The Fate of Arderoth
Great men are often born into a shattered land. Tolgor Nelson was such a man. His lineage is unremarkable for a refugee form the Old World. His mother was a farmwife and his father a raiding soldier from a rival kingdom. Tolgor was conscripted into the local Dolsch militia at an early age. He was a quiet boy, prefering to listen rather than speak. His simple reliance on the inherent goodness of mankind and drive to see justice prevail made people like and trust him. He skillfully played corrupt officers against local criminals and the weak Baron of Dolsch. By age 18 Tolgor had neutralized all of these forces and claimed the Barony for his own without striking a single blow. With a title and a seat at King Aos of Lucene’s court new opportunities were open to Tolgor.
The aging King Aos’ only heir was his 12 year old son, Prince Herbert. The court was filled with ambitious aristocrats who would likely tear the kingdom apart without a strong sovereign. On his deathbed Aos named Tolgor Regent of Lucene at the age of 20 and within the month Lucene was plunged into a brutal civil war. The neighboring Kingdoms of Alusia and Mossburg were well prepared to take advantage of the chaos and immediately probed the borders of Lucene and make overtures to its divided aristocracy. Tolgor retreated to Dolsch with Herbert and waited, gaining strength and valuable emissaries in the courts of his foes. He baited the rivals into a single decisive battle. The armies of Mossburg, Alusia and the treacherous Nobles of Lucene tore each other apart. Tolgor quickly gathered the Dolsch militia and those loyal to the crown in a daring counter attack on the capital of Alusia.
The tyrannical King Pago of Alusia had no time to respond. He took to the sea with his 13 finest ships leaving the Old World behind forever. By mid summer Tolgor was left as the only authority in Alusia. The people respected him for his bravado but their state religion, The Orthodoxy, was still loyal to King Pago. The King of Alusia is also the High Priest of The Orthodoxy and at their coronation the King must recite The Deeds of the Saints by memory. Tolgor rose to the occasion and was now King of Alusia. He abdicated 7 days later leaving Pago’s younger brother, Marco VIII, as the new King of Alusia. Tolgor turned his army north to Mossburg.
Tolgor had already defeated the remnants of the army of Mossburg in Dolsch that spring, but summer was ending and the prospects of invading the rough northern kingdom in winter did not look good. He had to act quickly before Mossburg could rearm so Tolgor rode into Mossburg alone. When he arrived at the court of King Silar he was not recognized. The king was raising a new army and, as tradition dictates, a new Lord Martial to lead it. Tolgor bested all comers in a trial by arms, slew the giant Alcanoss as his royal quest, but when he accurately recited his list of victories King Silar broke into gales of laughter. Tolgor was made Lord Martial of Mossburg and he and King Silar remained fast friends for years.
For the next 4 years peace and prosperity reigned as the 3 kingdoms traded and grew. Tolgor was still Regent of Lucene but the people of Mossburg and Alusia had great respect for him. On Prince Herbert’s 16th birthday he was coronated and Tolgor stepped down and into private life. He was 24 years old and had held titles in 3 kingdoms but still wanted more.
With the land at peace and no more official duties, Tolgor took to wandering the Western Kingdoms in search of riches, adventure and romance. These years are poorly documented and a great many tall tales come from this period of Tolgor’s life. It is clear, however, that he developed a deep distrust of the Pearl Empire during his time in the west and when he finally returned to the courts of the east Tolgor counseled caution in dealing with them.
In Tolgor’s absence the eastern kingdoms flourished. Their short golden age of peace had allowed Alusia to hone its shipbuilding techniques, Mossburg their mining and metal smithing, and Lucene its trade acumen. The kingdoms traded freely over sea and land and eventually opened new routes to the great Pearl Empire. Riches flowed in from the Pearl Empire by sea along with silver-tongued diplomats from the west. The Corsairs of Urso, long a nuisance to the coastal trade, became a serious barrier that the eastern kings needed to confront. Tolgor Nelson again came to their aid. For 6 Alusian Galleons, 1/3 of all treasure he captured and a letter of marque absolving him and his crews of all acts committed at sea, Tolgor would shatter the Corsairs and his old nemesis King Pago.
Tolgor and his fleet pursued the Corsairs of Urso for several years. He sank or captured dozens of pirate ships but their homes across the impassible Great Sea remained untouched. He took on a mysterious female passenger in Florens which started a downward spiral of misfortune. Shifting winds and freak storms allowed cornered Corsair ships to escape. Imprisoned pirates were rescued by their brethren. Finally, one of Tolgor’s prized Alusian galleons was lost in a battle with the Corsair Captain Jan Holk. With the patience, faith and support of the Kingdoms waning, Tolgor needed to find the secret the Corsairs used to cross the Great Sea to sack their bases.
That summer Jan Holk murdered King Pago to take control of the Corsairs of Urso. The pirates fell into chaos. For 10 years Tolgor easily defended the coastal kingdoms from the poorly organized raids. He became rich from the stolen bounty he seized but the secret of the Great Sea remained elusive. Finally, tired form the chase and with no where else to go, Jan Holk arranged a meeting with Tolgor. He offered the secret of crossing the Great Sea in return for a full pardon from all Old World kingdoms. The Kings would not agree to such a deal so Tolgor offered Holk, his ship and its crew a place in his fleet. Tolgor had never replaced the galleon he had lost, and his original letter of marque included 6 Alusian galleons and their crew.
The Kings were furious. It had been 30 years since Tolgor Nelson had ended the constant warring between Lucene, Alusia and Mossburg, and few remembered his contributions to their prosperity. Trade with the Pearl Empire had made them soft and open to the “wisdom” of the west. Tolgor cared little for Old World intrigue. He had the Corsairs’ secret of crossing the Great Sea and his enemy at his mercy. Tolgor and Jan Holk seized their advantage taking 3 New World pirate strongholds in their first campaign only to have them retaken when they returned to Lucene for supplies.
Tolgor’s 2nd New World campaign included an additional 6 galleons filled with men, horses, livestock and craftsmen to convert the pirate towns into functional bases for his own use. Soon the coastal towns of Dulane, Freeboot, Cardyff and Capesburg were taken and garrisoned by Tolgor’s troops.