Greetings from a stranger,
Did you miss me?
Its been a couple of months since I updated here and that’s not without reason (trust me). I’ll be honest and say that last year was one of the craziest, hardest and busiest years yet. I got so caught up in school as well as person struggles that I put aside my commitment to this site and my readers. I apologize deeply for that. That does not mean I stopped working on my project because, believe me, my writings were the only thing that kept me sane. This project is something that, despite everything, has kept me on my feet. I apologize if this seems like a strange update, but I wanted to let you guys know that I am back.
As for the project, I have gone through a whole rewrite of the series. I stripped it down, beat it with a pen, and killed my darlings till it was reborn again like a phoenix. So I’ve deleted all of the old chapters and will be replacing them with new ones. I’ve worked like mad on world-building, plot and fine tuning so that everything in these chapters matter, which was a lot of work.
I am still 100% committed to my story and 100% committed to get it published. It would mean the world to me if you guys took a look at the new chapters and gave them an honest read.
I plan to do a more formal update later on (which might be in video form).
Thank you for all of your support :)
Happy October everyone!
I am making a short update to state that the weekly lore update will be late. For this week I will push it back to tomorrow, just because it’s midterm season and I am swamped with essays to write. But to make up for it I will be writing a twitter fiction at 2pm Eastern Time.
So, join me @Basic_Cultist, at: https://twitter.com/Basic_Cultist
Happy writing wolf pack! Thank you for your continued support.
Happy beginning of the week, wolf pack!
I’m back for the weekly lore/world-building update. In case you are new and don’t know what this is, each week I share a bit of the world I have created in my series, "Children of the Dire". It would mean the world to me if you took the time to read through it. I’ve worked hard to create "Romeldaros" and what I share is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what I have plotted for the world.
This week we are talking about the midland kingdom known as Samhinland. Which is the most mysterious out of all them (and with the longest history so bear with me, while I get through it all).
"The woman knelt to her knees and examined the head. It resembled her, with a narrow face, big eyes and long hair. She touched the pointed ear of the head, brushing back her own locks, to reveal similar shaped ears.
She glanced up, her eyes drawn to the landscape of Samhinland, the middle land of the kingdoms. The foggy moor stretched beyond the horizon, kirks of moss-laden boulders replaced the galleries of trees found in the north. The sun kissed the earth dipping towards the vast horizon. Dusk’s mist hung as a blanket over the forgotten lands. The half-blooded woman set her lips in a grim line. Her head wilted at the sight of annihilation of her people." (The Renegade Blade, 95)
Samhinland is the central kingdom within the realm, dividing the north from the south. It lies between Lewenhart and the winterlands, and to the west of Caladrius. It is an ancient land shrouded in the mysteries of a lost race and ancient magic. The old race of the mages, the Anora, once made these lands the capital (before the east was discovered) till barbarian men sprouted from the soil and destroyed their empire. Now, the kingdom remains as a ghost town bearing the relics of a bygone era of magic and mischief.
~ Histories & Politics ~
The date of the birth of the Anoran people is unknown, as they are the oldest of the elder races now near extinct to the realm of men. Their entrance into the kingdom is known only by folklore.
According the the manuscripts found within the libraries of Lewenhart, the mages were brought into being when the stars rained from the heavens. They crashed upon the earth, forming beings that were the first of the races to walk the realm. They were the first children of the light. They acquired wisdom and began to live in moors, calling it home. The Anora spread, living under the guidance of their gods. The Anora flourished and multiplied throughout the world, seeking knowledge and leadership. They were characterized by their white hair and pointed ears.
The Age of the Mages (900 S.F. - 0 A.R.) was the golden era for the Anoran. They ruled over the other races (the dire - werewolves, the laec - selkies, and the kallai - dragonborn humanoids). This era was deeply romanticized by scholars as the times of fine art, fashions and gothic architecture.
"A statue of a man with a narrowed face stood before her, his arms broke from his vessel of stone. He wore a crown of holly upon his head. Katja touched the feet of the first king. She knew the tales of the man as a distant memory in her childhood." (The Renegade Blade, 404)
It began with King Odyn the First Lord of the Land (815-747 S.F.), who valued knowledge and education for the other races. He was a strong military strategist and used the savage state of the other regions in order to rope them into his kingdom, promising lands and protection. When he became king, the realm flourished with thousands of ice and fire dragons, roaming the world as common beasts. The king saw power within these beasts and wanted to gain their strength for his own.
He hired Cadmus the Dragonslayer to kill a beast for him, and bring him its blood. Cadmus managed to achieve the honour of killing a dragon, with the aid of seven other commanders in his legion: George Ladon, Jason Ormr, Fell Drogon, Tristan Bowman, Marduk Frigg, Hel Indra, and Cleric Fae Norwood. Norwood was a scholar who studied the blood of magic. She was forged magic with the breath of the dragons creating the magics of pyros (fire) and pagos (ice). She presented the magic to her king who passed it through the bloodline of the elite. The breath of dragons gave the Anora magic. They continually hunted dragons to near extinction for their power. Some scholars state that the breath of dragons was more of a power drug than magic, used to get them on a "high".
The Quest to Kill The First of the Land (783 - 763 S.F.) came to an end after the mages learned that once the breath of dragons was given to a man or woman, they kept their abilities to bend the elements of winter and summer.
After King Odyn came Elefreyra the Queen of Jynshire (763 – 735 S.F.). She was the Anoran woman responsible for popularizing magic to the common Anoran man or woman. She shared it with only the members of her race, making the Anora more powerful than any others in the kingdom. However, power always comes with a price and the Anoran were quick to figure this out. The crown passed to her son King Aragon (735 – 720 S.F.) who took a liking to the studies of dark magic. He was known to be eccentric and removed from the other mages, often having his nose buried in occult books. He experimented with blood magic, and created a third magic from the blood of the mage, known as Eurbrus, which was a magic of darkness.
"The king who took a liking to dark magic. From the tale, he forged a new form of magic from the darkness in his heart. The deep blood magic was banned after his death, never to be seen again, and for good reason.” (The Renegade Blade, 406)
King Aragon wanted to be the most powerful mage. He killed any who bore the magic of pyros and pagos, sacrificing them to strengthen his own blood magic. However, it did not stop a group from meeting in secret, plotting to overthrow this dark king. These mages turned from their old gods, believing there were no gods in the heavens. They made their own gods from ideals rather than idols, naming them after the star signs in the skies. These mages were led by a man named Tyr (742 – 720 S.F.) who was not an Anoran. He was a son of man who bore no magic. Tyr stepped forward in peace. He gave his life to protect his people and the guild. He was killed in the Battle of the Rivers and with his death; the Anoran people were saved from destruction from the hand of the dark blood magic. Once King Aragon was killed, the Treaty of Deep Magic was signed to outlaw blood magic. With Tyr dead the crown passed back to the Anoran people.
A second golden age came after the fall of King Aragon. Nara the Queen of the Jade Isles (660 – 592 S.F.) ruled with an iron fist and a strong hand on magic and the arts. Her son was King Galveston (592 – 544 S.F.). While the prince was still a minor, Navarre was Duke of Lewen who by 547 ended up as second in line to the throne and was the most powerful noble in the realm. The duke staged a coup and threw out the minority council and named himself as protector (regent) of the king.
Before Galveston was officially crowned, he had declared Galveston illegitimate and usurped the throne, being crowned shortly thereafter as King Navarre the Bad (592 – 544 S.F.), imprisoning Galveston in the Tower of Lewen. King Navarre the Bad was the worst king to the Anoran. But the most interesting thing about him was his death.
