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HISTORY OF KREGAIA Part I: Birth of Kregaia When the gods of earth were separated from their sky-born lovers,

the lands cracked and broke into various features. A large rock of land drifted away from the mainland to form an island continent; its early inhabitants were the mortal men who walked upon its face and formed kingdoms with the families of their blood. These kingdoms warred incessantly with each other for hundreds of years and its peoples lived with the ever present threat of invasion. It was during this time that a brave man brought with him a small fighting force from the mainland and systematically conquered the island. Kingdoms were either felled or absorbed into the rapidly forming empire. With half of the continent conquered, Jakinos Lorishat was crowned king and the newly formed kingdom united under his banner as Kregaia. King Lorishat continued his campaign to unite the entire island under his rule, but found the peoples of some kingdoms harder to force into submission. Wanting to reward those kings who surrendered and honor the kings who fell, King Lorishat created the Council of Prefects, a grouping of noble men whose natural leadership and knowledge of the land were needed to bring the other kingdoms under the kings command. With this council, Kregaias borders finally touched all sides of the island continent and the people were united. Despite this ultimate victory, the land was not at peace; neighboring ex-kingdoms continued to war against one another and neglect their duty to their new king. Recognizing the powerful leaders still at work in each area, King Lorishat drew a map of the land, divided it into equal shares, and awarded control of the pieces to those who would pledge their allegiance to his rule. Those awarded took the title Lord Mayor and became Estate Lords, leaving the Council of Prefects to walk amongst the people of their lands. As the years passed, the Council of Prefects, being the law-making body, fell more and more out of touch with the people of the land and the advice they provided to the king lost its effectiveness. Unwilling to deal with the consequences of disbanding a group of men who had previously waged war against each other, King Lorishat needed another option to maintain power over his country. With this need, came the creation of the Council of Ministers, an advising senate of the Estate Lords which met at the kings convenience. As such, Kregaias government was fast in forming and quickly set the pace for the entire nation from its perch in the city called Shendl. After reigning for thirty years, King Lorishat was well beyond his years and died peacefully in his bed. With his death, King Lorishats son, Leatold Briatkin, rose to power and proved to be even more well-loved than his father. King Briatkin formed the College of Priests in response to the Kregaian peoples concern over the nations godlessness. The College of Priests gave offering to an entire pantheon of gods, ensuring the heavenly protection of Kregaia. As its influence increased, the College of Priests moved from Shendl to the more central city of Korronis where it could be accessed by all the island. Being so far removed from all other forces of authority, the College of Priests slowly evolved into something a shade darker than was intended by its creator. In the absence of a national police force, the College of Priests created and harbored a group called the Inquisition which acted as the militant hand of the king amongst his servants. Should any citizen, Minister, or Prefect fall too far out of line or defy any decree of the king, he would quickly find the Inquisition at his door. As no one but the king was safe from this group, people soon found reason to fear the Inquisitors who seemed unmoved by bribe and pleas alike. In the same year, King Briatkin also created the College of War and instituted a quota draft of each estate, requiring men from each land present themselves for military training at Furyondia, an estate located south of the capitol, Shendl. At various points on the estate, most of the fighting men were trained simply with swords and bows, making up the bulk of the kings standing army. Adequately trained, these men were then deployed around the island and its surrounding satellites to protect against invasion from outside forces; policing responsibility within the estate borders was left largely to the Estate Lords. A select few recruits were sent onto higher training. Its exact location unknown by all but those who have attended, the white buildings form a military complex where these students learn the principles of war that were handed down by King Lorishat himself. Riding fields, siege engines, and other signs of warcraft litter the grounds and, on any given afternoon, the barking of trainers and drill sergeants can be heard insulting and belittling the future graduates of this academy. Those that come here understand one basic principle; it is not your status in life, nor the strength in your arms that sets you apart from your enemy, but the courage that flows through your veins and the knowledge inside your mind that will allow you to

defeat your enemy and gain honor on the battlefield. Those that graduate leave with a greater understanding of war and are highly respected amongst the people. Part II: Kregaias Civil War The Sacred Imperial Dominion of the Kregaian Empire covered the expanse of the island continent and claimed several smaller island satellites among its properties. The nation enjoyed several generations of peace and wealth as the land prospered. Despite this run of good fortune, the Council of Prefects would not forget their right to rule and were not content to simply sit on the sidelines, watching another rule in their place. Certain members of the council returned to the lands of their birth and rebellious whispers began circulating amongst the estates. The College of War arranged their soldiers along the borders of those estates where rebellion brewed, but they were powerless to stop it from infecting its neighboring estates. Alliances were struck both for and against the king and civil war rolled through the country. A call for fighting men ran through the estates loyal to the king and the army bulged with reinforcements. After ten years of fighting, the civil war was won, but King Briatkin was not to witness his triumph; he was felled at the Battle at Wulad by an enemy arrow which struck his heart through his