Daybreak:Kingdom of Weichsel
Known as the Northern March of Trinitian Realm, the Kingdom of Weichsel lies on the southern coast of the North Sea. Settled by nomads and tempered by centuries of northern raids and incursions, Weichsel evolved into a militant nation that sat on the crossroads between the major cultural groups of Hyperion.
|System||Centralized Military Aristocracy|
The reborn Kingdom of Amudaria
After the rising Dawn Imperium in Eastern Eos defeated the Maldani Confederation, they absorbed some of the clans while driving the others west. Those who left journeyed to the plateaus of Wester Eos (present day Shadom of Chorasmia) and claimed the land to rebuild their nation, which in turn chased out the inhabitants of the region and forced them further west. While historians are not certain where exactly the Amudarian tribes originated from, it is recognized that they traveled to Eastern Hyperion around 150:Imperial as a result of this domino effect, seeking fertile land to rebuild the realm they lost.
Approaching the height of its power, the Imperium of the Inner Sea offered the Amudarian tribes a strip of land along the southern coast of the North Sea in exchange for their fealty. The Amudarians agreed, setting down as a protectorate of the Imperium, paying reasonable yearly tributes to the Emperors in Arcadia in exchange for military aid whenever the barbaric Northmen invaded. It was a win-win arrangement. The influx of Amudarians brought people friendly to the Imperium into a sparse region once allied with Frost Giants and granted the Emperor a buffer state against Northmen raids and invasions. Meanwhile the Amudarians received rich lands to claim as their own and a powerful ally to back them up.
The realm of Amudari was reborn.
Over the course of the next millennium, the Amudarians gradually forsook their past to embrace their new life. Nomadic culture was abandoned as agriculture, its output aided by the Imperium's technique of four-stage crop rotation, replaced herding as the primary source of food. The introduction of new production technologies and goods also brought Imperial language and culture, and by 1167:Imperial Amudari formally abandoned its traditional language in exchange for the Imperium's hybridized universal tongue for its northern regions, commonly referred to as 'Imperial'. Meanwhile, Amudarian culture became a melting pot between their traditional ways, lingering lifestyles of the locals they absorbed, and influences from Imperium of the Inner Sea, the expanding Grand Republic of Samara, and the Lotharins that dominated northwestern Hyperion.
The Founding of Weichsel
After Emperor Aurelian I converted to Trinitian and forced the rest of the Imperium to follow, tensions between the pagan Amudari and the Holy Imperium began. As the Cataliyan Rebellion began in the south and drew the Holy Imperium's attention away, the Northmen decided it was time for a new invasion of the continental coast. With their legions spread thin attempting to pacify the south while suppressing religious unrest across the realm, the Holy Imperium sent only token forces to Amudari's aid. Unable to resist the onslaught, King Bazyli died during the Siege of Odra when his citadel was breached, sacked, and burned to the ground.
When all hope seemed lost, House von Drachenlanzen stood up to rally the defenders of the coast. With a military tradition that dates back to the Thousand Days Offensive during the Dragon-Demon War, the contingent of Drachenlanzen cavalry were the only to breakout from and survive the Siege of Odra. By binding nobles and commoners alike into an equal agreement to protect their homeland through the Writ of Universal Conscription, Ferdinand von Drachenlanzen crushed the invading Northmen army during the Battle of Königsfeld in 61:Faith. It was there, during the victory celebration, when Ferdinand proclaimed the beginning of a new nation. The Kingdom of Weichsel was born, with a promised new capital city of Königsfeld planned upon the site of glory that renewed their people.
A converted Trinitian, Ferdinand requested Pope Alexander I to bless the new realm. The Pope responded to his piety by traveling north and personally crowning the new king. Ferdinand then took advantage of the situation by carefully maneuvering the Pope into making a denunciation of the Holy Emperor for failing to uphold past promises, and thus voiding previously agreed obligation in return.
The new Kingdom of Weichsel would no longer be a protectorate and tributary of the Holy Imperium of the Inner Sea.
King Ferdinand I's tremendous popularity and his ability to call upon Trinitian crusaders (not to mention the Pope's Templars) during invasions allowed him to convert Weichsel into a predominantly Trinitian nation. By established Trinitian as the official religion of the realm and appeasing the Pope, he discouraged any military expeditions from the Imperium through papal displeasure. After the religious unrest that initially plagued the Imperium began to die down in their core provinces and the threat of invasion renewed itself, the elderly Ferdinand I requested the martial Pope Saint Peters to launch the first Holy War against Cataliya Caliphate in 149:Faith.
Ferdinand I was declared a martyr after his army was brutally crushed by Cataliyan forces that outnumbered him 5:1 during the Battle of Trian Pass, but the bloody war he began would draw Imperial attention south for over a century to come. After two successive Holy Wars not only failed to make gains but lost land to the Caliphate, the Holy Imperium was forced to turn their attention towards the northwest as the Lotharin Rebellion began in 298:Faith.
