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  1. TO THE BASTARDS OF BALIAN To the Barrows who call themselves Rutherns, Let me first offer my congratulations to your ascension to Duke, Demetrius. It seems your starved group of Barrows finally begged enough to be thrown a title for them to chew on. To go from lowest of the nobles to dukedom is perhaps the only recent accomplishment your lazy line of Rutherns have reached. To that, you have only my laughter. It is not enough that you lower the prestige of our name, but you insult those who give power to your pretender line. It is only through the rightful line of Rutherns that your stolen name has any significance, and yet you insult us. You’ve insulted my sister, my father, and my ancestors before me. Your very existence is an insult. I would want nothing more than your head on a spike, but I am merciful to the weak and stupid. I will graciously allow you to accept my diplomatic terms. TO THE PRETENDER, I. A formal apology to Lady Tatiyana and the House of Ruthern for your slights. II. A payment of 500 minas for your grievances. III. Forfeiting the title of ‘Head of Rutherns’ or any title that implies it. ON DECLINE, You will meet me in a field battle. The Black Company and her allies will march on Reutov. If you shy away from battle, I will scourge your petty Kingdom for harboring such cowards. Do not be a fool - accept my generous terms. I expect your response within the next few days. Signed, Belisar var Ruthern Captain of the Black Company
  2. A TALE OF BLOOD AND BLACKSTONE 495 E.S. - 515 E.S. An artist’s rendition of Castle Morteskvan from a crow’s eye. Issued by the DUKE OF VIDAUS, VIKTOR III On the 15th day of Msitza ag Dargund of 522 E.S. Morteskvan stands tall and proud as the northern shield of Hanseti-Ruska, the mighty seat of the ducal House Ruthern. A testament to the centuries-long duty of their bloodline to safeguard the mountainous passes of the realm, the Dukes of Vidaus envisioned a fortress to withstand any test, trial, or tribulation. With its high, strong walls and towering spires, it acts as the kingdom's first line of defence in the North. Garrisoned by the house’s own Black Company, it ensures able-bodied soldiers are provided the necessary provisions and weaponry to stand against both skirmish and siege. The long history of its founding and the site upon which it reclaimed follows shortly. Originally dreamt up by the Baron Viktor and with its origins beginning under the rule of Duke Aleksandr, this massive and ambitious construction has spanned the reigns of two dukes and has lasted through the trials of wartime, famine, and personal familial loss. Despite all, Morteskvan is a testament to the force of will possessed by its creators, who foresaw a monument to last for generations to come. Here follows a historical account of the timeline of its conception and creation. TIMELINE | The origin of Morteskvan and the Aevosian settlement of Vidaus begins in the aftermath of the Fall of Karosgrad, and the ruination of the Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska’s Almarisian lands by the Mori’quessir threat in the year Ehr Sigmunda 478. The threat had been contained in large part by the Kingdom, and throughout the years as foreign realms fell one by one into exile, the Kingdom had stood strong with volunteer forces trekking across the continent in the defence of other nations, and even achieved temporary successes in driving out the conquering threat from beneath the earth of Haense itself, such as the brutal reconquest of an old fortification that had once belonged to the family of the Bishops, and before them, Amador. The Black Company stood present through many if not all battles of this period, under orders of the Duke, and often led by either the heir or their foremost captain. Eventually, the fall of Karosgrad came, violent and sudden, and the fall of the Highlander Realm’s capital came as a lethal blow to the stability and security of its’ vassals, who were forced to abandon their own unfavourable positions in surrounding holdings. The abandonment of Vidaus, and vacation of the Castle Drusztra came as painful blows to the House Ruthern. The Ducal House under the leadership of the then-ill Duke Aleksandr, his wife the Crown Princess of the time Analiesa, and his heir Viktor, Baron of Rostig, lead their kin in the joined exodus south to the ruins of Old Savoy, where stood the final bastion of the Descendents upon Almaris, defended fiercely by foreign volunteers from across the seas known as the Brotherhood of Brev. Where all else across the continent the sky had cracked and turned to darkness, those ruins presented the few remaining rays of the Sun’s light. The exodus continued hence from there into abandoned tunnels that stretched far and across beneath the aforementioned southern seas, and so began a long and arduous trek through the dark of the underground. Where once the Mori’quessir had claimed dominion of the underworld, the Descendents now were forced to take their place temporarily. Haense, and the House Ruthern, trekked for a number of years with God’s guidance to a new land and a new sky. In the year Ehr Sigmunda 480, with Godan’s divine providence to guide him, then King Georg I laid the first cornerstone of the new Royal capital of Valdev upon the new continent of Aevos. The following development of the citadel of Valdev to the city was a rapid one, the Haeseni man being productive and well-suited to frontier life, and the land around the rivers so named the Dules and Lahy for the ancient Ruskan rivers of old were tilled and put to crop to support the populace of Hanseti-Ruska. Said population had grown following the return to the above world from the Almaris, and it was not long afore the colonial period of Haense had come to full-swing. During these times, the Baron of Rostig cut his teeth exploring and scouting the general surrounding lands of the capital under the Royal Commission for the Exploring and Chartering of Aevos, under the leadership of the then-Friar Iosef, who in later years would gain prominence for his ascension to Patriarch of Jorenus, and Lord Palatine of the realm. In the months following these initial expeditions, House Ruthern began preparations to scout for a suitable location at which Vidaus might be staked and their claim laid to the land and natural resources of the new continent. Whilst other Houses elected to settle in the more temperate river lands about the south-flowing Dules, House Ruthern’s expeditions opted to follow the river to its’ source at the Northern great lake, an immense body of freshwater that was, and is, undoubtedly the greatest reservoir upon the entire continent discovered as yet. It was named Lake Georg, in honour of the King. Georg I, King of Hanseti & Ruska 458 E.S. - 482 E.S. Reigned during the initial planning and building of Morteskvan. The Duke Aleksandr, Patriarch of the House, took to supplying great funding to additional expeditions of the North under the command of his son, as their first expedition into the snowy north had discovered traces of black ore on the north-eastern mountains named the Greater Kareninas that loomed far in the distance above the Royal City of Valdev. Following initial and rudimentary prospecting of the first expedition, reports were brought back to the city of potentially immense veins of mineral wealth to be held in the mountains. Such a resource, the Duke considered, would bring great wealth to the family and ensure its prosperity on the new continent, and so further expeditions under the command of his Eldest son were commissioned at the Duke’s own expense. Aleksandr II, Duke of Vidaus 446 E.S. - 489 E.S. Patriarch of House Ruthern, who ruled over Druzstra and first envisioned Ruthern rule in the north. 485 | This discovery, and the excitement that came to accompany the intrepid explorers, was soured by further discoveries in the mountains. Initial interest came with the discovery of old, blackened ruins in the mountains, that seemingly intensified in concentration the further that one trekked through the treacherous conditions, with populated settlements far to the North upon peaks that overlooked the great lake, and with further concentrated settlements found upon the southern ravine that gouged the south-western flanks of the Barrowmount, named by the Ruthern explorers of the time. Darkspawn, it seemed, infested these mountains, and posed a great threat to the future safety of the realm, and to the personal plans of House Ruthern for the north. The terrain leading to these ruined settlements, and the Mountains, later named the Artzov Ridge, were mapped in great detail. They were charted as accurately as the men could manage with the wintry conditions that claimed many lives. This loss of life only grew as supplies grew shorter, and bouts of small-scale combat with the darkspawn natives of the land, and eventually this Second expedition was forced to retreat south for the intensification of the winter season that had befallen Hanseti-Ruska, to lick their wounds and prepare. 486 | In the following year, preparations for a new punitive expedition were made, though stretching over their expected time and into the next year after that with considerably mounted costs. When this Third Expedition finally made north to trek into the mountains, properly armed and prepared, they took to spreading much violence and bloodshed in the initial darkspawn settlements that they came upon, torching all that they came upon and reducing the evil of the lands to ruins and pyres. Such began the period of purification in the Artzov Ridge. The 3rd Expedition continued its northwards march, utilising the carefully prepared and scouted maps that it had procured years prior to make way relatively safely through passes and along mountainside cliffs, whereupon eventually they came to the great and old Blackstone ruins that served as the primary and main settlement of the assorted witches and Ibleesian ill-folk that had long perpetrated their evils under the covering veil of the mountain snows and icy updrafts. The fighting is violent and terrible, and much damage is done to further reduce the old ruins to further ruin. In the aftermath of the battle, it is noted that the numbers slain and eradicated seemed lesser than one might have expected from those encountered on the march there. Viktor var Ruthern, Baron of Rostig, Later Viktor III, Duke of Vidaus 489 E.S. - 522 E.S. Patriarch of House Ruthern upon Aevos, who oversaw Morteskvan from beginning to end. 487 | Following the cease of bloodshed seemingly for the time being, a sizeable detachment of expeditionaries and Black Company retinue-men are left in the north to prepare a rudimentary mining operation, and the first shipments of daemonsteel ore are received in Valdev in the following year; they are mined from surface veins upon the Mount, at the time, and then taken down the mountain at great effort and great cost of human life, where they would then take the final leg of their journey south upon great barges hewn from the northern pines. The beginning of this operation, and its seeming initial success, achieves two things. First among these is the securing of the nation’s vital supply of the valuable and heavy-duty metal, which would later serve as the ore from which many of Hanseti-Ruska’s Brotherhood detachments were equipped in the Covenant War of later years. The secondary effect was that such mines, under the purview of House Ruthern and their Black Company Trading greatly alleviated the economic pressures of their expensive northern expeditions, and allowed a surplus that permitted the later conception and construction of the Castle Morteskvan. 489 | In the year Ehr Sigmunda 489, Viktor assumed the Ducal seat as Duke of Vidaus. At the time, he is known to be the Third, or the Second-born, or most commonly said beneath hushed breaths, the Kinslayer, for he assumed rule of the family through the killing of his own father the Late Aleksandr in a private dispute. In the following year, he is driven to slay one of his uncles additionally in a duel; the Mad Dog of Druzstra, Kazimir, is sent to the Skies by his nephew, and the new Duke of Vidaus spends much time securing his rule over the family and his own lineage. Work upon the Vidausi hinterlands, his future feudal landings, and the planning of the Morteskvan bastion, languished as a result. 495 | In the year Ehr Sigmunda 495, a visionary architect named Wylein Alpyne is recruited for the purposes of finally constructing the bastion and seat from which the Dukes of Vidaus would rule their lands from; this grand castle project became a shared passion of he and the Duke both. At the time that he was taken on board for such a project, he is quoted to have taken on such a job on the condition that he would have relatively free reign to build the most impressive castle that Aevos had yet seen. This was the beginning of a long, arduous process that stretched over many years, and many thousands of hours of man-labour. Wylein Alpyne, Head Architect, Mastermind behind the creation of Morteskvan, and later Siegemaster of the Covenant The initial land clearing in preparation for further building and colonisation comes after a lengthy period of planning and blue-print drawing. A site is chosen upon which the main keep may be built, and the rest is designed further with such in mind. The initial clearing of the land and preparation for construction is a difficult task, fraught with much danger, and the progress upon the taming of the northern wilds that would become Vidaus sees progress brought in blood with every step. The gates that would come to serve as the first point of defence of the Ducal lands are finally repaired and made operational once more in the year Ehr Sigmunda 497, and the bridge to the plateau upon which the great blackstone ruins resided is completed and repaired in two parts; the first half is completed prior to the Mummer’s Gate coming into operation, and the second half much more perilously in the later months of the year with pressure from the Duke to speed up the proceedings. Such pressure for the progress to increase may have come as a result of the Duke Ruthern’s office as Lord Emissary, which made him privy to much of the political machinations occuring in the east in the Midlands and Heartlands. Progress upon the castle continues, despite the looming spectre of war, and the still perilous conditions in the northern mounts. The first cornerstone is laid for the great watch-tower, and the walls begin to be erected along the outside edges of the great plateau; these new structures are constructed of quarried stone from the Haeseni lowlands, and so is only transported up to the beginnings of Morteskvan with great effort and at great expense. Were it not for the profits that the intensifying Daemonsteel mining operation yielded, even such a process may have proven too frivolous for the Ducal coffers to support. With the completion of the first tower in the year Ehr Sigmunda 499 and its’ own gates becoming operational, so named the Gallows Gate, Castle Morteskvan is officially considered to have been founded in this time period, and the House Ruthern begins to utilise this structure as a home away from their stifling manor in the capital, putting efforts to increasing the comfort and safety of the building now that the noble house resided there. Progress intensifies in the period following the year Ehr Sigmunda 500, wherein the three baileys of the bastion are completed, alongside the walls that so encircled them all, and the cornerstone for the Keep itself is laid. In the years following this, stone-works intensify and greater and greater quantities of southern limestone are taken north to complete the outer shell of the Keep, and the accompanying load-bearing supports for such a grand construction. Many workers died during this period, as work conditions were hazardous, and fatal falls from the cliffs which surrounded the Castle claimed many lives. The lack of concern for safety comes alongside the concern of potential Veletzian assaults passing through the northern mountains while there still stood no war-worthy fortifications, though these workers are paid handsomely in turn for the mortal peril. 