armor. King Briatkins heir, Zachir Asturias, was only a boy of five years when he was crowned King of Kregaia and Sacred Emperor of the Imperial Dominion of the Kregaian Empire. As King Asturias was still a boy, his uncle, Lasmor Sodanwon, ruled in his place as Regent. The land sagged under heavy taxes and harsh laws and the Inquisition surged in power. In these days, the Inquisition passed their sword over every household and found at least one out of every five men guilty of some crime against the crown. With the Inquisitions favored method of interrogation and punishment being the use of torture, Korronis soon became known as the Screaming City. Those estates which sided against the king during the war were severely punished, their Lord Mayors eradicated and their lands redistributed. As a consequence of their villainy, the Council of Prefects soon found their numbers decreased and their powers limited to almost nothing. At sixteen, King Asturias inherited a broken kingdom. His people wept under their heavy yoke and the whispers of rebellion were no longer passing from the mouths of nobles but from the commoners in the fields. Determined to raise the morale of his people, King Asturias lowered taxes and called the Inquisitors out of the towns and back to Korronis where they belonged. He issued edicts and proclaimed holidays to ease the lands burden. Wealth once again flooded into the land and the people found favor with their new king. While unable to hold his uncle responsible for the atrocities committed during his childhood, King Asturias held a public court trial and exiled Lasmor Sodanwon to the mainland. This final act cemented King Asturias reign and the people once more united under Kregaias banner. Part III: Sunderland Attacks Banished from his homeland and humiliated by his exile, Lasmor Sodanwon watched Kregaia from the mainland with growing hatred. Far from the comforts of the throne room, Lasmor planned revenge against his nephew. The coast-dwelling tribes of the Sunderland were already unified under the banner of Queen Degardyn II. With no end of charm, Lasmor positioned himself close to the queen and told her stories of Kregaias riches. Tempted by what she heard, Queen Degardyn II sent emissaries to King Asturias to set up a trade agreement between the two countries. Lasmor volunteered for the position as emissary and disguised himself to blend in with the group dispatched for Shendl. While being entertained at the court at Shendl, the much disguised Lasmor managed to ply the other emissaries of Sunderland with a large amount of drink and caused a disagreement to arise between their number and a member of the Council of Prefects. A Sunderland emissary challenged the Kregaian noble to duel and was killed in the ensuing challenge of honor. The news of the emissarys death was carried back to Queen Degardyn II by Lasmor himself who wasted no time in embellishing the story with added insult even from the mouth of King Asturias against the queen and all peoples of Sunderland. Queen Degardyn II called her generals to rise an army against Kregaia and their navy fought viciously to overrun the island satellites of Kregaia, including the trading city of Typhon. With the satellites acting as deployment sites, they attacked the southern borders of Kregaia. King Asturias reacted by raising the

quota of recruits once again and rearranged his forces in answer to the queens forces. The war between Kregaia and Sunderland was to last twenty-three years with land won and lost by both sides. Almost immediately, Lasomar Sodanwon revealed his true self at his wedding ceremony to Queen Degardyn II where he took power of the Sunderland forces and demanded the surrender of King Asturias. King Sodanwon was killed at the Battle of Castilla when his overconfidence caused him to accompany a battalion as they overran a line of archers and he was felled by the arrow of a child prodigy of the bow. With the loss of King Sodanwon, King Asturias attempts at diplomacy found renewed success and Queen Degardyn II offered Sunderlands surrender to the King of Kregaia. For their role in instigating the war, Queen Degardyn II agreed to pay a tribute of 5,000 men every year for the next twenty years. These men are required to report to Shendl where they are distributed between the College of Priests, the College of War, and any estate that claims need. These men are allowed to bring any family they may have, but the women and children are not counted amongst the 5,000.

0-500CY - Natives form kingdoms and war amongst themselves. 500-508CY - Jakinos Lorishat arrives with a small band of adventurers and begins conquering kingdoms. 509CY - Jakinos Lorishat crowned king. Island continent becomes known as Kregaia. 509CY - Council of Prefects formed. 509-511CY - Remaining kingdoms unified as Kregaia under King Lorishat. 512CY - Civil unrest, land divided into estates and Council of Prefects is halved as nobles return to the land as Estate Lords. 519CY - Losing touch with the Estate Lords, King Lorishat forms the Council of Ministers. 530CY - At 64yrs, King Lorishat dies in his bed. His son, Leatold Briatkin, is crowned king. 531CY - King Briatkin forms the College of Priests and the College of War. 533CY - College of War builds Academy and training grounds. 535CY - College of Priests moved from capitol, Shendl, to Korronis. Inquisition is formed. 564CY - Council of Prefects stir rebellion. Civil war cannot be prevented. 573-574CY - At 59yrs, King Briatkin dies at the Battle of Wulad. Civil war ends. King Briatkins heir, Zachir Asturias, is crowned at 5yrs old. King Asturias uncle, Lasmor Sodanwon, rules in his stead. Inquisition is granted more powers as Regent Sodanwon uses them to punish the Council of Prefects and those estates which sided against King Briatkin. 585CY - King Asturias reaches the age of manhood and takes power. He exiles Regent Sodanwon in public trial. Regent Sodanwon is left on the mainland. 586-590CY - Regent Sodanwon is employed as an advisor to Queen Degardyn II of Sunderlands. 591CY - Queen Degardyn II sends emissaries to Shendl. A disguised Regent Sodanwon accompanies and sets the scene for war. 592CY - Queen Degardyn II captures Typhon and other western islands. King Asturias answers her force. 601CY - Peter of Cantabria kidnaps and assassinates King Asturias eldest son, 3yr old Kedess Astarte. 612CY - Battle of Morella 613CY - Battle at Castilla. Death of Lasmor Sodanwon. Negotiations commence - Cease fire. 615CY - War officially ends.

