Fire Fantasy Tactics Ogre IV: The Fenwyn Chronicles
The Kingdom of Fenwyn
Stuff happened. The King is dead. The queen died in childbirth. Apparent civil war is a fun thing.
The Kingdom of Fenwyn is a hereditary monarchy, which unsurprisingly places the vast majority of its power in the hands of its current King. Though the Queen of Fenwyn does possess significant political power, her authority is considered subordinate to that of the King, save in circumstances where the King is too weak or otherwise infirm to rule. Ultimately, all authority and law in the country is derived from the King, and it is within his power to appoint or remove officials at will. He is advised and supported by a Council composed of various Dukes and Duchesses from a wide range of lesser noble houses.
Over the course of its history, the Kingdom of Fenwyn has grown sufficiently large that delegation and high officials have become a strict necessity to maintaining order. In keeping with this, a number of noble houses have been granted governance over significant portions of the Kingdom. There is a direct correlation between blood ties to the royal family, and the amount of land, important resources, and authority offered up to lesser houses. Being related to somebody important is much more likely to land someone a position of authority than any amount of competence.
In the case of smaller settlements and lesser positions, a form of limited democracy is generally permitted to determine leadership positions such as that of the Mayor or Sheriff. Depending on the importance of the settlement, who exactly constitutes a valid voter may vary from anyone, to only land owners. But these decisions may be overturned at any time by the King and his high officials, however rare that may be.
The Kingdom of Fenwyn is rich in unspoiled natural resources, but its economy is primarily driven by the exportation of arcane knowledge and exotic materials that can be found within its many ruins. Exactly what civilization it was that previously took root in the mountains and forests of House Fenwyn’s lands before they came, no one is quite certain. Historians speculate that they may belong to ancestors of the nomadic Rahaal, but if this is the truth the Rahaal are either unaware or keeping that knowledge to themselves. All the same, some of the finest materials for crafting enchanted items can be found buried in the ruins that dot House Fenwyn’s lands.
Although not unique in this regard, the Kingdom of Fenwyn is also among those domains in the Middle Kingdoms capable of breeding, training, and maintaining exotic mounts. Officially it specializes in dragons and wyverns, but it has been many years since ‘surplus’ dragons of sufficiently good health to sell have been available on the market. Pegasi and Gryphons are a much more common export, but only to private buyers. When it comes to military purchases, House Fenwyn prefers to rent small companies of aerial cavalry so as to maintain some measure of control over the aerial units that their neighbors are able to deploy.
This is usually a favorable arrangement, since whoever is purchasing the aerial cavalry’s services does not have to deal with training or basic outfitting. But some buyers do not like the idea of not having absolute control over a military unit ostensibly in their service. Lately though, the Kingdom of Fenwyn has been very conservative with renting mercenary services. A war almost certainly looms on the horizon, and civil war is not inconceivable. Those few mercenary contracts that HAVE been established lately, have been written up with provisions for withdrawal in the case of either potential crisis occurring.
(The King’s Wardens)
The Fenwyn Winged Knights
The Fenwyn Winged Knights are the kingdom’s aerial cavalry, made up exclusively of knights astride winged creatures. Although the Winged Knights were once exclusively made up of dragon-riders, the decline of the dragons has seen an incorporation of gryphons and pegasi into the ranks. Almost all Winged Knights are nobility to some degree.
Relying on the famed dragons of Fenwyn to operate, the Dragon Cavalry is a shadow of its former glory. Most of its dragons are inbred and unsuitable to service, and their numbers have dipped dangerously low in recent years. Entry into the Dragon Cavalry is extremely difficult, but also considered extremely prestigious. Almost all Dragon Cavalry members are high nobility or, in times past, royalty.
Most of Fenwyn’s aerial cavalry is made up of gryphons. These savage predators are a blend of eagle and lion, with all the killing instinct of both. Like the dragon-riders, a high standard of control and responsibility is expected of the gryphon cavalry, lest their beasts’ instincts get out of hand. Gryphon Cavalry knights are often nobility of various stripes.
Last but certainly not least is the pegasus cavalry, manned by soldiers riding great winged horses. Considered the least prestigious of the bunch for using herbivores, the pegasus cavalry is nonetheless capable of greatness… when they put their minds to it. Although commoners are permitted to join this branch of the Winged Knights, most can’t afford the cost of maintaining such a beast.
Capital City – Dragon’s Roost
When Princess Amelia was young, many of the Fenwyn nobility found that the girl was usually nowhere to be seen, at least, where one would normally expect to find the young scion of the royal house. Rather, she spent her time personally educating herself, spending time with her tutors rather than the other girls. She would discreetly watch the numerous cases presented to the king, both in the open as well as closed doors, and what little time that was not spent in pursuits of the mind was instead devoted to sparring with her brother. In spite of her bookish ways, those who have watched Amelia fight can attest to the fact that her physical skill is as sharp as her mind.
When her father died, Amelia had almost simply taken the throne for herself, but just as the final preparations were to be made, her brother interrupted the entire process. While Amelia claims no ill will towards her sibling, some speculate that she has taken the entire thing to be a rather hurtful gesture. As a result, the entire royal court and council has fractured between those backing Amelia for the throne, and those who support Alexander.
Those who know Amelia describe her in a few words: prodigy, master diplomat, ambitious, and highly motivated. Yet, her detractors mutter privately that she is hungry for the power behind the crown. They whisper even quieter that she has the makings of a ruthless tyrant. People who speak out publicly against her are known to simply redact their statement days after, in a series of rather odd coincidences. The fate of the last minister who claimed he had proof that Amelia planned to throw each and every able-bodied man living in the kingdom into Ostian-style workhouses was a rather unpleasant one: letters turned up in every corner implying that not only was he was currently engaged in several extramarital affairs, but he also regularly took bribes in the form of gold, opium and slaves. Regardless of the truth behind the matters, the minister was promptly thrown into the dungeon where the outrage erased any credibility he might have had against Amelia.
When the young prince of Fenwyn suddenly objected to his sister’s claim to the throne, it was looked on as a rather odd event: in contrast to his sister’s ambition, Alexander had never held any interest in matters of state. His seat at court was often empty, as the Prince could easily be found riding with the Winged Knights, hunting, or engaging in various other pasttimes. While his behavior may have been somewhat indulgent, he just as often spent his time amongst the general poplace, appearing at festivals, gatherings and other occasions where the common people gathered.
Unlike his more serious sister, Alexander could be described as gregarious and cheerful, and a kind-hearted soul besides. More than one commoner has a story about how the prince, as he was passing by, dropped everything to simply help them with some task. In addition, he has led several efforts at reducing banditry, not only by the old-fashioned way involving steel, but also simply engaging in conversation with the outlaws. Many of the highwaymen have been given jobs as watchmen and frontiersmen now, endorsed by the crown to protect, rather than rob travelers.
What is odd about the current situation is the apparent conflict that Alexander has had with his sister; in spite of their differences, the two were extremely close. When Alexander spoke out against his sister taking the throne, some have thought that, perhaps, that he simply disagreed with the direction Amelia would have taken the kingdom rather than any personal or selfish reservations with the her taking the throne. Such, then, is the way his supporters have presented him: as a benevolent king who would treat his subjects with justice. Indeed, Alexander publicly condemned any slander of his sister, though such a statement has done little to curb the gossip that Amelia attracts.