505 | Fears of war are not unfounded, as conflict breaks out between the newly formed Covenant of Five (later joined by Norland and Numendil) and the Captaincy-General of Veletz and its ally the Iron Horde. Such hostilities slow the progress of the building of Morteskvan, and further disaster strikes when in the year 506 the bridge that served as the sole safe path into Morteskvan collapses violently from the increased foot traffic; old blackstone bricks and cobbles crumble to dust, and many are crushed, including a number of the Black Company itself whom had been deployed to protect workers during war-time construction. Repairs of the bridge are immediately taken underway, and under the command of architect Wylein, the bridge is made once more usable through recycling of old stone from the ruins and great pine beams brought north from the Karoswood to shore up the supports. This collapse comes to be considered an omen by workers under Ruthern employ, however, and progress slows to a crawl as a result of many labourers not trusting such repairs to hold up under intense use. 508 | In the period after the bridge’s collapse, and with the war taking the primary focus of House Ruthern, Morteskvan makes no progress, and its wealth is dedicated to supporting the war effort. The Duke of Vidaus comes to be known as Daemonsteel for his constant presence in the foundries and smithies of the capital and his direct involvement in the equipping and quartermastery of much of the Brotherhood and its auxiliary detachments. There is a crushing defeat at Westmark which marks the most severe blow of the war effort, and the House is forced to lick its wounds alongside its Sovereign state Haense and the greater alliance. 511 | Come the absolute victory at Hippo’s Gorge, however, the spirits of all those fighting are rekindled, and there is much wealth to be had in the collection of war loot in the immediate times after that fierce cavalry battle upon Balian’s coasts. The Duke of Vidaus is known to have remarked his thanks at the time to the Veletzian foe and their Stassionite and Orcish allies for their great contributions to the wealth of House Ruthern and the financing of the House’s great work. In the following years, using the aforementioned finances secured from war profits, the construction of the Castle proceeds smoothly and without much incident; and with little death, to suit, which is viewed as a favourable sign by the workmen under Ruthern employ which serves to redouble the speed at which work proceeds. Whilst this progress continues, the Duke ‘Daemonsteel’ and the chief architect Wylein Alpyne, who finds new fame as the head siege architect of the war, dedicate their efforts primarily to the preparation and support of the Northern Thunder banner. Wylein Alpyne is responsible for many of the successful, and occasionally bizarre siege camps of the Covenant that led to their victory at many a siege, with the mountain-side fortress opposing Drusco serving as one of the man’s crowning achievements. 515 | Finally, in the year Ehr Sigmunda 515, the Castle Morteskvan is declared complete, much to the relief and pleasure of the Duke and his kinsmen. Celebrations ensue amongst family and newly settled denizens of the ducal lands, headed by the Duke’s own grandchildren. Born from his departed daughter and heir Mikhaila, this was a fitting end, for the past and future of the house to come together in prideful commemoration of this glorious monument. DRUZ GJERNZ AG GRYVNZ, His Grace, Viktor var Ruthern, ‘Daemonsteel’, Duke of Vidaus, Count of Metterden, Viscount of Greyspine, Baron of Rostig, Lord of Morteskvan, Lord of Barrows, Patriarch of All-Ruthern and Protector of the South. Her Ladyship, Tatiyana Josefina vas Ruthern Her Ladyship, Milena Anastasya vas Ruthern OOC thanks below to those the castle couldn't have been done without.
  3. Issued by the DUKE OF VIDAUS On the 12th day of Vyzmey ag Hyff of 515 E.S. To the Noble People of the Kingdom of Haense, It is with a heavy heart and profound sorrow that we convey the news of the untimely passing of a cherished member of the esteemed House of Ruthern. In the quiet residence of the Castle of Morteskvan, within the walls of the ducal chambers, tragedy has befallen the realm, as Mikhaila vas Ruthern, the beloved heir to the Duchy of Vidaus, has departed during the sacred act of childbirth. Her motherhood was a sacrament held most dearly, and her great love for rearing the next generation, unfortunately, claimed her life. Thus, we dub her as ‘Mikhaila the Mother’. Mikhaila was not only a beacon of hope and ambition for the next generation of the House of Ruthern but also a symbol of unity and strength for the entire Kingdom of Haense. Her untimely demise leaves an irreplaceable void in the hearts of her family and friends, and is a great loss to the future of the Ruthern lands. In her brief time among the people, Mikhaila demonstrated unwavering dedication to her kin and a profound sense of responsibility towards her noble lineage. Her compassion, wisdom, and kindness were virtues that held the path of those fortunate enough to know her. During this time of profound grief, let the people come together as a kingdom to offer solace and support to the grieving House of Ruthern. The loss of an heir is a tragedy that extends beyond the confines of a family, touching the very essence of the shared community. MIKHAILA ‘THE MOTHER’ VAS RUTHERN 484 ES - 515 ES In her passing, she has left the last of her children to prosper in her stead. The title of Heiress now rests upon the shoulders of her eldest daughter, Lady Tatiyana Josefina. In time, she shall earn the title of Baroness, just as her mother did before her. DRUZ GJERNZ AG GRYVNZ, His Grace, Viktor var Ruthern, Duke of Vidaus, Count of Metterden, Viscount of Greyspine, Baron of Rostig, Lord of Morteskvan, Patriarch of All-Ruthern and Protector of the South
  4. OF 501 E.S. Issued by the DUCHY OF VIDAUS On the 22nd day of Msitza ag Dargund of 500 E.S. My daughter and heir Mikhaila vas Ruthern’s sixteenth name day has come and passed, and as her eighteenth now approaches, I find it right and just to make preparations for the bestowing of her rightful title as Baron of Rostig. Granted the title myself in youth during the fall of Almaris, I intend to invoke the call of my grandfather and forebear Duke Mikhail, and have my own daughter prove her strength and right to bear the title. I invite all honourable men and women of Hanseti-Ruska, and beyond as well, to pay respects and to come prepared for battle to the newly constructed tourney grounds of the realm. I shall expect my daughter to participate in both parts of this event, as well as all of you. Prove your sword-arm, just as she must. If she lives well, and acquits herself reasonably, then I shall grant her the title of Baroness, and as for further combatants; FOR THE MOST SKILLED RIDER AND WARRIORS BOTH WHO FINDS THEMSELVES VICTORIOUS, THEY SHALL EACH RECEIVE A SUM OF MINAE IN PRIZE. First place of the joust shall receive a hundred minae in prize, and a trophy crafted by my own hand. Following, there shall be a group melee of teams composed of three each. A reward of 300 minae shall be distributed to the triumphant, for the earnings to be split between said team. [ FRIDAY 27TH OF OCTOBER, 5 PM EST ] DRUZ GJERNZ AG GRYVNZ, His Grace, Viktor var Ruthern, Duke of Vidaus, Count of Metterden, Viscount of Greyspine, Baron of Rostig, Lord of Druzstra and Protector of the South
  5. WHAT IS LOST IS FOUND "Mom-killer." "Womb-Wrecker." These were the words that Grigoryi grew up with, words that would become as commonplace as greetings. There wasn't a day in his childhood that he went without these words. If only his father Ailred had known, maybe he would have stopped Grigoryi and Boris from being bullied by their older siblings; it's not like they asked their mother to die in childbirth. Those words came from Rhys, Stefaniya, and basically all of his siblings except Angelika. Yet, everything was Grigoryi's fault. He was expected to apologize for everything but never once received an apology for those years of unrelenting torment. The young Ruthern grew more estranged from his family daily, often sitting on remote rooftops just to have a moment alone. Yet, Boris fell in line. Somehow, he wasn't weighed down by all the trash thrown onto him from birth; one twin was successful while the other walked the low road. There was only one thing he looked forward to as he grew a little older: a glimpse at his first crush. Vasilia was so.. real. He tried to socialize with her for once, no matter how distant or cold he was. Unfortunately, nothing could happen there. Grigoryi discovered they were direct cousins, so his hopes were dashed harder than shattered glass. She got married and was shamed by many for what life threw at her, yet he was happy she found love. Grigoryi was always outside Vidaus or locked away in his room. He hated being there; he hated that no one was stepping in. Childhood was flying fast, and Boris had joined the BSK. Grigoryi went the other route, going so far as to drop an egg on the top of the Lord Marshal's head and pose as Boris; it didn't succeed very well, but at least Grigoryi could outrun the guards. He was an enjoyer of chaos, as cliché as it would sound for a hated child. The young boy even helped smuggle alcohol out to other kids, though he knew better not to get hooked too; that's how he met Vasilia. She managed to stop those young kids from drinking alcohol. The boy nearly ate gravel with how hard common sense smacked him. Though no longer a troublemaker, Grigoryi continued to grow up cold and distant. He was always watching, always listening. "NO! VY ARE LYING!" Angelika screamed at Grigoryi before her blonde locks sought safety in Rhys' embrace. "What in Godan's name are vy doing?" Rhys scowled at his younger brother, his hand patting the top of the blonde's head to calm the crying child. "Ea was telling Angelika ve truth, Rhys. Vy pretend to be ve loving big borsa, ag yet what did vy do just now when her mamej died? Ea heard vy two by Madalene's casket, calling her a [wench], saying that vy were happy she died." Grigoryi clenched his fists, upset that he couldn't get Angelika to see the truth, that this family was a horrible one she should not get attached to. A family of backstabbers, smiling snakes. Ever since Fenika passed, they seemed to hold this bitterness. "..Vy were hoping she would niet make it to be Seven Skies to be with papej." "Don't lie. Vy hated Madalene!" Grig spat out, knowing he was telling the truth. Rhys scowled, his brows furrowing in disdain as the funeral wrapped up outside. "Everyone back to ve keep, except Grigoryi." Grigoryi threw down his gloves in anger when they exited the palace. Fenika's death had affected Ailred so badly, yet his eldest children could not see how much Madalene loved him and how much she helped him. Years passed, and Grigoryi found his success in doll-making in Urguan. Due to the war in the area, the cold young man took on a pseudonym: Greg Ruthers (unaware of the history behind the name 'Ruthers'). The dwarves loved his dolls, as crazy as that might sound. They often requested dolls made of Yemekar or dolls of themselves to give to their kids, though he didn't question it. He was a success until he lost everything. Grigoryi tried to be useful as a Ruthern. Even if he disagreed, he would marry a noblewoman, though his heart was already hardened. The noble bloodlines of Haense were too intertwined, diluted, and inbred. Grig could contribute the muddled bloodline as the cause of the temper and arrogance of half the nobles he met. He decided to search for nobles in allied nations, starting in Elysium. The night started rocky. Grigoryi could not find a suitable noblewoman, and some of the commoner women were unhappy with him despite his attempts to make it right. He stood on the balcony that overlooked the rest of the masquerade until he felt a graceful pair of hands on his back before finding himself shoved over the railing. A few servants carried the injured man to the clinic, pressing the rag against the crack in his head. The masquerade continued into the night without him. It would be almost a week before the injured man could step outside the clinic, but something was different about him; it was weird to see such a negative guy smile. The man giggled aloud, his laughs interrupted by the grimaces of pain as he held his bandaged head. He gazed down at the Mondblume, who was walking the man around Elysium. She pursed her lips, stopping the amnesiac to look him over. "I know you remember nothing, but you need a name." She gently patted his shoulder. "Your eyes are so blue. They remind me of water.. so I'll call you Lev." The woman smiled wide before taking out a small, leather-bound journal and handing it to him. This moment was special. Lev had never received a gift, at least not one he could remember. "Ea canniet decide what Ea love more, ve gift or mea new name!" The man smiled, holding the journal close to his chest as Amelia departed. Daily, he doodled in the journal things that haunted his dreams to make sense of them. [Missing Poster - FOUND