Baddark Edit

Baddark is an ancient land, damp, gloomy, windswept land of endless steppe, subartic taiga forests, interspersed with bristling prairie. Misty clings to the gullies, and fog roles mysteriouslythrough the vast plains. It is a land overseen by an infinite, overcast sky that constantly alternates between drizzle and flurry. This is a land dominated by semi sedentary pastoralism and shifting agriculture. A land dominated by horse lords and cattle herders. A land wracked with intercene warfare, reeving, and raids. Ruthless warlords, renegade knights, and robber barons comprise the largest part of the petty barony. They prey upon the local populous, running protection rackets, while terrorizing those they hold hostage through fear. Baddarkian society is extremely fragmented and has suffered a deleterious fracturing and decentralization since the initiation of the Great War some one generation past, which lead to great political changes throughout the Alamastran Empire. Perhaps no Crown suffered worse than Baddark. The old seigniorial structure suffered a complete collapse as most of the baronry and propertied knights were slaughtered in the civil unrest deep in the imperial interior. This allowed the restless second sons and disinherited knightly class to carve out their own petty baronries, largely redefining local lordship to whomever could gather a few armed men, declare them "knights" and command a fortified holdfast from which to terrorize the local populous and secure the plunder. Illegal mote and bailey castles proliferated across the vast countryside along oft traveled paths and in areas of denser semipermanent settlement, even stealing peasants and reducing them to villages in the shadow of their holdfasts, as if on cattle raid. On the fridges of the taiga forests, semisedentary farming settlements became highly fortified and rigidly militarized in self-defense. These fortified villages with their own self organizing militias under the iron grasp of a local strongman also became local seats of power for newly appointed lords. On the very fringes of Baddarkian society, within the pastoralist tribes that roamed the vast steppes and prairie lands with their herds of cattle and horses, fragmentation became rife. Young riders, refused to answer the summons to muster for imperial service, instead turning to brigandry. These began to amalgamate into fierce mounted war bands which swept across the plains burning all in their path. It became imperial policy to hire these war bands as mercenary corps into the Imperial Cavalry. The Imperial legionary command was very effective in commissioning these warlords as officers within the Imperial Legions and organizing these warbands into brutally effective companies of light hussars and heavy cataphracts. Over the last generation, Baddarkian cavalry has become synonymous with effective, hard-hitting, light and heavy cavalry. Their most famous recent victory, annihilating a cadre of Federal Dragoons that the Amyran Federation landed on Alamastran soil in support of a Balraen invasion of the Isthmus. This being one of the few defeates the Federal Dragoons have been dealt in their two century history. The Baddarkian Hussars, also known as Baddarkian Screamers for their nightmarish appearance on the battle field. They wear jet-black armor, as do all Baddarkians on all occasions. Their armor is ornamented to look demonic, with sharp horns and flaring draconic spikes, along with and artificial metallic wingspan that flaps ominously in beat with the stride of their obsidian war mounts. They wear black tattered capes that trail behind them like the tail of a prowling black dragon. Their mounts also have black billowing cloth that trails behind them, giving the illusion of a trail of smoke when in full charge. Their mounts are a special breed of charger, known as a Thunderer, for their heavyfooted, but stry, rolling gait, and the special shoes affixed to their hooves, designed to make the earth rumble beneath their relentless approach. A Screamer's armor is mainly black, hard leather, as they are light, and incredibly mobile units. They fight from horse back with black, wickedly curved sabers at close quarters, and carry either short throwing spears or bow and arrow for distance combat at which their are particularly effective. They are famous for the "Baddarkian Shot" from which they get their nickname as Screamers. They charge vigourly at the opposing line, firing arrows forward while charging, then right as they draw the enemy forward, they retreat, simulating a route, firing with deadly accuracy across their backs with rapid speed, this breaks up the enemy's frontlines, issuing a terrible shriek at each stage. Then they suddenly split off parallel to the enemie's thinning, and stretching frontline, opening the way for a direct frontal charge by Baddarkian heavy cavalry to hit the line like a hammer. This pattern continues around the entire enemy line, always hitting the exposed flank, always drawing them out, always following up with a heavy cavalry assault. The Screamers seem to literally run circles around bodies of foot soldiers as they do this. The psychological effect on their foes is crippling, creating the effect that the enemy body has been outflanked on all sides and their escape has been cut off.

The heavy Baddarkian cavalry, known as the Howlers, have the same general appearance as the Screamers at a distance, the difference being, their demonic, draconic armor is full-on obsidian-black plate metal, and it lacks the wings in order to maintain a tighter formation. They also ride a bulkier breed of Thunderer, known as a Thunderbolt, that is especially murderous, because it is trained to fight at close range, whether or not it is mounted. Howlers form up tightly, couche large dragonglass lances and charge at breakneck speed, forcing retreating Screamers to veer off to make way for their thunderous stampede. If the Screamers tarry, the Howlers bowl them over as they would any foe. After crushing through the enemies phalanx or shield wall, they either retreat and grab another lance to do it again, or draw their long wicked, jet-black sabers and lay into the shattered ranks of their enemies, working in tandem with their trained Thunderbolts to crush, hack, kick, bite, slash, and kill.

The King of Baddark is Quebalimagne. He rules from the capital holdfast of Slushforge. This is the largest settlement on the Baddarkian frontier, operating as a center where cattle are driven, slaughtered and processed for shipment down the Falak River to the heartland of the Empire to feed the hungry interior. Quebalimangne was set over the anarchy of Baddark to impose order by the High King. He is of the ruling house of LeBano, and one of the High King's staunchest supporters during the recent civil unrest of the Great War. Quebalimagne was gifted three full legions of Imperial Cavalry, in the form of Baddarkian Screamers and Howlers, permanently paid for by the Imperial Crown with which to pacify his disentigrating bequest. Quebalimagne has proven to be a ruthless and shrewd king. He granted titles of baronry to what robber barons would answer his summons to a great parliament of nobiles, even expanding their titles, claims, and grants for their oaths of feudal fealty and obligation. He required them to pay an honorarium tribute in order to confirm their rights and titles, many of which he confirmed as hereditary in return for a annual honorarium. Those who did not answer his first summons were summoned a second time. Many showed up after hearing of his largesse. He rounded them along with their retainers up and summarily executed them. He then announced a new division of the disinherited claims among his supporters and ordered they go claim their bequests. He skillfully organized a campaign of reprisals across the vast Baddarkian steppe reducing rebel and outlaw holdfasts and rounding up brigands. despite these troubles, Baddark suffers from overpopulation. Many of these troubles and discords are in fact symptomatic of Baddark's society and economy's inability to feed extra mouths or absorb extra laborers. For this reason, Quebalimagne also granted generous marcher lord titles to his faithful captains on the far reaches of his territory, encouraging settlement to disperse the burgeoning population.

Also, it was under Quebalimagne's reign that the Baddarkian Horsemen swept across the steppe and subdued the nation of Mareun Herian, known as the Restless Horesmen. This is the nation from which the current House of Mair, which occupies the High King's throne is descended. In fact, it was at the High King's direction and with his support that this campaign was concluded. The Mareun now swear direct fealty to the Baddarkian Crown and pay tribute to the High King of Alamaster, being incorporated as one of the Imperial Cities of Alamaster.