Country Info: Cadfaigh
|Terminology:||Cadfainn (CADD-fane) people, one Cadfainn, many Cadfainn|
|Monarch:||Queen Marilyn, born 972 (Maria Regina Cadfeniae)|
|Coat of Arms:||Azure, three stags' heads or, two and one.|
Cadfaigh (CADD-fay), the Scotland-like kingdom of Hesket, stretches from the rocky Highlands in the west to the Lowlands of the coast. As with Scotland, there is a slight cultural divide between the Lowlanders (who tend to be more urbanized and "civilized") and the Highlanders ( who tend to be more rural and "rough").
Cadfaigh has suffered two recent wars: a Caelti rebellion in 993, and a three-war War for the Throne when the previous king's legitimacy came into question. However, under the current Queen, Marilyn, Cadfaigh at last seems to be returning to peace and prosperity.
In addition, scattered through the kingdom, especially in the west and north, are pockets of Caelti (CALE-tee), the descendants of the former rulers of the land. The Caelti are a people who, to Earthly observers, would appear vaguely Celtic, but with one significant twist: for centuries, the Caelti have practiced a secret art, "blood magic", in which humans are sacrificed to power magic rituals. Many Caelti, especially the blood mages, use these powers to try to re-establish Caelti supremacy over the land.
Sturia's fall left the Empire's northern border open, and Kislennic tribes invaded, displacing many of the Gaeldic tribes along that border. Tribes of Cadfainn thus began to shift north into "Caelland", the area held by the Caelti, another Gaeldic people. By the 500's there was considerable migration; armed conflict resulted, with the Cadfainn tribes eventually victorious in 632, claiming the throne. Over the centuries Cadfainn numbers swelled along the coasts and in the cities, while the Caelti, displaced to areas of the rugged highlands, became a minor, rural people. The Cadfainn claimed that the Caelti were unfit to rule, since they had been known to practice "blood magic", deriving powers through bloodletting and sacrifices, a practice most nations view as barbaric.
The Cadfainn attemped to create a peace between the kingdom's two peoples, even going so far as to make the official name of the kingdom "Two Stands" (meaning "two peoples" in Gaeldic), though in common practice "Cadfaigh" still predominated. But many Caelti refused to yield to the Cadfainn rulers, and the descendants of the old rulers of Caelland continued to call themselves "nobles", bearing allegiance to the "Prince" of the Caelti. This "shadow nobility" agitated for the ouster of the Cadfainn and the return of the Caelti to the throne.
In 992, Queen Gwynhafra MacCadfan finally attempted to broker a peace, bethrothing her only child, Prince Enda, to the "Princess" of the Caelti, Riallonna. Their offspring would thus be the leaders of both peoples.
The Caelti Rebellion (993)
When Ragnorack fell into chaos in the fall of that year, Gwynhafra called for a conference in the Highlands, which met in the spring of 993 at the royal estate of Loch Meagan. The Queen hoped to bring about a peaceful settlement to her neighbor's troubles. Most believed that the Queen hoped the conference would give Ragnorack to her; many said she intended to re-settle the Caelti in northern Ragnorack. Few Caelti took kindly to the notion of being moved to a rocky wilderness, and tempers flared. Caelti activists were present at the conference, hoping to persuade the foreign visitors to their cause. However, rumors of Caelti child sacrifice and blood magic weakened the appeal of their pleas.
Gwynhafra's plans fell through, however, when not only did the conference award the Ragnorackan throne to Count Dmitri von Scharnhof, but Prince Enda was murdered. With the bethrothal pact ended, Riallonna and the Caelti activists began to abandon hopes of a peaceful solution. When an investigation substantiated accusations that the Caelti had performed child sacrifice in a blood magic ritual, the Caelti decided they had no choice left save violence, and rose in open rebellion against their Cadfainn rulers. The Caelti summoned an ancient dragon to their side, and allied with the visiting Yamamotoans, with Riallonna even marrying a Yamamotoan noble. (As it turns out, the foreigners understood the conflict little, not knowing that Hesketine dragons are not the peaceful, wise creatures of their homeland. Horrified to discover that the Caelti murdered children to gain power, they would later execute the Caelti blood magicians, including Riallonna.) But the Caelti were still vastly outnumbered by the Cadfainn, who put down the rebellion, and chased down and executed most of the Caelti "nobles".