MAN] Lev gently knocked on the minister's office. Minister Aylin de Astrea was such a nice lady. This motherly figure had almost adopted the Ruthern ever since he lost his memories. Lady Aylin was pouring over paperwork before looking up at him. "..Is there any-" "No.." She interrupted, not wanting his disappointment to last much longer. "I'm sorry, we keep contacting the kingdoms and their nearby nobles, but.. no one has reported a missing family member." Lev quietly nodded afterward. He didn't understand. He wondered if he had family or if his family would rather he stayed a cold case; maybe the minister was looking in the wrong kingdom. Lev worked away, sweeping the tavern in his spare time. He'd been left in Elysium so long that he gave up every hope. The nobleman was finding it hard to make a living in Elysium, given all the raids and killings at the hands of the orcs and ferrymen. He was sweeping the entrance to the tavern when a horse stopped in front of his path. The strong woman looked down at him, examining his features. "Who are vy? Ea would recognize those features from anywhere. Vy are a Ruthern, nie?" Tavisha dismounted her horse, looking over the bewildered man; he thought this day would never come. Lev quickly set his broom aside, beckoning the dame to his small house. "Do vy recognize any of these, balyzm.. Ea dream about them many nights, but they are never clear." Lev would carefully set down somewhat abstract paintings. It was the crude recreation of their family portrait used to hang in the duke's throne room and a crude painting of the red keep surrounded by the harsh snow. Tavisha looked over them, her suspicions growing stronger that she was right. He could finally go home. Lev stood by the funeral pyre. Though he had no idea who died, he wanted to pay respects. When all was said and done, and the Haensers returned to their day, the man noticed a woman alone. Though never a fan of blondes in his youth, her presence caused his heart to pang. Lev took off his coat, offering it on the freezing shoulders of the beautiful woman. "Vy aren't from around here, are vy?" He grinned before dipping his head to her. "Non, was it that obvious?" Sylvie pulled the heavy coat around her tightly, shielding herself from the harsh winter. "It was a long walk from Balian." Lev put his arm out. "Ea hate this cold too. If vy like.. Ea could escort vy back to Balian. Being alone on ve roads with all ve bandits is very dangerous." Sylvie took his arm, unaware that this was the man she was betrothed to marry all those years ago. Grigoryi clenched his fists softly, looking up at Rhys. Grig was trying hard to remain calm, but his expression faltered, upset, confused. "Ea waited for years, lost in the west, hoping that Ea had a family that would come for me. Why did niebody come?" "Vy were an adult, Grigoryi. Adults sort themselves out." Rhys scowled, beginning to depart. Rhys was old, reduced to using a cane; perhaps karma had come around. Grigoryi's heart sank. No matter what he said, Rhys remained silent. "Mea memories are gone, everything I knew is gone. Vy are ve only one left alive, tell me who Ea am! Why do vy have niething but silence?!" The old duke shook his head, and that knowledge remained with him to the grave and seven skies. The pair wanted to marry and fix up Sylvie's old family manor to the east. There was just one thing to do though, and that was to confront the new patriarch of Ruthern; Rhy's son. Mikhail quietly looked down at the two of them, Sylvie and Grigoryi. The young duke rubbed his chin. "Vyr past does niet matter, aedypapej. Vy are here now, ag whatever happened between vy and mea papej is forgiven now." He looked between the two adults standing beneath him. "Ea will let you live here, pick a farmhouse. Vy wanted a homestead? Vy can work ve fields." Grigoryi softly raised a finger when Mikhail finished. "There is.. one other thing. Ea would like to wed Lady Sylvie, vy are mea duke. Ea would need vy approval." The Ruthern quietly kissed Sylvie's forehead, looking down at the red infant in her embrace. Lev was amazed such a small bundle could bring such a multitude of feelings. "Eja, little one.." He quietly whispered, gently taking little Vasilia's hand around his finger; little Vasilia Louise vas Ruthern. She would be the first of three. Her two siblings would follow in the coming years: Juliyus Ailred and Cecilya Petra. “She’s only just arrived, yet I can't wait for her to grow.” Their family was complete, even if the farmhouse was a little cramped. After completing her walk of humility, Angelika arrived at Haense in her sack clothing. People lined up on the side like it was an event. They didn't care about the person, just that they got to throw all sorts of things. Grigoryi frowned, pushing his way between people to try and follow the procession. He felt guilty; she shouldn't be the only one up there. Grig was guilty of sleeping around before he was married, but he was too scared to walk the same path Angelika took; he was a coward and ashamed of it. Seeing her head as bald as an egg, Grigoryi followed suit that night. He took his path of shame and shaved his head in solidarity. Grigoryi threw the hay bales into the duke's storage. The work was hard, having to harvest, bale, and stack. It was tiring for his aging body, but deep down, he was happy to be useful. He could just undo whatever past he had. After all, no one who remembered his past remained alive by now, like a curse to keep him from knowing himself. At least he had a new past. This generation and the ones after it only had interacted with a sweet and nervous Grigoryi. In some sense, he had been reborn. The aging man opened the door to the small farmhouse, only occupied by his beloved. Vasilia started a new life in Balian, Juliyus was off sailing, and Cecilya was enjoying married life with her family. An empty nest, a sign of success, but a lonely sign nonetheless. Destruction and death were inevitable, but it was still a shock to the descendants as the Mori emerged. Their demands and their brutality never seemed to stop. They kept getting closer. First, it was Amathaea, and then it was like a domino effect; one by one, more lands fell. Grigoryi, despite all the memories in this decrepit farmhouse, left and took his wife into the city. He figured they would be safe from the Mori behind the impenetrable red walls that kept Karosgrad safe. What is the point of memories if you're not alive to cherish them? It was one of the smallest houses in Haense, but it was safely nestled deep within the city. This home was theirs, a private little hovel with what they needed to get through the difficult times. There was so much going on, and it was as if the world refused to slow down and take a breath. It refused, and yet amidst all the chaos, humanity had yet another war. Grigoryi couldn't believe it, Adrians and Haensers fighting. If the rumors were true, but the old man was unbelieving. How could two cousins of culture turn on each other like this? Perhaps it was meant to be a generational clash between Adria and Haense; it had been this way since the War of the Two Emperors when the Koeng allowed Adria to burn to the ground. However, he couldn't recall whether it was Marius I or II. With each hearsay and parchment he received, he used it as fuel to heat their small home. It was useless; humanity was only safe when united. That was the only good thing about the Mori. They united everyone. Grigoryi had grown sick, and eventually, his smiles couldn't hide his deterioration. The medics didn't know what was happening, but something was slowly destroying Grigoryi. Sleep eluded him, and pain ran rampant through his body. He tried changing his diet and following folklore and wives' tales, but there was no change. It overwhelmed him, and he could not travel far from their little house. It pained him greatly to miss Ceceliya's wedding, as he would have given anything to be there. He hated this, being unable to walk his daughter down the aisle; his privileges of being a dad slowly disappeared. He would find relief sometimes, but it normally came from the powdered drugs often sold in Karosgrad's sewer. The Mori's victory was inevitable. Humanity and their fellow descendants were uprooted from their homes once more. Grigoryi looked up at the red family keep, filled with sorrow. Even though his late brother might have been the last one with the key to Grig's identity, he hoped there might have been answers in that keep. The old Ruthern had only seen his family's portrait so far, as he couldn't walk deeper into its walls to discover more. Still, now he was truly going to lose it all. Any clue to who he used to be, any clue on what his family was like, he had to abandon it. He sent his wife along with the first evacuation party, as he wanted to grab a few of the family's memories to take with them. Savoy was so crowded. No matter how long he looked, he couldn't find his wife. He found his granddaughter, though, deciding to stick beside her to try and keep her calm during this chaos. Grigoryi salvaged a few materials, and soon enough, he was knitting a small doll for her made of various patches of fabric. It wasn't as pretty as the Haeseni Girl doll, but it was made special. “Here, nie girl is complete without a little faithful friend by her side.” The man handed the patchy doll over. He remained beside the campfire for as long as he could- but his dose of sewer drug was running out. Grigoryi could feel the pain creeping up his body like a hive of ants overtaking him. The old man wished his wife was here to show her what a spitting image her granddaughter was. They came with the storm, the Mori. Not even Savoy could keep the descendants safe for long. The ground broke open, the storm beginning to rage on as they attacked. People fled below ground, no matter what the depths brought. Grigoryi ran towards the opening, but he was stopped short by a sharp pain ripping into his back. The Ruthern looked down, his hand trailing over the bolt that stuck out of his stomach. The silence was deafening, his ears roaring as the screams gradually flooded back in. Everything happened too quickly. Grigoryi woke with a small gasp, glancing around the makeshift clinic. His pain was mostly gone, probably subdued by what little medicine the medics had left. The man reached down to look at his stomach, stitched up, and wrapped it with improvised bandages. The bolt was gone, but not everything was healed. Grigoryi felt himself slowly worsening as the days passed. It was an internal bleed but so slow that it hadn't been caught. He released himself from the clinic and nearly jumped to follow everyone to the new world. The descendants emerged from their blue refuge, overflowing into Aevos like a broken dam. Many people never realized how much they would miss the little things until they lost everything. Birds were just birds, but to hear them sing once more- their song was unlike any other. The sky was still the sky- but today, the sky had never been more beautiful. GRIGORYI DEMITRIUS VAR RUTHERN 1833 - 1927 (SA 37 - SA 131)
  6. Brothers in Blood Issued on 15th of Horen's Calling, 75 B.A. House Vilac and House Ruthern have seen it fit to reestablish a familial and defensive pact between the two Noble houses of the Kingdom of Balian. With the hope of lasting peace in our time, the accord will be used to unite the two houses under a common goal of peace and friendship. Only when absolutely necessary will a combined defense force be formed. This reaffirmation is still in tandem with the agreements already made with House Ivanovich between Vilac and Ruthern. I. Recognition House Vilac and House Ruthern recognize each other’s rightful leaders and their designated heirs. Furthermore, Both houses commit to upholding and carrying out any edicts or missives penned by either house in a timely and efficient manner. II. Mutual Defense In any case of an attack against either house, both shall take appropriate action. An attack against either is an attack against both and an attack against the Kingdom of Balian. III. Duration The familial pact shall henceforth be in effect for the duration of each Patriarch’s leadership. Once the leadership of either house changes, the heirs can reconvene to discuss new terms and renegotiate. SIGNED, HIS EXCELLENCY, Casimir Marius Vilac, Baron of Valio, Patriarch of House Vilac Secretary of the Interior, Camareiro of the Andromedan Court THE RIGHT HONORABLE, Ser Demetrius 'The Valiant' var Ruthern, Count of Marsana, Almirante de la Operazions, Cavalier to the Order of Saint Michael
  7. ABDICATION OF A HAMMERHEAD “By Bones and Barrows.” Per Ossa et in Barcis Issued by the County of Marsana 13th of Peter's Glory, 74 B.A. To my fellow Peers and Citizens, Last Saint’s Week, I retired from my lifelong service to Balian and His Majesty’s government. However, I must now put the laurels of my titles to rest; for within these two years since my retirement I have found my health to be ailing. Truth be told, my memory has been fading since the final years of my time as Amiratus. I find it harder to remember newer names and sometimes older names day by day. Smaller details escape my mind quite easily now as well. My own and my wife’s physical wellbeing has also waned. Just recently, I have found myself confined to my bedchambers due to an incident where I lost consciousness from a weaker heart, perhaps the stress I have accumulated over the years has finally caught up to me. The deterioration of my mind and the subsequent physical deterioration of my health has led me to realize that my life may soon be reaching an end. Thus, as I stay within my chambers, I must now take the necessary steps to pass on the mantle of the Ruthern household and my titles as count to my heir. To Demetrius, Demetri, I entrust the holdings of my title and estate to you. You have grown into a responsible man and a diligent Admiral. It is time that you now carry the mantle of the Ruthern family. I know you will achieve more than what you believe. I know for a fact, that you will make a name for yourself and for the family. Good luck, son. To Rhys, You have done a lot for Ruthern and for the Kingdom. Your dedication to serving the people by tending to their health has earned you a rightful place and rightful recognition amongst our nation and our family. Regarding the holdings of real property, I leave the bakery in your holding to tend to and own. It shall be separate from Demetrius’s holdings. I hope you continue to help the business grow through your talented cooking and baking skills. Signed, THE RIGHT HONORABLE, Gaius var Ruthern, Count of Marsana, Ambassador of Balian. THE RIGHT HONORABLE, Mariya Elizabeth Ruthern, Countess of Marsana.
