- 1 Introduction
- 2 Life and Society
- 3 The Land
- 4 History
- 5 Political
- 6 Important Figures
- 7 Plots and Rumors
- 8 Domain Holding Table
A boggy land in the eastern marches Osoerde has long been considered a quiet backwater, during the Anuirean empire a system of canals and locks drained the swamps, however these have long since broken and been consumed by the spreading swamps. In recent decades the land has been too poor to be worth fighting over and--in the words of a forgotten noble of Ghoere--noted primarily for vast numbers of mosquitoes.
In the past few years however Osoerde has gained a black reputation as a land where terror is always near and entire villages have been burned to the ground by an usurper duke in search of his nemesis, the outlaw William Moergen, who upholds the legitimist claim in Osoerde.
Life and Society
It is said that in Roesone even the poorest peasant walks with pride while in Ghoere the meanest peasant knows security if loyal, in Osoerde however a peasant knows only terror. It is said that even before the rebellion truly began Raenech would have peasants tortured to death for his amusement, now many trees near roads are decorated with some unfortunate who broke one of Raenech's innumerable laws, failed to obey swiftly enough, or was simply unfortunate enough to anger one of the usurper dukes all-powerful inquisitors.
Only the churches are strong enough to maintain some independence - and they must watch their words carefully. Even so the increasingly obvious cruelty and outright malignancy of the usurper duke is driving the churches to consider extraordinary steps.
The guilds meanwhile suffer crushing taxation and Ghoere has several times been moved the threaten vengeance for injuries done to its citizens as they trade in the realm. Baruk-Azhik has so far been silent, although the racism towards its royal guild is constant, dwarven rage is slow however and the Duke's assumption that he can simply bleed the dwarves dry to line his coffers may yet be his downfall.
Taking full advantage of the outright hatred felt by most peasants for Raenech, Moergen leads a growing legitimist rebellion. He moves swiftly, rarely far ahead of Terence Gryphon - the Usurper Duke's chief inquisitor.
The One True Church of Vosgaard preys on the dark side of Anuire, its ambitions, jealousies, and fondness for battle. The distance between a reckless warrior seeking victory through strength and a cynical warrior seeking battle only for the sake of war, strife, competition, and hatred can be a very short road indeed. Anuire aspires to the virtues of Haelyn, and when these are approached, men are more or less safe from the temptations of Belinik. When men fall short of the values of justice, duty, service to those in need of strength, obedience, and mercy then the law of Haelyn, the wars of Anuire, and the deference of the people to authority can be turned to tyranny.
This is where Belinik dwells in the dark shadows of Anuire. The church of Belinik has found a ripe field for plowing in Anuire. Of course few rulers would be so bold or so foolish to embrace Belinik or his church, but the usurper, Jaison Raenech has done so in the duchy of Osoerde, no less in his capital in Moriel. For some time the one True Church of Vosgaard has laid low in Anuire, collecting followers by deceit, imitating a more violent sect of Cuiraécen while giving true reverence to Belinik. No doubt this is still the case. It has simply worked too well. But, slowly and carefully, the Duke of Osoerde and the Vos high priest of Belinik seek to expand the influence and power of their church in Osoerde. There is, after all, a limit to the power and influence of a secret sect whose worshipers are not precisely clear about whom they worship. And power is the real goal. Not just the power of gold bars and well appointed cathedrals, but real power - the power of life and death.
To the faithful of Belinik there is no power like the ability to hold a human life in one's hands and snuff it out with but a word. Terror is the purest form of power to a devotee of Belinik, and power, naturally, is for the strong. A powerful ruler dictates everything and offers nothing. Jaison Raenech strives to be that kind of ruler. It may also be the case that the natural appeal of Belinik carries only so far in Anuire, and beyond a small cult, the growth of the Church must be coerced. Either way, the expansion of the One True Church of Vosgaard is under way in Osoerde.
Osoerde is a flat realm in most parts, perhaps a quarter of which would best be described as marsh or bog. Once reasonably populated several of its provinces have suffered terribly under Raenech's rule, with perhaps a tenth of the total population slain as rebels or forced to flee for more welcoming lands.
Many of the folk of Algael fled to Aerenwe after Laile O' the harp, a noted bard and wit was crucified for offending the dignity the crown. Those peasants who remain are amongst the most cowed folk in Osoerde. The Count of Algael is Gavin Algael, whose demesne includes the town of Calbridge on the Calrie River.
Gulfport is the sandy, dry land between the great swamps. Having control of the town of Gulfport, as well as Almondier Manor, makes Halie Almondier, Countess of Gulfport one of the most powerful women in Osoerde. Almondier Manor (5 manors) is famous for including the only orchard outside of Khinasi lands capable of growing Almond trees, making her fairly wealthy as well. She has been carefully keeping guilds out of her province until she finds the "right partner." The town of Gulfport is controlled directly by the countess, and if they dislike not being allowed to elect their own mayors and councilmen like other towns, they have not found the Countess' rule too onerous.
Raenech has 'purged' Moergen of 'rebels' several times, leveling entire villages in his quest to root out rebels and outlaws. Those who remain either loathe Raenech and pray for Moergan's rule, or wish Moergen dead in the hope that they might know some slight security.
Moriel is the demense of Jaison Raenech, the de facto Duke of Osoerde. Raenech himself holds a group of five manors called the Duke's Estate near the center of the county, about a half a day's ride from the Duchy's capital, the city of Moriel.
The Lord of Stonybrook, Eldried Moriel, is secretly a partisan of the fugitive William Moergen, and often shelters him when he is in the county. He does what he can for William, but that comes down to keeping him apprised of all the news in the capital. There is little else Eldried can do without jeopardizing his position and family.
