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  1. -=+=- THE KROVAVAYA SVAD’BA MENU -=+=- [!] A Sakcharin Catering services booklet made of thick paper and stitched leather lies open to the front page in your hands. Golden trim details the menu and a flourish of text rests upon the top line: The Krovavaya Svad'ba Menu. Underneath, several sections are written in Common with bold, precise strokes of ink. -=-=- Alcoholic Drinks -=-=- De Beurre Sours From all appearances, it would seem almost akin to an iced coffee, creamy and caramel in appearance with grated tonka beans over top. The drink itself is whisky poured over gomme syrup, lemon juice, egg whites and liquorice bitters over ice. While the drink may seem like it would taste sour entirely, it would have a rich, nutty vanilla flavor with hints of sweet and spice alike when served. The Aigre Liquor This beverage is a deep purple in appearance, citrus vodka, lemon juice and a parfait liquor is combined in a shaker of ice before it is strained into the cocktail glass and garnished with a lemon spiral. An alcoholic beverage with a citrus taste. -=-=-Non-Alcoholic Drinks -=-=- Raevir e Auvergne This beverage is made with strawberry juice alongside boiled lingonberries, giving it a vibrantly colored appearance. Diluted with water, and sweetened with sugar and honey alike, this drink would cater to the ultimate sweet tooth among us. Bonheur Bliss Tea From all appearances, the liquid is frosty, pale and pink - and creamy as well. The tea is made from a mixture of pressed green and black tea, brewed with melted butter, salt, and goat's milk. Nutmeg and peppercorn is stirred in, the sweet in appearance tea having a salty and tart taste alike. -=-=- Appetizers -=-=- Blini e Creme Fraiche This Raevir-Auvergne fusion consists of thin pancakes made with buckwheat flour, warm to the touch with a nutty, toasty flavor to accompany it. Creme fraiche is dolloped over the top, the heavy cream sinking in with a dash of sea salt. It is further topped with caviar and garnished with dill, allowing for a tangy appetizer for one to try. Escargot e Raevir This dish consists of snails boiled over a Raevir vodka, herbal butter alongside shallot, garlic and parsley. Tomato sauce with a mixture of red wine is drizzled over it, giving it a crimson appearance. Upon the side is toasted bread puff, with a dollop of the same herbal used above upon the side for use. -=-=- Main Courses -=-=- Pissaladière e Salmon This Raevir-Auvergne fusion dish consists of charcoal smoked salmon slow-marinated in vodka for many hours, allowing the added flavors to sink into the meal. It is served with an Aurvergne-style onion tart topped with olives and anchovies alike, the tart aiding in soaking up the meal that is to be eaten. Julienne au Vin This classic Auvergne dish is one of chicken slowly braised in red wine, the meat melting off of the bone and stripped away to be added to a mushroom julienne base. Sliced mushrooms are baked in a creamy cheese sauce, adding the Raevir twist to the meal being prepared - and making the meal more akin to a soup. -=-=- Dessert -=-=- Tarte Crème Tatin This Raevir-Auvergne fusion dessert is one with a rich custard base, with a layer of caramelized sugar - followed by a fruit caramelized via use of butter and sugar. A pie crust is added upon the top, making the upside-down caramelized custard tart. A supremely sugary dessert, achingly sweet.
  2. THE PASSING OF AN ELDER CROW The Passing of Duke-Emeritus Jan Arpad Ivanovich Issued by, THE DUCHY OF STRAN On the Deep Cold, 1940 TO THE REALM OF CANONDOM, It is with a heavy heart, the House of Ivanovich announces the passing of Ser Jan Arpad Ivanovich. The founder and the former Duke of Stran has passed away peacefully in his sleep after his years-long dedication to the furthering of the Raevir cause and the founding of a home for the Raevir people. Jan spent his life, starting at the age of 6 honing his skills and knowledge of the Raevir culture and ways of living. He strived to live to the ideals of Saint Theodosius, Saint Arpad, and of the first Strannik. Throughout his whole life, his dream was to gather his fellow Raevir brethren and start a home to see his culture survive and thrive. The great Ivanovich has finally accomplished that as Stran flourishes from the foundations he had set for its beginnings. The Ivanovich family shall host a funeral for the former titan of the Raev as they enter a Saint’s Week of mourning for their former head of house. Ser Istvan Ivanovich, current Duke of Stran is now the de jure patriarch of the Ivanovich Dynasty. We ask our friends and allies to pray for Ser Jan Ivanovich’s soul so that he may rest well in the seven skies. GODANI JEST WIELKI. SIGNED, His Grace, Ser Istvan Ivanovich, Duke of Stran, Voidvode of Vaška, Count of Pravets, Baron of Vsensk, and Godansk, Lord of Andregrad, Hetman of the Host of St. Arpad, Keeper of the Hussariya, Protector of Raev and the Vaškan Steppe Her Grace, Izabela Anna Ivanovich, Duchess of Stran, Voidvode of Vaška, Countess of Pravets, Baroness of Vsensk, and Godansk, Lady of Andregrad, Hetman of the Host of St. Arpad, Keeper of the Hussariya, Protector of Raev and the Vaškan Steppe
  3. THE DUCHY OF STRAN “Heirs to the Krajian Hetmans, Dukes of none but ourselves.” "Хеирс то тхе Крайиан Хетманс, Дукес оф ноне бут оурселвес." Established by, THE DUCAL HOUSE OF IVANOVICH On Tobias's Bounty, 1932 TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. GOVERNMENT 2. NOBILITY & STYLES 3. THE HOST OF ST. ARPAD 4. FAITH OF THE VAŠKAN STEPPE The Duke of Stran greeting the Aaunic Envoy visiting the Vaškan Steppe, c. 1927. GOVERNMENT The government of Stran is broken up into two branches. The first branch being of the Duke’s Council acting as the administrative leadership of the Duchy. The latter branch being The Duma where all Raev dwelling under the Ducal Banner can come together and speak to the Duke. However, all power truly lies with the Duke of Stran. THE REIGNING DUKE HIS GRACE, ISTVAN MATYAS IVANOVICH, DUKE OF STRAN, VOIVODE OF VAŠKA, COUNT OF PRAVETS, BARON OF VSENSK AND GODANSK, LORD OF ANDREGRAD, HETMAN OF THE HOST OF ST. ARPAD, PATRIARCH OF HOUSE IVANOVICH, KEEPER OF THE HUSSARIYA, AND THE PROTECTOR OF RAEV AND THE VAŠKAN STEPPE R. 1932-Present THE REIGNING DUCHESS HER GRACE, IZABELA OF WARSOVIA, DUCHESS OF STRAN, VOIVODE OF VAŠKA, COUNTESS OF PRAVETS, BARONESS OF VSENSK AND GODANSK, LADY OF ANDREGRAD, HETMAN OF THE HOST OF ST. ARPAD, MATRIARCH OF HOUSE IVANOVICH, KEEPER OF THE HUSSARIYA, AND THE PROTECTOR OF RAEV AND THE VAŠKAN STEPPE R. 1932-Present THE DUKE’S COUNCIL THE DUKE OF STRAN - Istvan I, Duke of Stran The ruler of Stran, the Duke holds absolute authority over his lands; his word is supreme, and his wisdom is unquestioned. To ease the burden of managing his realm, the Duke has sought to establish a council made up of individuals with the ability to enforce his will and act as his representative in affairs on matters bestowed upon them by the Duke. THE ATAMAN OF THE DUMA - Ser Arpad Ivanovich The Ataman of the Duma holds authority over administrative governing duties of the Duchy, as bestowed upon them by the Duke. They are tasked with leading the Duke’s council as well as the Provincial Duma alongside the Duke. In the absence or inability of the Duke to perform his duties, the Ataman of the Duma will act as regent and head-of-state in the Duke’s stead. THE ATAMAN OF THE PEOPLE The right hand of the Ataman of the Duma is the Ataman of the People, they are tasked with representing the citizens of Stran and its territories. Furthermore they are responsible for guiding the wayward sons and daughters of Raev to the true raevir of Stran. THE ATAMAN OF THE HOST - Ser Rassvet Senko The Ataman of the Host is the second in command in military affairs, answering only directly to the Duke. The Ataman is charged with the logistics and organization of the militant forces of Stran, keeping the lands of the Duke safe and advising His Grace on matters of warfare and security. THE DUCAL MAGISTRATE The Ducal Magistrate ensures that the Duke’s law and authority is upheld within his own lands. Aside from acting as the Duke’s chief justice, the Magistrate is also responsible for the education and training of Stran’s youth so that they may serve their Duke and people well and proudly. THE MASTER OF COIN In all matters stewardry, commerce, and investment, the Ataman of Coin acts as the Duke’s master of coin. The Ataman of Coin is responsible for overseeing the economy of Stran, establishing and settling of guilds, and administering the men and women in the service of the Duchy. THE PROVINCIAL DUMA Quite different compared to the Duke’s council, the Provincial Duma acts as the local government of the Duchy of Stran. When the Duma is called into session at the discretion of the Duke or Ataman of the Duma, all citizens of his realm regardless of rank or station are welcomed to petition the Ducal Throne, discuss current issues, and or debate legislation. NOBILITY & STYLES The highest estate of the Duchy of Stran would be those of Nobility. While culturally raevir see all equal in the eyes of GODAN, those who go to great lengths to serve and improve the Duchy are rewarded for their service by the Ducal Throne. THE DUCAL DYNASTY The House Ivanovich finds its roots deeply connected to the Carrion Kings of Ruska and the Raevir people. long known for producing some of the most fierce warlords and knights throughout the annals of mankind, have once again through their might climbed to be named Dukes in their own right, destroying the local native population of the land they have now built their Duchy atop of. THE HOUSE IVANOVICH His Grace, Istvan I of Stran Her Grace, Izabela I of Stran His Grace, Jan Ivanovich, Duke-Emeritus of Stran Her Grace, Cressida Novellen-Aldersberg Ivanovich, Former Duchess of Stran † His Lordship, Arpad Ivanovich, Baron of Cherskavy Lord Vladric Ivanovich Lady Elizaveta Ivanovich Lady Viktoria Ivanovich Lady Maria Ivanovich Lady Anastaja Ivanovich THE HOUSE NOVELLEN-ALDERSBERG The Most Honerable, George Novellen-Aldersberg Her Grace, Cressida I of Stran † Lord Jasper Novellen-Aldersberg Lady Justine Novellen-Aldersberg Lady Anne d’Arkent-Aldersberg THE SZLACHTA STRATA Loyal and steadfast retainers of House Ivanovich through years of service to Jan Ivanovich have earned their place in his realm. The Szlachta Strata are the highest and most respected members of raevir society dwelling in the Vaškan Steppe, with their loyal service to the Duke they are granted certain rights and privileges compared to the lowborn Streltsy, such as personal heraldry and land most privileged. THE BARONIAL HOUSE PETROV His Lordship, Pascal Petrov Lady Urzula Petrov Lord Dragoslav Petrov Lady Antonija Petrov Lady Myrilla Petrov THE BARONIAL HOUSE RATISPORA His Lordship, Ser Viktor Ratispora Her Ladyship, Lina Wren Ratispora Lord, Ser Ivan Ratispora Lord Anton Ratispora Lady Alina Ratispora THE BARONIAL HOUSE VOLKOV Her Ladyship, Anya Volkov His Lordship, Ryba Volkov-Novikov Lord Aleksandr Volkov Lord Rafael Volkov Lady Helina Volkov Lady Irena Volkov THE BARONIAL HOUSE KORVACZ His Lordship, Ser Miklos Korvacz Her Ladyship, Roziska Korvacz Lord Ser Radu Korvacz Lord Lorand Korvacz Lord Arisztid Korvacz Lady Xenia Korvacz Lady Ramona Korvacz Lady Marija Korvacz THE HOST OF ST. ARPAD OF VILACZ The standing army of the Duchy of Stran is the Host of St. Arpad, first founded in 1898 by the now Duke Jan I of Stran. It is known for its intimidating appearance, draconian tactics used on and off the field of battle, producing some of the most fierce Cossacks and Knights from their ranks, and unwavering loyalty to the Duke and his people. It is led by the Duke of Stran bearing the rank of Hetman and overseen by the Ataman of the Host acting in his stead. FAITH OF THE VAŠKAN STEPPE The Raevir of Stran and any who dwell under the banner of Ivanovich adhere to the teachings and tenets of the sect of Canonism known as Ruskan Orthodoxy. The true heart of Ruskan Orthodoxy in the steppe is the Church of St. Theodosius of Istiam.