  8. A FINAL REMINISCENCE 16th of Owyn's Flame, 73 B.A. A Farewell, I write to thee To a life I retire, a life more free As I depart from the Cabinet of his Majesty I impart my final words in Empathy *** My time in government began at the mere age of eleven. I was a squire of Sir Peter d’Arkent, a member of the then Company of Balian. However, my purpose was further amplified in that same year. I was approached by the late Ledicort Vuiller in the Palatio Monterosa whilst I was in the midst of the Snapdragon Ball. He offered me an opportunity to ward under him, citing my determination and dedication to Balian through my time in its military. After a few Saint’s Days of contemplation, I accepted. My first task was to replace the previously defunct Senate and in its place put forth a different government catering to the capital city of Atrus itself. I find it quite amusing that in the year before my abdication from office, I enacted a similar edict, expanding the national legislative powers to our citizens within this fair nation. Like a cycle, I elevated myself from there and am now descending from the highest podium in the same manner. The role of the Amiratus, if I am to be completely transparent with my fellow denizens, is one of great privilege and great anxiety. Every decision that is made can have a monumental impact on not just the nation but on the international realm. As the chief enforcer and regent of His Majesty, my words and actions can have great effect to the ones whom I delegate to and to the ones whom I converse with, either they be my fellow citizens or to foreign agents and allies. I have made steadfast allies and oathbound enemies in my position. There are many who admire my work and there are also many who despise my actions and decisions. Regardless, some of these opinions of me and my administration are that of either bias, past sentiments, or general dislike. Then again, it is inevitable for one to not be at least somewhat of a polarizing figure; for allies and enemies await a powerful figure in all corners of the streets of politics and international relations. Such is the bittersweet life of an Amiratus. But these plethora of responsibilities and the weight they impose are much more pleasurable to handle with the team working alongside me: Queen Andromeda, Crown-Prince Alexander, Princess Elena Casimira, Princess Persephone Maxima, Viscount Ephrem Kervallen, Cardinal Teodosio, Baron Robyn de Lyons, Lord Commander Dante DeNurem, Baron Casimir Vilac, Segnor Belyn Gris, Segnor Sarson Halgrim, Lady Nicoletta Sarkozic, and Lady Serena d’Arkent. All of these individuals were there to help guide this nation alongside me. All of them were there to support me as I helped His Majesty chart the course for our nation. The Ruthern Administration is the strongest council a reigning monarch of Balian has ever had. Our contributions and achievements have and will continue to stand the test of time. The framework and direction our nation has taken can be attributed to the diligent work ethic of the administration. I am grateful for the time we have spent cultivating the fruitful seeds of growth as we now watch the fig tree elongate its branches and blossom its fruits one by one. As I retire from the skies and return to my nest, I wish to impart wisdom to my fellow Duana constituents and to my citizens: To My Duana: The work we have accomplished and the strides we have taken to develop this once young nation to a prominent realm for all of mankind is a badge of pride each and every one of you should wear with honor. We have set a framework for the nation and now we watch as the nation leads itself to prosperity. That does not mean, however, that our work is done. We must keep constant vigilance of the needs of our citizens and the development of our culture. The work of His Majesty’s council is never finished. I urge you all, however, to keep your minds and point of view open to all ideological beliefs. Government works best when bipartisanship is encouraged as the primary factor of decision making. Partisanship is also justifiable and it is necessary at times to push forth agendas quicker, yet too much of it can lead to the dangers of factionalism. Factionalism should be avoided at all costs. It is a form of division among people that can lead to hostility, emotional distress, and ultimately, the destruction of a nation or its relations with others. We must remember that we all are part of a familial union. Each and every one of us will be there for one another when we are in difficult situations; that loyalty shall never dissipate. When disagreements occur, they should be addressed in a respectful manner and compromises should be sought. It is also important to recognize that everyone has something to contribute, and that each person has their own unique skills and perspectives. Each and every one of you are bright and talented in one area or multiple. Utilize that comparative advantage that each and every one of you have and hone it, combine it with another talent of the other individual to create a powerful agenda that can satisfy at least the basic principles and values that we share. Rather than attempting to be on the same page, strive to be on tangent with similar principles instead. Disagreements are a fundamental part and right for every government. This same view should be shared with our foreign counterparts as we continue our diplomatic work in Aevos. Even if we may agree or disagree with another nation or realm, the respect we have for them should never be diminished for they too are in the same precarious position as our leaders: fated to make difficult decisions for the betterment of our people. Through the creation of a culture of inclusion and respect both within the nation and beyond its territories, it is possible to create a positive outcome for all of mankind. To My Fellow Citizens: I was once approached in the tavern by the former Syndic Grimhildr Chen. She stated her frustrations with the Supreme Assembly of Portoregne-the city government-and its inability to provide a platform for the Balianese citizens to help them share their voices, views and ideas for the charting of our nation’s direction. She then shared with me a plan to re-envision the city government into a much more inclusive platform for our people. Using her plan as reference, I sought out a plan to expand the legislative powers of our nation to all citizens of Balian. Thus, the Citizens Commune was established. Like gravity is to a river's current, the nation's direction flows through the gravity of the decisions one makes for its presumed betterment. This legislative, cultural and political right was once reserved to the leaders of our nation. Henceforth, the citizens of Balian can now experience this sacrosanct right whenever and however they wish.. Each Balianese citizen will now have the liberty to propose, petition and express their belief in where our nation should head. With Royal Assent from the Crown, that vision may become fruitful. Regardless of the viability or lack thereof, of such proposals; the pride one feels in charting the course for our nation is one that can never be diminished. My fellow Balianese citizens, you now have the power to help guide the winding directions of our sovereign river through the gravity of direct democratic decision-making, to chart a path that best fits our collective view. Each citizen should be given the opportunity to bring forth an idea to the table and to satisfy their own vision for our nation’s growth. I urge, and I hope that you all take advantage of this power and convey your vision to the nation and to His Majesty. In my administration, I am not ignorant of the thought that I may have committed many errors. Although I am not conscious of such, there is no doubt that I may have unconsciously erred in my decision making and actions in one way or another. Regardless, I believe my attempts at steering the nation were that of good faith and judgment. And so, I leave you all with a final note and a final song, one that I believe represents the community and the nation as a whole: The roots now established Were established by us We passed the watering pot to each other in trust To all who toiled and planted the seeds We now watch as they grow and breathe On a fateful day we watched the tree unfold The beautiful leaves with their blossoming folds The fruits that are now ripe for harvest Are picked and shared amongst the promised And so, we continue to tend to this grove For we hope that our descendants can share in its trove *** I, Gaius var Ruthern, your humble servant, retire to my home. SIGNED, HIS ROYAL EXCELLENCY, Gaius var Ruthern, Viscount of Marsana, Amiratus of the Kingdom of Balian, Lord Seneschal of the Crown and Chief Minister of the Duana.
  9. LA GIOSTRA The Balianese Joust Issued by the Viscounty of Marsana in collaboration with the Royal Balianese Academy 9th of Sun’s Smile, 72 B.A. “Raise your lances, salute your opponent, and pray to GODAN that your chariot does not break.” Jousts and tournaments are an age-old tradition revered in every Canonist Human nation. The jousting tradition of Balian is a mixture of the old Petrine tradition of the empire, the traditions of House Ruthern, and the ‘Giostra’, an ancient form of jousting practiced by the Bathalite Empire. (A Young Ruthern Lord after decisive victory. C. 1865) La Giostra The traditions of the joust in the ancient Bathalite Empire were known as La Giostra. The form had gone without practice for a few decades prior to its revival by House Ruthern and is now becoming a common practice amongst the kin of the Balianese-Raevir Household. Its popularity has now spread throughout the kingdom, establishing it as a well-recognized and popular sport amongst the Balianese people. Joust Regulations Each match consists of three parts, or jousts. The joust begins when both contenders are met with a mount and lance, which they intend to use in this competition. They will undergo all three bouts in a formal manner, preparing their stead on the list field, readying the lance, riding down the tilt, and crossing lances. If one strikes the Head of an opponent, they will earn five points, from shoulders to hips earning three, and below hips providing a measly one. Should someone dismount the adversary, the reward is seven points. To be dismounted in the second match makes for an automatic disqualification and triumph for the one who delivered such a blow. Decorative Chariots Chariot making is the most vital part of this tradition, with the carriage being a representation of what you stand for and compete in this noble sport for. A charioteer must take pride in his own work and master the crafting of his own chariot so that his ideals and prospects may shine through the art that is the Chariot. While one must not focus on mere detail, one must also be sturdy and strong to deal and receive the hardest of blows. Votive Sashes The ancient Bathalite jousting form of ‘Giostra’ incorporated a romantic element to it as well. Knights, nobles and commoners alike competed for a chance of both glory and to impress their beloveds who watched them from the spectators’ stands and booths. The gift of handmade votive sashes, a form of admiration, would be given by the spectator to the victor as a symbol of their acknowledgement, respect and admiration for their victory. These sashes would then be worn by the contestant as they paraded around the jousting field with their horse. The current iteration of this tradition still holds the votive sashes aspect with great reverence and respect. For further information on votive sashes, see: TO LOVE IS TO. . . - Royal Balianese Academy, (Elena Casimira, RBA, circa. 51 B.A.). ‘Drunk Jousting’ In contemporary Balianese history, a knight by the name of Apollyon Marshall introduced a version of jousting unique to the Kingdom. Known as ‘Drunk Jousting’, the game’s rules were similar to the traditional joust practiced by humans of Canonist nations but with the added flavor of taking a drink after each match. Both spectators and contestants alike would finish a glass of their alcoholic beverage before beginning another game. This form of jousting was not competitive, but rather a form of enjoyment and merriment. Whether who won or lost did not matter at the end of this game, for everyone at the end of the event would be too intoxicated to care. ‘Drunk Jousting’ can be held through the methods of ‘La Giostra’, or through the traditional jousting method. Signed, HIS ROYAL EXCELLENCY, Gaius Rosius var Ruthern, Viscount of Marsana, Amiratus of the Kingdom of Balian, Lord Seneschal of the Crown and Chief Minister of the Duana HIS ADMIRALTY, Ser Demetrius ‘The Valiant’ var Ruthern, Heir of Marsana, Almirante de la Operazions.
