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February 2019

High Queen Lucia

Lived from 1501 EM- ???? (date of death unknown)

 


The first of two queens with this name within the line of Cartiers, this High Queen Lucia was married to Cariter III. As did the two previous queens in this line before her, she bore no fewer than six children. She bore two daughters first, Glenda when she was 17, and Cassandra when she was 19, and then bore the heir, Cartier IV, at age 20. She would bare three more children, one more girl and two more boys, until the age of 26.  She was 40 by the time her grandson and the heir to the throne, Cartier V was born. Two years later, at the age of 42, her youngest son, Prince Clayton reached the Age of Ascension, and at which point became squire to a soldier, destined to be a great solider himself someday. At this point her husband Cartier III had been dead three years, and all of her motherly duties had come to a close. The dowager queen did not know what to do with herself. She was told that she was old, and had lived a good life, and it was now time for her to retire off to a beautiful mountain estate in Dunderlin, or a beautiful coastal castle in Maylandtown or the Southlands, as most dowager queens tended to do. Her son, Cartier IV, was most insistent on it.

But she would have none of it. At 42 she did not feel that old. She consulted with a fortune teller upon a visit to the Grimly Wood (though many would inaccurately refer to the fortune teller as a witch), who told her that she would still live her fondest dream.  Her fondest dream, as it turned out, going back to the time when she was Lady Lucia of Maylandtown, before she was betrothed to Cartier III, was to travel to the distant eastern isles, where she had heard such tales of wonder and beauty like no other. She heard tell of magical people who called themselves the Jaal-Alik, who were even more powerful than the wizards in the tales of old. She heard (falsely as it turned out) tales of dragons and other mystical creatures. When she was a little girl that was all she wanted to do, was to go east. Now, the fortune teller told her, at age of 42, it was time to live out her childhood dream.

 

Her son tried to order her to retire to her family’s old estate in Maylandtown. She scoffed at this order however. “What are you going to do?” she reportedly told him, “Kill your own mother? Lock her up in chains? I’d like to see you try!”

It was ultimately her daughter in-law, High Queen Elena, who convinced her husband to just let his mother be. There was no harm and letting her live out her latter years how she saw fit, and besides, he had more pressing concerns as King. Reluctantly Cartier IV agreed, and so Lucia was soon to charter a boat to the Distant East. Years later, Lucia would describe the day she first sailed into open ocean as the happiest day of her life to that point.

 

Lucia wrote her son just twice over the first year, and then never again after that. The two letters she did write were brief and vague. She told her son that her wildest dreams had come true, and that she was happy, but not a lot more than that. Just some vague mentions of elephants and other exotic animals she was seeing for the very first time.

Cartier IV had been so busy keeping order in the Kingdom that he scarcely ever thought about his mother, that is, until 7 years later, when his son Cartier V was tragically killed in a horse riding accident. This meant that his 3 year old son, Hilton would have to become the new Cartier V.  He felt that it was high time that his mother return home to be with her family, and to perhaps help to nurture the new heir to the throne, the grandson she had never even met. But Cartier IV had no idea if his mother was even still alive. He sent word with every Astadian Sea Trader he could find. High Queen Lucia was to return home at once. It was another 3 years before he heard a reply: a letter from the queen telling her son she would be home soon. It was another two years after that before she actually returned.

 

Though now aged 54, she looked younger than she had when she left. One could have easily mistaken her for a girl in her 20s. But although she looked well, she was far from it, as her behavior was so unusual and so erratic that little who met her doubted that the Easterners had stolen her mind.

She looked about as far from a queen as any woman could look. She wore scant clothing that looked like rags, and nothing else, weather permitting. When it did get a little colder out she would cover herself with a dusty old green cloak that looked like something not even her former servants would wear. Her once curly black hair she kept tied into two pig tales. She would sometimes leap like a frog when she walked, and every time she would come across a tree, she would immediately go and hug it, telling anyone who would listen she was sharing energy with it.

 

When told about the death of her eldest grandson and the importance of the younger she seemed unconcerned. “He looks as stuffy and boring as his father,” she had been heard to say. “Learn to live life, my boy!”

