Stewardship of Balmoral
By our wrath is the demi-human undone! By our hatred are we steeled against their temptations! By our oaths do we reach across the centuries and herald the glory of Balmoral's second coming! We are strength! We are duty! And we are THEIR end!
Some are quick to say that the greatest sin of the lost Empire of Balmoral is that when it fell it failed to take every one of its citizens with it. While most of the survivors of the collapse hoped only to eke out a meager existence in one of the Balmoran colonies or behind the walls of a nation willing to harbor such refugees. However; one group of survivors chose a third path... one of stubborn refusal. Before The Queen's War and the devastation wrought by the Fae, Balmoral was engaged with colonial expansion all across Tairos. One such colony was in the earliest stages of breaking ground and once completed would be the Empire's furthest holding yet. So new was this project that it had yet to even be given a formal name; with laborers having simply dubbed it Adamantite's End after the Adamantite Kings that ruled Balmoral and this being the utmost end of their borders.
It is to this place a caravan of survivors set out for those many centuries ago. Led by Roland Locke, this cadre of hardened survivors made the impossible journey from their desolated homeland. Locke's background as a former knight in the Circle of the Golden Lion and as a commander within the prestigious Heritage League made him ideally suited to leadership. Most of the survivors following him came from martial backgrounds: injured knights who survived the final siege, foot soldiers, squires, bannermen, and rangers. The rest were civilians utterly dependent upon the warrior-minded among them for survival. Roland Locke was the natural choice for leader and he quickly created a new title that he felt best represented his ideal for the future. Steward of Balmoral.
As a prominent leader of the Heritage League, Roland Locke was a fervent disciple of Balmoran culture and creed. The tenants of strength, unity, iron-will, and purity of purpose all held a powerful place in his heart and in his style of governance. While a stern man who did not suffer failure or weakness well he was a good man none the less. Unfortunately, he was but a man and men are fragile. Roland died unexpectedly during the first years of construction at Adamantite's End and while the city was far from being complete he did leave them with a powerful foundation of faith. Those closest to Roland picked up where he left off and did their best to continue his teachings. Yet, with each new successor, each new preacher, and every new adherent something was lost... twisted. Corrupted. The pinnacles of the Balmoran creed died a slow death and from their corpse rose the monstrous doctrines of Lockland.
Adamantite's End was baptized with a new name shortly after the death of their founder. Thus Lockland was born and under the perpetual care of the Heritage League. In the days of old Balmoral the League would have been champions of the culture, history, and safety of its people. Today, the Heritage League is something else entirely; an organization of xenophobic demagogues, equal parts zealot and fascist. Their driving motivation is to stoke the fires of hatred in the hearts of their people for the non-human nations around them, and to prune out dissenters among their own kind. The League stands above all other forms of authority within Lockland save but one, the Steward of Balmoral and his court. They act as both the head of state and conservators of the twisted morality Lockland holds so dear. In short, the Steward, his court, and the Heritage League have anointed themselves as proxy to an Empire of Balmoral that never was.
The Steward and his Court
Balthasar Wulff- The current Steward of Balmoral is Balthasar Wulff. As a former general in the army of Lockland and long-time leader within the Heritage League, Balthasar has a unique perspective on the cost pursuing the Doctrines of Purity. During his long career of service he has never hesitated to lead from the front lines nor to pay the butcher's bill in the lives of his own soldiers if it meant victory over the enemies of Balmoral. Prior to Stewardship he was the model of a perfect philosopher-warrior: learned, calculating, blessed with a perfect family. His ascension to leadership was a bloodless one due to the overwhelming support he held among the civilians. Balthasar earned considerable fame from his many battles but none more so than during the Ankharan Pogrom where thousands of Dwarven lives were lost to the fires of Lockland's torches. This popularity made opposition to his rise unthinkable. Publicly the rest of the Heritage League leadership honor rule but behind closed doors there are some that have grown wary of the Wulff family's magnetism. Those secret dissenters are ever on guard quash the family's efforts to put themselves above the doctrines.
Balthasar is fully aware of his enemies, both without as well as within. The majority of the Heritage League is genuinely loyal to the man and more than willing to help make dissenters within their own ranks vanish quietly. When League assets are appropriate to use Balthasar will turn to his court who are far less... subtle when it comes to solutions. Outside of Lockland there are countless foes who would be eager to see Balthasar fall. He has been the target of countless assassination attempts, roadside ambushes, and magical attacks by the likes of Ghal Ankhar , Ghal Pelor , Homestead, and Melanthris. And yet, despite the all the best efforts Balthasar Wulff has survived. Most often by cutting his way through the would-be assassins personally. This reputation for being unkillable has earned him a nickname among those that would see him dead. The Iron Wolf of Lockland
Duke Magnus Wulff- Belthasar's older brother would seem like the natural choice to have been Steward because of seniority equally prestigious place within the Heritage League. However; nothing could be further from the truth. Where Belthasar had a talent for leadership and stark charisma; his brother was much the opposite. Magnus was fully consumed with the teachings of the Doctrines of Purity to the point of obsession. He embraced zealotry above all else, becoming a prominent member of the Heritage League and renown champion at the spearhead of every Pogrom. The only thing that could pull him from the front lines was the ascension of his brother to the station of Steward. Magnus now acts almost as a chief of staff within the court, keeping the Wulff family in line and acting as the Steward's proxy in matters involving the League.
