Legends of Penterra
History of the Kingdom of Leogria
A Modern History of the Kingdom of Leogria
and the Surrounding Peoples
Antiquity to Present (987 A.G.)
By: Pinie the Scrybe
Head Librarian of Albium
When the Godclism erupted onto Pangea destroying the continent parts of the eastern land mass, that became known as the continent Reliquum, were ripped away and broken into isles of various sizes. These became known as the Eastern Isles, and were inhabited by humans covering much of the Isles, some Orgrist to the north, and the farthest island, known as Hybernia, by the Aesheith (a race of elves whose skin is nearly as black as obsidian).
Unfortunately, much of the early history of the East Isles is lost as there was no written record until the Neopolian Empire landed. One of the first things that the August Lexarius did when after writing was created by Aglippa, was to draw a map of Pangea and put the locations of where the armies of Mythius and the Dark One had been, as well as locations of major cities of Humans, Dwarves and Elves. The theory being there may be, after the Godclism some remaining armies that could aid Neopoly or enemies to be wary of. Because of this, when the armies of the Empire of Neopoly called the Eastern Isles Leogria, believing that they might be populated by the remnants of the Eastern Army of Mythrius and their General Leogr.
From the legends of the people that lived on the Eastern Isles it is now believed that some of the army was split between the continent and the Isles, but that most, including General Leogr died in the Straits of White that opened up between the two land masses. Left with no leadership, the remnants dispersed, and the humans formed tribes in the area, and were forced to fend for themselves. They had very little contact w/ the Orgrists of this time, but due to the naming conventions of many in the region they may have had contact and intermingled with the Aesheith. The humans though showed very little cohesion, and were mainly mainly broken down into tribal regions with local chieftains ruling. One can say, that at the time, the early humans of Leogria were little better than Orgrists.
Lead by Primus Legatus Domita, the Neopolian Empire’s legions first arrived on the shores of Leogria in approximately 224 AG at the sight of present day Albium, the White City. Her first mission upon landing was the security of her force, and she chose the location specifically for this. The location was ideal, with access to fresh water, as well as the sound for food, and a quick route back to the mainland for supplies. She was able to use the white stones to build the walls of the fortress for which Albium became named.
Once Albium Keep was built, giving the legions a solid base the Primus Legatus began to expand the reach of the empire. First by conquering the south, which eventually became the shires of Wesleo, Susleo, Easleo and Anglia; then slowly and methodically working their way north, subjugating the local tribes and instilling order where once there was chaos. It took nearly 50 years before the the legions had reached the limit of their furthest expansion on the East Ilse, Antonia’s Wall where they ran into their first real difficulty, the united tribes of Scotia.
With the conquest of Scotia stalling, and becoming ever more untenable with dwindling resources being sent to the Leogrian Legions by the mainland, it became more practical to hold the land already obtained than to try to acquire more. As such, the Legate Antonia pragmatically decided to build a great white wall, made from the plentiful quartz deposits on the island; and then concentrated on improving the infrastructure of the region by building roads for rapid transportation, and solid fortresses.
As the Neopolian Empire begain to fall, they began reducing troops in the provense of Leogria. This created a power gap that several local leaders, having learned several lessons (such as logistics, government, planning, etc) from the Neopolians were quick to exploit. Eventually in approximately 588 AG, the Neopolian Empire officially removed the last of it’s legions from the area. The only remaining Neopolians were those who had settled down in the region and had formed families. Most of these were former legionaries, though there were a few of higher rank as well.
King Aethur the Dragon
The Legendary Aethur the Dragon was the first King of Leogria, completing his conquest within a year of the time the Neopolian Empire’s legions had left the Isles. While King Aethur did exist, and while Dragons do exist, the more fanciful myths suggest that he road one into battle, and it was due to this he was able to combine the Earldoms into the first Kingdom of Leogria. These are surely just myths though, and the speed with which he conquered was more likely attributed to his savage tactics and passion which gave rise to his nickname “the Dragon” rather than the fanciful tales.