HISTORY OF Akadia Part I: The Brief Reign of Nobles Before Jakinos Lorishat ever entertained the idea of coming to the island he would later christen Kregaia, the southeastern lands were home to King Relarven Chahur and his families. King Chahur was very content to wage war on every single neighbor who dared settle near his lands and his people were known for their viciousness in battle. With Lorishats arrival, King Chahur vehemently resisted annexation and fought to protect his lands from invasion. King Chahur was invited to join the Council of Prefects, but preferred to stay king of his domain rather than surrender and hope for scraps from the foreigner. As many of his neighbors relented to King Lorishat and joined the Council of Prefects, King Chahurs defeat was inevitable. Relarven Chahur was killed in battle and his body was borne back to Shendl where it was heaped upon a bonfire along with several other kings who resisted to the end. While King Lorishat was hesitant to mistreat a fallen enemy, the neighboring nobles would not be quelled in their thirst for revenge on the king who had thwarted them for so long. King Chahurs son, Ivid Chahur, was a boy of scarcely ten years; he had no choice but to join the Council of Prefects lest his neighbors overrun his fathers long-fought borders. With the creation of Estate Lords, his fathers lands were given over to Avadur Cheven - later known as Avadur Lord Mayor Cheven and the estate was renamed after its lord. While not exactly a light touch, Lord Mayor Cheven was no where near the tyrant King Chahur was towards his people. The lord lounged in his tall castle, allowing the people to do as they willed as long as they paid their taxes so that Cheven could pay King Lorishats tribute and still live in luxury. Cheven Estate enjoyed a period of happiness even if it wasnt exactly wealthy. During this time, a young farmhand named Edmond Charenton-Saint-Maurice came to live on the southern tip of the estate and work the land. With a heroic work ethic, Edmonds success allowed him to purchase more and more land which steadily increased his wealth and property. As the years passed, Prefect Chahur attained the age of manhood and gained more influence within the Council of Prefects. King Lorishats death allowed the dethroned heir the perfect poetic vengeance; King Chahurs heir would overthrow King Lorishats heir with a glorious war. As King Briatkin spent tax money to create housing for his advisors and his soldiers, Prefect Chahur needled his fellow nobles, edging them towards action. He illustrated their fallen status by pointing out how often King Briatkin called the Council of Ministers versus how often he took the advice of the Prefects. Many of the Prefects ignored Prefect Chahur, but his following slowly grew as more and more of the original Prefects were replaced by their landless heirs. Thirty-four years after losing his fathers kingdom, Prefect Chahur finally had his revenge in the form of the Council of Prefects all but disbanding as its nobles returned to their birth lands to instigate rebellion. Lord Mayor Cheven, promised untold wealth and power, fell in line with Prefect Chahur and the Cheven Estate was converted for war. Owning a great deal of land on the estate without being of Prefect Chahurs bloodline, Edmond Charenton-Saint-Maurice was ejected from the estate and his lands and wealth were seized by the Lord Mayor and the Prefect. With all his hard work nullified, Edmond sought help from his friends and previous employees, Oswald Cantoraly, Enoch Roeham, Ulfred Braganza, and Josef Pratterbey. The five men, seeing the corruption that confiscated their lands, joined with the army of King Briatkin, fighting in the various battles together and earning names for themselves. After the death of King Briatkin, Prefect Chahur celebrated his victory a little too soon and fell off the battlements of Lord Mayor Chevens castle; his supporters would claim for years that the kings men had assassinated the Prefect and violated the terms of combat, but they would do so only in whispers. As King Asturias was too young to accept his position, his uncle, Lasmor Sodanwon became Regent King and set about punishing the nobles who caused the war that killed his brother. Regent Sodanwon levied a heavy tax on all the estates and gave leave to the Inquisition to root out those who had opposed King Briatkin. As a result, Avadur Lord Mayor Cheven was forcibly removed from his castle and carried off to Korronis, now nicknamed the Screaming City, never to be seen again. Regent Sodanwon installed Edmond Charenton-Saint-Maurice as the Lord Mayor of the previously-known Cheven Estate, now known as the Charenton-Saint-Maurice Estate. After eleven years of Regent Sodanwons reign, King Asturias had aged into his position as king and took power from his uncle. Lord Mayor Charenton-SaintMaurice was called along with all the other Council of Ministers to join the Council of Prefects in witnessing the public trial of Regent Sodanwon. Lord Mayor Charenton-Saint-Maurice pledged loyalty to

King Asturias and then testified on behalf of Regent Sodanwon,, but to no avail. The people called for Regent Sodanwons execution, but the young king spared his uncle and exiled him to the mainland. With his Regent exiled and his loyalty pledged to the boy king, Edmond Charenton-Saint-Maurice left Shendl for his new estate, determined to never give another king cause to touch foot on his land again. Part II: Restructuring the Land Free from Lord Mayor Cheven by Regent Sodanwons personal order, Edmond Lord Mayor Charenton-Saint-Maurice returned to the land he won with his battle-grizzled friends. Together, they razed the previous lords castle and built up a shining beacon of faith and beauty and named it Akadia. Once the city was built, people poured in from all the surrounding lands, pledging their loyalty to Edmond as their Lord Mayor. For their loyalty and assistance, Edmond rewarded his four friends by dividing his land into four equal portions and delivering them into the hands of Oswald Cantoraly, Enoch Roeham, Ulfred Braganza, and Joseph Pratterbey. Oswald Cantoraly, the clear favorite of the four, settled his family within sight of Akadia and Edmond built a road from the city to his friends door. For Ulfred Braganzas unwavering dedication to him, Edmond gave his personal lands - the one he started with under Lord Mayor Cheven - to Braganza. Josef Pratterbey voiced his preference for the northern lands and Edmond allowed him his choice. Enoch Roeham, the drunkard of the bunch, took the last of the divided land, but was pleased nonetheless as his land yielded abundant vine crops. The men wasted no time in settling down, taking local women for their wives and creating families to