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    Conflicts in the Yeomanry
    Posted on Wed, August 31, 2005 by Dongul
    samwise writes "The Yeomanry has always stood out because of its peculiar, and somewhat anachronistic nature. A representative democracy in a world of feudal monarchies, it has long raised questions about the nature of its government, and its history (not to mention its name). This essay will examine the three major conflicts that have shaped the government and that have given the nation the unique character that is has.

    Conflicts in the Yeomanry
    By: Samwise
    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    Before Asberdies

    The area that would become the Yeomanry would otherwise be a totally irrelevant backwater except for a very minor accident of geography. South of the Fals Gap that separates the Crystalmist Mountain range from the Yatil Mountains and the Lortmils, the only reliable passage across the Crystalmists leads from the basin that was the heart of the ancient Suel Imperium and the small plain in the middle of towering peaks that is the Yeomanry. Because of this, virtually every colonist, refugee and fleeing dissident or criminal from the Suel Imperium passed through the area.

    While the lands were suitable for the early colonists who needed farmland only to support their mining colonies, those who followed preferred to move on, looking for better lands and greater security (as most of them would sack the colonies and settlements they found, they expected nothing less from any that would come after them). As these groups passed through, some left the migrants and remained behind. Primarily servants and slaves, they had little to look forward to wherever their masters were leading, and were willing to take a chance setting up homes that no others thought secure. Even when the Twin Cataclysms ended the migrations, the Suel Houses that had come through Slerotin’s Tunnel preferred to seek their fortune beyond the Little Hills and the Javan River, and the area was left to the farmers and a few petty nobles seeing an opportunity. The area settled into a quiet obscurity, all but forgotten as the battles for the Sheldomar began.

    The Reign of Asberdies

    The people of the area built their farms in peace for more than a century, slowly rebuilding the lands that had been marched over time and again during the migrations. The lack of any strong ties between them, whether it was personal family relationships, or an order imposed by a strong noble class, kept most settlements the size of villages. And there was little need for them to organize more, as with the end of the migrations the area was peaceful. The few petty nobles soon realized they were better off expanding their own farms than trying to conquer others, and no dominant force arose.

    Into this came Asberdies. One of the few survivors of House Malhel after they destroyed themselves at Valadis, Asberdies was a mere apprentice at the time, surviving because he had been sent out to gather herbs for his master when the disaster occurred. As the shock finally passed, and he felt it safe to come out of hiding, Asberdies found himself barred from entering the ruins of Valadis. Baffled by the magic wards, he eventually left the area, taking a small group of followers with him, seeking his fortune elsewhere. He made his way back toward Slerotin’s Tunnel, thinking it would be safest to be further away from the seers of the Silent Tower, but not ready to leave the Sheldomar yet. Finding the Tunnel blocked, he settled in, and returned to his research. As his knowledge and personal power grew, he came to accept that no other force in the area was capable of challenging him. Still, he moved slowly, prepared his forces, and in -277 CY, declared himself Tyrant of the lands between the Hellfurnaces (the renamed southern portions of the Crystalmists) and the Little Hills. As his spies had informed him, there was no one who could stand up against him, and the people reluctantly accepted that they had a new ruler.

    His rule began quietly enough, with little more than a demand for modest tribute that the people met with grudging resignation. But as time passed his power grew, particularly after Nolhast the Unforgiven joined him. Nolhast was a scholar, and was able to share many secrets with Asberdies. He also talked with Asberdies about Valadis, and when he was ready he went there, looking for relics of the Malhel. He found many, turning them over to Asberdies, giving him even greater power. At some point Asberdies resolved to make the transformation to a lich, ensuring his survival for all time. As he prepared, his demands on the people grew, finally pushing them to rebellion shortly after he entered into undeath. Although the rebellion caught Asberdies by surprise, it failed to make any significant headway until Luschan II came to the throne in Keoland. The Keoish had become aware of Asberdies shortly after Mandros established Cryllor and Eor, but internal problems prevented them from acting. With the domestic situation calm for the moment, Luschan II arranged for support to be sent to the rebels, the Silent Ones assisting, and they were able to gain the upper hand, and in -204 Asberdies fled the area, vowing to return for vengeance. The area was free again, and immediately began setting up a new government.

