The New Divine Order
The other son, Caliph of Herzog, the Lawgiver
“Azelia spent her life bettering herself. I was never so dull. I dreamed of elevating mankind.”
Born in the latter half of the age of heroes “Almost” could be the story of Adalard’s life. He spent his life almost equaling the magnificence of Khaz Anor. Never as beloved as Azelia. Never as successful as Noac. Never as powerful as Recluse. Never as infamous as Zethina. As a scion he created a nation from the scattered survivors of the Inner Sea flood. He established a codified set of laws and legal precedents that remain common across the Midlands. He built the reflecting obelisks of Jhenna to honor the goddess Lux. He wrote books on a wide variety of subjects, many of which were critical and popular successes. Indeed, he may well have been the greatest young god of the age. Yet… only centuries after his passing he has become largely forgotten, known only to scholars and historians.
He is the god of the ruined city and fallen empire of Herzog. The crumbling topless towers only visited by scavengers, and pillaged by scholars.
Adalard and the New Order
“Yes, I am Aesir. Mine is the line of Anzo, Odin, and even more ancient Borr before him. But when I hear gods of Oni, Jotun, or others speak, it becomes clear that they don’t understand what it means. Yes, we hold our kin dear. But it does not mean that we are all close. I have scores of siblings, nieces, and nephews. Many I’ve never met. We are more than just a member of a family. To be an Aesir is to hold a burden entrusted to us by Grandfather Odin, who hung himself from the tree of all things and traded his eye for wisdom. Who died fighting the slavering beast Fenris. We are the pillar, the keystone, the integral dynasty holding the world back from another Ragnarok. The ones who will do anything to perform that duty.”
The younger brother of Azelia and a score of other deities, Adalard always had a fierce independent streak. An almost desperate desire to prove that he was more capable, smarter… greater than his peers in every way that mattered. During the age of heroes demigods usually rallied around each other, indeed could Noac have unified Levia without Vyborna and the White Rose? Yet Adalard walked alone.
After his ascension he competed with Noac and Azelia for influence in the halls of heaven. But his lukewarm relationship with his father, followed by the collapse of his empire, has left him a bitter and minor player in Heaven.
The Works of Adalard
All the gods of the age of heroes have left works behind, from texts, cities, monuments, to empires.
Azelia wrote scores of texts, but most are quite exoteric and most were never copied in great number. Some examples of her surviving works include Analysis of the Meaning of Zero, and the Reality Personification Disassociation of Reason.
Zethina is assumed to have written only one book, The Book of Burning Feathers, no complete copy of the work is believed to survive, and perhaps the world is a better place for it. Yet some sections and quotations from the book are still commonly encountered.
Adalard wrote far fewer texts than his sister, still dozens of volumes, his books have received a much larger circulation, and far more of them survived to the current age. Instead he is mostly remembered for his treatise on governance and his monolithic works on crime and administration of justice. While he dabbled in magic tomes and religious texts, these books have largely been forgotten. His other interest was his fascination with dragons. He encountered the Dragon Photine when he was a child and devoted much of his attention to studying the legendary creatures and is considered one of the founding scholars of the science of draconology.
Adalard was a builder, an artist, a philosopher, and a civil administrator. He designed the entire city of Hezog, built the reflecting obelisks scattered across the Iron Wastes. He created a legal system whose tenets can still be found across the midlands.
Adalard’s story is not so different from that of other young conquerors, and by the time he was a young man he’d unified the southern midlands (Present day Vara, Khail, parts of Shirdal, southeastern Kesh, and most of the Iron Waste).
History of Herzog Pending
ALTERNATE VERSION: for your consideration:
Adalard, Caliph of Herzog
“Azelia spent her life bettering herself. I was never so dull. I dreamed of elevating mankind.”
Born in the latter half of the Age of Heroes, Adalard Anzoson was a contemporary of some of the most influential scions ever to walk Second Earth. Slightly younger than Azelia, but older than Noac, Adalard was raised in a small town near the southern shores of the Inner Sea. Raised by his mortal mother, the town’s ealdorwoman, he lived his early life surrounded by refugees and people who struggled to rebuild their lives after the flooding of the Midlands and the creation of the Inner Sea. There was no nation to govern them or protect them – rather they survived by strength and wits alone. Adalard, who knew of his divine bloodline despite the fact that he was never visited by his father, was quickly found to be exceptional in many aspects – he had a brilliant mind, was skilled in both combat and was beloved by his people.