"Navarre was very ill, and his physician ordered him to be completely wrapped from neck to toe in linen cloth soaked. One of the doctor’s attendants was sewing up the cloth so that it would be nice and tight. When she finished, she wanted to cut the remaining thread. Since this treatment was performed at night, she didn’t want to use scissors in case she cut the king. Instead, she decided to burn off the thread with a candle. The linen was completely soaked in brandy, so when the lit wick came close, the king went up in flames." (Twilight of the Gods, 2032)
After King Navarre the Bad came the era of the Lancastrian, beginning with the Spider Queen, Queen Elizabeth (544 – 492 S.F.) who was a common mage turned queen in marriage. Her son, Red Prince Elrian Lancastrian who won the War of the Kingmakers (502 – 407 S.F.) and King Harith Lancastrian the Fireborn (407 – 332 S.F.) The king who killed his cousin and stopped the Kallai and the Anoran from hating one another. He married Queen Merrill Oakheart, but she could not grant him sons, so he sought a divorce. By the gods of his kind, one could not leave his wife. He found a new god, known as the Morrigan and created the Treaty of the Nine Gods (380 S.F.) which allowed the worship of pagan gods.
"Listen, Riordan. You will like this one. In the golden age of time, there lived a race known as the Anara, no, the Anora, they were mages of the craft of pagos and pyros. Their king was Arandron the Lightborn who formed the vast kingdom of Illyria. It was an era of scholars, arts and wealth for those under his rule. Yet, the barbaric tribes of men threatened society to birth anarchy and destruction. The king pitied them and thus struck a peace treaty agreed upon with the leader of the tribes, known as Romulus Daros. But the barbarians were unhappy with peace and murdered their leader to break the treaty, selecting another to be leader who promised to take Arandron’s throne. The tyrant destroyed the ancient races, leaving the Anora for last. In the siege of the moors, Robert attacked the midlands and killed Arandron on his throne to end the era of mages. While the mages are gone, it is told that Illyria remains hidden to the realm brimming with the untold treasures hidden by the Anoran kings and queens.”
The last in the Lancastrian line was King Arandron the Lightborn (23 – 0 S.F.) He was the last mage king of the realm before the sons of man took over and destroyed the empire of the mages and their rule.
From the north, this new tribe began invading. In the beginning relations were peaceful. However, the mages looked down on the new race, as these high elves thought they were better than anyone else in the realm. The war began with Treaty of Unbroken Alliance (16 S.F.) which gave the new race of man rights, but this was more of a mockery than a chance at friendship. Despite this the treaty was agreed and signed by Romulus Daros (63 - 20 S.F.), naming the eastern kingdom after himself, Romeldaros and hoping to bring peace between the two kingdoms, under Arandron the Lightborn.
The sons and daughters of man revolted, murdering Lord Romulus Daros and so began the days of revolt. They stormed into the cities and began slaughtering the mages with their massive numbers. Robert Darakth the Crownless (32 – 0 S.F.) became the leader of the rebellion. He invaded the kingdoms of the other races and killed them, beginning with the Laec (selkies). With the destruction of the races, Arandron raised the banners of war.
However, the Siege of the Moors (0 A.R.) was won by man. Robert the Crownless killed Arandron on his throne, ending the Anoran rule. The leader of the rebellion declared himself king, vowing to destroy all those who did not "bend the knee".
The moors homed the tribe of Samhind (Tribe of the Swift) who were hybrid half-bloods of the Anoran, still able to wield weaker magic of pyros and pagos. The tribe ended when the kingdoms forged into one, under the leadership of King Leviathan of the eastern kingdoms.
After this, the highland became dormant, nevermore birthing kings or knowledge seekers. With its culture in ruin, human settlements dotting the moorlands, and the Anoran outcasted from the kingdom of men, there is little left of the kingdom but a ghost town.
~The Liege Lord ~
“I am Robin Archard, second son of the Archard name. My family believed one in creed, united we stand, together we persevere. Your queen can go fuck herself.” (Twilight of the Gods, 2448)
After the fall of the rose, the kingdom has no true lord or lady. It is under constant siege by the crown of the roselands after the Archard Rebellion. They do not see the new royal family as legitimate, and thus, pay their fealty to House Archard who are leading the rebellion against the monarchy.
"Edward remembered being a young boy when the fall of the rose occurred. He recalled little from that night, only watching as his frantic father returned to his stronghold in Stratton. It came as a shock to see the lord in dismay. Taken from his home in the land of the roses and hidden away in the north until the beginning of the rebellion. The death of the Nameless King changed the name of Archard, for across the kingdoms they were known as cowards who ran from the murder of their sovereign king." (The Renegade Blade, 120)
Liege House Archard: It is a mysterious house with unknown origin. It is shrouded in mysteries much like the lands that they claimed as their own.
Lord: Thonyn Archard
Lady: Jehenna Archard
Their Children: Ser Edward Archard, Ser Robin Archard, Rosieha Archard, and Henry Archard.
~ The Noble Houses ~
House Arundell - They bear a purple and black banner with a white oak tree upon its flag. The house is known to be half-blooded mages, no longer strong enough to wield the magic of their ancestors. They made a home for themselves within Strathmar Castle, and are true to their history, for they produce many artist, minstrels, bards and teachers for the schools in Lewenhart.
House Harthill - They are a lesser house, loyal to the Archard Rebellion and reside in the Keep of Old MaCrook. They are known to be cranky and not too friendly to outsiders. They bear the most Anoran blood but still cannot wield magic. Instead they train the finest mercenaries and knights within the midlands sending them off to fight for the rebellion.
House Whitree - This is a human noble house who is respected in the midlands. They are farmers and sheepherders known to be the helping hand during dire times (it is probably why they found favour with the stuck-up highborns). Their sigil is of a raven upon a white banner with three flames crowning its head. The banner hangs high over Invernessa Keep.
House Thorel - Another human highborn house, they live to the east in the Storme Hold. Their banner bears a running stag upon a summer orange field of wheat. They are tradesmen and merchants, known for their honesty in trade.
House Winteland - Loyalists to the Nameless Kings near driven to the brink of extinction after the sellswords of Lewenhart raided their homeland, taking up residence within the walls of Fort Whiteness. They are sheep herders and clothiers.
~ Notable Figures ~
Lord Thonyn Archard
"Lord Thonyn Archard lacked his advantage in height, but his acclaimed honour granted him great authority, in the sight of the king." (The Fall of the Rose, 15)
He was once the baron of Stratton in Lysandra and a member of the Order of Ros. Thonyn fled from the capital after the fall of the Nameless King. He ran from the death of his king to the north and lived with the tribes of the Five Headed Hart to protect his family. His acts of cowardice haunted him, as now the highborn scorn him for being a coward, staining their honourable name with mockery. He now leads the Archard Rebellion.
Ser Edward Archard
“Till we meet again, brother.” (The Renegade Blade, 125)
The firstborn son to the Archard name. He is driven to uphold the honour of his family’s house. He is a knight who lives by the way of the fighter. He is rumoured to be a brutal warrior, undefeatable with abilities like a god. Edward is a young knight, a well-known bachelor who lives for his family. Yet in his heart, he knows he will never be able to bring honour to them, for he hides a secret.
Ser Robin Archard
"Till we meet again, you bastard.” (The Renegade Blade, 125)
The second-born son to the Archard name. He is less stern compared to his brother. He is a strong knight, but nothing in comparison to his brother. Despite the differences in skill, the two are close companions. He is known for his optimistic spirit and morbid humour.
The human leader of the mage order. Sometimes you can hear his name still being whispered in the winds of the moors as a distant echoing of time...
King Arandron the Lightborn
"At the end of the hall, stood a final statue, a man with long white hair and eyes of jade. The last king of the Anora, King Arandron the Lightborn." (The Renegade Blade, 407)
The last king of the mages before the sons of man took over and destroyed the culture of the Anora, collapsing their empire.
~ Culture & Peasant Life ~
"I don’t know how you tell the difference between them all. All these damned mages look the same, with their hoydenish locks and mincing faces. They all look like sparrows in a murmuration. You cannot tell them apart.” (Bloodletting of Kings, 977)
Much of the Anoran culture has been lost. The barbaric tribes of men tore their livelihood apart when they invaded. The only evidence of their empire is told through translated tomes, manuscripts, art and runes. From these texts it is clear that the mages social structure was structured around urban life and education classes. The Anora lived in vast, rich cities of marble, with distinct and intricate carvings of tricaids and runes etched into the stone. The people were divided into two, landowners and servants. The landowners were given land by their king and their servants worked on the land in exchange for protection.
