The History of Realmgard in 30 Days: November 13

“First entering the historical record in brief, vague accounts of battles throughout the Kingdoms of the Sea, King Caelin now looms large in Realmgardian literary as the paragon of chivalrous virtue.”

King Caelin of the Isles

A portrait of King Caelin.

Generally believed to a historical personage in at least the broadest general terms, Caelin, the semi-legendary king of a united Middelmere, Morfilod, Carog, and Makeland — and thus known to history as the King of the Isles — is one of the most popular and enduring figures in Realmgardian literature.

First entering the historical record in brief, vague accounts of battles throughout the Kingdoms of the Sea, King Caelin now looms large in Realmgardian literary as the paragon of chivalrous virtue.

Though the details of his life are obscured by both insufficient sources and later mythologising, the historical Caelin can be placed in Middelmere in the period immediately after the final withdrawal of any vestige of Elven Imperial rule in Middelmere, a turbulent period of a near-total power vacuum that say the rise of numerous small local petty kings across Middelmere and the rest of the Kingdoms of the Sea.

The specifics of Caelin’s bloodline and heritage are much-debated, though he is usually assumed to have been descended from both the recent Middelmerish arrivals to the islands and the pre-Middelmerish native population.

Certain historians have also contrived complex, historically-tenuous ways to trace his bloodline to the Elven Emperors, though little can be established with certainty or without being obfuscated by later literary inventions.

It is accepted as a historical fact that a long series of campaigns saw Caelin united the Kingdoms of the Sea into a single polity, then led the defence of this unified kingdom against foreign invasions in the tumultuous period immediately after the Elven Empire’s collapse.

At this point, history is largely obscured by myth and popular folklore. For example, in a famous, but difficult to historically verify episode, King Caelin and his knights are said to have sailed to Hrimfax in a punitive expedition against the Hrimfaxi vikings, burning their ships at anchor and protecting the Kingdom of the Sea from further raids for a generation.

Though long centuries of poets and authors have added their own dramatic flourishes to the story and invented entire sagas concerning King Caelin and his knights, certain aspects of the story have become universal: wielding the enchanted sword Erchyll, his castle at Belinus, questing with his Twelve Companions, marrying the beautiful sorceress Caitlin, and presiding over a golden age of chivalry and errantry.

Despite being a Middelmerish figure, stories and poems about King Caelin have proven enduringly popular with poets from Gallicantu and the vast majority of influential additions to the mythos of King Caelin have been written in the Gallicantien language. Many of the best-known details of the life and times of King Caelin are no present in the early sources and begin to appear only after the stories were filtered through the Gallicantien literary tradition.

Later generations of rulers and prominent nobles both in the Kingdoms of the Sea and even throughout the Realmgardian mainland have attempted to trace their own lineage through King Caelin due to his legendary status, but that same legendary status often vexes those very efforts as the literary King Caelin cannot easily be separated from the historical King Caelin to definitively establish much about his biography with clarity.

If you missed it, this week’s chapter is here:

And if you missed any of this week’s daily history writings, I’ll be posting a recap of the week that was tomorrow.

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