It was not long after his mother’s return that Cartier IV had his mother locked away in one of the eastern towers of Castle Blackrock. He could not have his mother going around acting like a wild woman and embarrassing  his family in this manner.

 

She remained locked there for two weeks. During that time she wrote three long letters addressed to her grandson, the former Prince Hilton, now the new Cartier V.  She tried to convince him that he was wasting his life away as King, and there was so much more to the world than anyone in Astaida knew. She spoke of her time in Dinia. She claimed to have lived most of her life there in the jungles amongst a group of organized monks known as the Jaal-Alik. There were many different orders of the Jaal-Alik, she wrote. The one she lived with were called the Order of Trees and Forest. She spoke of being connected with the trees of the jungles in Dinia, and how all beings, trees, plants, animals and all humans were all interconnected. She spoke of something called Energy with a capital “E”, and how it related to Magic. These Jaal-Alik she wrote, were the masters of Magic.

Shortly after the third letter was completed however, High Queen Lucia vanished from her locked tower. How she managed to escape is a mystery that will likely never be solved. But there was no trace of her, no sign of her dead body, and no evidence that there would be such a body to be found. The only mention of a destination mentioned in her letters was a reference toward the end of the last letter to “returning home where I belong”. Most historians take that to mean a return to the jungles of Dinia. Though how she got from the tower to a ship, or if she indeed ever made it to a ship, no one will ever know.

 

Cartier IV ordered his mother’s letters to be burned, however they were rescued by his son Cartier V, who was fascinated to read them, which is how they survived for future generations of historians. Cartier V never took them too seriously thouogh. He found them to be a fascinating story from a woman whose presence he had always enjoyed, even if she had clearly lost her mind.

 

The date of High Queen Lucia’s death remains unknown. Perhaps some among the Jaal-Alik, of the Order of Trees and Forest, somewhere in the Distant East, know the answer to this mystery.

 


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January 2019

Cartier I

Lived from 1453 EM-1519 EM

Ruled from 1478 EM- 1492 EM*

 

History tells us two versions of Cartier’s rise to the throne.  In both versions, Cartier was granted the kingship by the Council of Nine after leading the charge to have the previous king, Gradin II, removed from his post and stripped of all his Royal Blood.  Gradin II was charged and found guilty of unfairly taxing the Town of Creston, located in Dunderlin just beyond the boundaries of Cartier’s lands. But one version of the tale portrays Cartier as a hero; a brave man who stood up for the rights of a small town near his stronghold; a champion of the small folk who became a brave and just king. The other version tells us that Cartier was a scheming, conniving con-artist who lied and tricked his way to the throne, dethroning an honorable man whose only real crime was not having enough connections among the more powerful lords of the time.

 

The first version was the one that was much more widely known during most of the 173 years in which the Cartiers ruled the lands. Though the second version began to gain more popularity during the reign of Cartier IV, and even more so during the reigns of Cartier V and Cartier VI.  Today, Historians tend to feel that the second version is likely closer to the truth than the first. It seems likely that the Gradins were never well liked among the wealthy lords and ladies of Astadia at the time, being that they descended from low born carpenters who slowly rose their way up the ladder and gained wealth in a way that the small folk were not supposed to be able to do. It is likely that Gradin II had very little allies amongst the rich and powerful in Astadia, while Cartier I had many. However, though those who have studied history tend to favor that version, the first version, which cannot be entirely discounted, is the one that is still more widely taught to all young lords and ladies who are wealthy enough to attend school.  It is perhaps not thought wise to teach our young that the greatest line of kings in Astadian history may not have been so great after all.

 

Whichever version of history you believe, there are a few facts that are indisputable. First, that Cartier, at age 25, was the oldest man ever to ascend to the throne. Secondly, that he was so charming and had so much charisma, that it was said he could have talked a deer into handing over its antlers and turning itself into the hunter, for it was in its benefit to be eaten.  And thirdly, Cartier I was responsible for the creation of the original Wolf Brigade.

