Hundred Kingdoms

The Living World of King Fredrik of Brandengrad


Fredrik’s story in the Living World started before he was King, before he was isolated by the Conclave and before the Nords conquered northern Riismark. Explore the origins of his story and the spark that ignited events around the globe, in the ‘Nepenthe’ trilogy of short stories.

Living World

Saved from the judgement of the Conclave, Fredrik was anointed King of Brandengrad with little time to grief the loss of his father or allow for celebrations in his name. Dwarfed by the overwhelming display of Spire power in Vatsdam and dangerously isolated by his actions, his attention was turned to Riismark. Cementing his few alliances through marriage and political maneuvering, he turned his eyes not against his enemy, but his neighbors instead.

The year that followed proved volatile for the entire province of Riismark. With the help of his allies, Kings Brand and Otto chiefly among them, he launched a campaign against any in Riismark that wished to see him crushed under Nepenthe’s chitin boot. Ignoring etiquette and the usual practice of war, he raged on through the winter months, isolating enemies and defeating them in court and field alike. Through battle, hostages and marriages, one by one, the rest of the eleven crowns of Riismark either fell in battle or bent the knee. But as long as local houses chose to ignore the ancient oaths or even actively oppose his claims in the Conclave, he knew such a victory held little significance.

Exploiting the unexpected silence of Nepenthe and the Alchemist, Fredrik decided that risking the ire of the Conclave but bringing Riismark under his and his allies’ control in its entirety was necessary. In one fell swoop, he culled through any noble who questioned him, removing long established houses and offering their titles and lands to allies instead. In Riismark, he was named First of the Eleven, as per the ancient custom of the land; in the Conclave, however, what few allies he had left, he forced them to silence, withdrawing their support. Before he had a chance to address the matter and cement his rule with the approval of the Conclave, war was brought from three fronts on his lands.

Dweghom clans led by Alekhaneros of Ghe’Domn came from the east, announcing no reason and making no demands in the process. In the south, tribes of W’adrhŭn led by Nagral of the Coati crossed into Riismark, guided by Everard of the Order of the Sword and the careful maneuvering of Russ nobles who gently steered the barbarians into Fredrik’s lands, knowing he stood alone. At his eastern borders, reports placed the Chamberlain’s war-dog, Erich Schur, in position to move to Riismark whenever ordered. And finally, a great Nord invasion, led by Konungyr Gudmund Odin-eyed, landed on Riismark’s shores – the only shores the Conclave did not rush to fortify. Isolated by his peers in the Kingdoms, Fredrik and his allies faced multiple threats on multiple fronts – and the threat of Nepenthe ever loomed over his lands and people.

Deciding it would be impossible to engage on all fronts, Fredrik ordered the Riismark Kings to fortify their lands and gain as much time as they could, as Riismark’s troops were being rallied. This left time for his enemies to move almost freely and by the time he was ready to move, much had been lost. Ultimately, securing the Dweghom’s absence on the field and while negotiating with the W’adrhŭn for settling rights, his forces moved mainly against the Nord king Gudmund, storming the city of Angengrad which the Nords had come to occupy. It was during the attack that Nepenthe stroke; caring little for resources or losses, elite clones and suicidal harpies fell upon the armies of Riismark, forcing Fredrik to retreat and allowing the Nord King to survive and maintain control of the city.

By the end of the Riismark Campaign, Fredrik and his allies stood; but much of Riismark did not. While the W’adrhŭn tribes were ultimately accepted by Brand in his lands and an uneasy form of feafdom was formed, the Dweghom had raised the city of Enderstradt before their force dissolved, the clans abandoning Alekhaneros with only a few faithful followers. At the same time, much of the north remained under Gudmund’s control, with Angengrad serving as his seat of power. Realizing his hopes of a unified Riismark were all but dead and preciously bereft of allies – instead having witnessed the readiness with which his peers in the Conclave and even the Chamberlain himself had abandoned him – Fredrik turned to the only option he had left: the Orders.

His decision was challenged even by his two closest allies; and this tension became worse when he decided to reveal to them that he had come to terms with a ceasefire with the Alchemist of Nepenthe. In a heated discussion that tested their long alliance, the three ultimately agreed. The Alchemist’s absence from the theater of war did not mean long-lasting peace and the debt would be settled. In the meantime, that same absence should be used efficiently. While the Temple of the Sealed Temple funded the reconstruction of Enderstradt and Vatsdam, the Order of the Sword would spearhead the war effort against the Nords. But while this would potentially bring victory in Riismark, Fredrik understood that without rebuilding bridges with the Conclave, such a victory would mean little. Using the presence of a young, spirited noble from Erich Schur’s troops on the front against the Nords, the King of Brandengrad invited the Chamberlain’s general to his lands to secure the young noble’s life – offering a possible victory against the Nords to the Imperial forces and perhaps open communications once more.

As he allowed Schur and the Order of the Sword to spearhead the reclaiming of Angengrad and Riismark’s northern shores, little did he know that the Swordmaster and his Order had plans of their own. On the eve of battle against Gudmund and his Nords, Everard and his Grand Master plotted for the future of their Order – and Riismark with it.

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