They had libraries, magic schools for men and women mages, and scriptoriums for priests and monks to study. The Anora valued knowledge over all and even the lowliest of servants lived a lavished life with the same abilities of magic as the upper class. They encouraged artists and scholars, favouring the painter or politician over the warrior (apart from dragon hunters, these were idolized as gladiators). They encouraged free-thinking and deep philosophy.
Dragons are sacred to the Anoran as the creatures gave them their powers. They hunted dragons and stole their breath, forging their magic. However, it is rumoured that dragon breath became like a drug for the Anora people, as they lived for power, always wanting to achieve more.
Gender is not equal in the midlands, even during the series, there is injustice. Women are not allowed to choose who they will marry, that is the job of the parents. Men can divorce their husbands, but women cannot. Women can give to charity, build churches, and raise children. However, when it comes to learning and practicing the fine arts, women are included (but given less opportunities to do so).
Their festival include:
The Day of the Dawn – Celebrating the creation of the world and how during Elion’s death he became three gods to govern his people after him.
The Festival of Tricks – The Anora and other put all their wisdom aside and act villainous for one day a year; this is a dangerous day for most. In Lewenhart it is the most celebrated of the year.
Eli – The start of the New Year.
Deorsa’s Day – the celebration of fishermen, the waters, those fallen in boats. The people float boats through the rivers, seas and streams to remind themselves and to thank the gods for granting them a new year.
Tribute to the Skies – the summer festival where the arts are explored. It is a tribute to the god of light, Caelia.
Harvest’s End – The end of the long days, the day when Deorsa goes to sleep for the long winter ahead of them.
~ Religion ~
"The Anoran elder gold, Elion wished to kill the abomination. He chased it around the world without luck. But the god was a master of trickery. He knew the serpent needed to be trapped. He lowered his fishing rod into the water with the head of a bull and managed to catch the snake. But as he reeled in the line, world snake devoured the golden god. Elion fought his way out of the belly of the monster. He carved his way through and spilt the blood and guts of the snake upon his creation." (The Renegade Blade, 501)
The Anoran and the half-blooded Anoran (halflings) believe in polytheism. Their religion is the oldest of the kingdoms and it is dying. They have five gods known as Elion (the all-father), Caelia (goddess of the skies), Deorsa (god of the seas), Circan (the god of tricks) and Loakim (god of the hunt). In the death of the last mage king, the people believed Elion died with him, sacrificed upon a pyre by his children to gain immortality. However, the all-father tricked the other gods into cursing them with a lack of free will, binding them to the will of fate and instinct.
"Upon the skyward stone stood carvings of figures. One bore the picture of a quaint mother bearing a flame within her embrace, as a child. Feathered wings sprouted from her back; upon her head she wore a wreath of ivy.
On the rune stone to his left stood a man, a warrior with a spear and a shield at his side with a coat of falcon feathers upon his shoulders. A boar stood at his side.
The third carving, a man of gentle birth with the sun in his locks, a crown of light upon his brow. A grand ship at his back awaiting its lord upon the seas. The last stone bore the face of a man, with horns rooting of a stag from his head resembling the skull of a horse. In his hand, he held a snake and in the other he raised a chalice of wine." (Dream of the Druid, 581)
Their religion is pagan in its nature, with worship including blood sacrifices and pacts with the mischievous gods who appear more evil than good. The mages etch their gods into stone circles and at each festival they dance under a full moon with torches in their hands. Their worship is quite selfish as all prayer that goes to the gods is a prayer of wanting, such as a ripe fruitful harvest, a son instead of a daughter or a husband to stop his whoring.
“For the eyes of the skies, I sing praises and ask that the mother of air grants me wings.” He spoke to the boulders. His wrists bloodied from draining an offering of life from his body, to the gods of the Anora. “For the eyes of the earth, I sing praises and ask the father of nature to grant me the strength of rock. Let the children of the gods arise and anoint this blood and flesh, this iron and bone, as holy.” (Dream of the Druid, 931)
The midlanders believe that Elion will return at the end of time. He will be reborn as a son of man and raise the dead to join him in the afterlife. Between that time and the time of death, the Anoran believe in a deep sleep, where the dead rest for all eternity.
~ Places of Interest & Inspiration ~
My inspiration for the Anora came from the Roman Empire. It is plain to see that they symbolize the fall of Rome. However much of the landscape and the characterization came from my interest in Scotland and Ireland, as the people of the midlands are more like highlanders than Romans.
"Warriors trained their skills in archery while blacksmiths sharpened swords and axes for battle. The old caste laid behind them, as a symbol of a crushed race rebuilding their culture, covered in old moss and eroded stone." (The Renegade Blade, 423)
The old capital of the Anora, which once homed the mage kings. It is now nothing more than ruins within a wall of stone, cut off from the rest of the realm. It now homes the half-blooded armies of the Archard Rebellion, hidden deep within the misty moors.
"Cold and stoic, the statues of two chimeras guarded the double oaken doors. His eyes spotted a rusted bloody axe discarded in a ditch. Puddles of blood mixed with the pounding rain water. The dirt road to the sanctuary dotted with bodies of priests." (Twilight of the Gods, 2019)
Another Anoran stronghold that is still standing and in use. It homes the half-blooded noble family known as House Arendell. It is an old fortress, beaten down and weathered with time.
Ancient magic lies here...
Even more ancient magic lies here...
"We have to go, Leoric, we have to take him home. We will make our stand on the shores of Lucerne at dawn." (Bloodletting of Kings, 1299)
A lowly stretch of shoreline, it is said to be cursed, haunted by the spirits of the old Anoran gods and the kings of the mages. It is the longest beach in the eastern side of the realm. The weather here is strangely stormy and darksome, maybe there is some truth to the old wive’s tale.
~ Folklore ~
(Photo credit: Liancary-art - http://liancary-art.deviantart.com/)
The all-father created the realm, he forged it with his sacred magic known as Craetus. He looked down at the world he formed, perfect and beautiful and felt unsatisfied with his creation. He became quite bored of it all. He had trees, flowers, mammals, birds, dragons and sea creatures. Yet the realm seemed dark and without light. He found with his magic, he could not give it light or water. On hearing that light could be found hidden in a far off land, Elion decided he would travel there and steal it.
When he found the dwelling, he found his daughters had come to the realm leaving their place out of anger for their father for cursing them with such horrid children (the dragons). Elion wanted to play another trick on them one that would bring happiness. He would bless them with another fruit giving them a child who would hold the stars in their palm.
He turned himself into a small speck of dirt and slipped into her drinking water and was swallowed. This made the daughters pregnant, and she gave birth to an unusual and fussy child who cried demanding to touch one of the bundles, which had been, stored hanging from the walls.
The child was given one of the bags to quiet him, but when tired of playing with it he let it go, and it floated away from him and disappeared through the smoke hole. Once it reached the sky the bundle came undone and scattered stars across the sky. From these falling stars came the mages, who gave light to the realm Elion created.
The Binding of the Skies and Sea
Caelia rode upon a chariot of boars with wings made from wax. She flew too close to the sun and the wax wings of her boars melted. The goddess of the skies came crashing down upon the realm, falling into the sea. Her brother Deorsa, (a man of gentle birth with the sun in his locks, a crown of light upon his brow) finds his sister. He send ducks to catch her from falling and slow her descent. She landed in a vast watery place, with no land in sight.
Deorsa sailed his ship to his sister and helps her aboard. To her surprise, Caelia found herself pregnant. She gave birth to two wolves, one good and one evil. The wolves created all the natural features of the earth and sky. These were the wolves who would fight at the end of time, in the battle of good and evil.
The good twin protected the realm, while the bad only wanted chaos and to destroy her sister’s creations. She created darkness to drive the sun from the sky and made monsters, storms, and various kinds of dangerous beasts.
Caelia needed to return to the skies to protect the realm from her warring children. Deorsa raised her up into the skies. The two gods held to each other, preventing the skies and the waters from meeting.