Queen Gwynhafra soon dropped the official moniker of "Two Stands", reverting to "Cadfaigh". She now presided over a bruised land, and moreover was heirless. When she died of a hunting accident in February of 995, there was a brief political panic until her relatives "discovered" an illegitimate child of Enda's, the boy Tristan. With the country still healing, most Cadfainn nobles accepted the boy as king, with a group of Gwynhafra's allies acting as a Council of Regents.
The War For the Throne (996-998)
The Regency was keen to restore order to the land by easing the actions taken against the remaining Caelti peasants. The head of the Regency, Duke Robert MacCadfan, was willing to tolerate the presence of Caelti peasants, provided that they refrain from sacrifice or treason. However, as Cadfaigh began to get back on its feet, there would be rising discontent and concern about the king's legitimacy. In the summer of 996, the two-year old king Tristan was kidnapped from his bed by demons, a changeling left in his place in hopes of framing the crime on the fae. The changeling was discovered, and Cadfainn forces scoured the countryside searching for the king. The Regency, fearing embarrassment, attempted to contain knowledge of the kidnapping, but the troops it sent into fae-land to retrieve the king failed to return. After several days the secret could be contained no longer, and the Regency implored help in retrieving King Tristan. Adventurers successfully discovered the demons' ruse, and with help from the fae entered the land of demons and returned Tristan to the mortal realm. However, since time flows at different rates in the otherworld, what had been one day in the mortal realm had for Tristan been twelve years. The Cadfainn went into an uproar when news of the now-adolescent, now-mad king got out.
The kidnapping of King Tristan created political ramifications that would long outlast his rescue. The inability of the Regency to adequately protect the boy sparked criticisms of the Regency's competence. Such claims increased already existing discontent among the Cadfainn nobles, many of whom had never believed Tristan was really Enda's son, but had simple gone along with the claim in a time of political instability. With the country back on its feet, many nobles and leaders began to ponder reviving their own claims as Gwynhafra's heir. The Regency chose to simply accept the king's accelerated age and celebrate the boy's third (now fifteenth) birthday as if nothing had happened.
But in September 996, three of the major Highland clans (MacAlban, MacGrennog, and MacDileann) sent a letter to the Regency proclaiming that they would not accepted a demon-raised boy as King. A month later, Lewis MacGrennog, distant kin to Gwynhafra, proclaimed himself rightful King of Cadfaigh. He found immediate support from the restless Highland clans who believed that the nobles in the Lowlands capital of Dubraugh had led the kingdom to ruin. Two weeks later, the Lowland nobles "on the out" under the Regency withdrew their support for Tristan, as Lord Olen MacCallad declared himself the rightful King as well. While outright war is difficult in winter, the three sides fought skirmishes and strategic strikes throughout the winter months. The sides soon came to be known as the "Blue" Regency faction, the "Red" faction under MacCallad, and the "Gold" highlanders under MacGrennog, each adopting the primary color of each leader's crest.
The civil war escalated in January 997 when Duke Robert of Daithney, the Lord Regent, was found poisoned in his chambers. The Regency faction, already internally divided, soon began to crumble without his unifying leadership, and many Lowlanders began switching sides to MacCallad. With the Regency failing, King Gustav of Kjolnir recognized Lewis MacGrennog as king. The Kjolns received permission to take timber and other resources from Cadfaigh without payment, in exchange for supplying MacGrennog's "Golds" with arms and other needed supplies. Kjoln ships received permission to attack Lowland ships and coastal holdings while flying MacGrennog's flag, but the Kjolns rarely exercised this "privilege" -- especially since Kjolnir explicitly did not offer direct military support to MacGrennog. In Chardreau, which declared open and firm support for the Regency right from the start, high-ranking political feuding erupted in the wake of Daithney's death, as Chardrois diplomats each attempted to deflect blame for having made that decision. The Lord Protector (chief of the diplomatic corps), Michel de Charbonne, was soon replaced by Lady Marie Lassaud.
But the scope of the war really changed on February 14, when negotiations between MacCallad and King Dmitri of Ragnorack were announced. MacCallad's daughter and heir Marilyn was bethrothed to Dmitri, with the latter summoning his knights and soldiers to arms. With Ragnorack invading from the west, MacGrennog found himself fighting a two-front war. Moreover, the bethrothal added prestige to MacCallad's faction, and many Blue (Regency) supporters soon defected to his camp.