    Luschan II had intended to annex the region before such a government became too well established. Unfortunately, Nolhast the Unforgiven has also survived the fall of Asberdies, and with the Hand and Eye of Vecna that he had uncovered in Valadis, he began the Insurrection of the Yaheetes eleven years later. The Yeomanry would have to wait.

    The Kendeenil Confederation

    With Asberdies gone the rebels gathered to organize a new government. During the rebellion they had gathered in cells of twelve, and they chose this as the basis for their new government. A group of twelve farmers would select one of their number to speak in the community forum, and they would select one of every twelve to form a council to govern the settlement for the year. The council would select one of their number to speak in a district assembly, with larger villages allowed to send more representatives. Each district would then send a number of Spokesmen to the quarterly meetings at the new capital built at Loftwick, where they would pass any laws needed for the nation, and select a Freeholder to execute them. Voting was at this time limited to those who had fought in the rebellion, and to those who had served in the militia for at least five years. And once again the region slipped back into being a quiet backwater.

    With Keoland distracted, they had little involvement with the rest of the world, save for an alliance with Sanduchar the Navigator during the Second Toli War, providing troops to break the Toli slave outposts in the Amedio. It was after this that they began the practice of hiring out their militia as mercenaries to various Keoish nobles, bringing back enough wealth to their nation that the silver mines in the Hellfurnaces and Jotens were reopened. Such foreign service also became a requirement for being elected to certain higher offices.

    The government as a whole remained weak, with the larger landowners in the various districts being repeatedly elected to the highest offices, and wielding the most authority. Some even approached the authority of lesser nobles in other lands, though without any inherited title. It was this that led to the conflict with Keoland as the Kendeenil Confederation expanded. After close to a century of slow growth, they founded the town of Longspear on the Javan. It not only competed with Cryllor and Longspear, but also served as a base for expeditions across the river into the Dreadwood. The Kendeenil lands had long been short of high quality lumber, and several of the wealthier landowners began to organize and hire bands to cross into the Dreadwood to cut down the ancient trees there. While the Keoish had objected to these raids, the difficulties in Hochoch and Sterich had prevented them from brining any force to give strength to their objections, and the low population along the border made it impossible to patrol it well enough to prevent the constant raids. With the election of Lanchaster I and the situation resolved, the Keoish now pressed their objections more forcefully. The Freeholder rebuffed the emissaries, stating they bowed to no King, and would do as they please. Lanchaster I let the insult pass, but began making preparations for what he saw as an inevitable conflict.

    The Kendeenil Freehold

    Three years later the inevitable happened. The Dreadwalkers had been the most forceful opponents of the raids into the Dreadwood, fearing what might be disturbed. They increased their patrols, driving off whoever they found trespassing. But as the meetings increased, so did the violence, with random arrow shots turning into full-fledged skirmishes. Then one group of raiders killed a high-ranking leader of the Dreadwalkers who was also a respected elder of the Wood Olve. They began to prepare for war, and informed Lanchaster I that they expected Keoland to honor their obligations, and aid them. Lanchaster I and the Court acknowledged those obligations, and began mobilizing the nation. Over the next three years the Keoish armies massed in Cryllor and Eor, while patrols worked to eliminate the raiding. In -98 CY Lanchaster I led the army across the Javan and assaulted Longspear. The local forces refuse to give way despite the vastly superior numbers of the Keoish and Olven armies, and are being cut down when Lanchaster I is slain by an arrow. Rather than demoralizing the Keoish army it enraged them, as Lanchaster was well liked and highly respected. His brother and lieutenant, Duke Aril of Gradsul, assumed command, and the army storms the city, massacring the defenders who did not surrender quickly enough.

