Anuire » Northern Marches » Stonecrown Coster


Stonecrown Coster
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Government
Plutocratic Monarchy











[top]Introduction

Status: Only Available to PC's in a villainous campaign
In the cutthroat world of the northern guilds, the Stonecrown Coster has been the the pace setter, going so far as to depose the ruling family of Cariele. The other guilds on the region have to play the way the Stonecrown way or they find themselves out of business.
Mheallie Bireon pulls the strings here, but finds it useful to hide behind Caelan Chandler, who appears to run the guild while Mheallie enjoys a prosperous retirement. Nothing escapes the ruthless Mheallie's notice.

[top]Commerce and Production

[top]Centers of Trade

[top]History

Mheallie Bireon was born just before her father, Dallan Bireon, was deposed as count of Mhelliviene. The Bireon family fled to Alamie in exile, but Mheallie eventually returned. While she burned with revenge, she also had to support herself. She ended up in the forest camps of Stonecrown Coster, an alliance of small independent foresters. The druids had a great deal of influence with these small, independent forestry camps, and Cariele was able to export a great deal of high quality hard wood while preserving the beauty of the land.

Mheallie spent a few years studying the situation in Cariele and planning her revenge. Daenel Cariele, the baron who ousted her father retired in favor of his son, Berric Cariele. Berric was not baron for too long when he began to quarrel with the High Superior of Haelyn's Bastion of Truth. Mheallie schemed to use the guilds as a weapon to pay the house of Cariele back for what they had done to her family. However, the guilds were not very powerful, despite access to very valuable lands. They limited themselves from realizing their potential by paying heed to the druids of Aeric. Mheallie allied herself with the Stonecrown's treasurer, a priest of Sarimie named Gwillam Fervargon. With Gwilliam's help, Mheallie usurpted control of the Stonecrown Coster and began to subtly change the way it operated. When the druids complained she pretended to agree with them, and because of her blood power, they never doubted her until it was too late. Using the new wealth of the Coster, she was poised to take advantage of the split between Berric Cariele and the Bastion of Truth.

Mheallie convinced Adrian Gladanil to make his own bid for the barony, and seek to repair the breech between the barony and the temples of Haelyn. Mheallie reasoned at the time that Haelyn's temples would not interfere with her running of the guilds the way Aeric's Oaken Grove was. However, Temias Coumain, of the Celestial Jewel of Sarimie, got wind of what was going on in Cariele. He sent his lieutenant, there with the chance of a lifetime. Coumain sent Larra Nielems to ally herself with the newly agressive guilder and establish her own temples by driving out the Oaken Grove.

Adrian Gladanil, the count of Mountainsedge, and a second cousin once removed, approached the Bastion of Truth looking for support for a divestiture of Berric Cariele. Mheallie had arranged for information to fall into the hands of the law priests that Baron Berric planned to declare himself archprelate of his own temple devoted to Haelyn, and take the Bastion's temples in Cariele for himself. Frightened by this information, the Bastion agreed to invest Adrian Gladanil.

Mheallie's spies were able to identify a time when Berric Cariele would be traveling, and the destination he planned to take. She passed this information to Adrian, who laid in wait on the route with trusted knights and took Berric hostage. Despite Berric's resistance, the law priests of the Bastion of Truth divested Berric of his lands and invested them on Adrian Gladanil. Adrian and the Bastion decided to exile Berric Cariele, and he fled with his family to Dhoesone. In Tradebhein, Berric took refuge with the circles of the Oaken Grove.

Mheallie Bireon met with Larra Nielems and the two forged an alliance. Larra formed the Northern Reformed Church of Sarimie and began to exploit changes in attitudes in Cariele. With rising wealth in Cariele because of the exploitation of the new Stonecrown Coster, many people in Cariele were becoming indifferent to Aeric, and their appreciation of the new wealth made them ripe for the arrival of Larra's Church of Sarimie. Since the druids of the Oaken Grove considered themselves in a strong position in Cariele, they continued to try to put pressure on the guildmaster of the Stonecrown Coster in order to return to sustainable forestry. Larra was gifted by Brenna with great powers of evangelism. She used the new excitement in Cariele to oust the Oaken Grove and establish her temples in very short order. By the time the Oaken Grove knew what had happened, it was over. The druids remained in their circles and preached sustainable practice and love of nature, but no one listened any more. The druids were never driven from the forest, they were just ignored. The high druid of Cariele, Euric Aelis, preached these words after the druids lost power: "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve nature and money."

For a time, Haelyn's Bastion of Truth and the Reformed Church of Sarimie left each other alone. Adrian Gladanil, who had gotten the Bastion to back him because he appeared to be a supporter of the temple, ultimately doomed it by his support. Adrian relied on the Bastion to help him reform the barony and it turned out their advice and assistance was too good. Mheallie Bireon found the new power of the state to be an obstacle and began to demand that Adrian alter his policies. For some time, Mheallie and Larra squared off against Adrian and the Bastion. The stalemate was broken, as it turns out, by Berric Cariele.

