Lord of Altera
The Anhalder are a human ethnic group known primarily for their strict religious and cultural beliefs and for their martial prowess, united by a belief in one deity and a sense of bloody honour. The majority of Anhalder are isolated in a single kingdom in the northern pine forests and mountain dales of the continent they refer to as Gottland under their ruler, the Kaiser, and his lords. The people take the name from their country, which has been known since the days of the first Kaiser, Charles the Saintly, as the Kingdom of Anhald.
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The dawn of Anhald began at the twilight of Lavoyard. The dynasty of Lavoyard established an empire that was not rivalled until the conquests of Kaiser Peter the Great in 2260. During the final years of imperial Lavoyard, the vassal state of Marr betrayed the Empress, and her child Charles fled to the loyal Baron Hallon and called up his banners to crown him Kaiser in 2238. The boy king fell to a fever a year into his reign, and denied inheritance to his disloyal cousins by naming the house of Hallon his heirs and beginning the first true Anhalder dynasty in 2240.
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Sheltered in vale and valley beneath the roofs of sprawling stone keeps, the people of Anhald do not suffer the harsh winters of the far north or the scorching heat of the south. Kept warm by lakes and southern winds, the seasons in Anhald lands are best described as mild and uneventful. The Anhald seasons and calendar are the same as in other countries, mostly for political reasons and for ease of communication with foreigners, with the exception that their New Year is celebrated the day that Kaiser Charles the Great was crowned.
The plains and prairies are painted in brushes of green and gold farmland and animal pastures. The wild woods of pine and oak are cut down to fuel the fires of industry when one is within the boundaries of a settlement, but escape them and the forests grow into the deep and dark hunting grounds of the noblemen and wild beasts alike. The wilds are cut up by well worn roads and passages for wagons and carriages carrying goods, as the rivers of Anhald can bear no ships.
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The political hierarchy of Anhald consists of the standard feudal and caste systems of other human kingdoms. Peasants and serfs work the land, while merchants sell the fruits of their labour and the clergy guide the commonfolk to unity in faith. All pay their tax and swear loyalty to the ruler over their land, a landed knight, a count, or a baron. This feudal caste defines how Anhalder treat each other, who they work with and serve, and who they can love.
Families of Anhalder noblemen are called houses. The eldest male of a noble house is the patriarch of the family and the ruler of any family vassals. Noble families value their bloodlines over any material wealth, and to marry into peasantry is taboo. These houses are fiercely proud of their blood ties and can be distinguished through different sigils and colours worn on their person and found through their lands, and through house words and beliefs distinct to their lands that differ from others. The traditional noble family can consist of a lord and his wife and children, but also of his squires and pages, his household knights, sea captains, and armed retainers, and if he is of significant status, his governors and council members.
All Anhalder, from the lowest villein to the wealthiest trade baron, swear fealty to the ‘Kaiser’ and to the Faith. The term Kaiser, a translation of the Old Arcturian word Caesar, refers to the ultimate ruler of Anhald who is considered to be granted his position by the divine ruling of Ignis Synnove, and is as much a religious leader as a king. In the rare event of a female ruler, she is called Kaiserin. Some knights and lesser lords will swear fealty to a more powerful lord that swears fealty to the Kaiser, who is above all other nobles.
In the current setting, it is known that Kaiser Audwine I has retreated behind closed walls and fortresses. The people and culture, however, still continue to live under his faith.
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