The Pyre of Elion
Look for thee among the alder,
Upon the hills of distance skies,
Wrapp’d in stars upon the altar,
Whence the pyre ablaze to harpy cries,
He hath flown, he hath flown,
And supp’d art the ash and bone.
Where hath they taken the sire?
Upon the mountains of all weathers,
The children have lit his flesh in fire,
Blackened and burnt art his feathers,
He hath fallen, he hath fallen,
For the chalice of life art calling.
And thus youth drank eternity,
Upon the winds of winter and crimson,
Yet anon we fall upon blades of destiny,
To feel the sting of death’s snipp’d ribbon,
The gods shall live, the gods shall bleed,
The nights shall be long when we are freed.”
This was quite a long update! Nevertheless I hope that you enjoy! If you like my story and the world I have created check out the chapters I have up for reading and recommend my project if you enjoy what you read.
Greetings, my lovely wolf pack,
I would like to thank you all for helping me achieve 140 readers. This is an amazing feat and I couldn’t have done it without you. All the support you guys have been giving me has really allowed me to work hard through all the stresses of school and work. To celebrate I will pose the next lore/world-building post, about my favourite kingdom, Aneria.
Please enjoy and take the time to read through if you are interested!
"He grew fond of his tales despite the wolf being the villain. The noble dreamed of traveling to the winterlands of Aneira, where dire wolves, the size of horses, roamed the forests and giants lived untouched within the Forests of Frost Giants for thousands of years." (The Renegade Blade, 30)
This is the central political kingdom within the winterlands. It is the only one recognized in the north by the crown of the roselands (eastern kingdoms). Its strength comes from the people, who live and die in togetherness as warriors bred to fight and survive as one strong unit. Known for its wild festivals, vast forests of wolves and frost giants, and (of course) its long winters, the kingdom of Aneria is where "The Renegade Blade" begins after the golden arc. Although it is one of the largest kingdoms, it is mostly tundra and inhospitable lands.
~ Histories and Politics ~
"Unlike those born from the elements, one race was born as the brothers and sisters of dire wolves. They were formed from the same womb as communicators, hunters and warriors. They were called the Dire, the brothers of the wolves. These ancient ones lived in peace and tranquility, until another race was born out of the mud and clay. Terah, or man, as they evolved into. Their nature was to conquer, and so they did, destroying the races until only a few survivors were left. While the other ancient ones withered and faded, the Dire were given a choice, to become wolves and live with their brothers, or to become man. The bloodline did not die. Their heritage faded, the Dire lived on, and their essence has been reborn in your siblings.” (The Renegade Blade, 113)
Aneria is the oldest kingdom in the winterlands, it encompasses the largest piece of land in the northern hemisphere. Prior to the birth of men the ancient race of the "Dire" made a home. As stated in my previous update, this old race of wolf-like humanoids were born from the same womb as the dire wolf (who are said to be as tall as castles in the ancient days). According to the people, these were known as the Orion (wolf-man) and the Eyolf (wolf). The first of these were Ask and Embla.
From 32-0 S.F. man invaded the kingdoms of the old races, led by their leader, Robert Darakth the Crownless. He stated that man was the superior race over the art-loving mages, wolfmen, dragonborn and sea-people of the other kingdoms.
When man came and invaded the north, the people of the Dire were defeated. They could not match the strength of the new race of humans who carried stronger steel weapons. When man invaded, they often mocked the gods of the old races. To anger the people, the humans wore stolen artifacts and pretended to worship their gods. However, that turned into true praise as the generations when on. Northern people prayed to the wolf and lion gods, eastern to the golden god, south to Hel and the east to the Morrigan (most favoured god as she was one of sex and love).
Darakth gave the people of the Dire a choice if they wanted to survive. They must either live as man, or as wolf. They could no longer live with a foot in each world. Most chose to become man, and follow the rebel leader as he continued his conquest to dethrone the mage kings till the end of time.
Yet, some fled from the invaders and flocked beyond the kingdoms into the mysterious lands of "Winter Frith". They are the dire-born living far above in the lands of man, protecting the spirits of old, monsters of the north and the frost giants. They believed that the realm needed protection. Therefore, they guarded the winterlands, living in a primal existence as they had in the old days. These people were the roots of the five northern tribes known as "The Five Headed Hart".
In the rebirth of man (500-545 A.R.), the barbarians took power over the ravaged kingdoms, after the fall of the old races and Robert Darakth’s fruitless conquest (spoiler alert: he got no crown, but managed to put the races of old to ruin).
In the northern kingdom, the tribe of Anra formed. It was known as the tribe of the strong. These are the brutal blood warriors of the north, they lack the cunning and leadership of the other tribes but they are the most feared. They are warriors in their blood who never back down. They give rights to women unlike the other tribes, women are able to be leaders and marry whom they want, as well as fight as shield maidens. They live and are hardened by the snow. They worship the northern gods, Sol and Mani.
From these barbarians came the northerners of the winterlands. The era of barbarians did not last long though. They lasted until the Dynasty of Kings (545-840 A.R.). A druid (a soothsayer) by the name of Leonidas Druid foretold the end of the kingdoms if the people did not unite. Therefore, a man of the eastern tribe named, Dreues Leviathan took it upon himself to forge the unity of the tribes into one kingdom. He forged his kingdom through blood, forcing the people into his union. When facing the northerners, he defeated them in what is known as "The Bloodletting of Wolves" (545 A.R.) and soon after became the first kingdom of the tribesmen.
As you might guess, the winterlands often were faced with defeat by kings. Although easily tamed, there was a time when they ruled as the strongest kingdom. When a mad king known as King Francis the Demon (645 – 673 A.R) upset the western kingdoms by signing a treaty to divide the south, Lady Adelardus Thelind of Lewenhart and Duke Robert Ceowulf commissioned the a warrior of the winterlands to fight for them. He was a man known as Dagnor the Grey Wolf (630-710 A.R.). This lone warrior managed to dethrone King Francis, kill and rape Lady Adelardus, and steal the crown for himself. He created Aneria as a kingdom he could give to his children, taking the largest chunk of land for the north.
“See, there is the greatest of the lords of the north, Lord Dagnor Rafa the Grey Wolf. A barbarian who allied with the vilest of the kingdoms to save the realm, from the most horrid ruler of Lysandra, Francis the Demon.” (Dream of the Druid, 630)
King Dagnor Rafa was the only northerner to be crowned king, because the gods found it amusing to curse him with five daughters. Yet from his line came the Rose Queens, Rhea and Sarka, the rulers of Lysandra and Langston. From Sarka came King Alexander the Lionheart, and from him came King Adonis Ros (the Nameless King). So you see why he is an important figure in the lore of my world.
During the duration of the series, the winterland is ruled by one lord, who governs all of the north and reports to the king of the east. He has a small council of men, including the Duke of the Mountains, and the barons of each noble house in his kingdom. They operate by a feudal system, no longer raiding and pillaging as the barbarians they used to be.
~The Liege Lord~
Liege House Coat: The family that takes this title is the one that rules after the golden arc. They were originally from a western lesser house. Then the Nameless King fell (and the north went with it), and House Coart was rewarded with a seat in the north. A family of dishonourable men, lovers of ale and whores, known for their tongues as sharp as swords. They create more bastards than profit.
Lord: John Coart
Lady: Helena Coart
Their Children: Alden Coart (bastard), Maerwynn Coart (promised to marry the prince when she comes of age).
~The Noble Houses~
House Bartholomew - They are the second in command, known for their strong soldiers and war-hardened weapons. They are not an original noble house, but were made so by the new king. They reside in Fort Wolfsley.
House Foreslance - Another loyalist house to the king of the east. They are foresters, who live in the forests to the east. They live in Yorthendon Hold.
House Warrick - An ancient family founded on cunning and sacrifice. They are as old as the barbarians, and have survived since the birth of man. Blessed with daughters, the baron once had no heir. The baron has only one son, once an unclaimed bastard made the first of his name. When his wife died, the bastard known as Ser Terrowin Warrick (half-blood man, half-blood tribesman) took over leadership and brought the manor into a prosperous time. His father saw his courage and rewarded him with making him his heir. They hold the lands of Guthram.