 

It was said that Cartier I had always intended for his line to be the longest lasting one in Astadian history, and he immediately took steps to ensure this happened.  First was that he gained approval from the Council of Nine to discard his first wife, Lara, for she had bore him no children, and a barren woman was not fit to be High Queen. Typically when a new king was named, he would marry the eldest surviving daughter of the previous line, but since this was a unique case in which all members of the previous line’s family were stripped of royalty, then Cartier was free to marry whomever he chose. He chose Glenda of Old Astadia, who came from a mother who had bore eight children: five boys and three girls, and her mother before her had bore nine children. Cartier believed that Glenda would bare him many sons, and in this he proved to be correct, for Glenda did indeed bare him four sons to go with two daughters.

 

The next step, and perhaps more important step which Cartier took to ensure the longevity of his line, was the creation of the Wolf Brigade.  While all kings had their own personal guard, the Wolf Brigade was something entirely different. It was an arm of the military, which was specifically created for the sole purpose of protecting each and every one of Cartier’s offspring. Each of Cartier’s children would have at least one, if not two or three members of the Wolf Brigade shadow them for their entire childhood until the heir reached the Age of Ascension and bore the next heir. This included when they went to the privy and when they were bathing. While many outside the Cartier family could not imagine having a hard nosed member of the military watching over every moment of their lives, the Cartier children would usually say they didn’t mind it, that they became accustomed to it. In fact, many times over the generations (for this is a tradition that carried through all the way to Cartier VI) the younger children would not want to relinquish their Wolf Brigade protector once their older sibling reached the Age of Ascension.  Many of them reported that they felt naked or lonely without them. This despite the fact that their Wolf Brigade protectors were never ones they could talk with, for part of joining the Wolf Brigade, was to have your entire body shaved from head to toe, and your tongue cut from your mouth.

 

Cartier’s reasoning for doing this was a proof of loyalty. He wanted men who would be so dedicated to crown, and to the protection of the royal children that they would be willing to voluntarily remove all their hair and give up their ability to speak forever. Cartier modeled this after an extreme order of monks in the Church of Mesis, who in order to prove their devotion, shaved all of their bodily hair and took a vow of silence for life. Though the monks did not actually have to cut out their tongues, Cartier felt that if his soldiers were really going to prove their loyalty, then a simple vow of silence would not be enough. They would need to remove their tongues all together.

 

There were potential flaws to this plan of course, many of which were pointed out to Cartier I by his advisors. Not the least of these, was the fact that if an attempt were made on the life of a prince or princess, and the assailant were to escape, then the Wolf Brigade guard would have no way of describing the assailant to anyone else. Cartier’s response to this, reportedly, was to say, “Well then. We shall have to make sure no assailant ever escapes then, shan’t we?” To this end, Cartier would only allow the mostly highly trained, highly efficient soldiers even be considered for the Wolf Brigade. Then once they were chosen, they would be trained even further in the savage art of killing. Not all who were chosen to be Wolf Brigade would survive to become protectors of the children. In order to be chosen, they must survive a series of rigorous tests, including an all out fight to the death between two candidates. Thusly, only half of the candidates chosen survived. Those who did survive would gather together and howl, for they could not shout, as they had no tongues. That is how they became known as the Wolf Brigade.

 

The Wolf Brigade is undoubtedly the primary reason the line of Cartiers survived for so long. And there is also very little doubt that there is a direct correlation between the decline of the Wolf Brigade and the end of the Cartier’s line. But that is a tale for another time.

 

There have been other secret branches of the military, which have taken that name since the time of the Cartiers. Rumor has it that the current head of the Astadian Military, General Martok, has one of his own. But none of these Wolf Brigades would ever live up to the legend of the original. (Nor would any of these future Wolf Brigades require its members to remove their tongues).

 

As for Cartier I himself, he lived to be the ripe old age of 66, more than old enough to be present for the Age of Ascension ceremony of his grandson Cartier III, something that a king has so rarely has had the pleasure of doing throughout Astadian history. He died peacefully in his sleep, it is said of natural causes, in the year 1519 EM. 

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* Though he lived until 1519, he retired as the King Ruler and let his son run the kingdom in the year his son turned 20 and his grandson was born. 

