do not let words blister Strengthen yourself, stranger, do not let your spirit bend SIGNED, Her Royal Highness, Klara Elizaveta, Duchess of Baranya
  21. ST. CATHERINE’S HOME FOR THE ORPHANED Va Birodeo Herzenav ag Edlervik, On this day, the 6th of VZMEY AND HYFF, 416 EHR SIGMUNDA, we are proud to announce the establishment of a place where children will be guaranteed safety, no matter their race, nationality, or status. Regardless of whether their parents be deceased or estranged, any child in need is welcome. Education, meals, and shelter shall be provided at no cost to those who take refuge within the walls of St. Catherine’s. In honor of St. Catherine, Patron Saint of Refugees, Integrity, Innocence, and the Vessian People, we extend our hand to those children suffering due to both past and present events created by tension across Almaris. St. Catherine’s lies within the capital city of Hanseti-Ruska, Karosgrad, within the theater building on Wailer Road. Any and all donations are welcome, and the names of the patrons shall be placed within the information book at the entrance to St. Catherine’s. Discord: https://discord.gg/xsVvVBpkGf SIGNED, Her Royal Highness, Klara Elizaveta, Duchess of Baranya His Excellency, Johann Fredrick Ludovar, High Justiciar of Hanseti-Ruska, Count of Otistadt, Lord of Kazstadt Her Princely Ladyship. Sibylla Erica Barclay Her Ladyship, Erika Renate Barclay
  22. * From ages 10-14 Charelle began her studies into becoming a Jovenaar while still trying to hold onto the little child-hood she had left before reforming into a woman. It had been some time since her father Erwin Bishop passed away from an Orenian execution. Charelle, who loved her father dearly, was still filled of grief; locking herself away in her room throwing away all that brought her joy and instead putting all her attention into her studies in hopes the pain would seep away into the note and pages of her work. At 13 she began rehabilitating from life out of her room with learning how to bake; as her sister Heleana was soon to be married to a Savoyard noble and move out of the Manor, someone had to replace her as the family cuisinest. Though it was grievous, Charelle's soul would slowly grow to it’s fierce self thought, viewing the world in a new light.
  23. The Brother of the People Issue II. 10th of Horen’s Calling, 1862 Written by: Paul-Andre Sarat Noble Indoctrination The Falcones have succumbed to the tricks of the inbred rabbits of the Aster Court. Their greed for power has fogged their mind of the curses that are brought with their advancement in Orenian society. They are the sheep hungry to be the dog that leads the herd, and yet they are just becoming another mutton for the Aster Court to sell. Their promises of grandeur and power are all but fallacies. These promises are put forward in the hopes that us commoners will stay in line, listening and following every command. Those like that of the Falcones are just little things that are meant to suggest our hopes and dreams of better living standards could be achieved, but it is all an illusion. Cast by the mages of the Aster Court. Dream not my brothers and sister of a better life closer and intertwined to the Aster Court, but dream of a better life for your brothers and sisters. One in which tyrannical inbreds do not force their will upon us, forcing us to fight their wars, pay their taxes, and bend the knee to them. A life in which each and every one of us is living a life of grandeur where the people lead, rather than those not selected even by merit, but by inbred blood. Call to Fool The Empress has thought herself to be so wise and educated that she has the skill to write a play. I laugh at such a claim. The Empress is nothing but a statue to trick the crowd that stands below her. If she is a writer then I am an Elephant. The only thing this Empress writes is a list of all the expensive things she wishes to buy using the money we give to this government. All of this is just a ruse to try and convince the people that everything isn’t as bad as it looks to be, that they are fine with the inbred rabbits of the Aster Court as their enslavers. But I entrust my brothers and sisters that you are not the blind sheep the Aster Court believes you to be, that you are free thinking, and now the tricks and treachery that these vile so called ‘nobles’ commit everyday. Let us not forget her statement regarding wards. They do not wish to teach the common class, or even involve themselves with us at all. They fear us like a plague that will infect them. But yet, they are in fact the true plague that has infected Oren, now ruling over it. Know this my fellow citizens, you are better than these nobles in every which way. Your morale is stronger, your will is stronger, and your loyalty to fellow Orenians is stronger. They don’t view us as Orenians but as slaves, so neither should we view these greedy treacherous inbreed rabbits of the Aster Court as citizens either. Aster Court Army The ISA are sheep which have been blinded by their noble officers, bound and forced to defend the Aster Court, and only the Aster Court. It is called the Imperial State Army, yet when has it defended the people of this state? Rather it has been forced to only defend the ‘nobles’ of the Aster Court and their property. The ISA itself is not our enemies, but rather they are slaves to the nobles, and we must help free them. No longer should they be bound by the inbred rabbits who use them for their dirty work, no the Imperial State Army is filled with the people of Oren, and as such it needs to defend the people of Oren. Nay have I seen the noble commanders and leaders of the ISA command their forces to defend the people, not all I have seen is order to defend property. This is not what mothers want their children fighting for, this is not what I want my tax money going to, this is not the ISA.