  10. IN DEFENCE OF HONOUR Issued by the DUCHY OF VIDAUS On the 12th day of Jula ag Piov of 492 E.S. SANGKRUV I RUTHER, Know well, uncle, that I have never wished ill upon you in my lifetime. And know well that the mantle of Duke was always fated to fall upon my shoulders, for no man lives forever. My father and predecessor’s demise was an unfortunate one, but I shall not apologise for it. A man should not apologise for defending himself, and so I shall not. Nor shall I face your insult knelt like a cur. And while I appreciate the words and sentiments of my dear sister, I need not her words nor her blade to defend me and my honour. Such I can do by my own hand, and such is my own responsibility. If blood is what you wish, then I shall satisfy you, but know I do not intend to die until GOD himself calls me to the Seven Skies or sets me upon the Hells. Let it be known that I accept your challenge, Kazimir var Ruthern, and shall face you upon the field. Any less should be a grave dishonour upon my Family. Should I die at your hands, I shall leave instructions to my wife regarding the regency held in my wake, and for whom shall serve as legal guardian over my Daughter and Heiress and the lands of Ruthern until such a time she may rule in her own stead. If your word is true and honourable, then come before me and we shall see who God wishes still standing. SO BE IT. DRUZ GJERNZ AG GRYVNZ, His Excellency, Viktor var Ruthern, Lord Emissar of Hanseti-Ruska, Duke of Vidaus, Count of Metterden, Viscount of Greyspine, Baron of Rostig, Lord of Druzstra and Protector of the South
  11. UNDER GOD’S WATCHFUL EYES Issued by the DUCHY OF VIDAUS On the 16th day of Joma ag Umund of 491 E.S. SANGKRUV I RUTHER, An ever-present face of the Haeseni realm, Duke Aleksandr had served dutifully many years under the Crown and in the ruling of the familial holdings of Ruthern. A score of decades, more than a half-century, the Duchy of Vidaus lay under his stead-fast rule, until now, where it has come under my own rule, and his passing is hereby announced. There has always been a turbulent relationship between myself and my Father, with few kindnesses shared between the two of us, and this last night prior this adversarial connection came to a head. A verbal altercation between him and myself had come to blows, after he had struck me upon the head in a fury. Following this, I bore concern and fear that such actions would extend further danger to myself, or God Forbid, my children. In past years, he had not proven averse to harming my eldest daughter over lesser slights. And so, I acted in retaliation. In Defense of myself, I have slain him. If His Majesty the King so wishes to see me punished, I shall come before him in privacy and so face whatever I am bestowed. I shall as well present myself to the Church of Canon and repent my sins before them, and heed their council thereafter. I announce this before the realm, the Crown, and Godan, for I am no coward, and do not intend to swathe my actions in secrecy as a craven would. In conflict, one must be prepared to defend themself and their kin, and so I did. WITH GOD AS MY WITNESS. DRUZ GJERNZ AG GRYVNZ, His Excellency, Viktor var Ruthern, Lord Emissar of Hanseti-Ruska, Duke of Vidaus, Count of Metterden, Viscount of Greyspine, Baron of Rostig, Lord of Druzstra and Protector of the South
  12. The celebration and honouring of Her Ladyship Mikhaila vas Ruthern’s fifth nameday. Issued by the BARON OF ROSTIG On the 7th day of Vyzmey ag Hyff of 487 E.S. SANGKRUV I RUTHER, It is with great pleasure that I announce the approach of my own heiress’ fifth nameday, and seek to impress the importance of valour and military prowess to her. In keeping with this, I put out a summons for a grand tourney and grand warriors befitting the occasion. Gifts need not be brought, for the display of honour and skill shall be a gift all its own. All are cordially invited to partake in this festivity, yet it is incumbent upon each participant to adhere to the prescribed code of conduct upon the hallowed grounds of the tourney—a code that shall be annexed hereafter to this missive. Penned by the late King Georg I, God bless him, and the Duke Aleksandr, ensure attendees are well-prepared on their advices. Moreover, let it be known that all contenders must come prepared with their own noble steeds and lances, as the House of Ruthern shall not furnish any spare equipment for this extraordinary occasion. First place shall receive a hundred and fifty minae in prize, and a trophy of my own making to commemorate the victory. [ FRIDAY 28TH OF JULY, 4 PM EST ] BY BONES AND BARROWS, His Lordship, Viktor var Ruthern Baron of Rostig, Heir to the Duchy of Vidaus
  13. On the Current State of the Kingdom Primer Address: La Cultura 14th of Sun’s Smile, 64 B.A. As Balian enters into a new age within this new land, I have taken it upon myself to begin a new tradition. A tradition which I hope will provide further transparency between the Crown and its people. I dub this tradition the State of the Kingdom address. Sixty-three years ago, King John Casimir Novellen led the exiled patriots of the fallen Holy Orenian Empire to the southern lands of Almaris. From there on, he drove his sword upon the stone, proclaiming a new society for the expatriates of the fallen empire. The dream of King John and his followers for a new and proud nation, one of which follows the old Petrine ideals whilst ushering in a new age and rediscovery of the ancient Bathalite Kingdom, has been achieved and set forth even today as we, the descendents of our founders, strive to push forth the ideals of what it means to be Balianese. From thereon, we have successfully rediscovered and exemplified our culture to the known world. The identity of a Balianese has never been more clearer than now. Fe, Stat I Prosperitat is the Balianese motto of our identity, translating to “faith, state, and prosperity” in Common. These three pillars of the Balianese identity are essential to our culture. Faith, according to the Balianese, is a force and belief in the word of GOD and the belief of the advancement of mankind. Faith in our culture eclipses that of logic and reasoning. This unique view of faith is what drives our spirits to pursue further knowledge in medicine, technology and alchemy. The Balianese loyalty and love for the State is what drives our nation onwards and keeps it alive in our hearts and minds. United in their love for the Kingdom and its virtues, the Balianese strive to further their nation and reach for the horizon. Prosperity is the ideal goal of our nation. Bella gerant alii. Let other nations wage pointless wars whilst Balian focuses on cementing itself as the most reliable nation within the known world. Our commitment and reliability is what makes our presence prominent on the international scale. The development of the Balianese language, in the naming conventions of our land: Portoregne, Costa Rubissimo, Monterosa, and many others have further proven that our culture and language has developed to stand on its own. Being a Balianese now means a citizen of Portoregne. A Balianese can now vividly describe the gentle breeze of the Costa Rubinissima or the maris otimo caught from its shores. The Balianese can proclaim their knowledge and mastery of the Balianese language and its various dialects, from Raevir-Balianese to its own elven cohort. A Balianese citizen can proclaim their mastery of the Paraspadachin, Balian’s traditional style of fencing. They can boast about how they have won a few hundred florins during their gambling spree at last month’s Giostra, the Balianese joust. Ergo, my fellow Balianese citizens, I am proud to stand before you today as a citizen of the Kingdom of Balian. Our kingdom has now obtained a rich history and culture, and it is a privilege to be a part of it. As we look to the future, I am filled with a sense of optimism and excitement; for we must not rest upon our laurels. We must continue to push ourselves to reach new heights, explore new horizons, and embrace new challenges. Balian will continue to be a standing testament of perseverance and prosperity. Together, we can build an expansive future and create a legacy of customs, traditions and further history for generations to come. SIGNED, HIS ROYAL EXCELLENCY, Gaius var Ruthern, Viscount of Marsana, Amiratus of the Kingdom of Balian, Lord Seneschal of the Crown and Chief Minister of the Duana.
  14. IN 484 E.S. Issued by the BARON OF ROSTIG On the 7th day of Vyzmey ag Hyff of 484 E.S. SANGKRUV I RUTHER, After spending the last month in private retreat, and a healthy term before that, Lady Katia Ruthern is in good health, and the Ducal House of Ruthern is proud to announce the birth of a young, healthy GIRL. Bearing a seemingly calm temperament, the newborn greatly resembles her father with the same olive green eyes and a similar complexion, much to the joy of the Baron Viktor. The Baron and Baroness of Rostig hereby announce the name of their first child; Her Ladyship, MIKHAILA VIKTORIYA VAS RUTHERN @PerfectlyPeachy She is named in honour of her great-grandfather, the Duke Mikhail of Vidaus and famed Ruthern Queen, Viktoria of Metterden. It greatly pleases the House Ruthern to see the bond between their own family and House Godunov strengthened, first with marriage, and now with new life. His Lordship and Her Lordship respectfully offer their friends and family, the Godunovs, to come and see the newborn babe. BY BONES AND BARROWS, His Lordship, Viktor var Ruthern, Baron of Rostig Her Ladyship, Katia Milena Ruthern, Baroness of Rostig
  15. THE UNION OF ALSTREIM AND RUTHERN Penned by the PRINCE OF MERRYWEATHER On the 9th of Tobias’ Bounty, 1930 Though once the pair seemed an unlikely match, the years of their courtship have blossomed into a relationship of true love and affection, only growing in its intensity as the descendants crossed the continents. Thus, the Principality of Merryweather and the Duchy of Vidaus are eager to announce the conjoinment of the two houses with the union of his Highness, Heinrich II Lothar von Alstreim, and her Ladyship, Aleksandra Milena vas Ruthern. I. THE CEREMONY The ceremony will be open to all Canonist citizens of the League – Aaun and Haense alike – commencing in the Temple of the Exalted Prophets of the Canon, right outside the walls of the Aaunic capital, Whitespire. Under the lowlands’ sun and the watchful eye of GOD, the pair shall be bound in holy matrimony, joining as husband and wife. II. THE JOUST OF MERRYWEATHER Sharing the militaristic heritage of the two houses, a joust shall be held in the couple’s honor in the tourney grounds just outside the Temple’s doors. All men who think themselves worthy enough may be allowed to enter, provided they come with a steed of their own. He who proves himself skilled enough to claim the title of Champion shall claim not only a 250 mina prize, but a reward from the bride herself. III. RECEPTION Following the joust, guests shall make their way to the gardens of the church district for a grand feast. Guests shall be offered both merriment and refreshment, and shall be allowed to bestow the newly-wedded couple any gifts they might have. PERSONAL INVITATIONS ARE GIVEN TO THE FOLLOWING: Family of the Groom, the Princely House of Alstreim Family of the Bride, the Ducal House of Ruthern His Royal Highness, Henry Alstion, Crown Prince of Aaun His Royal Highness, Nikolas Leopold, Prince of Greywyn Her Royal Highness, Elena Casimira, Princess Royal of Balian The Right Honorable, Waclaw Jazloviecki, Count of Warsovia and his noble pedigree Her Ladyship, Alyona Godunov, Baroness of Verskaya and her noble pedigree His Lordship, Mikhail Jazloviecki, Baron of Triglav Julietta Laurelai Haverlock Asta Thorsen Sir Peter Stroheim George "the Rotund" Halcourt Makoto Iekami Boon & Bane TO THE PEERAGE OF AAUN: His Serene Highness, Brandt Barclay, Grand Prince of Minitz and his noble pedigree His Highness, Robert de Joannes, Prince of Sedan and his noble pedigree His Grace, Jan Ivanovich, Duke of Stran and his noble pedigree Her Ladyship, Philippa von Reuss, Margravine of Velen and her noble pedigree His Lordship, Louis de Rosius, Marquis of Haute-Epine and his noble pedigree Her Ladyship, Cosima von Augusten, Countess of Hohengarten and her noble pedigree TO THE PEERAGE OF HAENSETI-RUSKA: His Princely Grace, Manfred Barclay, Prince of Sutica and his noble pedigree Her Grace, Roslin Baruch, Duchess of Valwyck and her noble pedigree The Right Honourable, Stanimar Ludovar, Count of Otistadt and his noble pedigree The Right Honourable, Ileana Kortrevich, Countess of Jerovitz and her noble pedigree The Right Honourable, Anabel Elia Colborn, Countess of Malkovya and her noble pedigree The Honourable, Audo Weiss, Viscount of Novkursain and his noble pedigree His Highness, Francisco de Pelear, Viceroy of Hyspia and his noble pedigree Her Ladyship, Nataliya Amador, Baroness of Mondstadt and her noble pedigree Her Ladyship, Elia Stafyr, Baroness of Thurant and her noble pedigree EXTENDED INVITATIONS ARE GIVEN TO THE FOLLOWING: His Royal Majesty, James Leopold, King of Aaun and his noble pedigree His Royal Majesty, Aleksandr II, King of Hanseti-Ruska and his noble pedigree His Royal Majesty, Adrian I, King of Balian and his noble pedigree Her Most Serene Grace, Renilde I, Archduchess of the Petra All Electors of the Waldenic Diet All members of the Salvian Syndicate SIGNED, SEINE HOHEIT, Heinrich II von Alstreim, Fürst von Merryweather und der Rhine, Landgraf von Alstreim, Freiherr von Corwinsburg, Herr von Blackwater HER LADYSHIP, Aleksandra Milena vas Ruthern
