This is a living document and is current up to mid-October 2020.
…And the Prince looked out across his wide lands.
He saw how the Skrael held fast ‘gainst the East,
How Ben Dunfirth guarded the Inland Sea,
And Rising Waters kept the southern strand.
In the north ran free the wind and wild beast
And Septentria was the heartland’s key;
But the west lay open and free.
“We have no shield to stand guard in the west,”
The Prince said has he gathered his council.
“And so we must therefore send someone forth.
The foe must not see what’s weak from the rest.
We need a strong hand and strong force of will.”
One voice rose there, a voice of noble worth:
“To the west I shall set my berth.”
“I am Cordigan d’Arnot and I will go,
I will take on the unknown and wild.
I and mine will be your strong western hand.”
The Prince said: “Declare this so that all may know,
If they be a man or woman or child,
If you can tame and settle this wild land
You and yours will it ‘ere command.”
And so it was the Company set out:
Cordigan and his Diane by his side.
Fairer was she than new fallen snow,
Like the soft beauty of spring all about.
Well-tempered was she in fairness and pride
To leave old comforts of home and to go
For a future her lord would sow.
The land was fair rich with forest and stream,
And vast pasture for the cattle to graze.
Yet, to tame a land unbroken before
Called for brow’s sweat and for vision and dream.
Land yielded and a strong keep they did raise.
They had two well guiding hands to the fore:
Diane, and Cordigan her lord.
The years passed and the land settled and grew.
In time of gentle peace it prospered well.
But when to war the horns called they rode forth
With shield, with bow, and with ranks of spears true.
It mattered not death, nor heaven, nor hell,
For whenever the prince fought on this earth,
Cordigan the bold proved his worth.
Came the time at last, though none thought it could,
When age finally catches up on the youth.
Cordigan did speak how through peace and war,
A great land was built, well, noble, and good.
Of a strong people with honour and truth
Who stood with pride in their true service sure,
Who kept the west border secure.
“You are Ramshaven! You built this fine land!
Through your brave courage and by your strong arm
You are Ealdormere’s strength, her western shield.
None can break her while you stalwart do stand!
We know you will keep her safe from all harm!
We know you will make her enemies yield!
Only we shall not be her shield.”
So passed on Diane and her Cordigan
Of strong Ramshaven stock they were the first.
Vali and Heithr stood up next to lead.
In peacetimes or when the wars came again,
Through time that saw both, the better and worst
Justice and valour did temper each deed.
Strong they stood in Ealdormere’s need.
The land grew stronger still, crops bountiful.
The ewe lambs frolicked upon fields of green.
The people flourished in richness untold.
Season slipped by, years of linen and wool
And halls rang with the laughter of children,
Wealth in worth more precious even than gold
Until the dark horizon cold.
Vali and Heithr sat within their hall
When came the word from far ice-crusted shore,
Blood imperiled called for strong kindred aid.
Kin cannot be denied when voices call.
Choices came hard when for land love hearts tore.
Deeper roots had duty which must be paid
And choices no longer delayed.
Rising from night fires glowing soft light
Came Martya, child of the strong born new blood.
Amber haired and eyes of gypsy fire bright
Whose words were like wind born of petals of white
By her stood Davin, blades of steel and wood.
Too soon passed they both into the twilight;
Fealty of land passed into the night.
The land then fell silent, its loss to mourn,
For it could not live without one to lead.
The call went out: “Who will lead in their stead?”
Wise council sought far for new leaders born,
The Ram cried out loud for action and deed.
For the love of the land did many feet tread,
Came low-born and came noble bred.
Konrad stood forth, born of the elder time,
Of the old blood, true son of Cordigan.
Strong warrior, and wise, to lead the land.
By his side, though once from far distant clime,
Stood Alyce. Deep for the land her love ran.
Two, bound together by vows, hand in hand.
Two, together, bound to the land.
Fealty of land passed again into light
As grief, past bound, began slowly to heal,
In the fullness of days the land found bright life
And its people remembered of days bright
And in such mem’ry did the old wounds seal
And brought peace to child, to husband and wife
Ramshaven once more was secure and safe.
For many years lead Konrad and Alyce.
They drew strength from the wisdom of the past,
Drew hope from the shining future ahead.
Again the land knew the fullness of peace,
A part of a rich history to last
The tale of those who followed, those who led
And those who would rise in their stead.
In time the mantle they wore grew weighty,
Once more the call for new blood was sent forth.
