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History of Syldavia, Chpt. 4 : Reverie

Professor Alfred Halembique (pictured above) was, during the first half of the 20th century, an historian and world-renowned expert in the esoteric field of sigilography, the study of seals (seals on documents, that is, not those on ice floes).  He became engrossed in the complicated minutiae of Syldavian history later in his career and he was rare among modern-day scholars for the breadth of knowledge of this overlooked subject. Much of what is discussed in these pages is inspired by Halembique’s distillation of records and events into a coherent synthesis.  Halembique delighted in working in the archives of the diocese of Dbrnouk, where the reading room (a large battered table amidst the stacks) had a window opening onto a corner of the town’s market place.  Halembique was a notoriously compulsive chain-smoker and he would sometimes indulge himself with a cigarette by aid of the open window. This was, of course, in a day when libraries had windows that opened but lacked fire alarms.…

History of Syldavia Chapter 4 : To arms!

Seeing that a substantial body of men under arms were spontaneously amassing in his territory and sizing up the potential of the moment, Duke Jiri Almazout of Hum decided that the moment had come to strike a decisive blow. He rode out with a strong force of men to meet the rebels.  With a dramatic flourish, Duke Jiri cast his lot in with the rebels and suddenly found himself proclaimed leader of a full-fledged rebel army.  The Almazout family, Dukes of Hum for generations, had followed the earlier Syldavian kings as vassals more or less until the Bordurian invasion, but had not joined the field at the final ruinous battle that extinguished the dynasty.  Their loyalties had therefore been sufficiently murky to escape the Bordurian purge and they had kept their resentment of the Bordurians carefully hidden.  But seeing a crisis coming, and with the political connections to realize what was happening in the abbeys, the Almazouts had also made sure to remain in close communication with th…

History of Syldavia, Chpt. 3 : The Return of the Venetians, Waiting for Branislaw and Deliverance, sort of…

Ignaz Surov, the viceroy of Borduria, was a warlike, wily and ambitious ruler who was constantly searching for ways to increase the size of his domain and to augment his power and independence. With his suzerains, the Bulgars, on his eastern borders, Surov was forced to look in other directions to independently increase the size of his domain. Syldavia was a natural first target for Surov and, having conquered that country, the troops and taxes Surov raised there enabled him to bolster his army and treasury to the point where he could dare to take on his larger neighbours. Surov began a series of campaigns against Borduria’s neighbours to the south and to the north A campaign against the Byzantine borderlands was a failure. The Empire was still too strong and well organized an adversary and the new Syldavian troops had little stomach for fighting against their former allies. The King of the Bulgars finally imposed a diplomatic “solution” on Surov along with a tidy price for his mediat…