  4. By decree of, THE COUNT OF VAŠKA 6th of Horen’s Calling, 1908 TO OUR RAEVIR BROTHERS & SISTERS, By order and decree of the Count of Vaška, the formation of the venerable order of the Bogatyr is to be formed. As described by the Count, those named Bogatyrs are to be and seen as the most upstanding members of our people, the Heroes of the Raevir. The purpose of this order is to honor those true-Raevir who have passed on from this mortal life and ascended to the Seven Skies above. Let it be known that there can never be a living Bogatyr, this strictly honors those we have lost. For one to become a Bogatyr there is criteria to meet before being honored with such a mantle. Those being considered must fulfill the following: A Bogatyr must have been of Raevir descent or adopted our ways. A Bogatyr must have lived within the lands of Vaška, Pravets, or Barrow’s Crossing. A Bogatyr must have lived a life of piety and virtue. A Bogatyr must have lived a life of courage and valor. A Bogatyr must have lived a life of great deeds and sacrifice. A Bogatyr must have lived a life of honor and humility. If one is being considered to be honored and elevated to the status of a Bogatyr after they have passed and meets all the requirements above, they shall be honored by their life story being added into the Tome of the Bogatyr. The Tome of the Bogatyr is written, maintained, and kept by the Count of Vaška and his scribes. It holds the list and stories of those named Bogatyr, and once one is added they can never be removed to ensure their memory lives on and is honored generation after generation. GODANI JEST WIECZNY His Lordship, Jan Arpad of the House Ivanovich, Count of Vaška and Pravets, Baron of Cherskavy, Hetman of St. Arpad’s Host
  5. [!] These missives would be nailed on posts throughout the continent! Issued and confirmed on the 14th of Harren’s Folley, 1901. TO THE WAYWARD RAEVIR OR THOSE INTERESTED, The Host of Saint Arpad is looking for men and women of Raevir descent to aid us in our cause in the reconstruction of our people’s ways and culture. We seek not just warriors, but workers, tradesmen, and people who are willing to settle our lands within the Hetmanate of Krostov being built just east of our Adrian comrades. If you are not of Raevir ancestry, but still wish to settle or aid us in our cause, we offer to educate you in ways for you to understand and adapt or if you wish, adopt our culture to further its existence in this world. Whatever your decision may be, if you settle these lands, let it be known you will be working towards something greater than oneself, a truly noble and honorable cause. To find us or reach us, one may send a bird to the Hetman or his Boyars within Veletzia, or meet with them there in person. SIGNED, Jan Ivanovich, Hetman of St. Arpad’s Host OOC:
  6. DUMAPALOOZA - THIRD TIME'S THE CHARM Issued on 13th of Sigismund's End 1896 The Duchy of Adria, a title often attributed to political paper, has not had lands for any of her people or kindred to coalesce for well over a century. As any good Sarkoz should, we bemoan the deprivation of a proper land to call Adria, one where we may exercise our ancient, vaunted customs. Now, we seek to re-unite those who have wandered aimlessly in this time of interregnum- not under the banner of Sarkozic, but under the banner of Adria, that which we may all claim as ours. House Sarkozic, however, invites all the remaining cadet-houses of House Carrion and those families of influence in Adria’s past to a formal Adrian Election regarding the title of our forebears. It is long past due that those of Adrian stock aim to return to the days of the Cercogstva Adrija; and we are here to retrieve one through a fair election that has been delayed, but never forgotten. There shall be drink for all, revelry, and celebration for this joyous occasion. INVITATIONS ON THE FOLLOWING RULES: 1. The Duchy of Adria shall only be elected by those Crow Elector Houses specifically named within this document. 2. The Duchy of Adria shall neither be a titular nor roaming title; it shall be bound to its allotted land within the Lower Petra known as Velezetia. it shall be bound to the allotted lands decided by the first elected Duke. 3. Although he is not required to hail from Adria proper, the elected Duke of Adria must reside primarily within the Duchy of Adria. He who neglects this duty is liable to be deposed. 4. The elected Duke of Adria may not hold any higher title, nor stand to inherit any higher title. Such candidates are hereby barred from holding the Duchy of Adria unless they renounce their previous titles or inheritance. 5. The Duchy of Adria may never be conferred, inherited, purchased, granted, or otherwise obtained through methods other than election by the Duma. House Sarkozic var Aaun invites the following Honourable Electors: THE PONTIFICAL THRONE His Holiness, Pontian IV - @Balthasar THE HONORABLE CROWS Aaun Sarkozics - @Beamon4 Balian Sarkozics - @Matheaww Barbanov - @GMRO Barbanov-Morovar - @HogoBojo Basrid - @JoanOfArc Tuyvic - @gavyn Rutherns of Hanseti-Ruska - @Demavend Rutherns of Balian - @Aehkaj Ludovar - @CopOwl Petrine Ivanovich - @excited Aaunic Ivanovich - @Calvin_ Varoche - @Enlightenment ESTEEMED PATRICIANS OF VES Bracchus - @Publius Montelliano - @TwistedFries Ren - Last descendant of Watanabe - @Moo_bot Kortrevich of Jerovitz - @Phersades De la Baltas - @monkeypoacher Ratispora - @Optimus420 Jewelbeard - @Nooblius BIRDS OF THE FEATHER & ESTEEMED GUEST Western Turkin - @Tibertastic Esteemed Guest - Ottomar von Alstreim, Last Descendant of Duke Franz Nikolai, Margrave of Vanderfell, Lord Vandalore - @Ramon Esteemed Guest - Anton Siegmund Tuyvic, Son of Duke Franz Nikolai @GMRO Esteemed Guest - Erik Euler, Architect of the Adrians @Laeonathan
  7. THE EAGLE’S FUTURE Issued on 13th of Godfrey’s Triumph, 1896 The House Sarkozic had been summoned by His Holiness, Pontian IV to the ruins of San Luciano to discuss its future. After much discourse, it was proposed to elect a head of a northern branch of Sarkozic, so Heinrik Otto var Nikolai Sarkozic and Ratibor Kazimir Sarkozic could pursue their own ambitions in the north of Almaris independent of the Sarkozics of Pompourelia. All Sarkozics present were given one vote, including the chair. Upon tie, one mina was flipped to break the tie and determine the breaking vote. IN PRESENCE WERE: His Holiness, Pontian IV Heinrik Otto var Nikolai Sarkozic Ratibor Kazimir var Nikolai Sarkozic Paul Emanuel var Nikolai Sarkozic Franz Arthur Sarkozic, Baron of Pompourelia Katerina Angelika Sarkozic var Pompourelia Laurent Frederick Sarkozic var Pompourelia Esteri Adrienne Sarkozic var Pompourelia AS SPECTATOR: Sigismond Varoche TO DECLARE HEINRIK OTTO VAR NIKOLAI SARKOZIC AS THE NORTHERN HEAD OF HOUSE SARKOZIC RESULTS DA: His Holiness, Pontian IV Heinrik Otto var Nikolai Sarkozic Ratibor Kazimir var Nikolai Sarkozic Paul Emanuel var Nikolai Sarkozic NIET: Franz Arthur Sarkozic, Baron of Pompourelia Katerina Angelika Sarkozic Laurent Frederick Sarkozic Esteri Adrienne Sarkozic RESOLUTION OF THE DRAW: COIN TOSS Symbolic for the double-headed eagle of Sarkozic, much like a double-sided coin. TAILS Sarkozic var Pompourelia HEADS Var Nikolai Sarkozic OUTCOME: HEADS CONCLUSION OF THE ELECTION: Heinrik var Otto Sarkozic declared as patriarch of the northern branch of House Sarkozic. Signed, His Holiness, Pontian IV Heinrik Otto var Nikolai Sarkozic Ratibor Kazimir var Nikolai Sarkozic
  8. THE HOUSE OF RUTHERN “By Bones and Barrows” Introduction The House of Ruthern is the current ruling family of the Duchy of Vidaus and vassal of the Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska. Originating as a bastard cadet branch of the House of Carrion through Boris I, King of Raev’s bastard son, Ruther ‘Bonebreaker’ Barrow. The House of Ruthern originally rose to prominence under Exalted Sigismund and the succeeding Carrion monarchs, King Heinrik I and King Franz I, and again at the founding of the dual Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska under the Barbanov King Petyr I. House Ruthern has remained at the height of human politics and conflict ever since. The Histories Origins The House of Ruthern is one of the oldest houses of humanity; originating from the imperial House of Carrion. House Ruthern descends from the bastard Ruther Barrow, born out of wedlock between the Prince Boris Carrion and a courtier believed to be by the name of “Elizaveta”. Although a bastard, his mother sought out good treatment for the Barrow and had him cared for by the servantry and other governesses of the castle. Elizaveta spoke honeyed words to those around her to secure a safe homestead for the child under another Carrion, Lord Borislav. He was “[...] ill-tempered and cruel; and [Ruther] had always been spiteful of those around him, taking pleasure in torture and pain.” Ruther had a notable, intense phobia of bloodshed and reveled in forms of blunt trauma and torture to satiate this. A hammer was his weapon of choice to inflict these acts and to further himself throughout all his military endeavours, oftentimes partaking in naval warfare of cold blue seas amidst war if not in the thick of the bloodshed and battle. Ruther was despised for his cruelties, and the courtiers and servants alike begged for the Lord Borislav to have the boy killed in war to die upon foreign soil. Seeing their pleas as plausible against the ill-mannered Ruther Barrow, the boy was sent off to war again (with hopes from those at his home that he would die) with sixteen longships gifted to him and a levy mixed with convicts and conscripts. Against all odds, Ruther and his men infiltrated the rival Kosanov Holding and decimated the populace in its entirety amidst the Raevir people’s civil conflict. When the Carrion lords that he so served under attempted to claim the hold in which Ruther had won over, he garrisoned the castle and demanded legitimization for his pivotal effort in the war. Legitimization would make Ruther a true Carrion, and those who knew the boy were in open opposition to this occurrence. Lord Borislav, among the men demanding the stronghold of Kosanov, refused the legitimization outright. However, Ruther was granted a barren beachline for his warband out of appeasement and high wishes that such would satisfy the wicked bastard. Soon, Ruther was forced to abandon his lands as war saw itself in a spiral. Through fury and insanity, he navigated his fleet away from the House of Carrion’s and drove the people along with him to a variety of island civilizations between the continents of Asulon and Anthos. Ruther’s passing was sudden and unknown, only to be followed by his trueborn son; Boris. Boris garnered the sigil of the hammerhead shark for the creature’s savagery, hammer-head in symbol of his father’s weapon, and affinity in water. Boris continued his father's legacy of establishing violent campaigns against various trade archipelagos, and bore two sons; Ivan and Ailred. Boris, however, did not have the unrelenting tenacity and violence as his father. He faltered and in doing so his second son, Ailred, was kidnapped at a young age by rival slavers. Ailred was lost to the family, being raised as a Dreadfort child soldier after being sold to Augustus Blackmont in Anthos. Boris eventually contracted scurvy, dying and sending the “Fleet of Bones” scattered throughout the wild seas with each Captain having a will to claim the mantle Ruther and Boris had held. The ensuing, blood-filled conflict of brother against brother and friend against friend became known as the “Night of Broken Ships”. In the following year, Ivan, possessing a knack that his father did not, was able to consolidate his own forces from new recruits and remnants of the Bones’ crews where he gained knowledge of a new landmass and began making plans. Crimson Chapter [Anthos] Ivan took what little streltsy conscripts and thralls he’d mustered to head for Anthos. He had figured the continent settled and ripe for war, despite his weakened fleet. Upon arriving on the Crimson Isles, Ivan and his fleet are met on the shore by a retinue of soldiers loyal to House Blackmont. Agreeing to a meet between himself and Lord Augustus Blackmont, Ivan and his crew members are escorted to the Dreadfort; a towering, dauntingly fearsome place. Inside, the conversation that ensued was a productive one where Ivan saw his views align with Lord Augustus’ own leading to the integration of his men into the Flay forces with Ivan as an officer, serving the awe-inspiring bandit lord as a formidable brigand in his own right. In what can only be described as a fortuitous twist of fate, Ivan reunited with his brother, Flay bannermen Ailred, who had come to be nicknamed “Red Ruth'' for his flayish brutality in their time apart. Ailred had grown up with a harsh sort of way before earning his freedom and rising through the ranks due to his skills as a swordsman and commander of men. The years that came after this were prosperous for the Ruthern brothers and their men, banditing, raiding and accumulating power and influence aplenty. Like every good thing, it comes to an end though and the House Ruthern’s time as bannermen was no different. Augustus Blackmont, the man who had garnered the respect and loyalty of many, died, leaving his son Tiberius, known to be incompetent, to inherit. The climax of Tiberius’ ineptitude came in what has come to be remembered as the “Crimson Banquet”, where a feast in the Flay keep devolved into the throwing of wild accusations and fighting after Tiberius died at the hands of an unknown poisoner. The ensuing chaos and blood spilling results