A Short History of the
Chaotic Realm of Belmain
situated in central
By Slim Mumford
This being a summary of the events that have led up to the present time in 707ATN, with the wholly unexpected apparent demise of King Grocus! It indicates how the one time Elf Kingdom was taken over by Chaotic Humans and became one of the most powerful of those loyal to the God Hagoth, whose creed decrees that might is right! It explains why the claimants to the throne are all the six newly widowed Queens! Those playing their parts may be writing new pages in Morval Earth’s history!
King Grocus is dead! Long Live the Queen!
Belmain was originally an Elf Kingdom with eleven counties plus the King’s own Royal Province of Regalien. To counter the Chaotic threat posed by the Pirates of Nor and the hosts of Gashad, Bronid, Trogol, Dabbra, Ogrimor, Trollia and Koboldin, they allied themselves to the men of Alpen, Thalia and Tempania. After some years of warfare this Lawic host was decisively defeated at the three day battle of Talarth Narnienor. The Belmainian Aristocracy had most of its families, present with the army, wiped out! The widowed women of Alpen and Tempania fled to the Thalian Forests and became amazons in time. The Chaotics enslaved the remaining peoples of Tempania and Alpen. In fact slowly working their way south, the Chaotic armies fragmented as many Lords grabbed a piece of territory and settled down. Some elves had sheltered in the Forest of Amelia where it was not worth pursuing them. These became the Elvish state of Amelia. Still outnumbered and demoralised the Belmainian Elves under King Dounil were defeated again at the battle of Sigis. In ATN 37 the Vizander Se Endy surrendered Regalis without a fight to the Chaotic Commander Tefnik. The people there were enslaved and Tefnik crowned himself King of Belmain. Other elves tried to hold the fortresses of Shone, Tegalon and Hol Neigar but were wiped out in each case. The remaining survivors elsewhere fled, either to Narchad or over the mountains to Imlinead. Those in Narchad were mostly killed at the Battle of Pirote. Narchad then became a Chaotic State.
Tefnik had sacked Dwarfbridge in Varadh, so relations with the dwarves were strained, much as they relished the discomfiting of the Elves. He appointed some of his prominent followers Counts of the former elf territories. These were peopled with the serf Alpenii, under Chaotics from the many western states that had formed the army. An exception was the county of Osiwile. The Ef Countess Morazia remained there hidden in the forests and marshes, ruling a county of dark elves. Earlier when a Nuncio of Valarian suggested a youth festival to promote friendship between the Elves of Belmain and The Dwarves of Varadh, she was appointed to run it. She used a doctored drink from the ever-flowing Vinkalik Chalice to promote the friendship. Becoming much too friendly the young representatives founded the half Elf half Dwarf Dwelfs, to the anger and shame of both sides. They were all banished to Oblivia where the Nizander Cortivan set them to work building the ‘Hidden Way’ a tunnel that stretched from Oblivia to Imlinead through the Erde Khazad Mountains. It kept them busy for one hundred and forty-three years. The excavated rock was used to build Amnesia, now the capital of Oblivia. The Elf King Dounil was angry with Morazia and took the Vinkalik from her. He then tried to banish her but she sheltered in her county. Her magic powers and the loyalty of her followers made it too hard for him to oust her. When Tefnik and his Chaotics came, she swore the oath to Hagoth and became of Chaotic scelta. 823 years old she is still there! In the other counties the might is right principal was followed as for most Chaotic States. However a sizeable contingent of Tefnik’s army, was composed of women warriors, witches and nurses. They banded together into a sorority called the Swartze Swestrin. They swore to maintain Belmain an equal opportunities state with sword, witchcraft and poison! Hence in future the Counties of Aschponte, Haidril and Wesentor (Hilly sparsely populated ones) would always be held by women. Under the normal Chaotic system, beneath the Counts were smaller landowners called Marks or Markesses and below them Knights and Dames. The system grew up also a tradition that a Mark or Markess with Magic powers could only be replaced by a similar one. This brought a degree of order, absent in Alpen, where there was no overlord or ruling Council. This was maintained even in 238ATN when the Green Plague reduced the population of Morval Earth by two thirds. This plague had been created by Lilith Magha of sicknesses, in an attempt to end the siege of Chaos Deeps, then held by the Lawics. Unfortunately the plague spread to the Chaotic forces and thence to the many states to the west. Lilith has been out of favour with Hagoth and the other Chaotic Maghi ever since. In an earlier age Lilith had cursed Belmain with the Horse Plague. A horse accidentally kicked her causing her to lay the curse. It wiped out all the horses present in the land at that time and any arriving there even in present times, is liable to catch it and die within a few days. The horse depicted with Queen Helenia on the mosaic in the Great Hall obviously dates from earlier elvish times.