  16. THE ROYAL DUANA OF BALIAN THE GREAT ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES OF THE BALIANESE The Royal Duana is the administrative council of the Crown. Each member of the Duana-besides the Amiratus-heads a specific office within the government. The members of the Duana are also considered the closest advisors to the Crown. Founded by King Alexander and his council, the Royal Duana is the petrine perversion of the eastern Diwan that was known to rule in states such as Ba’as. The Diwan and the Petrine council of the Holy Orenian Empire were considered one of the most advanced, efficient and effective systems of government known throughout the modern world. The Royal Duana is considered the spiritual successor to those great government systems. The Royal Duana’s success in efficiently governing the Kingdom’s realm, established the council as the final institution of authority within Balian. Under the blessing of His Majesty King Adrian, the Royal Duana continues to govern Balian on behalf of the Crown. Like the Petrine governments of old, the body is made up of various secretaries that head government offices. However, the Duana itself maintains some cultural distinction by utilizing eastern titles such as Duana, Amiratus, Procurator, Legate, and more, along with adding a ministry devoted to maintaining positive relationships with the clergy. AMIRATUS OF THE ROYAL DUANA The Mesa of the Crownlands, 109 SA Heading the Duana is Balian’s Amiratus, who serves as penultimate authority in the realm. They can appoint a Vice-Amiratus to serve as their deputy, and are in charge of staffing the Duana as well as leading the executive government of the country. The title of Amiratus is notably found in the east, filling the role of Chancellor often found in the Wilvenland human kingdoms. However, it is also tied to the history of the Balthalites, or the people of Old Balian. The first recorded Amiratus in history was Edgar of Jrent, a priest who served as chief minister to the mythic hero Balthier, founder of Old Balian. Their legend can be found in the Second Tablet of the Lothar Stones. The office of Amiratus is the most prestigious and influential political position in the Kingdom of Balian. They are responsible for the maintenance and governance of the realm, wielding penultimate authority and tasked with the preservation of the Balianese Crown, including in matters of succession. Colloquially, the Amiratus can be addressed as Chief Minister of Balian, and he or she also maintains the honorary title Seneschal of the Crown. The current Amiratus is Gaius var Ruthern, who presides over the 1st Ruthern Duana. THE FIRST RUTHERN DUANA —-Lord Amiratus Gaius var Ruthern—- "The shoes of the Amiratus are no small shoes to fill, yet we are certain Lord Gaius will fill them well." - King Alexander I on the appointment of Gaius var Ruthern as Amiratus. "Gaius is a trustworthy worker, who will involve himself in all necessary aspects of the King's government to work for a better Balian." - Ser Ledicort Vuiller Much akin to his mentor Ser Ledicort Vuiller, Lord Gaius Ruthern’s presence in the Duana was as constant and prominent as his predecessor. Gaius began his service to the Kingdom of Balian at the age of eleven, when he began his squireship under Lord Commander Peter of Arkent who inducted him into the Company of Balian, the standing military of the Kingdom. Whilst in the Company, Ledicort took him in as his ward in which the young Ruthern-under the guidance of both Ledicort and Peter-honed his political aptitude and his military prowess. Ledicort appointed Gaius Ruthern to the Secretary of the Interior at the age of sixteen, subsequently followed by his promotion to Corporal by Peter at the age of seventeen. As Corporal of the Company of Balian, Gaius followed in the footsteps of his Ruthern ancestors, where he continues to serve diligently in the defense of the Kingdom. His stalwart defense of the city of Atrus during the siege of Cloudbreaker and the undead, and his commitment to battling the Mori’Quessir in Norland and throughout Almaris displayed his bravery and loyalty to Balian, and his comradery to his fellow descendant-kind. As Minister of the Interior, Gaius oversaw an influx of new immigrants into Balian soil whilst also overseeing and contributing to the beautification of the Balianese Crownlands. Gaius was also known as the right hand to his predecessor Ledicort Vuiller, assisting him in his duties as Amiratus. As the youngest Amiratus in the history of Balian, Gaius has dedicated himself to the betterment and expansion of Balian’s culture, education, economy, and military whilst using wisdom from the empire of old and through expanding the ideas of the new age . With Gaius Ruthern at the helm of the Duana, the Kingdom of Balian hopes to be led to a new age of prosperity and influence in the known world. “I take pride in the fact that I am the first Amiratus who was born on the soils of Balian. My roots are not in the old Petrine Empire, yet, I still take wisdom from my elders to help advise me as I navigate the waters of politics and foreign policy. It is without a doubt, however, that Balian’s future does not rely on copying the old, but rather focusing on the new and solely on the new. As Amiratus I aim to rediscover what it means to be Balianese; and focus on the new age whilst guiding my generation and the generation after me to take the lead as we shape this great nation into an era of prosperity and hegemony.” - Lord Amiratus Gaius var Ruthern OFFICES OF THE DUANA LEGATE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS The Secretary of Foreign Affairs is responsible for the world view of Balian as well as the pacts and treaties that the nation holds. It is their job to foster goodwill and relations with any other nation or settlement. They accomplish this namely by appointing ambassadors, organizing events, and attending diplomatic meetings. They maintain the title of ‘Legate of the Crown’ in their styling from the old chamber. The current Secretary of Foreign Affairs is Princess Royal Elena Casimira “As a young girl I have always been fascinated with different lands and cultures and traditions. Growing up I had the opportunity to travel and experience these cultures that once seemed strange to me. Through an open mind and understanding I grew my network of acquaintances into unforgettable friendships that will surely last me a lifetime. Warding under the previous Legate, I was given the freedom to explore and create connections and contacts which would eventually lead me to becoming the youngest ever ambassador in Balianese history. Through this opportunity I focused on creating peace and encouraging treaties which I will continue to implement as the Royal Legate.” - Princess Royal Elena Casimira, on her process of becoming Legate of the Crown. To those interested in aiding the Duana in matters of Foreign Affairs, reach out to Princess Royal Elena Casimira or the Legate’s Office. The Office of the Legate CONSTABLE SECRETARY OF WAR The Secretary of War, foremost among the officers, is responsible for the maintenance and command of the national army. They supervise all military personnel, auxiliaries, and mercenaries in the country. They also are tasked with protecting the lands from invasions, raids and rebellions in times of peace and war. They maintain the title of ‘Constable of the Crown’ in their styling from the old chamber. The current Secretary of War is Dante DeNurem “My experience sums up to constantly defending the Crown of Balian. In my time I’ve been sent on missions all over Almaris to further the objectives of Balian, my most notable mission being involved in the assault on Vienne, in which alongside our former Comrades in Acre, we ended the reign of King Frederick of Oren. But now we’re in a time of peace. The Kingdom of Balian works to continue building itself up, and towards a proper military force if necessary. Our people have suffered many hardships. But through our perseverance, we will succeed.” - Peter d’Arkent, on his tenure as Constable of Balian. “Forever Golden” - Dante De Nurem To those interested in aiding the Duana in matters of its national army, reach out to Dante DeNurem or the Company of Balian. [Maur#1123] The Company of Balian DOMUS MINISTRI SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR The Secretary of Interior manages the various holdings of Balian. They are responsible for the Ecumene, or land survey of Balian, ensure that the land as a whole is held to royal architectural standards, and approve new constructions made by the private efforts of noble and commoners alike. They also control the immigration into Balian, and are expected to maintain an immigration office and organize events and programs to help recruit new subjects into the kingdom. The current Secretary of the Interior is Franz Sarkozic To those interested in aiding the Duana in matters of land management, traffic, and immigration, reach out to Franz Sarkozic or the Office of the Interior. The Office of the Interior PROCURATOR SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY The Secretary of the Treasury is the chief financial minister, entrusted with all of Balian’s financial matters, procuring more money for the Kingdom and looking over any spending of the nation. They ensure any debts paid, taxes collected and that all ministries are funded accordingly, along with organizing civil servants known as clerks that help them in these endeavors. They maintain the title of ‘Procurator of the Crown’ in their styling from the old chamber. The current Secretary of the Treasury is Sir Ephrem Kervallen, Baron of Tuvia; “Sir Ephrem became Secretary of the Treasury after having served in some other ways for the Kingdom. His office is one of great importance, the one in charge of the economic well-being of the Kingdom and the proper taxating and use of said money. Sir Ephrem’s office is one of mixes, introducing new ways of generating income while established on the base built by the previous Procurator, the Kingdom is eager to flourish once more like a flower on Spring.” “I was tasked with one of the most important jobs in the Kingdom; Balian’s economy was left at a good state by the former Procurator yet I am a firm believer that things can always be better. My wish is to establish fair taxation, to generate events that will increase not only the name Balian has formed for itself during the years but also the economy; auctions, fairs and guilds. ” - The Procurator’s Office, on the character of its captain, Baron Ephrem Kervallen. To those interested in aiding the Duana in matters of its trade and finances, reach out to Baron Ephrem or the Procurator’s Office. Recruitment from the Procurator Office CENSOR SECRETARY OF CIVIL AFFAIRS The Secretary of Civil Affairs is tasked with the matters of government documentation. They take minutes of important meetings, organize the government press and the Royal Balianese Academy, push initiatives on government literacy and transparency, and maintain the census in order to administer effective elections. Their goal is chiefly in documenting and relying the efforts of the government outward, and ensuring that the Balianese are regarded as a literate and educated people. They maintain the title of ‘Censor of the Crown’ in their styling from the old chamber. The current Secretary of Civil Affairs is Princess Lydia Novellen To those interested in aiding the Duana in matters of improving national literacy and census-keeping, reach out to Princess Lydia Novellen or the Department of Civil Affairs. The Censor’s Office: Department of Civil Affairs MAGISTER SECRETARY OF JUSTICE The Magister is the head of the Magisterium, the Balianese Judicial system. They shall organize the Lawyers - both prosecution and defense, Legal Scribes, and Investigators (or Qaestors) of the Magisterium of the Crown. They shall administer and help oversee any legal cases and investigations that may come up, oversee and judge trials, cooperate with and advise the other Chambers of the Duana on legal adjacent affairs, and advise the Crown on the appointment of judges and on legal matters. The current Magister is Robert Joseph de Lyons “From my youth in the Petran Civil War to today, I have sought to apply myself to ensure the greater stability of the realm and the