Birthright of the Demon Lord
Two generations of men past, the human guilds offended the sidhe nation of Tuarhievel. The haters of men among the elves clamored for war against Dhoesone. Wiser heads counseled a more subtle path. The Baron of Dhoesone was presented with an ultimatum. Either he surrender his daughter and heir to the elves to be raised in the sidhe court, or Queen Ibelcoris Llyrandor would unleash the army to avenge the abuses of the humans in the forests. The Baron, in order to protect both his family and his realm, accepted with deep grief at the loss of his infant daughter. The Queen adopted the infant child as her own, and the long upbringing in the Rose Court altered the young human. She was given the name Fhiele in honor of Fhilerwyn Llyrandor, Ibelcoris’ late husband and the author of the most recent attempts to find a modus vivendi with the humans.
In 1511 of the human calendar (HC), the Queen was assassinated for her conciliatory policy towards the humans and her willingness to work through sidhe-trained agents like Fhiele Dhoesone, Savane Mhoried, and Torele Anviras rather than resorting to war. Fhileraene, the new prince of Tuarhievel, found himself in a difficult position. Even though the gheallie Sidhe was thought to be responsible for Ibelcoris’ murder, Fhileraene could not afford to further enrage this bloody faction of the Rose Court. So the laws that forced the gheallie Sidhe into hiding were repealed and relations with Sielwode were repaired. Fhileraene still protected the elf-changed humans, even giving Fhiele a place at court and some dominion in Tuarhievel. When the old Baron of Dhoesone died, Fhiele’s time had come.
Fhiele emerged from Tuarhievel to assume the title of Dhoesone’s Baroness under dire circumstances. The realm was beset by its natural enemies, the humanoids of Thurazor, the Giantdowns, and the Blood Skull Barony. Further, the ruthless guilders had become more powerful than ever, and even the elves least desirous of hostilities with the humans were outraged. At first, the worst offender was Storm Holtson, but the rising Northlands Exchange under Mheallie Bireon supplanted Holtson. Holtson was still subject to pressure by the druids, both in Dhoesone and Stjordvik, though he was skilled in out maneuveuring their attempts to reign him in. Bireon relies on the Northern Reformed Church of Sarimie, a faith with no regard for the land and covetous of wealth.
For the past eight years, the preternaturally young Baroness has tried to reign in the guilders while dealing with the humanoids, to some effect. Fhiele’s political skills were best applied to sidhe politics, and dealing with the guilders initially eluded her. She has forged a close alliance with both Archdruid Bjorhtwald Olafsson and Haelyn’s Chief Hierarch James Ardannt. The doctrine of Holn’s Companionship is strong here, as the faiths of Haelyn and Eric put aside their differences to combat Sarimie and the rapacious guilds. Haelyn’s Bastion of Truth follows the teachings of Fitzalan and is closely connected to the Northern Imperial Temple. The Oaken Grove receives its doctrine from its headquarters in Halskapa.
Fhiele has good relations with the realms of Mhoried, Stjordvik, and Talinie. The Baroness has also arranged a pact with Thurazor in which she hoped to channel the guilds into a purpose useful to the barony, but it has not proved to solve either problem. Thurazor has abandon its raids and receives trade instead. The goblins also provide mercenaries which the Baroness can use against the guilders without putting Dhoesonean families at risk.
Fhiele is served by her cousins, two wizards who will do whatever they can to aid her without helping the other. Clumine and Daeric are both dedicated to the realm, but their magical abilities are weak. A more potent lieutenant is Helaene Dosiere, who served her father as Chancellor and continues under the Baroness. Helaene is a lawpriest and one of the reasons that the guilds are not more powerful than they are. She has learned from her many failures to thwart the guilds and is now a capable opponent. Among those who are devoted to Haelyn, she is regarded as a saintly figure and is beloved. The realm’s captain general, Rhuimach Taeline was once a human druid, but spent 80 years under the tutelage of Fhilerwyn during his reign and is now regarded as more fey than man. He has also become a powerful warrior in the sidhe style of the spellcasting fighter. He returned to Dhoesone after the death of Fhilerwyn and, after driving back a horde from the Bloodskull Barony, he was rewarded with the lordship of Taeline. It is believed that Rhuimach is as old as Prince Fhileraene. It was Rhuimach who presented the old Baron of Dhoesone with the the ultimatum that he surrender the infant Fhiele or face war with the elves. His intuitive grasp of strategy has kept the Giantdowns inhabitants from overrunning Dhoesone a number of times.
Fhiele is proud, yet pragmatic. She regards herself as navigating a half dozen responsibilities: maintaining Dhoesone, reducing the threat of the humanoids, keeping peace with the elves, combating the influence of the guilders, winning friends among neighboring realms, and forestalling any number of disasters that loom imminently on Dhoesone like so many swords of Damocles. She largely keeps to the heavily forested province of Sonnelind, where much of the land is administered by the druids of the Oaken Grove. Occasional sojourns to Tuarhievel revitalize the exhausted Baroness.