These are just the houses in the first book, there are others, but they aren’t important here.
~The Five-Headed Hart~
“You see, despite what this man has done to offend us, that is not the reason he will be put to death. Know this, son of Archard, our people survive because your kind fears us. If they do not fear attacking or wandering into our lands, then they will destroy us. That man is an offering to secure our survival in the realms amongst our enemies. His sacrifice shall go to good use.” (Dream of the Druid, 695)
These are the original owners of the northern lands. Their blood is ancient, undisturbed by the sin of man. The five tribes of the winterlands form a council, and together they protect the lands and live in harmony in a primal state, comfortable living off the lands. To the people of the north, they are a sacred people known not to be reckoned with, as they were never defeated in battle by the sons of men.
When seeking out a kingdom for his daughters, Dagnor the Grey Wolf, attempted to massacre the tribesmen. His attack caused ruin to his crusade, almost killing him in the process. Long story short, the northern tribes are not people you want on your bad side.
Appearance: dark skin and pointed ears, sloping brows and narrow eyes.
Briarshade - The tribe of the forests. They live in the south-eastern lands close to Nobury and Guthram. They have many healers. Often men of the kingdom travel to them in search of herbs and strong rogues.
Leader: Deerfeather - a strong warrior woman, known for her strategies in battle.
Whitewater - The tribe of the rivers. In the winter they live on a frozen river. They live in the north-east side of the kingdom. They are not kind to people of the human kingdoms.
Leader: Crowhisper - a warrior who once saved a noble family escaping from the wrath of the usurper king.
Stonefall - The tribe of the mountains. I talked about this one already.
Leader: Hawk - an old healer who through his talent saved his tribe from illness.
Runningmare - The tribe of the plains. They breed strong horses and live for the hunt. They reside between two kingdoms on the western border between Aneria and Nilfhela.
Leader: Fawnshade - A young leader with a heart of fire.
Frostpatch - The tribe of the tundra. They are the wisest of the tribes, the protectors of Winter Frith and the mysterious of the great beyond.
Leader: Willowsong - An old woman, known as the grandmother of the tribe. She is a druid with the power to see the future and look into the realm of the gods.
King Dagnor the Grey Wolf
"It will be an honour to serve the gods and my loyalties by fighting as the god’s champion. Dagnor’s Day is one of the last festivals true to its tradition. Hati and Sköll have chased the sun and moon into the skies, and two champions must fight, as in tradition, the loser shall become the sacrifice to appease Hati and Sköll from warring." (Bloodletting of Kings, 1063)
The first king of the realm born from the north. He ruled with a just hand, true to his nature, as a barbarian. He wore the pelt of a grey direwolf he killed on his back and had a crown of iron. From his line came the most important characters in the history of the realm. He is the grandfather of Alexander the Lionheart and great-grandfather of the Nameless King.
"By the stars themselves I was gifted with sight, a sense beyond what is seen by the eyes. I know what you are seeking.” (The Renegade Blade, 132)
An old, wise druid with knowledge of the future. She is a soothsayer with the power to listen to the words of the gods and translate them into prophecy. She can see the otherworld (realm of the gods) and see visions. Willowsong can also give visions to others. The woman is kind-hearted and earned her name as the grandmother of the north.
Ser Terrowin Warrick the Wise Wolf
“I took care of my people and my father, I put my faith in myself and the gods to help my village. When that time of sorrow came to an end, I was rewarded for my work again when my father legitimised me as his only son. Now no longer am I a poor, fearful half-blooded bastard. I am a knight who serves the greatest lord in the realm.” (Bloodletting of Kings, 1065)
A once bastard to the name of Warrick. He is a cunning knight, who has sharp mind and a sharp sword. He is rumoured to be a loyalist to the old king. He does not hide his wishes for the north to return to its former greatness, when the kingdom could govern itself and barbarians raided lawlessly. It is also rumoured, he has a taste for both sexes.
“We already have the support of the crown, for Lady Maerwynn Coart is promised to the prince. We have no need to keep a savage woman with us.” (The Renegade Blade, 233)
The daughter of the lord of the north. She is said to have ravenous black hair. She was promised to wed Prince Rheon Draspian, as a reward to their family in their role in bringing down the old king of the eleven kingdoms.
"If I can’t have you for a lifetime, I’ll at least have you now.” (The Renegade Blade, 238)
A bastard who has no claim to his father’s seat as lord of the winterlands. He was sold into slavery by his mother.
~Culture and Peasant Life~
“When the beggar king united the ten kingdoms, he took away our ambition to fight. He came armed with a new god, one of peace, one of hope, which forced many to follow like sheep to the slaughter. He used our wolf blood as his own strength. He used my people and the glory of the hunt for his own crusades. The king gave us what we wanted, blood and war, but he never cared to uphold our traditions or learn our customs. To him, we were all pagans despite the Treaty of the Nine Gods. After a thousand years serving him and a god we did not worship, we grew soft. We lost our old ways, and became as weak as dogs bowing to whoever came to our lands. We no longer pillage or rage wars for spoils, but make tournaments and festivals to appease our need for the hunt. We no longer fight for the glory of the gods, but the glory of ourselves." (Bloodletting of Kings, 1062)
I covered the majority of the topic in the last post. It is important to remember that the northerners value family above all, even before the gods. I will talk a little bit on the milestones of life.
When mothers go into labour, no one is allowed inside, not even the midwives. Windows and doors must be shut up until the child is born. Most to-be mothers die from this practice, since it is a test of strength and nature. When children are born into the world, the eldest of the house blesses the young one and gives them their names.
Education is not important for northern children. Most never know how to read or write. It is only male first-born children who are promised a seat as baron or lord. The only schooling most boys and girls get is how to wield a sword or an axe. To teach children the importance of family, many are given pets to raise (usually these are dire wolf hybrids).
"In tradition, the woman wears the lion and the man wears the she-wolf. Man protects woman. Woman protects man. Here, in the winterlands, they are both seen as equals under the gods of the north.” (Dream of the Druid, 815)
Children reach adulthood at thirteen. Then they are married off quick, so they can have their own children. Highborn weddings are always arranged with other noble families, while peasants are more laid back (even having multiple wives or husbands).
When an family member dies their bodies are not buried or cremated. They are thrown into the woods to be eaten by ravens and maggots. This is because the northerners believe in the importance of serving their kingdom even after death. They believe that the soul is gone, and thus the body must be used to keep the forest strong, to feed the animals and soil in hopes of a rich hunt or harvest in the springs to come.
I went over this the last time so I’m not going to talk about it much again. The people of the north worship Sol and Mani (a lion and a wolf god based off of yin and yang).
~Places of Interest & Inspirations~
"In Wolfhaven there is nothing but snow and ice. We have to be cautious.” (The Renegade Blade, 596)
An isolated forest of dire wolves. This is the home of the three children who grew up with wolves (the main three on the cover). It is the first place you see in the main story after the fall of the rose.
"A stonewall surrounded the village. The huts appeared humble in stature; most carved from old wood packed with clay and snow.
Dacianna noticed that the houses charred in black, burnt to the frame. Dry bones lay in uncovered ditches. The desolation frightened Dacianna. Even the most monstrous of animal did not make war among its own kind as man." (The Renegade Blade, 263)
A small hamlet in the north, along the moors dotted with sheep. It is where Elaine (prologue P.o.V) was born and raised, and lived with her grandmother, her father, her mother, and her little dog, Koira.
"The city rested on an elevated ridge within a clearing surrounded by protected enclosure of thick woodlands. Ring-shaped in structure with a mountainous outer wall protecting the inner city.
She spotted arrow slits and machicolations within the wall. The circular city had gates opening to the four corners of the earth along the outer curtain. Six main watchtowers overlooked the woods connecting the battlements. Beneath the majesty of the fortress bustled with lowborn, returning from the fields into the middle ward.
