The King is dead, Long live the King!
The House of Scoria is an old lineage of warlords, generals, and Kings. It seems that tyranny runs in their blood, but so do the powers of sorcery and the most potent of gifts, intelligence and competence. Hakhon sus Scoria is the latest royal produced from that storied and mighty tree, and he is a beast of a man. He stands a full head and a half above the common man, with shoulders wide and a chest seemingly taken from a bear and shaped to a man's body. His head has two terrible seemings. When his mood is high, there is no doubt that Hakhon is a man made to be a king, a leader of men, and navigator captain of a great and powerful kingdom. His brow is wide and fair, the line of his nose and jaw are both prominent and strong. He projects a protective sort of might, an aura or presence that makes the common folk know that their place is near the earth, tilling the soil and tending the animals. This same aura, this natural charisma makes men willing to give their lives for him in battle, drives them to be the best soldiers they can be for the King long before their god or country. But then there is the darker side of King Scoria XVIII. When his demeanor darkens, and his thoughts turn murderous and vile, his face is likened to that of a heartless dragon. There is no kindness, no forgiveness, no mercy. He extends his arm, and then there is war, bloodshed, and naked steel dripping with blood.
King Hakhon of House Scoria, 18th True King
The Kingdom is great and wide, it's fields are thick with crops growing, the horses and known their virility, and the livestock are robust. The towers are tall and their walls are thick, their foundations deep. The populace lives in two seperate worlds, those who toil, their backs bent to the earth, and those who rule, their faces serene and their coffers full. The Kingdom is an old one, with magnificent old forests, deep lakes and wide strong rivers. Regular flooding keeps the soil rich. But the kingdom is passing from autumn to winter, it's time of growth is long past, and it's golden era is fading. This is the realm that the 18th King finds.
Rather than let the kingdom slowly slide into moribund decadence and decay, Hakhon has other ideas. The previous Kings have been men of magic, seekers of magic and secret truths. Their arts, their patronages have paid dividends to the Kingdom. It's resources are strong, and it has many pacts and alliances with native spirits, elementals, and little gods. But it has started to lose pace and status with the other realms and kingdoms of men. The orcs encroach on the plains, and the elves are starting to claim parts of the old woods as their own, acting as if they have been there for centuries and that their claims to the land were in place long before the first Scorian King unfurled his banner.
It is time for war.
King Hakhon's Conquests
The first campaigns were on the edges of the kingdom, where the orcs and the goblins squatted, where their nomadic tribes and toumans came and went. The King brought 3000 knights on horseback and a greater number of men-at-arms as well as gathering a number of adventurers-upon-return into his service. The war lasted two years, the first saw mercenaries, head hunters, assassins, and many heroes doing great and heroic feats. Orcish relics were captured, their shamans and young leaders were killed. The second year saw the mass of the human army crushing camp after camp of weakened and often leaderless orcs. There were no complaints or concerns outside of the realm of the orcs. Most nations, even the most enlightened, seldom gave a care for even the most brutal treatment of orcs.
The forest campaigns lasted longer, and exacted a bloody toll on both sides. The elves were masters of arboreal warfare, and had arcane magics at their command. But Hakhon's army had heavier armor, greater numbers, and the sorcerous might of generations of militarily minded magi. The elves were devastated, and many elfin women were taken as war brides. It was during this time that Hakhon took a true blooded Elfin Princess as his wife. During the campaign, the King of that band of woodland elves was slain, and his wife commited suicide rather than be taken as a captive. Princess Sayre was taken in iron chains, and wed against her will to King Hakhon. The King bore no ill will against the elves for their blood, or their way of life. They just made the mistake of trying to claim for themselves what was theirs. Queen Sayre sil Scoria hence named herself 'Quessan vun sludden e'valm' or the Princess Clad in Chains.
The Cacairico Rebellion marked one of the worst rebellions that King Hakhon put down. There were several smaller rebellions that were put down sometimes through diplomacy, negotiation and in several instances displays of magical power, assemblies of soldiers and in rare ocassions, assassinations or actual military action. The village of Cacairico raised arms, drilled their own militia and banded around a nucleus of former mercenaries and adventurers-upon-return. Attempts at talks failed, and with his ire raised, Hakhon sent in his army, every citizen was to be put to the sword, every building was to be burned and toppled over, and the fields were to be poisoned and burnt with sorcery. The elementals and spirits that failed to assist the Royal Army were to be bound and rendered into weapons and magical fetishes for the army. The only remnants of Cacairico village is a 50 foot stone monument of King Hakhon crushing villagers and peasant soldiers under his stone boots.
The Islander Campaigns demonstrated Hakhon's appreciation for naval operations. The King had an interest in the sea and the islands, and his efforts saw the building of a strong navy. With his ships, he conquered a number of small island kingdoms and nations near the coast. This took place over a span of 12 years, adding wealth and influence to Hakhon's kingdom.
Hakhon the Pig-King
Many would look at Hakhon as a great and mighty king, the sort of king that nations want to have as their leader. But there was a darker side to the Scoria XVIII. The most common instance was that the King had no compunction about killing. He would send his armies in to destroy and pillage those who offended him, and even if those armies were facing their own destruction, he didn't care. After loosing an army, the reprisal attacks seemed all the more justified. Within the kingdom, those who opposed him on political or economic matters were jailed, their holdings confiscated, and in rare cases of apoplexy the offending party would be killed where they stood. The most graphic example was when the ambassador of one of the island kingdom accused the King of deception and cowardice in the blockage of his home. The king took his sword, split the ambassador from crotch to throat and then refused the body from being removed until the island nation capitulated or was conquered.
Another example of his excesses involved women. He was a regular practitioner of droit du seigneur. A few lucky wives escaped his attention when their husbands to be were able to bribe or ransom them back from the King. In addition to this practice, any woman present in the King's court was expected to bow to the King's Will, and serve him as he desired, be she an ambassador, a peasant, a Lord's wife, or daughter. Hakhon also kept a harem of seldom fewer than two dozen women. These were never noble blooded, but there were a great number of war prize women, as well as any of his own commoners who caught his eye.