Inspired by the suffering of the people of the Midlands, who were overwhelmed by constant lawlessness and lack of governance, Adalard aimed to unite the humans whose lives had been left in disarray due to the formation of the Inner Sea. He started by stamping out the bandits, criminals and pirates that were ruling the midlands with extreme prejudice, subjecting each of them to a harsh, but consistent, set of punishments he established in his most controversial work_ A Manifesto on the Codices of Law_. He also infamously dealt with the excess of squabbling nobles and inheritance by introducing Adalard’s Law of Inheritance, in which sons not chosen to inherit lands are killed by their fathers. He also allowed polygamy. While his policies were dark and controversial, they proved effective and the people of the Midlands rallied around his banner and the Caliphate of Herzog was born with him at its forefront.
Unlike Noac, whose slow pace and diplomatic style of conquering allowed him the time to assimilate the people and get them invested in the fate of a Levia whole, Adalard very quickly conquered a large area of territory (which never reached the size of modern Levia, though it was bigger than Levia at the time), liberating them from anarchy. His empire covered all of modern day Vara and Shirdal, as well as most of what is now Kesh, Southern Levia, and Neflheim and part of Misheim. He forced his codices of law on all of the vast number of people very rapidly allowing no wiggle room or time to adjust to his way of doing things, though many people fell in line out of the fear and respect they had for the powerful and just man who had conquered them. He also added the armies of entire regions into his army as new legions – making his army the most powerful and versatile on the continent, but leaving the original lands unprotected and taking soldiers away from their families. He was a unifier – but in name only, crossing off sections of the map and enforcing his laws without thought to the consequences of drastically changing these people’s way of life and all the while, taking their strongest features to add them to his army. With his empire at its highest, he built his great palace, Hezogan, in the center of the Iron Wastes, atop a great rock butte in the badlands – he also built the reflecting obelisks of Jhenna, a shrine to Lux as well as a complex signaling system that allowed Adalard, in his Iron Palace, to send messages almost instantly to port cities both sides of the Gap.
Adalard died in battle, at a very advanced age, supposedly by an arrow through the eye, during the midst of a third round of rebellions from Keshian tribes. His son, chosen by Adalard to succeed him, was a gifted swordsman, but lacked his father’s ruthlessness and forceful personality, partially because he was raised in luxury as opposed to the hardships that his father had endured. Without Adalard’s natural charisma, the Caliph of Herzog was revealed to be little more of a cult of personality of divine proportions. Most of Kesh quickly regained their independence without Adalard’s leadership to quell them and the people north of them, with their fighting men pulled away by the Caliph to fight quell other rebellions, went to and later joined Levia for protection from renewed Keshian raids.
Adalard’s rapid conquering made his people reluctant to continue his brutal laws when he was away (in fact, many had been lax in enforcing them when his eye was not upon them even when he was still alive) and the separate legions in his army made his military fractured as most of their true loyalties remained with their home regions. Fifty years after his death, Adalard’s empire had crumbled, so that all that remained under his control were the Iron Wastes and modern-day Vara, which finally fell to the armies of Varon the Great ten years after that. Adalard’s remaining family, and the last few men loyal to him and his ideals, were left to starve and die alone in their palace – few have ventured there since and many a terrible story has emerged about what happened to the people who died there.
Despite the brevity of his short-lived empire, Adalard’s legacy and his influence on the Midlands is undeniable. Physically, many of the cities and monuments of the Midlands were built under Adalard’s watch – most notably, the great palace of Hezogan and its surrounding obelisks, but also many other castles and forts in this region, some of which became the city states of Shirdal. In addition, while many of Adalard’s more brutal laws were quickly abandoned, many of his other laws weren’t – several parts of his codices of law remain in strong force, especially in Shirdal, but also in many other places in the world – even his practice of polygamy remains strong in several places in his former empire. His actions and failures directly influenced the current state of the Midlands which has lasted to the modern day and he is credited by scholars and historians as creating the vibrant trade culture that now exists on the Inner Sea. In addition, he remains the only person in recorded history to have conquered and ruled Kesh. Finally, the True Descendants, a radical church of Anzo in Misheim were originally founded as a small pocket of Adalard’s faithful who became stranded in that area when the caliphate collapsed.
The story of Adalard is a sad one and is told to this day as an Anzoite parable against the vices of pride and greed. Adalard thought his way was the best and desired more and more of this world – and while he left this world a successful emperor and conqueror, he also committed one of the greatest sins in Anzo’s doctrine – he failed his family who died alone and afraid. Adalard himself, now a divine entity in charge of the ruins of Hezogan, is a bitter and resentful wreck who blames others for the failures of his own making. Perhaps the saddest part of this tale is that Adalard’s failure directly led to the increased worship of his rivals – his empire’s removal of forces from the lands north of Kesh led to that area joined the Levian Empire, directly benefiting Noac; and the might makes right mentality that he often espoused, as well as the region’s strong magical background, led to the rise of Gjallarbru in Neflheim – a move that benefitted his sister, Azelia.