- 1 The Kingdom of Aruthien
- 1.1 History of Aruthien
- 1.2 Terrain
- 1.3 Culture
- 1.4 Language
- 1.5 Faith
- 1.6 Government
- 1.7 Military
- 1.8 Magic
- 1.9 Regions of Aruthien
- 1.10 Heroes
- 1.11 Races
- 1.12 Classes
The Kingdom of Aruthien
History of Aruthien
The Kingdom of Isten
The Istenian peoples populate much of northwestern Eian. They are fair skinned, light eyed, and tend to have dark hair. The Kingdom of Isten was established around 1200 PN by King Borris, who constructed the original fortress of the city of Arcada.
The Istenian Kings and Queens ruled most of Aruthien for over a thousand years, until the coming of Nagul. They were a hard-bitten folk, mortal foes of the orcs and minotaurs that plague northern Eian. They traded with the Sea Elves at Tir Arnoth, fought the barbarian tribes of Rothgorod and Tir Dethgar, and had long, bitter wars with Ungenland to the north, now called Arnland. Once they maintained a tight alliance with the Kingdom of Eriad, long since destroyed.
Isten was a tribal monarchy, with each tribe swearing fealty to the King. More tribes were added as the Istenian Kings grew in power, but though they ruled all the tribes, they had little power without the backing of the tribal chiefs (later called Dukes). This lack of centralized control deprived Isten of an organized army, instead fielding dozens of warbands supported by a few Knightly orders sworn to the King and the armed forces of the various churches.
Occupation & Revolt
The Istenians did all that mortal men could do, but Nagul crushed them as he had crushed all the others. Isten was harrowed by Nagul's forces, with a third of the population killed and another third sent southward into slavery. Their wizards were slaughtered and their temples overturned; their cities sacked, and every nobleman and leader of the Istenian Kingdom hunted to extinction. Nagul did not just conquer Isten, he destroyed its national identity.
The Reign of King Aruthien I
The first King of Aruthien was a Paladin of Kath who rose up in opposition to Nagul in what was once Isten. Aruthien was advised by an elderly wizard of little power called Thadus. Aruthien's rebellion began as a successful accident - Aruthien and Thadus were discovered in the village of Tir Casta by Nagul's forces, and were corned into a fight. They killed half the garrison defending a ruined stable, and roused the rest of the village into rebellion. Advised by his wily old wizard, and aided by the Elven hero Aiur, Aruthien roused the whole Kingdom in rebellion. During the fighting in Arcada, King Aruthien found Tolwyn's Edge in the ruins of the Temple of Kath, and bore that sword throughout the war with Nagul. It is said that his blade decapitated Nagul at the Plain of Lances.
Aruthien returned home to be declared King by his people. He set about ruling his homeland, doing his best to improve the lot of his folk. Aruthien was depopulated and exhausted for decades of war and occupation - but they were given no rest. For years, armies of Orcs, Goblins, and other creatures boiled southward through the Grimwall Gap and attacked Aruthien's Kingdom. For ten years, the Aruthiens grimly held on, led by their Paladin-King, fighting the Horde as it attacked them every year.
Finally, in 50 TC, Aruthien realized his Kingdom could no longer stop the Horde. Messengers went out to every part of the Kingdoms, asking Aruthien's old allies in the war against Nagul to come and lend their strength to the defense of his Kingdom. Though times were not easy in the other Kingdoms, they sent what they could. Great bronze Ehrenlanders, not seen for decades in the Kingdom, came northward. Dark-skinned Tantathians. Wise Barlozians. Spaarthans on their splendid steeds. Amazons from Sabatia. From all realms came those who would fight for Aruthien. The next spring, the Horde came south again, larger than ever. With the aid of a Sea Elf named Navalus, Aruthien's strengthened armies managed to crush the Horde in the Grimwall Gap in a three-day battle. Moreover, a small band of picked Rangers managed to sneak into Arnland and defeat the Ice Queen herself - the master of all the invading armies.
The Kingdom of Aruthien was safe - though the War of the Crystals was launched. His Kingdom secure, Aruthien was asked by his nobles to wed at once and produce an heir. He chose the daugher of his ally, the sea elf Lysa bel-Navalus. They had three children: Casta, Erian, and Thadus (the Younger). The armies of Aruthien conquered Ungenland, which was then renamed Arnland, after it's first Duke, Arn.
Aruthien ruled in relative peace for the remainder of his reign. He died in his sleep in 72 TC. He is reknowned as a great warrior and ruler, a benevolent monarch who fought for his people. He saved them twice - from Nagul and the Horde - and double Aruthien's territory. Later rulers - and the common folk - would hold up King Aruthien I as the standard of behavior expected of a monarch.
The Reign of Queen Casta
Casta ascended to the throne in 74 TC, after her father's death and a short regency by her mother. Advised of a growing threat in the south, Queen Casta rallied the other rulers of the Kingdoms and launched a crusade against the Empire of Murmanityed. The war was harrowing and dangerous, but Casta survived and prevailed over the Imperial Legions at the Battle of Deregod. Here Casta's crusaders destroyed the Imperial army and marched on to Murdamiya, which they razed to the ground.
With the greatest Empire on Eian breaking apart, Casta returned home to Aruthien as the golden Queen. Blonde, young, beautiful, and victorious, Casta held a special place in the hearts of her subjects. Casta presided over the Golden Age of Aruthien.