in the Dreadfort being set alight, reduced to rubble once the flames died down. In the aftermath many of the formerly Blackmont loyalists join the large swathes of people in the Great Exodus, leaving behind the lands of Anthos in search of the fabled land of Aeldin after the death of Horen V and the dismantling of the First Orenian Empire. Ivan and Ailred stayed and governed the lands that were once belonging to House Blackmont, their status once more risen. Second Orenian Empire [Anthos] In lieu of the Orenian Empire, the Kingdom of Ruska rose in its place as the dominant kingdom for humankind. At the head of it is Siegmund Carrion, King of Ruska and second cousin to Ivan and Ailred. A charismatic and captivating figure. King Siegmund sought out Ivan and Ailred to express his desire of a unified humanity once more under one banner of which they would be included. Convinced of his sincerity and lack of ulterior motive, Ivan and Ailred agreed and thus the lands held by the Ruthern siblings fell under the Kingdom of Ruska to further Siegmund’s cause. In the coming years the vision proves an ever more tangible one when the remaining human states join the fold and makes the Apostolic Kingdom of Ruska the sole nation of mankind, to be reconstructed as the Second Orenian Empire with a Kaorvic at its core. Ivan and Ailred were bestowed the benefits of their loyalty, rising in status as Marquess and Counts and forming the Decterum Order, the largest and later state military of the Empire, with Ailred assuming the position of its Marshal. In the years that were to come, Ailred’s power and influence advanced whilst his brother Ivan grew frail and weak, wracked with rapidly oncoming old age. In late Anthos, Ivan takes his final ragged breath and passes away in his bed in the middle of the night, leaving behind both trueborn and baseborn children but leaves Ailred as the new patriarch of the House of Ruthern. During the same period of time, Emperor Siegmund I died and, without a viable son to become heir due to either their taking of holy rites or mere dullness, dismantled the Empire and willed the throne of the Kingdom of Oren to be taken by his nephew Heinrik ‘the Warrior’ van Roy, who became King Heinrik I. Several years later, the continent of Anthos sank beneath the waves after routine floodings swallowed large swathes of land and forced the Rutherns, with the rest of the Kingdom, to flee to the Fringe, a temporary land mass where the descendants made home for a decade. The Fringe saw the bloodiest, most ruinous chapter of the history of the House of Ruthern that began with the death of the King. Oren Civil War [Fringe] Upon the death of King Heinrik I of Oren in 1456, Franz Josef Carrion, the thirdborn son of Exalted Emperor Siegmund and nephew of Heinrik, was proclaimed heir to the throne in the last will of the deceased king. Controversially, Franz had previously been High Pontiff (referred to as High Ecclesiarch at the point in time), under the name Radomir I, but abdicated his pontifical titles and returned to secular life as a Prince of the Kingdom of Oren. Franz was well known for his diplomacy and machinations and it was believed amongst the people of Oren that he would bring a more peaceful time after the abundance of war, raids and military actions of his predecessor. Despite his reputation, there were those from the nobility and clergy who were opposed to his crowning, chief among them the High Pontiff Regulus I and Archbishop John Jrent of Darfey. Regulus believed that it was wholly wrong for a Pontiff Emeritus to seek a crown, an act which was in violation with Franz Carrion’s own papal dictates, and grew paranoid over the quickened spread of Ruskan Orthodoxy, which Regulus and his predecessor High Pontiff Lucien II had already had to make numerous concessions for. As such, High Pontiff Regulus I delayed and avoided crowning Prince Franz Carrion as King of Oren for many months. Only the true High Pontiff may crown a King of Oren and thus Franz Carrion sought to circumvent the process by being crowned as King of Ruska by an anti-pontiff of his own choosing instead in the City of Vekaro. During his coronation, the Order of Saint Lucien being present took it upon themselves as a Holy Order loyal to High Pontiff Regulus I to arrest the anti-pontiff. They failed in this attempt when an attack on the fortress by minions of Iblees known as the Scourge began, forcing the Lucienists to deal with them rather than continuing their detainment of the false pontiff. Tensions grew when this act was misinterpreted as a failed assassination attempt and Regulus condemned Franz’ actions. After the denouncement of King Franz’ undertakings by those of the True Church, Franz proceeded according to his plan and issued a letter to Pontiff Regulus stating that he had defrocked his own anti-pontiff and wished to repent on the condition that the Pontiff enthrone him as King of Oren. King Franz Carrion would never see this come to fruition as the Archbishop John of Darfey, Chancellor of the Council of Bishops, had conspired with the leader of the Decterum and Lord Marshal of Oren, Count Ailred Ruthern, to depose King Franz by any means necessary. The Archbishop had supposedly offered Ailred the crown of Oren, a promise he had no power to give, and Ailred accepted. Feigning continued loyalty to his Ruskan liege, Ailred and his Decterum were granted entry into Vekaro where they began to stage their blood coup. Franz and those in his court, being Lord Chancellor Wilfriche Buron later to be canonised as Saint Wilfriche of Hanseti, Baron Lorethos Basileus, thirteen year old page Damon Kovachev, nine lowborn courtiers, and one priest, were killed by the men of the Decterum and Lucienists. King Franz Carrion was murdered by Ailred Ruthern personally with half-a-hundred stabs before he collapsed, only to be set upon by the other conspirators who mutilated him further. High Pontiff Regulus I disapproved of the betrayal that would henceforth be remembered as the ‘Franciscan Massacre’ of 1456 but appointed Ailred Ruthern and Commander Jack Rovin of the Order of Saint Lucien, amongst other notable leaders of Human factions, as a member of the Tetrarchs, a temporary regency council, as the Pontiff was unwilling to name a single successor to the throne to avoid further divides between mankind. At the same time, Velky-Strannik, roughly translated to Grand Knight, Fredek Royce of the Order of Stranniks, bastard son of King Heinrik I, was present in the royal castle in Vekaro whilst the Decterum and Lucienist forces killed all men present and loyal to King Franz Carrion. Fredek, upon discovering the betrayal, had the sense to remain undetected whilst he made his way out of the castle. Along the way he came across the boy Dederick Varodyr, who he whisked away to the relative safety of the Flay owned, Mount Augustus. Fellow surviving witnesses and the Raevir inhabitants of Vekaro had made their way to Mount Augustus also where they recounted Ailred’s treachery to any who would listen, earning Ailred Ruthern the moniker ‘the Turncloak’. Once Dederick Varodyr was out of harm’s way and reunited with his kin Tuvya and Boris Carrion, Fredek Royce rode back to his encampment of Stranniks where he ordered the men to rally up and climb atop their horses. Galloping back to the city, the Stranniks had the intention of reclaiming the city or, failing that, recovering the body of King Franz Carrion. Among their numbers was a Ruthern bastard by the name of Dmitri of the Dreadfort, thought to be a grandson of Ivan ‘the Seafaring’ Ruthern, serving as Borsa-Strannik, the second highest position in the order. Once inside Vekaro, the Order of Stranniks was met with more numbers than Fredek Royce had anticipated and after fighting for hours on end, the Stranniks were finally forced to retreat into a corner of the city. Knowing that there was little chance of success or escape, Fredek Royce, Dmitri Barrow and the remaining Stranniks made one last charge into the Decterum and Lucienist forces in a last ditch effort to break through their line in what contemporaries have referred to as a suicide charge. All of the Stranniks were cut down against the far superior numbers. Following the Franciscan Massacre and the final Strannik charge, Ailred maintained control over Vekaro for a number of weeks with reinforcements from the Order of Saint Lucien and warded off any attempts to reclaim the city. Dissent began growing within the ranks of the Decterum however, only exacerbated by the growing belief that Ailred Ruthern would not be crowned the next King of Oren and a general disdain for the extreme actions taken by him. Coming to a climax on the 11th of the Deep Cold, 1456, Ser Abner Rahl ‘the Red Crow’, the most veteran soldier in the Decterum, slay Ailred Ruthern. With the assistance of fellow Decterum knight Ser Rowan McHaryn, Abner assumed control of the Decterum as Marshal and turned the majority of the ordermen back to serving as Carrion loyalists which held Vekaro in their name. Despite their restored allegiance, the Decterum fought for neither side in the ensuing Siege of Mt. Augustus, instead focussing on reorangising the order. Ailred Ruthern’s son, Lyov Ruthern was proclaimed as patriarch of House Ruthern as detailed in a letter issued by Ser Abner Rahl wherein he also formally apologised for the actions of Ailred and the Decterum to the House of Carrion. The bodies of the fallen Stranniks, including that of Dmitri Barrow’s, were returned to the Carrion loyalists in Mt. Augustus and given the appropriate final rites before being laid to rest. Dmitri, for his role in the attempted reclamation of his liege’s body, was made Blessed and legitimised posthumously as Dmitri Ruthern. Tuvya ‘Rosebud’ Carrion, the baseborn half-brother of King Franz Carrion, prepared the defence of Mt. Augustus for the imminent siege that had been planned by Ailred before his murder. The usurping Orenian forces had bolstered their army with Urguani hordes and other non-humans (becoming known as the Zionists), beginning to surround the fortress. Days went by but the thick walls gave nothing and repelled the frequent attacks but the Carrion loyalists inside could only withstand so long with limited food and men, outnumbered four to one. Whether caught by surprise or due to having lost Ailred Ruthern, their most veteran commander, the besiegers were killed after the Carrion soldiers stormed out to meet them in a battle that came down to the wire. A Carrion victory left the future of Oren open ended and uncertain. Such was the case until a missive from the High Pontiff Regulus I made known that an apparition of the Exalted Godfrey appeared to him and his retinue on a pilgrimage to the ruins of the Imperial capital of Abresi. The apparition called for Peter Chivay to be crowned and reform the Empire of Oren. The Pontiff sent letters instructing the Chivay to return from Aeldin. He landed on the shores of the Fringe with the Order of the White Rose in tow where he was crowned as Emperor Peter I of Oren by Regulus. Emperor Peter made a truce with the Carrions under the terms that Boris Carrion, Tuvya’s son and thus grandson of Exalted Sigismund, be made a Prince with land for the Ruskans. For Ailred’s leading role in the Franciscan Massacre and Carrion overthrow, House Ruthern had little place in the Third Empire with the ire of all the Raevir peoples on them. His gamble for the kingdom had failed. As such the few surviving Rutherns lived in exile, thought to be extinct, until the days of Vailor. The last reminder of them, the Decterum, was disbanded in early Athera once a Carrion monarchy was thought secure again. Erochland and the County of Metterden [Vailor | Axios] In their exile, a descendant and namesake of Blessed Dmitri with his wife Emma gave birth to the twins Alric and Maric. Into their adolescence news reached across the waves of the result of the Dukes’ War and the Horen Restoration that saw King Guy de Bar assassinated and John Frederick Horen raised as Emperor John I of Oren. The twins set sail for Vailor and arrived years later to carve out a future amongst the relatively new Fifth Empire. The two found themselves shored up at the Province of Erochland, a place of great turmoil since its’ annexation, governed by Emperor John I’s son, Prince Alexander Louis. With opportunities aplenty, Alric and Maric stayed and pledged their services to Prince Alexander. Paramount amongst those under Alexander were the Colborns, a house whose rise to influence had been heightened when Carr Colborn had built the Duchy of Haense along with its Duke, Karl Barbanov, a Carrion descendant. Carr’s son, Osgod, continued the Colborn’s renown for exceptional service as he was both faithful to the Governor of Erochland and the Barbanovs still, who had found themselves building up another Northern state in the Duchy of Carnatia that acted as a rump state for the displaced Haeseni. Both Alric and Maric took spouses of noble stock in similar fashion to Ivan and Ailred’s tact over a century earlier. Alric was wed to Lopkaea Marbrand and Maric to Isabel Stafyr. Alric had only one child with Lopkaea, Joseph, whilst Maric and Isabel had a plethora of children, starting with the twins Dmitri and Marjorie that was quickly followed by Godric, Odette and Arik. Osgod Colborn, either having seen potential in them or to keep them loyal, parted with one of his Imperial titles, the County of Metterden, and bestowed it upon Alric Ruthern. Alric was an excellent warrior and commander, given the title in recognition of both his noble stock and his abilities to successfully manage the Southern