sonder winter 1710

Guidebook

History

War of 1707

1703 marks the birth of Queen Aileen of House Stuart. At the turn of her second year, she was wed to King Elijah of House Potter. For the first year, twitters of gossip fawned over a seemingly flawless love story. Such sweetness, however, drew quickly to an end. Aileen and Elijah steadily began to quarrel more and, given his status as a Mainlander, Elijah held the bulk of power over parliament. She was snubbed and overlooked on all matters of state until, at last, the marriage had soured beyond the point of repair. Queen Aileen wanted a divorce—something perfectly acceptable in Highlander tradition but abhorred amongst the Mainlanders. She disregarded the parliament and used her leverage as queen of the highlanders to annul the marriage—which parliament twisted deftly into an act of treason against the unification of their nations.

King Elijah was unfavorable due to his stern disposition and obstinate views. The divorce, and the accusations of treason, fractured the throne. With Queen Aileen in exile, the parliament risked losing the tenuous peace that had been so hard-won just a handful of years ago. After a week of deliberation, a new queen is chosen and another wedding is held, albeit with less fanfare and notice than the last.

So began the coronation of Queen Daphne, Aileen's sister. Ashamed of her Highlander roots, she was the perfect bride. Her blood was wild but her heart had been tamed by the comforts of the south. Ah yes, and her husband, Adamh Herondale. He was beloved for his kindness and generosity—and parliament was partial to a gullible king.

Now, during her reign, Aileen had born a son: Jacob. He was nigh but a yearling when he and his mother were cast out in exile. His memories of court were vague yet tinged with the romanticism of a child. From dawn to dusk, he heard tell of the wrongs against his mother and how she would exact her revenge. He dined with soldiers, those that would meet them on the fringes of society and speak in hushed tones. He witnessed, early on in life, the growth of his mother's army—and its eventual failure.

In 1707, Aileen attempted a coup. She failed miserably. Many were slaughtered and tensions rose to the point where many expected the alliance to break. It should have, by all accounts, but King Adamh was unwilling to lose the Highlands. He quelled the rebellion and did his best to sooth hearts and minds. Adamh offered his hand in peace to those that would lay down their arms and commit themselves to the crown once more.

But Jacob is still out there. And, when the second rebellion comes, he intends not to lose.

Unification

At the dawn of the 18th century, an age-old conflict was put to rest by a marriage that, on the surface, was as tense as the soldiers that lingered on either side of the battle lines. Mainlanders had been trying to conquer the unruly wilds of the gaelic north. Lowlanders and Highlanders alike had taken up arms, bitterly resisting imperial rule—until one of their own found himself upon the royal throne. And, one by one, each soldier returned to his life as a hunter and gatherer, tending to his modest territory and pups back home. House Stuart, those of Highlander blood, saw the dawn of its reign. Their superstitions earned them an eccentric reputation in court, but otherwise, they were known for their fairness. Mainlanders did not take well to the Highlanders sullying their monarchy, but were too bound to the crown to put up much fuss... at least, not immediately.

History of Recent Events

Rionnach is constantly ablaze with new stories, written by your own hand! Find all of the most recent narratives influenced by you, the citizens, below.

Year 1707



Conclusion of the Rebellion

Our story began in Autumn.

The citizens of Rionnach licked their wounds. Queen Aileen's rebellion was quelled for her troops could not march far beyond Inverness before lack of provisions and wayward leadership felled them. As rugged bands participating in guerilla warfare, they had been formidable. As a conquering force they had been too disorganized to succeed.

King Adamh's sword laid the rebellion to rest... and now all were wary. Would the Highlands rise again? Were all Highlanders traitors? Or so the Royalists feared. The same went for the Jacobites who believed the throne was stolen from them.

With Rionnach's unification under dire threat, King Adamh ordered the army to provide "peace keeping efforts", but that was just a pretty way of installing military occupation in the Lowland and Highland cities. Those in favor asserted that now is a time to make a show of military prowess! Those opposed argued that with the nation in such a tender state, King Adamh should be focused on making friends, not foes.

Samhain Celebration

During the Autumnal Equinox, Lowlanders and Highlanders alike celebrated a time-honored tradition with various hunts of boar, elk, and bear. Highlander elders gathered crowds at a bonfire to teach citizens to help guide spirits away from the mortal realm. And those lucky few were able to don costumes for Halloween festivities!



The Royalists won the SWP for Chapter 1 and appeared to assuage some fears regarding King Adamh's rule.