For the length of her reign, Aruthien grew stronger and larger. Casta's rule saw Aruthien's greatest expansion, more than doubling the size of the Kingdom. In the west, Amazon refugees from Sabatia and Aruthien forces drove back the hostile tribes of Rothgorod, claiming the northernmost part of those endless plains for Aruthien. The Amazons settled there, along with friendly tribes, forming the Duchy of the Silent Hero Milleo. In the west, she married Phillipi of Aligindel, uniting Aruthien and Aligindel, though it was clear that the throne of the Kingdom and the Empire would not be merged. Together, she and her husband claimed all of Bravenland between their two realms, an audacious claim that nevertheless laid the groundwork for massive westward expansion. Casta established good relations with the Cameran Highlands, granted Duke Cas his Cassian March, and founded the city of Queen's Landing.
Half Elven, Casta ruled for many long years. As her children matured, the golden Queen tired of ruling, and abdicated in favor of her eldest daughter in 176, returning to Aligindel to spend time with her loyal husband and mother-in-law, Empress Brynnia.
While Aruthien I is admired as a hero and an exemplary monarch, Queen Casta set the Aruthien policy of vigorous expansion into dangerous regions - setting outer defenses which protect the Old Kingdom to this day.
The Reign of Queen Brynnia
Brynnia's reign was tumultuous and short. She fought and won the Battle of Ordrimm Pass only days after her ascension to the throne, saving Arcada from devastation by vengeful forces of the former Murmantyedi Empire.
Initially popular, Brynnia was a soft-hearted ruler who struggled to stand up to her more aggressive nobles. She was bullied into an early marriage, and her clever attempt to subvert the proceedings by demanding her husband win an amazingly difficult trial-by-combat failed when the formidable Deyak of Arnland won her hand. Far more studios and academic than her siblings, Brynnia had grand plans for Aruthien.
Greatly influenced by her childhood in Aligindel, Brynnia did not rebuild the Jut after its near destruction in 176 TC. Instead, she gathered great architects and craftsmen to design a new capital city - a port city, facing westward, showing Aruthien's new openness to the world - and the importance of sea trade. While her capitol of Tir Athway is without doubt one of the most beautiful cities in the Kingdoms, the huge expenditure of constructing the elaborate city drained the Kingdom's coffers.
She welcomed refugee Princess Lyniss and her Tir Sylvanian folk, settling them in Staenland, strengthening Aruthien's claims to Bravenland. She constructed roads, bridges and harbors, greatly improving Aruthien's infrastructure. The improvements were sorely needed, but they were expensive, and the folk of Aruthien were not wealthy. Queen Brynnia encouraged trade and shipbuilding, hoping to expand her revenues through taxes upon wealthy merchants.
When the Pirates of Cathan attacked Aruthien's shipping in the Gulf of Ordred, it nearly destroyed Aruthien's economy. Queen Brynnia had spent too much of her mother's treasury on stonework, and the sudden destruction of trade nearly bankrupted the Kingdom. Only loans from Aligindel kept Brynnia afloat until the pirate menace was dealt with.
The Queen was blamed for the lack of attention to Aruthien's military and the Kingdom's relative weakness in the face of the pirates. Worse, rumors began to circulate that her husband was a lycanthrope, and as many of the pirates were afflicted by that curse, an ill feeling towards the Queen grew. Unfavorable comparisons were made with her mother and grandfather. Always before the monarchs of Aruthien had enjoyed the trust and admiration of their subjects. Brynnia was in danger of losing that glamour.
Rather then persevere as Queen, Brynnia abdicated in 180 TC favor of her more popular younger brother. Though she left the monarchy under a cloud, in later years she has found her place and is quite popular among the lesser nobility and common folk. Her reputation, tarnished during her reign, improved greatly after its end.
The Reign of King Aruthien II
In 180 TC, after the terrible ordeal caused by the Pirates of Cathan caused great upheaval in Aruthien. Aruthien II assumed the throne after the abdication of his elder sister. The young King assumed the throne in the midst of a war at sea, an economic crisis, and the abdication crisis.
Though he had intended his whole life only to be a Paladin and a righter of wrongs, Aruthien II now found himself in charge of a kingdom in peril. He immediately took measures to combat the pirates and construct a stronger navy of warships to protect what remained of Aruthien's merchant shipping. He found ways to employ the land army against the Pirates of Cathan, including mobilizing a massive army to support Spaartha at the Battle of Wellfore. Victory at Wellfore destroyed the Pirate menace, but did not restore Aruthien to prosperity.
Aruthien also did his part to expand the realm. He accepted Feris of Ulf's request to take over the administration of Mangalore, thus gaining Aruthien's first colony not contiguous to the Old Kingdom. He stationed troops permanently in Rittern to watch over the dangerous Jotunn of that region. He formally brought the Cameran Highlands into Aruthien with the help of his diplomatic elder sister; the Highlands became her Duchy and homeland. He saw his younger sister wed to King Resolute of Caliban, gaining another important ally - and he himself wed Arianna of New Elysia, drawing that realm ever closer to the Aruthien-Aligindel alliance. He established the Duchies of Greatwood and Toth Badlands, further cementing Aruthien control of those regions.
Times were hard for Aruthien, and poor harvests and sluggish trade made them harder. Meanwhile, Barloz grew wealthy as the lucrative caravans to Mangalore passed through their lands - and paid their tarriffs. Despite Aruthien's friendship with Queen Saerilaith, the common folk came to resent their neighbors to the south becoming wealthier and more prosperous as Aruthiens struggled to survive.
