Asphodel is currently run by the Bandit King, who's word is absolute. While Asphodel's government is so disorganised as to be barely worth the name, it is largely composed of those within the Bandit King's trust and who he sees as holding particular potential.
- Bandit King: The individual who leads Asphodel. His word is law.
- Right Hand/Left Hand: Despite the simplicity of the title; these are the bandits who have the best interest of the city at heart, and have both shown promise and followed the honor code. They have almost the same privileges as the Bandit king - with free reign to make decisions unless said otherwise by the King - and their ranking should be well respected. They assist in gaining contracts for the bandits of the city, or handling diplomacy should it be necessary. They bring in recruits and keep the city running smoothly should the Bandit King be absent. There is no set standard to follow for one to improve their ranking within the city, as the final say comes from the Bandit King himself.
- Bandits: Those who joined and partake in the act of thievery; this constitutes the majority of the population.
Society under the Bandit King
Honor Among Thieves
Those who live in the city of crime are expected to follow the code of honor. Harming your fellow bandits is not allowed and is considered a punishable offense. These laws can be seen placed around various parts of the city, and there are not any exceptions to the rule save in the case of punishment for breaches of the code. If the honor code is broken, those offenders are subject to punishments which are decided by the Bandit King and his Right and Left Hands. The honor code was established to keep the peace among bandits, seeking to premptively prevent infighting amongst the group. The honor code includes but is not limited to living your life freely and gaining wealth through any means. Adherents to the code are expected to never work for free as everyone and everything has a price, and robbing people is encouraged.
Tolls Those who seek entry into the city are expected to pay a fee
- Protesting the toll is considered an invitation to steal anything of value on one's person.
- Not having sufficient wealth to pay the toll is an invitation to steal anything of value one one's person.
Founding - 1840 AC
Asphodel first rose as a lone citadel in the eastern jungles of Esshar, described as a haven for those with darker inclinations. Ruled by the four Viscounts Thane, Marjorie, Alois Loire and Naren the citadel welcomed witches, vampires, occultists and anyone else seeking freedom from a 'restrictive' society. Building alliances with the Twilight Coven, the forces of Asphodel quickly pushed on the Deep Company's territory, burning down the pirate tavern known as 'the Reef'. The citadel was noted, however, by the city of Osrona, who quickly made it an illegal offence to associate with the citadel. By 1843 AC, however, the citadel had grown into a small settlement, and been overtaken by another ambitious Vampire; Araceli Falkenrath.
The Reigns of Araceli, Avelin and Annette - 1843-1863 AC
Under Araceli, Asphodel was rapidly reorganised into a small kingdom, with Araceli as it's first Queen. The Crimson Court was established, a Vampiric aristocracy, and the previous Viscounts retained their titles with Araceli as the final authority in all matters. The Queen rapidly works to establish an equal coalition to the Osrona-Moxtli-Fireblooded alliance, allying with Aesirheim and Achyon (particularly the Docro family) in short order. It does not take long before this is challenged; war begins between Osrona and Asphodel, the former pushing forth for a raid to free those kept within the Kingdom as food for the Vampiric population. In a warning that Asphodel was here to stay, the Osronan forces are repelled by the burgeoning Kingdom, and Asphodel shortly after vassalises Aesirheim by agreement between Jarl Revna Rune and Queen Araceli in 1844 AC. Rumours suggest a similar attempt to vassalise Achyon is rejected by the Barsburgian city. Later in the year, the first Essharan Wyld Hunt is announced, to be followed by a Rite of Ascension in which Prince Kassarus Falkenrath was to be made a vampire. A human sacrifice was also planned, including Warden of Starfall Seifer Gardios, who had been captured earlier in the year. Osrona attacks the gathering, seeking the liberation of the Gardios, who stunningly fights his way through to the Osronans with naught but his weapon and pure skill. Regardless of this, the Osronan Knight Trife is executed, signifying continuing hostility between the two Kingdoms.
However, Osrona is not Asphodel's only enemy. In 1848 AC the Vampire Kingdom marches on Fort Umbra, a nearby territory of the Shadowmire. The battle is won by Asphodel, razing the fort and solidifying its control over the eastern jungles of Esshar. The death of Jarl Revna Rune in 1849 AC, however, ends the vassalage of Aesirheim, which under the command of the new Jarl, Vekel, becomes immediately hostile to Asphodel. Asphodel marches on Aesirheim in 1851 AC, seeking to raze the settlement alongside the forces of Nidaz Vanreth, but is pushed back by an Aesirheim-Osronan force. Increasing positive relations with the Docro family results in a joint expedition to the Shadowlands in 1854 AC. This proves ruinous for Asphodel, who are betrayed by the Docros. Ambrose Roche, Queen Araceli's husband, is slain by the wife of Alexei pyr Docro, Illythia, who had long held ambitions to rule Asphodel as its Queen. Shortly after the Asphodelian expedition returns to the Kingdom, Araceli herself is slain, with Princess Avelin Alricht becoming the new Queen and maintaining the alliance with the Docros.