cultivate their lands. Edmond made peace with his neighbors by marrying the daughter of a rival; the union pleased his people as sons were soon produced by the foreign beauty who shared her husbands ability to charm those who spent any time with her. Over the next few years, Edmonds service was repeatedly recognized by Regent Sodanwon and Akadia became a city of some renown. In order to protect his lands from the overbearing soldiers of the Regents army and protect his people from the ever-present Inquisition, towers were soon erected around the estate as an early warning system. With the help of his friends, Edmond organized a good deal of the young men into soldiers and instituted a training procedure that rivaled the College of Wars Academy. Despite his station and the Inquisitions repeated attempts to raid Akadia, Edmond continued to work his lands amidst his people, allowing his estate to prosper unchecked as morale soared in a time when so many other estates suffered. With his increased responsibility, Akadia and its people needed Edmond to lead them from a bureaucratic standpoint rather than as an added farmhand. While he lamented the loss of his most favorite pastime, he stepped up and delegated more to his friends. Elise Johanna dAtho and Edmond CharentonSaint-Maurice celebrated the birth of their first son, Victor, along with the rest of the estate. The wrinkled boy was paraded across the land and the people loved him at first sight. To further celebrate his birth, Edmond commissioned the building of the Castle at Loire so that Victor could grow up in the safety of the Cantoraly lands. Benjamin and Henri were to follow and the estate followed their every movement with adoration. A big proponent of education and hygiene, Edmond instituted the first school and bath house for the estate, setting the example with his own family. As such, Victor, Benjamin, and Henri all grew up with the estates children along with the added instruction of their father. Victor was ten years old when King Asturias accepted his throne. Part III: A Sons Duty At sixteen, Victor took possession of the Castle at Loire with his own ideas for his fathers army. Rather than wait for volunteers, Victor instituted a quota draft of all the estate lands and restructured the army into more of a meritocracy where the best were promoted and the worst were shaken out like chaff amongst wheat. His natural leadership inspired his soldiers to work hard despite their strenuous training and they left Loire confident in their abilities. Victor created the system of rotation and promotion as well as the position of Peer Commander. With these changes, Victor earned a new appreciation from the people living on the estate; they loved him and celebrated his successes as if he was their own son. Growing up with all the kids from the estate, it was natural for Victor and Erik Cantoraly, the eldest son of Oswald and his wife Emma, to become friends. The went through school together, played together, and trained together; everywhere Victor went, Erik was soon seen to follow. When Victor came

of age and received his property, no one was shocked when Erik built a house right beside Victors castle. Soon enough, the people buzzed about Edmonds plan for his eldest son in regards to marriage; Oswald positioned his eldest daughter August right under Victors nose in the hopes that he might see her and find enough favor with her to sway his father. Seeing through this thinly veiled manipulation, Erik visited Akadia and sought his fathers presence. After a week of meetings behind closed doors, Edmond and Victor emerged in somber agreement. Calling his people together, Edmond Lord Mayor Charenton-SaintMaurice declared that his son was to marry a foreign woman who was yet unknown to the people of the estate. He proclaimed the engagement and many young girls hearts were broken as the handsome heir was no longer available, but they were not despondent for long as Benjamin was but a year from adulthood. Known only to a select few, no such woman existed. Of course, a woman would eventually have to be found to fit the purpose, but Victor held no love for such a woman as his heart belonged to his best friend. If for only their respect for him, Victors men did not speak about the long hours that Erik spent in Victors chambers and those who even attempted a joke in light company soon found themselves stared down and disgraced. Victor was a fine son and bore his duty well; he expected no less from his soldiers than what he gave them and its to him (and his father) they owed allegiance and loyalty; any soldier who did not respect that obligation suffered consequences doled out by his peers. (King Asturias had exiled Regent Sodanwon by this point and enjoyed seven years of peace while Regent Sodanwon charmed Queen Degardyn II of Sunderland.) On his 18th birthday, war between the Sunderland tribes and Kregaia was declared and, at 20, Victor could no longer ignore the call of war. Victor left Erik at Loire while he defended the kingdom. Naturally, Erik attempted to join the kings army along with Victor, but Oswald Cantoraly refused to give him leave from the farm as his younger siblings were too small to be of much help. Victor fought alongside his younger brother Henri and they soon became popular heroes celebrated by their soldiers. They fought side by side for seventeen years, earning a greater reputation with each battle until Henri, then graced with the knightly title of Sir, was felled at an enemys sword. Victor, witnessing his brothers death, cut a path to his body and dragged him off the field behind a wall. Mourning his loss, Victor tore his armor from his chest and wade into battle, cutting down scores of the enemys men before a spear pierced his throat and killed him. Remy, their youngest brother in the war, ordered Victors soldiers to wrap his body and the body of his brother, Sir Henri, and to bear them home on their shields. The people of the Charenton-Saint-Maurice estate covered their fallen sons with tears and the flowers of the dead, forming a parade from the eastern most point to the city of Akadia where Edmond fell upon his sons and wept openly with his people. The earthly remains of Victor and Sir Henri were brought into their fathers house and anointed as was custom before being entombed in the land set aside for them. Edmond immediately appealed to King Asturias for the return of his remaining sons and cast his house into silence while waiting for the kings answer. That same year which saw Victor refusing a wife, Edmond was to suffer over yet another son. In the lords house, bitter words were exchanged between father and son as Benjamin voiced his desire to leave the estate and join the College of Priests. A year later, the ladies