Peasants worked in the village, men who hammered steel to craft weaponry, giant warriors who stumbled around with their axes chopping wood. She saw women feeding the preada as members of their packs, horses, goats and cows." (The Renegade Blade, 227)
The capital of the kingdom, known not for its beauty but its strength. It is no longer in its prime. After the siege of the north in the fall of the king, it was ravaged and became weakened. It is the reflection of the northern people, once strong but now on their knees, bowing to a usurper. With time and a proper lord it might rise again as a strong iron fortress.
The Creation of the Realm - "Mani’s Blessing"
The gods danced in the great plains of the stars, hunting in the company of one another. They felt alone, they had no one to share the beauty of the skies. That was true until out of the womb of Mani came the hunters.
The Eyolf and the Orion, wolf and man, brothers under the sun and moon. They were born with black wings that stretched as storm clouds across the Lands Beyond. The two became jealous of the gods because they had no light form as Sol and Mani.
The two children of the gods stole the stars and weaved them together to form bodies. When the light mixed with their mortal souls, the stars died, their bodies became pale, and the rays of light turned to fur.
The father of light, Sol, the great watcher of the world, saw this and was furious. He stripped his sons of their wings, the feathers gathered and became ravens. They were eyes of Sol, Huginn and Muninn. The Eyolf and Orion fell endlessly, for thousands of years, going apart from one another in their exile from the heavens.
Mani was merciful and kind. She crafted the earth to stop their fall and gave them the land to live as long as they obeyed the laws of the pack. She gave them a promise that once their bodies melted away, the mortals would regain their wings and return to the stars. Man had grown far from his brother, he retaliated against his father, turning mad and jealous. He vowed to always hunt his brother. It is why man and wolf can no longer be as pack.
Hati and Sköll
These are the chasers of the sun and moon. It was said that in the days of old, there were two sons of Eyolf, Sköll and Hati, who became alphas of the Great Pack of Valhalla. One was black while his brother had a gold coat, which reflected the light of Sol. Sköll was loved for his colours and blessed with good favour of the god of light.
Hati grew jealous of his brother’s popularity within the pack. He plotted to kill Sköll. Upon the dawn of one day he took him out hunting, taking him to the plains known as Hel. The cursed lands of blood. Hati attacked his brother, ripping the golden fur from his back. Sköll detested Hati for his act of betrayal and retaliated to kill. The two alphas fought endlessly, coating the plains with crimson, there was unrest in the skies.
The pack was divided, killing each other as mad dogs, each fighting over whom had the right to rule. A sickness fell over the pack that caused a great madness.
Lyra, a she-wolf of the pack, cried out to Mani for help. The goddess heard her cries and struck Hati with madness. He believed that the goddess of the moon was his enemy and began to chase it. Sol struck Sköll with his own madness; he chased the sun becoming the enemy of Sol.
Thus, the gods would run across the sky, sharing the night and day to take cover from the fangs of Hati who chased the moon and Sköll who chased the sun. It was their promise to the Eyolf that as long as the pack thrived and alphas took care of their kin, the two wolves would never end their chase. If they did, they would turn their rage on the Eyolf. Upon the day of Sigfrøðr their hate would end and peace would come over the earth, the heavens would befall on the world. This madness is the anger of the gods upon a pack, the alpha is no longer sane, our pack is in the crossroads.
The Nine Long Nights
The gods of the winterlands, Sol and Mani keep balance in the heavens between light and darkness, but they are also lovers. Without one, the harmony of the world is lost and we are cast into darkness.
There was a wolf of the pack of Valhalla, named Frigg, a hunter who fell in love with the sun. She wanted to take it for her own, thus, she awaited Sol to rise over the realm at dawn and struck an arrow into the heavens. Mani saw her lover in danger, and she cut in from of him, taking the arrow. Instead of crashing to the realm of men, her light died. Sol grew angered by this and was driven into madness. He sent fire to burn the hunter and set a curse upon the waters to stop its movement. Once the pack began to fall, Sol gave way to eternal night, known as the nine long nights.
During the nine long nights, the Great Pack of Valhalla was divided. A new pack arose and blood became its alpha. The realm of wolves watched as night passed over dawn and clouds covered the lands with crimson. After nine long nights, one was born.
Birthed of the tree of which no man knows from where its roots run, the Blessed Child rose to bring light once more to the realm. The child of the untold, the forgotten, and the seen.
The Blessed Child rode upon a sixed-legged mare and went forth into the lands beyond to ignite the gods with life once more. In the strife of the Blessed, the gods returned their sight upon their children and welcomed them into the vast halls of the Lands Beyond.
Yet, the blood of the fallen tainted the peace and thus, time began anew, rebirthing the hunter of the sun and the eternal soul that lies within the blessed one. They say that the nine long nights will come again, at the end of time once more to darken the sun and bring destruction.
I hope you enjoyed this long lore update. The next place we will explore is the midlands.
As I promised, here is the first installation of my introduction into the eleven kingdoms of "Romeldaros".
The name of my realm came from the latin root word, "rome", which is comparable to the city, as well as the mythological character "Romulus" who founded the new city, named it Rome, after himself, and created its first legions and senate.The second half of the name "da-ros" comes from the Latin root word for "ros" (gnaw, corrode) and the Greek root,"da" (learn).
It is not that different from our world during the Middle Ages (set around 1200-1300 C.E.). In fact, many kingdoms that will be shown are based off of real places and castles. The laws of nature and physics are not different from our own. Magic is dormant, even squandered by the higher ranks within the kingdoms. The realm is in its golden age of kings at the start of the story (prologue), and slowly slips into its darkest age. It has been two thousand years after the birth of men and the fall of the ancient races.
Now, to kick off the beginning of this new adventure, I will be talking about the northern kingdoms known collectively as the winterlands. It is comprised of two kingdoms, one of the mountain (Nilfhela) and one of the tundra (Aneria).
There is a third kingdom that is under the occupation of Aniera, and it is known as Winter Frith. It is a perilous place, barren of crops and devoid of wildlife. Since it is a wasteland it is classified as a part of Aneria because no lord or baron wants unprofitable lands. However, there are a lot of ancient mysteries that lie to the far north, uncharted by humans, only mentioned in legend.
This week I will focus on the mountain kingdom
The strength of this kingdom comes from the mountains that shadow it in might. Upon its banners sail the banners of the noble house, a family that has remained in power since the beginning of the kingdom.
~Histories & Politics~
Nilfhela is the youngest kingdom in the north. During the ancient times prior to the birth of man, the tribes of the dire druids wandered the realm in packs (running with the wolves, bearing the same barbaric mannerism and pack mentality). It began a long history of family importance. In the tales of the Stonefall people, the descendants of the Dire (an ancient race born from the same womb as the wolf. They were werewolves), state that:
"You see, my children, our people might have come from the same womb of Orion, but we are different. As corn provides a spine for beans to crawl upon, and shallow-rooted squash vines become mulch, we were as corn to the emerging sons of Terah. We grew much taller and faster than our brothers of Terah, sprouting from the earth’s womb with great knowledge to survive winter. We protected the youngling brothers and sisters. We taught them all that we know. Yet, without allowing the soil to rest, it can spoil the crops to come. The sons of Terah became greedy, using their knowledge to destroy and plunder, abandoning their gods to take on false ones. Fostering such a weed under our care was our mistake. It is our sin to bear. But, in the sorrow of our wrongdoings, we must not forget our purpose to protect that of old from the weeds that sprout to overrun what is untainted by their rotting roots.” (Bloodletting of Kings, 1174)
In 900 S.F., the people of the dire raised the sons of Terah. The tribes of the winterlands taught them how to survive and thrive in the north. They taught them how to fight and grow crops. These people held no gods, no magic but the other races welcomed them as animals (just like any other creature of the realm).
In the last days before the great fire, that all changed. The sons of man were known as pillagers, rapists and pirates who were barbaric in their ways. They mocked the gods of the people and stole from their shrines and monasteries. They became a problem for the royals as they grew stronger, too great and powerful for the smaller races to control.
To mock the old gods, the people wore their artifacts and pretended to worship their gods, however that turned into true praise as the generations when on. Northern people prayed to the wolf and lion gods, eastern to the golden god, south to Hel and the east to the Morrigan (most favoured god as she was one of sex and love).
