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Massenmarch
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[top]Introduction

[top]Life and Society

[top]The Land

Located in the south-west of the Great Bay, Massenmarch borders Kiergard and Treucht to the west and east and the Vampire's Hold to the south. Not that such neighbors give the realm undue cause for concern. Ruled by the awnshegh known as the Swordhawk, Massenmarch gives as good as it gets in its constant border skirmishes. Some say that if not for the realm's ongoing bad luck, it would have conquered at least one of its neighbors long ago.

[top]History

Once the breadbasket of Brechtur, Massenmarch is said to have exported so much grain that the fleets of all the realms left her shores lying low in the water and even so groaning wagons were needed to carry the remaining surplus to less fortunate realms. The self-absorbed towns and cities of Massenmarch were barely affected by the raids by goblins and Vos in the service of Azrai. As a result of this rare good fortune, when seers and priests warned that Azrai's generals were leading a vast army from Aduria to conquer Cerilia the proud folk of Massenmarch ignored them, and few natives of the land set out to join the champions of Brenna to fight in the distant land of Anuire. The lack of scions meant that the land did not unite in nascent domains as it did elsewhere, Massenmarch was however blessed with good weather and soil, so poor leadership did not prevent the swift growth of towns and cities. The proud towns grew to arrogant cities and swiftly set to warring with one another and their neighbors, none aided each other and so the land more than a few leagues from the cities was dominated by beast-men, goblins and Vos bandits that had survived the War of the Shadow and now sought a new home.
The chaos was total, and with the nobles heedless to anything but their own pride some of the merchants of Massenmarch looked to outside aid, not wishing to risk competitors being favored they looked not west to Muden, but east to the nascent Anuirean Empire that had just sealed an alliance with the Rjurik. Roele responded swiftly to the calls for aid, within a year his warriors had driven out the Vos. The people that had known few scions flocked to the banner of the champion of Anduiras and by the end of the second year Roele had brought the first peace that the land had known in generations.
The joy did not last. Roele passed control of the pacified province to a Darien Ghieste, one of his loyal generals. Where Roele had commanded adoration with a word, Darien's gruff manner, soldierly approach to all problems and weaker bloodline engendered scorn and rebellion. Massenmarch had, after-all, never been conquered, its armies never beaten, it had willingly joined Roele. City after city rebelled, at first in minor ways, taxes were 'stolen by bandits', edicts ignored, calls for aid unanswered, then with increasing severity, riots, outright refusal to impose laws on favored sons, imposition of tariffs on trade goods and the like. Governors came and went in what swiftly became considered a post for the out of favor, and Massenmarch lurched from crisis to crises for generations, saved repeatedly by its immense agricultural wealth, but always best by some catastrophe.
Eventually the Anuirean Empire's grip went from tenuous to non-existent, bandits began to grow rife once more, but the proud coastal cities cared not. When scions of Muden formed the Brecht League Massenmarch's sons were amongst the first to join the rush to build their own empire and win land. Fortune was not with Massenmarch however, where Muden had well educated younger sons familiar with the discipline required in the navy or ranks of pike, Massenmarch had scions familiar only with carousing and the spending of wealth. The warriors of Massenmarch were at the forefront of the rush to seize the land about lake Laden, and the were amongst the most adamant that they be allotted their fair share of the spoils. When the Tsarevic Basil Zariyatam of the Vos sprung his trap with the aid of the newly formed Temple of Might, the sons of Massenmarch perished nearly to a man, and with them Massenmarch's hopes for a generation. By the time Massenmarch had recovered, Muden had already come to dominate the entire Bay in every respect, Massenmarch chafed at its secondary position but infighting and ill fortune ensured that it never emerged from Muden's shadow.
A generation ago the incessant fighting between the cities of Massenmarch came to an abrupt end. A mercenary nicknamed the Swordhawk was hired by the city of Alder's Deep to muster and train mercenaries to protect the city during a war with its neighbors. The Swordhawk was a gifted strategist, and a brutal if fair leader. The Swordhawks troops swiftly led his Alder's Deep to win a peace and demand tribute from its neighbors. Expecting reward the Swordhawk was rewarded with betrayal, the loyalty of his 'mere' mercenaries enabled him to escape the assassins sent to ensure he did not question his lack of payment, the Swordhawk led his men into the hills, and began a campaign against the city. He swiftly cut off the grain supplies from Aldur's Dell forcing it to send out its troops or pay handsomely to import grain from Muden. The urban dandies and pressed city pikemen were lost in the hills and were drawn into ambush after ambush, within three years the Swordhawk brought the city to its knees. Something however had changed in the mercenary, plotting revenge and domination, combined with the massacre of the ruling houses of the city brought the Swordhawk to the brink of madness as an awnsheghlien. As he finally conquered the city the Swordhawk's famed discipline vanished and when the town nobles had fallen before him, the Swordhawk smashed down the dors of their homes and slaughtered the families inside, his troops ran amok and the entire city was destroyed in an orgy of looting, rapine, and fire.
The Swordhawk did not stay mad for long, and regained his sanity determined never to step into the abyss again. To hide his nature the Swordhawk donned his helm and was never again seen in public unless armoured, swathed in a deep cloak and fully helmed. Regaining control of his troops the Swordhawk led them to conquer first the remaining towns and villages of Auchlaken, and eventually the entire realm.

[top]Political

The Swordhawk tolerates petty rivalries amongst the remaining nobles and guilds, but crushes any dissent that grows too severe. He rules the country with an iron grip and tolerates no rivals.
He tried some years ago to forge an alliance with The Vampire but it failed since the chaotic nature of both the awnsheghlien.

[top]Important Figures

  • The Swordhawk. Undisputed ruler of Massenmarch, the Swordhawk is justly famed for his tactical brilliance and has personally led his armies to victory against forces sent by the Gorgon on several occasions.

[top]Plots and Rumors

[top]Domain Holding Table


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