The druids of the Oaken Grove were plotting a comeback and plotting the return of Berric as their vehicle. The Oaken Grove supplied Berric with gold and both proceeded to re-establish their followings in Cariele. Adrian Gladanil was caught in the middle. Mhaellie was determined to hold at least a portion of the law of the realm, and Berric hoped to recapture the whole barony. Adrian was assisted by the Bastion of Truth, who proved to to be very skilled at defending law holdings. All the while, the Oaken Grove and the Reformed Church of Sarimie moved against one another.

Mheallie drew two observations from this situation. One was that Berric Cariele would continue to pursue his claims in Cariele, the second was that he should be allowed to continue only so long as he weakened Adrian. For several years this conflict was mostly a conflict for the control of holdings in Cariele. The Oaken Grove again proved its aggressive posture when it stepped up to outright military action. From safe bases in Dhoesone, the Oaken Grove raised Rjurik troops from Dhoesone and exiled warriors from Rjuvik. It quietly laid the groundwork for raising troops from its followers in Mhoried, but was unwilling to move to quickly there. The Mhor was unlikely to intervene if it were clear that the Oaken Grove would restore Berric in Cariele. The Mhor would not take very kindly to Torien's Watch becoming embroiled in a civil war, however.

This is the one time in the whole conflict when Mheallie was totally taken by surprise. She neither anticipated such a move from the Grove, nor did her spies uncover such a plot. The Grove had taken the precaution of recruiting only Rjurik in an attempt to foil Mheallie's spies. Three companies of Rjurik archers and a mixed company of battle ragers and housecarls crossed over into Riverford and moved directly on Caerlinien and Cariele Castle, overlooking the city. The Grove had anticipated that units of scouts could be raised in Cariele from followers of Aeric, but no such rally occurred. Instead, it was the Stonecrown Coster who proved capable of mobilizing the foresters to fight the foreign troops brought in by the druids. As Caerinlien fell to the invaders, Mheallie and her chief lieutenants slipped out of the city disguised as townsfolk, while Larra Nielems took refuge in Cariele Castle.

From the countryside, Mheallie rallied the foresters and cut the Oaken army off from support in Dhoesone. A few scouts were sent to the mountain pass known as Mhelliviene, but almost as soon as they arrived, rangers from Torien's Watch cleared them out again. Meanwhile in Cariele Castle, Larra proved invaluable in keeping the outnumbered defenders' spirits up. The druids used powerful magic in the wilderness to separate and confuse the companies of Adrian's infantry, the knights in Haelyn's service, and the foresters of the Stonecrown Coster. This prevented Adrian, Mheallie, and the Bastion from uniting their forces and driving the druids out by force. With the principle city of the barony in the hands of the Oaken Grove, Cariele Castle under siege, the last few supporters of Aeric in Cariele came forward and joined the Grove's army. It proved too little too late.

Baron Adrian issued a formal protest with Dhoesone, who had no desire to get mixed up in a civil war in Cariele. Mheallie's scouts took control of the Cariele side of the bridges which crossed the Ruide River and began constructing wooden fortifications there. The Grove was cut off from reinforcements. Gradually, the forces of Cariele began to get closer to Caelinien. Reinforcements were sent to the Mhelliviene pass, but they were thrown back by small numbers of elite archers, who, it is said, were aided by birds, wolves, and other woodland creatures.

As the siege went on towards six months Euric Aelis, the High Druid of Cariele concluded that the effort had failed. Eventually the scouts and knights would arrive to break the siege, no new reinforcements could be brought in, and the foresters of Cariele had sided with Mheallie, not the Oaken Grove. Euric arranged a truce with Adrian and the knights of Haelyn who remained inside Castle Cariele. The Oaken Grove would yield in exchange for free passage out of Cariele for all who served the banner of the Oaken Grove. Adrian and the Bastion agreed to the offer, and the army of the Grove made way for Dhoesone.

No deal had been worked out with the Stonecrown Coster, so the Rjurik warriors planned to fight their way across the bridge back into Tradebhein. The druids had other ideas. When they arrived at the stone bridge at Brynville, the druids declared their intention to pass peacefully. The scouts refused and brandished their weapons. While it was the role of some druids to speak, it now fell on others to act. They stepped forward and cast spells which caused the whole south wall of the fort to bow down to the ground giving the four companies of the Oaken Grove direct access to the defenders at Brynville. Again the druids declared their intention to cross the bridge peacefully. This time, the scouts agreed.