    Although the army wished to declare him the new King and have him lead them to conquer the whole land to avenge their fallen King, Aril showed the insight that will earn him the sobriquet of "the Wise" before too long. He ordered the troops to rest, and sent messengers out to order another round of mobilization. As several thousand additional troops gathered and headed to Longspear, he returned to Niole Dra with a small guard and presented himself to the Court. He laid out the situation, particularly the desire of the army to have him lead them as King to conquer the land in memory of his brother, and offered himself to the Court as successor to his brother. Accepting the situation, the Court acclaimed him King, retaining their dignity by charging him to avenge the Kingdom, and Aril declared he would reign as Lanchaster II to honor his brother, slain before his time. But the new Lanchaster still had more up his sleeve. On his return to Longspear and the reinforced army, he sent Heralds to Loftwick with full details on his army, along with a promise of safe conduct to come and confirm it. When the Freeholder arrived, he saw that the force was even greater than described. He protested to Lanchaster that he could not control the independent farmers and of his land asking that Lanchaster not try and punish those who had no part in the raids. Lanchaster the Wise dismissed the objections as the pretense they were, and responded by offering peace if the Kendeenil will join Keoland voluntarily. Their leaders will be treated as of gentle birth, the Freeholder himself being granted status equal to a high noble, and the land having representation in the Court. The alternative would be unleashing the army, and the Court dividing the land among Keoish nobles. For the second time in a year, Lanchaster has made an offer that a court could not refuse, an in -96 CY, the Spokesmen accepted the offer, and the Kendeenil Freehold officially became part of Keoland.

    This time peace in the land lasted for four and a half centuries. As part of Keoland, the only significant change the region experienced was a flood of new immigrants, primarily Oeridians of the Verkhellen Clan recently displaced from the Fals Gap area, that arrived in the early first Common Year century. Most of their leaders had been killed before they were forced to move, and they chose to settle in the Freehold rather than swear fealty to any of the Keogh Clans, or accept a second-class status under the Knights of the March. They integrated easily into the social structure, being quite willing to trade their military service for voting rights like the native Freeholders, and their numbers made the Freehold the primary source of mercenaries for the entire Kingdom, as well as the mainstay of the infantry under Tavish the Great in his conquests of the Pomarj, Bissel, and Port Toli. Despite the peculiar preference of the Freehold for electing commoners to represent them, they were a fully integrated part of the Kingdom, and no one imagined that could ever change.

    The Kendeenil Yeomanry League

    The Freeholders had served under Tavish the Great willingly. The people he led them against were barbarians or slavers and worse, and he preferred to win battles by killing the enemy rather than sacrificing his own troops. His son was different. Tavish the Blackguard sent the armies of Keoland into Ket and Veluna. Veluna was a civilized state, the same as Keoland, and while the Ketites were the nomads of the Brazen Horde, the leaders of the Keoish forces there were violently racist toward the Baklunish, and treated them worse than humanoids. Further, both Tavish the Blackguard and his generals had little resistance to sacrificing troops to achieve their victories. The Knights of the Watch, under commanders selected more for their racist and elitist attitude than their military competence, were particularly willing to sacrifice the commoner footmen of the Freeholds in the Ket campaigns. When the campaigns were over, the Spokesmen of the Freehold gathered in Loftwick to discuss the situation. They were not eager to start a war with a Kingdom they and their ancestors had served for more than four centuries, but they were no longer willing to be sacrificed needlessly to satisfy the egos of nobles they owed nothing to, and a King who treated them like slaves instead of citizens. The directed the Freeholder to withdraw all troops, and refuse to provide more to support any wars beyond the Sheldomar. Orders were sent to the troops still in Ket and Veluna to return home immediately.