Chapter of the Golden Corps in Osgod’s name. Alric was not a well man though, and suffered from bouts of depression and despondency that left him insensible at times. Coming to a culmination after a further breakdown in Alric’s mental state, he disowned his only child, Joseph, leaving him to take his mother’s family name, Marbrand. In addition, Alric left his wife and vanished, last seen having entered the dense woods outside of the Imperial capital, Felsen, never to be seen again. Alric’s twin brother Maric Ruthern became the next Count of Metterden in the fallout of Alric’s radical final acts. Maric, having the sense his brother lacked, made haste in restoring his estates and minor provinces, proving an effective replacement for his predecessor and would see his fortunes raised in the wake of Prince Alexander’s death. Osgod Colborn was raised as Duke of Erochland in view of the pacification and control of the island’s lands and peoples. Osgod’s obligations to the north had proven cumbersome and thus he appointed Maric as Lord Regent of Erochland, to rule the island when Osgod was otherwise occupied or absent. When the Orcish plague claimed all of Vailor, the descendants had no choice and fled to sail towards the Axios Isles. With Vailor lost, so too was Erochland. Maric had proved himself an apt Lord and regent, much to the satisfaction of Osgod who vouched for the House of Ruthern and Count Maric to King Petyr I of Hanseti-Ruska, a newly formed dual Kingdom within the Empire. King Petyr, a Barbanov, was the descendant of the last Carrions but forgave House Ruthern for Ailred’s role in the Fransiscan Massacre; the stain of regicide finally wiped clean. He welcomed Maric in as a vassal of Hanseti-Ruska and had the County of Metterden transferred under him, making Count Maric the first in a long line of Haeseni Ruthern. Maric aided as best he could in the build up of the new Highlander state until he came down with an unknown sickness that left him infirm. His sons Dmitri and Godric oversaw the construction of the defensible Ruthern castle Alriczan, so named in Maric’s brother’s honour, as they began to assume the responsibilities their father no longer could. It was not long after that Maric abdicated to his son and heir Dmitri. Dmitri, ever the ambitious diplomat, firstly accepts his disowned cousin, Joseph Marbrand, as a vassal beneath him, making him the Baron of Rostig and weds Sofia of the ancient Amador House. To consolidate the Ruthern power in Hanseti-Ruska further, Dmitri has his spouse’s family swear fealty to him until such a point as they proved themselves and were raised as Haeseni vassals under King Petyr I in their own right; an act which formed a strong alliance between the two. Dmitri continued to rule in the coming years as one of the more powerful Haense houses. Deep Cold Uprising and Aftermath [Axios] The most notable part of Count Dmitri’s life came in the Year of the Four Emperors. Emperor John III’s youngest son, Prince Philip Frederick, had been betrothed to King Andrik’s youngest sister, Princess Tatiana, but broke down soon after. To keep the union between both Houses intact, the Princess Royal of Haense Julia was matched with John III’s son and heir John Augustus. Prince John was cruel and bizarre, summarised by Ser Edwyn Harwyn who said “...His Imperial Highness has degraded to the point of sheer madness, cunningly brutal yet brutally cunning." Prince John was well known to have made numerous unsavoury comments about both his betrothed and Princess Tatiana, much to the contempt and vexation of King Andrik who began to grow disenfranchised with the Imperial Crown despite Emperor John III’s best efforts to keep the two conjoined. Andrik’s hatred for Prince John came to a peak when his father Emperor John III was assassinated and he rose to the Imperial throne unexpectedly as Emperor John IV at the age of 17 in 1585. A meeting was held between the newly installed Emperor and King Andrik II as was customary but historians since have spoken to the likelihood of it being used by Emperor John IV as an opportunity to insult and ridicule King Andrik. Regardless of the reasons, what is fact is that King Andrik, alongside his friend Margrave Brandon Vanir, did kill John IV only two months into his Imperial reign. Both claimed after that the Emperor was threatening and about to murder Andrik himself and thus the regicide was an act of self defence. King Andrik’s rebellion had begun and he made haste back to the north to begin fortifying the Haeseni border in preparation of the Crownland retribution that was to come. He bolstered the ranks of the strategically positioned forts and castles with his own men and blocked the path through the Greyspine Mountains, preventing any army from marching on the Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska by land. As time went on, King Andrik’s vassals who had initially supported him grew restless. The Dukes’ War had only taken place two generations earlier and saw the ruin and exile of many Haeseni noble families for decades after. Not wanting to lose their status’ and wealth again paired with the promise of keeping a Barbanov on the Haeseni throne and offered clemency to any Lords from Emperor Philip I in his missive, the Olive Branch Petition, a number of King Andrik’s nobles rose up against him. The first of these was Count Sergei Kovachev, followed swiftly by Count Dmitri Ruthern. The loss of his top vassal’s support and strategic checkpoints, such as the Ruthern owned Greyspine Mountains, meant King Andrik had little viable option but to abdicate to his two year old son, Marus. As a consequence of his failed rebellion, regardless of its true origins, Andrik turned himself over to Imperial forces and was marched back towards the Palace as a prisoner. Emperor Philip executed Andrik by boiling him in milk. Brandon Vanir was captured in the same year by Imperial men and had his hand removed for his involvement in the regicide of Emperor John IV. The Emperor Philip’s word proved to be true as he kept his side of the bargain and allowed the Haeseni vassals to maintain their lands and keep Andrik’s son, King Marus I, on the throne of Hanseti-Ruska. Count Dmitri was awarded land in the Imperial crownlands also. Dmitri, alongside his brother Godric, make use of this almost immediately by forming a worker’s guild that operated in both Johannesburg, the Imperial capital, and Karlsburg, the Haeseni capital. Through astute management and a boom in the economy, Dmitri and, by extension, House Ruthern boasted one of the largest treasuries in Axios. Dmitri’s fortunes turned at the end of the 1500s however when his wife Sofia committed suicide that spirralled him into a deep rooted depression that absorbed the remainder of his life. The riches earned were spent in a matter of months and the worker’s guild’s steep decline into disuse and eventual closure saw Dmitri all but leave his family near destitute. Before the despondent Count could make matters worse, his son and heir, Boris, petitioned King Marus I in 1595 to give him his inheritance immediately whilst Dmitri still lived. Granting it, Boris became the 4th Count of Metterden. Boris’ time as Count was a relatively stable one with only a few unexpected surprises that arised. In his tenure he saw a succession crisis involving the related Marbrands and the Barony title that resulted in Boris seizing the lands and taking the title Baron of Rostig for himself. In the years after, he also arranged the marriages of his sisters, Adelajda and Aleksandra, to King Marus I and Stefjan Kovachev, Count Sergei’s grandson, respectively to maintain the pseudo-alliance formed and remedy any hostilities that may have lingered from the Deep Cold Uprising. Succession Crisis and the Great Northern War [Axios] Boris maintained a strong grip on the County with no challenges to his authority in his six years as Count, however the same cannot be said of any of his immediate successors. Boris never wed or had children, leaving his brother Viktor as the heir presumptive. Boris feared his brother’s competency and character though so created a will in secret to ensure Viktor would never receive his inheritance. In it he detailed that the County would instead go to a distant cousin Arik Ruthern. Tensions rose between the Kingdom of Courland and the Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska in what is now known as the leadup to the Great Northern War. Count Boris is sent by Lord Palatine Lukas Vanir as the Haeseni agent to negotiate the release of the Courlandic Princess Annabelle Staunton who was being held under house arrest. He rode towards Aleksandria, the Courlandic capital, but was met outside the walls by Courlandic knight Ser Demetrios Palaiologos who killed Count Boris. Boris’ will came to light subsequent to his death and caused an immediate rift in House Ruthern between those that backed Boris’ brother Viktor’s claim and those that wanted to respect Boris’ wishes by supporting Arik Ruthern. King Marus I ruled in favour of Arik’s claim to the County and granted it to him which caused the disgruntled Viktor Ruthern and a portion of their kin, notably his uncle Adelwen Ruthern, to abandon Hanseti-Ruska and form a deal with the Kingdom of Courland, swearing allegiance to them in a declaration of fealty. Viktor’s side proclaimed they have been wronged and that Arik’s claim is illegitimate, naming him Arik ‘the Black’. Arik and his supporters denounced Viktor and the kin that followed him as traitors and cowards for siding with the Kingdom that murdered Boris. In the next year the Great Northern War broke out with Rutherns on both sides. A series of losses for Hanseti-Ruska, that came to a climax at the successful Siege of Vasiland that left no more viable defensive points for the northern kingdom, meant King Marus I had no choice but to capitulate to King Tobias Staunton. The former Haeseni lands are absorbed by the Kingdom of Courland with King Marus still laying claim to his titles but being forced into exile with any Haeseni who were unwilling to be beneath the subjugators. Ivan Ivanovich was proclaimed Warden of the North by King Tobias, to govern the acquired lands and keep the conquered Haeseni placated. Ivan died with no children and thus the infamous Archduke Franz Kovachev of Akovia was appointed Warden. With the Courlandic victory, Viktor Ruthern was awarded the County of Metterden in full by King Tobias for his support during the war. Viktor and his uncle Adelwen published the ‘Ruthern Restoration Act of 1604’, officially disowning and renouncing Arik’s claim on the Ruthern name, including lands, holdings and titles. Greyspine Rebellion [Axios] Count Viktor would only hold the title for three years before he died from an unknown cause. His son and heir, Joren, rose as the 8th Count of Metterden at the tender age of seven. Joren, under the guidance of his advisors, repealed the Ruthern Restoration Act of his father and appointed Vladrick Ruthern, a distant cousin and descendant of Ailred ‘the Turncloak’, as his regent. After a few years, House Ruthern took liberties as a vassal and took control of the County of Istria, a de jure part of Akovia at the time, much to the ire of both Archduke Franz Kovachev and King Joseph Staunton who had it declared illegal. Tensions rose between House Ruthern and the Archduke with levies raised at the ready to meet on the field until King Joseph summoned the two to meet before him in Aleksandria, Courland’s capital. It is unsure what actually transpired there but the end result was certain, the child Count of Metterden, Joren Ruthern, was killed alongside some of his retainers, and his kin, Adelwen Ruthern. Vladrick Ruthern was imprisoned, having survived the Massacre at Aleksandria. Count Joren, being eleven at the time, is remembered as ‘the Young’. Joren’s younger brother, Uhtred, became the new Count at the age of eight. House Ruthern was outraged and, under the regency of the Metterden master-at-arms Harren of Metterden, claimed that the Archduke of Akovia had orchestrated the massacre with the help of the King of Courland after Joren had arrived in good faith. In his letter ‘Courlanda Delanda Est’, Harren declared that the men of House Ruthern would start a rebellion to reclaim the Northern lands from the southern overlords. Thus began the Greyspine Rebellion. The Ruthern men combined forces with the House of Baruch, securing much needed numbers and validation that this was indeed the cause to unify Haense once more. Following back and forth raids and incursions into Ruthern and Courland lands from both sides, former Haeseni under the iron grip of Courland flocked to the rebel side and took up arms against the oppressive Archduke and King of Courland. In one of the ensuing raids, Vladrick Ruthern was freed and placed back as regent whilst Harren of Metterden remained his position as chief war advisor and commander. With word spreading across the continent, the exiled Haeseni returned with King Marus I’s son, Stefan Barbanov, at the head of them just in time to take part in the defining battle; the Second Battle of the Rothswood. Vladrick Ruthern and Harren of Metterden, alongside the key work of Count Otto Baruch, Lord Stefan Barbanov and with the support of the Kingdom of Lorraine, killed the mass majority of the Courland forces and ran the rest out of the North in an overwhelming victory that earned the rebels back their land. With the issue of who would rule the reconquered lands, the First National Duma was convened to elect a new King of Hanseti-Ruska. The three claimants were Count Uhtred Ruthern, Lord Stefan