When King Grocus took over in 588 by killing King Zaggin, he formalised this by decreeing that any challenges be cut to a single one on New Year’s Day. He introduced Courts of three judges for each County to decide who might make a challenge. He alone nominated the judges and one of the three was always a member of the Swartze Swestrin. Grocus was a strong giant Dwarf originally from Varadh. Of lowly descent and mining by accident into Belmain, he had sought his fortune there. Supported by the Wizard Gro Abh he had found it! Under Gro Abh’s guidance he did his best to maintain order and promote Belmain’s prosperity. The port of Tegalon on the Deepwater Lake started to receive trading vessels from all other nations, Chaotic, Neutral or Lawic. This rather upset the Chaotic High Command, based far away in Gashad. They called him King Grocus the Soft! Chaotics had two named attitudes of existence, the peaceful undermining phase and the all-out war phase. Grocus told them he was operating in the former. The development of the eternal wars between Hagoth’s Chaotics and Valarian’s Lawics, made the most active fronts in Narchad and Hunara. The many Chaotic States in the west would form units of undesirable trouble makers and send them to the fronts. The units heading for Narchad would travel through Belmain and reach it via the pass guarded by the Narchadian Fortress of Chaos Deeps. There was often violence between these units and the settled Belmanians. This lead to a general reluctance for them to do more than offer token support, for the plans of the Chaotic High Command! King Grocus reflected these views, or more correctly his Vizier Gro Abh did. Grocus left him to deal with most foreign affairs. Gro Abh was always secretive about his past but it is almost certain that his mother was a Dabbric Kherrin (concubine) of the Count of Willen. His father was presumed to be a Dark elf, from whom he inherited his magic powers and longlivety. Both Elves and Dwarves have very long natural lives. Grocus had toured his kingdom often in the early years, cementing his power but later he became involved with other interests. These were architecture where he tended to preserve elvish buildings where possible and mining which was the occupation of his youth. The Belmain Elves had been good at manufacturing glass from sand. The six plain glass windows in the Great Hall at Regalis were deemed to be the finest examples of their art. They had experimented with coloured glasses but for windows, it plainly made more sense to have it as clear as possible, to let the light in! Grocus toured the quarries whence the glass had come from but none of those who had worked there survived and the craft had been lost. Nowadays all Morval Earth glass was manufactured by the Valharian Elves. They exported it in diamond shapes which, with lead edgings were formed into lattice windows, for those rich enough to afford them! In Varadh Grocus had mined for iron which was much used for dwarvish metal goods, exported all over Morval Earth. In Belmain there were iron mines in the mountains adjacent to Varadh but the elves had mostly mined silver which was normally associated with deposits of lead. Lead which was also used in the best glass making processes. In the volcanic rocks near Palandork some scanty amounts of Palantyte had been found. This was the magic glass used in soothsayers crystal balls and similar devices. There had been a college of Elvish wizards there, studying and experimenting with these devices but they had fled to Imlinead and the college was now a ruin. The elves had also mined small amounts of Stainless Silver at Grithin to the southwest of Regalis but the workings had been abandoned for centuries. Their existence had been forgotten until Lally a merchant from Crogh in Narchad, read about them in the library there. He dealt in silver ware and was interested in Stainless Silver or Mythryl as some called it. It was lighter and much stronger than ordinary silver. It was also very much more precious, even than gold. The Elvish Library of Regalis had been burnt by Tefnik, because its books boasted of Lawic victories! So there were no records of how the mines were worked. This presented a challenge that intrigued King Grocus, so he set about re-opening the mines. Realising that histories of what had happened in the past could be important, he ordered some of the books about Belmain held at Crogh, be copied to make a small Library in his chambers.