fragile hearts were to break anew as Benjamin packed a few bags and left for Korronis. Once there, Benjamin pledged his service to Yengold Elhorn, the Elder Presbyter (highest priest). His Holy Right advised Benjamin to join the Inquisition in its now muted quest to root out enemies of the crown and Benjamin gladly took vows. Over the years, he achieved a great many successes in bringing criminals to justice and sent a good deal of coin back to his father in an attempt to appease and appeal to him. While Benjamin enjoyed the company of many young maidens, he did not seek marriage as his duty belonged to the Inquisition before all else. Before his death, Benjamin had acquired a significant rank amongst the Inquisition and was charged with finding the location of Peter of Cantabria, an ex-Inquisitor who had kidnapped the three year old son of King Asturias and murdered him horrifically. Benjamin discovered leads as to Peters whereabouts and hunted him single-mindedly. After four years of searching, he finally had Peter cornered, but the rogue cowardly shielded himself from justice with the body of a whimpering child. Benjamin commanded the boys release in exchange for Peters escape, but Benjamin was tricked as the boy plunged a dagger into the back of his neck, killing him instantly. Though he died long before Victor and Sir Henri, his body was not found; news of his death was received only after his young murderer was overheard bragging in a bar by an Inquisition initiate. The boy, who was now more man than boy, was brought back to Korronis where

he was encouraged to describe the very moment of Benjamins death. Peter of Cantabria has yet to be brought to justice for either the murder of the kings son or that of Benjamin. What little was left of his belongings held at Korronis where returned to Akadia to his father. Edmond Lord Mayor CharentonSaint-Maurice had already mourned two of his sons - his sorrow did not end with their loss, but encompassed that of the loss of Benjamin too. With soft brown eyes and the gentlest of natures, Henri came into the world smiling. Being five years behind his eldest brother, Henri held fast to Victor and followed him everywhere. In school, Erik Cantoraly and Victor tried in vain to ditch their small charge and soon just accepted his presence. Henri, always willing to do whatever his brother asked as long as he was included, was ever ready to please and grew on the older boys. As the three boys matured into men, there was an obvious separation as Henri learned the reason behind Victors preference of Erik over him and Henri slightly resented Eriks involvement with his brother. While it was never quite the same, the relationship was quickly repaired and the brothers were inseparable and stayed for long periods at the Castle at Loire. While in the town of Loire on the Cantoralys land, Henri met the daughter of a nobleman who had wandered far from the path while on a horse ride. He offered to be her guide and lead her back to her father who was visiting Edmond at Akadia. So impressed was she with Henri, that she immediately informed her father that he was to arrange her marriage. Henri balked at the idea of marrying someone he had only just met, but Lord Mayor Pascals daughter was not to be denied. Anne Fronde dPascal haunted the town of Loire, earning the envy of every local girl when she finally won the shy mans affection. Akadian bells rang for days announcing the engagement and the town was resplendent with decorations as the city prepared for the ceremony. On the day of the wedding, Henri accepted his bride in the zenith of style and they rode in an open carriage from Akadia to their newly built home, a wedding present from their parents. Moryan Hold was all the comfort a noble woman could ever want for in addition to serving the purpose of being a customs point for all goods crossing the Brexyn River into and out of the estate. The couple were quite happy and were blissfully oblivious of the war bring fought in the east until Henri caught news of Victors preparations to join the battle. Just as he followed him as a child, Henri could not abandon his beloved brother for his adored wife. He packed his armor and his sword and kissed Anne goodbye, promising her that he would return to her. For seventeen years, he sent tokens of his love back with news of his deeds and Anne swooned with each message, more in love with her heroic husband. She delighted in the news of his knighthood and signed her letters as Madame, including tokens of her affection with her reply. When Henris soldiers brought his lifeless body back resting peacefully on his shield, Anne raked her nails across her breast and tore at her hair, screaming his name to wake him. With his body laid in the ground, her father sent servants to pack her belongings and bring her back to her birth home despite her pleas to be left at Moryan Hold. The flower of her youth had faded while she waited for her knight to return and, when his shield carried him back to her, she was forced to leave the home they shared. The most mischievous of grins lighted the face of Remy every time he was found culpable in some juvenile trick which sent the nurses yelping down the halls or the chefs running from the kitchens. From the earliest of ages, Remy was found to excel at two things - archery and trickery. When he was born, Victor, Benjamin, and Henri were all well on their way to becoming men and, as such, had no time for their newest brother. Being the youngest had its advantages until another little brother came along and Remy had to adapt to being the big brother to a mewling upstart named Kimble. Kimble soon found himself at the center of some of Remys most dangerous pranks until Elise, finding her baby being rocked in the confines of a chandelier some thirty feet above a stone floor, pulled Remy aside and charged him with the care of his little brother. Remy took his new responsibility to heart and calmed down if only by degrees and the two boys mirrored their older brothers in how inseparable they were. When war broke between the Sunderland tribes and Kregaia, Remy chomped at the bit to follow Victor and Henri, but he was not yet old enough to go. Remy spent more time than ever at Loire, perfecting his aim while a 5 year old Kimble snuck under the skirts of nursemaids. Three years later, Remy was eleven and had absorbed every story that arrived in regards to Victor and Henri. When Edmond refused to lie for him, Remy packed his bag in the middle of the night and snuck away after bidding his little brother goodbye and making him promise not to tell. By morning, Remy had made it to the estate border and crossed into the Teschan Estate. He traveled long and hard before presenting himself before King Asturias generals.

