The Arcs of Strife
On the Migration of the Baronasque (2945-2890BH)- By: Archdeacon Danelus of Estag, Chronicler I
The first of the Human races to Migrate to Neversgruel were the Baronasque. The first ships landed on the The Isles of Amol off the coast of the Baron Peninsula. Those people came to power under the leadership of the God-King Barone. At this time the position of Archmage, High priest and King were consolidated in the god-king. His power on the mortal plane was absolute. The weapons and armor of the ancient Baronasque were empowered by runic inscriptions. At this time, Baronasque were said to have an acute affinity to magic, even young children had the abilities of adept sorcerers. It is said that the armies of Barone were never defeated in battle. The Baronasque were the smallest of the ethnic groups to have invaded the continent. As such, The God-King Barone instituted the Edict of Barone. In this law a caste system was established, detailing the position of each race, in society. At the top was the Barone himself, who was to be worshiped. Beneath him were his people, referred to as his children. All races deemed lesser, even other human races, were fit for slavery. All races of savage origins, such as the beast races (i.e. Centaurs, Minotaurs, etc.) Orcs, and goblins were killed off entirely, considered vermin by Barone. The elves of Denothil’s Kingdom, seeking refuge from the destruction of their homes, were enslaved by the Baronasque, and forced to build great temples honoring the God-King. The capital city of Barone was built on a shallow lake, through the labor of the God-King’s slaves. The floating city was filled with monuments of Barone and his conquests. In 25 years the Baron Peninsula, as well as most of the southern half of the continent were conquered by the Baronasque. In the year 2920BH Sergo of Brake, guided by Mira’s divine hand, slew 600 of Barone’s guards in his grand temple, and took the god-kings head. He carried the God-Kings severed head to the royal balcony and shouted, “This is no god” shortly before being captured by the guards. By the orders of Barone’s son Tarquin I, Sergo’s eyes were plucked out and replaced by hot coals. Before being stoned to death, Sergo proclaimed all kings to be subservient to the gods, and damned anyone who worshipped a mortal god. The Baronasque, in defiance to the gods, worshipped Barone through the great droughts sent by Mira. Their defiance lasted for 20 years, leading to the collapse of Barone’s empire. As a final punishment Mira revoked the Baronasques’ magical affinity, making them but common mortals. After the death of Tarquin I, many Baronasque converted from their heretical religion, but still regarded their ancestors as Patriarque, (the equivalent of a saint in more enlightened religions). The Great Conversion saw the creation of the Southern Churches. The borders of the once great empire, weakened by droughts and destabilized by the revocation of the Edict of Barone, receded to the Isles of Amol and the local coastlines, where their invasion began.
The Reconstruction Period: The Legacy of Tarquin V (30-100DW)- By: Adert Fosch, Baron of Estmar, Chronicler III
Centuries of political insignificance left the Baronasque people less than a shadow of their once great nation. Thousands of families argue over claims over titles and birthright. The abuses and illegitimacies of these claims have rendered titles of nobility useless. They stand only as marks of social rank. Infighting over feudal ownership of cities and castles have made the Kingdom of Baronie no more than a loosely associated union of barons, baronettes, counts, margraves, and mayors. Many cities fell into disrepair, as did roads, and aqueducts. The Southern Churches were highly corrupt, and highly influenced by the political intrigue of the Nobility (so much so that the church sold the sacred rite of canonization to the highest bidder). Many religious practices seemed to turn back to Ancestral Worship, sparking outrage amongst the northern Human Kingdoms and Santo Missionaries. Control of the kingdom rested in the Noble family with the most influence crowning themselves kings, leading to great instability at the death of the de facto ruler. Many in both the Nobility and Peasantry wished to see a resurgence of Baronasque power and influence. A few, such as the bishops of the Southern Churches, opposed this view claiming that it would bring the wrath of the gods, but it is more likely that they wished to keep the nobility weak so as to exploit them. The greatest proponent of La Reformation was Tarquin de Terac, le Marquis de Chateau Hallette. Tarquin spent most of his life studying the history of the Western Continent (No doubt he has read every entry in this text) and political theory of the Human kingdoms. De Terac persuaded many nobles of high standing to join him, and with his family’s wealth raised an army of supporters. For the next 5 years Tarquin moved from city to city, claiming all noble titles for himself. At the end of his campaign, having all landed titles in his personal possession, he abolished serfdom, landed titles, and removed an established religion from the nation. These laws as well as countless other social reforms were called The Tarquinasque Reforms. With the Establishment of the Estate System and La Corte, Tarquin crowned himself head of state (Primarque de la Baronie) and became Tarquin V. Tarquin V moved the capital to Patrie Royaux, the largest of the Isles of Amol. With the aid of Argon de Bolon-Antine, the greatest architect to have lived, Tarquin turned the island, originally inhabited by poor fisherman and herdsman into a massive island city, completed in 87DW. The grand boulevards, magnificent statues, and arrogant façades came to be known as the Baronasque New Style, imitated in many estate homes today. Tarquin emphasized learning above all else and established L’Academie Radieu III named after the legendary king and personal hero of Tarquin. Tarquin V also popularized Les Salons where men of letters and kings alike can come to discuss matters of philosophy and reason. With the abolition of serfdom, the already small national manpower was reduced further. This lead Tarquin to take his most controversial reform, spurning the trust of neighboring kingdoms. In order to ensure that the economy was stable, Tarquin reestablished slavery. Any criminal caught committing even minor crimes were sold into slavery as indentured servants. 2 years after the establishment of slavery, the slave population comprised 60% of the population, but at the threat of war was set at a maximum capacity of 20%. In the year 97DW, the Colossus of Barone was erected in the sea off the coast of Patrie Royaux, in took 40 years to build and cost the lives of 5,000 slaves. In 100DW Tarquin V died of natural causes, and was buried in the Temple de Fondeurs. With the system he established and the precedents he set, power was transferred peacefully. Baronie was left the most powerful of the southern kingdoms and the envy of the world.
La Corte Fatale: Explanation of the Court System (52DW)- By Edgar Longbrau, Chronicler IV_
At the end of his military campaign Tarquin V established La Corte, and divided the peninsula into Estates. Estates are controlled by governors (usually local military commanders), and appointed by the Oligarch of State. The role of these estates is to feed an army, and transport goods to the capital city of Patrie Royaux. At the head of government are the Five Oligarchs, State, Economy, Culture, Defense, Infrastructure, and Embassy each with complete control over their delegated office. These oligarchs also distribute each branch of the military to each other so that no oligarch has the ability to overthrow the government. The title of Primarque de la Baronie is also voted upon. The Primarque is the head of the oligarchs and directs their actions. The Primarque has no vote in any form except in the event of a tie. Traditionally this title is held by the Oligarch of State who is the administrative head of the nation. To curb the power of the Oligarchs, Tarquin also established the Council of Magistrates, which represented every noble family. The peasants and the clergy have no vote or representation, but can voice their opinion by appointing a Magistrate as their Vicar. The Vicar of the Faith is usually granted to the head of the holiest family, and Vicar of the People to a champion of the poor. Landed feudalism was replaced with bureaucratic feudalism with noble titles being replaced with noble offices, passed down to the eldest member of a dynasty.