Chapter 5 Blood War

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Herbart Slayer is the Lord of Whitner, located Northwest of Kellahn. His realm lies in the mountains. His kingdom sits on a plateau located deep in the rocky terrain. While the mountains are forever covered in snow, the plateau enjoys warm summers and pleasant falls and springs. The winter is powerful and has provided Whitner protection from invaders.

The men of Whitner are survivors and know how to fight. Every man in the realm owns a sword and learns to use them by age twelve. They’re strong, most able to lift tree trunks with their bare hands. During the spring and summer months they hold games of strength and fighting ability. The winners earn money, food, even houses for the strongest.

Whitner’s ruler, Herbart Slayer, is the third Slayer to hold the throne. His grandfather, Sheldar Slayer, became ruler after serving the royal family for many decades. When no heir was found, the dying king named Slayer to the throne.

Herbart’s father Oran Slayer became king after Sheldar died of old age, but lost the throne during a heavy winter, dying of an illness that killed one third of the realm. Herbart became king at age fourteen.

Reviving Whitner after the devastating winter, Herbart ruled with a heavy hand, but warm heart. The people love him and at sixteen years of age he married a common woman who bore him a son, but died giving birth to his daughter. Seven years later he married a woman related to the previous line of rulers and she bore him three children, one daughter and two sons.

A war erupted between Whitner and neighboring kingdom Valta, during which Herbart’s wife was murdered. Fighting the Valta army back, Herbart killed the Lord of the kingdom before mourning his wife’s death.

Ten years after the invasion, Marin Varth, new Lord of Valta, reached out to Herbart. He wished to wipe away the cruel past of his father and offered a peace treaty. Herbart agreed to meet with Marin and discuss the treaty.

During the meeting Marin offered his sister, Alma Varth, to wed Herbart and bring the two realms together. Herbart refused the offer, but Alma proved to be a strong-willed soul who wished for the uniting of the realms. She told Herbart it was her idea to marry him and wished for him to allow her to live with him for one year before making a decision.

Agreeing, Alma moved to Whitner and the two inevitably fell in love and married once the year was up. The peace treaty was signed and Whitner and Valta became allies. Alma gave birth to a son and daughter and is now pregnant with Herbart’s eighth child.

Marin Varth, Lord of Valta, son of Felbin Varth, became ruler after Herbart Slayer killed his father. His father was a tyrant and many rejoiced his death, claiming the war between Valta and Whitner was uncalled for. They said it was a pathetic land grab that wasted the lives of many men.

Valta is located Northeast of Kellahn, about one week travel from Whitner. It’s located lower in the mountains, built at the edge of a large lake. Valta castle is built at the center of Mirdred Lake, a great bridge connecting it to the land where its cities sit.

Mirdred Lake begot its name from the glass like quality of the water. The water is so clear on perfect days the bottom can be seen, even though it rests hundreds of thousands of feet beneath the surface.

During the winter the lake freezes so thick, horses and carriages can traverse the ice safely. In the summer and spring, great swimming and fishing competitions occur. An abandoned castle sticks out of the water at the northernmost end of the lake. This was the castle Marin’s grandfather, Attin Varth built as the original Valta castle, but the foundation was built in mud and within five years the castle submerged beneath the clear lake water.

After his father’s death, Marin became king. His first declaration as king was renouncing his father’s war against Whitner. He focused the realm on rebuilding their connection to the wronged kingdom. But it was his sister, Alma Varth who gave him the idea to offer a peace treaty and herself as a gift to Herbart Slayer.

Marin was against Alma’s marriage stating how Herbart would more than likely only kill her as retribution for their father murdering his wife. Alma said if that were what it took for peace to come between the two kingdoms she would sacrifice her life.

Luckily, the marriage and peace treaty were successes and Whitner and Valta became allies. Herbart and Marin became brothers and great friends.

Pilian Grout, Lord of Akayana, located east of Kellahn, grandson of Furi Naga, eleventh descendant of founding ruler Kilian Naga.

A revolution during his grandfather’s rule led to his family’s banishment. Furi Naga was publicly executed, but his family was spared. Pilian’s father, Shiku changed the family’s surname to Grout in order to protect them and as a way to allow Pilian to be admitted into the military school.

At age fourteen, Pilian became top of his class and at age sixteen was enrolled in the royal military. He worked his way to be head of the royal guard by age twenty-one and gained the trust of the new royal family. Witnessing their brutish ways of ruling, the decision to assassinate the usurpers was easy.

Pilian claimed the throne revealing his true heritage and reclaimed control of the realm. Through hard work and years of rebuilding bridges, Pilian led Akayana into its golden age. His rule brought prosperity back to the country and he opened its borders to allow better trade and create allies.

He married one of the daughters of the usurping family, seeing it as a way to keep an eye on the betrayers. He has seven daughters and four sons. Each son is a leader in a respective area, including royal guard, teacher at the military school, doctor, and heir to the throne. His daughters are also leaders in specific fields, including musician, teacher at the royal military school, bookkeeper, dancer, archery, horse training, and information gathering.

Lord of Linbodi, located south of Kellahn, Aryd Candok’s past is mainly unknown. All that is truly known is he doesn’t come from royal blood.

Previous ruler, Dinde Bahi was a tyrant who ruthlessly murdered any who voiced grievances or disagreed with his laws. He hoarded food and water charging outrageous taxes on his people and kept his realm cut off from the rest of the world, fearing the other lands would corrupt his people.

Gathering forces beneath Dinde’s nose, Candok murdered the man in the middle of the night, slitting his throat before beheading him. He placed the head on a pole and showed it off at the center of Linbodi’s major city. The people praised him and named him ruler.

Little else is known. Rumors swirl that he has many wives and hundreds of children, but no one knows for sure and Candok doesn’t speak of his life past, present, or future.

His alliance with Kellahn came about when, hearing of the atrocities of Dinde Bahi, Altan sent men to provide weapons and bodies to Candok. With the added strength, Candok knew he would be victorious and vowed to answer any call Kellahn gave for strength.

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