The Kingdom of Aldoria
The Kingdom of Aldoria – Faedrun – OLD WORLD
The Kingdom of Aldoria sits neighboring Vandregon on the continent of Faedrun. A smaller kingdom, Aldoria is home to a very wealthy merchant system and specializes in economy, trade, and politics. Aldoria also became the first nation to truly master the oceans and its trade routes along waterways exist because of Aldorian explorers and sea merchants. Their banner colors are green and blue, representing water and growth, and their crest is a compass with cardinal direction points.
In addition to their prowess as sailors, the Aldorians developed some of the finest breeds of horses that the world has ever seen, from the smooth-gaited walking horses prized by the nobility for their comfort and grace, to the strong and hardy draft horses that work the fields and haul cargo overland. Even the powerful warhorses so beloved by the knights of Vandregon are descended from Aldorian bloodlines. Other nations may be famous for their specialty exports, but the Aldorians are the ones who move those commodities. The Aldorians were the first to map Faedrun, and nearly all of the major trade routes were blazed by the explorers and merchants of this Kingdom. By creating a network of tollways and bridges within their Kingdom and extending out to every entry point along their borders, the Aldorians have been able to fund and support the smoothest and best maintained roads in Faedrun.
Because of the high volume of trade traffic and valuable goods passing through this Kingdom at any given time, there is a long running problem with piracy and highway robbery. The merchant guilds have taken matters into their own hands by creating Road Warden garrisons and Merchant Marine Corps, but sadly these mercenary organizations are often corrupt and can actually be just as dangerous as the pirates and bandits themselves. Behind the extortion and protection rackets are the competitive individuals of the merchant guilds themselves, of course, back-stabbing each other whenever possible.
Aldoria has had good relations with the other nations except for a misunderstanding with Vandregon that led to a bloody encounter called the Battle of Grayfield. Many years ago, when the Aldorians were just beginning to get their momentum as a major economic power, the country expressed interest in opening up more trade with the Syndar. At the time, the Syndar kingdoms were still quite isolationist in regards to the humans, and rarely traded with them. There was a definite demand for Syndar goods, however. Everything they produced from spices to artwork was highly prized by the wealthiest humans, and brought excellent prices. The Syndar, however, really had no interest in trading with the Humans, especially since as far as they were concerned, there was not a thing that the humans could produce that they couldn’t do better themselves. The only place where Humans and Syndar even had frequent contact was in the May’Kar dominion, center of learning and religion in the Old World. Time and again, the Aldorian merchants and ambassadors were politely turned away from the various Syndar kingdoms without gaining any ground on opening up trade. This created much contempt among the people of New Aldoria, and the merchants of other lands as well. Eventually, the attitude spiraled into outright resentment, and racism began to run rampant in the kingdom of New Aldoria.
The Battle of Grayfield
About a century before the Undead Plague, the tension that existed between the Syndar Kingdoms and Human nations of Aldoria and Vandregon was boiling into hostility. Border skirmishes and disagreements popped up throughout the continent of Faedrun and the land was on the verge of an all out genocidal race war. Although the Kingdom of Vandregon had the largest standing army at the time, the King of Vandregon pushed for reason and peace, sending diplomats and ambassadors to the City of Seven Gates in Tielorrien. The King of Aldoria, already frustrated and angry with the Syndar, saw an opportunity to seize more land and strike first. He made a bold move and marched an army into the lands of the Syndar. As the soldiers fought, killed, or displaced the smaller Syndar settlements, the King of Vandregon dispatched an army to follow the Aldorians. What the Aldorian generals thought were reinforcements were actually other Humans sent to stop the Aldorian advance. The Men of Vandregon confronted their neighboring kingdom in an attempt to solve the situation quickly before all out war broke out with the Syndar.
The Aldorians refused to retreat. They lobbied that to do so would show the Syndar that the human nations were disorganized and fractured. As the Vandregonians stalled the Aldorian advance, the Syndar army gathered and began to move to resist the Humans. Back in Aldoria, political council rooms exploded in heated arguments and oaths of revenge were sworn in the event that either side came to blows. The tension continued to grow as neither kingdom backed down.
