Gwynedd

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Gwynedd is a founding realm of Belegarth and is the oldest unit of Dagorhir.

Contents

Basic Information

Location: Dale City, Virgina
Number of Members: ~75
Practices: Sundays 1-7 Cloverdale Park, Dale City VA
Website: Kingdom of Gwynedd
Affiliated Units: Galatia (Richmond, VA); Indomar (NoVA/MD)

Ruling Body

His Royal Majesty Sir Cerrydan of House Wyndhaven, Rex Dei Gratia
His Royal Highness Sir Detaru le Trout of House Wyndhaven, Princeps Corona Dei Gratia
Lord Kensman Tumbark the Barbarian of House Haldane, Dux Bellorum

The History of The Free Company Of Gwynedd

When the legions of Rome left the rocky shores of Wales for the last time, the Kingdom of Gwynedd, the northernmost of the traditional Welsh kingdoms, was in utter chaos. With the facade of Imperial order broken, petty warlords and foreign barbarians were free to openly and brutally pick apart the scraps of the once prosperous nation. King Owain Wyndhaven of Gwynedd was dead, killed in the Irish Wars. His son Trystan, then far from home on the the Isle of Ynys Mon, hastily returned to his native land to restore order and succour his people. To this end he established the first Free Company of Gwynedd, recruiting warriors from the disheartened tribes of the rugged mountains and fertile valleys of his beautiful country. Many warriors who heeded his call went on to great deeds of fame and renown, fighting for their families, their land, and their Celtic ways.

Trystan's first companions were his brothers, Finn and Fost Wyndhaven. Together they organized and trained the seasoned warriors and green youths alike who gathered in the Fall of 4(19)82 at the dun-fort of Mount Snowdon (The White Dragon Hobby Shop). Amongst these early comers were the famous Black Dragons, including renowned heroes such as Talon of Arcadia, Oron the Wolf, Dunryk of Gor, Oonah Groinsplitter, and Fluterflam. House Wyndhaven and the army both were greatly bolstered by the appearence of Llyr Corwyn-Wyndhaven, Trystan's cousin and a fierce battle leader. Finally when this impressive force had gained sufficient renown it attracted the attention and membership of the legendary Iskendar the Grim and his companion, Balinar the Elder. It would be these two champions who would forever establish the name of the proud and mysterious order of the Kensmen on the misty battlefields.

Together these Kensmen, Knights, and other warriors pacified the lands of Gwynedd. From there they launched daring raids into neighboring lands, which they soon brought to heel as tributaries and bald conquests. Thereafter Trystan's elder sister Rayne Wyndhaven returned to the now-peaceful Gwynedd, and was awed by its might and prosperity. Extolling the wealth of the nation and her brother's great deeds, she asked that Trystan promise to grant her a single boon. Flush with victory he rashly agreed to give her anything she might ask, excepting that it be to the immediate detriment of the land. Rayne therefore demanded that a Kingdom be established right away, with herself as its ruler. Caught and honor-bound by his Word, Trystan acquiesed, and Rayne was made Queen. Even as the crown rested on her head, however, Rayne knew full well that she would require the loyalty of the Free Company to maintain her rule. She therefore named Trystan as her Prince Regent and Heir, though her heart burned with dreams of absolute and unchallenged power.

The Kingdom then grew swiftly and prospered, its army winning renown wherever it fought. As Trystan's victories mounted, Queen Rayne grew more and more to perceive him as a threat to her power and prestige. Ever scheming, she invited some old allies of Trystan's, the Rangers, to visit her at Gwynedd's White Dragon Castle, the capital and seat of the monarchy. Trystan had shared some earlier adventures abroad with these Rangers. Though he had left them in peace to heed the call of his beleagured homeland, they were thralls to the envy with which they viewed his Name and wealth. They showed up in Gwynedd with harm in their secret hearts for Trystan, and plotted his downfall with his treacherous sister. At court a fierce rivalry developed, in which the Rangers attempted to undermine Trytan's reputation with the Free Company. Perceiving their ill-intent, Trystan wasted no time pressing the matter to a conclusion by calling for personal combat. In the bloody match which followed it seemed to all that Trystan had been slain by the Rangers' leader, Faulknera. In sooth, he was only grieviously wounded, and was spirited away to be healed by his Brother Finn. He was secretly sent back to his beloved land of Anglesey, the Isle of the Druids, to recover and live in exile.

Quenn Rayne wasted no time in naming Faulknera as Prince Regent of Gwynedd, investing him with all of Trystan's lands, titles and wealth, thinking the latter dead. This angered many, including Rayne's own kinsmen the Wyndhavens, who despaired to see Trystan's name besmirched and his wealth distributed to an upstart faction. The Kingdom then went into a slow decline, as soldiers deserted, peasants emigrated in the night and the morale of the Free Company began to wane. The once fertile valleys fell fallow. Military defeats were suffered for the first time. Land and cattle were lost to neighboring tribes and to other, more sinister enemies. One morning, Prince Faulknera was found inexplicably dead. The cause of death was uncertain, though the petty politics of the court factions were universally blamed. Faulknera's corpse was carried away by his loyal Rangers, and he and they were never heard from again in Aratari lands or elsewhere. Queen Rayne was then left to rule the Kingdom with her Knights and Kensmen as best she may, though it was not to last. The story is told that one fine Spring day, Her Majesty Rayne was leaning out of a tower window to pluck a rose from the vine growing there. She leaned out too far to pick a particularly perfect flower, and fell to her death on the cobblestones below. Rumours of a black arrow shot from nowhere circulated, though remained unsubstatiated.

