Kingdom of Haradel
“Finally! The barbarians have brought enough of their scum to allow us to work up a sweat.”
– Count of Bretan to an Apprentice Knight at the Battle of Spider Pass
Haradel was the last major grouping of Faeler tribes to organize into a single country, forming a kingdom in 285. These tribes, predominantly clans from the Bear, Boar, Stag, Falcon and Lion, were part of the same southward migration that formed Falkaar and Thormenal. The tribes within what is now Haradel retained their individuality and focus on their totem. Slower than their Falkaaran neighbours to civilise, they retained a more martial philosophy and outlook. Unfortunately geography would dictate the need to bind together and seek the advantages of military and political unity. Wars and battles raged across the land between the Inner Sea and the Bar Mahn, with confederations and alliances forming and reforming in an ever-shifting pattern. Old tribal grievances from the north persisted and the only thing the tribes of Haradel ever agreed on was picking a fight with a neighbour. After the southern Haradelan tribes were severely beaten during a war with Koronna, their Faeler brethren within Falkaar and Thormenal began to look enviously at the fertile central lands of Haradel. The chieftains knew they needed to act together, but lacked a leader who could unite the tribes. The leaders of each of the tribes came together in what is now the forests surrounding Hercourt to resolve the issue of who would lead the tribes against their common foes. The champions of the Boar, Stag, Bear, and others fought from sunrise until night fell. As the moons rose only Krendar, the leader of the Lion tribe, remained standing. He went to each of the other champions where they lay fallen, and as each of them accepted his leadership their wounds healed and a glow began to emanate from Krendar. As the last champion swore allegiance and stood the glow of Krendar was blinding. All who were present say they heard the god Vidunar that night proclaim Krendar his chosen and the Haradelans his people.
Haradelans today are still the definition of a proud warrior people. No slight of honour goes unnoticed and the nobility lives in constant danger of falling back into tribal squabbling.
Haradelans are of the Faeler race.
Haradel is an absolute monarchy, ruled by a line of hereditary kings who enjoy the privilege of divine right to rule.
|Head of State and Commander-in-chief. Rules from Hercourt. |
|Rules a ward from a city. |
|Military nobility owning the castles that defend Haradel’s long borders |
In 1008, Mundar is King of Haradel and the right hand of Vidunar.
Gold upraised right hand (palm facing viewer) on sky blue field. The hand is the Right Hand of Vidunar, which is said to have come down from the sky and touched Krendar, anointing him King.
Completely surrounded by powerful countries, Haradel is able to put a huge army in the field in short notice. The nobility forms the core of the army, a group of heavily armoured knights whose charge is legendary. The two large cities of Arsmouth and Hercourt maintain a small militia that is essentially an expansion of the city watch. The army is fleshed out in wartime by a muster of poorly trained but numerous flailmen and archers. These groups of muster and militia are strengthened by foot-knights leading them in battle. The only standing force is the Patrollers, heavy cavalry who stand watch along Haradel’s long borders. The Patrollers are a mix of apprentice knights, older knights without land, and knights seeking to redeem themselves for a loss of honour
The Haradelan navy is very small, being confined to the Inner Sea and serving only to keep those waters free of pirates and to balance Falkaar’s equally small squadron in the unlikely event the two go to war.
Haradelans worship the Varanic gods. This pantheon consists of twelve gods ruled over by Vidunar, the god of war and his wife Ailea, the goddess of peace. Temples to these gods exist throughout the Faeler countries (Falkaar, Haradel and Thormenal). Haradel’s first king claimed to be placed on Faelon by Vidunar with the express purpose of forming the tribes into a more effective military unit. The legend has it that the first Haradelan King was touched by Vidunar’s right hand – thus the source of Haradel’s royal heraldry.
