The Theobaldian Empire
The decline of the Elven Empire in Realmgard goes hand-in-hand with the ascent of the barbarian kingdoms of the continent. Particular consequential were Midlandic tribes that extensively settled the middle regions of the continent west of the Midwood and north of the Gap of Natalis.
During the late Imperial period, migrant Midlandic warriors were initially recruited by the Empire to serve as soldiers on the frontiers of the Empire, shielding the heartland from incursions by both less friendly barbarian tribes and Imperial pretenders.
As the military strength and political prestige of the Midlanders increased and ultimately surpassed that of the Imperial remnant, the Midlanders through off Imperial overlordship and declared independence, forcing the Imperial borders back south of the Gap of Natalis and establishing a kingdom in the central region of the continent.
The ongoing decline of the Empire led to an increasingly fragmented Realmgard, with smaller, localised kingdoms replacing a formerly unified, centralised Empire. This period saw not only the establishment of the Midlandic Kingdom, but also the foundation of the Kingdom of Aurora in the north, the Amazon Decapolis in the west, the rise of independent city-states throughout Natalis and a similar phenomenon in the northeast with the rise of the Free Cities.
Despite the upheaval and near-constant state of conflict in his period, the Midlandic Kingdom thrived, its strategic geographic position allowing control of overland trade routes to and from Natalis and its powerful military forces allowed for it to subdue and incorporate its regional rivals.
The Midlandic Kingdom reached its zenith under Theobald, who completed the Kingdom’s conquest of approximately a quarter of Realmgard’s landmass, securing control of the largest polity in Realmgard since the collapse of the Elven Empire.
At its height, Theobald’s dominions encompassed the traditional heartland of the Midlandic Kingdom, approximately half of Natalis, and exerted overlordship over the Sacred Republics of the Sea of Origo, the Amazons, the nascent Kingdom of Pelayo, and much of the territory of the future Kingdom of Gallicantu, founded in later centuries of direct descendants of Theobald.
Theobald’s territory included the former Elven capital of Imperialis. Although the city had fallen into disrepair and been largely abandoned, Theobald’s entrance into the old capital nevertheless served as a major symbolic moment in Theobald’s claims to Imperial authority, further solidified by his being crowned as Emperor of Realmgard at Imperialis by a delegation of priests from the Sacred Republics.
Imperialis would briefly serve as Theobald’s capital and he would oversee the restoration and repopulation of much of the city before ultimately returning the capital to Middlesbrooke, the traditional capital of the Midlandic Kingdom.
Theobald’s Empire would endure for several centuries and shape the history and culture of much of the continent, particularly its central regions. Though the Empire itself would ultimately fragment, Theobald’s dynasty has continued down to the present day, ruling over an independent polity in some form in the ensuing centuries.
Currently, the Duchy of Middlesbrooke remains directly ruled by the descendants of Emperor Theobald and maintains the legacy of Theobald’s Imperial dynasty.
Now, when I say that the Empire is a quarter of Realmgard, I may be wrong. I had to eyeball it and may be way off base. But, like, let’s just say that the Empire actually is a quarter of the continent regardless of what’s on the map…
But, also, a reminder that there’s a new chapter coming along tomorrow.
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