With heavy hearts were their words then spoken,
A call to come forth, those who were worthy.
In their wisdom they knew growth came from birth,
That the chain forged of old stay unbroken.
The land chose again among men.
One stood forth, a norseman of wide renown.
Land bound he, by bonds of blood and honour.
Sword-strong, world-wise, never standing alone;
Wencendl stood near with golden crown.
They sat and heard words of what came before.
They stood, and would do that which must be done.
For Kolbjorn had the high seat won.
The circlet was passed from father to son,
The land prospered in the slumber of peace.
With birthright secure, Kolbjorn went to the sea,
Raiding far shores as his fathers had done.
Fearful towns’ Danegeld his coffers increased,
Yet generous and giving with spoils was he;
Sharing with kinsmen was his decree.
Their hall was adorned with treasures bright:
Silver and gold and beauteous garments.
The wealth of Ramshaven was well-renowned
No less famed their skill when called forth to fight.
Wencendl watched from the battlements,
Inspiring her lord and her men on the ground,
Whenever the war-horns did sound.
The passage of time marched slowly onwards,
And both lady and lord were themselves bound:
Loyal to the land, yet to their house sworn.
Thus they resolved to seek out from their lords
New stewards of Ramshaven to be found,
Who’d honour the land whose circlet they’d worn:
And responsibility had borne.
From the vastness of the great northern wood -
Land of stony shores where the wolf still bayed wild –
Came two weapon-thanes from their small bright hall,
As bright as their honour, and will to do good
To serve land and people; man, woman, and child,
Spake Penda and Sybilla: “We have answered this call,
And we pledge to serve one and all.”
The lords of the land deliberated for days
The worth of their claim to the barony’s high seats,
In the end they accepted, for these two had impressed.
In promise for that circlet and their people’s praise,
Did the new rulers agree to perform mighty feats.
Thus Sybilla and Penda would set out on quest,
And so grow the shield o’er the West.
“The lands in the south have grown mighty and well,
Bryniau and Der Welfengau are stoutly defended,
But northwards we see but an empty domain.
A wild expanse where honest men fear to dwell,
Let us turn all our labours to this task most splendid:
To construct mighty holds, and plant well the grain,
And we shall raise up worthy thanes.
To that end did the rulers return to their hall,
And Northgaetham grew wealthy, and joyful and bright,
A beacon of welcome and safety for guests;
And good ladies and lords had cause to stand tall
They brought order and peace to the north, as was right,
The sovereigns saw reason that Northgaetham be blessed,
That in their great hall hang its crest.
The people rejoiced – Penda’s quest was at end,
And Sybilla’s as well; for through war and through peace,
Had strengthened the land, and brought all great honour
That was sung by the bards and borne by each friend.
But that cruel mistress Time in her path does not cease.
Sybilla and Penda called the folk to their manor,
For new leaders to take up their banner.
Now the line of brave Cordigan is well-known and famed,
For lords of martial skill, known for courage and daring.
Six generations grasped tightly the warrior’s blade,
But now the seventh bellicose nature constrained.
The newest of stewards were kindly and sharing:
Lucia and Penn through the hall’s grand arcades
Approached; and to the high seats they were bade.
Do not mistake this appellation for one of reproach;
Nor assume that on whose brows the coronets rested
Were lacking in courage or other noble virtues.
Merely the new lords took the peaceful approach,
And to see the land flourish, challenged their people to be tested.
Grand were the tourneys, and new champions came to
The high seats in their fealty due.
The first year they held sway the two did command
Tales of adventures from far and from near;
Traveller’s stories did the bardic muse inspire,
And next year saw poems read and songs sung in the land.
These patrons of bards, Penn and Lucia spread great cheer
And by their example brought new friends to sit by the fire,
To pass the mead-horn round. Much laughter was heard,
For now was hospitality their word.
Ramshaven eagerly embraced the Baronial will,
The western lands unto travellers were kind;
But in the year by her own hand Kaylah was Queen
Did the great plague descend over valley and hill
Fierce and terrible; and thundering blew a mighty wind,
The sickness was sore in the land: felt but unseen.
And once prosperous times now grew lean.
At first the people were afraid, and not without cause
For the shops of the merchants had shelves plain and bare
But their most noble prince and princess lead the way
And they ascended the o thrones without pause
The folk of the Northlands cast out doubt and fear
Connection became Ramshaven’s word; for someday
This pestilence would be driven away.