  24. The Brother of the People Issue I. 6th of Horen’s Calling, 1861 Written by: Paul-Andre Sarat Union of Rabbits The rabbits of the Aster court copulate again. How many times have these brothers and sisters interbred, producing more and more offspring who then produce amongst themselves creating the roots of their family trees into a confused and utter mess of a knot. They fear the blood of the common class, not wishing to tarnish their blood with the blood of true Orenians, Orenians which work the fields and fight for this nation, and yet these so called nobles sit in luxury reproducing amongst themselves while we the people fight their wars and pay their taxes. They dress in clothing as if to mock us and ridicule. Flaunting their wealth upon the streets of Providence while rats and trash litter the streets they walk upon. They wear heels in the hopes to try and get away from the stink they believe us to be. They are not our citizens like us, my fellow Orenians. Rather, they are the ones who keep Oren in shackles, they are the ones who cause so much bloodshed and war. How many families have been compensated for the death of their children? How many mothers have had their children not come home? These are the trials, perils, and heartbreaks we must endure everyday. Yet while our sorrows are heard echoing through the streets of Providence the so called ‘noble’ rabbits of the Aster Court live in luxury, attending weddings, and not having to worry about anything other than what they are going to wear tomorrow. These nobles are the spawn of Iblees feasting off our sorrows and wounds. They are necromancers who have us Orenians serve them until we are nothing but ash. They are the inferi who seek nothing but blood, leading us to our deaths on the field of battle. They, my friends, are not our fellow nationalist, but our enemies, they are the enemies of the people. Simonist Lies The Simonists are all but devils in disguise; they hope to portray themselves as the party for the people of Oren, and yet they are run and manipulated by the nobility. They are not a party of the people, but a party of the corrupt. Their only goal is to see the common class of Oren turned into slaves and serfs. This group of liars is led by the inbred Princess Carolina Luisa Ashford de Savoie, a name so long it brings anger to my hand that writes this paper now. A party for the people, yet led by a Princess? Oh how gullible the false nobles of our nation think us to be. Among her entourage of greed is a Sarkozy and a Rosius. Nobles that did nothing in the lands which they oversaw. They are nobles that let the people die and starve. These are not the people my friends that I want leading the government of our nation. No, they do not represent you or I. They do not even know the slightest pretext about our lives and our duties. All they see from us are slaves and numbers. Numbers for the ballot, and slaves for their empire. They claim to have brought back some form of democracy, but nothing my friends and fellow citizens will change. We shall still live under the tyrannical rule of the aristocrats, simply now under a different name. Civil Affairs’ Tricks The Ministry of Civil Affairs seeks out those who hope to help new and lost citizens, and guide them. Oh how I laugh at this. This is all but a ruse for the Ministry of Civil Affairs, for their Immigration Department my friends is not truly that. Oh no, it’s true name is the Slavery Department. They lure you in promising you prosperity, only to encase and entrap you under their ‘noble’ boot. This Immigration Department my friends is not a friend or helpful neighbor of ours, it is rather a kidnapper. Led by Princess Amelia Margaret of Vanderfall it is all but another branch of the larger inbred cesspool that is the Aster Court. It hopes to produce more slaves for their never ending lust for greed and gluttony. Do not trust the Ministry of Civil Affairs my brothers and sisters. Rather, trust in yourself and your neighbors and fellow Orenians, or else you may fall deeper into the trap that aristocrats silently wait for you to step in. A Fat Cat The Order of the Golden Lion is all but a scheme to separate the common man from the aristocrats even more. It’s goal is to make us worship nobles as if they were saints. It’s scheme is one which is quick to find when you pull away the curtain. They grant land and false titles to these so-called knights. And yet where is my land, where is your land. Are we not knights, defenders of the realm? We are the ones who fight on the frontlines and in the mines risking our lives everyday. Are we not worthy of such titles? What has a noble done that makes him fit to be a knight that we have not? We are the ones who built this nation, we are the ones that maintain this nation, and we are the ones that defend this nation. Such a title if you see one wearing one my friends should be laughed at and mocked, for these are no lions, merely cats who grew fat from doing nothing.
