Kingdom of Gladewynn
The Kingdom of Gladewynn, commonly known as Gladewynn, was an Elven monarchy situated north-west of the Atlas Cloud Temple on the shores of the Loftywoods. Also encompassing the adjacent territory of the Barrowlands, its first capital was the mountaintop city of Viralonde near San'kala, but after the surrender of the Dominion of Malin during the Elven Cold War, the capital moved to Caras Eldar to better reflect Elven Unity of the time. At its peak, the kingdom consisted of the three sovereign states of Vira'ker, Haelun'or, and Old Irrinor who retained relative autonomy under the guiding hand of the King's Council.
The Kingdom of Gladewynn has roots going back as far back as the Imperial Invasion of Malinor, some hundred-and-eighteen years before the Horen Restoration. The First Empire led by Emperor Godfrey Horen I and Peter Chivay, the Grandmaster of the White Rose, led the Sack of Malinor and put the homeland of the Elves to the torch. In vain the Elves fought to try and keep their homeland from prying Imperial hands but failed, which led to the establishment of Old Gladewynn by displaced Elven Tribes.
Gladewynn was founded on the 15th of the Sun’s Smile, 1686, after Clans Ithelanen, Torena and Lothryc organized into an enclave in the Barrowlands near San'Kala and the Pridelands. Originally led by the Prince of Alders, this enclave had separated from the Dominion of Malin due to disagreements between Prince Kairn and the Queen of the Dominion of Malin. The relationship between the two nascent Elven powers was strained at best and many people flocked to the banners of Ithelanen, while the Praetor Fëanor Sylvaeri and his contingent of Virarim remained stationed at the city amidst the chaos, the streets empty except for the Aureons, Silmas, and Caerme'onns.
Many meetings were held between different clans in an effort to preserve peace, and the Silmas lifted their banners in a truce and held a meeting with Prince Kairn Ithelanen. Chieftain Miklaeil agreed that the Silmas would not get involved in the Elven Cold War that was ensuing. This was later proved wrong as they signed themselves under Aegrothond, an Elven enclave led by Kairn's former friend Belestram Sylvaeri. Soon afterwards, the Dominion of Malin was abolished by its last queen Awaiti Aureon and Kairn was again proclaimed the ruler of Alder-Irrinite Elvendom.
Prior to the Third Atlas Coalition War the King Kairn Ithelanen was captured in battle fighting alongside highly-trained Imperial Legionnaires in Nordengrad. The Duke entreated him and then to the bewilderment of his Orcish allies spared the Elvenking's life in a summary display of valiantness and camaraderie, decreeing that because Elves had granted them the land for their first Krag he would be spared summary execution. Returning home, the Avchirran were rallied for battle and fought alongside the Imperials and Haensemen in the war, as well as entreating other Elven powers to participate as well to protect their freedom. The Dominion of Malin, Vira'ker, Haelun'or, and Gladewynn all lent their manpower to the cause of quelling the Coalition's perceived aggressive warmongering, assisting in sacking the new Krag, Krugmar, and Arberrang alongside the Empire of Man.
As the nation began to collapse, the King Kaz Ithelanen and his confidants departed the lands prior to the journey to Arcas. Much like his father before him, Kaz viewed there to be a different future on the horizon. His wife, Layla Atraedes, was left with the realm of Gladewynn vested in her control. Denouncing the Monarchy due to its abandonment of the Elven people for lands abroad, she took upon herself the moniker of Empyreal Princess instead and founded Alderyn, which consists of the remnants of Ithelanen, Caerme'onn, and Csarathaire.
The original capital of Gladewynn was Viralonde, a city atop the mountain peaks bordering San'kala. It started as a war camp for the Gladewynn Company, a band of elven mercenaries with Alderfolk and Wood Elf heritage. Following the climax of the Third Coalition War, the capital was moved to Caras Eldar following the capitulation of the Dominion of Malin in the Elven Cold War. In the surrounding woods of Caras Eldar, there were several hamlets, fortresses, and old ruins from conflicts with Orcs and brigands in the years past.
