Vesse the Blessed
King Vesse Sarap (a.k.a. the Blessed)
King Vesse Sarap of the Kingdom of Sarala, also known as Vesse the Blessed, was a Saralian monarch who ruled over his country from 1397 AA - 1428 AA. His own people were fond of his rule and he was responsible for the reforestation efforts that took place in Sarala at around 1417 AA. King Vesse was a man who cared for all ethnic Saralians and even went to war to expand his kingdom's borders and to forcefully convert the Merellian people to the Haltjanist faith. He also implemented the seniority succession law.
King Vesse Sarap had slicked-back short dark brown hair and somewhat thin eyebrows with the same color. His facial features, such as his chin and jaw, were soft and round, but the one thing that stood out the most was his prominent nose. Its edges were sharp and the skin on it had a red tone that the rest of his pale face lacked. His eyes were quite typical for a Saralian, narrow and blue, but they were kind and friendly, even when ordering the execution of infidels, his expression seemed to betray his true actions.
Early LifeVesse Sarap was born on the 2nd of Tolnor, 1381 AA. His father was Prince Jaak Vertinan and his mother was Sofia Ep Viktoria Sarap, Queen of the Kingdom of Sarala.
As a firstborn child, he was taught lessons in three important fields that he would need later on in his life as monarch of his country. Fighting, so that he could serve as an example to his men on the field of battle. Faith, so that he could serve as a spiritual guide if need be. And the last and arguably most important lessons were in leadership and politics. These lessons covered everything from ordering around soldiers to figuring out how the nobles in far-off countries handled intrigue.
To celebrate Vesse's sixteenth birthday and to finish his coming of age ritual, his father, Prince Jaak Vertinan, took him to a small estate near lake Kersta. The day after their arrival, Vesse and several other young noblemen performed a traditional group song in front of forty-five peasants who came to see their future monarch from the surrounding villages, as well as a few dozen older nobles. The performance went well and they continued the coming of age rite by heading to the sauna.
After spending some time with his fellow noblemen, Crown Prince Vesse went out into the snow, naked as the day he was born, and jumped into a hole that had been made into the thick layer of ice that covered lake Kersta. His fellow countrymen cheered him on and waited for him to finish up so they could jump in, but before Vesse could get out, he was suddenly pulled below the ice. He failed to hold on to the ice and vanished from sight. Panic ensued and the older nobles began organizing a rescue.
As I jumped into the hole in the frozen lake, I thought I saw something move in the water, but I ignored it and forced the thoughts out of my mind.
Drifting under the ice, Vesse lost consciousness. The Saralian nobles who lived in the area tried their best to search for him, but after the first week, they had lost all hope of finding the young Crown Prince. Two weeks later, Queen Sofia Ep Viktoria Sarap announced in a passionate speech that her son had died and that Princess Tuuli Sarap, Vesse's twelve-year-old sister, was now first in line to inherit the throne. Devastated that she hadn't been there to see his son's coming of age ceremony, Queen Sofia fell into depression and often refused to leave her room, leaving her regent, Prince Jaak, in charge of running the state.
Ready to dismiss his cynical nature, he spoke to what he assumed was a spirit. The spirit who had presented herself as a young woman replied and explained what had happened to him and how he had survived. She had told him the story of how she had seen something grab ahold of his foot. According to the spirit, when she found his unresponsive body, she inhabited the body, providing him with the lake spirits' resistance to the freezing temperatures. The sprit kept inhabiting his body until he washed up on the shore and then she quickly exited before Vesse's body could try to violently force her out.
Thankful for what the spirit had done for him, Vesse promised to visit her again in the future and he wanted to award her somehow. The spirit said that being a good Haltjanist was the only thing she wanted from him. With his cynicism crushed and his faith in the ancient religion of his forebears restored, young Vesse began his journey back home. The nearest important city was Ranta and some of the nobles who had been at the coming of age ceremony had been from there. Vesse had still been naked at that point, but he hadn't mentioned how he acquired some simple clothes before arriving in Ranta, in his journal.
The nobles in Ranta were shocked to learn of his survival and after hearing his story, the Crown Prince became known as Vesse the Blessed. The Ranta nobles offered him food, mulled wine, new clothes, a bath, and transportation back home.
King of Sarala
The nobles from Ranta returned the Crown Prince to Tälsinki, the capital of the Kingdom of Sarala. They arrived in a discreet wagon and Vesse only revealed his identity to the palace guard when they needed to get into the building. Since Vesse arrived early in the morning, he ordered a servant to alert his father, Prince-Regent Jaak Vertinan. His father had been residing in the guest room and upon seeing his lost son, his stern expression melted away and he ran to hug his child.
The two of them walked to the master bedroom where the Queen had locked herself behind the door. Vesse tried knocking and shouting but, neither of the heard anything from the other side. After minutes of trying to get the door open, several guards arrived and they had brought with them a small portable battering ram. With a loud crack, the doors flung open, revealing the Queen slumped against the wall, sitting on the edge of her bed with her wrist cut open and the carpet below her soaked with blood.