When the ancient races collapsed leading to the age of the barbarians, the Dire were given a choice, to either become wolves and live with their people, or become man and integrate into society. Most chose to become man and thus formed the old tribes of the north, that still exist in the first part of the story as the Five-Headed Hart.
(This photo does not belong to me)
They protected the spirits of old, monsters of the north and the frost giants. They believed that the realm needed protection; therefore they guarded the winterlands, living in a primal existence as they had in the old days. Despite the sons of man terrorizing them, they were much stronger and often put the tribes of the brink of extinction but they did not, because they believed even the sons of man deserved life.
The Stonefall tribe is the only one of the Five-Headed Hart that resides within Nilfhela. They live under the mountains, far from the reaches of man.
The barbarians did not stake their claim within Nilfhela. It was unoccupied during this time. It was not until the first king of man united the kingdoms and ordered a great migration to populate the plains under the mountains. When the people came to the new kingdom, they fought constantly for property and resources. Without a baron, the people suffered in constant bloodshed. A brutal winter came and nearly wiped out their families, forcing them to rely on each other to survive.
The long winter brought the fighting families together, into the council of six. The people needed a leader, so instead of assigning a family to become the liege baron, the council decided to vote a duke, and recast a vote each spring. If a duke did well during the winter months, then they would keep their position as Duke Under the Mountain. Robert Ceolwulf was a farmer was voted duke under the mountains for his hard selfless work, keeping the people fed and protected. He led the new kingdom into the spring and kept his title.
House Ceolwulf kept their seat in power, protecting their kingdom for generations to come.
~The Liege Duke~
"Edward straightened, as he spotted rangers bearing the sigil of the Duke of the Mountains. They bore a lake of sapphire waving in the chilling gale of the winterlands. Rising from the waters at the helm of the banner, stood the image of a black mountain. Beneath the base of the crag rested a wolf with teeth barred for war." (Bloodletting of Kings, 1150)
Liege House Ceolwulf has ruled the kingdom since its birth. Upon their banners they wear the sigil of a black wolf on a dark blue sky, underneath the mountains. They reside in Hallad, the capital of the small kingdom.
Duke: Osric Ceolwulf - he is said to be as tall as a giant.
Duchess: Tilta Ceolwulf
Their children: Embla "The Spring Pup" (first daughter of her name), Ivar (first son of his name), & Gjord.
~The Noble Houses~
The houses form the council of six. These are the governing rulers of the kingdom, despite House Ceowulf remaining at the helm as the liege duke.
House Ceolwulf - The patriarch bears the title of the duke of the mountain. Responsible for collecting taxes, instating laws, and soldiers during war.
House Chapling - They are responsible for livestock and agriculture, as the masters of farming. They bear the banner of golden wheat bending in the wind, amidst a crimson sky.
House Marchal - This was the first family to claim the lands within the mountain kingdom. They are not the kindest to outsiders, and others within the council. They have always felt the title of "duke" belonged to them. They are responsible for arms, weapons and armour. Their sigil is a black serpent coiling around a white shield on a clear azure sky.
House Danvers - They are responsible for the western edge of the kingdom, as fishermen and tradesmen such as blacksmiths and clothiers. Their cities are run on trade. They are the richest of the six within the council. They wear a yellow and black banner bearing a grey owl with wings outstretched.
House Castor - These are the miners, shorter men that are none to be barbarians. They mine ores for the other kingdoms and for their own. Their sigil is a grey boar racing with tusks pointed out in front of them, racing in a field of green.
Stonefall Tribe - The tribes have no responsibilities to uphold within the kingdom. They remained and are protected by their vast numbers, often seen as wise-men and scholars.
Lady Alda Ceolwulf
"My father had an elder sister, Lady Alda Ceolwulf. She was the most beautiful woman of the north, untainted by blemish with skin, as pure as snowfall. Suitors came from across the realm to win her hand in marriage. The kingdoms loved her. They waited for the day she became duchess of the mountains." (Bloodletting of Kings, 1421)
A beautiful noblewoman who was the eldest daughter of the last duke of the mountains, before Osric. She was meant to become the duchess of the mountains, but tragedy struck and she was found dead.
Lady Embla "the Spring Pup" Ceolwulf
"The eldest daughter of House Ceolwulf appeared half the size of the lord. She bore the chubby face of a child with swollen rose cheeks and lacked the rounded features of a woman. Her locks long, as golden as her mother’s hair framing her face to flaunt her beauty to the lord." (Bloodletting of Kings, 1056)
Embla is the eldest daughter of Duke Osric Ceolwulf. During the year she was born, the kingdom faced a harsh winter that nearly starved the north. With her birth, spring came again as a miracle and brought a plentiful year for harvesting crops. She is a fruitful woman reaching the age of adulthood, ready to be married off to a highborn man.
~Culture & Peasant Life~
"From the days of fire to the end of the Dagnor Dynasty, the northmen were the greatest warriors in the realm. We were driven by the inspiration of the gods, cursed with a deep unrelenting hunger by Sol after Eyolf and Orion stole their light. We bare the blood of the wolf, as wolves bear the blood of man. We are one in the same. We long to kill and hunt as the savages we are. In the rebirth of man, after the death of the old races, the winterlands was feared." (Bloodletting of Kings, 1061)
When creating the men and women of the north, I was inspired by the lives of the vikings. The people are barbaric in their mindset, longing to serve their gods and fill their need for bloodlust. Therefore, these people have a lot of pride. They relish in the nostalgia of the old days when they could act as barbarians. However, their spirits have been tamed by the influence of the crown and the eastern church. Instead of raping, raiding and murdering the innocent, they feast and drink through their many festivals scattered throughout the year.
The most important thing for the northern people is family. Above all else, they take care of their pack. This extends to their ruling structure as well, for a duke is no better than its weakest member in the "pack". When the lowborn are suffering, the duke must do all he can to strengthen them. They care little for material wealth, or the lavishing fashions of the eastern kingdoms. All they want is their families to thrive through trials and tribulation.
Nobles and barons live within a stone manor while the peasants live in wattle and daub houses surrounding the manor, behind the protection of the walls. Peasants have the freedom to form unions, speak before their baron, and even buy and sell property.
The genders are seen as equals in the north. Women can divorce their husbands, manage their own finances, fight in battle as shield maidens, and take seats within the council of six. They are not seen as property, but most women value their families and thus will marry whomever their parents wish.
"The gods danced in the great plains of the stars, hunting in the company of one another. Yet, they felt alone, they had no one to share the beauty of the skies. That was true, until out of the womb of Mani, came the hunters." (The Renegade Blade, 271)
The winterlands have two gods, Sol and Mani (Yin and Yang). Sol is a lion god, bearing a human and a lion form with a golden mane. He is the god of the sun, of strength and light. Mani is the active wolf god, bearing both a human and a wolf form. She is the passive goddess of the moon, of knowledge and darkness. They are known as the lover gods.
In a culture full of bloodshed, war-lust and sacrifice, it is telling that they have gods that are centred around their love for one another. Religion is quite important to the northern people. They live and die to please their gods (much like the vikings), and believe that every action that happens on earth is a product of their gods.
"I give my sword and my life to Sol and Mani. I place my sword in the hands of the gods. If they so wish to invite me to the Lands Beyond I will go to serve for the good of the pack.” (Bloodletting of the Gods, 1065)
However, it is a very pagan religion. There are many human sacrifices that occur and mass suicides to their gods that occur during the year (especially during festivals). Although most peasants state the blood offerings are consensual, it is debatable if the sacrificed are truly wanting to die. To counter their barbaric nature, the eastern kings allow them to practice their pagan religion and do not intervene in fear of starting a war. They gifted them with many celebrations and festivals to keep the northerners content and drunk from mead.
"It is the month by which Sol and Mani are in the skies at the same time. We celebrate with a great bonfire and a game of courtship, where those without partners go into the streets and exchange masks. It is to bring together the lovers of the kingdom under the light of the gods." (Bloodletting of Kings, 1125)
Some celebrations include: Midsummer, Sol’s Solstice and Harvest’s End.