Winter Banquet and Ball

Autumn faded away and winter took hold of Rionnach. The wounds of the land seemed to be healing nicely and the royalists were pleased. Despite efforts coordinated by the Jacobites and Voxi insurrectionists, public sentiment toward the crown appeared positive. Altruistic soldiers had helped to mend the fences that had been torn down and burnt by political betrayals and all seemed as though it would soon heal.

It was going so well, in fact, that King Adamh decided to host a winter banquet and ball. Indeed, this was a controversial decision. Winter was a time for storing food due to prey being scarce. And yet, some might have argued that the hardest times were prime for celebration. Due to the pro-Imperial sentiment currently thriving in Rionnach, most seemed to be excited and intrigued by this event that the king planned.

It was a beautiful ball and banquet alike. Adamh hosted an art contest and a scavenger hunt that gave a lucky few special access to the castle. The ball was extravagant, with guests arriving in masks to complete a winter masquerade. However, all was not to be peaceful and joyous for long. Suddenly, Voxis overtook the garden in a peaceful protest of the king and his extravagant spending during the lean winter months. Their leader, Voice, encouraged them to camp out on the premises to make their presence harder to ignore.

In the midst of this protest, an assassination attempt was made on King Adamh! His Imperial Army was quick to act, and the king's life was spared. However, in the chaos, a brawl ensued, and many prisoners were taken to keep the peace -- whether right or wrong. After swift trials, the prisoners were pronounced guilty, but they were released after serving their sentences.



Year 1708



Once again, the Royalists won the SWP for Chapter 2 and were able to garner support for King Adamh after the assassination attempt.

New Life

Winter faded away and spring took hold of Rionnach. Royalist won again, and the citizenry cherished and appreciated King Adamh. In the wake of the Voxi protest and the assassination attempt, rumors began to spread. Parliament worried that Jacob may have been involved, but Jacob was in exile—Voice was a more imminent threat to their power. The narrative, too, was much easier to spin. Stage the wolves in the garden as a distraction and take Adamh's life while the guards are hauling away the "peaceful" protesters.

Needless to say, the story was packaged and parceled quite easily—and the citizens ate it up.

Adamh was uncertain but he believed what his advisors told him. Nonetheless, he did take some of the protester's comments to heart and donated the leftover food to impoverished citizens in Sussex, Maiden's Braid, and Inverness. Citizens in others towns were welcome to visit for their portion, though the portions were not many when spread between so many mouths.

News of Daphne's conception only filled Rionnach with excitement. Little princess Mhairi symbolized new life and new hope for Rionnach. In that spirit, King Adamh pardoned many of the prisoners, because it was unclear whether they were involved with his attempted assassination.

Haunting of the Fae Forest

Highlanders had always known that their beloved Fae Forest held deep, captivating, and sometimes dangerous secrets. Spirits were known to dance about the fae lights from time to time, but these hauntings were something different, more vibrant than before. When the stray spirit of a little girl caught the eye of concerned citizens, they acted together to guide her back to the afterlife using the Highlanders teachings of old.

Eleanor's Day Festival

Eleanor’s Day is a Mainlander tradition that celebrates Eleanor, the virgin queen of old from when Rionnach was only the mainland. It was a festival of colors, and vendors gave away powdered pigments which wolves roll in, painting themselves in every color of the rainbow. Traditionally, Eleanor’s day was one where spring and love were celebrated as well. To that end, several caravans rolled into town in the Redwood. They told stories and performed plays which featured lovers of every sexual orientation. Given that the mating season was over, more liberals tended to support “free love” while more conservative groups honored the day as one of abstinence (to pay homage to the virgin queen). Citizens celebrated with drinks, kissing booths, raids, basket bidding, and fortune tellers.



The Voxi won the SWP for Chapter 3, and rumors regarding King Adamh's fitness to rule once again spread.

The People's Voice

The citizens were beginning to grow skeptical of the crown once more. Was there room to get more of the people's voice into politics? King Adamh, fully recovered from his attempted assassination, sensed the political tide begin to change out of his favor once more. Adamh stressed that he wanted to make Rionnach safer for his daughter and for all the children of Rionnach, but the people may not have been convinced.

Heat Wave

Much to the despair and fear of the nation, a heat wave struck Rionnach. The rivers had seemingly dried up. In the arboretum where the rivers of Melrose could be heard daily, there was a deafening silence. It haunted those that relied on the fresh-water from the mountain. All of the winter's snow seemd to have melted off... and that pushed the Highlanders and the Lowlanders into the Mainland in a mass exodus.