The few remaining texts from the period indicate that King Aethur (Sometimes spelled Euther) was a former Tribuni of the Neopolian Legions, who settled in the area and began a family with a local woman (whose name has been lost to history). As such he was very familiar with the Neopolian tactics and strategies, and with the legionaries who remained behind. With this information and skill he was able to forge a Kingdom for himself, and those who followed him became the first Earls and Reeves.
Upon his death in 602, the Kingdom of Leogria was divided between the three sons of the great king, with Aethelstan governing Wesleo, Authru governing Susleo, and Aethan governing Easleo. That status remained unchanged, with each realm ruling it’s land independently until the landing of the Great Heretic Horde, and their founding of the Orglaw to the north.
The Orglaw and the Great Heretic Horde
Around the year 681, a large fleet of Orgrist Virkung landed on the west coast of Yorkshire, in the Kingdom of Northumbria. While the Virkung had been raiding along the cost of the Isles for centuries, this massive barbaric horde was the largest ever seen. Rather than being satisfied with pillaging the coastal regions, this Horde began traveling up the rivers and ravaging the countryside as well. The Horde, commanded by Jarl Hrolfer Ragnus was not just interested in raiding, they had landed on the East Isles to conquer
Under Hrolfer’s command the Virkung were able, for the first time not just to raid and pillage the villages and towns, but to actually hold them. While no one would argue that a Virgung was a civilized intellectual, the Orgrist certainly had a certain cunning that with combined with their natural animalist savagery made them a significant foe. Combining the large host, brutal tactics, and a simplistic strategy of kill anyone who doesn’t submit they were able to conquer a sizable section of the midland.
The various Kingdoms of Leogria at the time, involved in their own squabbles and political unrest with each other were ill equipped to repel the invaders. Eventually though, the human kingdoms were able to form an unsteady alliance long enough to halt the advance of the Hordes. A stalemate occurred leaving the Kingdom of Northumbria to the north, Gwynn to the east, what remained of Mercia and the other Leogrian Kingdoms to the south.
The Virkungs surprisingly content to hold the territory and govern it created the Orglaw, and instilled Hrolfer as their king. Over the next 200 years, there were constant border skirmishes, raids, uprisings and minor wars between the humans kingdoms and the Orglaw, but the territorial borders remained relatively unchanged.
Queen Eadgifu and the First Expansion
Part of the reason the Virkung were so successful in their conquest was due to the animosity the local kingdoms had for one another at the time, which lead to constant skirmishes between the different factions. This gradual escalation of aggression eventually lead to a dramatic event that shifted the political climate from cold hostility to full scale warfare. The tipping point came when King Edwig the Fair of Wesleo was assassinated while riding from Albium to Cuckney to meet with a contingent from Mercia to discuss a treaty between the two realms who had recently been on friendly terms.
The assassin was killed in the event, and could not be questioned but items on him lead those present to believe that he was from the Kingdom of Susleo. As Susleo would have had a lot to lose with a Wesleo and Mercian alliance, this was easy to be believed. There were rumors at the time that the true perpetrators were possibly factions within the kings on realm (some even hint at his own sister); and in hindsight this event was very convenient for the Virkung who landed but a few short months later; nothing was ever proven. It seems likely, considering all the evidence, that the conspiracy theories are fiction, and the heinous act was indeed conducted by the Susleons in fear of what could happen if the alliance between their neighbors was formed.
King Edwig was succeeded by his sister, Queen Eadgifu, who by all contemporary accounts was very close to her older brother (which disproves the conspiracies regarding her). Queen Eadgifu wasted no time in gathering the her reeves and bannermen to her, and calling for war with Susleo in vengeance for her brothers murder. Her attack on her neighbor was swift and without mercy and devastating.
Remaining text and tapestries of the time indicate that the Queen was at every major battle, including the final siege of Shrop. Legend has that during the final assault on the keep, she met the King of Susleo, Cuthred, in single combat and beheaded him in front of his remaining army (who immediately there after surrendered). While this may not have happened, and it’s more likely that Cuthred was beheaded after the battle, several sources do state that it was the Queen herself who beheaded him with one swing.