To this day, nobody knows for sure what finally sparked what was to be known as the Battle of Grayfield. Generals from both sides were in a heated discussion, waiting for word from their politicians. Somehow, fighting broke out, centered around the Vandregonian general’s tent. The armies clashed, desperately trying to gain ground to see their leaders to safety. Soldiers fought violently, each side convinced that the other side had sprung a sneak attack on their respective generals. After a short but incredibly bloody battle, most of the leadership of each side and over half of both armies’ soldiers were dead. The incident was named the Battle of Grayfield; The color gray representative of the lack of unified colors of the respective nations.
As the Syndar army marched forth onto the encampment, they were stalled by the destruction the humans had unleashed on each other. The Syndar, now having the upper hand, could have easily advanced through the ruined camp, destroyed the remaining survivors of each army, and continued their march into the human kingdoms. The Syndar General instead stopped his army, showing respect to the remaining Vandregonian soldiers, and healed the wounded of both sides. There could not have existed any proof more profound than the soldiers of Vandregon willing to battle their neighbors in order to stop them from attacking the Syndar. The Syndar halted their forces, agreed to terms with Vandregon, and ended hostilities with the humans. This single battle would usher in the golden age of peace between the humans and the Syndar.
The Battle of Grayfield did, however, end the relations between Vandregon and Aldoria for years to come. The Aldorians felt betrayed and abandoned by their fellow humans. The armies were rebuilt and stationed at the borders of each kingdom, staring each other down in a waiting game to see if further conflict would erupt. Aldoria, far smaller than the kingdom of Vandregon, began to increase its political and religious influences with the nobles and houses of all the human kingdoms, to rally their favor if ever the nations again came to blows. Both nations settled in for a long and tense cold war.
Many years later, the Kingdoms of Vandregon and Aldoria have eased back into an apprehensive nature. No further battles have ever erupted. As the survivors of those times had children and those children had their own children, the bitterness between the nations cooled.
To this day, however, it is a common start to a large tavern brawl if someone claims that “the <other side> started it at Grayfield!”.
The Undead Plague – Faedrun
When the great undead scourge began to devour the land, Aldoria was ill prepared to handle this threat head on. The focus of Aldoria had shifted to supplies, trade routes, and managing merchant guilds. When the undead began to consume its borders, Aldorian soldiers could barely handle keeping them at bay. The neighboring kingdom of Vandregon did well mobilizing an army to meet the threat, but the shift of focus off of its military had made Aldoria weaker over the years, and many of their troops were unreliable mercenaries. Aldoria did not fully commit to the fight. Even as the King of Vandregon pledged to personally face the undead in battle and launched a grand crusade into the May’Kar dominion, the King of Aldoria held back. This move very well could have sown the seeds of destruction on Faedrun.
Meanwhile, Aldorian seafarers had discovered the new continent of Mardrun. As the Undead continued to attack the borders of his kingdom, the King of Aldoria immediately put his money into a secret project to build a colony in the New World.
While the colonists became established on Mardrun, the Aldorian people back in the Old World began to question their King. More and more farmland fell to the advance of the undead, yet the King would not send soldiers out to reclaim it. Instead, more effort was put into building more ships and working on the colony. Peasants and farmers began to flee, most of them into the neighboring lands of Vandregon, as the King and the army continued to fund and work towards the expansion of the colony. The King of Vandregon pleaded with the King of Aldoria to join forces in face of a common enemy, but the offer was refused. The King of Aldoria said that the people of his kingdom still remember the scars of how Vandregon “united” together as brothers in arms against the Syndar so long ago.
