Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Three Crowns

Kord, half-orc fighter/cleric of Kord the god of strength, was seeking a means of advancing beyond the limit of cleric level 4 set for half-orcs. His god sent him a dream-quest: find the Black Crown of the Getae and make yourself their priest-king, and I will reward you with greater power.

Seeking out the aid of Axxl the Mask, one of the local sages in the Greyhame Game (and paying him a fair amount of gold for the sage's work and time), Kord is told something of the lore of the Three Crowns ... The short of it is:

The White Crown is hid in the Mouth of the River ...
the Black Crown is held by the Old Man Under-Mountain ...
and the Red Crown was lost, but has been seen again, on the brow of Veiteric, chief among the Getae ...


When the Brondings came down out of the north to seize their kingdom from the Chaotic princes and barbarians who had squabbled since time immemorial, Brond was at their head, and on his brow there shone the White Crown of the Brondings.

Brond it was who fell in love with a naiad queen on the banks of the Coldwater River, and it was there, later, that he was ambushed by the Getae under the falls. Rather than surrender his sword, he broke it against a rock, and was slain there; but the naiads took the sword at their queen's behest, and reforged it in secret, and gave it to Brond's son, Gram, for vengeance. And so the Brokenbrand Falls had got their name.

Roland blowing his horn Olifant at the battle of Roncevaux after failing
to break his unbreakable sword Durendal; but it may as well be Brond,
having broken his sword ...

Then the Brondings warred against the Getae of the forest and their Elfin masters; and they drove back the Elves to the eastern reaches of the Dwimmerholt, and overmastered the tribes of the Getae.

Ever had the Getae been led by two kings, the War-King and Priest-King; now the Brondings renewed that custom, but they gave to the Getae two crowns, the Red Crown for the War-King, and the Black Crown for the Priest-King, and the two crowns of the Getae were bound by powerful oaths and ancient magic so that those who wore them were sworn forever to serve the wearer of the White Crown (the rightful king of the Brondings).

For a time, then, there was peace in the land; and several generations knew war only as they went to seek it in foreign realms, for gold or for glory. ... But Chaos has a way of worming into the hearts of men, and corrupting the Order they have built when they think their cherished kingdoms are secure ...

So it was that the last of the Brondings, Durand-King, fell for and wedded a serpent in the guise of a woman, and her influence poisoned the realm. The tribe of Galad, scions of a knight who had served loyally under Brond and who were led now by his great-great grandson Aldanus, denounced the queen as a serpent; but Durand refused to listen, and he named the sons of Galad wolves and traitors to be hunted down. Armies were raised; the tower of the Galad tribe was reduced and taken, and the tribe was hunted down and destroyed root and branch.

But of old, the Galad tribe had been the keepers of the Crowns of the Getae, situated as they were between the Bronding kingdom and the forest realms of the Getae; and so they had their revenge. The Black Crown they secreted deep in the caverns below the Glimmervaults, entrusted to an elusive earth-spirit known only as the Old Man Under-Mountain. And with the Red Crown, the last surviving nephew of Aldanus, one Aldaric, raised the tribes of the Getae in rebellion against Durand-King.

So a great battle was fought in the depths of the Dwimmerholt--Aldaric Galad, nephew of Aldanus, wore the Red Crown of War; but he was cut down in battle, and the Crown was lost in the confusion that ensued. ... And for a long time it was lost or thought destroyed; but there are rumors now that a certain chieftain of the Getae, Veiteric hight, wears a band of red gold upon his brow, and that his glance cows all who look on him, and that his word is law among the forest tribes ...

As for the White Crown, it was taken from Durand-King after his victory in the Dwimmerholt, taken by a council of his own knights. They had stood by their king when Aldanus Galad first denounced him, but after the extermination of that gallant tribe, they came around to see Durand-King as the tyrant and wolf that he was. So they ambushed him one day while he hunted, and took the White Crown from his brow, though they left him his life--to their demise in the end.

Still, the Crown they took to the naiads of the Brokenbrand Falls, to secret away as they would, until one worthy of the Bronding kingship should come again and claim it. Legends say that the naiads hid the White Crown in the Mouth of the River--though that makes little sense when the mouth of the Coldwater lies so many hundreds of leagues to the west, pouring into Ocean ...

So that is the tale of the Three Crowns, so far as it goes; it touches upon much of the history of the realms, but not all of the history is needed to understand their significance.

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