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King Byrant I of Etrand (Etrandish: Bryant; IPA: [b̥ɾʏɐnt~b̥ɾɥɑnt]), born Ladislaus Londbert (Etrandish: Ladislaus Londbert; IPA: [lɑdɪslɐʊ̯s lɔndbəɹt]) was the ruler of Etrand between 718 and 744 AEKE, and founder of the Bryantid dynasty, even though he never identified as such, preferring to view his reign as the continuation of the Tondbertid dynasty's rule.
Early Life Edit
King Byrant's birth name was Ladislaus Londbert. The Londbert family was once a highly prestigeous family of nobles in Southern Etrand, tracing their ancestry back all the way to the times of Corlagon, as the founding king's relatives. However, during the 7th century, the family has gotten impoverished and lost much of their demesne.
Ladislaus was born on 687 AEKE, 20th of Edhealasse as the son of Kymbern Londbert, an impoverished nobleman from the Londbert family. The young Ladislaus had his education in Grandfolk, where he was taught law and economics, before returning to his father's domain to learn how to fight with a sword and ride a horse. In his late teens, Ladislaus once again returned to Grandfolk to finish his studies. He graduated at the Royal Academy of Etrand in 708.
The talented Ladislaus was then recommended to the local adminstration by his father. Ladislaus was hired as a tax-collecting officer.
Political career Edit
As part of the administration in Grandfolk, his brief time had its impact very fast - his new taxation policies encouraged the growth of businesses, and just in two years, people would be already talking about the increased quality of life and the more profits that started flowing into the royal treasury.
Therefore, it did not take too long for King Calder to find this talent and hire him as an advisor in the royal court. Ladislaus worked tirelessly to improve the situation of Etrand, both regarding economics, and regarding the rule of the law, however, as he was nothing more than the King's advisor, his hands were tied, and he could enact his desired reforms only as much as the King agreed with them.
One day however, rumours came that Ladislaus was a pretender and wanted the throne for himself. In order to disperse the rumours, the then 26-year old Ladislaus asked the King to give him his 15-year old daughter's, Mythela's hand - with whom he was rumoured to have a romantic affair with -, but King Calder refused, saying that "Royalty and the king's servants should not intermarry". As a booby-prize for the rejection, Ladislaus was appointed as the governor of the autonomous region of Northernn Etrand, with the objective of restoring the rule of the law and quelling the bickering among the clans. The King's motivation was simple - to ged rid of his daughter's suitor, and take him somewhere as far away from the royal court as possible.
Much to his surprise, Ladislaus did not find bickering clans to make peace between - instead he was constantly bombarded by dwarven and gnomish petitioners, who kept complaining about King Calder curbing the autonomy of the region, about the inefficency of the administration, about how the region's economy was declining despite the huge potential. Some of the more paranoid petitioners even assumed that the Kingdom would allow Inquisitors to roam freely in the region and arrest anyone who does not believe in Titanius. Off course, that one was just a baseless rumor - not even Calder dared to break the pact between King Andrei and the Dwarves that took place four centuries ago. Nevertheless, Ladislaus quickly realized that he had much work to do.
Ladislaus began his work by enacting his policies of selective taxation that encouraged the growth of small businesses, and discouraged the indiscriminate hoarding of curreny for currency's sake. He reworked the tariffs and subsidized the mining industries. He would also listen carefully to the Dwarven complaints and scrutinize them by examining the local laws. Once again, his skill as a governor quickly began bearing its fruit, as life standards rose, unjust arrests and show trials became unheard of, and some of the excess income was spent at a Dwarven militia that ensured safety and peace.
