How loveley with that vineyards
Looks really nice, reminiscent of Toussaint from the Witcher series with the vineyards and scenery. A land of myth and wonder, perhaps? In any case, good fortune to you Count Markof!
Walking behind his grand father, a reluctant 12 year old Niklas Markof finally muster enough courage to speak up.
Why do i have to go to that ceremony , i do not want to, today i was supposed to go learn swordsmanship, why am i punished ?
You are not punished Niklas, it is a great honor and an important step in your life to be made an hospitalier.
How can it be an honor ? no one ever heard of any famous or great hospitalier, i want to be a knight, to have a sword, ride a trison, not get some lame smock and waterskin ....
Oh young boy, you have so much to learn, come sit with me on that bench and let me tell you a story.
That story starts 600 years ago, when lady Isobelle of Rentumbria fled the county of her parents. See, she had always been quite the rebel and when she was ordered to marry the Count of Gredland, their neighbor and her elder by 20 years, she decided to run.
With her closest friend, they grabbed what they could, dressed as guards and took horses and headed south. They rod south trying to avoid large populated areas to leave as low a trail as possible. After several days like that they encountered a sort of caravan, from a distance it was hard to tell if it was a traveling show or pilgrims, but they agreed that it would anyway be a good cover. has fate had it, it was neither of those possibilities, but a party of Dras hospitaliers and help they had gathered on the way.
You see, 600 years ago there was a terrible outbreak, the searing plague it was called, that ravaged all corners of the world, but that at that time not yet reached the places where lady Isobelle and her friend came from. The hospitalier were not the kind that would turn people away especially since the ladies were willing to help. they traveled with the caravan, hiding among them and helping, to the point that after a few weeks they were not hiding anymore, they were simply part of the group. The life with the hospitalier was not an easy one, danger, hatred, death and misery was all around and with it the ever present risk of the plague.
Finally destiny brought the group to the former home of lady Isobelle, only to crush her heart. plague had hit the counties hard and dead and sick were all around. Shut in their respective holdings for fear of contagion, both her family and the Count Gredland had abandoned their people to their sinister fate. it was desperate times and rumors had spread telling the Dras were responsible or that consuming their flesh or blood was a cure for the plague, anyway, desperate people made terrible things, biting the very hand reaching to save and help them.
Facing violence and danger at every corner, the group had to flee and were forced to a large wealthy farming domain, with a mob on their tail. The young master of the estate had just lost all his family to the plague, but had managed to circumvent further contamination and had protected the people of the estate and a few families from the area that took refuge on his land.
When the group of hospitalier arrived, lady Isobelle plead and begged for his help, hospitality and protection. unable to abandon the lot of them to the mob on their tail, the young master took his arms and rallied his people and they stood firm in front of the mob and not only managed to defuse it but also to bring a few of them in to be treated and helped and other to lend a hand, driven by the shame of what they had been nearly doing.
The young master, Otto Markof, yes, that was our ancestor, committed himself and his estate and resources to help the hospitaliers and lady Isobelle. They turned the farm into an hospital and an orphanage and soon into a village and the place kept growing. In the meantime, Otto was organizing things, buying the land of the dead and fleeing, turning it into productive fields or dispensaries once cleaned. As i told you earlier it was desperate and dangerous time and Otto understood early that if people needed help and care they also needed food, shelter and all kind of necessities, things that would attract vultures and bandits, so they also would need protection.
So as the organization grew, so did the settlement and the troops to protect people and land. With time also came fame and responsibilities, people came not only for help and care but also for advice and direction.
After three years of fighting the plague, the outbreak ended, the whole family of lady Isobelle had died and she was now the Countess of Rentumbria, seeing weakness the Count of Gredland took the opportunity and bribed its Duke and a few other Counts and claimed lady Isobelle hand and domain. Cocky and sure of his might it did not bothered to call its vassals to arm and took his personal army and marched toward Rentumbria. Offguard, inexperienced and running a exhausted county lady Isobelle was not able to must much forces and to spare more trouble to her people decided to face her enemy on the battle field rather that retreat behind her walls, noble gesture but one that would spell her doom as the disparity of strength was too big.
Lady Isaobelle stood on a small hill surrounded by the handful of followers she had managed to gather, and old baron, what was left of her family guards and some of the people she had help save, two dozen of brave souls maybe thirty, on the other side of the field was the army of the Count of Gredland, more than a hundred men at arms.
Right when the Count was going to give the order to charge, the sound of battle horns was heard coming from the fog that lingered on the east side of the battle field, the sound was obviously coming closer and closer and soon the sound of many troops was also heard. Uncertain of who the arriving army was, the Count sent someone to check. the riders entered the fog and soon came out of it at full speed, followed by the troops of the hospitaliers as they had been named by the population. Otto Markof and all its men got out of the fog and positioned themselves facing the Count army now outnumbered two to one.
While the Count had left to war, Otto went to see all the mayors of the county and gathered their support, easy thing to do as they most of them been saved or helped one way or an other by the hospitaliers while the Count had left them to fend for themselves and that Otto also gave to their settlement the land he had bought cheap during the plague. With their support he had claimed the Count title for himself and with its troop away and the support of the population, easily took control of its seat of power, then he turned and rushed to intercept the army before the battle, they failed but managed to arrive just before it started.
Otto Markof, rod toward the count's army and told them that he had usurped the title, that he was now the new Count of Gredland and that he did not wished to harm any of its people, that he would welcome them all if they choose to join his ranks now. Without much surprise the whole army defected, leaving the deposed count alone. Otto offered him to surrender in exchange for safe passage out of the county with whatever he could carry, the deposed count accepted and was never heard of again.
Lady Isobelle joined Otto to thank him and told him that her family expected her to marry the Count of Gredland, which she was now ready to do if that would suit him. The two counties were merged into Markovia and the old farm turned into a large town became the new seat of power and was called Markofstadt. Ever since that time the heir to the county is brought into the order of the hospitaliers when it is time for it start its formation to become Count one day.
So you see, those are not lame smock and waterskin, those are the tides to our past, to who we are and to why we are counts of Markovia. Shall we go meet your father now or you rather run to the training field and grab a sword ?
With sparkles in the eyes, the young boy stood up and facing his grandfather bowed.
Indeed grandpa, i have much to learn, if i go now will you tell me other stories ?
Yes my child.
So what are we waiting for, lets hurry......
Great background story for Markovia