House Aethelwulf, land holders in Britannia of Anglo-Saxon origin. Gained through marriage, service and loyalty properties within the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Wessex and later on the united kingdom of England. It was under Eadwig Aethelwulf the Old that the family ascended into a higher form of nobility - earning important titles and receiving the Crown's recognition as a House to be reckoned with. Through his participation in the Kingdom's conquests the family reached the peak of its power through his grandson, Eadweard the Bold.
Eadred the Conqueror - circa 855 to 858 AC:
Eadred the Conqueror, a poor yet proud warrior led his men in search of new lands after rumors of new rich and undiscovered lands in the West - what was supposed to be a planned and specific task turned out to be completely the opposite. Following a drunken fool, Eadred and his men found themselves heading East, towards Europe, instead of West - a mistake which was only realized upon arrival to an island named Flintwhenia, which was located in the North-Eastern part of Germania.
Alas, Eadred did not try to head back West, or home - he remained in the newly discovered island and began to oversight the construction of a new home for him and his people. It did not take the natives of the island long to take notice of the Anglo-Saxon colonizers, raiding parties began to harass the newly arrivers, pillaging and burning down what they could - in their own barbaric fashion. A response to the attacks was quickly provided, a small-scaled army was assembled - equipped with armours and shields, swords carrying fury and banners upholding the wolf's behaviour of protecting their own.
Around a hundred and fifty knights, some more honourable than the others, began marching onto the villages of their attackers - swords clashed and shields bashed, children fought and died as men, mothers wept and fathers comforted. It was not only because of someone's death, but rather because they were forced into slavery, their daughters suffering the same fate. Houses burnt and villages were sacked of their valuables, Eadred was slowly turning into an actual invader, a common and foreign enemy.
Knowing he cannot continue such a bloody war, peace offers were sent, along with one single request which was quite different from that - a letter was forwarded to King Æthelwulf, King of Wessex. In that letter, Eadred expressed the need of more men to fight the war, trained and hardened men - some childless and some not. In return, Eadred would grant the King most of the land he took, explaining that the island may be used as a base to launch attacks against the Norse enemies of Scandinavia who have increased their raids against the Anglo Saxons. Unfortunately, it took plenty of days for the letter to even reach England, and some more to reach the King's attention. Fortunately, the natives of the island agreed to the truces that were proposed - giving enough time for the Anglo-Saxons to strengthen their position in Flintwhenia.
King Æthelwulf answered the call and provided Eadred with a small detachment of his personal forces, along with literate men to oversight the transfer of the lands to him. Those same men assisted with the construction of infrastructure and buildings, farming and helped with setting up a port for trade purposes. Unfortunately for King Æthelwulf, he passed away short time after the deal was made.
The territories that were promised to Æthelwulf were never ceded, mainly due to the reason that his successors were probably not aware of the deal between him and Eadred. Time progressed and the presence of the Anglo Saxons expended, Counties were made and even a Duchy was formed to rule over them - the Duchy of Warstade.
Duke Godric the Red - present:
The Holy, the Pious, the Cursed, the Red Wolf - plenty of nicknames were given, only one sticked - the Red. Godric Aethelwulf the Red of the Duchy of Warstade, born underneath the marvelous yet horrifying sight of a red comet in the skies is a man of virtue and reason.
On his birth a comet was seen far in the skies, the peasants who have seen it marked the newborn child as a curse upon them - God's Justice - "The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood." - Revelation 8:8 was often referred, claiming the blood is a result of his birth.
Having been the first-born of Count Osward of Houndsfort he was named as his father's successor to the titles their family had to their name. Godric was often surrounded with men of the Church who have taught him the Christian way of life and the virtues of the Catholic Church, while they whispered his father to disown him as he was cursed and had a tainted soul. Yet the father did not bow, he instead only strengthened Godric and began teaching him the art of warfare, so that he won't fall completely to the teachings of the Church.
Godric inherited his father's titles on the age of 22, becoming the ruler of Houndsfort - what had now become the ancestral home of House Aethelwulf. In a few months, he began solidifying his position within the Duchy of Warstade by marrying the daughter of the head of the Duchy, while also sending raiding parties to combat outlaws and other enemies who had pressured the people for far too long. Making friends, some true ones and some not - and also foes, some of importance and some of not.
