---Country Name: Kingdom of Vlaandia
---Government type: Feudal Monarchy
---Capital City: Altenstadt
---King: Theodore "The Lion"
---Queen: Geila of Adelshan
---The Kingdom of Vlaandia traces it's history as a part of the land of the Rhiralt people. Being one of the many tribes that arose during the old empire, the ancient Vlaanderni took their name from the first King of the tribes, Vlaandi the Great. During this early period the tribe began to slowly see their first king as more than a unifying force, and as a sort of voice of the Gods. Since this period of time, the early Vlaanderin family would lose their place as Kings, instead becoming something even greater to their people, as the sole clerics of their young Kingdom. Future kings would take their place, and bring untold greatness and fortune to the Vlaanderni, but even the greatest Kings paid respect the Vlaanderin priest's, whose guidance was required to foresee when to strike as to attain victory in battle, and to oversee important ceremonies.
With the arrival of the Augustinian faith however, the long held powers and privileges of the Vlaanderin dynasty began to fade, as interaction with the Augustinian world centered around the old Praevian Empire increased, it saw the ideas of the Church spread into the burgeoning Kingdom. Initially the Vlaanderin's demanded a harsh response to the foreign religion, both dictated by their Gods, and in order to retain their privileges. Entire communities who had converted saw their lands pillaged, raped, and left barren. However all this did was cause a schism within the Kingdom, leading to the capital of Aldgur to be burnt and sacked by an Augustinian uprising.
Following this era of turmoil, the Vlaanderin's new leader of the house, and chief speaker of the Gods rescinded the order, and would eventually bend the knee to the new religion, eventually becoming key in converting the kingdom to the new religion of the martyred God. As the Empire began to wane, a great horde from the eastern steppes began to invade the land, pushing many tribes west in order to escape being conquered, Vlaandia was no different. And would be one of many to migrate through this period of time to greener pastures.
Eventually Vlaandia would settle it's modern land, along the coast of the sea and in the old boarder territories of the Praevian Empire and of the Rhiralt tribes, most of which today is occupied by the Kingdom of Lothica. In this age Vlaandia recognized the sovereignty of the Western Emperor, paying tribute as a form of tax, and began to take in much of the imperial culture as their own. However this would not last, as the Western half of the Empire fell, and thus Vlaandia felt no need to pay tribute, and eventually the claims of ruling land in the name of the Emperor faded as well.
It is during the end of the migration period, which saw the return of the Vlaanderin dynasty as Kings. The last King of the then ruling Aulfun Dynasty would find himself killed in the Battle of Sevva against the Lothican King, Pepin I. As a result of this loss, a crisis erupted in the Kingdom as the then King had no heir to claim the throne. The then head of the Vlaanderin house, Eutharic was quick to take the initiative, and gathered his army to take the old capital of Freila before any other Noble could, and he was able to quickly fortify the city. Through political deals, claims of right to rule, and appeals to the Church, Eutharic was able to cement himself as King of Vlaandia rather peacefully with little bloodshed seen, not only this, he was able to then quickly and decisively defeat Pepin I in the battle of Freila shortly after, at great cost to the city itself.
The loss of the then capital of Vlaandia forced King Eutharic to find a new seat of power, eventually settling on what would become the current capital of Altenstadt. Today, the Kingdom is ruled by his great grandson Theodore, who is respected by both the nobility and peasantry alike, and is in good standing with the Church. Theodore has distinguished himself several times in battle, often being known as a ferocious commander, thus attaining the name "The Lion" by both friend and enemy alike. The future of the Kingdom will be in the hands of his eldest son Theodulf, who is seemingly following his fathers footsteps as a strong warrior, noted for his astute mind and strategic cunning.
Population: 4.1 million
Largest Cities: Altenstadt, Traislach, Freila, Wuritz, Clerlun, Zweisten
Common Languages: Western Rhiralti, Low Rhiralti, East Lothith, Classical Caestin
Court Chancellor: Duke Lothar of Surdola
Court Marshal: Duke Radigis of Liestern
Court Steward: Count Esger of Zeltzing
Court Spymaster: Aalissa of Dunshel
Court Chaplain: Bishop Rodolf of Alkhem
Court Advisor: Baron Hilduin of Galmore
Designated Regent: Childeric of Ansten
Court Physician: Clotaire of Belgues
Court Tutor: Adele of Altcona
Religious Head: Pontiff Justus
Cardinal to the Curia: Vulmar of Seistina
Establishment: 9/14/316 AD
Currency: Vlaandian Marc
The Kingdom of Vlaandia's neighbors consist of the Kingdom of Lothica to it's west, the Kingdoms of Lyanoi, Auvaria, and Aueroi between them, the Kingdom of the Ulenbards to it's south, and the tribes of the Geride, Becaea, Gathia, Brettonea, and Lowedia to it's east.
