who sit on the thrones of dead kings
"Baron Rutherford may have been given the throne by his father, but his father got the throne from the death of old King Griffin. You wear a dead man's crown and don't even call yourself a king...just some other man's lackey. I won't say nothing against the Aeternum, but WE remember the old King...that's why the Baron isn't worth shite. The throne remembers him...that's why the Baron can't sit easy on it. And the land remembers! The land always remembers...why do you think the harvest has been so poor?" - a wholesome farmer, circa 7500 ACWhen the Aeternum made his conquest in 6034 AC, he was careful to remove all the old heads of authority both religious and secular. The priests and the seven kings were quickly put to the sword, and the civic authorities were systematically disbanded. But there was a reason the land was so divided...the local population still had strong loyalties to their individual territories, and were quick to ignore or disobey orders from such a remote distance as the Capital. While he could have repeatedly burned and pillage until they'd learned their lesson, the Aeternum made the much wiser choice of filling the empty thrones of each kingdom with his own men. These were noblemen, often the first from each territory to surrender to the Aeternum and abandon the king rather than risk their own skins. Their easy loyalty was rewarded and they were given crown, throne, and authority over the kingdoms as long as they obeyed the directives of their Aeternum. They called themselves Barons. They came ready-made with households, loyal knights, and the strong habit of giving commands to obedient subjects. While they filled the practical position admirably and cemented the Aeternum's control over even the remotest kingdom, the people were not quite as forgiving. Having been robbed of both their faith and their kings, it was tempting to blame every misfortune on the Barons, even after several generations of illegitimate but effective ruler ship. After all, the kings had always been satisfying targets for public incompetence...the Barons were big enough to take some slung mud. While they are not loved and they won their thrones through cowardice and treachery, the Barons have done tolerably well as rulers of the seven kingdoms. Their grandchildren are now old enough to inherit the throne and while some are even worse than their fathers, some are better. Some are good.