victory of impartial and fair justice over the corruption and violence within the world. To ensure the circumstances that claimed my father’s life and drove me from my old home to my new one do not happen to another generation. Through the office with which I was entrusted, I seek to foster vigilance against crime within our Kingdom, to assure it is tried and punished swiftly and properly when it occurs, with a firm but thoughtful hand. To amend the laws as needed, to take on and train Lawyers, Scribes, Investigators, and Wards, and to work with the Crown and Duana to foster cooperation between chambers and to ensure the law is considered in our governance. The Magisterium grew small and ineffective in the time when the position of Magister was vacant, and I hope to do my best to regrow it and ensure its continued stable and effective operation in the years to come.” - Robyn de Lyons, on his goals for the Magisterium To those interested in aiding with Balian’s legal system, as a lawyer, scribe, or investigator, contact Robyn de Lyons or inquire about the Magisterium. The Office of the Magister: The Magisterium PRINCIPAL SECRETARY The Principal Secretary is tasked with collecting intelligence and making internal reports within the Duana on potential improvements that may be made within the Kingdom of Balian. Regarded often as the left-hand of the Duana, they follow up on particular departments for the Amiratus to ensure that the administrative offices are hard at work and initiatives are being adjusted and met. They also drive innovation within the kingdom by brainstorming new and novel ideas across departments, and hold the responsibility of declassifying government documents for public consumption. The current Principal Secretary is Sarson Halgrim. “I’ve spent decades in the east hunting plots, treasures, and beasts for a living. Besides the wretched paperwork, this isn’t so different yet. Anyone who’s got the guts to make a nation out of this little finger of God in the wretched desert - join me, and learn what it takes to be the sort of professional the world needs.” - Sarson Halgrim, on his new station in the Duana. To those interested in learning about the organization of the Duana, or the various plots and initiatives the Duana is to pursue as a whole, reach out to Sarson Halgrim or the Office of the Principal Secretary. AGENT-GENERAL OF THE CLERGY The Agent-General of the Clergy is tasked with promoting religious and cultural institutions within the realm. They help ensure that the Kingdom of Balian acts with the interest of the state faith of Canonism, as well as maintaining relationships with the High Pontiff’s Curia. They also help build relations with religious minorities and religious communities within the realm, ensuring their rights are protected. The current Agent-General of the Clergy is Teodosio Cardinal Tyria. “While having no formal government experience, I have experience within the church and hold positions of Cardinal Tyria, Bishop Tyria and Interim Auditor of the Tribunal. My goal is to make a more robust church within Balian that is not confined to the existing Highlander and Heartlander traditions, and is instead able to make its own traditions that better reflect the piety of our people” - Cardinal Tyria, on his appointment to the Royal Duana. To those interested in supporting faith and culture in Balian, reach out to Cardinal Tyria or his agents of the clergy. PALATIODORA OF THE ANDROMEDAN COURT GOVERNESS OF THE QUEEN’S COURT The Palatiodora of the Andromedan Court is charged with the management of the Palatio Arancione. The Palatiodora and their staff tend to the private matters of the Crown and Royal Family. They are also the executive of the Andromedan Courts of the Palatio Arancione, overseeing all revelries, publications of the Andromedan Court and maintaining the Court’s Public image. Unlike the other positions of the Duana, the Palatiodora may only be appointed or dismissed by the Sovereign or Consort and answers directly to the Crown. The current Palatiodora of the Andromedan Court is Serena Viviana d’Arkent. To those interested in helping manage the Palatio Arancione and tend to its events, reach out to Lady Serena Viviana d’Arkent or the Palatiodora’s Staff. The Andromedan Court HIS ROYAL MAJESTY, Adrian I, by the Grace of GOD, King of Balian, Count of Monteres, Viscount of Eflen and Anatis, Baron of Brucca and Valens, Lord of Portoregne, Ruby Coast, Lord of Atrus and Monterosa, Protector of the Heartlanders and the South, etcetera. HER ROYAL MAJESTY, Andromeda Ester of Ba’as, Queen-consort of Balian, Viscountess of Eflen and Anatis, Baroness of Brucca, Valens, Malenos, Goza and Ciavola, Lady of Portoregne, Ruby Coast, Lady of Atrus and Monterosa, Protector of the Heartlanders and the South, etcetera HIS ROYAL EXCELLENCY, Gaius var Ruthern, Baron of Marsana, Amiratus of the Kingdom of Balian, Lord Seneschal of the Crown and Chief Minister of the Royal Duana.
  17. A Guide to the Marsana Veil Issued by The Barony of Marsana On the 17th of Godfrey's Triumph in the Year of Our Lord, 58 B.A Introduction The veil is a staple fashion within that of Balian, a piece of fabric draped over a woman's head providing a form of shade, circulation and something aesthetic alike in her wardrobe. The Marsana veil is much like it in nature, with the vibrant colors most often shown in Balian but it has its key differences; such as how it's worn, how it looks and otherwise. On Embroidery A trend started initially by the Baroness of Marsana, Mariya, the blind woman had spent much time getting used to the feel and shape of fabrics, needles and such in order to form a hobby. It took time and practice, but soon veils with intricate embroidery only gotten from hours upon hours of work were produced for her daughters to don. If you ask her how she does it, she’d simply smile and say it’s much like the braille her husband has made. The embroidery, though, is nothing simple. It holds symbolism, whether by Marsana flowers that are depicted, water-based creatures such as the Hammerheads Sharks of the Ruthern household or even a mix of the two, such as jellyfish amongst the coral reefs. Each embroidered piece is one-of-a-kind, vibrant and tells a story of its own. On Colors Marsana veils keep to a mix of Raevir and Balian fashion alike, in which you can see a mixture of colors taking place. Whether it is a light gray veil, with intricate and colorful embroidery of black, grays and reds - a crimson red veil with lighter colored embroidery to contrast it - or that of a pastel veil, blues or pinks with golden or deep colored embroidery that makes the modest piece pop, giving it a bit of a pop, or some flare. On Fabrics The fabrics used are that of silk and cotton for the main body and tulle and lace for the detailing's. This by no means is the only thing that may be used, it is simply what is seen by the majority. Silk in particular is useful for its lightweight nature, its ability to regulate temperature and wick moisture, which keeps you dry and comfortable in the heat. As to cotton, it is lightweight, breathable and goes as far as to soak up moisture and allow you to stay cool as heat escapes. Each fabric has its own use, and it must be kept in mind when choosing your veil, as the weight due to the fabric, the embroidery and otherwise can change a multitude of things as to one's outfit. An example of a Marsana Veil. On Donning Your Marsana Veil Here are the following steps as to donning your very on Marsana veil, for those without someone to do it for them; One, you take the veil in question, and drape it rectangularly over your head, with one side longer than the other. Two, pin up both sides of the veil just under your hair, tucking those sections away. Three, flip the longer end of your veil behind your opposite shoulder. Four, flip the same end back to the front of your other shoulder. And then you are done, having donned your Marsana veil! Signed, HIS LORDSHIP, Gaius Rosius var Ruthern, Baron of Marsana, Amiratus of the Kingdom of Balian, Lord Seneschal of the Crown and Chief Minister of the Duana HER LADYSHIP, Mariya Elizabeth Ruthern, Baroness of Marsana
  18. THE BLESSING OF MORE HAMMERHEADS “By Bones and Barrows.” Per Ossa et in Barcis Issued by The Barony of Marsana The 7th of Owyn’s Flame, in the Year of our Lord, 50 of Balian’s Age BA. It is with great joy that the Barony of Marsana announces that another blessing of children has been granted to the Ruthern Household. Another pair of twins have been bestowed upon Baron Gaius var Ruthern and Baroness Mariya Elizabeth Ruthern. The couple, keeping to the traditions of their families, have thus given their children the names: Dona Madalena Alexei vas Ruthern of the Barony of Marsana @TwistChunky And Don Rhys Marcelo var Ruthern of the Barony of Marsana @Nilyeet As is with Canonist tradition, both babies have been baptized and the couple has sequestered themselves within their home so as to familiarize themselves with the newly gained children to the Ruthern household. We ask those of Balian and that of the Rutherns to extend a warm welcome to these future leaders of society. Signed, HIS LORDSHIP, Gaius Rosius var Ruthern, Baron of Marsana, Minister of Interior of the Kingdom of Balian HER LADYSHIP, Mariya Elizabeth Ruthern, Baroness of Marsana, Ambassador of Balian
  19. THE BIRTH OF HAMMERHEADS “By Bones and Barrows.” Per Ossa et in Barcis Issued by The Barony of Marsana With the recent marriage of Baron Gaius var Ruthern and Baroness Mariya Ruthern, their union has proven fruitful. Such so, that a blessing of children has been granted to that of the family, that of twins. The newly blessed couple, keeping this in mind, alongside the traditions of their families, have thus given their children this name: Don Demetrius Laonicus var Ruthern, Heir to the Barony of Marsana and its holdings @oryP and Dona Charlotte Valentina vas Ruthern of the Barony of Marsana @Kitomine As is with Canonist tradition, both babies have been baptized and the couple has sequestered themselves within their home so as to familiarize themselves with the newly gained children to the Ruthern household. We ask those of Balian and that of the Rutherns to extend a warm welcome to these future leaders of society. Signed, HIS LORDSHIP, Gaius Rosius var Ruthern, Baron of Marsana, Minister of Interior of the Kingdom of Balian HER LADYSHIP, Mariya Elizabeth Ruthern, Baroness of Marsana, Ambassador of Balian
  20. Proclamation of Equal Power 13th Of Godfrey's Triumph, 48 BA The Barony of Marsana, signed by both the Patriarch and Matriarch of the House of Ruthern hereby declares, ex nunc, that the Baron and Baroness of Marsana shall have equal standing and power within the House of Ruthern and within the Barony of Marsana. All decisions within the family and within the Barony shall be made in conjunction with one another, acting together as one. Ex nunc, Baron Gaius var Ruthern and Baroness Mariya Elizabeth Ruthern shall have equal responsibilities within the Barony of Marsana. Upon the death of the Baron, any and all responsibilities, assets, and authority within the Barony of Marsana shall be given to the Baroness until her passing. This proclamation shall remain in effect until the deaths of His Lordship, Gaius var Ruthern and Her Ladyship, Mariya Elizabeth Ruthern. Signed, HIS LORDSHIP, Gaius Rosius var Ruthern, Baron of Marsana, Minister of Interior of the Kingdom of Balian HER LADYSHIP, Mariya Elizabeth Ruthern, Baroness of Marsana, Ambassador of Balian