Few men are more feared than this warrior-fanatic. Every fiber of his being is dedicated to contempt for his enemies and disgust for those among him who fail in their oaths. The blood on his hands belongs in equal parts to enemies of the state and allies at home who failed to walk the righteous path.
Count Kasper Wulff- Balthasar's eldest son represents the worst parts of Lockland combined with the capriciousness of youth. He is typical of what many children of Lockland's middle and upper class have become in modern years. He is certain in the tenants of superiority taught by the Doctrines but has little interest in preaching, honoring the past, or any such measures of blind obedience. Instead, Casper sees himself as the living embodiment of the pure human perfection his people believe in. And his station in life allows him to indulge that notion to its fullest. Such indulgences take the form of lethal gladiatorial games held at his private chateau, bacchanalian celebrations attended by the most famous personalities in Lockland, and unsanctioned excursions into the territory of non-humans to carry out his own personal pillages. All of this is tolerated because Casper is the next logical choice for heir to the Stewardship. Few wish to cross the arrogant young Count knowing full well that in time he will take the seat of Steward and hold their fate in his hands.
Baroness Seraphina Wulff- Balthasar's middle child has always held a special place within the family. While studious, valiant, charismatic, and with a flair for fashion that isn't often seen in Lockland it is another trait all together that has brought Seraphina her notoriety. She can hear the voices of the ancestors. Some call her the Oracle of Lockland, the Lion Seer, or the Voice of Balmoral. The enemies of Lockland, both without and within, simply call her the Adamantite Witch. Inside the ranks of Lockland's nobility there is a hope that she might succeed her father as Steward. Her adherence toward the Doctrines of Purity is considered moderate by most and she is even an advocate for normalizing relations with other nations. While some might favor such leadership others fear this potentially radical shift. Worse still, there are those that secretly doubt the veracity of the voices she hears and with good reason. It's said she can be heard muttering to herself late at night or when she believes she is alone. Some have even claimed to hear the raspy, vile whispers while in her presence, believing what she speaks with is far from the divine.
Baron Konrad Wulff- The youngest Wulff is also the most broken and perhaps most sadistic. From a young age many knew something was wrong with him; the tortured animals, the self-scarification, obsessive voyeurism, and a fascination with fires. Konrad became a regular staple in the oubliettes run by the Heritage League at the same time he was learning to read and do basic arithmetic. His father was too involved with foreign campaigns to take an active hand in his rearing and his older siblings were too involved in their own pursuits to spend time with him. He was raised instead by a series of au pairs, governesses, and tutors... many of whom met with unfortunate accidents during their employ with the Wulff family. These early horrors served to create a young man who takes a special delight in suffering; so much so that it has become a perverse science that he seeks to master. He knows the Doctrines well and can recite them backward and forward as needed but in truth he doesn't believe a word of what's said; his study of pain has shown him that when flayed down to the bone all races behave the same.
The Steward of Balmoral is the singular authority at the center of Lockland. He oversees his court which is made of of nobility, military and League members who handle key aspects of Lockland's existence. The Heritage League is the greatest authority in Lockland and act as the secret police for the Steward. The Steward is selected from the ruling ranks of the League when a vacancy opens. This is a secretive affair that involves political maneuvering, guile, adherence to the tenants of Lockland's doctrines, and often a willingness to use force. Popularity among the civilians of Lockland is another key factor in selection and why so many of the Heritage League concern themselves with rooting out dissenters or glorifying the acts of purity they carry out.
Lockland has rather atrocious diplomatic ties with most nations. Especially the nearby gnomish nation of Homestead and Ghal Pelor. The nation of Frostmere is the only neighbor they have anything close to regular relations. They view the Frostmerites as backward, uneducated , and embracing a heretical form of nature worship. That said, they are a largely human kingdom and ancestors of the old tribes just like Balmoral. They respect the Frostmerites' unity and accomplishments without having tainted themselves with non-human co-mingling. They also believe that the Frostmerites are simply misguided and can, with proper application of order, be reeducated.
Tenets of Faith
While Locklanders hold Sandor as the primary god of humans and of Tairos they are not by and large deeply faithful to him in a traditional sense. He is more worshiped through his cultural significance than directly prayed to. A temple to Sandor does stand in Lockland but it is one of them many places of cultural importance built by the Heritage League and where their message of purity is preached.
The Steward and his court all adhere to the many tenants of purity that have become the foundation for Lockland. This means a dedication to breaking the back of non-human nations, purity of ideals, oaths to reclaiming Balmoral's past glory and other such placations to their distorted view of the Empire.
By Our Wrath
Lockand Corin (modeled after the gold corins of Balmoral)
The Heritage League