December 2018

High Queen Evaline (Wife of Jacob I)

Lived 1731- 1758 EM

Reigned as High Queen 1747- 1758 EM

High Queen Evaline had many nicknames. In the beginning, those names included Evaline the Unlikely, or for those who were less flattering toward her, Evaline the Unworthy. Later on she became known as Evaline the Faithless, Evaline the Wanderer, or for the less than flattering, Evaline the Tramp. 

She earned her original name, Evaline the Unlikely, because it upon her birth it had been extraordinarily unlikely that she would have be named anything but Princess Evaline. After all, she had three elder sisters, any one of whom could have and should have been chosen ahead of her to be the bride of the newly named king, King Jacob I.   The Laws of Mesis state explicitly that the new King is chosen by his ability to win the had of the eldest surviving daughter of the previous line. And indeed Jacob I was originally betrothed to Evaline's eldest sister Angeline, who at age 21 (the same age as Jacob), was six years her senior.

But then an unusual thing happened. Just prior to his coronation, Jacob hosted all seven of the soon-to-be-former High Queen Genevieve's daughters at his castle in Dunderlin. It was said to be a boisterous and wild occasion. But on the return trip to Castle Blackrock, the three eldest sisters, Angeline, Gwendaline, and Dellavine, all rode in a carriage together. For reasons unknown, their carriage driver took them through the long and difficult route over Graton's Ridge in the Dunderlin Mountain range. The carriage reportedly lost a wheel, and plummeted over the ridge and into the cavern below, killing all three of Genevieve's eldest daughters at once.

This accident raised more than a few eyebrows among the Astadian noblemen, particularly among Jacob's rivals. As he had not yet been crowned King, there was still a chance to appeal to the Council of Nine to have his appointment to the Crown revoked. The primary reason this event was so eyebrow raising was the fact that Jacob was seen more than once at his party flirting with Princess Evaline, and she not being shy, was not afraid to flirt back. It was said that secret sources close to Jacob had leaked to his rivals about how Jacob had talked endlessly about how much he desired Evaline, and how un-attracted he was to Angeline, who was generally considered to be too fat for a Princess. Nor did Jacob have any interest in Gwendaline or Dellavine. It was Evaline he desired most, reportedly.  So when the three eldest sisters all suddenly died under mysterious circumstances, many believed that an appeal to the Council of Nine was inevitable. However, no such appeal ever took place, largely because all of the evidence was circumstantial, and no real solid proof was ever found. None of Jacob's rivals were willing to risk their reputations, or potentially even their wealth and their lands, for a failed attempt at revoking Jacob's appointment to the Crown. 

And so Evaline the Unlikely was betrothed to Jacob I, and she officially became High Queen less than a year later, upon her sixteenth birthday. One would never know Evaline was supposed to have been fourth in line to the Crown, the way she flaunted it. She behaved as if she never had had any elder sisters at all, and would often lash out on anyone, noble or peasant, who did not immediately bow to her and say "Oh my Great High Queen, how I adore you", or something similar. And even if they did, she would often remark with something like "Of course you do. I am the fairest in the land. Everyone adores me." Such was her behavior that many suspected she conspired with Jacob to kill her sisters. However, just as there was no proof found that Jacob himself was guilty of the crime, there was nothing at all to substantiate Evaline's involvement.

Evaline gained her other nicknames, the Faithless, the Wanderer, and the Tramp, because she made no secret of her affairs with younger noblemen and even sometimes peasant boys from all across the kingdom. It was said she was publicly cruel to these poor young men, but they would sleep with her regardless, because she was the Queen, and her beauty was desired by men and boys all over the land.

Such behavior from a Queen in some instances had been punishable by death. However, Jacob I, who himself was known for multiple affairs with many different women, had no qualms with his wife's behavior, and even, some historians say, encouraged it.

Rarely in Astadian history has there been a High Queen who was so polarizing among the people. She may have been simultaneously the most loathed and most loved High Queen in history. She was loved for her beauty, glory, and jewlery and she was loathed for her outwardly cruel behavior. 

High Queen Evaline died just eleven years into her reign at the age of 27. She was murdered by a low-born woman who was among those who loathed Evaline. In her case, she loathed her because she had had an ongoing affair with the woman's husband. 