Berric Cariele was no of no use to Mheallie anymore, and remained a potential threat. So, she had him assassinated. Later, her spies reported that Berric's successor had been designated and invested, and that even Berric's Regency was transfered to the heir. Mheallie realized that the whole Cariele family would have to be broken to remove the threat in the long term. It turns out that Adrian was similarly minded on this point.

At this point, many holdings had become independent through the many conflicts between rulers. Mheallie and Larra made a total commitment to acquiring these remaining independent holdings and integrating them into into their realms. Again a conflict developed over the law holdings between Adrian and Mheallie and the temple holdings between Larra and the Bastion. Already denied a reserve of money or regency from previous conflicts with, Adrian and the Bastion were not equal to the task.

Still, they proved stubborn defenders, and Mheallie decided it was best to go around the problem, by replacing Adrian. When Adrian turned up poisoned, his son, Entier understood the message. Furthermore, he never formally accepted the title of baron, but continues to call himself a count. When Entier abandon his father's struggle for the law holdings, it was the final phase of the struggle for Haelyn's Bastion of Truth in Cariele.

As Mheallie expanded outside of Caerile, she anticipated her long struggle within Caerile would make other rulers wary of her building her guilds in their realm. But in Alamie and Tuornen lay an opportunity. Aarturous Rhaedien had recently succeeded as guildmaster of Source of the Maesil, in place of his uncle who died mysteriously ending a guild war with Guilder Kalien. Mheallie reasoned that Aarturous would be justly anxious about crossing her, his guild was exhausted from its war with Kalien's Heartlands Outfitters, and he would be willing to sell her a majority stake to get out of this situation with a handsome sum. Mheallie could then use Source of the Maesil as a front organization. However when she met Aarturous, she was smitten by him, and he by her. They fell in love, and she changed her plans from the hostile acquisition of a guild to the amorous acquisition of a husband with a guild.
Aarturous was no fool, and saw in Mheallie not only a lovely woman but the strong guilder who could protect his struggling guild. He had been a negotiator for the guild and something of a student of the law, and was unprepared to run a guild without replying heavily on his uncle's lieutenants. Aarturous, with his charm and grace began to take the role of Mheallie's diplomat. However it occurred to that their marriage afforded them the opportunity to create the fiction of retirement. They appointed lieutenants to run each of their guids, the Stonecrown Coster and the Source of the Maesil, and appeared to let others run affairs. Instead they remained very much involved and even started a new cover organization, the Northlands Exchange, to do business in Dhoesone and Tuarievel. They have one organization with three names, and maintain the idea that each is run seperatly. As James Ardannt once said, "deception is as natural to Mistress Mheallie as leaves are to an elm."

[top]Political

Entier Gladanil is the Count of Cariele. His father Adrian Gladanil was installed by Mheallie Bireon, but fell out with her over control of the law holdings. He turned up poisoned. Entier is wary enough that he never even took the rightful title of Baron, and styles himself a Count. Mheallie approves.
Larra Nielems is an ally of Mhaellie Bireon and brings the doctrines of Sarimie's commerce to Cariele in the form of the Northern Reformed Church of Sarimie. The two cooperate extensively.

[top]Important Figures

Mheallie Bireon, Guildmistress of Stonecrown Coster

Aarturous Rhaedien, Mheallie's husband, a legal and diplomatic force

Caelan Chandler, lieutenant of Mheallie Bireon and the front man for the Stonecrown Coster and gives every appearance of being in charge.

[top]Plots and Rumours

[top]Domain Holding Table


Domain Table: Stonecrown Coster
ProvinceLawTempleGuildSource
Mhelliviene, Cariele (5/2)MB (3)LN (5)MB (5)DD (0)
EG (2)AM (0)
Mountainsedge, Cariele (3/4)MB (2)LN (3)MB (3)EO (0)
EG (1)GB (0)
Riverford, Cariele (5/2)MB (3)LN(5)MB (5)EO (0)
EG (2)GB (0)DD (0)
Abbreviations: MB=Mheallie Bireon (Stonecrown Coster); LN=Larra Nielems (Northern Reformed Church of Sarimie); EG=Entier Gladanil (Cariele); AM=Antia Maricoere (Haelyn's Aegis); GB=Günther Brandt (Oaken Grove of Erik); EO=Eyeless One; DD=Daeric Dhoesone.

  • Law: Mhaellie Bireon, the realm's guilder and true master holds the law in Cariele to keep the law favorable to trade and to prevent the count from consolidating enough power to have a mind of his own.
  • Temples: Larra Nielems is an ally of Mhaellie Bireon and brings the doctrines of Sarimie's commerce to Cariele.
  • Guilds: Mhaellie Bireon runs all three guilds here, maintaining the fiction of three guilds to distract her enemies.
  • Source: Mhaellie Bireon trusts no wizards, so any efforts to cultivate sources here would be difficult.



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