After the conquest of Susleo, the Eadgifu proved herself an able administrator as well, instilling a trusted reeve as the first Earl of Susleo, and promoting several faithful bannermen during the war to Reeves of Susleo’s shires. Eadgifu then worked to ease hostilities with the Kingdom Esleo who had become more wary of Wesleo with the queens stunning successes. With her borders secure to the east, she forged an alliance between the lower kingdoms which, though unable to recapture the lost lands was at least able to halt the advance of the Virkung.
King Edmund II, the Younger, and the Rebirth of Leogria
Since 602 AG the Kingdom of Leogria had ceased to exist since it was divided between the sons of Aethur upon his death. Even though the mighty Queen Eadgifu combined Wesleo and Susleo, she styled herself the Queen of Wesleo and Susleo rather than combining them into a single kingdom. That changed during the reign of King Edmund II, the Younger, who came to the throne in 761 AG, after the death of his father, King Edmund I, the Elder.
Edmund II like his father before him, was a large man, described as a head taller than the next largest man around him with a mighty arm with which he wielded a massive axe. He was said to be gregarious, and was well loved by the peasants as well as his nobles; though he was also described at times as boastful and want to drink. He also viewed himself as the true descendent of Aethur, and as such, the rightful ruler of all Leogria. He was a larger than life man, in a larger than life position, and he lived it as such. He was to prove himself worth on the field of battle and in the political realms (if not in finances because the kingdom was nearly copper-less upon his death).
Within two years of acquiring the throne of Wesleo and Susleo he started his campaigns against Esleo. He proved himself a brave, valiant soldier and a brilliant tactician in the field; always leading by example and from the front. His forces easily overwhelmed the Eseleo and in only two short years he had the realm fully under his control, the former king and his entire family beheaded, and the bannermen of Esleo cowed and swearing their allegiance to him. Before the winter of 764 he had himself crowned as King of Leogria Reborn, and in turn promoted one of his Reeves, Lea Brecc to Earl of Esleo.
With Mercia and Gwynn’s priorities on the defense of their realms from the Virkung Orglaw, King Edmund II was able to turn his sites on Anglia with worrying about outside interference. This time, Edmund took a different approach proving himself an able politician as well. Seeing that the Anglian King’s eldest child was his daughter, he sent one of his reeves with a petition of marriage. The Anglian King realized, his dire situation – either marry his daughter to Edmund and have Anglia fall under Leogria’s rule when he died or Edmund would attack as he did Esleo and there would be nothing left of his family. The Anglian King consented to the marriage, prudence one the day, and in twelve years Edmund was able to control Anglia without ever shedding a drop of blood. Edmund respecting the Anglian Kings wise decision, when his first son was born, named him Eadred, Prince of Anglia (and the royal heir has been known as the Prince or Princess of Anglia ever since).
King Edward I, and the addition of Mercia
While many things can be said of King Edward I’s reign from 828 – 860 AG, no one will ever say that he was loved, or even liked. What everyone will say is that he possessed a cunning, if sometimes underhanded brilliance. In contrast to Edmund II, some 50 years previous, Edward was the polar opposite – short and wiry; possessed of book learning and shrewd; a keen wit but a tongue sharper than a pit viper; and rather than leading his soldiers on the battlefield he prefered to appoint a field commander to do so. These traits did not endear him to his people, soldiers, or his nobles. However, one can not argue with his success.
King Edward came to the throne ignobly, having been the cousin of the previous king who was assassinated. Unlike King Edwigs assassination, there was no assassin caught, no trail to follow, just rumors and innuendoes suggesting the Edward may have had a hand in the deed since he had the most to gain. However, due to unlucky accidents, disappearances, and interesting promotions for some nobles to positions of prominence or wealth, no one seemed to be in a position (or want) to make an accusation of regicide.