    This did not sit well with Tavish the Blackguard. Despite his scorn and poor treatment of them, he was well aware of how useful the Freehold troops were. He ordered the troops to remain in place, and demanded the Freeholder be replaced immediately and come to the Court at Niole Dra to answer for his treasonous activities. He refused to appear, or to rescind the orders to the troops. The Spokesmen also issued a declaration, condemning the King for violating the Charter of Niole Dra, and infringing on the privileges of their provincial ruler. Tavish now lost all control, ordering Keoish troops to block the retreating Freeholders, and demanding the Court give him levies to punish the Freeholders for their insolence. Unfortunately there were more who objected to his recent policies. Celene expelled the Royal Garrisons that had been stationed there for more than fifty years. The Neheli refused to hinder the retreating Freeholders, as did most of the Keogh, giving them an open path to return home once they passed through the Gran March. The Court, despite reservations, refused to sanction any action against the Freeholder, supporting his rights under the Charter, and asking instead for an accounting of certain actions during the recent campaigns. That left the Knights of the Watch willing to contest the passage of the Freeholder troops through the Gran March, but the start of the rebellion in Ket forced them to rush reinforcements there instead, and the Freeholders returned home with only minor skirmishing.

    For the next century a tense stalemate would exist between Keoland and the Freehold. Tavish the Blackguard declared the region in revolt, but was unable to muster troops for a campaign, and unwilling to commit to one anyway, and contented himself with harassing shipping going into and out of Longspear. The Freeholders, unwilling to risk turning the Kingdom against them by launching a pre-emptive strike, sat and waited for a new King more willing to negotiate. They had a chance when Luschan the Regent was elected, but he was preoccupied with the insurrection in Ket, and the negotiations proceeded slowly, and a final resolution was prevented by his early death. When Tavish, the Boy King, was elected, the situation again deteriorated. The new Tavish refused a Royal apology, or any guarantees about troop assignments, and demanded the Freehold submit to his rule. When the Short War broke out, followed by the war with Geoff, the Spokesmen had enough. They declared their full independence, and renounced any loyalty to the Kingdom. Tavish of course declared war, although he had no troops to prosecute it, but leaving yet another problem for his son to deal with after he died at the Siege of Westkeep.

    The war was ended, and the independence of the newly declared Kendeenil Yeomanry League, was negotiated in 460 CY, a century after they recalled their troops from Ket and Veluna. A follow up treaty a year later set the final borders between the two, and the Kendeenil began their most recent period as a free country. Little changed though, their government continuing as before, although the Freeholder gained a bit more power and responsibility.


    Since then, little has changed. The League has modified their laws somewhat in the years since, allowing certain master craftsmen to vote without having "raised the spear" as they call militia service, as well as establishing a minimum property requirement for the highest offices, but their government has not otherwise changed. They have again settled into a long quiet period, eventually hiring troops out as mercenaries to Keoland again, and accepting a constant state of peace with their neighbors as a birthright.

    Of course, that never applied to their neighbors in the mountains, and the regular raids of humanoids and giants reached a peak during the Greyhawk Wars. But they fought them off, and see no reason why the fall of Geoff and Sterich should worry them, merely increasing the strength and number of their patrols.

    As for politics, they continue to remain aloof. Whether they can as Kimbertos tries to awaken Keoland, and the Scarlet Brotherhood turns the former Hold of the Sea Princes into a chaotic land of open war, remains to be seen."
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    Re: Conflicts in the Yeomanry (Score: 1)
    by Wolfsire on Thu, September 01, 2005
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    I liked this history, but where did “Kendeenil” come from?  Is it associated with 12 or a location?  I understand why the place is called the “Yeomanry”, but how and why did the name transition from “Kendeenil” to the “Yeomanry”, given that the yeoman tradition was established early?

    Re: Conflicts in the Yeomanry (Score: 1)
    by Mystic-Scholar on Thu, August 06, 2009
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    I, too, wonder at the origin of the "Kendeenil" name. (?)

    All in all, a nice "fleshing out" of the Yeomanry's history. I will use in in my own material and "advance" the outline presented here into my own time line.

    Nice work.

    Re: Conflicts in the Yeomanry (Score: 1)
    by Fujisawa_Rob on Fri, July 20, 2012
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    Well, Kendeenil evolves nicely into "Kendall", as in the eponymous Keep from "Return to the Keep on the Borderlands".  The suggested location is in the Yeomanry.  Perhaps the namesake mentioned in the module was the ancestor of this Kendeenil. I like that...I think I'll use it.

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