Temporary were set up in Rionna (the town surrounding Castel Stuart), Sussex, and the Redwood. This overpopulation added strain onto the community. There were complaints of overcrowding and lack of food, and many soldiers were diverted away from their usual duties to be put on hunting parties. Any wolves with any medical training at all were asked to come and help treat all of the pups and wolves with heat stroke.

During this difficult time, whispers of faerie sightings took flight. Was it the heat causing mirages? No... Citizens swore they were seeing faeries, which were both comforting to some and extremely stressful to others.



King Adamh's Speech

In a show of good faith, King Adamh appeared at Castle Stuart with his little daughter, Princess Mhairi. She shone during her first public appearance, and she shone, reinstilling some confidence into the weary public. Still, the heat wave had not abated, and citizens continued to live in uncertainty, poverty, and pain. Temporary dens were being overrun, and even the least spiritual of Rionnach begged for water, food, and the cool chill of a changing season.

Heat Wave's End

Late autumn finally cooled Riannoch's blazing heat. Several sustained rainstorms eased the drought, bringing plants and animals back to the Lowlands and Highlands. Slowly, the refugees trickled back to their homelands, weary but grateful that food, water, and shelter were once again plentiful.

However, despite this joy, doubt crept amongst the kingdom. Some wolves were hesitant to return home, while others were distracted by King Adamh's lackluster response to the emergency. A disgruntled public asked: were the temporary dens enough? Would they have had more without Adamh's extravagant Winter Banquet? And even though the heatwaves were gone, some wolves could swear they still saw flickering mirages.



Winter Festival and Circus

Some wolves thought it would never come, but Winter finally arrived in Rionnach! A dusting of snow here and there was carried across the continent by chill winds. And while political unrest continued to bubble just beneath the surface, a sense of excitement pervaded every region. Wolves began celebrating winter's charm with a variety of games and contests. There were even rumors that a traveling circus was on its way to Rionnach, bringing with it seasonal festivities, games, and prizes of strange pinecones. The circus began in the Mainlands, traveled to the Lowlands, and finally ended in the Highlands.

The Bonfire and Prince Jacob's Return

From the trees to the stones to the wintery blanket that veils Tir Na Nog, the land thrummed with a new energy. The air was crisp and cool, the breeze whispering earnest secrets in the ears of those that dared to scale the ancient mountain. A snap of a snow-laden branch was like thunder in the wake of a placid, pale sky. Clouds concealed any blue from sight, and a soft sprinkling of rain pitter-pattered in a feverish dance of joy. Their prince had returned. Jacob was home.

For past the members of the carnival that ran their games—painting naive festival goers in magnificent colors and regaling youths with stories of old—there was a bonfire crackling in the distance. Most curiously, one could not get past the stationed guards unless they presented a pinecone. But not just any pinecone... one that the guards inspected for the tiniest of insignias carved into the woody petals.

As the forlorn and confused stared past the muscular guards, they stared at the snow-dusted paths, never knowing the truly wonderful and eclectic sight that awaited them. Wolves, painted and adorned, dancing around a bonfire that gave thanks to the holiday of Yule—and animals beside them. Foxes, badgers, chickens, rats. All seemingly tamed, playing amongst the wolves as if they were their owners.

PRINCE JACOB HAD RETURNED ... albeit as the mastermind behind the carnival. While it was unclear which one was him, all eyes seemed to drift toward the stunning prince with gold and cream fur, his eyes an unflinching yellow. Warm, red paint was swirled and painted over him, making him appear like a pheonix that had risen from the very ashes of the bonfire. At his side, a fox stood, her almond eyes like smooth, polished stones.



Year 1709



The harsh wind of winter yielded at last to the warm breeze of spring. Prince Jacob’s bonfire admitted more than just Highlanders, if the stories of Mainlanders and Lowlanders alike were to be believed. Indeed, tales of a prince returned home began to scatter in that breeze like the petals of a flower. But the forgotten prince did not hide. No, instead he and his kin stoked the kindling of the fire well into spring. To those that bore witness to the impressive sight, with painted wolves and tamed animals alike, it was easy to wonder, why? But to those who shared Jacob’s growing vision for a new Rionnach, it was clear: No more hiding. Things are about to change.



Welcome, sweet summer! Though citizens of Rionnach were a bit wary of the growing heat -- with the tragedies of the former drought still fresh in their minds -- this summer seemed rather idyllic. If one did not count the strange, ever-growing whispers of wolves acting...off. Citizens murmured that they felt the land changing, and maybe even changing them with it. For now, the rumors are easy to discount, but even the skeptics can't help but keep one ear open...