Barbanov, the son of deposed King Marus, and the unlikely Adolphus Vyronov, Baron of Rytsburg. After a constant back and forth between the parties supporting a Ruthern king and those supporting the return of the Barbanov royal line, the Ruthern claimant bowed out and gave his support to Stefan Barbanov who won in a landslide victory. He was crowned King Stefan I of Hanseti-Ruska. In the years after the Haeseni victory over the Courlanders and the re-establishment of the Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska, Count Uthred Ruthern mysteriously disappeared; his body never found and no clues as to his fate. With Uhtred ended the line of Ruthern descendants all the way back to Ivan ‘the Seafaring’ Ruthern. Thus in their place, the descendants of Ailred ‘the Turncloak’ Ruthern arose as the new Counts of Metterden with Count Joren and Uhtred’s former regent Vladrick, taking the mantle. Vladrick’s tenure lasted twenty-eight years in what was a steady and consistent time for House Ruthern but a stoney, iron fisted approach to rulership. Supposedly Vladrick was an abusive father as well which earned him the moniker ‘the Cruel’. Vladrick was declared dead of natural causes on the voyage to Atlas. Stalwart Rulership [Atlas] This period was already extensively covered by an earlier set of Ruthern historians in that of the late Duke Maric L. Ruthern and Ser Alric ‘The Cavalier’ Ruthern in their early life. Such can be referred to within their original study written and attached here: Pair of Palatines [Atlas | Arcas] Duke Rhys, having outlived all his children, passed the mantle of Duke of Vidaus to his grandson, Demetrius Ruthern. Demetrius was appointed Lord Palatine at the age of twenty-three and served most of King Robert I’s reign. Demetrius retained his position through his marital ties and close friendship with the King rather than possessing a talent for it. Most of the work done during his tenure was done by his secretary and underlings in the Office of the Palatine with minimal oversight and approval on his part. His time was summarised by his contemporary Lerald Gambinoel in his recorded comment “if he was not the most competent placeholder known to our realm, I do not know who is.” He served as Lord Palatine and Duke of Vidaus until his death at the age of forty-two due to sudden ill health. For his apparent lack of hard work and abundance of freetime despite his ordinarily demanding position, he is remembered as ‘the Fowler’ because of the copious amount of time he spent hunting young wildfowl. Demetrius’ son and heir Konstantin became the 3rd Duke of Vidaus following his father’s death. He also ‘inherited’ his father’s position on the Aulic Council, rising to the rank of Lord Palatine at the age of twenty-one in the same year. He was the childhood friend, companion and relative of King Marus II which gave rise to the widely held opinion that he, like his father before him, only received the position out of bias and nepotism. He would only serve as Palatine for two years, failing to do anything meaningful in the time either because of the stigma against him or because he did not receive the position out of merit and had no knack for it. Regardless, Konstantin resigned from government and remained the rest of his life on his estates, opting to remain out of politics the whole time and in its place aid the church both monetarily and with deeds throughout the first half of the War of the Two Emperors. For this he is remembered as ‘the Pious’. He abdicated to his son Viktor in 1719, only to die suddenly the following year at the untimely age of thirty-four. Duel of the Hammerheads [Arcas] Following his father’s abdication and subsequent death, Viktor II Ruthern became the 4th Duke of Vidaus. He saw and led the House of Ruthern through the remainder of the War of the Two Emperors but failed to lift the stagnation of the House that had set in during his father’s reign. After the end of the war, he was wed to King Marus II’s sister Princess Mariya, following a mutually agreeable courtship. The two only had one living child, Sigmar, whose twin sister was stillborn much to the distress of his wife who had already been stressed with her husband’s growing disregard for his duties and estates while off galavanting for weeks at a time with no word as to where he was going. On one such departure, he disappeared for an extended time which placed worry in the minds of many and led to the start of the end for his marriage and the revoking of the duchy title. Mariya sought an annulment after this for Viktor’s marital negligence, supported by her nephew King Andrik III, but there were rumours she had been entangled in an affair with Prince Vladrick Alimar. In a rage at the news, Viktor returned to Reza and confronted his wife in a private meeting which he stormed out of some time later and berated her to the public as a harlot. A month following, Tuvya Ruthern, Viktor’s younger brother, met him in the Reza main square and openly challenged him to a duel for the position of Count of Metterden. Tuvya voiced his disapproval of Viktor’s actions and failures as Duke and Count, insulting him for losing the title. Viktor agreed to the fateful duel and after he received a fatal stab from Tuvya, he returned with a strike of his own and caved in the skull of his own brother with the House relic Ruther’s Hammer. This came to be known as the Duel of the Hammerheads and a precise example of House Ruthern’s kinslaying ways. Viktor, despite winning, survived only a few hours longer until he succumbed to his wounds and died in the Haeseni clinic. Thus, Viktor’s only child Sigmar became the next Count of Metterden at the age of four. Viktor and Tuvya’s younger brother, Konstantin, became Sigmar’s guardian and regent. Redeemer [Arcas] Sigmar set out on a pilgrimage at the age of fifteen but disappeared on it, to be remembered as Sigmar ‘the Lost’ from then on. With no reports of his whereabouts or news for months, Sigmar was presumed dead and thus his uncle, both his regent and heir presumptive, Konstantin became Count Konstantin II. Four years later, Sigmar reappeared but did not wish to reclaim his title and was content with his uncle being Count of Metterden. Unlike most Rutherns, Konstantin displayed a more patient and methodical way of approaching things which made him an apt student of the law, specialising in Haeseni and vassal legislation. Promptly after the deaths of High Justiciar Gerard Stafyr and King Andrik III, Konstantin assumed control of most of the Justiciar’s responsibilities, namely maintaining the first Haeseni law codex in a time when Hanseti-Ruska was experiencing a decreased level of autonomy beneath the Holy Orenian Empire. Once King Andrik IV assumed the throne he appointed Konstantin as High Justiciar. Throughout his career that spanned twenty-seven years, right up until his death, he served both King Andrik IV and his son King Sigismund II. His tenure focussed primarily on upholding Haeseni specialised law despite being a vassal at the time. Following his death, many of his originalist views have been studied in royal academies the likes of; the Royal Academy of Saint Catherine and the Royal Academy of Saint Charles. The time of Count Konstantin II saw the establishment of the Ruthern cadet branch, House Batavus. Started when the lands formerly known as Brunswick were sieged down in a matter of days by Ivan Ruthern, nephew of Konstantin, and a few of his companions. Following the heretical inhabitants' surrender, King Andrik IV granted Ivan the title of Viscount of Batavia which encompassed the taken lands in exchange for vassalising under him. When issues arose through where the land was situated, being removed from the rest of Haense, King Andrik ordered Ivan to cede the land and return to the Capital where he would gift him another parcel of land soon. Years went by however and no land was given but Ruthern-Batavus’ nobility and status was retained and Ivan was knighted for his many years of military service. More years went by and matters only grew worse when Orenian Emperor Peter III demanded that the nobility of Haense be more in Imperial control which King Andrik IV reluctantly agreed to which saw the Batavus nobility and title dissolved. Under Ser Ivan’s son Ruben, the cadet branch was eventually dissolved and absorbed back into the parent House of Ruthern. Konstantin and his wife, Katherine Stafyr, had four children - three daughters, the three sisters becoming better remembered as the Daughters of Metterden, and one son. Konstantin’s reign saw the Scyfling Invasion of Hanseti-Ruska which made Metterden a repeated target for Scyfling assaults and sieges. The first of these culminated in the kidnapping of Konstantin’s only son and heir, Aleksandr Ruthern. Being abducted by pagans and savages, most assumed that Aleksandr was dead which left Konstantin’s eldest daughter, Viktoria, as heir presumptive despite having wed the young King of Hanseti-Ruska Sigismund II two years prior. Warrior Queen [Arcas] Viktoria Ruthern, better remembered as Queen Viktoria of Metterden and ‘the Warrior Queen’, first rose to prominence through her marriage to King Sigismund II and the almost immediate start of the Scyfling Invasion following it. Viktoria lived up to her name by her overwhelming involvement in not only the Scyfling Invasion, where she herself commanded the defence of Metterden during a siege on it and remained a leader of the war overall, but also in the Boomhill Campaign and in the general workings of the Haeseni Royal Army where she became increasingly popular amongst the soldiery of Hanseti-Ruska. Her fearsome reputation was only made more intense when a Scyfling spear found its mark and slashed across the Queen’s face which led to the loss of her eye, a battle scar to match her moniker. After a near decade as Queen-consort, Viktoria’s father Count Konstantin II’s body was discovered in an abandoned Scyfling camp after the end and defeat of the Scyfling’s invasion. Konstantin, never having accepted that his only son was dead, had been patrolling former Scyfling owned sites for any sign of Aleksandr. Presumably he was killed when he stumbled across remnants of the deceased Scyfling leader Bralt the Boar’s army. With his death and still no sign of Aleksandr, Viktoria, as heir presumptive, inherited her father’s titles and estates. She became the first ever Countess of Metterden but also the first Queen-consort to hold a title in her own right which presented a plethora of issues. Having already given birth to Princess Nataliya and Grand Prince Josef of Kusoraev, the Ruthern titles would be absorbed into the Royal House upon her death. A larger problem arose three years later however when Viktoria’s husband committed suicide at the age of twenty-eight. Being pregnant at the time as well, her and King Sigismund II’s final son, Prince Franz, was born posthumously. Viktoria, now Queen-mother, aided in the transition of power to her son King Josef’s regency council as he was only a boy of seven at the time. In this time too did a solution to the Metterden succession crisis arise when her late father was proven correct when her brother, Aleksandr, returned alive and well and was declared the rightful Count of Metterden in Viktoria’s place. In the time after, Viktoria remained a prominent figure still as she went on to serve not only as Aulic Envoy but also as Deputy Palatine for a number of years. The Inferi War marked the downturn of the Warrior Queen’s fortunes when, against the wishes of her children, sailed on a Norlandic ship to join in the battle against the Damnable Host of demons. It was there that Viktoria lost both an arm and a leg but persisted still, going on in her stubborn way with two atronach limb replacements. In the next decade of her life Viktoria was plagued by her age catching up with her, making use of a cane and suffering the first of her heart attacks. She did not survive the next one and passed away in the palace gardens after attempting to train with her sword outside. The spar caused great strain upon her greatly declining health and, at fifty-one, she died with her sword in hand. Shaped by Scyflings [Arcas] In the time after his capture at the hands of the Scyfling warriors and his presumed death, Aleksandr Ruthern was raised amongst the invading hordes as a prisoner of war until he was rescued by the Haeseni sympathetic Scyfling tribe clan Volik. It was only after the defeat of the warlord Bralt the Boar and the relocation of those Scyfling people who wished to start a life in Hanseti-Ruska that Aleksandr was able to make his way back home with the droves of immigrants. Aleksandr’s homecoming presented a dilemma as he was the only son of the late Count Konstantin Ruthern which made him the rightful heir to the County of Metterden. Being thought dead for all those years, the title had passed to his eldest sister and Queen of Hanseti-Ruska Viktoria. Fortunately for all, Viktoria decided on the most prudent course of action to pass the land and estates associated with House Ruthern on. Viktoria, having willingly returned her titles to the rightful line of succession, ensured that the County of Metterden would remain as the seat of House Ruthern and thus Aleksandr, Viktoria’s brother, became the 14th Ruthern Count of Metterden. Aleksandr was swift in wedding the daughter of one of his Volik saviours, Keldra, whom he had fallen in love with during his time amongst them and together they had the twins Maric and Alric, named in memory of the first Counts of Metterden who were twins themselves, Sigmar, Amalia and finally Camilla. In the rest of his