However, in 717, King Calder has grown more and more frustrated with the growing reputation of Ladislaus, called Ladislaus the Just by many. It was at that time when Ladislaus was given the nickname Bryant, after Saint Briantius, the patron saint of soldiers and lawyers alike, the saint of laws - especially ancient laws. The King dismissed Ladislaus as the governor of Northern Etrand, and - under the belief that he can be just as just and effective as a governor as Ladislaus was - began curbing the autonomy of the Dwarves even more, who while did not revolt, still didn't like his new policies and wanted Ladislaus back, who - despite being a human - has largerly won their hearts. The King began raising taxes all over Etrand, inviting the outrage of peasant and nobleman alike. In Northern Etrand, he even banned the public pracice of traditional Dwarven religion. However, it was not any revolt or assassination attempt that ultimately caused his demise - it was a hunting accident, during which he was wounded mortally. His wounds weren't taken seriously - as it was inner bleeding -, so no Cleric was asked to heal him. His wife was pregnant, and knowing that, Calder demanded that all nobles swear fealty to his unborn son. Three days later, King Calder died, and soon his wife miscarried.
Ascension to throne Edit
In 718, King Calder I of Etrand died. His one and only daughter Mythela was the first in line of succession, but three Calder's younger brothers - Kerlon, Symner and Zylf - ignored his, and started petitioning for the throne. As expected however, they could not make a compromise. At first, Symner argued that they could make Mythela a puppet queen, and the three of them could be the wielders of de facto power, but both Kerlon and Zylf wanted absolute control, and as such, a succession war started.
The three conspiring brothers immediately divided the land among themselves, but Northern Etrand became the domain of a third participant of the war - Ladislaus, who by that time had assumed the name Bryant, using it as his full legal name, rather than just his nickname.
At first, Symner had the upper hand - he acquired Grandfolk. Mythela and her loyalists escaped from the city, and fled to Etrancoast, where the local Earl and his men remained loyal to her. In her absence, Symner had arranged for her to be declared married to her elderly former steward, so that no magnate could come to the aid of the unmarried princess with the motivation of marrying her.
Symner then was driven out of Grandfolk by the combined forces of Zylf and Kerlon, who soon found his head atop a pike. Zylf and Kerlon continued to bicker among each other, but Zylf - despite being the stronger one - had the disadvantage of having to fight a three-front war: with Kerlon, with Bryant, and with the Mythela Loyalists in Etrancoast.
Bryant, using his Dwarven milities and Mercenary Dragons, has managed to capture Steelhelm with little to no bloodshed. Zylf, paranoid about the recent turn of events, has made a truce with Kerlon, and agreed to unite his forces with his against Bryant. At the Battle of Morshu's Mill, the forces of Bryant have won a decisive victory against the forces of Zylf and Kerlon. During the battle, Zylf has decided to betray his brother, but most of his troops refused to act at the proper time, causing Zylf to be slain by Kerlon's forces. At the end of the battle, Kerlon found himself imprisoned too.
However, this did not mean the end of the Succession War - the supporters of Zylf and Kerlon continued the struggle under the leadership of Zylf's son, Brelon. who has besieged Yrvhaven, the capital of Etrancoast, last refugee of Mythela and her loyalists. Meanwhile, Bryant has managed to capture Grandfolk, and invalidate Mythela's marriage. After punishing the members of the royal court whom he deemed guilty, he continued his campaign at the East. Brelon, finding himself between two armies, surrendered and kneeled before the princess. As Brelon's siege was a failure, hiring the pirates became useless - nevertheless, the pirates still came and attacked. Bryant decided to absolve Brelon from the crime of high treason, but he would still have to pay for the pirate problem: stop the pirates or his demesne will be reduced to compensate for the damage the pirates cause.
The victorious Bryant was offered the crown, but he rejected it, arguing that he was only acting in the defense of the valid ruler, Mythela. After marching back to Grandfolk to celebrate the victory, Bryant asked for Mythela's hand in marriage, who said yes - it is said that the marriage between Bryant and Mythela was a love marriage. After the marriage ceremony, Bryant was crowned king, as King Byrant I of Etrand.
