Written by Merodach
News of the crumbling of the Empire reached beyond the Ribs, to the ears of one Brennus of the Nicean tribe. Claiming the title of King of the North, he marched south with a massive horde, to within three days’ march of the Spire. Archduke Andrik, preparing for a new campaign against the Empire, didn’t have the luxury to deal with a threat to his borders. He allowed the barbarians passage through his kingdom and guided them to more prosperous lands of the Empire. The Emperor, Theodrian III, had little intention of warring with Brennus either. He invited him and his chiefs to the city of Aram, where he impressed them with the size and culture of the city. Theodrian allowed them to settle in the northern border of his nation, hoping to establish a buffer state between the Archduchy, and Brennus agreed to adapt the Arameian language and style of worship. Thus, in 3734, the Kingdom of Nikol was born. Old habits die hard, and Nikol was not so ready to abandon its barbarian practices as it was its culture. The Niceans made regular raids into both Arameian and Starkwater lands for food before winter, and this spurred on the secession of Teslan. The Teslanders of the mainland, lead by the indomitable Princes of Lionport, would eventually swallow the kingdom whole, conquering the cantons that weren’t wooed by his promises of titles. The seat where Brennus put his throne, Crown Gate, fell on 3875, extinguishing the kingdom.
The Kingdom of Nikol was made up of the modern day region of Nikol in Teslan, with the exception of the Dragonfang peninsula. It is a rocky land, bountiful for the Rib-raised men of Brennus, but of little significance to either Arameia or Starkwater, which is why they were both content to cede it. Lionport conquered it only to subjugate the Niceans and to exercise his power.
The barbarians, even converted, didn’t care to adapt the agricultural practises south of the Ribs. They made up a military aristocracy that collected grain and taxes over the subjugated natives from their fortified hilltops called Gates by the natives because they lay on lines of trade. The kingdom was organized into twelve cantons, each with a chief and Gate. The King, ruling from Crown Gate, was a military leader and nothing more, allowing the chiefs autonomy over their own canton. This lead to many of the chiefs being won over by the Prince of Lionport by promises of titles and riches from the city.
Nikol had a profound effect on the formation of Teslan. With an immediate enemy before its gates, Lionport had no choice but to ally with Salen to create Teslan and were willing to cede political control to assure aid in their campaigns. The conquered Niceans now form the backbone of Lionport’s military strength and protect Teslan’s borders.
The Canton of Mud Gate
The last of the Cantons of Nikol, the chief (now styling himself ‘tetrarch’ after Arameian fashion) is a sovereign ruler between Teslan and Starkwater, some hundred miles north of the Peak. Mud Gate stays independent because of its isolation. It refuses to play a part in the diplomatic dance between the three states of the Peak, and thus no one interferes with it because of its strategic insignificance.