When the generals saw the rough little boy, they chided him and attempted to return him to his father, but Remy thwarted their attempts by giving them the name of a village that was close to the battlefront. The soldiers returned him to the village and were amazed when the little boy managed to fell several enemies far down on the battlefront with his arrows. They returned him to the generals where he proved his ability over and over again before them. Finally they allowed him a position amidst the archers and he earned his position many times over. At fourteen, Remy du Champs (as he was known by the name of the village) managed a squad of sniping archers. At sixteen, Remy revealed his true name and stories of his deeds flooded into Akadia much to the relief of his parents and his little brother. As he was then the age of a man, Edmond could not call Remy from the battlefield and had to deal with his disobedience, though he secretly delighted in his sons achievements. Nine years later, at the Battle of Morella, Remy watched both Henri and Victor fall. Try as he might, the enemy was far too deep for him to save Henri. Remy stood on the wall, raining arrows down upon the men who stood before the naked Victor and kept the other archers at bay so his brother could have his vengeance. Though Remy killed the man who threw the spear, he could not stop the weapon from finding its mark at Victors throat. When the battle ended, Remy gathered the bodies of his brothers and sent them home with their men. The war was then over for the remaining men of the Charenton-Saint-Maurice Estate despite what King Asturias generals had to say. Before the Battle at Castilla commenced, Remy was delighted to hear of Kimbles graduation from the College of Wars Academy, but wasted no time in reminding the generals of his order that no man from his fathers estate should enter the war. In exchange for their oath, Remy promised he would end the war by the next battle. Thinking his promise was just exaggerated bravado, the generals accepted his offer and kept Kimble far from the battlefield unbeknownst to him. True to the very end, Remy kept his promise to both his mother and the generals by keeping Kimble safe and ending the war at the Battle of Castilla. The war was hard and King Asturias infantry retreated and were pursued by Regent Sodanwons men. Seeing his enemy on the brink of defeat, Regent Sodanwon rode his horse into the fray and lead his men after the retreating army. Once the army of King Asturias had passed them, Remy ordered his men to stand firm and mow down the advancing enemy with a hailstorm of arrows. The enemy, greatly reduced in number, overran the line of archers, cutting them down rather than continuing their pursuit of Asturias infantry. Fatally wounded, Remy notched an arrow and took aim at the Regents ridiculous feathered helmet. With one arrow, the battle was won as the death of their leader allowed the Kings infantry to regroup and attack from a better position. Remys body was never recovered as it was most likely consumed by the fires on the battlefield. He was posthumously awarded land and title and news of his death arrived within days of Benjamins death notice. He was only twenty-six years old. Part IV: Present: A Nation In Mourning With four of their five noble sons deceased along with countless other sons, fathers, and brothers, the Charenton-Saint-Maurice Estate withdrew completely from the war and noted its ending with bitter hearts. From the moment they buried Victor and Henri, Elise retreated to a tower above the Healing House and prayed for her lost sons; with news of Benjamin and Remys deaths, she returned to her husband to beg for her last surviving sons return. A hard man, Edmond would not relent, but soon discovered just what toll the death of children had on him when he found his strength sapped. Swallowing his pride threatened to choke the life from him, but he packed a horse and headed for Shendl to address the victorious King Asturias when his letters went unanswered. Prostrating himself before the war-wearied king, Edmond Lord Mayor Charenton-Saint-Maurice begged for the return of his wayward son. Unwilling to allow his fathers hero to embarrass himself further, King Asturias drew the Estate Lord into an embrace and thanked him for his supreme sacrifice. In response to Edmonds request, King Asturias called upon General Jakron Vuell from the College of War to locate Kimble who had taken his maternal grandfathers name as his surname. After many weeks spent searching the patrol posts, the general had no answer for the Estate Lord who returned to his land empty handed. However, before he left, General Vuell did offer Edmond this small ray of hope: Kimble did not see battle in the war as per their promise to Remy du Champs Charenton-Saint-Maurice, but had possibly gone abroad. Edmonds homecoming was bittersweet for his wife and his people. With Victor dead and Kimble unaccounted for, there was no longer a clear line of succession. Never before in Edmonds time as Lord Mayor has the estate been so thinly defended and the people have grown nervous. With the harvest

season soon upon them and planting season soon to follow, their anxiety have had to be shelved for industry for the time being. Each family has managed to cope differently in this difficult time. Not content to sit on the sidelines during the war, Josef Pratterbey dug his suit of armor out of storage and sauntered into war alongside his eight sons and the sons of his old friend. He felt like time had rewound itself just for him as he once again found himself at home on the battlefield. Many of the brothers early successes were owed to this stalwart warrior who was worth a hundred times his weight in reinforcements. Unfortunately, Josef did not live to see the brothers fall, succumbing to an infected wound which poisoned him for several weeks before taking his life. His body was returned to the estate where his wife, Beatrice, brought him to their marriage bed and locked herself in the room, refusing to take food or drink. Never a particularly strong woman, Beatrice withered and was found dead lying beside her husband. After entombing their parents, the Pratterbey sisters, five in all, awaited the return of their brothers in vain. Alone for the first time in their lives and facing the harvest times, the women went publically to the eleven retired Peer Commanders living on their lands. They sought the men out and charged them with the responsibility of their communities; the old men returned to the towns and villages and spurred the people towards action. With