"My people believe that those killed or die of old age, journey onward from where their bodies fall. Their legs do not stop moving, their eyes never close and their hearts remain pure. Every affliction shred from their fur as dead skin. The deceased run into the lands beyond, into the sky to the great lights of the north. They live in the light for an eternity, prancing under the moon and singing howls of joy forever with the goddess of night, Mani, and the father of light, Sol.” (Dream of the Druid, 676)
The northerners belief in an afterlife. They believe that in a heaven of warriors, where the brave and noble will go to and drink with Sol and Mani. It is the Valhalla of my world. To reach this paradise in the afterlife, your family must stand vigil to bridge the gap between the realm of men and the realm of the gods. It is a custom for the relatives of the dead to stay awake all night in silence, and wait for the sun (Sol) to rise over the horizon.
"Where I come from, the people believe in lost mysteries within the kingdoms. Many monks, clerics and healers of the goddess, seek the mounts to find truth. They either return rewarded, or never ascend from the cliffs again. It is said that at the peak of the tallest mountain, Mount Krákeygja, the gates to the heavens lie." (The Renegade Blade, 145)
In folklore, it is said that the gate to the otherworld is located here (the realm of the gods). At the top is where the tree of life rests amidst a valley of roses and mayweed. Kings of old and druids (soothsayers) once travelled here for guidance and to gain the spiritual blessing of the gods. The last king to travel here was the Nameless King. The peak is dangerous to climb to, and most unworthy of the journey do not make it. The mountaintop is the bridge between reality and the unknown. It resides within the Celia Mountain range, the longest range in the realm, and the tallest.
"In the distance, Aeryn spotted a village nestled against a high ridge. The roads paved in cobblestone and the log houses built for the harshness of the north’s long winters. The homes dressed in stone, shaped triangular, with interlocking stairwells, shared between households with a common room at the base.
“Halland. It still looks as bleak as I remember it.” Archard remarked. The wolfborn ignored his comment and led the way further.
No high cobbled walls protected the community of northernmen, no knights or guards. Halland did not bother to provide defense against attack. As they entered the community, Aeryn noticed the banners of the two-headed phoenix flew in the air." (Bloodletting of Kings, 1182)
The glum city where the duke under the mountain lives. There’s nothing much to say about it apart from the fact that is is quite dull.
I’ll talk about inspiration in the next post because the inspiration for both kingdoms came from the same place.
I think I’ll save this for when I talk more about Aneira as they share a lot of their folklore and religion.
I hope that you enjoyed this! Please like this update if you read it all and want more. If anything, this has been a great exercise for me in world-building. Next week, I will talk about the second kingdom, known as "Aneria".
Greetings wolf pack,
I hope that you all are having a good Friday afternoon. I am still having a bit of withdrawal from attending Fan Expo last week. Nevertheless, I am working hard on the last part of my project. With school kicking off this week, it will be more difficult for me to keep up with my writing. But I will try my best to get the project completed by the end of fall (late November/early December).
The new version of the covers are coming soon. Been working with the artist to make a plan for the covers. I will be releasing a sketch by the artist (the wonderful Cris De Lara), either the next weekend or the weekend after. She is a busy artist and is doing my covers out of the kindness of her heart, so I told her there’s no rush for them. Each will take a total of three weeks.
The reason for this update is that I’ve decided to make weekly updates showcasing the world shown in "Children of the Dire". Each Monday I will write a post highlighting one of the eleven kingdoms in my fictional realm of Romeldaros. I will write about the landscape, popular places, strongholds, inspirations, and the histories (including the people who lived there). This will be a great exercise in world-building as well as allow me to show what I have planned for my world.
We’re almost at 130 readers. I know we can get to 150 soon enough! Thanks again for all your support. Your comments, reviews and recommendations mean the world to me.
This is not so much of a book update. It is a general update for my readers as well as some words of motivation.
This weekend I had the pleasure of going to Fan Expo in Toronto, Canada. It was a lot of fun cosplaying, speaking to indie comic book authors and seeing celebrities.
(here’s a photograph of me cosplaying, Bernkastel the witch of Miracles)
It was an amazing weekend that has given me a lot of inspiration. I got to see Margaret Atwood and get a signed copy of her first graphic novel, "Angel Catbird". Being able to be in the same room as that amazing author was a highlight of the weekend.
(accurate picture of me meeting Atwood.)
Anyways, enough freaking out about the convention. Even though I got to meet one of the most famous Canadian writers, what stood out to me more were the indie writers and comic book publishers. Everyone there was so polite and humble when selling their stories. You could tell that they put their heart and soul into their work. Rather than working for the money, they do it because it is what they enjoy doing. I learned their inspiration came from everywhere, from RPGs such as Dungeons and Dragons to reading quotes as story prompts. I even saw a writer stop a person just to take a picture because they inspired them to make a character for their next project. There were a lot of creative works that caught my attention.
Such as Jim Zub the author of the comic series "Wayward" and "Skullkickers" by Image Comics.
And Neil Gibson, the author of "Twisted Dark".
Now, this man went above and beyond for his fans. When we went there he signed my copy of the fifth volume of his graphic novel series and after we raved about his stories, he wrote us a short story on the spot in five minutes. It was amazing.
His graphic novel series, "Twisted Dark" is by far, the best psychological horror graphic novel I have had the pleasure of reading. This is a compilation of stories set in a world identical to our own, but it is twisted, very, very twisted. Twisted in such a way that churns the stomach, curdles the blood and will leave you waking up in the middle of the night from a nightmare.
The most astounding thing about these stories is the taste it leaves in your mouth. The dark tone of the narrative is subtle, intellectual, and leaves you pondering the realistic nature of each twist at the end of the story. It’s terrifying because horror of this nature could happen in the real world, and that’s what makes it so frightening. It relies on human nature, from our need for solitude to our desire for perfection and attention. The taste of these stories is not just a bitter one, it is also quite sweet, addiction sweet. Once you read through the first two pages, you are hooked in wanting to know how each story ends after. Also, when you figure out that they all connect, you will read them again just to figure out the connections. Gibson is a true master of the craft because he weaves each piece together in such a way that the reader is never disappointed in the twisted, dark endings. I highly recommend this to any horror fan, (especially psychological horror like Twilight Zone or Hitchcock) or any one looking for a scare.
I challenge all of you to read this without feeling a chill run down your spine. Go on, buy it on Amazon for yourself and find out.
So what is the point in me promoting these indie authors and sharing my experience at Fan Expo? Well, being at the convention opened my eyes to the beauty of the indie community. They are proof that small writers can do great things and inspire so many people with their weaving of words.
So do not get discouraged when the little voices in your head tell you you aren’t good enough, or no one is going to like your project. Just think that in a few years, after you’ve laboured and laboured over a novel, you might end up at a convention overwhelmed by adoring fans. Even if you haven’t started, or are struggling, or worried about your skills as a writer.
Just stop. Just write.
Don’t worry about your experience or struggles, just write and work to the finish line. Writing is hard work and it takes a lot of dedication, but if you stick to it, the fruits of your labour might shine through.
Creativity is everywhere. The tools are in your head, inspiration is all around you.
I am happy to announce that we have made it to over one hundred readers in the last two weeks. I have to thank you all for your support, your always helpful comments and reviews. Now that we have reached one hundred, as promised I will upload all the second chapters of the PoV characters as my gift to you.
If we reach 150 readers I will begin uploading character descriptions along with drawings to show how I imagine them and give you the chance to get to know the characters of my series. I know we can reach this simple goal, we’ve already come so far, what’s another fifty readers?
As for my progress, things have been coming well. I am self-editing the final part of the series. My goal right now is to go through the ENTIRE series that is still a first draft and prepare each section (five parts/five books) for beta stage. Once I have completed the book series, I will go back to the first part and work on preparing it further for publishing. It would mean the world to me if you guys could take the time to read the chapters I have uploaded and comment on them. I will return the favour to those who are willing.
Thanks again for all your support!