The great nobles proved restive as well - Duke Vladir became deeply hostile to Barloz, and encouraged the King to take action to punish them for their profiteering. Chief Magistrate Bhelen encouraged the King to reduce the size and expense of the army; or to give up the more distant colonial outposts. The King resisted them all, refusing to be the first Aruthien monarch to preside over a declining Kingdom. Aruthien encouraged further settlement of the western colonies, and encouraged folk from all over Aruthien to bring more land under cultivation and to generate more trade wherever in the Kingdom they happened to be.
The Aruthien economy had still not recovered when the Dragons of the Redstone Spur attacked Tir Castellan - while at the same time Manath attacked from the south and Kami overran Hybet and Mangalore. Aruthien II mobilized every soldier he had, and sent his legions to fight in Aligindel, Spaartha, Mangalore, and the distant colonial marches. Always a popular soldier, Aruthien II led his troops from the front, with Tolwyn's Edge in hand.
After the death of Emperor Phillipi, Aruthien II was made Regent of Aligindel for his younger brother Philip. The King was reluctant to deprive his brother of his throne, but the dire necessity of joint military leadership of Aligindel and Aruthien was too important to neglect in the midst of a war the Kingdoms were in grave danger of losing. Aruthien reorganized both the Aligindelite and Aruthien armies, creating a joint command structure that survives to this day.
King Aruthien II was brave, honorable, and noble; and would ask nothing of his own soldiers he would not do himself. When the Redstone Dragons attacked Aligindel, Aruthien fought at the walls, defending the city. When a young Ranger was dismounted and about to be slain by Sorcheena, Aruthien and his wife Arianna sprang to the youth's defense. Both King and Queen were destroyed by the Dragon's flames. The young rider who Aruthien saved was Philip himself, fighting alongside cousin Rath in secret defense of his city.
The death of the King and his wife caused deep mourning across Aligindel and Aruthien. Many compared him to his grandfather, and he his death in battle immediately lionized Aruthien II. He is fondly remembered as a great King, as great as his namesake.
The Reign of King Palathien
Palathien inherited the throne when his parents were killed by the dragon Sorcheena. As he was underage, a regency council was appointed, which advised him until he assumed the throne in 198 TC.
The Kingdom of Aruthien is divided into fifteen major regions, most of them sprawling across the northwestern coast of Eian.
The heart of the Kingdom is the Grand Duchy of Aruthien, encompassing what was once the old Kingdom of Isten. The land is essentially a broad valley between mountain ranges, as the Old Kingdom is surrounded on three sides by the Grimwall mountains. Most of the towns and cities lie along the course of the Rushan river, the greater waterway which flows across most of the Kingdom. The riverlands are the agricultural focus of the area, rolling green country which stretches away towards the snow-capped mountains. Away from the rivers are the great dark forests; hardwoods and evergreens tower gloomily in four dense masses - the Wyrmwood, the Mirkenwood, the Uthen wood, and the Aman Wood. Aruthien can access neighboring lands through the Ordrimm pass to the east, the Grimwall gap in the north, and the Northwall road to the northwest. To the south, the Arnoth plain leads to Tantathia, and to the west lies the rugged coastline of the Gulf of Ordred. Much of Aruthien's coast are tall basalt cliffs, with the only large harbors near the mouth of the Rushan.
North of the Old Kingdom lies Arnland. Once called Ungenland, the Duchy was conquered early in Aruthien's history. Much of the land is covered in impenetrable forest. The northern coast is icy much of the winter, though ships can make the perilous voyage to Tir Navoth in the warmer months.
Eastward lies the Duchy of Milleo, once savage lands of northern Rothgorod settled by Amazons of Sabatia, tough Aruthien soldiers, and local barbarian tribes who allied themselves with the crown. Much of the land rocky, rolling hills - poor for agriculture, but good herding land. To the far east lies the Dragonspine mountains, which are uncrossable.
Westward by land lie the duchies of Staenland and Rittern. Staenland is much like Aruthien itself, though many of her folk came from Tir Sylvania or other foreign lands. Rittern is a cold and forbidding place, Patrolled by Aruthien troops to keep the Frost Giants the Jotunn that dwell there in check.
Southward was once the Tantathian March, an Aruthien administered area of the old Kingdom of Tantathia These lands were not claimed by the crown. Tantathia is a rugged and rocky country, full of high hills, treacherous mountains, and dotted with little lakes and streams. During the war Aruthien controlled all of Tantathia by default; but after hostilities ceased, they abandoned the entire region and constructed a wall across the Arnoth plain.
Far to the east lies Mangalore, once an Eastern realm hostile to Aruthien. Heroes destroyed the evil mage-kings of Mangalore, and the crown of Aruthien set a Raj to rule the distant land in their name. Mangalore is far warmer than Aruthien; very hot in summer, with soaring mountains, broad plains, and massive rivers.
Far west lie the Bravenland colonies - the Cassian March, Cameran Highlands, the Duchy of Eriad, the Toth Badlands, the Duchy of Greatwood, and the Duchy of Redstone. The terrain in these realms is much like Aruthien itself - high granite mountains, thick green forests, and fast, cold rivers. The sheer size of the colonies dwarfs the Old Kingdom and duchies; much of it unsettled and wild, linked by a few King's High Roads and fortresses.