A decade after his father's passage to Heaven, a bloody civil war broke out in the Duchy of Warstade, titled "War of the Wolves" - perhaps God demanded a payment for all the wonders he had done to Godric, blood.
The War of the Wolves was a brutal civil war waged between six counties within the Duchy of Warstade and spanned over a year long.
On the 20th of May, year 985, Duke Ambrosius of House Blæcwulf passed away due to an unknown disease and left the Duchy of Warstade to his only heir, Adam Blæcwulf. A boy at the age of ten, Adam was too young to rule the Duchy and thus was provided a regent, his uncle, Count Benedictus Blæcwulf. Everything continued to carry on as usual, all was assumed to be well and the realm was in relative peace.
The boy had grown to maturity however, and was ready to take his rightful place as the Duke of Warstade, however his uncle had different ambitions. On the 5th of April, year 991, Count Benedictus imprisoned Duke Adam Blæcwulf and declared himself as the Duke of Warstade, sending messengers to the other five counties of the duchy, calling the counts to his court to declare their loyalty in order to secure the stability of his new position.
Chaos ensued, some lords remained neutral, while others had sided with the usurper, yet only Count Godric of House Aethelwulf had decided to stand in the way of injustice, and was the only lord who initially declared against Count Benedictus. Count Godric knew how to win a war, and he knew that he did not have enough soldiers, nor enough gold to do so. Count Godric contacted a moneylender who had built up a stable reputation for himself within England, going by the name of Raymund Stokeworth. The two had come to an agreement that seemed fair to Count Godric, and Raymund had sent his youngest son, Alexander Stokeworth to accompany Count Godric in order to report to his father and ensure that the debt would be paid back with interest. While waiting for the reinforcements, Count Godric mustered as many men as he could and provided them with the best equipment available, marching towards the county of Carcester, which was one of the few counties that initially remained neutral. After long talks, Count Godric had managed to persuade Count Freomund Wictgils to join his cause, who would also provide a shore for Alexander and the Company of A Thousand Swords to arrive within the island by ship. The reinforcements had arrived from England within a fortnight, reinforcing them with a thousand more men, mainly well-equipped heavy infantry coupled with elite English longbowmen and a great supply of rations that would last them for multiple winters.
With a good amount of troops, leftover gold and a rich supply of food, Count Godric's army was ready for war. The spies had reported that the usurper had secured the loyalty of Merryport and had taken control of the county of Westgard by force, with the original lord having been slain in battle. Count Godric had anticipated that the pretender would attempt to strike at his home, and marched his army back, hoping to perhaps reinforce his garrison with his new troops, or at least intercept the enemy army.
Count Godric's army, combined with the mercenaries and the forces of Count Freomund now numbered at about 7,500 men, out of which 700 were riders. The remainder of the troops composed of a very mixed combination of heavy infantry units, among which were regiments of dismounted knights, sergeants, spearmen and pikemen, along with two regiments of supporting English longbowmen. Reports and rumors could not give reliable information about the opposing army, however it believed that they had an estimated number of about 8,500 to 9,000 men. Count Godric was aware that fighting a battle upon an open field would very likely result in a defeat, and had sent ten of his best men, his household knights, along with 400 men to accompany Alexander Stokeworth and his sworn swords to warn the garrison to prepare for a potential siege.
Winter fell upon the lands, which forced both armies to encamp themselves and await for it's passing, Count Godric had encamped himself at the top of a hill, at about a week's march away from Houndsfort, while Count Benedictus remained within the warm walls of Castle Westgard.
When the snows started melting, both armies hurried to march out, racing for Houndsfort. Count Benedictus' army was faster, as it travelled on the main road, while Count Godric's army required more time to maneuver through the hills and forests of the land.