With the Imperium distracted, Weichsel busied fortifying itself against both the south while driving off periodic invasions from the north. As the Lotharin Rebellion grew into the Rhin-Lotharingie Independence War, Weichsel aligned itself by supplying arms to the rebels, thus establishing the one-time protectorate as a strategic foe of the Holy Imperium. This was further exemplified during the War of Imperial Succession, when Weichsel joined the Holy Imperium's other neighbors in seizing border territories during the chaos. A conflict of interests initially brought Weichsel into de-facto war with the Empire of Rhin-Lotharingie, but negotiations between accomplished statesmen between the two powers yielded a Defensive Military Alliance would soon dominate Hyperion politics.
Geography & Climate
Black as the dragon that protects us. Black as the soil that nourishes us. Black as the coal that warms us. Black is a good color indeed. -- Weichsel saying.
As a coastal nation bordering the North Sea, the geography of Weichsel is predominantly flat, plains and beaches with scattered hills and woods. Only the Dead Mountains that rise sharply from the coastal plains hold any significant geographical changes, but the murderous mists that still curse the mountains to date prevent from most locals from journeying in.
Two major rivers cross modern day Weichsel: Nordkreuz, flowing from southeast to northwest before pouring into the Lotharingie tributary at Cross Lake, and Weichschwartz, named after the rich black soil on the banks of its tributaries.
Regulated by the North Sea, Weichsel's climate is temperate on the cold side. Although the mountainous Fimbulmark Isle shields much of the North Sea from the arctic fronts that buffets Northern Rhin-Lotharingie, the waters are never above chilly, leading to cool summers and freezing winters. Yearly precipitation is moderate, and the two major rivers rarely flood.
Built upon the cultural crossroads of the north, the people of Weichsel embraced one of the most diverse cultures on Hyperion. After settling down for his nomadic history from the east, the Amudarians absorbed many of the Northmen traditions local to the region. Over the years, technological transfers from the Inner Sea Imperium, plus traders from Rhin-Lotharingie and Samara alike, would gradually meld their ideas into the customs of Weichsel today.
The people of Weichsel believed strongly in cooperation, coordination, and organized efforts. This was directly caused by the continuous raiding from the North Sea, forcing the people of fortified coastal towns to work together and rely upon their neighbors and inland reinforcements to repel each attack. Meanwhile, inland residents learned that only powerful coastal defenses garrisoned by well-supported towns could protect them from larger invasions until the army arrived. However, a side-effect of this organization is a degree of relative arrogance, as Weichsel views itself as 'more civilized' than their Lotharin and Samaran neighbors, and certainly the pagan Northmen.
Although the common people have long abandoned their nomadic traditions, the militant nobility still organize their ancient Grand Hunt once every year during mid-autumn, just a week before the Harvest Festival. However, the traditional sacrifices -- both animals and criminals -- have been abandoned since the onset of Trinitian worship.
As part of Weichsel's papal appeasement policies, the realm holds itself open to the Papal Inquisition. Thus, while Weichsel itself does not outlaw the practice of other religions, practitioners who do not bear the protection of a foreign state (i.e. the Grand Republic of Samara) must hide their faith to prevent a heresy investigation. Non-Trinitian preaching and evangelism, however, are both banned under the penalty of death.
Barbarians emerge from the sea every season, seeking to torch our fields and pillage our homes. What you see is but our response -- where else in Hyperion can you find such concentration of smelters and smithies?
Due to the ever-present threat of raids and invasions, the fortified coastal towns rely mostly on trade (especially the coastal road to Samara), crafts, smithing, and deployable fisheries. Meanwhile, the inland regions are predominantly agricultural, taking advantage of Weichsel's flat geography and fertile terrain.
In addition to fertile soil, the banks of the Weichschwartz river offers rich mineral deposits near the bedrock, particularly iron. Combined with the abundance of coastal limestone, which are used to help remove impurities in smelting, Weichsel has become the largest center of steel production in the north.
Limestone glassmaking is also a significant part of the coastal economy. The arcane craftsmen of Hyperion have even created a durable but lightweight material akin to a crude form of fiberglass, used as a major component for all higher-end vehicles.
Weichsel is a feudal monarchy with high central authority. Landed nobles are given authority over their lands provided that they obey the crown laws of the land, which sets acceptable ranges on everything from troops to taxation.
Central governance is divided into five ministries under the King's rule:
- Ministry of the Interior
- Ministry of Trade & Transit (Commerce & Economy)
- Ministry of Law (Courts & Enforcement)
- Ministry of War (General Staff, Personnel, & Logistics)
- Ministry of Relations (Public & Foreign Affairs)
Due to the aristocrat military tradition, almost all high-ranking ministry staff are veterans who have retired into the reserves. Nobility, however, is not a requirement, as many trusted retainers who proved themselves on campaigns have been elevated to department heads in the past.