their help, the orchards were harvested in record time and morale soared as they spread tales of army heroism. With their land no longer in financial peril, the Pratterbey sisters started looking at their borders. After speaking confidentially with their retired Peer Commanders, the sisters secretly left their lands and traveled to the House of Savoy, the city in the clouds. While there, they sought audience with Archan Jean Lengobard, the Lord Mayor of that estate. Impressed with their beauty, Lord Mayor Lengobard entertained their offers of peace and trade in exchange for protection from invasion. Rather than declining their offers as was her custom, the Archan drew up a contract and had each sister sign it; in return for their protection, the sisters would offer themselves as sacrifice to Wee Jas, the Goddess of Magic, on each full moon. The Archan assured them that they would be safe if they signed and the sisters relented for the sake of their people. They returned to their lands in time for the planting season. As none of the sisters have taken a husband, their people have concocted their own varied and colorful explanations as to where the sisters go during this time. None would suspect that, under the first full moon, the five sisters gathered in a clearing along the border between their land and that of the Savoy Estate and took part a bizarre ceremony in which they gave themselves to the human-form of five male were-tigers under the watchful eye of the Archan herself. The predictable result of this coupling has yet to become apparent as the sisters have kept busy with the duties inherent to running their land. (Archan is not a name; it is the title of Jean Lord Mayor Lengobard who is a Jasidan - a high ranking follower of Wee Jas - and, as such, shares the belief that magic is the key to everything. Many of King Asturias battlemages came from the Savoy Estate, named for a the first priestess of Wee Jas who settled the area.)(The five daughters of Pratterbey are all named after flowers that grow in various locations on the estate: Aster, Camellia, Dahlia, Edelweiss, and Holly. Aster is currently involved with retired Peer Commander, Bardev Lassiter, but has continued to refuse his marriage offer, citing her desire to keep the Pratterbey name. Aster and Edelweiss are both pregnant from their ceremonial pairing. The Lord Mayor Charenton-Saint-Maurice is unaware of the treaty they observe with the Savoy Estate and would not be pleased to learn of its terms.) With his family intact, Oswald Cantoraly has instead found himself in a delicate spot without a good deal of his farming community. With the death of Victor Charenton-Saint-Maurice, Oswalds son, Erik, cut all ties with his father and refused to answer his letters despite his sisters pleas. Oswalds three younger sons, Eagin, Boyce, and Elijah, have all become adults now and help in the fields, but the loss of the farming community was felt deeply by the family. In response, Oswald contacted the Lord Mayor who informed General Samuel Halloway, the Lord Mayor of the Hallworth Estate to the East, of the Cantoraly familys need. Since that bit of diplomacy, foreigners have poured through Moryan Hold into the Cantoraly lands. Desperate for help, Oswald signed land contracts with just about every man who entered his borders willing to work. These contracts bind the men to the family for a period of five years where they earn a minimum wage and a portion of the crop yield that they may then keep or sell. After five years, the men may choose to leave the land or stay and become citizens of the estate. As such, foreigners now outnumber citizens and prices have suffered a minor inflation while taxes are a heavy burden carried

only by the remaining citizens. In addition to all the farming concerns, the Cantoraly family has also had to deal with border issues. From the south, Ayela Braganzas land negotiations have grown ever more aggressive. Though Oswald has repeatedly refused Ayelas offers, she doesnt seem interested in accepting his answer. When written correspondence did not yield a positive answer, Ayela showed up personally on the Cantoraly doorstep. Though the meeting was pleasant on the surface, Ayela made several very thinly veiled threats before leaving. Almost too much, Oswald has also been informed that several of his border towns that share proximity to the Teschan Estate have experienced a bit of muscling from the foreign soldiers; the soldiers have come into the towns and caused various troubles with the people living there, robbing them of money and goods alike. Emma Cantoraly, Oswalds wife, has been trying ton convince her husband to speak with Edmond Lord Mayor Charenton-Saint-Maurice, but Oswald is reluctant to approach his friend yet again for another request for diplomacy after needing him to speak with the Lord Mayor Hallworth. Determined not to let the death of his lover and best friend mean the death of the Castle at Loire, Erik has traveled the Cantoraly land and gathered all the retired Peer Commanders to the castle to teach incoming cadets. He single-handedly robbed his family of the one resource that would have saved them as it did for the Pratterbey girls and Oswald has not failed to notice the meaning behind his sons movements. Unable to command the retired Peer Commanders to leave the castle academy, Oswald has had to make due with the influx of foreigners on his land, both farmers to help and soldiers to hinder. Before Prefect Ivin Chahur and Avadur Lord Mayor Cheven collaborated to eject Edmond Charenton-Saint-Maurice from the estate, Edmond worked hard to cultivate the southern piece of land. Starting with a small piece of land, Edmonds success allowed him to buy more and more land until he was farming more than a quarter of the estate along with those he employed. After the war ended and Regent Sodanwon appointed Edmond as Lord Mayor, the Braganza family took over the quarter that had belonged to Edmond. While he wasnt as favored as Oswald Cantoraly, Ulfred Braganza was Edmonds most trusted advisor. After helping Edmond build Akadia with Oswald, Enoch, and Josef, Ulfred took a wife named Ayela and moved to his awarded land. Under Edmond, the land produced abundantly and made a lot of money. Under the Braganzas, the land produces just as abundantly and makes just as much money, but the family has managed to squeeze even more money out of the land by cutting down work expenses. The people who celebrated the appointment of their new Estate Lord could not have possibly foreseen the misery that awaited them with the Braganzas ambition. Ulfred and Ayela