  21. THE UNION OF HAMMERHEAD AND ASTER “By Bones and Barrows” Per Ossa et in Barcis “Not to wither but to fight.” Non arescere sed pugnare It is with great jubilation to announce the union between the Baron of Marsana, Gaius var Ruthern and Dona Mariya Elizabeth Novellen of Augusta. The Baron and the soon to be Baroness will join together in holy matrimony at Le Sorella Basilica in Atrus. The Wedding The awaited wedding will then take place within Le Sorella Basilica in Atrus, joining the two in holy matrimony. A wedding that has come to fruition after many years of knowing eachother as childhood friends, now turning to that of a love that has blossomed fully during the Symposia Pragma. [Saturday, March 4 at 4 pm EST] Formal Invitations are Sent to, in No Particular Order: His Holiness, Pontian IV Our Fair Nation, The Kingdom of Balian and its citizens Our Esteemed Allies, The Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska and its citizens Our Esteemed Allies, The Kingdom of Aaun and its citizens Our Esteemed Allies, the Grand Kingdom of Urguan and its citizens Our Esteemed Allies, The Kingdom of Amaethea and its citizens Our Esteemed Allies, the Silver State of Haelun’or and its Citizens Our Esteemed Allies, the Kingdom of Norland and its citizens Our Esteemed Allies, the Principality of Sedan and its citizens Our Esteemed Allies, the Viceroyalty of Hyspia and its citizens Our Esteemed Allies, the Principality of Nor’Asath and its Citizens Our Esteemed Allies, The Underlight Grotto and its Citizens Special Invitations are Sent to, in No Particular Order: His Majesty, King Alexander I and his Royal Pedigree Her Highness, Augustina Theodosia of Novellen and her Royal Pedigree The Right Honorable, Count Peter Benedict D’Arkent of Salia and his Noble Pedigree The Right Honorable, Countess Johanne Vuiller of Acquilae and her Noble Pedigree The Most Honorable, Viscountess Theodeta Darkwood of Renduzzo and her Noble Pedigree The Most Honorable, Viscount Franz Sarkozic of Sapron and his Noble Pedigree The Honorable, Baron Charles Galbraith of Castelorena and his Noble Pedigree The Honorable, Baron Ephrem Kervallen of Tuvia and his Noble Pedigree The Right Honorable, Count Jan Ivanovich and Countess Cressida Ivanovich and their Noble Pedigree Dona Evangeline Daphne de Rosius and her Noble Pedigree The Right Honorable Count Emir D’Abbassia of Pacidia and his Noble Pedigree His Grace, Duke Aleksandr var Ruthern of Vidaus and his Noble Pedigree His Highness, Francisco I and Her Highness, Amity Ionna and their Noble Pedigree Segnor Jack Teufel and Segnora Yvonne Hughes and their Pedigree Segnor Aerendyl Hawksong and his Pedigree Segnor Reetus Herlichkitt and his Pedigree And all friends and allies of Gaius and Mariya! Signed, THE HONOURABLE, Gaius Rosius var Ruthern, Baron of Marsana, Minister of Interior of the Kingdom of Balian HER LADYSHIP, Mariya Elizabeth Novellen, Lady of Augusta, Ambassador of Balian
  22. 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
  23. A Fallen Sparrow and Whisper of the Wind. [!] Lady Analiesa and the cat she finally got, in an exaggerated portrait a few weeks before the death of the Lady. [!] A grand clock ticked in the distance of the room as the golden handle swayed from side to side, a small bird sat on the edge of windowsill seeming to be entirely normal with brown and blue feathers. Analiesa Ludovar had fallen into a spiral, her doors locked, the shelves dusted over, her clothes old, worn, she looked to be skin and bones. The lady had her hair tied in a tight bun as she stared at the painting just next to her bed. It depicted a younger version of Analiesa and her first husband Michael O’rourke. "Michael.." she whispered with a frown, wrinkles tending her lips and cheeks as her head tilted "Myrana, she's safe.. vyr.. vyr right, she's as beautiful as vy were.." a pained laugh left her in a dried tone seeming she was talking to the air. Fumbling with her boney fingers she pulled out a thin cigarette, a habit she’d picked up from her friend.. Seeming the closest thing she had to a friend Nikoletta, whether the princess knew it or not. Over the past ten years of Analiesa's life, she'd gone dormant. Hiding inside, seeming to grieve for something no one understood. Her four children and niece, we're growing up with mothers and fathers unbeknownst to her. Myrana, her eldest and only child with Michael.. She’d be in her midst of life. Cecilya and Johanna.. The two daughters she’d had with Josef, Johanna had a spark that bickerd often. Cecilya, was a blonde. Her favorite at that most days. Ilya, her youngest and last child and only son. A blonde and a boy.. He was the golden child of her life. Adalia the third, her niece adopted after her eldest sister passed away and left her an infant when Myrana was only a few months old. Why would she want to know of her failure? Her blonde hair had gone gray and her smile faded, as time passed with the click of the grand clock. Her late husband Josef.. a mere memory in her mind.. Regret shrouded her senses. In her youth she seemed only neglect her family the Ruthern’s now it had continued. “They will never know.. V’hat ea gave to ensure v’heir safety.” she hissed out, bitterness sinking her tone. She’d neglected her daughters.. her son. They all seemed to grow angst to her absence and to that, she simply ensured the locks on her door were fastened tighter Pulling herself up as she looked out the window again..this time to the bird "Mamej Rosey." her whisper echoed in the air as she turned to stare into the coldend gaze of an old ghost, having taken the form of a bird. The ghost’s figure shifted as the plasm only a ghost could grow formed into a young lady, with slicked back hair and a warm glow to her blue and transparent skin. "Analiesa, you should stop doing that.. or teach me how you learned it." the ghost let out with a warm chuckle "Yam going.. to die." she explained with a faint smirk, one the ghost and herself had not seen in awhile"Teach mea little girl's about mea.. ea.. didnt.. tell them.. about v'he green men, v'he conspiracy's, v'he murders.." she trailed off "Ea didnt tell v'hem about meaself at all.. Ea didnt raise v'hem even.. oh mamej ahm ea a horrid person?" she asked with a huff of dissatisfaction. Alethea, hovering beside her, lets out a sigh. “You have experienced far too much. Far too many things I wished you’d never experienced. I know how much your kids mean to you, and why you locked yourself up for the rest of your life after reaching your breaking point.” She says, holding her hand above Liesa’s own, almost hovering above due to her incorporeality. “Just as I appeared when you needed the help, someone will be there for your children. I can assure you, daughter.” “Well.. I didn't want half of v’hem.. But.. but Myrana was safe! Ea grew to love.. The rest as they got older. Its silly.. Ea gave Johanna to Sibylla and she’s already developed a liking to her.” she explained as if defending herself to a ghost was much help. Analiesa frowned deeply “Ea.. loved.. Love Michael.. Josef made a dobry cover for mea settling down.. I had a baby, nie more killing and trying to take down nations.. Nie more castles and wizards with pointy dagger ears.” Analiesa Ludovar flopped onto her bed with a huff. “Mamej, if ea died today, nie one would find out. Nie one would notice for years ea bet.” “You changed the hearts of many. Both to the living and to the dead. Many people will be affected by your death, and many will remember you. Even then, was the point to die famous?” Thea chuckles, staring out the window at the night sky. “You are my last daughter on this plane. It gives me peace to know that I can finally pass on without worrying about the safety of any of my children.” "So vy feel.. its time aswell da?" The lady asked with a soft tone a hint of fear in her voice "Maybe.. now vy can meet my mamej Adalia, and.. Mea sestra Adalia v’he second.. And perhaps ea can finally see him again." A few tears of the tired old lady trailed down her wrinkled cheek "Yes my dear, you and I have avoided death more times than I can count. It's quite exhausting really." The ghost chuckled before leaving the two in a dead silence "Saspiba mamej Rosey.. I think.. its time we rest." She whispered in a peaceful tone as she took to her bed ensuring her hair was perfectly combed and her nightgown without a wrinkle, for when you have a date with death you do try and look your best. Her soft voice filled the air for a final moment "Ea will see you again someday." —------- [!] —------ Not more than a day later it had been discovered by the hand maids in Otistadt that Lady Analiesa Vasile Ludovar had passed away, clutching both the two rings of her late husband's Whispers spread around that the lady had gone crazy and was talking to herself all night long. Perhaps that was the truth.. or.. maybe there was something more that would be lost in history. However it didn't matter anymore For, the beautiful blonde, and the whisper in the air. We're both no more. Ooc
  24. A CALL TO DUEL TO MIKHAIL VAR RUTHERN Issued by the BARONY OF GHAESTENWALD On this 11th day of Joma ag Umund of 419 ES TO THE BARON OF ROSTIG, The venomous snake strikes once more. It seems the removal of its poison does little to remove its aggression and capacity to induce pain. Within this Saint’s Day, it has been announced that a betrothal between yourself, Lord Mikhail Ruthern, and the woman who I had been permitted to court; the woman whose mutual affection has been renowned publicly for years now. Many can recall the day where you struck Lady Margrait with great ire and fury, for you, Lord Mikhail, have publicly apologised for. Fewer can recall where your assurance had been afforded that you would stay away from Margrait, to ensure no further violence would come her way. I had come to forgive your sleights. Alas, it appears these words meant naught, as you have betrayed your words and caused me great anguish. Wisdom has failed me, in allowing myself to trust in your word, which has been forever contorted and tainted for the entirety of your existence upon this plane. You are a snake with no venom, and as such, I do not fear your bite; but your bite still has caused great pain, and suffering. I am no snake. My word is as strong as steel. My bite is steel. My bite shall hurt. Face me in the hippodrome of Karosgrad within a saint’s hour from now accompanied by your second. The duel shall be for honour, with the provided terms below by Lady Margrait herself; to the first wound. I may not be able to change this future union, as much as my heart yearns for it. But, I am able to preserve a sliver of my dignity. SHOULD I WIN THIS DUEL, THE FOLLOWING TERMS ARE AGREED: I. With this announcement reveals your deceit and lies to all, one which is now apparent. Since your Lordship is privy to treachery, it will do no further harm to break another promise you have made. I shall be given permission to wed Dorothea vas Ruthern, sister to you and good friend of Margrait should she not find a worthy match. In the instance she should, then Viktoriya vas Ruthern shall take the place of Dorothea in my desire for union. It is the foremost priority of a noble to procure a suitable heir to continue their family’s noble lineage. I foolishly thought I had secured such a marriage, but it has forcibly been wrenched from my grasp. Thus, I shall forcibly regain it, and with someone whom I know I can trust. If I shall not marry for love, then I shall marry out of duty. Let the marriage be loveless; but I shall not make it miserable. You have promised Dorothea a happy marriage; I am happy to provide for Dorothea, for my conscience, for you, Mikhail, and for Margrait. Dorothea may not be my Ruskan Rose, but her petals and thorns shall belong to me. II. For this marriage, all fees shall be paid by you, Mikhail var Ruthern. III. I shall be able to absolutely privately visit and check up upon your betrothed, Lady Margrait, to ensure she is being treated with the utmost respect, that her dignity is being preserved, and that no physical harm is being dealt, as has been done in the past. SHOULD I LOSE THIS DUEL, THE FOLLOWING TERMS ARE AGREED: I. I shall suck the big toe of you publicly, and for no longer than a Saint’s Minute, in the centre of Karosgrad. I shall journey there in nothing more than Prinzen Karl’s swimmers, on my hands and knees, from the gate of Karosgrad. Alongside this walk, blunt objects may be thrown at me. II. I shall publicly apologise at a date, time, and location determined by you, Mikhail var Ruthern, for any insinuations or insults made during the duration of our acquaintance. In this same time, I shall kneel before you, and kiss your rings to swear my loyalty. III. I shall take up steel for you, Mikhail var Ruthern, upon your request. I expect to see you defend your honour in the Arena. I expect to see you cry in defeat upon your loss. I once had the power to love my love. But I have lost that power. And you have taken it. I want it back. I will take it. SIGNED, His Lordship, Markus Nikolai Morovar
  25. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LsPEMcLHwk ALEKSANDR VAR RUTHERN ALL IN ON ALDERMAN ALEKS AN EXPERIENCED STATESMAN: Two term Alderman and tenured Jurist Aleksandr var Ruthern has the experience leadership Haense and the Royal Duma needs to get things done. He’s passed meaningful judicial and criminal reforms that have helped make Haense safer. Alderman Aleksandr hopes to use his past experience as Royal Inquisitor and Alderman to properly represent his subjects and work with other members of the Royal Duma to get things done. LAW & ORDER: As a member of the Brotherhood of St. Karl and a veteran Royal Jurist, Alderman Aleksandr Ruthern understands the necessity for order and stability throughout the Kingdom. Aleksandr hopes to present legislation that will do just that as well as simplify things for Brotherhood members so they may carry out their duties in an easier fashion. Aleksandr will also continue to close law code loopholes to catch criminals and make Haense a safer place. GOALS: Simplify the Law in order to make it more understandable and easier for the Brotherhood to do its job. Continue to close law code loopholes to promote order and stability. To clarify vague parts of the Haurul Caezk. ALL IN FOR ALDERMAN ALEKSANDR! -Brought to you by Barbanov & Baruch Consulting-
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