Beyond even these are the overseas colonies. The Duchy of Wistan is the nearest, being a group of volcanic islands off Bravenland's west coast. The isle of Pir lies in the midst of the Westeron sea, a small rocky isle with a fine harbor. The warm and pleasant Duchy of Lyoness lies far south and west of Aruthien proper; a large isle which once was the home of an ancient Sea Elven Kingdom, which Aruthien has now reclaimed. Aruthien's most distant possession is the Palathien Colony on faraway Avantarra, a warm and pleasant land of rolling plains and shallow rivers bordered in the north by high mountains and the south by the sea.
Laws & Customs
The common folk of Aruthien tend to be stubborn and self reliant. The Kingdom's war-torn history has bred a race of folk who are accustomed to always being armed, are trained to defend themselves first, and have a deeply ingrained loyalty to their monarchy and military.
In the Kingdom of Aruthien, all adults are required by law to be armed at all times when out of doors. Every citizen from the lowliest peasant to the poorest beggar wears some kind of weapon - usually a sword of some kind. The law as written says 'sword', but this is generally extended to cover most melee weapons of reasonable size, though not to daggers and missile weapons. The weapon a citizen carries indicates his status and prowess, so an Aruthien who can afford a more impressive weapon usually carries the best he can afford, with a good longsword being the mark of an independent man. Shortswords and hand axes are common among the poorer classes. Many families have arsenals of swords which are passed down as heirlooms of the family.
A society in which every citizen is armed results in many disputes being settled by duels. Aruthien has an extensive formal dueling code which most citizens are well versed in. Duels must be formally declared; they are always one-on-one; they must begin with both weapons drawn; duels are always to first blood; a killing in a duel is assumed to be intentional and will result in banishment; and so on. It is considered rude to duel indoors, and quite rude to challenge the elderly, pregnant women, or invalids. Citizens who cannot fend for themselves for whatever reason have the right to appoint or hire a champion. Most Aruthiens bear a number of scars from years of minor disputes - no Aruthien is afraid of getting a few more.
Foreign folk who enter the country are always informed that they must be armed; the authorities will politely but firmly warn them once, then imprison them for their own safety (and the safety of others). Moreover, striking an Aruthien with an open hand is a dire insult which will always result in a challenge to a duel - something which some foreigners don't realize until they have a sword pulled on them for throwing a punch.
King Aruthien I despised slavery, having been a slave of Nagul's forces during the occupation. Any slave who crosses the borders of Aruthien is automatically freed.
Being an armed society, marriage proposals in Aruthien are performed with a sword (or other weapon). When a woman is prepared to wed, she draws her sword, makes eye contact with her intended, and hurls it some distance away - the distance thrown and the obstacle the sword is thrown into giving a measure of how difficult the woman considers herself to win. She then waits for her chosen man to recover her blade, or occasionally race him for it. If he wishes to wed her, he will recover he sword and return it to her hand.
It is law that the husband of the family may accept all challenges due his wife, and may intervene in any duel she is involved in, provided first blood has not been drawn. The wife may intervene in her husband's duels if she wishes, customarily against another woman. (There is some small reluctance among Aruthien men to duel a woman) Married couples are forbidden to duel each other, except at midsummer's day, when any duel must be fought in public at the midsummer fair.
Aruthien is a feudal monarchy, with every area of the Kingdom being the fiefdom of a series of lords and their vassals, from the King, to his Dukes, Counts, Barons, and Knights. All Aruthiens are free folk - there are no serfs, indentured servants, or bound men. As free men, they may swear to their local lords (or the King) their service, or give their word to no man and serve only themselves. Such oaths are usually for life, though a lord may release a vassal if he chooses.
Regional Magistrates are usually priests or paladins of Brandt, and local sheriffs their secular servants. Magistrates serve as judges and law enforcement in Aruthien in most civil cases. A spoken oath is considered binding in Aruthien, and such oaths can be enforced by Aruthien's law enforcement, the Magistrates.
Many Aruthiens serve in the Kingdom's military in some capacity; either in the main line Legions, Home Legions, or Guard Legions. Such service is considered honorable and desirable, and it is expected that most healthy adults should serve in some capacity during their youth. Aruthien adults with no military service are unusual and often carry a slight social stigma, unless they have served the Kingdom in some other fashion.
In the days of King Aruthien, horses were quite scarce in Aruthien. Most horses in the Kingdom are still the property of the Crown, though years of trade with Spaartha have reintroduced private herds. As a result, horseback riding is hardly a common skill throughout most of the Kingdom and most folk assume any horses they see belong to the crown. Owning a horse is considered a mark of the upper classes.
Old Kingdom architecture tends to be quite functional and heavily built. Most buildings are of stone, and built to serve both as dwelling and fortification. Ornamentation is common, as Aruthien folk love intricate knotwork design and tend to put at least some ornamentation on anything they craft. Knotwork and animal carvings are the most common and traditional Aruthien designs. Temples, palaces, and fortresses occasionally have more readily apparent artwork or statuary.
Close contact with Aligindel has slowly thawed Aruthien's architectural practicality, and newer construction tends to be slightly more ornate and pleasing, incorporating far more statuary and more elaborate carvings - though still in an Aruthien style.
Colonial structures are usually rougher and less finished than those in the Old Kingdom; but still mimic Aruthien or Aruthien/Aligindelite architectural styles.