Bryant wasn't too harsh in punishing his former enemies as long as they acknowledged his rule and showed remorse for their action during the Bryantid Succession War as future historians came to know it. Brelon was allowed to keep his demesne and were even given a court rank later on for his faithful services. Same applied to the sons of Kerlon and Symner as the king stated that "no offspring could be held accountable for the actions of their parents". But those who failed to recognize the change of times were punished severely. A General who served under Brelon tried to bribe the new king with valuable silver plates to win his favour only to find himself in prison. He was banished from the realm. Kerlon himself also refused to kneel before the new king, calling him an usurper. He was sentenced to death for treason but was executed with a method which was appropriate for his rank and his body was given a proper funeral.
During his reign he always ruled in the name of the Tongbertids which may have been a mere gesture towards those who fought for them. In the first years he waged many skirmishes against local rebels, raiders, pirates and lesser nobles who still questioned his rule slowly consolidating his authority over the realm. After the peace was restored he imposed the rule of law on the kingdom, resulting in many changes which is now widely known as the Great Reformation or the Second Founding. These new economic and legal implementations slowly bear fruition and made Etrand thriving country. Cities were given greater autonomy from the crown's authority and the abolition of inner customs frontiers gave a huge boost to trade which resulted in their grwoth as traditional market centers. Bryant restored the ancient rights of the dwarves and vowed to protect them in the future earning their support for his reign. More and more dwarven mines were opened to fulfil the sudden need for gems, gold and silver as the enriched new merchant class and citizens required it.
King Bryant - influenced by Pirothea Nelvarryl - also tried to fight for the emancipation of the Dark Elves in Etrand, but this ambition of his had only met limited success - even though more and more Dark Elves turned to a lawful lifestyle and became law-abiding citizens of the Kingdom, no amount of royal authority could force the ordinary citizen to view the Dark Elves in a different light and forget about the stereotypes associated with them.
The biggest threat to his rule emerged in the 15th years of his rule when a young peasant man named Aederik appeared. He said that he was the unborn son of Calder who was forced to live secretly, among the commoners because his life was in constant danger because of the Usurper. He called upon Bryant to restore him to his rights.
Before this event drought has decimated crops for two years in many regions and food became scarce. Many peasants blamed Bryant for this as he was trying his best to provide the cities with required nourishment. They hoped that if Aederik has grown up as one of them then he would enact new laws in their favour later on. Many regions rose up against Bryant who refused to acknowledge this man as a true royalty. Thousands died in Aederik's Revoultion (or the 'False King's War' as known to many) but in the end the man could not secure the support of any major powers. His peasant army was scattered and badly defeated in the Battle of Mitrid Plains. Peasants were returned to their villages and those who participated were forced to permanently settle there for the next twenty years as a means of punishment. Aederik's body was never recovered from the battlefield which gave birth to many rumours of his survival and contiuned ambition of taking the throne. It took decades for these stories to die out but Aederik still remained a hero in many peasant's eyes.
It was reported by various sources that he had a very good and harmonious relationship with his wife despite the age gap. They had six children together: four daughters and two sons. The daughters were married of to other nations ensuring peace with them or to powerful locals to keep their cooperation and loyalty to the crown. The older from the sons, Eurenic was trained to be a ruler and warrior while the younger, Cairbre was sent to school to study sciences as he has a weaker body from birth. Bryant tried to educate his first son and gave him his share of power. His love for his family was his greatest weakest: he turned a blind eye to Eurenic's misuse of his own power who used it for his amusement or the fulfilment of the needs of his numerous friends. Bryant may felt that his firstborn requires only more time to start taking things seriously. But that time was not given for him. During the 27th year of his reign, he died in his private library when one of the weaker shelves fell to him, and killing him when he was searching for an old codex about the ancient laws of Fathred the Great.
Many thought that Eurenic would follow him on the throne but it would have been the end for the dynasty as many argued later on. It was his wife, Mythela who made things right and after months of struggle, made Cairbre sit on his father's throne. Eurenic rebelled twice against his rule but failed both time and was blinded after the second attempt.