time as Count, Aleksandr became and served for the majority of his life as an Imperial judge, specialised in Haeseni law and its maintenance in relation to being a vassal Kingdom at that point in time. Aleksandr displayed a penchant for medicine also but explored it only after his tenure as Count. During the period of Aleksandr, the Count had been served by a number of Rutherns that upheld the title and the importance of house Ruthern in his stead, such as Ser Ruben Ruthern-Batavus, and furthermore Ser Boris Ruthern. In this period the house of Ruthern gained notoriety as a household of knights, with many thereafter committing to the Marian Retinue and the Order of the Crow. Upon the changing of the squirely trials by Lord Palatine Konstantin Wick, previously damaged by a reform under Sigismund II, Ser Boris was the first to complete these new trials and thereafter led the charge in helping to establish a new age of knighthood as the knight paramount that would see the knighthood enter into a later golden age. Ser Ruben would eventually be disowned after entering into a matrilineal marriage, whilst Ser Boris would go on to later die during the Rimeveld Troll War, having previously served in the Scyfling Invasion, Inferi-War, and the Sutican War. After a near twenty years as Count of Metterden, Aleksandr’s lack of stomach for politics and his declining health led him to abdicate to his fifteen year old son Maric on the voyage to the continent of Almaris. As Aleksandr went on to live unencumbered by any publicly known health complications or long lasting diseases for a number of years, well into his children’s late adulthoods, it is unsure whether or not Aleksandr thought he would die on the ship journey and if that spurred him on to abdicate. Regardless, Aleksandr maintained his intention and saw his son become the 15th Ruthern Count of Metterden whilst he retired with his wife Keldra and became a doctor until the pair of them disappeared. What became of them is unknown. Reclamation of a Duchy [Almaris] Where his father, Aleksandr, had been content, and to some idle, Maric was a breath of fresh life for House Ruthern; ambitious and politically minded. Maric also had the good fortune to have similarly go-getting siblings with his twin Alric going on, utilising his talent and skill with a sword, to become a crow knight and then later Knight Paramount during the reign of King Henrik II. Although he led the Haeseni knightly orders during a time when they were prevalent and effective, Alric is probably best remembered for carrying out the orders of his liege against the disowned princess Nataliya Reza where Alric performed her brutal execution via being burned at the stake and shot with a crossbow bolt. Maric’s other notable sibling proved not as controversial. Camilla Ruthern had a successful career as a Haeseni judge, known as a Jovenaar, for many years and is remembered as having been well suited to the role. Maric’s life is not as easy to summarise. In his debut into Haeseni politics and governance, Maric sat as a temporary substitute for his absent aunt, Lady Speaker Irena, overseeing the Royal Duma, the legislative body of Hanseti-Ruska. In the sitting, Viscount Fiske Vanir began to berate Anabela Vilac and the Bill on Lordship Reforms that she was defending. Unbeknownst to the Duma, the Bill had been primarily compiled and written by Count Maric himself. Maric expelled Lord Vanir from the sitting which caused an uproar amongst the other Lords and led to a walk-out. Outside of the Duma Hall, Maric challenged Fiske Vanir to a duel as a matter of honour over the incident and, after a short-lived fight, Maric proved victorious, beating the Lord handily. Baron Stefan Vyronov issued a subsequent challenge to Maric only to be beaten by the Ruthern Count as well. It is because of this event and his future reforms on duelling that Maric is remembered by the moniker ‘the Duellist”. Maric went on to wed Dame Anabela Vilac and together had Ailred, Antonina, the twins Harren and Tatiana, and finally Marjorie. Anabela died a decade later as a complication of her overwhelming alcoholism. Though he’d found his footing in the political spheres of Haense and had begun to make good headway, family issues arose not long into his time as Count. The son of former Count Sigmar ‘the Lost’, Erik, harboured Imperial sympathies which were at odds with the majority of the Haeseni peoples, including the majority of his Ruthern kin, ever since Haeseni independence a decade or so earlier. A heated argument broke out between him and Maric which resulted in Maric, as patriarch, prohibiting Erik’s wish to move to the Orenian Empire. When Erik disobeyed his wishes, Maric had little choice but to disown him, an act that Oren and Erik largely ignored but still formed a rift between the two branches that persisted throughout Maric and his son Ailred’s entire lives. Despite the familial tensions, Maric and his siblings had raised the importance of House Ruthern within Haense and thus King Josef of Hanseti-Ruska elevated Maric to the title Margrave of Greyspine after Maric had brought a large retinue to court asking to be raised a rank. In the years after, Maric served as Deputy Palatine beneath Lady Palatine Marcella Barclay and four years into the reign of King Josef’s son King Henrik II and the sudden resignation of Lady Marcella, Maric was appointed Lord Palatine of Hanseti-Ruska, a position he served in for the majority of the contentious rule of King Henrik as the voice of reason. One such incident that was spurred on by the controversial King was a scheme that has come to be remembered as the Wives’ Plot, a plot that was masterminded by Maric’s aunts Irena Sarkozic neé Ruthern and Elizaveta Tuvyic neé Ruthern. After the immensely unpopular execution without trial of King Henrik’s own aunt Nataliya, Irena and Elizaveta’s disdain grew and led to two begin their assassination attempt. A botched plan that had intended to see the two murder King Henrik in his palatial office but instead saw Irena captured by Haeseni knights whilst Elizaveta managed to escape. Despite having slipped into a coma after her arrest, Irena was placed on trial for treason and attempted murder of King Henrik II. She was found guilty, sentenced to execution by being hung, drawn and quartered. Her gory remains were sent to her husband in Oren. Elizaveta, who had escaped judgement for the attempted regicide, died in the same year from unknown causes in the County of Dobrov in the Orenian Empire. Fortunately for Maric and the other Haeseni Rutherns, both Irena and Elizaveta had been long retired from Haeseni society and lived in the Orenian Empire prior to the plot so were not seen as being involved with the rest of their family. After another decade of leal service to the Kingdom following the Wives’ Plot to ensure no stain remained on the Ruthern name as a consequence along with the fifteen years that Marc had served as Lord Palatine, Maric achieved his lifelong ambition. King Henrik II returned the ancestral title, the Duchy of Vidaus, as issued and confirmed in “The Lords Edict of 378 E.S” to Maric almost a hundred years after it had been revoked during the ruinous reign of Viktor Ruthern. This is attributed to Maric’s own long and credible service but also the appointments his own children had achieved in their own right with his son and heir Ailred becoming the Lord Marshal and his daughter Tatiana being made the High Justiciar. With his life’s mission complete and the re-establishment of House Ruthern as a powerful vassal and competent contributor to the Kingdom, Maric tied up any loose strings and unfinished works in his Office as Lord Palatine before retiring to the Duchy of Vidaus for the last few remaining years of his life. He spent his last five years in a glad quiet after securing excellent marriages for the remainder of his children to other prominent Lords, Ladies and Princesses which strengthened the House further. During this glad quiet, Maric remarried to Lady Caroline de Selm, fathering another daughter. The ageing Duke even took up a fascination with cooking and the culinary arts, regularly selling culinary goods and treats within the city of Karosgrad. Duke Maric Ruthern, after settling his affairs and ensuring the relative happiness of his children, or at the least attempting to, finally retired to his castle and away from politics, and died from a heart attack incurred with a charred fish in the oven. Legacy of the Brotherhood [Almaris] The life of Ailred Ruthern was dominated by his passion and skill for all things militarily minded. As soon as possible, Ailred enlisted in the Haeseni Royal Army and rose through the ranks due to his natural skill with a sword, being one of the best swordsmen of his age, and his innate commanding capabilities. In his early twenties he was promoted to an officer at the rank of Sergeant and was deployed to reinforce the Attenlund Expedition with a small force under his command. When he returned a year or so later, the then Lord Marshal Friedrich Barclay retired and King Henrik II selected Ailred to succeed him for the abilities he’d exhibited in the Attenlund. Before his departure to the Attenlund and long absence, Ailred had wed his childhood companion the Princess Fenika Lichte and in the time after he’d returned the two sired the first three of their children Mathea, Rhys and Sofiya. After his monumental rise, Ailred set about righting some of the army's weaknesses and shortcomings as he saw them, encompassing all his reforms in an overhaul of the entire army. He reformed the army into the 3rd Order of the Brotherhood of Saint Karl (BSK) to emulate a more traditional approach whilst also putting in place better book-keeping, aided by his implementation of his military censuses, and more standardised and effective training procedures and routines. In the same period, Ailred adopted a larger role in managing his father’s lands and estates whilst he also began to lead House Ruthern politically. Alongside his childhood friend and brother-in-law, Duke Ruslan Baruch, and other pre-eminent Haeseni nobles, namely Count Jan Kortrevich, Ailred’s other brother-in-law, and the Viscount Isaak Amador and Baron Hildebrand Mondblume, Ailred formed the Ducal Union, a political entity made to present shared values and views, especially on the rights of nobility, as a united front. The Ducal Union is accredited to have been the ultimate pressuring force that facilitated the passing of the Voron Edict which increased the responsibilities of the Lord Speaker role, held by Duke Ruslan at the time. More controversially, the Ducal Union was also publicly credited with having pressured the Haeseni Crown to demote the House of Barclay down to a County. Over the decade that followed, Ailred commanded the Haeseni forces in four wars; an unparalleled number in the most recent centuries. The first of these was a consequence of the Attenlund explorers unleashing an ancient evil - the Nachezer Parasite. The parasite, set free, began to collect bodies and hosts in the swamp before spreading east, into Haense proper, as an all-consuming tide. After the initial Nachezer assaults on Haeseni keeps and lands, most notably Vidaus and Valwyck, Ailred and the BSK led a string of counter-attacks and eventually destroyed the eastern threat by destroying their initial home in the Attenlund swamps. In the same time, Ailred was able to put an end to the decades long conflict with the Rimeveld Trolls, driven to fight the people of Haense by a lack of food in their frigid Northern home. At the end of war on the Nachezer and the conflict with the Rimeveld Trolls, Ailred’s father died of a sudden and unexpected heart attack which left him as the Duke of Vidaus. Having served as Lord Marshal for a number of years already and happily married to Princess Fenika, a woman of impeccable blood and reputation, with three children already, Ailred was in a remarkably well suited position to inherit the title and responsibilities. However, tragedy struck the newly minted Duke when his beloved wife died in childbirth to the pair’s last two children, the twins Grigoryi and Boris. For the next few months, Ailred was consumed with his grief that had sent him into a depression, one he never quite seemed to shake as it was noted when he returned to his duties fully that he was more of a cynic as well as temperamental. His first three children, although young at the time, harboured a deep resentment of their new siblings. The third of the wars Ailred fought was the Silver War against the Haelun’orian High Elves. The war had begun when a Haeseni fugitive, who had besmirched the honour of Prince Otto, had been tracked to the capital of the Silver State. After the King’s diplomat and Ailred’s brother-in-law was attacked by the denizens of Haelun’or and driven out of the city after he’d tried to negotiate an extradition, King Henrik II demanded compensation but when the reclusive High Elves refused to satisfy him he declared war against the Silver State of Haelun’or. This marked the first war against another descendant race since Haense had achieved its independence from the Orenian Empire. However, no major battles were ever fought during the Silver War as the Silver State lacked a conventional army and thus retreated behind their city walls to wait out the conflict. Ailred was however successful in leading a number of raids on their roads and on several occasions managed to infiltrate the city itself but never with a large enough force to take the entirety of the city. Despite this, the High Elven government refused to acknowledge the war for