Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Kings in the North

Kingdoms in the North (click to enlarge)

The main mannish kingdom in the north is the North Kingdom, ruled from Kingstower (Bran-Mindas). But the old king, Heidrek, has grown feeble and a war of succession has broken out between his three sons after a plague swept through the land.

The eldest son King Robert (formerly Prince) rules Kingstower and all the nearby lands, as pictured on the map in red. He has allied with King Shotey and the companions of Khazad Dum in his fight against his other brothers. King Robert's wife Griselda was healed by the companions when they brought back an herbal cure from the elves of Telrast. King Robert is proud, but he is in difficulties: his army was defeated trying to cross the Blue River near Riverhome and he has lost all the lands west of the river. Only his castle as Stoneford protects his dominions, and Hurin's raiders sometimes slip through on the coast. He also was initially suspicious of the companions as they took his ailing father King Heidrek from his castle, when they believed Heidrek had been wrongly imprisoned there.

King Robert before Kingstower

The second son is Prince Tancred, who the companions brought the aged King Heidrek to until they learned of their mistake and Tancred's sorcery. Prince Tancred tried to have the companions imprisoned after the failed to pledge loyalty to him, but the companions slaughtered the warriors he sent to capture them and escaped after stealing a Seeing Stone from Tancred's keep. Prince Tancred retaliated by beheading Heidrek's loyal old seneshal and herald "Pigeon" (Hanulf), whom the companions had befriended, and sending the head to Shotey in a box. This act led Shotey and the companions to ally with King Robert to make war on Tancred.  Prince Tancred rules the towns in purple, and he has reportedly welcomed a host of orcs from the north to serve him. In Reedhollow, the companions killed the lord of the town (and his lady wife) to free the halflings there from his, according to the halflings, misrule and tyranny. They left Reedhollow in the keeping of its new Mayor, Butterbottoms, and Prudence Noaks has been declared the "Savior of the Town."  The banner of Prince Tancred is a raven.

Prince Tancred
The third son is Hurin, who is only 16 years old. He has the loyalty of all of the keeps in orange nominally, but it is widely rumored he is a creature of King Ragnar, whose hall he was sent to as a ward in the peace treaty between King Heidrek and Ragnar years ago (Ragnar's son at Heidrek's halls died of the plague). King Ragnar rules from Dunhill and his Castle Danorith and controls the halls in black. To defeat Robert, Ragnar and Hurin hired Variag mercenaries from the Great Plains to the south. Sure enough, their combined forces badly defeated Prince Robert's armies at Riverhome. Due to his hatred of the Variags who defeated him and partially to cut off the head of the snake, Robert asked the companions to kill their Khan as part of his alliance with Shotey. The companions have now learned the Khan is encamped near the Redhorn, one of the tallest peaks in the Stonecrowns.

King Ragnar the Bold

Finally, there are the elves. Their numbers are faded after their endless wars against the orcs and the Dark Lord north of the Stonecrowns, but they are wise and strong. Their leader is Prince Araval of Telrast, a high tower looking over the bay.

Prince Araval wearing his war-helm

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