The Kingdom of Esel

The Royal Flag of the Kingdom of Esel, featuring the Black Stag of the Hirsch family and the Fulminous Crown.

Current Head of State: King Bastian Otmar-Hirsch III.

Government Type: Absolute Monarchy

Capital: Esel-Din.

Religious Beliefs: Sigmarism.

Esel, like the rest of the nations of the Grunvale and the surrounding regions, was colonised by one of the many tribal groups displaced during the Age of Chaos. The survivors carved out their kingdoms in the relative safety of the Grunvale, it’s fertile land and abundant rivers nourishing the new realms being forged within.  Esel in the modern period consists primarily of the lands settled by the Erseven people and their allies following the free peoples victory at Hathenspeer.

For much of Esels history the kingdom was a fairly prosperous but unassuming realm, with good relations with the other kingdoms of the Grunvale. A country which embraced religious freedoms and folk of all ilk. While Sigmarism was the primary religion, as it is in many human kingdoms, offshoots of Sigmarism and the worship of other deities were readily accepted. However with the death of King Dietmar Solgwin-Hirsch things began to change. His son, King Hadda Solgwin-Hirsch embraced the mainstream Sigmarite church with fervor.

King Hadda was not a skilled military man, nor a statesman. A number of losses to raiding forces and diplomatic faux pas’s had damaged his reputation amongst the nobility and the peasantry, with whispers of coups and uprisings brewing in the court and the back-alleys of Esel-Din.  Seeking council he turned to the young head of Esel’s Sigmarite Church, Arch Sigillite Alwin Zier. Zier was a strong headed puritan, suspicious of any divergent Sigmarite cults, and disdainful of non humans. Zier encouraged Hadda to let Sigmar fully into his heart and let him guide his actions, both in times of peace and conflict and that his previous failing were a test of his character. He also suggested that part of his failing may have been, at least in part, caused by malcontents and deviants that were intent on their own plans. Hadda, having found the words to sooth his nerves and reinvigorate his resolve, began pushing his and the churches will into every facet of society.

A sweeping reformation of Esels military and religious institutions was enacted. Military units were formalised and equipped with standardised gear emblazoned with Sigmars sigils and signs, replacing the localised gear supplied by the nobility. The church did the same, garb amongst the clergy and reading material was standardised. Deviation from prescribed texts and ritual was dissuaded with a variety of methods. Alternative sects and cults dedicated to other deities were driven from  Esel, or wiped out all together. And non humans were “encouraged” to leave Esel. Of course this purge took many years, all of Hadda’s reign and much of his son Aldmar’s reign too. At the heart of the Reformation was Zier, constantly at Hadda’s side, and then overseeing the young heir Aldmar. While Hadda had embraced the church in desperation and to seek answers, Aldmar was moulded by it and breathed it, its righteousness and power hammered into him by Zier over the years.

Hadda and Aldwin were the instruments of the Sigmarite Reformation, but Alwin Zier was the one wielding their power.

His council to a desperate king transformed a moderate peaceable kingdom into a puritanical military powerhouse. Future generations of the Hirsch bloodline and Arch Sigillite Ziers successors would carry on this drive, leading to centuries of conflict and expansion in the region. The conquest of Deira and the Mere March, the Wars of the Brightwater, The Pilgrim War, the fanatical crusades named after innumerable fanatical Sigillites, the Reaving of Nordbek, and a slew of other bloody actions.  

However, all things must end, and after centuries of conflict Esel started to falter, its hold and power waned. Four hundred years ago Deira liberated itself from the rule imposed upon them via mendacious claims of blood rights and the tip of a sword. A century later the Mere March managed a devastating victory over Esel, their hold over what they considered to be nothing more than swamp dwelling sub humans was shattered and their spirit broken, and in doing so unified a disparate kingdom. And barely sixty years ago ancestral borderlands held by Esel on the Brightwater fell to forces from the Republic of Fyrdhathen after years of proxy wars and skirmishes.

In recent years Esel has been far more consolidatory and diplomatic with its neighbours. King Bastien has shown statesmanship far superior to many of his ancestors, being far more amenable and far less choleric than any that had gone before him, though still maintaining a puritan streak. He has also shown his skill at arms, leading and organising his forces so as to hunt down fel raiders and reavers that have beset the countryside in number since the latter days of his father’s reign. There are some that think Bastian to be a new kind of king for Esel, others wonder if he is merely biding his time to take back lost lands and enact a measure of vengeance on old enemies. Time will give us a full measure of his character and will………     

~ Excerpt compiled from “The Fulminous Kings: The Concise Lineage of Esel’s Royalty” by Jhez Al’Waide.

Army Suggestions.
Force Suggestion: Eselian Royal Army/Eselian Nobles House Guard: Free People, Celestial Wizards.
Alternate Force: Purification Warband: A religious themed force filled with flagellants,
priests, and witch hunters under a Sigillite leader.
Descriptor:
No gunpowder weapons preferring crossbows and bows fashioned after those used by the Stormcast (Cannons could be replaced by lightning infused weapons created by Esel’s ancient order of Storm Wizards and Master Weaponsmiths).
Esel strongly mirrors the Stormcast due to them being Sigmars’ divine warriors, so lots of lightning bolts, sigillite markings, comets etc.
The Royal Army will also include lots of Stag emblemology, often fused with Sigmarite imagery.
Plate armour for the nobility, sallet helmet with Stormcast-esque faceplates, lancers on horse
and Demi-Gryphs.
The higher the rank, the smarter they will look. Not that the Men-at-Arms are shabby. Think
Greatswords without the puffs and frills, open sallet helmet. Spears, axes, halberds, swords etc all with a similar design to those carried by the Stormcast. Appearance is everything to the Eselian military.
Colours: Blacks and Deep Reds with polished metal armour for the Royal colours. For one of the noble houses, indulge. Reference medieval schemes, old Bretonnian colours, Empire etc. Many of the house will try and tie themselves to a Stormcast Chamber, often appropriated colours and some flimsy pretext for doing so, despite Stormcast being a rarity in Yss.

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