Something in the Water

”Adamh…” Daphne’s soft voice is pained as she curls more tightly around her daughter.
“She’s fine,” Adamh murmured, his voice carrying more confidence than he felt.

The couple stared down on the Princess, her dark fur tinted with blue from the moonlight that bathed her back. They stood upon the balcony of Castle Stuart—not within their chambers where they should have been. But not only was Mihri oddly small for a yearling, she had begun to be plagued by sleeplessness on most nights—and sleep walking on the rest. When this had first happened, Daphne had shook Adamh awake whilst sobbing uncontrollably. The guards had been called… the castle stewards had been roused… and the pup had been found asleep in a pool of moonlight.

Warily, he stared up at the sky. He knew—felt, really—that this land had old gods, even if he could not bring himself to believe in them. And he was beginning to grow more and more afraid of what they could do.

Something is in the water... or so the wolves of Rionnach have begun to speculate. Along with the Fae sightings that have increased, wolves have not been aging—and some, even, have been getting younger.



The leaves begin to change color, browning and softening to yellow as the summer sun begins to laze behind pale clouds… Autumn has reached Rionnach at last. While last summer was less oppressive than the heatwave of 1708, it still left the citizens of our nation eagerly awaiting the season’s end. And, for once, there is a bit of excitement thrumming in the air. Princess Mhairi is in need of a tutor and Prince Jacob has moved the Samhain celebrations to Inverness. Oh, indeed, there is the hint of electricity in the air.

Jacobian Army

Prince Jacob is done waiting! As Autumn draws to a close, the exiled Prince officially reveals his identity to anyone whose heart beats with the cause. Coded messages and secret gatherings result in the formation of an entirely new guild. These rebels, known officially as the Jacobian Army have taken over Freeman's Fortress in Inverness and are slowly gathering their strength until the day they ignite all-out civil war. Prince Jacob himself is their leader, and with loyal Chiefs under his command, a passionate fire burns in his yellow eyes--the passion to restore freedoms to his people, to legalize divorce, and to rip power away from the bloated parliament and give it back to family clans and local leaders.

Mainlanders beware--the Jacobian Army interrogates new recruits to assure loyalty, and so far, the few Imperial soldiers sent to scout Freeman's Fortress were never heard from again.



With the fading of the light and a thick layer of snow blanketing all of Rionnach, with it comes heightened tensions. While some families have recovered since 1708 since the heatwave had destroyed their chances of preparing for the cold, not all have had such fortune—even now.

Diptheria Outbreak

An outbreak of a mysterious illness swept through Rionnach, starting with patient zero (Colburn, played by Pixel). Several wolves became infected while many more scrambled to find a cure and name the disease. Ultimately, politically unaffiliated doctors found the cure and help to distribute treatments through the land. Because the royalists were unable to find a cure, faith in their leadership began to crack which led to a protest down by Castle Stuart's walls. This led to mass incarcerations in the dungeon in Yorkshire.

Jacobian Army

Prince Jacob announces himself publically and establishes the Freeman's Fortress in Inverness.



Year 1710



Spring returns to Rionnach. The snow melts and with it, some warmth begins to return to the land. While there are still some cloudy days and spring showers as the weather becomes more unpredictable, there is also a sudden explosion of life. Wildflowers bloom and the forest reawakens. As does Rionnach's prejudice and fear.

The Draft

Unbenknownst to the people, King Adamh is poisoned and left bedridden. Prime Minister Forthun initializes a draft of the country's people as a response to the mass protest's and Jacob's calls for rebellion. Rionnach is shaken to its core—as is Princess Mhairi. She defects to her cousin's side, turning her back on the Royalists. Meanwhile, with her help, Prince Jacob unmasks the infamous Rook, leader of the Thieve's Guild. The man was a parliament member and was executed within Inverness before the Jacobite's as a symbol of the cleansing comnig to Rionnach.

The Voice reveals herself as a rookery worker in Ayr and calls her likeminded pacifists to join her there in what is known as the Symphony. Around this time, Daphne realizes that Adamh has been poisoned. She stops giving him his medicine and he recovers. Ultimately, he joins forces with General Faust to apprehend all members of parliament. This brings an end to the draft along with promises of a brighter future for their nation—if only they can keep it together long enough for those improvements to be made.

All parties begin preparing for battle.

Vignettes
  • Part I.
  • Part II.
  • Part III.
  • Part IV. Royalist
  • Part IV. Jacobite
  • Part IV. Voxi




  • It remains to be seen...



    It remains to be seen...



    It remains to be seen...