The Kingdom of the Immortal Queen
Rhoenia is a large kingdom in the Westbearn. It is ruled by the Himdall dynasty, the progenitor being Beigwuf Himdall, the Warchief of the Hindal migration across the Crossex Mountains back in ancient times. The current monarch is St. Avalynne, known locally as the Immortal Queen.
Its borders are the Southern Arm to the south, the Serpent Sea to the South-West, the river White which flows from the Great Northern Taiga into the Serpent sea to the East and North-East, as well as the Northern Arm and the Dwarrow Chasm to the North.
It operates under an advanced Feudal system, with several levels of Nobility who own much of the land. Under the monarch are six Dukes who control large swathes of Rhoenia as Duchies. Beneath them are the Counts, who each control one of the individual forty counties of Rhoenia. Beneath them even still are the barons and mayors.
Rhoenia’s history begins with the first Carnoscan invasion into the region, known now as the First Subjugation War. At the time, the Westbearn was largely a loose connection of petty tribal kingdoms ruled by Kellsh warchiefs as well as scattered tribes of Wood Elves and the goblins called Pechts. When the first Carnoscan Empire had begun its expansion, a general by the name of Charmande Estus went north-east over the Southern Arm to claim this vast forested land of the barbarians.
He was able to secure the southern part of the region and named it Rhoenia after the Rhoenus, a river the flows from this region, through the Southern Arm, and into Carnosca. They were never able to make much more progress more than this, and found the tribes of Kellsh men, Pecht goblins, and even Wood Elves much more unwilling to submit than they originally thought.
It was the Hindal migration much later which really brought Rhoenia into it’s current size. From the Hindala came new tribes of men with horses and steel, erupting from their mountainous homeland like a volcano. They swept south into Carnosca and west into the Westbearn, and brought the first Empire near to its knees.
It was a brilliant diplomatic decision which helped Carnosca survive, for the emperor at the time, now known as St. Anustus, parleyed with the ruling warchief of the Hindal horde, and offered to share their own sciences and cultural advances (which the chiefs had a strange taste for), as well as all land in the Westbearn, if the Hindal hordes would withdraw from Carnosca. The warchief, called Beigwuf Himdall the Mountain Breaker, accepted, and the entire host went over the mountains into the Westbearn to make war on the Kellsh as well as other Hindal tribes which had attempted to settle there.
That was a long bloody war. The Kellsh and wood elves fought for every piece of land, but one by one they fell due to the superior steel and the use of horses by the Hindals. They made their stand at the White, a vast river that flows south from the Great Northern Taiga into the Serpent Sea to the east. Here a number of strategic victories, in no small part due to the hero Aelfraich and his Red Companions, shattered a large part of the Hindal force at a large ford-crossing.
An aging Beigwuf Himdall decided to make a truce here, promising to not go further than the White, giving all lands east of the White to the Kellsh, forming the Kellmark as well as what is now the eastern border of Rhoenia. Worried about his lasting legacy and his coming death, he also converted to Mayarchism at this time, the monotheistic faith of the Carnoscan Empire, and many of his chiefs and clansmen followed suit. His reasons for this, it is said, is because he wanted the now settled Kingdom to one day rival the Carnoscan Empire, which he both envied and respected.
After the first Empire fell a hundred or so years later, Rhoenia knew a kind of peace, and the Hindal tribes settled and eventually began to form complex societies and cities, often mixing with their neighbor Kellsh. Halflings and Wood Elves as well began to settle into Rhoenia, which welcomed strangers much more willingly than the warring Carnoscan city-states to the south.
Three centuries from the modern day, Rhoenia was a much bigger power than before, and commanded much trade that went south. Queen Avalynne ascended the throne at this time, after her older brother fell ill and died after a wound taken from a stag while hunting. She was fifteen at the time, but proved to be both a cunning and compassionate monarch. She was also extremely involved with the church from a young age.
Around the age of twenty five she began to show signs of supernatural tendencies, quickly outstripping even the most dedicated Mayarch clerics in terms of divine magical power. Because she was well loved by her people, and because she spoke often of having dreams and visions from the All Father, many began clamoring for the Mayarchic Church in Carnsoca to name her as a Saint.
This proved to be a political hurdle. Because Rhoenia was a thriving kingdom, and Carnosca was now a shattered region of warring city-states, many in Carnosca saw this as a real threat. Many worried that Rhoenia would become what Carnosca once was, for many of the faithful Mayarchs would flock to a Saint’s banner in any war. Thus, she was denied by the Heirophant Azorion, the head of the Mayarchic Church, publically. Because of the nature of the denial (the perhaps overzealous Heirophant referred to her as a witch who trafficked with demons), the leader of the Mayarchic Church in Rhoenia (called a Low Heirophant) named her Saint himself, sparking a war known as the Second Subjugation war, or the Saint’s War.
The Carnoscan states were united in cause against the Witch Queen, as they dubbed her, putting aside century old squabbles to form into an alliance of kingdoms that resembled at least on the outside the old Empire. No emperor was named, but the Heirophant Azorian acted as leader in the war, for it was seen as a religious one. This war was the first in the region to utilize sea vessels, and there were many battles on the Serpent Sea as the Carnoscan city-states sought to invade the coast instead of risk the mountains.
It was a long war. Though Rhoenia had more resources and better metallurgy, Carnosca had more troops and better general technology. This war was also when the Myrmidon Order was founded, creating an outlet for highly skilled military officers with a large amount of freedom to do as they wanted instead of having to deal with the vast Carcosan bureaucracy, which often caused the Carcosan military force to react too slowly.
The war reached its climax during the famous Battle of Elmswood. Myrmidon Roixmonte had taken a huge risk by taking his forces inland away from much of the fighting on the coast to strike directly at the heart of Rhoenia, getting within a few leagues of the capital Valoise. It proved disastrous, however. Avalynne had secretly sought and secured aid from both the Kellmark as well as the northern kingdom of the hill dwarves Trobal’brae, and a large company of Wood Elves had joined that host. Though most of the Rhoenish forces were tied up on the coasts, the allied reinforcements altered their route and overtook the Myrmidon’s forces in the Elmswood. Avalynne joined them with a small contingent of knights as well, and their combined host caught the still larger force by surprise and slaughtered them. Though the war lasted through the year, this was the blow that guaranteed that the Carcosans would not take Rhoenia.
At last the Carcosan forces withdrew, due in most part because the City-States began to break their alliance and squabble amongst themselves. The Queen, now called Saint Avalynne, fully separated the Church organization in Rhoenia from the Mayarchic Church, and founded the Avaitic Church. She was formally named the Living Saint, and went into prayer for ten full days. When she emerged, she had covered herself in white silken wrappings, completely hiding her body from the world.
The Carcosan states invaded twice more in the following years, the Third and Fourth Subjugation wars were largely ineffective however, and as Saint Avalynne kept living through the centuries, her status as a Saint became undisputed.
Today Rhoenia is the most powerful player on the Westbearn stage. It maintains an alliance with some of the Kellmark kingdoms, as well as Trobal’brae north of them. The Carnoscan city-states to the south has brought much anxiety to the realm in recent years as they seem on the verge of reforming as an empire, and ambassadors have gone back and forth to attempt to ease tensions.