As far as Jacob I and his supporters were concerned however, she had long since served her purpose, for she had bore Jacob II early into her reign, and he was nearly ten years of age by the time of her death. And were something to happen to him, he had two younger brothers, Ergin and Lucas. It was rumored that at least one of those younger two if not both were not of Jacob's seed.  But that turned out not to matter, for Jacob II, who undoubtedly had his father's face and eyes, lived to be of middle age and carried forward the line of Jacobs.

November 2018

High Queen Clemetine

(Daughter of Lucas II)

Born 1672 EM

Died 1737 EM

 

Ruled (Unofficially) from 1688- 1713 EM 

There have been two High Queens since the age of Robert the Uniter with the name Clementine, though there have been several Princesses and High Ladies who never rose to the rank of High Queen who have also been called by that name. This particular Clementine is noteworthy for two reasons: 1) because she is one of the few High Queens throughout the course of history who was indisputably the ruler of the lands, even though technically the law states that the man always rules, even if he was just Ruling Prince.  And 2) because it was she who ended the Second Succrean War.

 

Clementine's father Lucas II was killed in battle just prior to her Age of Ascension Ceremony on her sixteenth birthday. Her mother, High Queen Naomi, was already ill with the poxies at that time, and her death was inevitable as well. However, she made it her dying mission to ensure that her daughter was properly married to a fertile High Lord who would be able to carry forward the line of Lucas.  It is not typical for a High Queen to have a lot of influence in the decisions made my the Council of Nine, though in this case, High Queen Naomi surely did, and was able to get the Lord of her choosing installed as Ruling Prince. (The rumor was that Naomi had engaged in extra-marital relations with High Councilman Gregory, and she used that as leverage to get what she wanted, though this has never been proven). High Queen Naomi lived just long enough to watch her daughter Clementine wed to Prince Rupert of Mayland. She literally passed away the day after the ceremony.

 

It was unfortunate for Clementine however, that her mother's most important criteria in her search for her Clementine's husband was that he have a strong seed. She selected Lord Rupert primarily because he was the eldest of seven sons, and his father was also the eldest of seven sons. So surely, High Queen Naomi reasoned, Rupert too would produce at least seven sons. What Naomi did not consider at all was how fit Rupert was to be a ruler. It turned out, he was not fit at all, for not only did he have no experience being the leader of anything, but he was also widely considered to be a drunkard as well as a coward.

 

It was fortunate for Clementine at least that Rupert turned out to be a happy drunk, rather than a violent drunk. However he spent most of his waking hours in a drunken stupor, rarely in any shape to make any kind of real decisions for his kingdom. It is commonly believed as well that even were he sober, he barely would have such a capacity anyway. This left the burden of ruling squarely on Clementine's shoulders. So great was this burden, that she completely ignored how often and how openly her husband had extra-marital relations. She claimed to have never cared much for him anyway. Her highest priority was in ending the Second Succrean War.

Indeed, this was the legacy of the line of Lucas- the Second Succrean War. It had been her grandfather, Lucas I, who had ignored the Succrean Peace Treaty and initiated an all out attack on their neighbors to the north. Clementine's father, Lucas II was more than happy to continue the war. Clementine believed that if she did not put a stop to it, then in a best case scenario, war would ravage the lands for endless decades if not centuries. In a worst case scenario, Succrea would simply conquer Astadia. 

At first, Clementine ruled largely by written decree. She would dictate to her ward what to write, and then get her husband to sign it while he was in the mist of one of his drunken stupors. She may have also just flat out forged his signature at times when he was too incapacitated for even a lazy, drunken, signature. This is what she did in the beginning, but long before her husband died, it was so clear to even the lowest of peasants who was really in charge that she stopped bothering with her husband's signature. By this time, there were very few in Astadia who disagreed with her passion to end the war, so most were willing to overlook the fact that women were not supposed to be rulers.