- San'Kala: The former capital of Krugmar until it was besieged by the Empire of Man and Gladewynn in tandem during the Third Atlas Coalition War. The city was captured thereafter and looted, and it remained a burnt-out shell for the duration of Arcas.
- Talareh'sae: A fortress presided over by Evar'tir Ithelanen, it was between Caras Eldar and the Mother Grove. The land was gifted to the Dominion of Malin by the Archdruid Nivndil and used to erect a garrison to allow for smoother travel and transport of supplies along the road which was often rife with bandit attacks and other instability in the region.
- Haelun'or: A protectorate of Gladewynn and a steadfast, loyal ally to the Alderfolk. At this time the nation was presided over by Sohaer Kiljaerys who served on the King's Council.
- Vira'ker: Another protectorate of Gladewynn until the treachery of their Sable Prince resulted in their people's expulsion from the kingdom's borders in the years of Kaz Ithelanen's reign.
The government of Gladewynn has a check and balance system that mediates its officials and advisors. Firstly, the Royal Family takes precedence and remains at the top, while secondary positions of importance include the Arch-Chancellor and Annilir, whereas the High Steward and Head Priestess are advisory positions on the High Council. The Exarch presides over the Judicial System which directly adheres to the state Constitution, this is used to manage who is sentenced and who qualifies for fines for breaching law and order within the country or its contingent territories.
The citizens of the Kingdom of Gladewynn are divided into three distinct castes. The Municipal Authority, the Clan Moot, and the Citizenry.
- The Citizenry consists of laborers, artisans, and soldiers who are not in a Seed, Clan or House. They perform many of the rudimentary jobs involving crafts, mining, harvest, and druidry. Once upon a time, all citizens were expected to take up arms in protection of the city, but Annilir Erathon Ithelanen ended the practice upon the Kingdom’s assimilation of Caras Eldar. Citizens may take up arms when they deem it necessary or when rallied at their own discretion in a time of war, but they are not mandated to repel raids unless absolutely necessary.
- The Clan Moot is a collective of major families that have pledged an oath to the Monarch, and they are as equally responsible as the citizenry to provide artisans, laborers, and craftsmen. The principal difference is that these families have more political sway in Elven society and are often entrusted with high-prospect jobs in the Stewardry, Military and Labor Force. Each clan has a notable Chieftain responsible for the family’s upkeep and political stability. Furthermore, each Clan may be expected to levy a specific amount of soldiers in times of war with foreign powers.
- The Municipal Authority consists of the Royal Family, the Atraedes, and is spearheaded by the Monarch and their Consort. They are responsible for maintaining diplomatic relations with foreign countries, problem-solving and maintaining domestic relations with the Citizenry as well as mediating the Clans.
Gladewynn largely exports wheat, carrots and cash crops such as tobacco, cactus green and a plethora of grown alchemical reagents needed for potions, salves, and even weapons. The country imports lots of iron ore to smelt into steel and operates on the Socari Doctrine when managing its own economy with minimal intervention unless it involves “public facilities” such as the buildings in the main square that attract visitors and commercial tourism.
The practices of the Alderfolk were first codified in the days preceding the Dominion of Malin, but has remained in relative obscurity until the creation of the Free Company of Gladewynn in 1686, and the annexation of the State of Laurelin in 1690 which resulted in the formation of the Kingdom of Gladewynn. Mistakenly viewed to be Wood Elves at first due to the rampant practice of Ichorianism, the Alderfolk hail back to lineages derived from the first Seven Clans that formed Old Gladewynn in the days following the Fall of Malinor. These clans are diverse and have been known to renounce ties to subraces, such as the Clans of Ithelanen, Vanethelan, Corrin and four others lost to the forgetfulness of time, but supplanted later on by Csarathaire, Aureon, Torena, and Caerme’onn.
