The World of Aethis
Kaiser Adalwulf Benedictus
A dark man with a stern face and always creased brow. Kaiser Adalwulf Benedictus has risen to power reluctantly and knows that he has his work cut out for him. Kaiser Benedictus is known to always be wearing his full plate armor, even in court; and his huge war hammer is never far from his side. Many minor barons and members of his court have taken to calling him an over-sized dwarf due to his sternness and stoic nature, not to mention his fast growing beard.
Adalwulf Benedictus was born into noble family barony, called Osweldt, in the north of Geftulbadd. His early life was very much like many noblemen. He spent much of his youth learning languages, math, philosophy, history, and ettiquette. In between these lessons he was also a squire to his uncle who was a knight within the King’s Court. When Adalwulf reached age 14 he was addmitted into the military academy and released as a squire. At the age of 18 Adalwulf began his barony lessons, learning more advanced topics in politics, agriculture, guild policy and military tactics. A year after his advanced studies began, the war between Geftulbad and Zenoi began.
Adalwulf who was well versed in the history of his region knew that the two countries had maintained an uneasy truce for over a decade, but knew there was no reason for the war to begin again. The King of Geftulbadd had no reason to attack Zenoi and wasn’t even able to claim a superior military force. Tactically, politically and sociologically it was a very poor choice to renew a war with Zenoi. Adalwulf brought his concerns and arguments to his father who ruled the barony, but his father (a man set in tradional ways) could not see beyond loyalty to his King. King Benedictus ordered Adalwulf to lead Osweldt’s military reserves in joining with the King’s army. Although Adalwulf disagreed with his father, he followed his orders.
After a year of pointless advances and retreats, Adalwulf started to seriously question the motives of his King. The morale of his men was at an all time low, respect for commanding officers was waning, and no progress was being made against Zenoi. Adalwulf began trying to carefully question his own orders but encountered only road blocks and reprimands. Frustrated with his predicament, Adalwulf wrote home to his father about the situation but never received an answer. It was only by chance that Adalwulf happened to intercept a messager that had strayed off course. Baron Benedictus was on his death bed with a mysterious ailment.
Angered by this news and now suspicious of his King, Adalwulf gave quiet orders to his commanding officers to rally the men, break camp and set off home. The men were confused but happy to be going home. On the journey home word spread about the Baron’s sickness and the lack of communication with Osweldt. The men who loved their Baron and his son grew concerned. The men were able to guess the mind of their baron to be and supported his decision. Although no order was ever given, as soon as Adalwulf’s army returned home they non-aggresively took control of the city and became a police force. Word spread quickly and the home police force joined rank with the returning army.
Two days after Adalwulf’s return to Osweldt, Baron Benedictus died and Adalwulf became the new baron. Another two weeks later and a messager arrived questioning Adalwulf’s return home, but contained no courtesy or acknowledgement of his father’s death. Adalwulf, although annoyed, responded with careful words about miscommunication and giving apology. A week later a messenger arrived declaring Adalwulf Benedictus a traitor to the throne and an order for his capture, dead or alive. The messenger gave the news openly in court, no one responded. The messenger was allowed to leave with no response for the King.
Shortly after this incident, 300 horsemen showed up at the gates of Oswedlt demanding Adalwulf turn himself in or they would begin exterminating the populace. At first Adalwulf laughed at the threat, but within hours of the declaration people began disappearing mysteriously. Within a day over 100 people were missing, the next day brought the count to 300, and the day after 600. Adalwulf and his men could find no reason for the dissapearances, and his people were terrified almost to the point of rioting. Adalwulf did the only thing a good leader could do, he turned himself in.
Adalwulf spent the next 3 years of his life locked away in a dank cell at the bottom of Geftulbadd’s captial city. There he received regular beatings, torture and only enough food and water to keep him alive. His captors never asked him any questions, they never made any demands.
Just when Adalwulf was on his last moments of life, when his body could take no more, he was liberated by a group of adventurers. These people had apparently almost single handly ended the war between Geftulbadd and Zenoi. Grateful to be released, but confused, Adalwulf accepted his freedom only to come into a world vastly different than the one he had left behind only a few years ago.
The dead walked, Geftulbadd and Zenoi were Kingless, a new god spread light upon the land, and apparently the world was in some sort of horrible peril. Overwhelmed by all of this, Adalwulf fought back his grief and decided that he would do what was best for Geftulbadd. With no leader, all of Geftulbad was delving into chaos.
Over the next 5 years, Adalwulf performed what seemed like miracles, buying grains and other foods from foreign countries, implementing a police force and patrol system, hiring foreigners to build new homes and fortifications, and convincing clerics of Kraun to set up temples and shrines across Geftulbad. No one is quite sure where Adalwulf got the money to do these things, but his fast action and charity towards the country was noticed by the population immediately.
Soon people began openly praising Adalwulf in the streets, calling his name as a blessing and treating him as some semi-divine saviour. The people demanded he take the title of Kaiser, rightful ruler of Geftulbadd and first among her citizens.
Although Geftulbadd and Zenoi are at peace now, they still maintain a chilly relationship. The two countries have not talked about the war much, nor have they dealt with many other political issues that have cropped up since.