- Brunn Handfast I
- Young house
- Farmers, independent, protective
- (Is really a semi-democratic republic of farmers, but same game mechanics)
Oakshield was formed fairly recently following a nasty local war between neighbouring kingdoms where the, now erradicated, Treblain house was holding the Northern Cross, taken from Goldhelm a decade earlier. The area had, prior to the unrest, cultivated many freeholding farmers that were uninterested in war and the local province leaders had been uninterested in letting some of these become noble houses. Though they had suffered a lot already, so had their neighbours and there was little resistance when they brought every able man (and a large amount of women) together with most of the available mercenary forces within a hundred mile radius and declared their own kingdom.
Harald Oakshield was the main force behind the initiative and assumed the position as King, raising every freeholder who had mustered at least a few soldiers to nobles. Most of them became peer knights, but he spent a significant effort into making the noble letters as fair as possible. There are rumours the Register supplied academic help in this endeavour, but only notes remain from the time and no official Register paperwork, even correspondence, indicate such a cooperation.
The Treblain family tried to crush the rebellion, but weakened and fighting men and women literally fighting for their own homes, the attempt was quickly thwarted and the Trebain family's estates overrun and its members beheaded.
There was an outcry among the other big houses (despite this sort of thing happening throughout history of Midrealms) and, following the end of the brief civil war in the Trebain kingdom, the newfound Oakshield kingdom was invaded from several directions by Haldean, Goldhelm and three other, now erradicated, houses. But even these houses had been weakened and many of its vassals tired of war. Harald had promised an end to conflict and to safety, encouraging freeholders and minor nobles from the other kingdoms so join the Oakshield side instead.
The two kingdoms affected the least were Haldean and Goldhelm, long time enemies, and they stood a great chance to gain a lot of land by crushing this budding kingdom. However, their negotiations failed as an Haldean army was taking the shortest route from Wein to the Northern Cross, through Goldhelm lands. Goldhelm was provoked, marched on Haldean, who assumed Goldhelm would attack them. The Haldean army created a rudimentary fortification and pillaged several local villages for supplies, which the Goldhelm general saw as a provocation, and attacked. Both sides suffered heavy losses. The Haldean army was smaller but fortified and managed to send the Goldhelm army running. After trying to help their wounded, the Haldean army retreated back to Wein before Goldhelm could send reinforcements, with them they had a number of lower nobles as hostages.
The brief Haldean/Goldhelm skirmish turned into a stalemate for the next year, and Goldhelm's otherwise stronger economical situation was damaged by having to pay to have the hostages released. During the Year of Silence, when the Haldeans and Goldhelms didn't even send messengers they had large portions of their armies at the ready, built fortifications and left Oakshield alone.
Cannibalising the other kingdoms, the Oakshield military force grew and the unnamed houses were attacked by neighbouring western and southern kingdoms and erradicated, like the Trebain house. A temporary truce was signed with the new winners and Goldhelm fortified its northern borders.
A year or so later, the Register accepted the claim of Kingdom by Might and all of the houses created by Oakshield became officially accepted throughout the realms (except by Haldean and Goldhelm, who are still not accepting Oakshield's claims).
What Harald did that was different from any king before him is that he created a constitution and a Council of all nobles with an Upper House and a Lower House. There was also to be a Public House where any Knight or freeholder would be welcome. Among the things in the constitution was a cycle of 10-20 years that a King would remain the Kingdom's sovreign and at which time a council would be held where an election should determine the new king. Unlike many other kingdoms, the kingdom would retain the name "Oakshield" and the King would be called as if he was a member of the Oakshield family while serving as King. The same would happen in the event of the King dying, whith normal inheritance rules applying until the end of the electing council.
The electing council does not have an even vote. Members of the Upper House gains 1000 votes each (an additional 500 votes for every King the family has had a in the past 100 years), Lower House members gains 100 votes and members of the Public House each get a single vote. Though they each have significant voting power, the House with the biggest total amount of votes is the Public House.
The system isn't "fair" by modern standards, but significantly more fair than any other system. It is based on a lot of mutual trust and a sense of identity that is stronger than in most other kingdoms. It has aided in creating a fearsome military force among farmers who really would prefer to live in a world without conflict. A large portion of farmsteads are freeholders or Knights and even villeins are treated unusually well. Other countries tend to look the other way and discourage vassals to inspect Oakshield too carefully, afraid this will catch on, but Oakshield has one of the most active markets in the world due to the high standards of members from many levels of society. However, a lot of resources goes in to building fortifications and this keeps the kingdom from growing in power more than others. Many more skirmishes have taken place since its founding.
The latest issues have been in the south and west as house Balder claimed the lands south-west of Oakshield up the Hrimgefrac River and captured Stratvale. Haldean also took The Cliff 5 years ago from Oakshield. Both of these were lost because of Oakshield having to stretch military thin across its borders and both were done quickly to disrupt trade as little as possible.
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