As the King and his political entourage of nobles, knights, and politicians prepared to leave the continent of Faedrun, the army collapsed entirely and the undead besieged their lands. Countless thousands were slaughtered as the King attempted to flee. Soldiers were ordered to stand and fight to keep the undead from destroying the ships. The entire port city was a bloody massacre as the ships set sail for Mardrun. Ironically, by holding back and isolating themselves, the Aldorian army could not withstand the tide of Undead and their deaths added thousands upon thousands of fresh troops raised again for the armies that just slaughtered them. This bolster in numbers was the major turning point when the Undead began to overwhelm the other human nations.
The Settlement of New Aldoria – Mardrun Colony
After the massacre, not very many ships reached Mardrun. Between the diseases of the wounded, the lack of ample food and water, and the haste in which they left the continent of Faedrun, the kingdom of Aldoria was doomed. The King never survived the trip to the colony he worked so hard to fund and his son would bury him at its shores. The houses and nobles were scattered, in poverty, or left with nothing upon their arrival to the new colony. What was once a proud nation of Faedrun was nothing more than a handful of bloody survivors, refugees, and battered soldiers.
Not all hope was lost, however, as the remaining nobles and military leaders tried to put the pieces back together and lead the colony. They proclaimed the King’s son the new leader and began a plan to rebuild. This course of action was not favored by many of the original colonists, who had grown hearty and cold with having to carve out a living on the new continent, and the colonists of New Hope declared their independence from Aldoria. The newly arrived refugees did not have the funding or men to rule what they had created, and the nobility could not resist the secession. Instead, the survivors of Aldoria banded together and carved out their own piece of the new continent and created the settlement of New Aldoria. This settlement grew strong by learning from the Ulven, yet keeping them at a distance, and battling the Mordok. The King’s son grew up in this environment, working his way around the people and vying for political power. Everyone knows him to be an ambitious leader, savvy in both politics and combat, if not bitter from the history of his kingdom. It is rumored that he is planning on gaining a following and campaigning for rule of New Hope on Mardrun, rumored to be finally fulfilling his father’s wishes of controlling the colony his shattered nation helped build. More settlers and refugees continue to band together under the banner and colors of the dead King’s son and his Aldorian Guard, and more nobles have pledged support as his power expands.
New Aldoria narrowly averted a full scale war with the Watchwolf Clan after an ill disciplined and rowdy group of their Soldiers, secretly in the employ of an ambitious noble, tried to murder a young lady of the royal family and frame an Ulven Ambassador and the Captain of the Crow’s Guard for the attempt. Their plot was discovered, however, and foiled by a party of brave adventurers at the Wayward Inn.
Raskolf Vakr, the Voice of the Watchwolves, responded with a diplomatic mission to New Aldoria, where he met with the Prince personally. The Watchwolf Ulven and the New Aldorians averted war and actually managed to improve relations between the two nations. When Mordok attacked children playing on royal hunting grounds, the Ulven Ambassador’s seven-year-old daughter saved the life of the Prince’s own young son, and the two became fast friends.
New Aldoria has stayed out of the Ulven Civil war thus far.
Aldorian Culture and Folklore
The Aldorians are a proud people from a very wealthy and prosperous country. Their current state as refugees has done little to humble them, and it certainly has not broken their spirit. They maintain good political relations with the nobility in New Hope, though their is a certain amount of tension between the New Aldorian colonists and the people of Crow’s Landing, whom the Aldorians consider deserters. The New Aldorians have been criticized by others as coming off as racist towards the Syndar and the Ulven, but in reality the perceived arrogance is just the way that most Aldorians talk to everyone that they aren’t trying to sell something to. In fact, the current ruler of New Aldoria is half Syndar, himself. The Prince is a good man, and for the most part, so are his people. There is just the matter of the old King’s skeletons in the closet, and the troubling little detail that many of the Aldorian survivors are sailors who have previously dabbled in piracy. The Prince has his work cut out for him.
The Aldorians are the finest ship-builders in the world, and the best sailors. They take great pride in that. Since the fall of the May’kar, the Aldorians also have the finest stock of horses, with bloodlines traceable directly to the first domesticated stallions of the May’kar nomads. They were some of the only people to successfully bring horses to the new world, though they only have a single small herd, almost all of whom dwell in the royal stables in the capitol of New Aldoria.