The vast majority of people residing in Vlaandia are human, however there are small pockets of other races that live throughout, such as the Elves who reside in individual communes or forested villages, or the Dawi that reside in built up mounds and in caved towns. The most perplexing race that sometimes finds itself in Vlaandia are the Cynocephali, or dog headed men, who walk like people, but look like that of dogs and wolves.
Some of the most majestic creatures in all of Vlaandia are the dragons, they come in many shapes and sizes, with some of the largest described as being larger than a horse, they are feared for their great and powerful strength, most have a nasty bite with a venom that feels like you are on fire, although some claim to occasionally see some spit true fire. Some breeds of dragons have been tamed, enough so that they can be used as a form of harassment to cause chaos in enemy ranks, though these breeds are small, only around dog sized, as larger dragons have a nasty temperament.
Another strange beast in Vlaandia is the Unicorn, a horse with a long horn on it's head, the Unicorn is a poor mount due to it's poor attitude, and thus are they ever rarely used as amounts, regardless the horn on their head cannot be used as a sort of lance, as the Unicorn would not be able to make it out of such an attack, when using the Horn the Unicorn will instead stand it's ground and thrust it's head forward.
Humans are the majority race of Vlaandia, and in fact much of the known world, but close kin exist in the Elves, often described as the fairer kin of man, Elves prefer to lie in the forest villages and never reached quite the level of sophistication of man, but they are not a stupid people, and have been able to integrate with human villages and towns fairly well. Both Humans and Elves can bear healthy children. Dawi, sometimes referred to as Dwarves (Although they are only slightly smaller than Humans, but are more stocky, and robust.) tend to live within housing built into the ground, or within caves, s it appears they have far superior eye sight than humans, and thus never learned to fear the night. Due to their appearance, Dawi are often said to look rather apish, especially without their beards, and sometimes are seen as being dull, due to their flatter skull.
Other races that sometimes travel through Vlaandia, but exist in the world include the Giants, a large race usually at around 8 to 10 feet average, they are an ever rare sight these days, but are deeply respected for their great size. The Ork is another interesting race, hailing from the northern continent, their large teeth match their powerful jaws, they are strong, and powerful, and often get an unfair reputation as brutes and savages, while many tend to find themselves like so, they show to be able to be intelligent and thoughtful like any human and properly raised in a civil society, many pagan legend,s some retold in current Augustian theology, tell that the Ork's are the spawn of the devil and women who have fallen for sin. Rumors of the world across the ocean tell of a land inhabited by dragons in the skin of man, and tales of the far east bring world of people with the characteristics of cats. Given the many strange people that share the world with man already, many find these tales to have some degree of merit.
--King Theodore the Lion Vlaanderin
--König Theodore de Löwe Von Vlaanderin
--King of the Vlaandians
--Coronation: April 23rd, 623
---------------Royal Palace, Altenstadt
--Predecessor: Arnulf II the Slow
--Born: October 1st, 608
--Spouse: Geila of Adelshan
--Father: Arnulf II
--Mother: Vera of Galmore
--Teacher: Otto the Blind
King Theodore (Full Name: Theodore de Löwe Von Vlaanderin), born October 1st, 608, is the current reigning king of the Kingdom of Vlaandia. King Theodore was the eldest son of King Arnulf II the Slow and Queen Vera of Galmore, a brother to six siblings (Two brothers, and three sisters.) Young Theodore was raised in the Royal Palace in Altenstadt, where he was trained both in mind and body, learning the way of the horse by his father and aides, while also tempering his mind under the wise monk Otto the Blind. By the time he became a young man at age 16, he was an accomplished swordsman, skilled horse rider, and was well educated in the matters of state and finance. Thanks to Otto's scholarly nature, Theodore also learned much of the natural world, religion, and of philosophy, and was taught to read the old language of the Empire and of the Church, Caestin.
Theodore would find himself on campaign with his father multiple times in his early adulthood, first in the reserve in order to watch how the army operated in battle, and later partaking in it himself, often finding himself leading charges that in many cases swung the tide of battle to his fathers favor. It would soon be discovered that Theodore had a knack for military strategy and tactics, and was quickly gifted the honor at sitting at the table of military planning during campaign. When not fighting in wars, Theodore would find himself in the capital, keeping order, planning expansions of the city and surrounding villages, and getting a feel for the responsibilities that he would soon face as King. During the campaign of March, 623, Theodore was within the retinue of his father Arnulf, they were on a campaign fighting the Lyanoi Kingdom. The Army would find itself in an ambush, and was forced to make a fighting retreat, during the chaos Arnulf was stuck by an arrow which pierced his leg, and was thrown off his horse during a hail of arrows. Arnulf was safely returned to the capital with his son Theodore, where he eventually died a week later due to an infection. Theodore was recognized as king, but he was not coronation until the war was finished.