On the fourth of March, year 992, Count Godric had finally met the army of the usurper. This was the day he thought, he had stayed up for many nights thinking about this very day, and he had been long prepared for this very moment. With the longbowmen in the front line and his heavy infantry deployed in multiple lines forming a double-row front with reserves at the second row and cavalry at the flanks, Godric ordered his front line to advance to skirmish with the enemy force, whose archers seemed to number less. Those archers could stand no chance against the longbowmen, who despite the disadvantage of firing rate, could loose arrows at a greater distance and with impressive accuracy. After a short skirmish and a few casualties, the enemy archers retreated behind the infantry shieldwall, which was also sustaining fire under the heavy volleys of the longbowmen. Count Godric's suspicions began to grow within his mind, the enemy force presented on this field was significantly smaller than the number the reports had stated, and at that by thousands.
Houndsfort was besieged. The Usurper had sent a small number of about five to seven hundred men to delay the army, hoping to take the fort by force and garrison it himself before Count Godric could arrive to relieve the siege.
Alexander had never lived through a siege, nor had he ever anticipated that he would ever end up within the walls of a besieged castle. For the first time in his life, he feared and considered his death to be a possible outcome of his destiny, which was not an option for a man so obsessed with the concept of death. Alexander did not know how to fight well with a sword, he'd sparred a couple of times with wooden swords as a child and had observed many melee tournaments, but had never slain a man in his life. Alexander was well aware of the fact that the defence would inevitabily crumble under an assault, which is why he paid off a group of fifteen boys, no more than the age of ten, to sneak into the enemy camp in the night and use their own torches to cause as much damage as possible. While only three of the boys returned, Alexander considered this as a success, as an unfinished trebuchet had been burnt down, along with additional damages inflicted upon the enemy's camp. Alexander was fond of his small victory, which only came at a cost of fifteen gold coins.
Days passed after the incident, and the morale of the enemy army was nearing devastation, the officers within the enemy's camp quarelled between each other constantly, pressuring Count Benedictus to make a hasty assault. Alexander's small skirmish changed the way the siege went through, as the enemy army didn't have many siege weapons and only had ladders that did not offer great protection against crossbowmen and archers.
The enemy army assaulted the fort, scaled the walls and fought brutally. Both sides fought fiercely, men of Warstade were renown for their ferocity in battle. Every man had another man's drop of blood on their armour or face, weapons of steel turned into the color of red, and the bodies never stopped piling up. The battle went on for hours, but the defenders stood their ground nevertheless, giving not one step back.
A loud horn cleared the wind and pierced through the skies, the hooves of what seemed like thousands of horses could be heard in the distance, and the banner of House Aethelwulf placed upon hundreds of lances slowly started revealing themselves. The horses, mounted by the finest armoured men burst through the forests, led in the front by Count Godric himself in a wedge formation.
Count Godric had arrived, the once hopeless defenders now no longer felt fatigue and were inspired, salvation had finally arrived, they would all live to see another day. Count Godric and his cavalry plowed through the enemy army like a sword through a dry pie. Some broken men fled, others attempted to stand their ground, but most yielded.
Those that fled retreated back to their camps, and were allowed to do so by Godric, who did not wish to kill more of his countrymen if it were to be unnecessary. He placed terms of surrender, under which he'd let every man return to their homes and families with food for the way if they surrender Count Benedictus to him.
Although the usurper did not oblige, his men didn't hesitate, and he was was surrendered to Count Godric, who had held his promise and allowed every single man to return to their homes, granting them additional food for the road as promised. The war was won, but it had taken it's toll, the Boy Duke was slain at the age of sixteen, by the hands of his own uncle. Now there was no heir to the Duchy. But before Count Godric could even say anything, his officers had already declared him Duke of Warstade, which he intially refused but had grown to accept over time as no other man was worthy of the title at the time.
After news of the battle had spread throughout the entire duchy, the rebellious counties all eventually declared their loyalty to Duke Godric, officially ending the civil war and bringing back a peaceful realm. The damages of a war so devastating would take time to heal, the Duchy had bled and suffered far too much. The war ended on the 20th of March, 992 with the hanging of Count Benedictus for his treacherous crimes. The lords of Ediea and Merryport were responsible for paying for any damages done from the war throughout the entire Duchy, with the remainder of the money used to repaying the debt to the Stokeworths, while Eastguard had to give half of their horses to Duke Godric for not standing against injustice. Duke Godric also rewarded Alexander Stokeworth’s bravery in the Siege of Houndsfort by granting him the lands of Westgard and the former lord's castle, which he renamed to Stokeworth - after his House