View of Outsiders
Haradelan’s view each of their neighbors differently, but as a country that has fought wars on every border; they hold none of these other countries as a friend. To their west lies Falkaar, similar in most ways save the internal workings of their shared religion. Falkaar and Haradel have contested their northern border for generations, with no end to the argument in sight. To Haradel’s north lies the Urdaggar Tribes. These are the same tribes the Haradelans, Falkaarans and Thormenalans split off from centuries ago. Most Haradelans view them as backward savages, but some cults within Haradel still worship the old ways. Haradelans respect the barbarians for their individual prowess as warriors. To the east lies Trilias, but most of this border is composed of a large mountain range and generally the Trilians keep to themselves. To the south lies Koronna. Koronnan customs differ much from Haradel, often resulting in conflict. Koronnans claim they understand honour, but their honour changes as often as the wind, a Haradelan understand honour is steadfast and unchanging. A Koronnan’s way of fighting is similar to his views of life, once you think you have a Koronnan figured out, beware! He will do the thing you expect least!
Mating Rituals and Customs
Haradelan marriages are typically arranged by the couple’s parents and agreed to between the two families while the two children are still very young. Haradelan men are expected to prove themselves worthy of their bride be she a knight herself or a simple maid. The Father of the bride or the bride herself will give the young knight a quest to prove his love and his ability to defend her and their future property.
Arranged marriages extend to even the common folk, but are agreed to later in life when the young people are of an age to marry. Matchmakers take groups of teenage girls on wagon trips to surrounding villages during the harvest season for their celebrations. These older men and women watch how the girls are received at each village and talk to the matchmakers of the village. If a potential good pairing is predicted the parents of the two families will then be involved.
Common and noble are as separate as cats and dogs. On rare occasions a commoner may be elevated to knighthood, and his children begin the climb among nobility, but in these cases it is viewed that Vidunar had his hand in the matter.
As is expected of a country who values physical prowess and to whom military service is inevitable, most physical activities are directly related to fighting and use of weapons. The nobility not only test themselves in tournaments but go to great lengths to make the events spectacles for all including the peasants to celebrate. Tournaments include individual hand-to-hand combat, one-on-one jousts, and the grand melee. The first two allow the apprentice and younger knights to demonstrate their skills to their superiors and abilities to the ladies. The Grand Melee allows junior leaders from various counties and wards to represent their area and skills as a team. This event typically makes up the entire last day of a tourney and ends with an award ceremony.
The tournament includes events for the commoners, specifically archery and spear throwing. A week long tournament will expand to include many stalls selling weapons, leather goods and other items of worth not found in a common village’s market.
Haradelan indoor activities include two of note; storytelling and dance. Storytelling extends back to the origins of the Haradelan’s ancestral tribes of the Urdaggar and noble families have members that remember stories passed down from those days. Even though most nobles can write, the art of storytelling and memorising family history is taught to everyone. Dancing is seen as important for the ability to conduct coordinated movement with a partner and as part of a group. The ladies of the household often develop new dances in order to test the dexterity and flexibility of their men.
What is valued by this society?
Hardelans value honor above all else: personal honor, family honor, honor of their county, ward, and country. A Haradelan man or woman will not rest if they feel they have been dishonoured. Families will pass down from one generation to the next knowledge of wrongs done to them and theirs. A Haradelan’s view of honour results in their distrust of most Thormenalans, as they view them as placing money and wealth before honor. Physical prowess is also highly prized among Haradelans often resulting in the weak or sickly being viewed as punished by Vidunar. Families will find places for these people out of everyday sight or they will often emigrate to Thormenal or Falkaar when they reach their maturity.
Haradel’s chief exports are lumber, grain and other foodstuffs. The southern plains of Haradel constantly produce large crops of wheat, corn, and barley. The northern and central forests are second only to Trilias in size, and coastal countries pay vast sums for Haradelan long lumber to provide the keels and masts for their larger ships. Haradelan warhorses are not often exported but they are known to be given as gifts to allies and other countries’ royalty. Limited mining is conducted in the southwest and along the eastern mountains as Haradel closely guards the secrets involved with the creating of a knight’s armour.
Haradelan currency is minted in Hercourt to be common to both Falkaar and Thormenal. Weights and sizes are kept compatible to both. A Haradelan coin contains only the symbol of the Hand of Vidunar, and never the face of man. “A man of Haradel, should worry about other things besides coin; let the men to the south worship wealth.”
Haradel due to its size has a slightly varied climate. Winters can be very cold in the north, with all of the seasons being equally represented. Southern Haradel is a much more temperate climate, which supports the bountiful harvests from her plains.