By mid April, Theodore was able to bring a decisive blow to the Lyanoi in the Battle of Alsche, and was able to quickly garner concessions in order to leave the Lyanoi to lick their wounds with some pride left. By the 23rd of April, Theodore was finally able to legitimatize his status as King, and held his coronation in front of all his vassals and crowned by the Pontiff Justus. For his valor in battle and fierce combat prowess, he was given the name of the Lion, or Löwe, and in celebration of his coronation he held two weeks of celebration through the Kingdom. King Theodore was lucky to see no attempts of usurpation of his birthright from his siblings, since they had no desire to question his legitimacy, especially during a conflict that saw their father fell. Regardless, King Theodore was keen on ensuring that his siblings were gifted handsomely for doing their part to keep the realm in line while he finished up the war. His first year as King saw him enact several edicts across the Kingdom, all with the goal of increasing the wealth and spirit of the Kingdom, and to increase his own prestige.
His first edict was reaffirming the rights of the nobility,, of which have been a tradition since before the migration. This was to preemptively reassure his vassals that he had no intentions of changing the status quo in regards to their rights and privileges.
Secondly, he created reforms that granted the peasantry greater rights, none that breached their station, but rights which would ensure more prosperity for the realm. Under these reforms he codified laws that would ensure that the common man would be able to live their life free from abuse of their lord. This had multiple effects to the Kingdom as a whole, as it not only increased the standard of living of the peasantry, but it also cooled tensions that could cause rebellions, as seen before in other realms, and would soon affect the neighboring Lyanoi.
Another great task King Theodore undertook was an education reform, seeking to spread literacy throughout his realm with the help of local monasteries, this including the further writing of books, and promotion of the sciences.
King Theodore also promoted the arts, funding those who wished to create magnificent master pieces with the brush or with song.
King Theodore was also a man of diplomacy, and signed the first true formal alliance with the Kingdom of Lothica to it's west. As well as a formal trade agreement with the Eastern Emperor of Praevia.
King Theodore would soon marry a woman of the name of Geila, hailing from the city of Adelshan, a city belonging to one of the Kings most powerful and influential vassals, the two would soon find that their marriage was more just political convenience for their two houses, and would truthfully love each other. Geila would bear King Theodore many children, three sons and one daughter, with another child on the way. Their oldest child Theodulf is seemingly following his fathers footsteps, showing himself to be just as much as a keen strategist, and great fighter. King Theodore current finds himself in the midst of a war with the Kingdom of the Ulenbards, another people of the Rhiralt heritage, they migrated rather late compared to others, and settled the original land of the Praevian's. The War began when the Ulenbard's made a claim to the highlands bordering both realms, talks in an attempt to avoid conflict lasted for a whole month before the Ulenbard King, Adelmar the Bold, formally declared war. Not only were the Ulenbards a threat to his realm, but the King also had to deal with the threat of a massive Geride Tribe raiding his lands for slaves and fortune, forcing his heir to take charge on that front.
For & Against
For: Monarchism, Feudalism, Religion (Augustian Theology), Corporal Punishment, Traditional Marriage, Traditionalism
Against: Absolutism, Republics, Democracy, Heresy, Adultery, Gluttony
Like most Vlaandians, and their neighbors, King Theodore has a rather negative view of homosexuality, mostly in regards to men. While there is no religious statement condemning in in the Augustian faith, and while he personally doesn't care what people do in the privacy of their own homes, King Theodore still finds the practice distasteful, and finds it a lack of character for a man to submit himself in such a way. There is a cultural free bee in regards to men who are seen as "Feminine", perhaps it is best to say life is easier for a gay man if he can pass off as a woman, than one who seems to be otherwise wholly masculine. Despite his distaste for the "otherwise masculine" homosexual life style, he has still ensured that they do not face undue harm from his vassals and the peasantry, he may not approve of their life style and choice, but he will not be a hypocrite and rescind the laws he has made to not protect them like any other.
King Theodore holds a very positive opinion of the Cynocephali, the dog headed men. This is in due part to one who went under the name of Hincmar, who defended his fathers life during the Siege of Dunshel during the Lyanoi War. Because of this, especially compared to other kingdoms, Cynocephali may always find a home in Vlaandia, and King Theodore has gone on great record for supporting the idea that they not only have souls, but are fellow children of God.
King Theodore is an accredited dragon slayer, while not particularly famous or renown in the practice, the King has been on many expeditions throughout his life with the goal of slaying unruly dragons that have been killing the livestock of the land. Even killing a dragon that was bothering a relatively backwater location can aid in ones prestige of the hunt. On one such occasion he slayed a dragon mother, and in a feeling of guilt, took in the Dragons only surviving egg, this dragon hatched and was raised in his estate, named Odyr. This dragon is still young, about the size of a large dog, but when he grows he will be the size of a horse, and able to spit it's noxious spray on any foe that comes against it.
