Bhalaene duchy

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Arms of the old duchy of BhalaeneArms of the old duchy of Bhalaene

As Roele expanded his empire across Cerilia the lands that are now known as the Barony of Ghoere were once separate, closely aligned, Duchies known as Ghieste and Bhalaene. These two Imperial powers had long been allied and dependent upon the other, and together the two realms seemed to exemplify everything for which the Empire stood.
The Imperial Duchy of Bhalaene, on the other hand, enjoyed rich deposits of mineral wealth, and the hilly uplands of Achiese, Bhalaene, Thoralinar, Conalier, and Danaroene soon became the dominating source for coal and raw iron ore for the majority of Imperial Anuire. The province of Conallier, and to an extent, Thoralinar, were mediocre agricultural based lands, but the legumes and tubers produced there could not supply Bhalaene?s ever growing populace alone, and so large amounts of grains and other foodstuffs had long been imported from the markets of Ghieste.
When the Imperial Steelworks was moved from the Imperial City to Bhalaene in 732 HC (-792 MR), the might and influence of the Duchy became nearly unparalleled throughout the entire Empire. With the death of Michael Roele and the destruction of the majority of the Imperial Legions on the slopes of Battlewaite, the foundations of the Empire quickly began to decay. As a direct result of its mineral wealth and strong martial and religious tradition, the Duchy of Bhalaene seemed to be largely unaffected by the initial decay of the Empire.
The following years would bring strife and war throughout Anuire as each realm struggled to maintain what little influence remained to them, or else scrambled to usurp it?s dominance over their neighbors. Age-old alliances fell apart, and friends turned to enemies as the nobles of Anuire quarreled over land rights and the succession of the Iron Throne. The Duchy of Bhalaene held a long history of military expertise and warfare. The shattering of the Empire and the schism of the Imperial Temple did not disrupt Bhalaene, and the Duchy largely held to the ancient Imperial Laws. It?s strength lay in her vast supply of iron ores, and it?s enormous population. Few realms in Anuire could raise, supply and field a larger or more well-trained army of religious minded troops than could Bhalaene. Due to this strength, many of the surrounding domains sought Bhalaene?s friendship and courted her in hopes of gaining a strong alliance.
In 94 MR, Duke Havriel Diem of Diemed along with his ally, Aerenwe, invaded hoping to eliminate the claims of Duke Eriene Bhalaene and compel them to support his bid for the Iron Throne. Duke Eriene was able to rely on friendly relations with Ghieste and Osoerde. Ghieste provided subsidies and diplomatic support while Osoerde provided auxiliary troops, eventually joining the war directly and invading Aerenwe. In 98, the army of Osoerde invaded Bellam and pushed forward while Bhalaene's army laid siege to Highcastle. In the early winter months of 99 MR, Diemed accepted peace terms, paid a subsidy, and Osoerde occupied Bellam for a period of five years.
In 227 MR a large force of humanoids invaded the Duchy from the depths of the Spiderfell early that spring, and Ghieste was forced to call upon their neighbors in Bhalaene for aid in lifting the siege off their realm. With the help of Bhalaese, the Spiderfell forces were defeated by the autumn of 227 MR, and the realm of Ghieste was much indebted to their eastern neighbor. Thus, it was decided that Graeham Bhalaene, son of Duke Bhalaene, was to wed the eldest daughter of Duke Eldant Ghieste, the Lady Caerellyn Ghieste.
The marriage took place with all ceremony in Bhalaene and everyone expected a long and happy honeymoon. Caerellyn was called to share the crown and ducal dignity at an earlier age than any of her predecessors. At the time of her marriage to Graeham, she had scarcely completed her fourteenth year, a period of life when her education was imperfect, her judgment unformed, and her character precisely that of a spoiled child, and that she was gifted with precocious beauty and genius, which in her case served but to foster vanity and self-sufficiency. From her accomplished parents, the youthful Caerellyn inherited both a natural taste, and a practical talent for poetry, which the very air she breathed tended to foster and encourage. Almost before she entered her teens, she had composed a heroic poem. The result of the marriage was not a warm regard between the two realms, but rather the people of Bhalaene despised her and the people of Ghieste defended her.
As fate would have it, Ghieste was to host the Sword and Crown of 396 MR, and the duke's nephew, Regien Bhalaene Baron of Ghoere would marry the eldest child of the Duke of Ghieste, Briende Ghieste. Also during the tournaments, the Duke of Ghieste himself was mortally wounded and later died, leaving Briende as Duchess. Briende died two years later in childbirth
Editor's notes: Currently discussing Ghieste's descent, with Bhalaene to play the Guise role as well as the Navarre role. Guise in the sense of promoting Haelyn by the sword (a St Bartholomew's Day-like massacre). Navarre in the sense of extinguishing the house of Ghieste back to Caerellyn and her descendants, the house of Bhalaene. Much mayhem to follow.

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