years, much less concede to Haeseni demands, despite the bloodshed. Unable to transport siege equipment so far across the sea, Haense was left with only raiding parties as its tool of war. The war lost considerable steam once it became clear the High Elves would not leave their walls, and as the years dragged on, token raiding parties patrolled the Haelun'orian roads to remind the Silver State of their ongoing feud. This lasted until the end of Ailred’s marshalship and into the reign of King Henrik’s son, King Sigismund III. The surrender of Haelun’or only came about when they had abruptly subjugated beneath the Principality of Savoy. Being another human Canonist nation, Savoy did not wish to be at odds with Haense, and by extension the Grand Kingdom of Urguan who had also been insulted by the Silver State. To remedy the growing issue, Prince Olivier of Savoy forced the Silver State of Haelun’or to surrender and admit their wrong doing whilst also paying Haense ten thousand mina in reparations and ceding Ando Alur, the only continent based land they owned, to the Grand Kingdom of Urguan. The last war that began whilst Ailred was still Lord Marshal was the Sutican Civil War which, despite having started after the Silver War, ended years before the war with the Haelun’orians. Sutica was inherited by Queen Johanna I, wife of the late King Georg, who were relatives of the Haeseni House of Barclay, and they were thus close allies of the Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska. After Johanna's succession, however, one of her vassals - Filippos Komnenos, Baron of Trabzon - rebelled to seize the throne. Ailred marched the Haeseni forces, without receiving permission to do so, to aid the Sutican loyalists, in the Sutican Civil War. Ailred thought it prudent to march the army in the early hours of the morning as the rebellion in Sutica was announced, taking the force into an unoccupied Sutican strategic point; the Barony of the Rhein. This was done without Haeseni or Sutican assent, though such was later approved by the monarchs Henrik and Johanna, as letters were passed back and forth between the Marshal and the Queen. When the Sutican Rebels pushed in to take the keep, the Brotherhood’s forces along with the Sutican troops prevailed decisively over them in a remarkably quick victory which left the rebellion in ruins. Subsequently, the rebellion was demolished, their leaders executed, and the civil war ended in the space of a year thanks to the sharp-witted intervention of the Lord Marshal Ailred. Coming to the end of his tenure as Marshal, Ailred remarried over a decade after the death of his first wife and love Fenika. Ailred and his new wife Madalene, the youngest daughter of the Orenian Baron of Halcourt, had two children together, Angelika and Stefaniya. Ailred also chose to resign from his position as Lord Marshal, with the permission of King Sigismund III, fueled by the completion of the Silver War finally and the wish to spend time with his spouse and family. Ailred did however request and join the Marian Retinue as a knight, taking the moniker ‘the Prevailer’, as well as sitting as a Royal Advisor to the King. After a couple of years, Ailred abdicated to his son and heir, Rhys, who had already started his own family and had been appointed Lord Speaker of Hanseti-Ruska. The end of Ailred’s story starts with the initiation of the Sinners’ War. A war started by Emperor Philip II ‘the Fiddler’ between the Orenian Empire and the Grand Kingdom of Urguan that spiralled into a continental conflict when Emperor Philip III took the throne by dubious and kinslaying ways and exacerbated the issue by continuing the war against the Dwarves, who were satisfied with the death of Philip II, as well as failing to murder the High Pontiff Everard VI, schisming against the Church, and being excommunicated twice. Needless to say, the Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska got involved to defend their allies and fight Oren, who were in a state of anathema for failing to remove their excommunicated monarchs. Ailred was appointed as Field Marshal for the war to command and lead the Haeseni troops during major skirmishes. In the first major confrontation of the Sinners’ War, Ailred was placed in charge of the Tripartite Accord soldiers and led them to the much celebrated and sung about victory at the Siege of Southbridge where the Orenian forces were outmatched and defeated handily. However, Ailred did not get to bask in his win. He had removed his helmet and held it up high with a celebratory shout as the remaining Orenian troops fled only to have a stray arrow from one of them shot into his eye which killed him on the spot. Hailed as a champion and remembered for his iron will and command as ‘the Steelheart’, Ailred became a modern hero in Haense with a huge state funeral put on when Edmund Barclay returned his body from the battlefield. Speaker’s Ride [Almaris] Ailred’s eldest son, Rhys, became the 7th Duke of Vidaus at the age of twenty-three when he abdicated. In his early childhood Rhys’ mother, Fenika, had died in childbirth to his twin younger brothers, Grigoryi and Boris, who he harboured a well known resentment for, labelling them murders and cursed. Although sharing his father’s temper, Rhys was no gifted swordsman or natural born commander which put him at odds with his father Ailred who tried to push him into a life of soldiering. Rhys displayed a proclivity to the more scholarly and literary with the only exception being his near obsession with the sport of jousting. He served as a ward beneath his uncle, Lord Speaker Ruslan Baruch. Ailred, despite his dislike for Rhys’ chosen path in life, arranged a beneficial betrothal, having him engaged to the daughter of Baron Robert Ludovar, Marie. While Marie was well known in the up-and-coming nobility, liked and agreeable, Rhys saw her as nothing more but as a platonic friend, a notion he struggled with after their betrothal was announced. Thus, Rhys grew close to other women in search of the lacking romance. It was not long until Rhys began an intimate relationship with the Royal Elephant Keeper and House Baruch servant Sanja Kutznetsov. Having not been subtle in their inappropriate relationship, Rhys put so much stress on his betrothal that it nearly collapsed when Baron Robert complained to Rhys’ father. The enraged Lord Ludovar wanted to terminate the engagement outright but came to a compromise when Ailred offered to take no dowry and Rhys ended the love affair. In spite of this though, Sanja’s first child, Zoran, was rumoured to be the bastard son of Rhys, a rumour that Rhys denied throughout his entire life. Zoran was the son of Rhys’ cousin Joren Ruthern instead, who had begun a short-lived affair with Sanja after Rhys had ended theirs. Almost immediately after the Sanja incident, Rhys was primed to become the next Lord Speaker after the death of his mentor Ruslan Baruch. King Sigismund III, the chivalric and honourable monarch he was, demanded before his appointment that Rhys redeem himself for the dishonour he’d brought on himself, his betrothed and Sanja. Thus Rhys was made to fight with the Marian Knight Ser Flemius until both of them were satisfied. He lost round after round against the far superior opponent until he was bloodied and beaten and the two women had seen enough. Afterwards, King Sigismund made Rhys the twelfth Lord Speaker of Hanseti-Ruska. Rhys went on to marry Marie Ludovar four years later and notably had a loving marriage from then on. Their wedding was an expensive affair with Rhys paying an outrageous amount to have a huge portion of land flattened and cleared to have an equally expensive tourney grounds constructed that hosted the two’s post wedding festivities. The prizes for the melee, joust and archery were similarly large. Together Rhys and Marie had four children - Viktoriya, the twins Dorothea and Mikhail, and finally Dmitry. At the same time, Rhys became the Duke of Vidaus upon his father’s abdication. Rhys served as Lord Speaker for the longest recorded tenure of any Speaker at twenty-nine years. Rhys put a greater emphasis on the subservient role of Grand Peer of being the Lord Speaker, a role which hones in on the maintenance of noble standards and traditions, one that put him at odds with Baron Sigmar Mondblume who wished to marry a commoner, even still when Rhys offered his own sister’s hand in marriage. The rest of Rhys’ long span as Speaker was relatively uneventful as he kept the Royal Duma running smoothly and efficiently for the most part with only a few notably turbulent sittings. The first of these was when his deranged cousin Joren disagreed on a minor Bill with the Lord Palatine Kaustantin Baruch and as a result stabbed him in the leg. Despite the major crime he’d committed and his immediate expulsion from the Duma, Joren was never even taken to court on account of Rhys’ father Ailred getting the case dropped with his influence on the government. Another such instance was the Duma Riot of 413 E.S where the commoner Simonei Barkov, a displayed farmer as a result of the war with the Orenian Empire in the Sinners’ War, began on a rant which accused the Haeseni leadership of failing the common people. When the chamber erupted in violence, the Royal family and Rhys were rushed out by the Brotherhood of Saint Karl and the chamber eventually quelled. Not all of the significant events in the Royal Duma during Rhys’ tenure were negative though as he was the Lord Speaker who oversaw the momentous passing of the Karenina Accords which allowed for equal succession rights based on gender, otherwise known as absolute cognatic primogeniture. In Rhys’ personal life, limited as his free time was, was spent mostly riding and jousting. Considered one of the finest jousters of his generation, Rhys won several tourneys including the Reinmar Joust at their chief oathing ceremony as well as a number in the capital city of Karosgrad and in his own lands for which he is remembered as ‘the Rider’. Rhys’ love for the sport was not only limited to participation but the hosting of them too which he did often and many times for an assortment of reasons such as to commemorate his own wedding, the heroic death of his father and purely for fun. Most of his tilts came with large prize money, so much so that when paired with the expense of constructing the Vidaus tourney grounds and purchasing a number of horses, Rhys near emptied the Ruthern coffers in their entirety. Desperate to maintain his lifestyle and support his family, Rhys abused his formatting and writing skills to begin to make hundreds of fraudulent copies of an esteemed artefact of Anthos. He also gifted them frequently to different people, namely as a coronation gift to King Karl III, to save money rather than to spend a large amount on some new item or relic. In time, Rhys was extremely successful in making back the Ruthern fortune but had flooded the global auction house with the forged artwork and completely debased the value of them all as time went on. His legacy of counterfeits exists to this day wide and large. Rhys’ shadily acquired rebound in wealth did little to help him though when his beloved wife Marie died in a tragic accident. Crushed by a falling chandelier after she’d pushed the future Queen Amadea of Susa out of its way, Marie died in Rhys’ arms after the two had shared a dance only moments before at the Palace festivities. In his anguish over her untimely death, Rhys drank heavily and without pause, so much so that it began to take a toll on his health and work. Thus when King Sigismund III died and his son became King as King Karl III, Rhys retired from his post as Lord Speaker and the following year abdicated to his son, Mikhail, citing Marie’s death and his sudden illness as his reasoning. Rhys chose in his last years alive to complete the outdated Tome of the Rutherns by documenting the missing centuries as well as rewriting the original pieces that had been lost to time. After its completion, Rhys died in his own bed in Druzstra Castle of his long persisting illness and a disease that sweeped through the entirety of Vidaus, one that also claimed the lives of his cousin Joren and his niece Zoya. Incumbent [Almaris] Duke Rhys’ son and heir Mikhail was by all official accounts an odd child, frequently mentioned in the tabloid of the time, the Hearsay of Hanseti-Ruska. Mentioned to be cruel and unusual, Mikhail was known to lambast his mother and sister’s whilst his father was busy in the capital. He was, reportedly, so far removed from normal life that his best enjoyed pastime was burning animals alive like that of his own pet bird that went missing. The true nature of this rumour can be summed up by the emotional outpour of a mere child and a drumming up of nonsense by the media of the time. Mikhail went on to become a well adjusted adult. Whilst his father was still Duke of Vidaus and in one of the first public outings of Mikhail, what came to be known as the Ruthern Barclay Feud broke out. The feud can be traced back to one event in particular; the Lifstala Presentations. The Lifstala, otherwise known as the Haeseni social season, that year saw Mikhail named the Nikirala Stag (the foremost bachelor) for that season and his twin sister Dorothea named the Ruskan Rose, the female equivalent of the Stag. Mikhail’s good fortune did not last though when one of the judges, Duke Johann Barclay, demanded that the title be taken from him after learning that Mikhail had insulted two of his family members prior. As a knee jerk reaction, the fifteen year old Mikhail took insult and began to berate the Duke and