Foreign relations Edit
King Bryant was the contemporary of King Cael'mus of Froturn, Queen Cairi of Dragoc and Prince Borró of Artaburro, and enjoyed good relations with all of the three - not just as statesmen, but also as persons: he was a personal friend of all of these three. The stability Etrand enjoyed during Bryant's reign encouraged increased trade with these three kingdoms, with helped the economy of Etrand.
Bryant's foreign policies were consider somewhat unorthodox, due to his moves to trade with and establish embassies at the Dark Elven clans, especially the Dhaeraow Loomin. All in all, the King sought to have good relations with all foreign powers other than Keldorn. Despite his best efforts however, relations between Etrand and Neressa remained cold from the Etrandish perspective, neutral from the Neressan perspective. Unlike the rulers of Froturn and Dragoc, the Emperor of Neressa showed no interest in being friends with the King of Etrand, and even though they did exchange envoys and ambassadors, the emperor refused to meet in person with the king, just like with every other ruler - the envoys did not even meet the Emperor personally, but his spokesmen instead. Some believe that the Emperor of Neressa did this out of defiance, as he may or may not have interpreted what the other rulers were doing as "bowing down to Etrandish supremacy" - others believe that this was further proof that Emperor Terkemish of Neressa is no longer alive.
Perception of Bryant is overall positive. He is credited with economical reforms that brought prosperity to Etrand. He is also credited by bringing an end to the "Late Tondbertid decadence", and is considered a just king for many of his legal reforms, such as the presumption of innocense. Additionally, he was generally considered a shrewd diplomat who maintained good relations with every other state in Artograch, with the exception of the isolationist Neressa.
Even though his perception is overall positive by historians, not even King Bryant is immune to critics - his lax religious policies are frequently blamed for encouraging Queen Cairi in her reckless crusade to bring Naturalist missioanries to Etrand and Froturn, only to be ousted by Bryant's successor Cairbré, bringing down relations between the two religions to an all-time low.
Some also believe that Bryant's acts of restraining the Inquisiton and increasing his royal authority at the expense of the Church are negative - his rushed secularist reforms would all be annulled by his successors, and would only serve to rile up a new generation of conservative fundamentaists, who would begin taking power in Etrand in the late 8th century and early 9th century.
Another source of criticism of Bryant is surprisingly not his policies, but his personal life - much of the records about his personal life during his reign were actually fabricated after his death. The Bryant that was loyal to his wife Mythela and had a harmonic relationship with her is a myth - the real Bryant had plenty of lovers, male and female alike, and he was especially fond of underage boys and crossdressers. This promiscuity does not reflect well on the king, even if all evidence for it got censored out of existence during the infamous Cairbrean Censorship.
- King Bryant was bisexual. He had both female and male lovers, especially during his late life. In his last years, he has grown very fond of male cross dressers. All evidence for his sexual deviancy would be censored out of evidence by his religious and conservative son Cairbré, who would also go on to fabricate history to make Bryant look even more just than he actually was.
- King Bryant was born with brown eyes and black hair. Starting from the age of 45-50, his eye colour changed to green.
- During the Battle of Morshu's Mill, Bryant's testicles got pierced by a crossbow bolt. He was cured by Bishop Hereric Kyllern.
|“|| When you are struck, you don't know what comes next. You are bleeding, you are pierced, but you just don't feel anything. Then, seconds later, it all hits you, like how the sound of thunder is delayed after the flash of lightning.|
It is not the wounds or the infection that is killing you. It's the necessity to remain silent, when the desire to scream your lungs out is becoming irresistible as pain bites into your nerves like a wolf bites into the flesh of his victim. Then, it all goes out like a candle. The fire is still burning, but you don't feel it. It's as hot as a brimstone, yet feels like ice.
Then comes the kindle. The agonizing pain returns when the cause of the pain is removed from your body. The priest places his lighting, shiny hand on your body, and soon, it is all history. You are overcome with a glorious sensation that makes you forget all the pain you had just a minute ago.
That is how it felt for me at the battle.
| — Bryant, Battle of Morshu's Mill|
See also Edit