My heart shattered when I saw my dead mother in the room, but before I could shed a tear, the realization that I was supposed to lead my country, struck, and I suppressed the emotions, at least for a few hours.
Vesse, together with his father, began preparing for a speech and the public announcement regarding the return of the rightful heir, the death of the Queen, and the future of Sarala. While Prince Jaak wrote Vesse's speech, the Crown Prince had his own ideas for what he wanted to tell the people. In the morning the palace guards, Metsavärtija, Prince Jaak Vertinan, and Crown Prince Vesse the Blessed stood in front of their palace, on top the stairs that led up the hill where the large building stood. His father gave him the parchment with his portion of the speech and proceeded with the declaration that the Queen had died. He mentioned that she had been poisoned by foreign assassins, but Vesse interrupted and tore up the parchment that he had given him.
Vesse spoke the truth of what had happened, including his own miraculous story of how he had been saved by a spirit of the lake. He appealed to his people's sense of pride in their nation, faith, and culture by announcing that everyone, even the commoners, were welcome to join in on the funeral celebrations. He wanted the whole country to celebrate his mother's life and to show her that people cared about her wellbeing and that they will miss her.
Later during the day, Vesse and many of the lords of his realm went to Lake Talvimür. There he was crowned King of Sarala and at the end of the celebration, when most of the nobles were heading back to the capital, the spirit of the lake returned and praised the young king for his devotion to Haltjanism. Although his father protested, the new King of Sarala chose to stay on the shores of the lake for the night.
Invasion of IthelmarkThe first three years of King Vesse's reign had gone smoothly, but early on during his fourth year as the King of Sarala, the Grand Elder of the Federal Geniocracy of Ithelmark has denounced Vesse's sacred homeland. Claiming that the Saralian people were savages for worshipping nonexistent creatures who supposedly inhabit large boulders, trees, lakes, and other such things. After hearing about the denouncement, the Saralian nobility demanded that their king would ask for an apology, but King Vesse the Blessed had greater plans.
He sent people all across Sarala to tell the story of how the Ithel Grand Elder had denounced everything great about Sarala and the Saralian people. When the people of the lower classes heard the story, they were furious and then later in the month, King Vesse declared war and raised his levy to fight against the Federal Geniocracy of Ithelmark, thus starting the War for the Merells.
After years of leading his forces into to battle and occupying the Ithelmarker State of Merell, the two countries signed the Treaty of Vechek and the government of Ithelmark were forced to pay war reparations, publicly apologize for the denouncement, and cede the West Merells to Sarala.
ProselytizingAfter returning home after the successful war, a large celebration, similar to her mother's funeral, were held across the country to celebrate victory and the lives of the fallen men who died on the field of battle. The celebrations lasted for a few days and after they were over, the King returned to his newly conquered territories with an entourage of Haltjanist priests and plenty of soldiers to protect them and suppress any unrest.
The conversion of the Merellians was a brutal affair. Thousands of devout Hillenists lost their lives for speaking out against the forced conversion and whenever the King's agents sensed an imminent uprising, the local garrison went in and executed or arrested anyone they suspected might have been planning on committing treason.
The first four years were the bloodiest, but after then, most Merellians gave up and just accepted their fate. News of what had happened to the Hillenists spread to Ithelmark and the rest of the Hillenistic Church, resulting in outrage amongst the people. Many began demanding a second war, but Ithelmark's armies hadn't recovered and they had other priorities that kept them busy and unable to wage a new war.
Seniority Succession LawKing Vesse the Blessed never married anyone and therefore never produced an heir to the Kingdom of Sarala. In his mind, the oldest member of the royal family should take the throne instead, and so he changed the succession law. By the time he died, the oldest member of his family had been his younger sister, the same person who was the rightful heir to the throne before he changed the law.
Federal Geniocracy of Ithelmark
Multicultural country in Southern Lethea and mankind's first line of defense
Haltjanism is a godless religion based on respecting and worshiping nature, ancestors, and spirits
Hillenism is the largest branch of the Abreanist religion. Followers of the faith believe in the teachings of Saint Hillen, the hero whose sacrifice saved the world from the Invasion.
Quick Summary of the Magic Systems
A short guide to the magic systems
Refusal to MarryThere were many aspects of King Vesse the Blessed that are unclear, one of which being his refusal to get married. Throughout his life, many nobles from Sarala and beyond had offered him their daughters, but every time he politely refused, often complimenting the woman's beauty and telling them or their father that he already belonged to another. Who this other person was, remained unknown, but by now there are an untold amount of conspiracy theories that try explaining this quirk of his.
Mysterious DeathInstead of celebrating his forty-seventh birthday in the comfort of his own palace, King Vesse decided to travel to lake Kersta all alone, wearing simple clothes to disguise his identity and only carrying a sack of rations and a sword he had borrowed from the armory. There his lifeless corpse was discovered a few days later under a pile of fresh snow. The body was lying on the ground and the King's arms were crossed over his chest. His eyes were closed but a smile still remained.
The exact cause of death remained unknown. Despite being in the snow for days, his body showed no signs of hypothermia or frostbite and after the extensive analysis, no wounds were revealed and the professionals couldn't find any traces of poison.