his titular title of Prince of Sutica as well as doubling down on insinuating that the two Barclay girls he’d insulted before were wenches. When Duke Johann demanded an apology and compensation from Mikhail’s father or he’d enter a house feud with Ruthern, Rhys responded with an insulting and rash public letter back where he challenged the House Barclay to a duel of skill between their five best fighters and House Ruthern’s five best fighters as was lawful in the Haeseni lawbook. Thus began the Ruthern Barclay Feud. Duke Johann however, angered and marched a five time larger Barclay retinue into the Duchy of Vidaus and up to the castle gates of Druzstra and nailed into the stonework his own response that challenged House Ruthern to an uncapped fight when Duke Rhys refused him entry and to adhere to his blatant one-sided terms. Whilst the argument between the two continued on what kind of remedy should be found, the House of Barclay attempted to dissuade other Haeseni Houses from aiding Rutherns in any capacity and tried to involve sympathetic Houses to their side should an unchecked conflict have broken out. Outraged, Rhys and his son Mikhail took the two issues to the Royal Duma where they had the Duke Johann’s actions condemned for their lack of honour and near illegality, especially the marching of a private army onto a fellow vassal’s land. With the two Houses at each other's throats, the Crown was forced to step in and impose onto them a five versus five as Rhys had initially suggested. Held within the Grand Arena in Karosgrad, the five Ruthern duellists, Duke Rhys, Mikhail, Joren, Siegmund and Vladimir Barrow, successfully bested the five from House Barclay. The matter settled, House Ruthern and House Barclay came to agree on Mikhail’s demands after Rhys gave him far more responsibility and acknowledged his primary role in winning the feud. House Barclay apologised for starting the feud and for the marching of an armed force into Vidaus and swore never to bear arms in Ruthern land ever again. The final condition was the commemorative ring that was commissioned and paid for by House Barclay, an item that is now one of the House relics passed down from House head to House head. Mikhail went on to wed Margrait Baruch at the age of twenty after the union had been arranged between his parents, Rhys and Marie, and Duke Eirik Baruch and his wife Duchess Anastasya. In similar fashion to his father and mother’s ceremony, Mikhail and Margrait held a large tourney. The two went on to have six children together - Aleksandr, Vladimir, Adelajda, Milena, Kazimir, and Klemenita. In the same period of time, Mikhail’s siblings Dorothea and Dmitry wed Prince Josef and Princess Maya respectively. Four years after their wedding, Mikhail became the eighth Duke of Vidaus upon his father’s abdication. He also went on in the following years to become a Sergeant in the Brotherhood of Saint Karl and then the first Grand Lord of the Royal Hanseti-Ruska Court, where all his predecessors had been women since the position’s inception. Mikhail’s reign as Duke saw the founding of the Vidausian town, Branhavn. Although constructed during his time as Duke, it was in fact Mikhail’s son and heir, Aleksandr, who was the chief architect and led the project by and large with the aid of his great aunt Angelika Ruthern. This was all done following the empowerment of Haeseni vassals and the allowance of vassal towns as a direct result of a push in legislation by Duke Mikhail and his kin Lord Speaker Maric. Traditions of House Ruthern Duel In the past of House Ruthern, it was often family tradition to kin-slay one another and squabble amongst themselves. Whilst the culture has since died with most now considering internal feuds to hinder the family rather than aid it, a new tradition grew from the duels of the past. This is that of the predominant coming of age ritual in the Ruthern family that, by the age of sixteen, to go out into the world and prove themselves through a duel. It is generally frowned upon to not partake in the duel, as such is a cowardly trait. One would rather lose than not fight at all, afterall. When the youth has returned from their duel as a victor, it will generally be celebrated with a large family feast. A Ruthern may still prove their mettle in other fields such as debate at the will of the Patriarch, though it is surely preferable to do it through that of a duel. Foreign Expedition Another tradition rooted in the military heritage of the Rutherns. As their raiders once did traverse the world to seek fights, glory, and gold, now too do their descendants travel the world, albeit with less violent intention, but rather in search of enlightenment and learning. It has become customary for the young Rutherns to spend a year in a foreign nation, what they do there is largely their own choice. The more military-minded may pick up a new fighting style, the more diplomatically-inclined ones may learn of the foreign culture, and so on and so forth. Surname In a reminder of their Ruskan Raev roots, Rutherns still utilise the particle var or vas which are masculine and feminine respectively. Not only is it used to suggest those of noble stock but also of their proud and long heritage which dates back to the days of Crowsmarche in the 1200s. For instance, Rhys var Ruthern means ‘Rhys son of Ruthern’. House Relics* Ruther’s Hammer The most iconic relic of House Ruthern. Ruther’s Hammer is the legendary hammer used by Ruther Barrow and helped him earn his moniker ‘Bonebreaker’. It was lost during the voyage to Atlas for some time until Rhys I, Duke of Vidaus, found it in a shipwreck years later. A symbol of House Ruthern’s origins, power and resilience. This, along with Ivan’s Cross and the Tome of the Rutherns, makes up one of the most important relics of the House. Tome of the Rutherns A tome containing the entirety of the Ruthern bloodline and its history. Originally authored by the Ruther Barrow’s second son Yaroslav, it has been kept updated by dutiful Rutherns for hundreds of years. This, along with Ruther’s Hammer and Ivan’s Cross, makes up one of the most important relics of the House. Ivan’s Cross Made from the mast of his famous ship by Ivan var Ruthern, grandson of Ruther Barrow, to signify his end to piracy. This, along with Ruther’s Hammer and the Tome of the Rutherns, makes up one of the most important relics of the House. Ailred’s Armour A set of armour of the Decturem. Ailred, Count of Caven and Lord Marshal of the Decturem, wore this armour when he betrayed and murdered King Franz Carrion of Oren, distant kin of House Ruthern and son of Exalted Sigismund. Ring of Ruthern A thick golden signet ring depicting a Reinmaren eagle skewered by a pike. Made and paid for by the House of Barclay after House Ruthern emerged victorious against them in a House feud started by the heir to Vidaus, Mikhail Tuvya, in the reign of Duke Rhys II. *Relics are ranked in order of importance to the House. Heads & Consorts of House Ruthern Ruther Barrow | m. Unknown Founder of House Ruthern, Lord Reaver of the Fleet of Bones Boris Ruthern | m. Unknown 2nd Lord Reaver of the Fleet of Bones @seannie Ivan Ruthern | m. Unknown ‘The Seafaring’ Marquess of the Crimson Isles, Baron of Hammerspoint and Saltridge @SirSnowMan Ailred Ruthern | m. Unknown ‘The Turncloak’ Count of Cavan and Visegrad, Lord Marshal of Oren, of the Decturem, Protector of the Eastern Seas, and Lord Reaver of Ruska @seannie Blessed Dmitri of the Dreadfort | m. Unknown Staunch supporter of House Carrion, blessed for his actions to enact vengeance for his Liege Lord’s death at the hand of Ailred Ruthern. Died in a charge to save the corpse of his liege, Franz Josef Carrion. --- @seannie Alric Myakovsky Ruthern | m. Lopkaea Marbrand Count of Metterden, Commander of the Southern Gold Corps, Lord of Averheim, and Protector of the South @whiteferrarii Maric Dmitri Ruthern | m. Isabel Stafyr Count of Metterden, Captain of the Southern Gold Corps, Lord of Averheim, Lord Regent of Erochland, and Protector of the South @RideTheSky Dmitri II Viktor Ruthern | m. Sofiya Amador Count of Metterden, Lord Protector of The Spine, Grand Meyster of the Order of The Golden Gryphon, and Lord of Alriczan @max. Boris II Nikolas Ruthern | m. Unwed Count of Metterden, Baron of Rostig, Grand Marshal of the Order of the Edelweiss, Protector of the Pass, and Lord of Alriczan @whiteferrarii Viktor Alric Ruthern | m. Cecily Amelie Horen-Vimmark Count of Metterden, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the Pass, and Lord of Alriczan @Tibertastic Joren Vladrick Ruthern | m. Unwed ‘The Young’ Count of Metterden, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the Pass, and Lord of Alriczan @Tibertastic Uthred Dmitry Ruthern | m. Unwed Count of Metterden, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the Pass, and Lord of Alriczan --- @Ticklem0nster Vladrick Rhys Ruthern | m. Margret Rykov ‘The Cruel’ Duke of Metterden [title abolished], Count of Metterden, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the Pass, and Lord of Alriczan @Imperium Rhys Vladrick Ruthern | m. Angelika Vanir ‘The Stalwart’ Duke of Vidaus, Count of Metterden, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the South, Lord of Helmholtz, and Lord Marshal of Hanseti-Ruska @RideTheSky Demetrius III Tuvya Ruthern | m. Amalie Caunter ‘The Fowler’ Duke of Vidaus, Count of Metterden, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the South, Lord of Helmholtz, Lord of Ivans Hall, and Lord Palatine of Hanseti-Ruska @Security_ Konstantin Demetrius Ruthern | m. Aaliyah Vallberg-Rovin ‘The Pious’ Duke of Vidaus, Count of Metterden, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the South, Lord of Helmholtz, Lord of Ivans Hall, and Lord Palatine of Hanseti-Ruska @Kanadensare Viktor II Sigismund Ruthern | m. Mariya Barbanov ‘The Young’ Duke of Vidaus [title revoked], Count of Metterden, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the South, Lord of Helmholtz and Lord of Ivans Hall @Imperium Sigmar Otto Ruthern | m. Mariya Vanir ‘The Lost’ Count of Metterden, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the South, Lord of Helmholtz and Lord of Ivans Hall @FireCrimson Konstantin II Joren Ruthern | m. Katherine Stafyr ‘The Redeemer’ Count of Metterden, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the South, Lord of Helmholtz, Lord of Ivans Hall and Lord Justiciar of Hanseti-Ruska @Zaerie Viktoria Sofiya Ruthern | m. Sigismund II ‘The Warrior Queen’ Queen-consort of Hanseti-Ruska, Countess of Metterden, Baroness of Rostig, Protector of the South, Lady of Helmholtz, Lady of Ivans Hall and Deputy Palatine and Aulic Envoy of Hanseti-Ruska @AndrewTech Aleksandr Leopold Ruthern | m. Keldra Volik Count of Metterden, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the South, Lord of Helmholtz and Lord of Ivans Hall @GMRO Maric II Lyov Ruthern | m. Anabela Vilac, Caroline Selm ‘The Duellist’ Duke of Vidaus, Margrave of Greyspine [title abolished], Count of Metterden, Viscount of Greyspine, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the South, Lord of Druzstra and Lord Palatine of Hanseti-Ruska @louislxix Ailred II Joren Ruthern | m. Fenika Morovar, Madalene Halcourt ‘The Prevailer’, ‘Steelheart’ Duke of Vidaus, Count of Metterden, Viscount of Greyspine, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the South, Lord of Druzstra and Lord Marshal of Hanseti-Ruska @Nolan_ Rhys II Mikhail Ruthern | m. Marie Ludovar ‘The Rider’ Duke of Vidaus, Count of Metterden, Viscount of Greyspine, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the South, Lord of Druzstra and Lord Speaker of Hanseti-Ruska @indiana105 Mikhail Tuvya Ruthern | m. Margrait Baruch Duke of Vidaus, Count of Metterden, Viscount of Greyspine, Baron of Rostig, Protector of the South, Lord of Druzstra and Grand Lord of Hanseti-Ruska Other Notable Members Yaroslav Ruthern Original author and keeper of the Tome of the Rutherns Anne Kovachev neé Ruthern Queen-consort of Akovia Elizabeth Barbanov neé Ruthern Duchess-consort of Haense Adelajda Isabel Barbanov neé Ruthern Queen-consort of Hanseti-Ruska Tatiana Elizaveta Barbanov-Bihar neé Ruthern Queen-consort of Hanseti-Ruska Elizaveta Roza Barbanov-Bihar neé Ruthern Queen-consort of Hanseti-Ruska Aleksandra Sofiya Alimar neé Ruthern Grand Princess-consort of Muldav, Baroness of Antioch Ser Ivan ‘the Protector’ Ruthern-Batavus Viscount of Batavia, Crow Knight of Hanseti-Ruska Ser Demetrius ‘the Young’ Ruthern Crow Knight of Hanseti-Ruska Ser Boris ‘the Persistent’ Ruthern Knight Paramount of Hanseti-Ruska Alfred Ruthern Cardinal Nescia and Auditor of the Tribunal Irena Ceciliya Sarkozic neé Ruthern Lady Speaker of Hanseti-Ruska Ser Alric ‘the Cavalier’ Ruthern Knight Paramount of Hanseti-Ruska, Champion of Hanseti-Ruska Harren Anastasyus Ruthern Ambassador to Oren, Electoral Commissioner of Hanseti-Ruska, Monsignor Tatiana Lorina Kortrevich neé Ruthern Countess-consort of Jerovitz, High Justiciar of Hanseti-Ruska Dame Tavisha 'the Independent' Morovar neé Ruthern (Born Barrow) Countess-consort of Jerovitz, High Justiciar of Hanseti-Ruska Sofiya Antonina Ruthern Kossar of the Order of Queen Maya and the Lily, Acclaimed Artist Stefaniya Joanna Ashford de Savoie neé Ruthern Princess-consort of Savoy Maric Baruch né Ruthern Duke-consort of Valwyck, Lord Speaker of Hanseti-Ruska Ser Vladimir 'Hothand' Ruthern Crow Knight of Hanseti-Ruska Kazimir Tuvya Ruthern Grand Inquisitor, Knight General of the Holy Order of Saint Humbert Viorica Ruthern (Born Barrow) Knight-Oracle of Hanseti-Ruska
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