Aruthien tends heavily towards intricate knotwork and animal motifs in wood or leatherwork. Older Aruthien designs tend to be very hard-edged and rigid, favoring simple straight lines and hard corners even in the most intricate patterns. As contact with Aligindel has changed Aruthien culture, softer, more curved lines have started to appear in the coastal areas and colonies. Realistic sculpture has become popular due to Aligindel influence.
Food & Drink
The Kingdom of Aruthien produces four major food sources in greater abundance than any others. The Rushan river valley produces regular crops of corn and wheat, and the hills above the crop lands support large herds of beef cattle. Smaller herds of sheep are maintained by many farmers in the foothills of the mountains.
Wheat, corn, beef, and mutton make up the bulk of the Aruthien diet - in greater or lesser amounts depending on the status of the consumer. Aruthien corned beef can be purchased at most good inns and dining establishments, and is thought of as the Kingdom's signature dish. Naturally these staples are supplemented by vegetables from small gardens, primarily root vegetables. Wild game supplements the diet of most rural folk, especially in the rural areas.
The common folk brew a wide selection of beers, ales, and honey meads. Corn whiskey is also very popular and available in a bewildering variety of local flavors, such as Tir Caspan amber rye, Arcada black, and the infamously potent Dethgar hard water. After contact with Aligindel was established before the War of the Crystals, wines and dark ales became very popular among those who could afford them.
Those hardy folk who have gone out to the colonies and distant duchies often farm the same crops that their fathers raised in the Old Kingdom.
Aruthien folk prefer to dress in hardy, durable clothing; generally made of wool or leather. Lighter, finer fabrics are prized, but not common. Aruthiens value fine craftsmanship but dislike ostentation, so their clothing tends to be well made and subtly ornamented. Furs are usually worn during the cold winters.
Leather armor, wool tunic, wool pants, leather boots, belt, and a longsword could be the common dress of the average free man; wealthier Aruthiens commonly wear heavier armor as part of their everyday dress. Weapons and armor - the accoutrements of war - are a common part of Aruthien daily dress.
Dark colors are preferred; black, brown, greys, greens, and tans being the most common.
Western is the common tongue of Aruthien. Elven is spoken by the Royal Family and many members of the nobility, but quite rarely outside of those circles. Dwarven is quite common in the eastern parts of the Kingdom and near Queen's Landing. Dark Tongue can be learned by anyone, but its use is uncommon except in the military, where many Rangers learn it for scouting purposes. Sylvan is known by a few Rangers, some Druids in Arnland, and rarely taught. Arcane Skosian is quite rare, taught only in the Wizard's school of Tir Casta and in the monastery of Wycor. Other languages can be heard in the great cities or in other places of learning, but are not understood by the common folk.
Aruthien names tend to be short, with many having only a single syllable. Aruthiens tend to prefer short, quick names, a reflection of their practical and sometimes impatient nature. The most common Aruthien name is Jahn.
Patronymics are also common among humans and half-elves of all classes, indicated by the ancient Skosian suffix 'bel-'. So, Jahn son of Jahn would be Jahn bel-Jahn. Dwarves and Flen usually do not use patronymics, having clan names or last names respectively. Older Tir Sylvanians still use second names, though younger generations are adopting Aruthien-style patronymics.
Common Aruthien names for men are: Ard, Bor, Carn, Deth, Jahn, Kol, Mik, Sev,
Common Aruthien names for women are: Atha, Bia, Cata, Eja, Hena, Kela, Nia, Sena, Tala
Orphans or those of unknown fathers use the patronymic bel-Shanya.
Nagul's invasion badly damaged the churches which promoted worship of all three deities. Though Nagul demolished all the temples in Isten, he missed three secret temples hidden within the bedrock of Arcada. When Aruthien's revolt freed the nation, the surviving nucleus of the faithful were able to spread their faiths once more.
Kath is considered to the patron of Aruthien. His aspect as the god of chivalry and honor serves as a guide to the moral character all Aruthiens; Kath points the way to right behavior. His lesser aspect as the mediator serves to settle their disputes; Kath is usually invoked during formal dueling. The church of Kath is very powerful in Aruthien; the male members of the royal family are always warded by Paladins of Kath. Kath has favored many champions of Aruthien, most often with a holy sword of some kind.
While Kath is the patron, Mishya is viewed as the mother of Aruthien. The Kingdom has defended itself from many invasions, and it is thought that Mishya's favor is the only possible explanation for Aruthien's survival. The church of Mishya also guards the wisdom of the Kingdom. The secret library of Mishya beneath the Jut saved Aruthien after Nagul's invasion; as the Kingdom has expanded, temples of Mishya and duplicate libraries have spread across Aruthien. Strangely, Aruthiens refuse to admit the existence of Dark Mishyans, and refuse to assign them a color.
While Kern does not enjoy the same status as Kath or Mishya, he is still popular in Aruthien, especially outside of the great cities and in the colonial lands. Many Aruthiens are hunters, either for sustenance or for self defense. Kern is also much preferred to Shalokar. If an Aruthien needs favor, he is far more likely to beseech Kern for aid.
Most Aruthiens follow all three of the popular deities, calling upon each as the situation warrants. Those who follow only a single god are admired for their faith and zeal.