Clementine's biggest obstacle in ending the war was the fact that by the time she became High Queen, Astadia was losing, and losing badly. There was no incentive for Succrea to sign any peace treaty that did not include the complete and total surrender of Astadia to Succrean Rulers. Succrean Forces had already conquered two of the three provinces in the north (a treaty between Succrea and Illumidor assured both that Halthrop's Army would not intervene and that Succrea would leave Illumindor be.) Succrea's march into Old Astadia and its attempt to take Castle Blackrock was nearly inevitable.

The first thing Clementine did in preparation for this inevitable attack was to relieve High General Darmok of his command. It was widely believed that it was his incompetence that allowed Succrea to have such an advantage in the first place. (Though this is a topic still debated by historians to this day). She replaced him with High General Javik, who many believe had taken Clementine as his not so secret lover. It is said that the two were passionately in love. Regardless of whether that was the case, Clementine demanded that Javik come up with a plan of defense. Some say she may have even helped him with it.

The rest, as it is said, is history. As everyone across the land no doubt knows, this is when General Javik mounted his famous defense using the caves of the Jagged Forest as hiding places from which to launch secret attacks on the would-be attackers. Javik had an intimate knowledge of the Jagged Forest from his childhood and used this to his great advantage.  The caves of the Jagged Forest are now of course known as Javik's Caves.

Meanwhile, Clementine came up with a plan to secretly smuggle food and supplies through the tunnels beneath Castle Blackrock, so that they would be able to withstand any potential siege of the castle for months.

Between that and Javik's defense from the caves, the Succreans were soon left with no choice but to retreat.  Javik then went on the offensive, and quickly took back Chamberlin while the overconfident Succrean Generals who held it were not expecting. By then, the re-taking of Dunderlin was inevitable. But it was at this point that Clementine offered the Succreans the chance to retreat to their homeland without any further loss of life. Thus the Treaty of Dunderlin was signed between High Queen Clementine, and Commodore Vladin who signed on behalf of the Succrean Premier.

 

Right around the time that the treaty was about to be signed, Prince Rupert quietly passed away during one of his drunken escapades. No one knew exactly how, as very few people, including Clementine herself, paid him much attention anymore. Clementine bore her only daughter just about ten months later. Though the official story was that Clementine had an unusually long-term pregnancy, most historians agree that it is more likely that the true father of her daughter Alyssa was General Javik, and furthermore, most everyone was very much aware of this. But at this point it would not matter, for a High Queen was only allowed to carry forward her father's line with sons born of the Chosen Prince, and there was no chance of that now. The certainty of the end of Lucas's line was already in place.

Unlike her mother Naomi however, Clementine had absolutely no say in who was chosen to marry her daughter Alyssa and begin the next line of Kings. It was no secret that she despised Victor I, who was widely believed to have several times abused his wife Alyssa. He turned out to be the only King with the name Victor to rule however, for Alyssa bore but three daughters before her tragic premature death, and the eldest of these, Genevieve, bore seven daughters and no sons.

 

Clementine outlived her daughter by many years and lived to be one of the eldest living former High Queens in history. It has been widely speculated, though of course never proven, that Clementine had learned some hexes from the witches of Grimly Wood, and used one of these hexes to ensure that Victor I would be the only King of his name. Most historians view this as an old wives tale invented to explain the rarity of so many daughters being born in the line of Victor.

High Queen Clementine finally passed away due to multiple illnesses in 1737 EM at the age of 65.

October 2018

Franklin II

Lived 1164-1199 EM

Ruled 1182-1199 EM

Franklin II had his Age of Ascension ceremony in 1180, but remained Prince until two years later, when his father Franklin I died in his sleep. The 18 year old Franklin II almost immediately started making drastic changes to the kingdom. He was careful not to undo anything his father had done, but he went out of his way to try to change laws and precedents set by the Roberts. He was not shy about telling anyone who would listen that his father had showed way too much respect to those cretins the Roberts, and that would change under him.

He tried almost immediately to order the destruction of the famous Robert the Uniter statue in City Square. However, he had several advisors strongly urging him to reconsider, for doing such a thing would make him several enemies across the six provinces, and it was not a wise thing to do for such a newly crowned young king. He was eventually convinced to withdraw his orders to destroy the Robert the Uniter statue. But instead he ordered the construction of a monument to his own father, a hulking tower that he wanted right next to Robert but nearly twice as high, that would be forever known as "Franklin's Tower".  There were many technical challenges to his demands. So much so that construction would not begin for another 8 years, in 1190 EM. It took another 16 years to be completed, and by then he had long since passed, and his son Franklin III had already been King for 7 years. 