The Regal Orb
The Elf King Dounil had inherited a large palantyte ball glowing silver, which he had carried before him as a symbol of his authority. When he enlarged the Palace at Regalis, he had a magic beacon light placed on the roof which could be seen from great distances. It was supposed to be a reminder of the benevolence of his rule. Court wizards linked the palantyte ball, known as the Regal Orb to the Regal Beacon. It was noticed that when Dounil had a sickness the Regal Beacon dimmed. When in 37ATN King Dounil was killed at the battle of Sigis, the Regal Beacon went out and the Regal Orb dimmed to plain glass. Mattson Count of Cogwile killed King Tefnik in 41ATN and wished to have an impressive formal coronation to replace him. A wizard had him touch the Regal Orb whilst casting a spell on it. The Regal Beacon relit as before but the Regal Orb turned a cloudy mixture of black and yellow instead of silver. King Dounil had had six smaller orbs created as symbols of authority for officials and ambassadors, which had been left in store. It was now found that these too had turned black and yellow. This rather impressed all those present and there was some talk of changing the flag of Belmain to display the orb on it. On balance Mattson decided to keep that which had not long been created. This was a sable outstretched hand on a gules field. Under the Elves it had been an argent outstretched hand on an azure field, inspired by the knot of rivers, draining the centre of the bowl shaped kingdom into the Deepwater Lake.
Grocus had been seventy-two when he seized the Belmainian throne in 588ATN. That was in his youth in dwarf terms. Like the majority of dwarves he had little interest in getting married or even accumulating concubines (Gherrins) as most leading Chaotics did. However in 683ATN the respected Seer Kassandro of Sigis wrote a prediction that the next ruler of Belmain would be a Queen. The Vizier Gro Abh ordered the Cogwile Court to try Kassandro and execute him for treason! In almost all the Monarchies of Morval Earth, any speculation about the health and mortality of the Head was reckoned to be treason. However when the three judges of the Court arrived at Sigis they found Kassandro was dead, struck down by a meteorite! In a letter he wrote that he had predicted that too and so knew he had as well publicise the Queen prediction as hold his peace.
King Grocus was appalled because, spread by the Swartze Swestrin, the prediction had become known everywhere! The histories revealed that Belmain had been ruled by a Queen Helenia in Elvish times. She had started as Regent for her young son Lidil but stayed in power when he died before he was old enough to rule on his own. As a dwarf from chauvinistic Varadh, Grocus had been taught to have little regard for females! Was now a female warrior to come and defeat him in a duel for the Crown? Gro Abh thought this a preposterous idea but pointed out that people died in many other ways. (Such as a meteorite falling on their heads!) And though the King was still in his prime, some thought should be given as to who should succeed him. Any son of Grocus would have to prove himself in battle before succeeding but at present he had no sons. So between them they selected Parsifa the High Priestess of Minos the Magho of herbivores. She was a powerful person in her own right, so he felt he could trust her to carry out some of the boring visiting duties that he wanted to avoid. For them she was given one of the black and yellow orbs of authority. But no children resulted from this marriage, so Grocus consulted Phaidra the High Priestess of Aphrodisia. She suggested he start a harem of Gherrins in the expectation that they would produce children. This was not acceptable to the King. Such children would not be accepted as legitimate heirs he postulated! He rather hoped for a legitimate son to follow him, as was the norm in other kingdoms. The upshot was that Phaidra was ordered to marry him too. In Chaotic states there is no bar to having more than one wife. However Phaidra too remained childless, so she selected two young damsels from the gentry and they had a double wedding to Grocus. Their names were Lillia (the Lovely) and Brazena (the Bold). Alas within a year they were caught holding an orgy with some of the palace guards and slain out of hand!