Weichsel is feudally divided into five Margraviates which fortify the coastline, three Landgraviates that guards the northwestern land borders, and four inland Duchies. The Margraves were given particular authority to call upon the levies of their neighbors -- especially inland ones -- to help repel any ongoing raid or invasion, and rejection without acceptable reason may be equated as an act of treason by the King.
- Landgraviate of Nordkreuz: Northwest border realm of Field Marshal Karl August von Moltewitz, Pascal's father.
- Landgraviate of Kostradan
- Landgraviate of
- Duchy of Polarstern: Realm of Neithard Mittemeyer von Manteuffel, leader of the powerful Manteuffel clan.
- Duchy of Starigard
- Duchy of
- Duchy of
- Greater Margraviate of Königsfeld: Personal desmene of King Leopold Karl-Wilhelm von Drachenlanzen
- Margraviate of Saale-Holzland: Family realm of Ariadne von Zimmer-Manteuffel on the northeastern border.
- Margraviate of Saale-Osteroder
- Margraviate of Saale-Westeroder
- Margraviate of Altsteier
- Margraviate of Altmark
Although the people of Weichsel have long abandoned their nomadic lifestyle, the revival of the military by House von Drachenlanzen gave rebirth to predominance of cavalry. Since then, all Weichsel nobles were legally required to be schooled in horsemanship and the basics of magical combat, as all were eligible for drafting under the Writ of Universal Conscription. Under the threat of yearly raids and periodic invasions from the north, many aristocratic houses even embraced their duty and began dynastic military families. Although tiny compared to its massive neighbors, this military aristocracy tradition allow the Kingdom of Weichsel to easily field the largest percentile of nobles -- and therefore mages -- among its forces.
Advantages: highly-mobile multipurpose cavalry, including the fearsome Knights Phantom
Disadvantages: lacks reliable heavy infantry; nonexistent navy
Weichsel army tactics rely on the Mobility Doctrine, using the superior speed, maneuverability, organization, and logistics of its smaller armies to engage enemies on advantageous grounds. Due to its emphasis on mounted mages supplemented by missile troops, Weichsel prefers to whittle down and destroy its enemies at range while maneuvering over open fields.
Weichsel maritime policy is exactly the opposite of their army. Unable to compete against the Northmen's superior ironwood trimaran-caravels, Weichsel relies mostly on coastal fortifications augmented by timberclad barges serving as floating batteries.
Predominant armaments and armor include:
- The swordstaff, created as a compromise between needs against the Northmen who prefer a chaotic, close-quarters melee and the formation-fighting styles of Imperials.
- The arbalest repeater, which is in fact a compound repeating crossbow, using a pulley system to reduce the draw strength, a grip trigger similar to a gun, and a long stock to brace against the shoulders. The bow is twisted at a 60 degrees angle when shooting so the right arm may efficiently pull the lever. The bolts also had a thin, rotary fletching which spun the projectiles as they let loose.
- "Partial plate" armor, a suit of leather reinforced by plate cuirass, spaulders, bracers, tassets (infantry only), and greaves. It is effectively a more piecemeal and flexible version of the English Almain Rivet munition (mass-produced) armor.
- Black Eagles (Elite): The King's personal guard battalion, with an extended intelligence network that serve as the Kingdom's primary espionage and counter-espionage organization. As the King's agents, official Black Eagles answer to neither the Ministry of Law nor High Command, and has higher authority over local officials two ranks higher.
- Knights Phantom (Elite): Elite aerial cavalry established prior to the War of Imperial Succession, organized in five independent companies. These mage-knights are equipped with varying weapons and partial plate. They ride conjured Phantom Steeds into battle, although many wrap the spell around their armored gryphon or fast pegasi mounts instead.
- Noble Reiters (Feudal): Drafted nobles led by professional officers, these light cavalry are mages who serve as mobile artillery and lack martial training for close combat.
- Weichsel Cavalry (Feudal): Noble spellswords supplemented by thrice their number in mounted professional landsknecht. These cavalry wear partial plate and are equipped with both polearms and missile weapons (predominantly swordstaves and composite bows), wearing down enemies with mixed volleys of arrows and spellfire before charging in.
- Swordstaff Infantry (Militia): Line infantry equipped with swordstaff polearms, heavy shields, and partial plate. Founded upon a core of professional Landsknecht soldiers augmented by mage officers, these units multiple fourfold during war times by absorbing thrice their number in militia, reserves, and recruits.
- Arbalest Infantry (Militia): Missile infantry equipped with the powerful arbalest crossbow or arbalest repeaters, plus pavise shields, sharpened entrenching tools, and partial plate. These units utilize the same organization as swordstaff infantry.
- Timberclad Barge (Naval): Slow, flat-bottomed sailing ships with hulls armored by thick, multi-layered wooden planking. They serve as floating batteries for river estuaries.
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