It was probably for the best that he was not alive to see the completion of his tower, for even his son privately admitted that thing was an ugly monstrosity, not really fit to represent a great line of kings. At the top of the tower there hung a bell. Though no one was sure quite why it was there, for it was nearly impossible to climb all the poorly constructed, incredibly steep stairs to reach it. And if one did reach the top, then why would they ring the bell? Franklin II had ordered the bell's installment before he passed, but he never gave any explanation as to why he wanted it, and for what occasions he wanted the bell to be rung, so it was largely ignored.

When Galan I took the throne in 1229, it was literally his first command as King to have the tower demolished. Unlike when Franklin II had ordered the destruction of Robert the Uniter, no one argued, and most everyone was happy to see it gone. 

Though Franklin's Tower is what Franklin II was most remembered for, he was also known in general to be one for lavish expenses, and unnecessary extravagances. He once threw party so big, that it was said to take five full years to clean up after it. 

Franklin II died in 1199 EM at the age of 35. It is said he drank himself to death, though that has never been confirmed. 

It is also said that his son Franklin III was quite embarrassed by the legacy his father left him, and did everything he could to disassociate himself from his father. Some even say that his wife Marianna did in fact bare him a son, but he was so insistent that the Franklins were not worthy to continue forward as a line of kings, that he himself had his son murdered. This too, has never been confirmed, and is widely considered to be nothing but a rumor.

August/September 2018:

King Robert I :

Lived from 993 EM- 1045 EM; Ruled from 1009 EM- 1045 EM

King Robert I, also known as Robert the Uniter, is the first King to rule over the new united Astadia consisting of six united provinces, all united under the Church of Mesis Upon the Highest. Prior to Robert, the kingdom of Astadia consisted only of what is now referred to as Old Astadia. The other present day provinces: Dunderlin, Chamberlin, Illumindor, Mayland, and the Southlands were each their own separate kingdoms ruled by separate kings.  But it was Robert who had the foresight to know that the kingdom to the north, Succrea, was not in fact divided into six small kingdoms such as they were, and that with each passing year the evil Succreans became more and more of a threat to all who lived south of the Border Mountains. Four of the other five kingdoms agreed peacefully to be ruled by Robert. One kingdom, Illumindor, resisted. But once Robert defeated then King Halthrop in battle, a truce was reached. Illunidor agreed to join the new Astadian kingdom, but only under the condition that they keep their own standing army, which still stands today as Halthrop's Army.

It was during Robert's rule that the first Succrean War began. Just as Robert had warned, Succrea invaded Chamberlin in 1019 EM, causing Robert to order a retalatory invasion of Succrea. Battles took place on both sides of the Border Mountains for decades, until Robert II, just after reaching the age of ascension, agreed to a truce with King Latmir of Succrea. Though many in Astadia at the time claimed victory, the truth is that the war ended in a stalemate, with both kingdoms deciding that they were simply tired of fighting.

Robert I's wife, Genevieve, bore him but three daughters before she perished at the age of 25 from food sickness. The eldest of these, Esmerelda, gained the title of High Queen at the age of ascension. And though it was still her father who ruled, it was she who was credited with the creation of the Council of Nine.

Esmerelda was an old maid of 26 years old before she finally birthed Robert's heir, Robert II. Robert I, who then still ruled, was so proud to have an heir, that it is said he spent most of his time with his grandson, even allowing him to sit in on official King's business when he was as young as age 3. It is said that Robert II thought of his grandfather as more of a father to him than his true father, Prince Horton. Robert II's very first act upon reaching the age of ascension, even before agreeing to a truce to end the Succrean War, was to order the construction of the monument to his grandfather (who had passed on 8 years earlier) in what is now City Square. It is the tallest statue in all of Astadia and still stands today. 

Robert I died at the age of 52 when he was struck with an incurable illness known as cancreous.