The Kingdom of Grandévere, commonly referred to as the First Kingdom, Grandévere, or the Duchies, is a federal monarchy founded circa Y506 by the crusader Freya after the fall of the Du’un Empire. Freya’s five dearest friends, the crusaders Baldur, Hod, Sigurd, Andvari, and Skadi joined her as founders of the nation, establishing four independent duchies united under Freya’s banner. As of Y843, Grandévere is ruled by the aging King Harkensson, who will be succeeded by his son, Prince Frey. Grandévere’s closest ally is the Dominion of Praetoria. Grandévere’s standing army is limited, and comprised entirely of conscripts. However, each duchy commands a legion of fiercely loyal knights who would gladly ride to their deaths to protect the realm. Her national anthem is I Vow To Thee My Country , a patriotic hymn composed in celebration of the declaration of truce between Grandévere and Praetoria in Y799.
Geography: Grandévere is divided into three distinct regions: the lush, forested and temperate southwest, the arid, windswept northeast, and the Barrier Peaks, a tall, snow-capped mountain range that runs through the center of the kingdom. Though the two halves of the nation are still one nation, citizens on either side of the peaks refer to the two climatic zones as East and West Grandévere. The old growth pine forests of the west flow seamlessly into the mighty forest kingdom of Ardennes. Similarly, East Grandévere gradually becomes drier and drier until golden wheat fields and dry shrubland gives way to the coarse sand and towering mesas of the Kurtulmak Desert.
The west of the nation houses the duchies of Nibeline and Brei, as well as the capital Hildsvine. Many mages born in the west are employed by the state, while most mages in the east are renegades and wanderers. It is said in the west that frontier towns in the east are often terrorized by terrible warlocks and dark sorcerers and that blood-curdling abominations can sometimes be seen prowling parched fields and ancient ruins there. These rumors have some truth to them: historians claim that the Du’un Sect originated in Kurtulmak and the imperial ruins of Thariz loom somewhere on the eastern plains. Mercenaries of all sorts are common sights in East Grandévere. These masterless warriors wander from town to town, fighting for whoever has the gold. Valor can be hard to find when food and coin are scarce. Conversely, Hildsvine is home to the headquarters of the Adventurer’s Agency, an organization that employs treasure hunters, tomb robbers, and adventurers, trading their knowledge of ancient riches for a small cut of the profit. Though many agree that the modern architecture of Western Grandévere is among the most amazing in all Norn, East Grandéverans are awed by the stark natural beauty of their homeland.
Founding: It is said that when Freya killed Du’un Emperor Sheol XIV, the dark fortress of Thariz began to crumble. Stone cascaded down upon the tyrant’s corpse, trapping him and the Black Book beneath the rubble. When the stones were cleared away, neither Sheol nor the grim spell book could be found. Freya did not plan to rebuild her kingdom’s capital on the fields where so many innocents had suffered, and even if she had wished to reclaim the site, centuries of corruption and madness had defiled the very ground on which Thariz once stood. Freya and her followers traveled many leagues to the southern coast. Though the city of Hildsvine had humble beginnings, Freya and the liberated imperial citizens built a mighty city on the rocky southern coast.
Though the independent nation-states of Hildsvine, Santenne, Nibeline, Brei, Augusty, and Aurvandil enjoyed peace for a time, the continent was still being torn apart despots and power-hungry agents of the collapsed Du’un Empire. The crusaders, excepting Ulir, Myrrh, and Woten, united their lands to form the Kingdom of Grandévere. Though all the Grandéveran lords pay fealty to the crown, the peoples of each duchy maintain a large degree of autonomy.
The Remnant War: Through a united effort and exertion of both federal and local power, the remnants of the empire and mad followers of the Chained God were imprisoned or subdued at the hands of the Grandéveran crusaders and their followers. This quest to return peace to the land, known as the Remnant War, lasted from circa Y505 until Y510. Following the Remnant War, an exhausted, relieved peace settled over the young kingdom. Old roads began to be rebuilt, and pioneer settlements began to appear on the edges of the untamed wilderness. Brave heroes rose to combat the bloodthirsty aberrations that the Chained God’s polluting touch had vilely spawned. Yet, in the midst of this time of rebirth, circa Y522, Lord Baldur, the Crusader of Light and Duke of Brei, was killed by his brother, Hod, in a calamitous accident remembered as the Tragedy of the Mystletainn.
Baldur’s death threatened to throw Grandévere into chaos and civil war as the men of Brei threatened to slaughter the citizens of Augusty as retribution. A decisive and timely intervention by Queen Freya managed to prevent bloodshed. The devastated and grief-stricken Hod chose to secede from the kingdom. He ruled the fledgling Kingdom of Praetoria long enough to see it flourish under his reign, then vanished into the northwestern wilderness circa Y530. He and the Mystletainn were never seen again.
See also: Remnant War.