Aldorian folklore tends to focus on clever heroes and gods of fortune and wealth.
Sir Flaccus and the Magic Goat
Once upon a time, long ago, back in the old country of Aldoria, there lived a fat and greedy lord by the name of Sir Flaccus. Sir Flaccus was the heir to a great fortune left to him by his father, who had been a fine and savvy merchant in his day. Sir Flaccus was lazy and foolish, though, and lived in decadence while his peasants wallowed in poverty. Indeed, Sir Flaccus taxed nineteen out of twenty of their coppers, and took nine of ten bushels of their produce.
One particularly harsh winter, the poor starving peasants pleaded with their lord to spare them some food, for while the people starved, Sir Flaccus had so much food that his larder was overflowing and much of his overstock was mouldering. Much to their dismay, the greedy Lord refused even a pittance of grain.
Now, in the village lived a humble farmer with a trickster for a son, and a kind and virtuous daughter. The virtuous daughter had raised a beautiful goat with a coat like spun gold from the time it had been a tiny kid. The girl loved her pet, but as the winter wore on and the people were starving, the farmers neighbors tried to steal it to eat it! Eventually, even the farmer himself was considering slaughtering the animal, but the trickster son stopped him. The boy said that he knew a way to get the miserly lord to feed the people, but first he would need to collect all the coins that he could. The people were hesitant at first, but eventually they relented and gave their pitiable savings to the boy.
The trickster boy fed the coins to the goat, and left to see Sir Flaccus. He told the lord that his goat was a magical and fey creature from the land of dreams, blessed by the god of good fortune. He said that everyday, the goat would make coins for its owner. Sir Flaccus didn’t believe him, but then the goat lifted its little tail and coins fell out along with its stool. Sir Flaccus was amazed. He had lived a very sheltered and pampered life, and knew nothing of the dietary nor the digestive abilities of common goats. The greedy lord asked the trickster boy if he would sell the goat, and the boy said that he was very rich from owning the amazing goat, and that he no longer was interested in money, but only wanted to do good in the world so that he might someday get into heaven. The boy said that Sir Flaccus could have the goat if only he promised to feed his people better, and to cut their taxes. The Greedy lord agreed, and asked the boy how much the goat produced every day. The boy told him that it depended on how happy the goat was and how wise the owner was, for fortune was no friend of fools. Sir Flaccus purchased the goat and opened his larder to the starving people.
He put the goat in his stables under heavy guard. The next morning, the greedy Sir Flaccus searched all through the dirty stall with his bare hands looking for gold. When he didn’t find anything, he ordered a nicer stable be built to house the goat and make it happy, and he had his cooks feed the goat the finest and richest food they could make. The next morning, Sir Flaccus found that the rich food had given the goat some terrible diarrhea, but nonetheless, he searched it for any sign of coin. Still he found nothing. He ordered that the goat be moved into his own manor, and summoned the wisest and eldest farmer in his land to prepare the best food a goat could eat. The next morning, he awoke and searched his foyer for coins. The goat had ruined his carpeting, but there were no coins to be found. He decided to take the goat into his room and let it sleep in his bed. It still did not produce any coins, but it stunk up his room, and ate all the important documents out of his desk drawers, including his patent of nobility and the deed to his manor. Once Sir Flaccus started sleeping with the goat, his wife took her cats and started sleeping elsewhere in the manor, but the greedy lord didn’t care. When his servants and family asked about the goat, however, he was too ashamed to admit that the goat wouldn’t produce any coins. He didn’t want anyone to think that the god of luck and good fortune thought him a fool! Sir Flaccus lied to his family and his servants, and scattered coins around his house every night so that it looked like the goat was making him money.
Sir Flaccus never learned his lesson, but the peasants of his domain lived happily ever after, and so did his beloved goat, who became even more spoiled than Sir Flaccus himself had been as a kid.