King Theodore is deeply religious, and considers himself a major patron of the Church, and is an avid defender of the faith. While he strongly dislikes those who practice other religions, he is not outright hostile, and is more or less able to peacefully hold a conversation and engage in diplomacy. Nonetheless he will always keep ones religious position in mind when dealing with them, although other Messianic origin faiths are more respected by him, he loathes pagans above all else.
While King Theodore is an very physical person, who enjoys anything from riding his horse, practicing his swordplay, or partaking in tournaments of skill, the King much prefers the calmer things in life. He is an avid reader, having always enjoyed reading before bed since he was a child, he firmly believes that reading helps the mind intellectually, and that stories broaden ones horizons, he has even begun working on his own story that he wishes for others to read.
The King was taught much by Otto the Blind, his tutor hired by his late father. Otto the Blind is now long gone, having passed away years ago, but the King has never forgot the many experiences he had under his teacher, both in knowledge and lessons that apply in life to this day. Because of this King Theodore has always made sure to keep the monastery he was from well funded and taken care off, to honor the memory of the man who raised him just as much (if not more so) as his parents.
Like it's many of its contemporaries, the military of Vlaandia is built upon that of of the feudal system of lands and titles. The core of the military is centered around that of the Retinue of the Noble. These soldiers are professional and armed with the best arms and armor that their lord can buy, and fulfill a meaty backbone of infantry, archers, or cavalry. Various elite and specialized soldiers fit into these ranks, such as elite heavy pikemen, dedicated shock troops such as voulgiers, and deadly crossbowmen. Perhaps the most unique and devastating type of soldier trained up as a part of a nobleman's retinue, is the striking handgonner. These powerful skirmishers are limited to only the richest of the nobility, due to the extreme cost in producing the required parts necessary to field the awesome power of the handgonne. The elite of the elite of the retinue are the Knights, noblemen who began training in the art of martial combat at age seven, they are the greatest fighters in any army, clad in mail and on horseback, their primary weapon is the lance, with a sword as back up. There is very little in the field of battle, that can resist a full cavalry lance charge from motivated, battle hardened knights.
This mighty spine of the Vlaandian army is bolstered further by the levies of each Nobles estate. The common peasant levy is armed with whatever they have on hand, usually farming equipment, but a few may be organized in groups of those with notable loot from prior campaigns, or what they have been able to buy themselves. Most of the levy raised for a campaign are inexperienced, or poorly trained, but the rabble can be a deadly force when properly motivated and lead into battle. The more well trained and well armed peasantry often are the core of town and city militia, who act as the garrison force that defend the land from invasion, these militia are thus often recruited as a more experienced center than the usual peasant.
An often recruited rank of the Vlaandian army are mercenaries, often recruited to form an auxiliary force, mercenaries can fill roles anywhere as a rear guard to joining the elite of the army as a valued professional fighting core. Many mercenary warbands find themselves in the employment of the Vlaandian nobility, joining banner of the lord for many campaigns and getting rich of the loot and payment. Mercenaries are often not looked upon highly by the noble retinue due to fighting for just money and little else, sometimes leading to distrust among the army, and usually resulting in mercenaries and their troops being within arms length at all times, regardless, these soldiers of fortune have been of major importance throughout not only Vlaandia's history, but of many other realms as well.
- Year of our Lord, August the Fifteenth, Six-Hundred and Forty Two
- The Kingdom of Vlaandia finds itself in a war with the Kingdom of the Ulenbards over boarder territory in the Highlands. The fighting is fierce, but King Theodore has been able to bloody the Ulenbards in several key battles all across the boarder territory.
- A hostile warband of the rather barbaric Geride Confederacy has marched into the eastern plains, attempting to sack and loot as much as they can in both wealth and slaves, Prince Theodulf has thoroughly begun countering their offensive and has even freed several slave wagons.
- The fortified town of Arthal successfully fends off a Geride raiding party, unknowingly killing a key Geride war leader.
- The Duke of Wuritz dies of an unknown ailment, with no heir, this has left his duchy to be de facto rescinded to the King, until such a time that it can be granted to another noble.
- Queen Geila is now pregnant, prayers are in order of a potential new child of the royal family. If a son is born, they will be the 4th in line of succession.
- A prominent Augustian Priest named Huneric, living in Altenstadt has written a new theorem on the nature of the stars and their relation to the world, proposing that the world does not lay in the center of the universe, and that our world in fact circles the sun. It is being challenged and debated by the clergy within the capital, but has not yet been argued elsewhere.
- Ships of the navy have been ambushed by northern raiders, the assaulting pirates have been driven off, likely intending to raid the coast of Vlaandia.