During Edward’s reign, the Kingdom of Mercia and the Orglaw entered a state of open conflict again, and Mercia requested Edwards assistance in defending their borders. King Edward, much to his Earls surprise and accepted Mercia’s requests; riding himself, with his Earls and Reeves, to Mercia’s aid. While he didn’t handle the army in the field, staying well back from the battles, he was always present during the pre-battle planning, adding suggestions that often proved remarkably effective. During the final battle at Stammer Bridge, the combined army of Mercia and Leogria crushed the Orglaw army under the command of Ovar, the Boneless.
While the Orglaw army was defeated and had to retreat back to their territory, the allied armies had also suffered significant losses. The Knights of Mercia, the only mounted unit on the Eastern Isles were used to tremendous effect, leading the charge that finally broke the Virkung berzerkers moral; unfortunately the Knights lead by the King of Mercia, utterly destroyed during the battle. While some suggest that it was one of Edward’s suggestions that the Mercian King lead the charge because it would raise the Knights and armies moral in the pivotal battle, and that the Mercian Kings death was what Edward really was plotting; one can not argue with the success of the tactic as it did lead to the rout the Orgrist army. It may also be a coincidence that a couple of the Shire Reeves and an Earl who were rumored to oppose Edmund also died during this battle.
With the Orglaw inside their own territory, the border of Mercia secure, but the internal government in shambles, Edward the Hero of the Alliance had no opposition appointing one of his trusted Shire Reeves as regent of the Kingdom. It was only a few short years after, that the grieving queen died from a sickness of the heart for her departed husband, and the regent was named Earl of Mercia, the newest Earldom of Leogria. Again, one can hardly argue with the effectiveness of Edward’s cunning adding new territories to the growing Kingdom of Leogria.
King Elfred, the Great
No king in Leogria is as revered as Aethur the Dragon, but if there was another king close to him in status it would be King Elfred, the Great. And like Aethur, much about Elfred’s origins is clouded in mystery. What is known is, Elfred’s father was King Aedred, the son of King Edward I, and that Aedred’s while he was still Prince of Anglia traveld to Gwynn to treaty with their king, and ensure that while the relations between the two kingdoms were not good, they were at least cordial and committed to mutual defense against the Orglaw.
A few years later, and shortly after Aedred was crowned king royal messengers arrived from Gwynn with a gift for him. The next day, Aedred summoned his earls to Albium, and when they arrived he hosted them with a great feast as if to celebrate. When the earls asked what this celebration was for, Aedred had a maiden bring forth the gift from Gwynn, which he revealed was a young child of no more than four. Aedred proclaimed this child, Elfred, Prince of Anglia, and his son. He explained to his astonished Earls that while he was in Gwynn he had met a noble woman, who was also at court to meet the King of Gwynn, and they had shared a dalliance.
His Earls exasperated, naturally objected to this as some form of Gwynnish trickery (or worse yet Elvish, as the Gwynn were sure descendants from them – especially given the child’s name). Some even hinting that this sort of trick was like something Aedred’s on father would have done. Aedred was sure though, and even presented the child to take off his shirt so all could see a birthmark on his back. Aedred then proceeded to remove his shirt as well to reveal the same mark in the same location. When the lords pressed Aedred for the mother’s name, he deferred stating that she was a “Royal woman” and he “would not besmirch her honor.”
As Prince Elfred grew he showed that he would be a very able leader, from an early age had had an even temperament, was inquisitive and honest, and while occasionally mischievous it was never in evil spirits. He learned quickly the lessons taught to him, and treated everyone with respect down to the lowest kitchen scullion. By the time he was entering his 20’s the city of Albium loved their young Prince, and even the most skeptical of earls was learning to respect if not like him. When his father died in 878 AG, the young Prince was ready to sit the throne, and deftly maneuvered through the courtly politics keeping the earls who resented his position, age, and mysterious birth continually off balance.
While dealing with these intrigues, he continued to build the realms infrastructure and trade with the continent. Overcoming opposition he spent money building roads between Hwicce and Albium to increase the speed of travel, and thus profits from trade (as well as the speed his armies could travel). He also funded repairs to the ill repaired but oft used East Road to Pecsum, which was built by the Neopolian Empire. All the while he continued his projects of strengthening his realm’s city walls and increasing town watches to reduce crime. All of these, taken one at a time over ten years were very innocent; but taken together could only mean one thing, and that was something the Orglaw’s spies had not noticed.