Of the other gods, Vultan, Cheleria, Kylee, and Ulf have a smattering of followers in the major cities, and significant followings in the western colonies and Milleo. Vultan is the most popular due to his close association with metalworking. Followers of the elementals bear no stigma, though they may be considered somewhat odd if they do not also worship Kath, Kern, or Mishya.
Braeya is universally admired among Aruthiens. Few follow her in such a violent and martial nation, but they have great respect for those brave enough to follow her. A holy symbol of Braeya is one of the few exceptions to the sword law, and no Aruthien would dare challenge a devoted follower of Braeya to a duel.
While not popular among the common folk, Brandt has a strong following among magistrates and those who enforce Aruthien's laws. Most major cities host at least a modest temple to him. Followers of Brandt have something of a sinister reputation and have nothing like the good will afforded followers of Braeya.
Most of the other minor gods have at least a small following. Bors and Shyla are given regular worship by those who till the soil. Most Aruthiens still hold a midsummer festival and a winter festival; though these are not specifically devoted to Bors or Shyla, but may be an ancient legacy of more common worship of these old gods. Gromm has some followers in the east, and of course Chatalize holds her usual shrines near the burial grounds and houses of the dead. Archgate has a strong following among the minority Flen population, and has slowly spread to some of the major cities.
The Kingdom of Aruthien is governed by an absolute monarchy. The King or Queen has nearly unlimited power to make laws, levy taxes, fight wars, and dispense justice. The only limits to the monarch's power are tradition and popular opinion.
The Nobles of the Kingdom swear an oath of fealty either to the monarch or to a higher-ranked noble sworn o the monarch. These oaths are to the office, not the individual, so once sworn to the crown, a noble and his family are bound to their service to the Kingdom itself. These nobles are bound to serve and obey the monarch, and he in turn is charged with protecting them and their lands.
The crown's nobles are usually charged with carry out the monarch's wishes. Usually the monarch assigns a particular group of duties to an office, and bestows that office upon a nobleman and charges him to carry out the duties of that office. Offices are created or dissolved at the pleasure of the monarch, but the major offices of the Kingdom are: The Office of the Treasurer, who handles the Kingdom's finances, Office of the Magistrate, who dispenses the Kingdom's justice, The Office of War, which raises the Kingdom's armies, the Office of State, which deals with foreign powers, and the Office of the Raj, who rules Mangalore in the name of the monarch. Usually the office-holder carries out his duties in the manner he sees fit, though some offices - such as the treasury - are defined by a set of royal orders which govern the conduct of the office.
Every title of Nobility comes with a grant of land. Many large grants are then partially subdivided into grants for lesser nobles - for example, the Duke of Tir Caspan holds a quarter of his lands in his own name, and the rest divided among three Counts, who in turn are served by eleven Barons. The folk who dwell on these lands pay taxes to their lords, who in turn pay their lords, who pay the monarchy. In addition, the common folk swear loyalty to their lord, who in turn is obligated to protect them and provide for them in time of need.
The folk who dwell on the lands of a lord are free folk, and may come and go at will, even moving to another fief and swearing to a new lord if they should wish it. The folk of Aruthien have traditional rights granted to them by the King, including the right to own property, the right to travel freely, and so forth. These rights are loosely codified in the Grim Book, and also in the Grim Ballads, a series of songs sung among the common folk.
The enforcement of laws at the local level is the duty of the local noble, though most of them have assigned the day to day enforcement of law to Magistrates and Sheriffs in their employ.
The province of Mangalore is a special case, with its own government headed by the Raj. Unlike a traditional title of nobility which comes with a grant of land, the Raj is an office appointed by the King. Legally Mangalore lies within those lands claimed by the crown of Aruthien, and as such, the revenues and taxes of that region go directly to the monarch. Mangalore is culturally different from the rest of Aruthien, and the Raj creates and enforces local law to keep good order in that realm.
The dwarf realm of Dethgar Hold is a Kingdom in its own right, but the Hold has close ties to the crown of Aruthien and considers itself in alliance with the King. The dwarves there have the same rights as any other folk of Aruthien, but are outside of the Kingdom's governance and rule themselves in their own way.
The flen of Mirkenwood are a protectorate of the monarchy, and as such granted all rights and privileges of other folk, but left alone to govern themselves in their own way.
The Kingdom of Aruthien has traditionally had close relations with the other northern Kingdoms, though in recent years tension with Barloz has strained their usual alliance.
Aruthien is bound closely to Aligindel, by formal alliance, by intermarriage of the Royal Families, and by close military cooperation.
Ehrenland is considered somewhat strange by Aruthiens, as their culture is somewhat incomprehensible to the average folk of the Kingdom.
Aruthiens tend to be somewhat hostile to the Jotunn tribes, as the two cultures are almost continually at war.
In general, Aruthiens tend to be considered slightly arrogant and aggressive by foreign cultures, quick to take offense and swift to resort to violence to solve problems. However, Aruthiens also have a reputation as an energetic people who are always moving and expanding, building and creating, a dynamic nation which welcomes change.
The Aruthien Military is a powerful force, both militarily and culturally. Most Aruthiens serve in the Legions at some time in their lives, and most have family or relatives under arms. In a territory as large as Aruthien, there is nearly always a conflict going on somewhere.
Nagul's invasion nearly wiped out Wizards and Sorcerers in Aruthien. After the revolt and liberation of the Kingdom, King Aruthien I established the Royal College of Magic in the small town of Tir Casta. (The site of his first victory against Nagul, and the name of his eldest daughter) The first head of the College was Thadus (the Elder), later succeeded by Thadus (the Younger). By the time of the Silent Heroes, Jahn bel-Jahn had taken over the position of Headmaster of the Royal College. Under Jahn's hundred year term of office, many important changes were implemented.