The Alderfolk prize song and merriment above all else, but it is a hard-fought life. Artistic renditions of conflict are often painted as glorious triumphs over evil, and like other cultures in Atlas subjective to the artist's interpretation.
The written word exists few and far between besides the laws and treatises binding the Elven peoples in Gladewynn, although writings and pamphlets are common. Most history and fables are communicated by word of mouth and it is not uncommon for oral tradition and memory to take precedence over the written word.
The songs composed in Gladewynn tend to herald back to a time of antiquity, times where events and things of fable were very much alive. There are many litanies to the Mani recited in series, as well as wild tonality with dark themes. The music would be derivative of Celtic, Slavic and Polish themes from the real world.
The Alderfolk of Gladewynn practice The Wild Faith (Elven: elnarnsae'ame); the traditions, rites, and gods worshipped by the Wood Elves and Alder Elves. Malin was the first to instill the belief of Nature Worship within the Elves. He entrusted tokens of faith to its practitioners and enabled the many branches of its path to flourish and grow as the outside world fell prey to AenguDaemons and Canonism. When Malin disappeared so did the vestiges of his influence except for the faith and its adherents. As his people took up new creeds and beliefs, diverging into two other moieties of elves: the Mali'ker, and Mali'aheral with their own respective philosophies and traditions.
However, the first of Malin's kindred also split apart into two sects, the zealous pale-skinned Alderfolk who took up Mani spirits to worship while seeking to become accomplished conquerors, leaders, and warriors much like their forefather. Then the brown-skinned Irrinites, cultivators, druids, and artisans named for their prophet Irrin Sirame, who bid them to live in peaceful coexistence with the Wild and to live closer to nature.
- The Alderfolk became Ichorians who did not directly worship the Aspects or personify them, instead opting to worship the Mani, The Animal Princes. Among the Alderfolk it is customary to make blood sacrifices and totems to the greatness of the Wild Gods.
- The Irrinites, customarily the followers of the Emerald Way, believe in endurance and suffering as a path to enlightenment and believe that the Aspects are to be personified as the individuals Cerridwen and Cernunnos.
In truth, those ancient Elves had no name for their faith, for it simply ‘was’. The Gods of the Forest were as real and relevant to their everyday lives as a cup of water or a spool of thread. There was no distinction between faith and secular living. They were one with nature. This nature worshipping tradition continued into modern, living memory even as the tribes began to conglomerate and live in cities once more. In the last 200 years, during the reign of Laureh’lin and its successor the Dominion of Malin, the Elves of their forest referred to their faith as ‘Aspectism’, named after the Gods of nature. Aspectism became a rallying cry for Wood Elves everywhere seeking to unify under one cultural identity. Now, it is known as the Wild Faith, the religion of a far-flung people hailing across two different countries, and it is the largest religion in Gladewynn.
The country of Gladewynn was founded by Kairn the Conqueror, a King of the Old Dominion. When it was founded the country leased its military to the highest bidder and conducted conflicts alongside the Empire against Sutica and the Coalition formed by Norland, Krugmar and Arberrang. The Elves are besides that a peace-loving people, and conflict is largely constrained to the soldiers in the Avchirran and the Immortals in service to the Monarchy. As of yet, the Kingdom of Gladewynn has only participated in the Third Atlas Coalition War and numerous skirmishes with independent powers for resources, glory and the potential aim of Elven reunification. With the disappearance of the King Kairn Ithelanen, however, his son Kaz Ithelanen took the throne and alongside his comrade, Annilir Erathon arranged more delegations working towards peace. Once a nation of warlike contenders, now a nation of amiable peacemakers.
- The Kingdom of Gladewynn was once little more than an Elven mercenary band garbed in the ceremonial Ancient Elven armor of their cultural predecessors.
- Gladewynn maintains a perpetual contract with the Black Reiters, age-old allies who have fought side-by-side since the later days of Axios.