Phaidra then suggested that if the King married a fellow dwarf he might have better luck. So he entered into negotiations with King Druffin of Varadh for a suitable bride. Under dwarf tradition Grocus could have been charged with treason for deserting Varadh for another state. However he had left during the reign of Druffin’s predecessor, Roderick the Simple and he did rule what was potentially (if the people all worked together) a more powerful state. So in ATN700 Grocus married Princess Draffa the daughter of King Druffin. As part of the deal Belmainian merchants would henceforth be able to hire Varadh Cogs legally whist still flying the Varadh flag. Draffa had not shown the docility and compliance expected of Varadh Dvaus (female dwarves) and had already refused three perfectly respectable arranged marriages. She now assumed correctly, that as a Queen she would have more power and independence. Druffin was glad to be rid of an embarrassingly troublesome daughter. Discovering that Queen Parsifa had an orb to signify her authority, when Grocus sent her with the Count of Willen to settle a border dispute, she demanded one too. After this all the Queens were issued with one. However this union too remained fruitless and Grocus privately gave up hope. Still, Gro Abh reported that having a plurality of Queens did add to his prestige. It also slightly diminished the power of each one. So Grocus also added the glamorous Ursula Arbothin, a daughter of one of his Guard knights to the total. He sent her with a delegation hoping to promote friendship with neighbouring Durgan. Although Chaotic, it was ruled by an Amazon Parlement of women under a titular Queen, who kept most of their menfolk in the state of the risen dead. Unfortunately Amazon border guards ambushed the delegation and Queen Ursula was killed with most of those with her. However when the Durgan Parlement heard about this, they apologised and sent Indrana, one of their more troublesome princesses to marry him, as a replacement! She had none of Ursula’s charm or beauty but having a warrior princess as a Queen did add to his prestige. Then when Gimawl (The Proud) the daughter of a Peron of Stetia was kidnapped by Narchadians and he refused to pay the ransom, Grocus decided to marry her too. The fact that she was a renowned jewellery expert added to her attractions. That meant he had five living queens and since he hoped to have one Official’s Orb in reserve, he thought that would be enough. With so many Queens living at Regalis, he spent more and more time away, working in the mines seeking the Stainless Silver. He knew he could trust Gro Abh to make minor political decisions for him, particularly on foreign affairs.
It was not to be! Quite legitimately Mesulla Penhar won the position of Markess of Pleholt, a mountain fortress on the border of the two Lawic States of Oblivia and Imlinead. She was a priestess of Balyell the Magho of petty mischief and had won the enmity of most of the people in the Mark. The men anyway! They petitioned that she be relieved of her position but she was supported by the Swartze Swestrin. Grocus sent Gro Abh and Queen Phaedra to intercede and the result was that to avoid bloodshed, he married her too. The reasoning was that a more amenable and loyal Markess would replace her, whilst she had five senior Queens to keep an eye on her at Regalis. “No more!” quoth King Grocus. “The Palace is full and there are no more Queen’s Orbs! I can expect to live another hundred years whilst they will all die off except Draffa! Let those that come after me, worry about the succession!”
But on Marketday the 13th of the Fourth Moon 707ATN, the people of Regalis were startled to hear the Doom Bell tolling, one bong every five heartbeats! A look at the palace revealed that the Regal Beacon had been extinguished! The Maghi preserve them for King Grocus was dead and who knows what anarchy might follow?
Rules and Setup
Back to top
Back to Home page