Into the Wild (KingMaker AP)
Choral the Conqueror
The history of Brevoy is actually the history of two lands, Issia and Rostland, united into one by force.
Issia, the northern half of the nation, has been sparsely settled for centuries. Numerous small villages cluster on the southern shore of the Lake of Mists and Veils and in the foothills of the mountains to the east. With the land too rocky and cold elsewhere for proper farming, the people of Issia survived on a combination of fishing and raiding – the most successful tribes venturing across the great lake to sack settlements along its western or northern shores.
Rostland, south of Lake Reykal and the Gronzi Forest, is quite different than Issia – a vast stretch of rolling hills and grasslands fed by the East Sellen River and its tributaries. Taldan colonists (from Taldor, more to come on Taldor later) settled this area centuries ago under the leadership of Baron Sirian First, who became Sirian Aldori, first of the Aldori swordlords.
In 4499 A.R., the Iobarian (more to come on Iobaria later) warlord Choral Rogarvia, knows as ‘the Conqueror’, crossed the Lake of Mists and Veils with a considerable force under his command. Lord Nikos Surtova of Issia met with the Conqueror on the shores of the lake under a flag of truce, and there the two men worked out an agreement whereby Issia would surrender its land and people to the Conqueror but the Surtovas would retain their power and wealth, serving the new rulers as stewards and duly sworn vassal lords.
The Aldori swordlords of Rostland, with their history of resisting bandit raiders, were not so willing to bend their knees to a foreign conqueror. They immediately rallied for war and secured their strongholds south of Lake Reykal. Yet the fractious swordlords fell to the disciplined forces of Choral’s. The survivors of the initial battles were able to unite in a last assault, believing they had cornered Choral and part of his forces in a narrow mountain valley. When the swordlords entered the valley, not only were they met by Choral’s forces but also by a pair of red dragons, unseen and unknown to this point in the war. The devastation inflicted by these monsters upon the swordlords was the final blow, and with this fiery defeat Rostland pledged itself to Choral the Conqueror to save its traditions from eradication.
The Conqueror sat only briefly on the Dragonscale Throne of the new nation he forged, soon leaving and letting his family rule in his name. For two centuries, the Rogarvias held the Ruby Fortress and ruled from New Stetven, pacifying minor uprisings and rebellions, and working to wield two disparate lands into one. Under Rogarvian rule, the nation came to be known as Brevoy and grew into a significant northern power.
In the middle of winter in early 4699 AR, every member of House Rogarvia vanished without a trace. Rumors flew of palace coups and sinister plots, but it quickly became clear that what had occurred was something altogether stranger than a mere rebellion. There was no evidence of foul play or struggle within the royal palace, nor in any of the noble villas owned by the Rogarvias throughout the land – the nobles were simply gone, leaving empty manors scattered throughout Brevoy. A brief period of chaos and panic followed, but by the end of the year, the Surtovas had made their move. Citing their age-old ties with the Conqueror’s line, they were quick to seize power in New Stetven and extend their reach across Brevoy. With all of Issia seemingly backing their move, Rostland had little choice but to bend its knee again. Today, King Noleski Surtova holds the Ruby Fortress and the Dragonscale Throne, yet it remains to be seen how long he can maintain his rule over a kingdom growing increasingly fractious.
Apart from the King and the royal family, the highest ranking nobles in Brevoy are its Dukes – the heads of the great noble houses. The Dukes of Brevoy are male; eldest sons inherit their father’s estate and titles. Younger sons often receive some provision, but it need not be much under the law. Women exert influence through their husbands or sons, and may even rule as regents for sons who have not yet reached the age of majority (15 winters). Lords tend to have many children as a result, at least to secure a male “heir and a spare.” This leads to various cadet branches and lines of houses, as well as alliances by marriage, such that in the past 200 years the seven major noble houses have become both more closely related and more widespread. There is an ever-greater demand for land and titles, and more young, disaffected nobility looking to make a mark in the world.
The seven great noble houses dominate the political landscape of Brevoy, most dating back to before the arrival of the Conqueror, when they existed as powerful tribes of raiders and barbarians. Choral apportioned the lands and titles to those lords willing to pledge fealty to him, reordering the houses into their modern forms.