wasted no time in taking a census of their lands and drawing up land contracts for each citizen therein. The contracts that the Cantoralys have with the foreign farmers on their land have nothing on the contracts that the Braganzas have with their own people; the people on the Braganza land are little better than slaves working to pay for the lodgings they built and the tools they use. With every child that Ayela and Ulfred had, the familys cruelty increased. Their parents told them stories of how great the family was and the fact that Edmond came from the land that they now possessed which made them more important than any of the other families currently living on the estate. With Edmonds first child, Ayela saw her goal for her family moving further away and resented the mewling child who was certain to succeed his father unless an accident befell him. Unknown to Ulfred, Ayela hired an assassin to murder the child in his crib. The assassin managed to get all the way to the bedroom before dying at the end of Edmonds sword. After that encounter, the Castle at Loire was built and the young family moved to its security. Having grown accustomed to rich food and a leisure life, Ulfred strained himself in the field while meeting with a young girl. His family found his body in its delicate setting and laid him to rest before the embarrassment killed their mother. Ayelas heart grew even harder faced with her husbands infidelity and her determination for success became an obsession. With the Charenton-Saint-Maurice family now numbering five sons, she had to change her tactics and began growing her land through land deals with the other families at her borders. While the Roeham family drove a hard deal for land that turned out to be little more than rocks, the Cantoraly family refused all negotiations. Angered by their unwillingness to bargain, Ayela had to step up her tactics. She schemed and plotted, financially backing a criminal organization that managed to plant itself within the Roeham familys lands until they were able to also infiltrate the Cantoraly lands. When the increased crime didnt sway Oswald towards selling to Ayela, she scheduled a meeting with the Teschan Estate Lord. Surprised by her forwardness, the Lord Mayor accepted her into his court, making sure to have a trap for her just in case the subject of her visit

did not benefit him. While there, she approached the Lord Mayor as if she were an equal and made certain proposals. At the time, he laughed at her and threw her out, but, with King Asturias now unoccupied by the war with the Sunderlands, his thoughts have come back to what she offered. His soldiers harassing the Cantoraly border towns is the direct result of his entertainment of her proposals. As for the land, only two retired Peer Commanders live on the Braganza land. Even though retired Peer Commanders are not supposed to be taxed, the Braganza family has found more than enough ways to keep the old men from retaining any wealth. The only reason the old men stay is to help their communities and to try to maintain morale. As none of the Braganza family men have volunteered for the quota draft instated by Victor Charenton-Saint-Maurice, cadets are drawn from the people who work the land. Once free from the Braganza family, the cadets are usually the hardest working soldiers since they do not want to be sent back. This has reduced the number of working men, but the Braganza family refuses to lower their expectations when it comes to workload, meaning their people are worked even harder to maintain the same level of production. Being the eldest of all five men, Enoch Roeham brought experience to the team when he took employment with Edmond at the beginning. Coming home from war, all he wanted was a wife and a drink. Taking the drink first, he fell in love with the girl who served him. Adah Roeham joined her husband and they turned a rocky terrain into a lush vineyard. After their first crop yielded fruit, Adah showed Enoch how to build a still and they started brewing. Known for their warm welcomes and their cold drinks, the Roeham family grew in size and reputation. With the advent of Victors adulthood, Enoch lent his knowledge to the new man and helped in restructuring the army and even taught some of the first classes of cadets. Out of the five families, Enochs was the largest and most extended. The main house is a large, open white house with many windows and doors; over the years, as the family grew, more houses were added in order to create a villa compound which overlooked the rolling hills of vines. When Queen Degardyn II attacked Kregaia, Enoch knew it was just a matter of time before the estates fighting men were called away. With so many of his family members employed as soldiers, Enoch worried for their safety and brought them all home to pray. Luckily, many of the Roeham boys returned bearing their sad burden. Sympathizing with his old friend, Enoch silently celebrated his good fortune with so many of his children being spared. Not so luckily, the estate had immediate need of all its soldiers to fortify the borders and the castle academy needed new recruits which drew away his grandchildren. For fear of his failing health, Enoch has retreated from his lands and spends most of his time at home surrounded by his children and grandchildren. In order to maintain their familys wealth, some of the Roeham sons began using their personal portable bridge to allow foreigners to circumvent customs at Moryan Hold while crossing Brexyn River. After allowing so many people in without proper screening, a criminal element began surfacing in some of the Roeham towns. Little by little, this criminals unified and became an organization which threatened the profits of the Roeham family business by preventing the workers from farming the land. Behind the scenes, it was of course Ayela Braganza who funded the organization in its early days, but the organization has since lost respect for the old woman and has infiltrated even her lands. The organization is known as The Red Hand and its followers tend to wear a single piece of red clothing amongst the rest of their clothes - higher ranking members who have committed murders proudly display a bloody red handprint somewhere on their clothes. Their base of power is located on the Roeham familys land close to Brexyn River, but they have bases of operations in the Cantoraly and the Braganza lands as well as in Akadia. The only land they have not been able to infiltrate has been the Pratterbey land, but rumors coming from that land have spooked low level and high level members alike.