During the late winter of 887, King Elfred summoned his Earls and senior Reeves to Albium, and informed them that it was finally time to remove the blight from the Eastern Isles. He added that he already had sent messengers to Gwynn and Northumbria, forming an alliance. The three kingdoms would attack in unison at the beginning of spring, 888. All of his vassals were required to participate in the army, and that they should start levying and training their armies now. The town watches that he had raised would keep the peace and see that the fields were tended while the rest of the able bodied would finally free the Eastern Isles from the Virkung that had ruled a large portion for the past 200 years.
During the the War of Reclamation, King Elfred proved himself just as great and cunning a strategist as his grandfather Edward I; and as valiant as his Edmund II. His army won battle, after battle, continuing to push the Orglaw north, while the Gwynn pushed north into Walshire, and Northumbria pushed south. While Elfred enjoyed massive success, and Gwynn were able to complete the reconquest of Wash; the Northumbrians became bogged down in their campaign and found their main army trapped with their king inside the walled city of Jorvik
King Elfred upon hearing the news ordered his army to prepare for a forced march, they would lift the siege. However, one of his Reeves suggested (possibly jokingly) that it may be more beneficial to Leogria to arrive a little late. Without hesitation, Elfred cleaved the mans head from his shoulders, and shouted to his men, “For the Honor of Leogria, I will NOT arrive late. Follow me, and show these Virkung what honor we have!” He then turned and started walking north.
The Leogian army arrived behind the Orglaw armies just as the south wall to the city was falling, and the Virkung in their bloodrage to enter the city did not see them until the first units were already charging and decimating their undefended rear. During the battle, that lasted two days, the Orglaw army was utterly destroyed, but the city was also left in ruins completely uninhabitable. When Elfred reached the keep he was greeted by the Townreeve, and brought him to the deathbed of King Gyrth of Northumbria, who had taken an arrow through his chest during the battle. Gyrth shook Elfred’s hand and proclaimed him his brother, stating he had never known a man with more honor or integrity. Elfred is said to have saluted him, and then offered to deliver King Gyrth’s last message to his son who was garrisoned at Bamburough.
As Elfred’s army arrived at Bamburough, they were greeted by trumpets and solutes, and every Northumbrian soldier kneeled. News of their great triumph over the Orglaw had already reached the Northumbirans, and Prince Wiglif was waiting for them at the gates of the keep. When Elfred approached, the Prince raised his voice and said to him loud enough for all those present to hear, “I have heard of the victory. I have heard of my fathers death. And, I have also heard, how you ignored wicked advice, and strove in vain to save my father, our king. The king is dead. Long live the king!” He then kneeled before King Elfred, and asked to be one of his vassal lords.
Susleo, Esleo, and the Orglaw were won with the sword, Anglia and Mercia were won with cunning, but King Elfred won the final Earldom with his Honor. True to his word, after the eradication of the Orglaw, he established peace with the Gwynn and their newly conquered earldom of Walsh. He even organized a unsteady peace with the Scoti north of the Marches. The remainder of his rule saw little violence or conflict, and he continued to rule till 967 (an astonishing 97 years).
When King Edward II, the Unlucky, fell off his horse in 983 and died; his son Prince Aethred had to be called back from the court of the Grand Duchy of Bourgogne. Prince Aethred had been sent there, to improve relations with that continental duchy, as well as give Aethred some experience in other cultures and courts in hopes that he would be a better ruler because of it. However, when Edward II died, Aethred was a mere 16 years of age.
When Prince Aethred returned to take the crown, he brought with him a young noble from Bourgogne named Guy du Autun, whom he named as an advisor, and his Major Domo for Castle White. With a young king on the throne, unfamiliar with the earls and reeves of his realm, court politics and intrigues after having been away for 6 years, the rest of his story – long or short, has yet to be written.