The Lesnovo Royalty peacefully ruled the domain of Lower Stratia for many generations. As a land between the civilized lands of Pralendia, and the tumultuous lands of Falhath to the south, and Tresserhorn to the east, there was frequent opportunity for conflict.
Princess Steel, the youngest daughter of the Lesnovos, was a great and terrible woman with a lust for battle and conquest that was second to none. Unlike many of the women of her time, Princess Steel was not content to sit about in parlors, embroidering favors for knights and champions. She cared not a lick for the trappings of silk dresses and make-up. She found her interest in reading of glorious battles, and mending chainmail armor. For a time, she would don armor pilfered from the Royal Armory and strut about as a castle guard.
It happened that one night as she strutted about on the curtain wall, an assassin slipped into the castle, and laid much waste to her living kin. The assassin was captured, but was killed by the guards before he could be questioned. Princess Steel knew that he had been searching for the one member of the royal family who escaped the blade…her. Such an overt display of ambition infuriated Princess Steel.
Though her father had pampered her and often spoke to her as inferior to her male siblings, she none the less loved him. The next day as the Chancellor presided over a new session of court, Princess Steel kept her disguise and watched. It did not take long for her to discover the viper in their midsts. The Chancellor proposed that he take the throne for the time, so as to make sure that the peace negotiations with Lord Aberthol go on without a snag.
Shocked by the sudden violence and death in the castle, many of the vassals and landholders under the aegis of the Lesnovo royalty agreed. Princess Steel secretly revealed her survival to the Captain of the Castle Guard, who immediately swore to serve her. She ordered the arsenal opened, and all those loyal to the Lesnovo and to the King to join her.
The Blooding and the Goddess
In less than a year, the Chancellor and his mercenaries and cronies were up to their eyeballs in a duchy wide rebellion. The campaign initially went poorly for Princess Steel and her often rag-tag band of rebels. The tide slowly shifted as taxes were raised to pay the large number of mercenaries that required to protect the Chamberlain and his cronies. The Princess offered herself as a battlemaiden to the Goddess of War, and was dually anointed by Blood Red Blade, a High Priest of her faith.
The battle of the Mere was a turning point as the mercenaries and bandits employed by the Chamberlain were routed and Princess Steel rode first into the battle swinging sword and hammer in a dervish frenzy. Eventually a siege was laid to the royal castle and the populace turned against the Chamberlain, especially after Princess Steel revealed herself to be the last rightful heir to the throne.
The Princess as a Parable
As a historical character, Princess Steel’s real name constantly changes, as does the identity of the villainous Chamberlain and even the Kingdom afflicted by this massive war. The triumph of the Princess over the usurper is a basic parable to remind commoners of their place and not to seek power beyond their station. It also stands to warn men that not all women are meek and powerless. Many Kingdoms could claim lineage back to such a figure, especially Amazon and militant societies.
The Princess is generally depicted as a tall woman of fair skin with shocking red hair, Her face is alternately cold and serene or twisted in a snarl of battle rage. She is never depicted without her plate mail armor with articulated gauntlets. She wears a gold embroidered surcoat of deep green over said armor. When depicted wearing a helmet, which isn’t often mind you, the helmet has a large plume of red horse hair and the front is shaped in the likeness of an actor’s sorrow mask.
Diadem of Glorious Battle
A potent gift from the Goddess of War, this circlet of platinum is set with a star ruby that grants the wearer immunity to battle fatigue, and fatigue from wearing heavy armor. This was possibly Princess Steel’s most valuable possession as it allowed her to don full plate armor and wade into battle with longsword and warhammer without tiring within minutes.
This is a suit of armor that is of the finest make, inlaid with gold. It is likely to be enchanted with charms against sorcery and flame, and the gauntlets are considered some of the finest armoring ever made. Each finger is articulated and ends in a flesh piercing claw, though these do not impede the function of the gauntlet in holding a weapon.
The Verdant surcoat
This rare artifact was handed down for generations, and protects the wearer from Fae magics, glamours, and cantrips. Such whimsical and dangerous spells cannot ‘find’ whomever is wearing the surcoat.
Hammer of Punishing Strikes
A gift from the Dwarven Prince of Unzervault, this magical war hammer is enchanted to deal mighty blows. No, many imagine a massive sledgehammer like implement, but the Hammer more resembles an armor piercing ball-peen hammer on a three foot haft. Those struck by the hammer must make a Dexterity or Strength check to remain on their feet, regardless of damage done by said strike.
The name given to Princess Steel’s sword, a long sword of seemingly elven manufacture. Rather dealing out punishing blows like the aforementioned hammer, Razor’s Wit is a seeking sword that finds weak spots in armor to deliver smaller slashing and stabbing wounds. Several of these strikes can leave a foe weakened by bloodloss, making them easier to dispatch.
crafted from the hide of Luktas, or the Goat-people, these boots were then enchanted with necromantic spells to bind the spirit of a savage Luktas hunter within them. so long as the boots are worn, the wearer is protected from poor footing. So long as there is solid ground to stand on, they will retain their footing. hip deep mud, quicksand, and water negate the powers of the boots.
The Women of Steel
Founded many years after the time of Princess Steel and her age of civil strife, this is a small but very cohesive band of female fighters, warriors, gladiators and bodyguards. While the Goddess of War is the given patron of the Order, the Women of Steel are more about advancing the position of female warriors as being considered inferior to men. All to often in the greater world, female warriors are constantly tested by other warriors, to make sure they meet the requirements to be a warrior. This has a bad tendancy to drive many women from the arts of war and sword, which gives the male warriors all the more motivation to harass female warriors to maintain their dominance.
The Princess’ Toybox - An item of her panoply has surfaced, be it from a barrow, or some other dungeonesque locale. It has tremendous value as a historical, mythical, and magical item. It also has a place in the collective imagination of the common and bluebloods. finding one of these toys could be a headache. Collectors and religious types, especially those of the Goddess of War will want them, nobles will claim rights to them, and all the PCs want is to keep the new toy without being lynched for it.
The Maltese Falcon - The above event happens, but the item in question is revealed as a fake, or even worse, as a cursed item!
Long Live the Queen - Princess Steel was more than a story, and after her allotted years were done, she joined the Goddess of War in the Hall of the Victorious Dead. Now the Princess is resurrected, by divine magic or sorcery, or by simple reincarnation. She rises as a semi-messianic figure who rises as a leader against the tyranny, and the PCs arrive on the scene as her companions, mentors, or even protectors ala Joan of Arc.