Spirits End (2/6)
The Viscount of Spiritsend is Ansien Bindier. Because these provinces are largely swampy, land dry enough to be useful for farming or raising livestock is comparatively rare. The inhabitants are few and far between. Many people here live in isolated homesteads or tiny fishing villages, and have never sworn vassalage to anyone.
Sunken Lands (2/6)
Viscount Agelmore Veldaene is master of the Sunken Lands, but his second title, Lord Warden of the Sunken Lands is the real source of his power. Though he does not own their fealty as such, he may command support from the two Baronets who hold land in the Sunken Lands; Sir Gaelin Amara and Sir Mourde Tindier.
Ten years ago, Gerold Moergen, the Duke of Osoerde was growing old and was no longer the Lion of the East as he was known in his prime. His most trusted lieutenant, Jaison Raenech, had been his squire, and his champion, and had become the Steward of Osoerde. Unknown to most was the fact that Jaison was no longer devoted to the Impregnable Heart of Haelyn. Jaison had been turned from Haelyn to Belinik, abandoned chivalry and the precepts of strength to serve justice, and embraced strength for its own sake and the ruthless teachings of the One True Church of Vosgaard. One of these doctrines was that the strong deserve to rule, and that the weak leader should be deposed and replaced by the stronger warrior. Jaison applied this principle and deposed Gerold, his mentor.
Fortunately for the line of Moergen, several days before his assassination, Gerold had sent his son, William Moergen, to serve as a page in the temple of the Impregnable Heart of Haelyn. When Gerold was slain, Jaison's plot to kill William was thwarted by the boy's unexpected absence. The temple immediately took William into hiding and striking at the boy became impossible without a war with Haelyn's temple.
Civil war draws closer by the day in this benighted land. Ever since Jaison Raenech murdered the former king and claimed the throne Osoerde has known no peace. William Moergen and his men lurk in the forests by day and cause havok in the night, and as Raenech tightens his iron grip, he finds more and more that his power slips through his fingers. He has taken to impaling traitors as object lessons - lessons which should be well known by now since even the smallest villages have several such lessons in their midst.
In Osoerde, the guild of Diirk Watershold is not a mercantile guild, but an espionage organization. There is smuggling, counterfeiting the duke coinage, fencing stolen goods, and even theft of goods, here and there. Certainly craftsmen and merchants are members of Watershold's organization, but its purpose is not to profitably sell dwarven crafts in stone and metal, but rather to join together in common efforts to survive and even thrive in the tyranny of the bloody duke. Those who resist the duke need an organization, and many are fearful that William Moergan's merry band cannot offer protection.
When Raenech took over the throne, Diirk Watershold was a well connected guilder in Osoerde with but a few holdings in the north. But as the new duke consolidated his power and as the tyrannical nature of the regime revealed itself, many people were eager to join a figure like Watershold who could organize them for mutual protection, advise them on their security against the duke's abuses, and who always seemed to know what the duke is up to and where he plans to strike. Membership in the Royal Guild is more like membership in an underground society, with hidden meeting places, concealed identities, and passwords. The Royal Guild uses bribery, infiltration, and theft of state documents to gather information on the duke and his activities. When a member blacksmith is denounced by a commercial rival and doomed to face the inquisitor, it is the duty of the royal guild to know this ahead of time, collect the belongings of the smith and move him to another village, far away, with a forged new identity and a ready made network of new friends in his new home.
So far the posture of the Royal Guild has been defensive and inward, protecting its own, and only striking at the duke's regime to achive that narrow end. The Guild and its master, Watershold, have not decided its desirable to seek direct opposition to the duke. It is easier and so far sufficient to play a defensive game and make him do all the work. Perhaps they just need to believe that there is a real alternative, whether Moergan, or someone else. Perhaps they are content to just keep their heads down and avoid attracting attention.
- Jaison Raenech, de facto Duke of Osoerde
- Terence Gryphon, Inquisitor of Osoerde
- The Swamp Mage, arcane ally of Jaison Raenech
- Seriena Raenech, Countess of Brothendar
- Noelon Ansien, Count of Ghalliere
Halie Almondier, Countess of Gulfport
Plots and Rumors
Domain Holding Table
|Algael (2/3)||JRa (2)||IHH (2)||DWa (2)||Swa (3)|
|Brothendar (3/2)||JRa (3)||CSH (3)||GHi (3)||Swa (2)|
|Ghalliere (2/3)||JRa (1)||IHH(2)||GHi (2)||SSM (3)|
|Gulfport (3/2)||JRa (3)||CSH(3)||SSM (2)|
|Moergen (2/3)||WMo (2)||IHH (2)||DWa (2)||SSM (3)|
|Moriel (4/1)||JRa (3)||CSH (3)||GHi (2)||SSM (1)|
|WMo (1)||TCV (1)||DWa (1)|
|Spiritsend (2/6)||JRa (1)||DWa (2)||Swa (6)|
|Sunken Lands (2/6)||WMo (2)||CSH (2)||SSM (6)|
|Abbreviations: JRa=Jason Raenech (Osoerde); IHH=Impregnable Heart of Haelyn (Hubaere Armiendin); DWa=Diirk Watershold (Royal Guild of Baruk-Azhik); Swa=Swamp Mage; CSH=Church of Storm's Height (Wincae Raehech); GHi=Ghorien Hiriele (Highland/Overland Traders); SSM=Second Swamp Mage; WMo=William Moergen (Osoerde (legitimist)); TCV=True Church of Vosgaard.|
- Law: The usurper Duke Jaison Raenech controls most of the law on Osoerde, the fugitive son of the former king William Moergen controls some law in the east.
- Temples: Most temples in the domain belong to o/s.
- Guilds: o/s
- Source: The two Swamp Mages of Osoerde strive for control of all sources in Osoerde.