Tales of the Bloodstone Lands
The Politics of Damara
When King Virdin Bloodfeathers was assassinated at the Fords of Goliad, it brought an end to a line of thirteen kings of Damara which began when Feldrin Bloodfeathers founded Ravensburg in 1042 and then went on to found Heliogabalus in 1075.
Although the Bloodstone Wars establish Gareth Dragonsbane as the new King of Damara, the nobles enjoy great power within the kingdom. Gareth’s most difficult battle is navigating the politics of the realm and cementing his hold on the kingdom.
Shadow of the Witch-King
On slaying King Virdin, Zhengyi contracted with the Grandfather of Assassins to murder the best and most noble of the ruling houses of Damara. Using murder as his weapon, he hand-picked the rulers of each house. The Ducal family in Brandiar had no one amenable to the Witch-King’s control, so that line was wiped out entirely. Zhengyi also created a new northern Duchy of Sorovia as a buffer between his armies and the more populous sections of Damara. Though Gareth now rules Damara and Zhengyi has been defeated, he is opposed by many those same nobles placed on their thrones.
Long ago, the Bloodfeathers agreed that the Kings of Damara may only raise a noble or noble family with the support of the majority of the ruling houses. A limitation that Gareth seeks to work within to avoid another prolonged war.
Dimian Ree, Baron of Morov, has set himself up as the best alternative to Gareth Dragonsbane. He moved his Baronial seat to the capital of Heliogabalus, an unprecedented move since Heliogabalus was always considered to be independent of any barony or duchy. Furthermore, it’s an open secret that Dimian Ree’s cousin, Tarkos Ree, is the guildmaster of Tightpurse, the thieves’ guild of Damara.
Dimian’s quest for the throne is supported by Duke William of Arcata and Baroness Sylvia Praka of Ostel. Sylvia is known to be a powerful sorceress, skilled in illusions and enchantments. While Sylvia’s personal power keeps her people under her thumb, she is universally despises by the common folk of Ostel, who see her as an evil, power-hungry sorceress who cares nothing for them
Duke Arcata started the Bloodstone Wars by having his forces attack Bloodstone Pass. Gareth pinned the Arcatan forces down offered the Arcatan generals peace if they returned to Arcata and swear not to renew the attack. Gareth asked only to be able to move his forces along the Aractan border and would make no moves against Aracta itself. The generals agreed to the terms. While William (the Lazy) is a firm foe of Gareth, his generals fully support the new king. Understanding the tide of opinion around him, William does not overtly oppose his generals.
Supporters of the new King are few and far between. House Tranth of Bloodstone is the greatest supporter. Baron Tranth even gave his daughter Christine’s hand in marriage to Gareth, and Gareth has made the Barony a Duchy, which was possible based on its increased population and economic importance. Gareth rules the kingdom from Bloodstone City. If he is ever able to move to Heliogabalus, he will need to appoint a new Duke of Bloodstone.
When Gareth’s forces took the Barony of Polten from the pretender Zorth BelMaris, the son of Donlevy the Old came out of hiding to reclaim his family throne. Donlevy the Young was only 14 years old at the time. Now a young man of 22, Donlevy the Young is seriously considering with throwing his support behind Gareth, though his inexperience makes him somewhat easy for the other nobles to manipulate.
During the Bloodstone Wars, the Duchy of Brandiar was without a Duke. A common farmer from Goliad, Dormythyrr, took control of the duchies forces and aided Gareth in fighting the witch-king’s forces. Gareth was able to appoint Dormythyrr as steward of the Duchy, but is unable to raise his family to the nobility at this point.
The Wild Cards
Dashard Devlin, fourth cousin of the Duke of Carmathan, ascended to the throne of Carmathan after Zhengyi’s purge left him the sole successor of the family line. Dashard played his role as “independent state” well enough to keep the loyalty of his people, while setting up an effective propaganda network that survives to this day. Portraying Gareth as an invader and usurper, Carmathan was firmly against the new king. Dashard himself was slain in the wars by Emelyn the Gray and an unknown brother of Dashard, Theodorus, took the ducal seat as Helmont the 15th. While Helmont favors Dimian Ree, Carmathans as a group do not like the rumors of Ree’s ties to the Thieves’ Guild or the Citadel of Assassins. Further, a midwife of the House of Devlin remembers no Theodorus, or any brother of Dashard, being born, something the new King is surely investigating. Thus, Carmathan tends toward neutrality at this time.
Sorovia is the newest of the Damaran provinces, created by Zhengyi as a buffer for his forces. The Witch-King set up Ygor as the first duke, but he was dragged through the streets as soon as Zhengyi was thrown down. The people are determined to retain their independence, but do not want to see their territory returned to its previous status as squatter’s land. Olwen Forest-Friend, Gareth’s ranger companion, now leads the Talebringers, who travel the Duchy aiding the people. It is known that Gareth would like to offer the dukeship to Olwen, but the nobles continue to block that appointment.