In April, MacCallad increased his supporters dramatically through a new policy. In January, the Regency had acknowledged the Donovans, a Caelti family, as a Cadfainn clan, when the Donovans renounced their sanguine heritage and declared themselves loyal Cadfainn. MacCallad now made the same offer, but extended it to any other Caelti who would renounce the blood magic and would state their loyalty to him as King. In return, MacCallad would give them arms and would treat them as any other Cadfainn. This offer was highly popular among Highlands Caelti, and gave MacCallad numerous cadres of anti-MacGrennog guerillas right in the middle of MacGrennog's territory! The new "Cadfainn" were soon nicknamed "bucks", since the stag is the national symbol of the Cadfainn, and a buck is a red deer.
MacCallad came yet closer to his goal when it was announced in June that Tristan had vanished without a trace from his quarters. With Tristan gone and its support in ruins, the Regency conceded. Duchess Kate MacCadfan, daughter of former Lord Regent Duke Robert MacCadfan, granted her support for Olen MacCallad, in exchange for being able to keep the Duchy of Daithney. She turned over the royal crown, scepter, and other royal treasures to MacCallad, who entered Dubraugh peacefully and unarmed (and to the sound of many cheers) on June 20, 997.
The elderly Olen MacCallad passed away on January 22, 998, leaving his daughter and her Marilyn to lead the Red cause. The Red leadership accepted Marilyn as leader, as naturally did the Ragnorackans, since King Dmitri was engaged to Lady Marilyn. When Kjolnir fell under vorskyr attack, supplies of Kjoln arms to the Golds dropped off, and the Red-Ragnorackan side advanced into Gold territory.
In late summer, Lewis MacGrennog rallied his Gold faction around his holding at Solkirk to make a stand against his foes. The Reds advanced from the east, the Ragnorackans from the north, and after a dramatic fight Lewis MacGrennog was slain and the Gold lines routed. The Gold leaders surrendered on August 14, and Marilyn proceeded uncontested to Dubraugh as Cadfaigh's queen. The War for the Throne was over. Marilyn was crowned Queen on December 1, 998, and married King Dmitri in April 999.
Queen Marilyn (998-)
Cadfaigh today at last appears to be stabilizing. The birth of Marilyn and Dmitri's son Martin in November 1001 marked the first viable heir since Enda's death nearly a decade before. There is still resentment from the losing sides of the civil war, but Marilyn has secured her hold on the throne (through the time-honored fashion of winning your supporters' loyalty by giving them the losers' lands) and a rebellion is both unlikely and unlikely to succeed. Many former Regency supporters, especially the Lowlanders, have come grudgingly to accept that a stable throne is a good thing, even if that throne occupied by someone other than the Regents. Among the Golds there is less warmth for the Queen, Highlander distrust of Lowlanders being a hard habit to break.
In addition, Queen Marilyn acquired the Stone of Kings, the legendary stone of the old Gaeldic kings, after it was discovered in the Marnaid Penninsula. The Stone was worked into her throne as a sign of Gaeldic unity. Combined with her successful "buck" policy, more and more of the "moderate" Caelti are taking the buck's oath and becoming Cadfainn.
Today, the Cadfainn view the bucks with some reservation -- after all, they are Caelti, and the Caelti rebellion was a decade ago -- but in general, a buck is deemed innocent until proven guilty.
Interestingly, this means that Caelti who identify as such, those who have not become bucks, have if anything become more suspect. After all, the logic goes, why wouldn't they want to take the oath unless they were clinging to blood magic? Of course, some Caelti refuse the oath because they do not wish to call themselves Cadfainn, but few Cadfainn understand that.
Relations with Ragnorack are, for obvious reasons, quite good. Many Cadfainn are coming to see the Ragnorackans as frontier "northern cousins", well-intentioned if rustic and unrefined. Some Cadfainn are cautious, fearing too much Ragnorackan influence in Cadfainn politics; interestingly, some Ragnorackans fear their smaller country will now be dominated by the wealthier and larger Cadfaigh. The reality is probably that both sides' fears are unfounded. Dmitri and Marilyn have both taken pains to keep up an appearance of balance; for instance, they spend winters in Dubraugh and summers in Northhaven.
Queen Marilyn, born 972.
King Ian VI - on the throne during the Great Plague of 848
Queen Gwynhafra - 9??-995
King Tristan - 995-998
Ruled by a King/Queen. Standard noble is the Baron. There is one Duke, whose bloodline is tied closely to the royal family. No Counts.
Dubraugh is the largest city and the capital. Duncan, in the duchy of Daithney, is its chief rival, the Glasgow to Dubraugh's Edinburgh.