[Book] Horskva Kongerike

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Tristior
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[Book] Horskva Kongerike

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Parts I-VII

I. Prologue
A son, prince and king-to-be, came before his father, king and corpse-to-be. He asked that his father share his knowledge of the Wise Kingdom, hard won through a lifetime of power, that he might learn the ways of kingship. What transpired has been recorded, that any prince high or low may gain this knowledge and thus prepare to build a Wise Kingdom of their own.

II. The land
Son: Will you tell me of the land I shall one day rule?
Father: I shall, my son. This land is Uld Vraech, and we are the heirs of High King Vrage himself. We are a seafaring kingdom, controlling the straits between Dunkreath and savage Solstheim, and rich from the trade that passes through our seas. What we cannot extract peacefully we take through force, for the Gods have granted us these straits as our one deserved boon.

III. The people
Son: And will you tell me of the people of this land?
Father: I shall do this also. The Men of Uld Vraech are stoic and strong, braving the hostile sea and Dunmereth both. They will be loyal to you without question. The Ashen Folk also live among us, in small numbers, and you must never trust them or they will see the kingdom ruined. The others you see about you are traders, diplomats, and those outsiders who would take our wealth by guile, yet these you can exploit to your own ends.

IV. Marvels of the North
Son: What sights will gladden my eyes as I travel the frozen North?
Father: The greatest sight is the peerless Throat of the World, for our power is manifest in its distant peak. Danstrar, the serpent hall of our cousins, is another wonder, for any ship that passes peaceably beneath its great skull will never be becalmed. Then there is the Dragon Wall, where almost three millennia ago the people of the North cast down the demon Mauloch who, in his revenge against the Sky, gave us the Year of Winter in Summer. The other wonders you must find for yourself, for a king of Uld Vraech must be a traveller foremost.

V. Outsiders and enemies
Son: And who are those I must fear, lest they take these marvels from us?
Father: All who are not of Uld Vraech are outsiders and can be welcomed but never trusted. The Ashen Ones will always seek to push us into the sea, but they fight themselves more than us and often their great clans will pay gold for the might of our warriors. The Tjaski-men are no longer a threat, for it was our revolt that drove them from the North and ultimately from their southern throne. The Men of the south are weak and will seek to tempt you into submission to an empire they cannot hold; laugh at their promises and their pompous displays.

VI. Commerce and taxes
Son: From where comes the gold that fills our coffers and the arm-rings that reward our crews?
Father: All must pay fealty to their king and it is proper that you extract that fealty through the taxation of their gold. Merchants you will tax for the right to use your harbours and your markets and your waters, and any who try to outrun your tollmen know that their cargoes are forfeit. However, the truest way for Kyne’s people to find fortune is upon the battlefield, and the greatest wealth of our kingdom was borne home on the shields of our warriors.

VII. Warfare and the seizure of wealth
Son: Where, then, shall I seek this battle-gold, to bring wealth to our people?
Father: To make war upon your neighbours is best. The last target of your aggression should be our cousins to the west, for it will diminish your standing in the eyes of the Moot and should be attempted in only the harshest of winters. Better to send your warriors east instead, to pillage the ashen settlements of Dunmereth and the curious islands beyond. Be swift in your looting, but not afraid to give battle if the odds are fair, for the nobles of those lands carry much wealth with them to war. It is by this that you will be a wealthy and much loved king, and your favoured warriors will glitter in battle from their countless arm-rings.

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