Wizards and Sorcerers in the Kingdom were to be trained at the Kingdom's expense, with the understanding that their skills and knowledge would be at the disposal of the Kingdom as needed in the future. Arcane spellcasters are treated much like the King's Paladins or Rangers - many businesses refuse to allow them to pay for goods (occasionally billing the Crown for their losses if high enough) and often give them the best prices or discounts. Arcane casters are required to perform some service for the Kingdom after their training, partly to repay the debt they owe, but mainly to dispel the fear and suspicion many of the common folk once held Wizards in. Now, they are trusted agents of the crown, often called upon to settle small disputes, or asked for charitable spells or fortellings.
Also under Jahn, Arcane casters were exempted from the Sword Laws. However, they were required to wear a sigil of their order, so that other Aruthiens would realize their power and not challenge them to frivolous duels. Some still wear swords, but often mark the sword itself with the sigil, to prevent bothersome challenges. After Jahn's retirement in 175 TC, Caig bel-Shanya took over as Headmaster of the Royal College of Magic.
In 177 TC, Princess Regent Brynnia bel-Phillipi Galili requested - for the good of the Kingdom - that the Archmage Arn take an apprentice, to pass on his knowledge to others. Though Arn (former bearer of the lightning crystal) was not best pleased with the request, he bowed to the Princess Regent's wishes, and added a request of his own - that she wed within two years, also for the good of the Kingdom. Arn did not immediately take a single apprentice and then begin teaching, instead, he vanished for a time, and reappeared at Tir Castellan in the Cassian March, Without so much as a by-your-leave from the local Duke, Arn established a silver tower (by magical means) across the river from the city proper. Overnight, a grove of thick trees and brush grew up to surround the base of the tower. Strange lights and colors were seen in the high windows at night, and more than one traveler has seen fey creatures in the woods and hideous faces at the windows. This tower is Arn's school - his school for battle Wizards. The school specializes in Evocation, and moreover, encourages students to use their skills constantly. Many levels of the tower have open planar gates (warded to prevent all but the weakest creatures entry) allowing outsiders to roam some floors of the tower. The woods outside of the tower are peopled by fey - fey often hostile, especially to unwanted or uninvited guests. The underground levels of the tower are even said to house Undead, to allow the battle Wizards all manner of creatures to hone their skills on. Battle Wizards are very loyal to the Kingdom of Aruthien - part of the training Arn imposes. Each and every one of them is trained to lay down their lives for the Kingdom. In battle or not, if the Queen should order it done.
Moreover, the battle Wizards hold to a code of conduct more like that of a Paladin than a Wizard, all of them holding to the same concepts of honor and duty. They are an elite order of strong, powerful arcane spellcasters. Arn does not recruit to his school - indeed, even gaining entry for testing can be an adventure. This is how Arn prefers it - he wishes only the best to even apply for admittance to his company. The specialization of Arn's school has gained the interest of two other influential Wizards, Sorden bel-Sondrick (Diviner & interim head of the High College of Sorcery and Wizardy in Barloz) and Caig bel-Shanya (Necromancer & Headmaster of the Royal College of Magic in Aruthien) encouraging both of them to specialize their own schools. Of course, Sorden's influence over the rebuilding process of the High College naturally leans towards Divination, while Caig is reputed to have established - very quietly - a school for Necromancers in Queen's Landing. What specializations - if any - the major schools will also embrace, or if the trend will spread to other areas - remains to be seen.
Regions of Aruthien
Duchies and Provinces
Great Cities & Fortresses
There are many Renowned Aruthiens of history and legend.
Humans make up the majority of the population. They are much like men anywhere, fair of skin and dark of hair, tending towards light eyes.
The most common Elves in Aruthien are Sea Elves. Since the time of Nagul, High Elves have been mistrusted in Aruthien (except for Aligindelites). Sea Elves, on the other hand, are thought highly of, and are well respected as sharp traders. Indeed, the Royal Family has much Sea Elven blood in it. There are a few High and Wood Elves in the Kingdom. There is a tribe of Wood Elves in Milleo (they are considered barbarians), a small enclave of Wood Elves at Queen's Landing, and large enclaves of Sea Elves at Tir Arnoth, Tir Athway, and Arcada.
Dwarves are the most common race in Aruthien after Men. The huge underhalls of Dethgar Hold lie within the boundaries of the Kingdom, along with Granite's Hold in the west and the small community of Dwarves reclaiming Kravak-Barr. These Dwarves have traded with the Men of the Kingdom for centuries, and always have come to the aid of their allies when needed. (And always have the Kings of Men aided them in return). They still mistrust High Elves, and are lukewarm on Aligindelites, though the opening of The Locks & Mount Silvertower to Dwarven colonists has thawed them somewhat. Old ways are slow to change, and the Dwarves of Dethgar are still cautious towards 'Land Elves.' Sea Elves are respected and fairly well liked, as they keep their word and are hard bargainers.
The Flen live within the forest of Mirkenwood, though small enclaves have grown up in every major city as Aruthien has expanded. They are still a rare sight in most of the Kingdom, and are generally well thought of by the population at large. They are known as skilled storytellers and actors, and Flen Theatres are always crowded.