The Kingdom was then suddenly again like a ship in a storm without a rudder, at the mercy of capricious fate and of her enemies. The once magnificent Company all but disbanded as its members returned to their manors and farms. Romes' Legions had returned, and were menacing the borders along with the monstrous and deadly Apollians. Word of this reached the rocky shores of Anglesey, and Trystan once again returned to restore order with bold deeds and swift action. The Company was recalled and refurbished, heartened by the return of its leader. Many boastful beers later, great victories were won on all borders and the Kingdom restored beyond its former glory. Amongst the warriors who committed these great and memorable deeds were Thorvaldd the Red, the brothers Mordok, Handryk, Thorock and Helgun ap Kerrigan, Lorick the Grand-Bard, Hobbitt, the renowned Half-Orc and his Braddok Boys, Ragnar Blackhammer, Gunter and Balynar the Younger of the House of the Red, and Arabus and his Vikings.

Trystan's older brother, Finn Wyndhaven, was named as the new King of Gwynedd, and order and peace was restored once again to the Land. Trystan was invested as the kingdom's first Dux Bellorum, and his other titles and lands were restored to him. Thorsborg was established by Thorvaldd and the Ap Kerrigans, and was home to many a fine Kensman thereafter. The valleys gave up abundant yields of grain and cattle, and the land prospered. King Finn begat a son, Owen, whom he named as his heir. He was fostered by Trystan, and the boy was trained in the arts of war and statecraft by the now veteran Kensmen and Knights of the Realm, a matter itself the subject of several tales.

Much of the history of Gwynedd from this time on remains unwritten, including:
The Succession Crisis and the Presumption of Mordekai the Foul of House Haldane
The Coming of Christianity, the Reign of King Owen and the Birth of his Progeny
The Succession of King Lorrymar, the Plot of Trystan, and the Tragic Death of Sir Schattenengel at the Hands of His Brother, Zwei.
The Reign of King Lorrymar
The Golden Age and Return of Factionalism
King Lorrymar's Abdication and Self-Exile; The Reign of King Cerrydan

The Knights of Gwynedd

Main article: Knights of Gwynedd

The Kensmen of Gwynedd

Main article: Kensman

Religion in Gwynedd

Though Christianity is the official state religion of Gwynedd, all faiths are granted tolerance within the realm by Act of King Owen in conjunction with His Royal Council. The two dominant religions within Gwynedd are Roman Catholicism and Celtic/Norse Paganism. Currently, His Grace Zwei ap Owen is the Archbishop of Venedotia, and so the leading figure in the Gwyneddian Church. He has no Pagan counterpart.

Although The Great Houses of Gwynedd tend to fall along religious lines, these are trends and not rules. Christians may be members of 'Pagan' households, and vise versa. Still, each household can be categorized as being predominantly Christian or predominantly Pagan.

Predominantly Christian Households: Houses Wyndhaven and Callahan

Predominantly Pagan Households: Houses Haldane, Tyr, Red, and Diamond Dog

Likewise, the warrior traditions of the kingdom also fall along religious lines, with Christians embarking on the path to knighthood and Pagans filling the ranks of the Kensmen. Though Pagan knights exist from early in the kingdom's history, non-Christians are no longer permitted to incept as knights by proclamation of King Owen and the Royal Council. There are no formal rules banning Christians from becoming Kensmen. Still, only a tiny minority of Kensmen are Christian.

The Great Houses

The Great Houses of Gwynedd are home to the realm's greatest warriors and statesmen. Though it is not necessary for a Gwyneddian to be a member of one of these households, it is from these noble hearths that the kingdom draws its leadership. Entry is dependent on adoption (usually upon embarking on a swordbrotherly or squirely tradition) or birth. The Leaders of these Houses comprise the King's Royal Council, and advise him for the felicity of the Kingdom.

House Wyndhaven

Founder: The ap Owain Brothers (Finn, Fost, and Trystan)
House Leader: King Cerrydan

This is the Royal House of Gwynedd. The Monarch and Heir Apparent come from this House, and this House only.

Notable Members: HRM Cerrydan; HRH Detaru le Trout; Finn ap Owain; Trystan ap Owain; Owen ap Finn; Zwei ap Owen; Lorrymar Callahan

House Haldane

Founder: Lord Talon Haldane
House Leader: Lord Talon Haldane
Website: House Haldane

Notable Members: Talon Haldane; Tumbark the Barbarian; Tauron the B'olde; Mordekai the Foul; Kelson Haldane

House Tyr

Founder: Iskendar the Grimm
House Leader: Iskendar the Grimm

House Red

Founder:
House Leader: Lord Freewynd the Red

House Diamond Dog

Founder:
House Leader: Lord Admiral Arabus the Treacherous

House Callahan

Founder: Lord Lorrymar Callahan
House Leader: Lord Jonah Callahan

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