Avelin's reign is mostly unremarkable and lasts less than two years, with Princess Annette Alricht taking the throne in 1856 AC and becoming the new Queen with the support of her lover, Seth pyr Docro. Following the kidnapping of Seth pyr Docro Asphodel allies with the Shadowmire and the Twilight Coven and declares war on the Docro Family, marching on the Family in 1857 AC, but is ultimately repelled. In 1860 AC, the Kingdom is reorganised into a Duchy, with Seth – who shortly emerges having taken his mother's name, Vanrouge – as Duke and Annette Alricht as Duchess. By this time, while Asphodel was still also at war with Osrona and the Fireblooded, the Moxtli had taken a stance of neutrality with the Vampires in 1857 AC. Tensions higher than ever, Duke Seth seeks to murder his father, Alexei pyr Docro after the death of Duchess Annette on an expedition to Valmasia. Instead, Alexei slays his son, and in 1863 AC following a duel between self-proclaimed Empress Marjorie and Illythia Docro the latter is declared the Crimson Monarch of Asphodel.
Under the Vranovos - 1863-1870 AC
The newly crowned Queen solidifies her control rapidly, demanding the fealty of all Asphodelian vampires and stripping all but two Viscounts (Adrian Ivanovich and Marjorie) of their titles. At some point after this, Queen Illythia is the subject of a ritual of ascension, using the beating, golden heart of pride, the prized object of power taken from Asphodel’s Valmasian expedition, as a catalyst. Rings of power were bound to the Queen directly, who had been nursing the heart with her blood and fed on it after her husband Alexei distilled it into an elixir through alchemic mastery. Johannes Alabast provided the spell runes for the ritual, studied through a tome of ancient vampiric sorcery. The ritual bound her entire sireline to her command, allowing her complete control over them and causing her to manifest dark wings. Illythia's sireline took on the name 'Vranovo' from this point.
Over the next few years, Illythia's sireling, Viscount Marina Vranovo, revises Asphodel's social structure, establishing a new order under the order of the Crimson Monarch, who rumours said was growing unstable and erratic following the ritual, believing herself to be divine. Plans are made to strike at the Shadowmire and wipe it from the realm, but fate holds a final twist; in 1867 AC a dispute between Queen Illythia and her husband boils over. In the immediate aftermath the two are believed to be dead, and Marina Vranovo becomes the Iron Queen of Asphodel, with her husband Blair Vranovo as King.
While Illythia sought domination, Marina's ambitions are far grander; the systematic extermination of the population of Esshar, and from there the world. She carries out the attack on the Shadowmire, wiping it from existence, and makes plans to strike at Starfall Academy, next in her Esshar Extermination Plan. In 1869 AC, Osrona strikes at Asphodel in an attempt to capture the traitor Silvia orn Pelleaux and her husband, Rowan. While neither are captured, Osrona wins a morale victory in a decisive win over the forces of Asphodel. This fortune continues in the Battle of Starfall in the next year; while the battle is not as close, ultimately the forces of Osrona defeat Asphodel, pushing them back. Plans to advance further never come to fruition; following the battle Marina and Blair abruptly retire and vanish from Esshar. Asphodel's leadership collapses, and the settlement is largely abandoned by the Vampires of Esshar.
Ogre Clan and White Falcon Bandits - 1870 AC-Present
From 1870 AC Asphodel is essentially defunct as a governed settlement, until the daughter of Marina and Blair, War-Boss Samina, takes control of the settlement as the leader of a clan of Ogres, announcing it as a city of 'opportunities' - what most determine is in fact a city of crime. The increasing reputation of Asphodel as a place for the lawless drew interest from the disorganised criminal element of Esshar, and eventually, the White Falcon Bandits arrive in the city. Taking advantage of their own numbers and the decreased number of Ogres in the settlement the Bandit Leader Havoc and War-Boss Samina of the Ogre Clan come to a mutual agreement following a brief period of co-leading; she would depart the settlement and Havoc would take her place, declaring himself the Bandit King of Asphodel. In that same year, the White Falcon made their debut on the world stage; declaring intent to siege the Vanirhallan colony of Aesirheim. In response, High Lord Kaine Dayndros of Fort Erradir declared the intention to aid the Aesir in the oncoming attack, declaring that the settlement was not the White Falcon's to conquer.