There are very few Firbolg in the Kingdom. Their lack of discipline makes life in the Kingdoms difficult, for slaying another citizen in a duel (no matter how heated) is cause for instant banishment. A few Firbolg tribes live in the wilds of Milleo, but rarely do they come to the more civilized portions of the Kingdom.
A large tribe of Ansvar appeared suddenly in Milleo in 155 TC. They asked permission to settle a forested valley near the Grimwall gap, and there have created a town of massive, stone-walled forts called Sun Valley. They live quietly, with their large town, large fields, and draft elephants, paying their taxes and following all laws. They discourage visitors and prefer to trade abroad, mainly produce and massive works in wood and stone. They maintain good relations with the Dwarves of Dethgar, who seem to regard them highly (and will suffer no one to mock them or joke of them) and less warmly with Men. They seem to find Flen delightful, though they see very few in their far eastern dwelling.
A handful of Gnomes are known to dwell in Queen's Landing.
A few Barbarians still come from the Dethgar and Milleo regions, but many of them are becoming 'civilized' and would better qualify as fighters. Aruthiens respect strength and the Barbarian Rage, as well as the independence of this class.
Bards are often found in the major cities of the Kingdoms, and are prized for their storytelling skills, since much of the history of the Kingdom is told in song. (Aruthien's Revolt, the Song of the Silent Heroes, The Ballad of the Queen's Rangers, etc).
Clerics of Kath, Kern and Mishya are of course the most common, with a few clerics of most of the other faiths being found either serving their established temples or wandering the country, trying to promote their deity amongst the stubborn Aruthien folk.
Druids can be found are mostly in Arnland, where they are more common than Clerics.
Fighters, warriors and soldiers are much respected, but also held to a code of conduct - it is expected that those with marital skills will protect those without. Obviously any Aruthien worth his steel will carry a sword of some type. Longswords and Greatswords are highly favored across the Kingdom, though Rapiers have risen in popularity among women.
Monks are quite rare in Aruthien. Striking anyone without a weapon is considered a dire insult, and will result in a challenge to armed combat. It is also technically illegal, though the penalty is light (A fine of two silver per blow). There is a tiny monastery in eastern Milleo of 'Sword-Saints' who study nothing but swordplay. They are not well regarded in Aruthien society and Monks as a whole are often viewed with suspicion and hostility due to their dishonorable fighting tactics.
Paladins are popular in Aruthien. Paladins of Kath dominate the ranks of their kind in the Kingdom. There are a handful of Paladins of Kern, and of course Hospitaliers and Paladins of Mishya, but of the other orders, there are but a handful within the Kingdom.
Probably the second most favored class of Aruthiens. With such large tracts of wilderness, the Kingdom attracts many to the frontier life. Aruthien Rangers rarely favor bow fighting, and have little magical skill. They are well liked and respected by the citizenry as a whole. Most wear the Badge of the King's Rangers (right), identifying themselves to the common folk and authorities alike.
Rogues in Aruthien are mainly centered in older major cities. Criminal activity is ruled by the Silent Brotherhood, a guild of thieves and assassins based somewhere in the capital. Rogues do not generate the regard of Rangers or Fighters, but are tolerated with a kind of wry admiration (tempered with disapproval) by the Kingdom as a whole.
Sorcerers are far more common than Wizards in Aruthien. Sorcerers, however, are less rare, much better known and respected in the Kingdom. All Aruthien arcane magic-users are trained at the Kingdom's expense, and wear a symbol (amulet, belt, or other sigil) of their order. They are not required to bear arms, but often do so out of habit. Arcane spellcasters are generally very well thought of in Aruthien; most of them are servants of the Crown who are known to do a great deal of good around the Kingdom.
In Nagul's invasion, nearly every mage in the Kingdom was murdered, and as a consequence, few with their level of talent surface. As most arcane casters are trained at the Kingdom's expense, Wizards often find themselves forbidden to pay for their room or food in coin, often being asked for only a simple cantrip, or even just sage advice, in payment. It is considered good luck to have a wizard stay at your Inn (they do Know Things, after all) and few Aruthiens will refuse to help a wizard in need. Like Sorcerers, they are usually servants of the Crown, and often act with the force of a Royal Warrant.
Cavaliers are not unknown; the majority of them are concentrated in the Order of the Black Falcon, the largest Knightly Order in Aruthien.
Inquisitors can be found among the religious orders of Aruthien, especially the Magistrates of Brandt. Though they perform a great service to the Kingdom, they are not always popular with the common folk.
The ancient art of Alchemy is rare in Aruthien; there are few Alchemists. Aruthiens as a people mistrust their foreign ways of doing things, and they are not beloved as are wizards and sorcerers.
Witches, like Druids, are rare in the settled areas of the Kingdoms, but far more common in the Colonies and especially prevalent in Milleo and the east.
The sword and magic wielding Magus is quite popular among those Aruthiens with the talent for it. The College at Tir Casta has a large number of Magi, though they cannot rival the sheer numbers who flock to Archmage Arn in Tir Castellan.
Oracles are a common part of Aruthien life and culture; and are considered quite normal among such a religious society. Their extreme piety and physical manifestations of divine influence make Oracles popular among the common folk.
Summoners are quite uncommon in Aruthien as their magics and Eidolons are outlawed in the Kingdom. Summoning an Eidolon or teaching others to do so is an offense punishable by flogging or banishment.