  25. HANSETI-RUSKAN WORKS: ART, LITERATURE, AND MUSIC TABLE OF CONTENTS Songs I. The Haeseni Soldier II. Deryzcz III. Home Across the Mountains IV. The Road to War V. Ode to The Fallen Artwork I. The Siege of Southbridge Poems I. Beneath the Willow Tree II. Gone III. The Perfect Flower IV. Desiring V. Palace of Haverlock SONGS I. The Haeseni Soldier (link) A farmer’s boy with little worth, goes to the army. He joins the soldiers on a march, as his mother prays at home. A farmer’s boy, a soldier boy, wields his long sword bravely. He trains and trains until he faints, and his brothers treat him gently. A farmer’s boy, a soldier boy, his head held high and mighty. He fights for those he loves at home, although it pains him greatly. A farmer’s boy, a soldier boy, is now an admired sergeant. He trains his fellow soldiers, and prays they come back home A farmer’s boy, a soldier boy fights the gruesome wars, And although his mother prays at home, her soldier boy is gone A farmer’s boy, a soldier boy, drifts into the skies. His life was worth so very much, and his brothers cries his name A farmer’s boy, a soldier boy, looks down upon the army. He hopes they keep on fighting, as their Koeng needs them greatly By Her Ladyship, Erika Renate Barclay II. Deryzcz (link) By His Highness, Gustaf Sigismund Morovar III. Home Across the Mountains (link) By Firr Feodor May IV. The Road to War (link) By Firr Feodor May V. Ode to the Fallen (link) By Firr Feodor May ARTWORK I. The Siege of Southbridge (link) By Her Ladyship, Sofiya Antonia vas Ruthern POEMS I. Beneath the Willow Tree (link) Come hither, my darling And join me upon the hill Battle rages across the ground Clashes of might and will Smoke and flame billows Up towards GODAN’s skies Watch as steel meets flashing steel Hear the orphan’s cries Come hither, my darling As we tread this bloodsoaked ground Find your heart and listen To the hallowed sound Deep in the wood Where meadow meets glade There, you shall find it Sitting beneath a willow’s shade Come hither, my darling What is it you hear? The sound of memories long faded Words once held dear Echoes of those long past Sit deep in your heart Gone but not forgotten Never truly apart Come hither, my darling And sit beneath the willow tree Is it not peaceful? Here, you are entirely free GODAN, save the Brotherhood Protect them from melancholy So they may dance forever Beneath the willow tree By Her Royal Highness, Klara Elizaveta, Duchess of Baranya II. Gone (link) It dipped into the depths, this last light of mine. Entrenched in this darkness, I waste away in this Gloom ridden tower. The skies floods with dark, Warm colors.. I shout, but I am consumed by The splashing of the waves upon rocks On the cliffside. Nothing remains for all shall Fall into ruin. Just as the sun disappears behind The sea, so too shall you disappear under the earth. By His Lordship, Borris Iver Kortrevich III. The Perfect Flower (link) You are a dream, a myth, a ghost Running through meadows in hopes Of finding the most perfect flower. A trophy to hold up, the greatest boast A shadow to be sung of only in odes The broken stem of a perfect flower By His Lordship, Borris Iver Kortrevich IV. Desiring (link) — Love is a poor actor Always forgetting his lines, Tripping over himself, But anyone who has ever loved Cannot say that He does not plunge Headfirst into his role — The yearning of the heart Is the most deepest of desires. Anyone can be The object of my yearning. Each one is always special, But desiring in itself Is the most desirable thing of all. — Have you ever walked out Amongst the fenland And seen the pale pink Fingers of the sunset Gently reach across the sky, So you can almost feel Them stroke your cheek And have you gone down To the dark, glass surface, And felt the waters Lap gently at the edges of Your face and smiled, Feeling drops trickle down And collect around your lips And sat down on the ridgeline Sighing softly to the horizon As the swans fly across, Smelt snowdrops and jasmine, then Twisted them into a little ring Of delicate and pretty petals, And drank all this in with your gaze — I draw my finger across his face Gently tracing every contour Along his cheek and chin, I pull his jaw close to me; He is a sculpture. His Black, curly hair, velvet lashes, Green eyes. Is this not bliss? But nothing lasts and This too cannot. Though My hate simmers for her, The heart yet cannot lie, and Time polishes all desires and Now I dream such golden dreams Of him. — Enough wine and There is little distinction Between a common harlot And a noble lady Wine tears off all veils And the blemish Becomes the beauty-spot And the latter the former And the former the latter — By Firress Ceciliya Smirnova V. Palace of Haverlock (link) You pull me into this wonderful place in which I do not recognize. Flawlessly, scrubbed, white walls And dustless dark oak floors. I could have sworn that I Saw little specks of twinkling around me as I moved past. What started as a maze, quickly became a game. We duck in and out of rooms, trying to open every Locked door. We run down hallways and spiraling stairs On which, often only leads us back to where we began. It is an Ironic thing, a place large enough to Awe at, yet close enough to barely stand Shoulder to shoulder within the hallways. It is a beautiful, confusing, complex work of art. By His Lordship, Borris Iver Kortrevich Should you wish to have your works published in Volume II, please contact HRH, Klara Elizaveta by bird. (pudding#7426) SIGNED, Her Royal Highness, Klara Elizaveta, Duchess of Baranya
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