On April 6th, 1974, then-King Aonghais and then-Queen Alyson of the Kingdom of the East, and also Alfgar, Brigantia, signed the Barony Petition and Charter for the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands. On this, the 36th Anniversary of that Glorious Day, I present to you this essay, dug out from the depths of the Files of the Seneschale, by an anonymous author and at unknown time, looking to be sometime in the 1980s.
(If anyone knows who actually wrote it or when, let me know, and I will credit it properly.)
A Short Cultural History of the
Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands
Transcribed faithfully by Hilda
The area now known as the Debatable Lands was, until relatively recently, a trackless wilderness. A seemingly infinite ocean of trees cloaked a bewildering of mass mountain ridges and verdant valleys. This uncivilized territory, veined with wild rivers and streams and teaming with game, was an impenetrable buffer zone between two frequently hostile kingdoms: the Tyger of the East and the Dragon of the Middle. Out of this wilderness were born the great Pennsic Wars and The Barony Marche of The Debatable Lands.
The first human inhabitants to inhabit the untamed mountains were the equally untamed Tuchux Tribes. These were nomadic people who hunted and trapped, scorning fixed abodes and settled societies. They knew not the realms and Imperium of "The Knowne World."
Into this Eden sailed the Northmen. Because the great rivers were the major lines of transportation through the wilderness, the area fell under the influence of the small, but unified, groups of Vikings that dominated the waterways for trading and plundering forays. These chieftains were the first to establish fixed communities with a High Seat and social order. They established a Fylki called the Three Rivers, called themselves the Thanes of Eriksson, and their chief a Jarl because... they also knew not the realms of the Known World. This came about in the year of A.S. 5.
In A.S. 7 the first Pennsic War was fought in this Western Region between the East Kingdom and the Middle. Shortly thereafter, several lords and their households loyal to the throne of the East took up their residence at the junction of the three rivers. They were unaware of the presence of other folk and established what would quickly become the Shire Marche of the Debatable Lands.
The Tuchux remained in their unapproachable mountain fastnesses while the Vikings, in their rustic halls, felt the threat of these new and powerful people. Under their chieftain Leoghnar, now known as Leonard the Younger, the Vikings clashed Raven standard against Laurel in indecisive forest skirmishes. Such strife became futile as more folk of the Eastrealm settled the area and Pennsic War II established both a shire of the East and Lord Robert Sieur de la Tor Fraizze. In A.S. 8, at Pennsic War II, oaths of friendship were exchanged between the crown's warranted officers and the followers of the Thanes of Eriksson. The Vikings were now being referred to as the House of the Black Field, due to the color of their badge and banner.
By now, the personality and character of the Debatable Lands had been established. The territory had been an unclaimed, lawless border land between two warring kingdoms. Needless to say, like any frontier, the heavily forrested marches became populated with the outcasts, misfits, outlaws, oppressed, and general malcontents that are always the first settlers. The unification of the border folk was a major and difficult task which culminated with the Debatable Lands army being led against the fortifications of the Middle Kingdom by Black Field and the Tuchux at the Battle of Haybales Hill. Pennsic War III was the anvil upon which Robert de la Tor, Leonard the Younger, and Wolf the Mighty forged the Barony Marche of The Debatable Lands.
A.S. 10 saw the legendary (and, of course, apocryphal) disappearance of Baron Robert Sieur de la Tor Fraizze and Court Baron Volf of Novgorod. To replace the missing Barons the reins of power were taken up by the Triumvirate Ultramontaine. These were three worthy individuals chosen by the Althing and an attempt was made to carry on as before. All to no avail, however, and the area began to fade back into the wilderness only two shining years after its establishment as a shire. The Tuchux faded back into the hills, the Vikings drew aloof (as usual), and all authority was assumed by Lord Aeleric Basiliskis; called by some "The Usurper."
A new golden age of activity was ushered in by the establishing of the "colleges" within the Debatable Lands and investiture of a new territorial Baron and Baroness, Leoghnar (Leonard) the Younger and Anna of Kiev in A.S. XIII. Encouraged by the Chief and Chieftainess of the Black Field (now Baron and Baroness) the colleges of the Columns and Cawdor led the way to a new, stronger Debatable Lands. Although the Barony Marche of the Debatable Lands is still the actual host of the Pennsic wars, there is now a marked emphasis on the development of the arts and sciences as well as military skill.
Since then the Barony has given birth to many shires and cantons that exist independently as handfast friends an neighbors. Besides the still extant and supremely active College of Cawdor, there are the shires of Janiewiem, Citte del Mughetto, Incipient of Broken Bridges, and Nem-Ra-Noq (originally a tribe of settled Tuchux). The Barony Marche of The Debatable Lands has had a long, colorful history filled with many colorful folke and it looks forward to an even more brilliant future.