Ruins of the Old Empire
Lautitha is the largest and most important kingdom in the eastern part of Usteidunn. Once a mere duchy, the region was almost entirely depopulated by the Curse on the World. However, when Armaudin collapsed a few years later, many of the refugees settled the nearest uninhabitable land that was somewhat friendly to settlement: the former duchy. Unlike the previous inhabitants they had considerable experience fighting the undead, and managed to establish a precarious bridgehead on the coast that ever-so-slowly expanded inland. By 490, the Kingdom of Lautitha was formed from the previously allied-but-independent settlements.
There are almost half a million Lautithans, making them the majority of people in the east. Accordingly, the country looms over the affairs of all its neighbors, and has been at war with all of them at least once in the last few centuries. Only the kingdom of Joris (now Lautitha’s southern baronies) has been entirely subsumed, the rest maintaining their independence thanks the general inhospitability of the region to armies of occupation.
The kingdom’s success can be traced to its geographic blessings. Normally the coast of the Arnan Ocean is quite rugged, with mountainous foothills often coming right down to the water. Lautitha is composed of the sole large section of flat plains that can be found between the two.
In recent years, however, the kingdom has had two consecutive periods of civil war and is in ruins. From 788 to 791, the countryside was uprising against King Ondrik after it became apparent that he secretly favored the worship of the Triune Evil. Duke Ulijas of Anavar rebelled against the king and succeeded, killing both his monarch and taking the regency for the young king (the five-year old Adrietar from the widowed queen who opposed him.
For awhile the kingdom was at peace, but the queen was found murdered in 797—stabbed to death outside Rokis Castle. When the young king himself died of (according to the regent) a final epileptic seizure, the populace refused to believe he too hadn’t been murdered. The obvious suspect was Duke Ulijas looking to gain the throne for himself and the country gradually drowned in a rising tide of peasant rebellion. He he;d out for several years, but eventually the nobility rose up against the ever-increasing demands he made on them as the regent tried to quell the countryside. He was killed at the Battle of Emismen in the fall of 807.
Now Rhelsis, a former priest of Amaunator, and third son of the last true king’s grandfather, has taken the throne with the aid of barons from Joris in the south. He is an acceptable, if not greatly loved, candidate to all noble factions; the common people have a higher opinion of him because of his religious background.
Still, two decades of war have left the kingdom in a poor situation: the countryside is starving, corpses reanimated by the Curse after out-of-the-way battles wander the countryside, and demobilized soldiers have turned to banditry. Trade has declined to the point that taxes are too low for the new king to do much, and even he has problem – not least that he is a sixty year-old childless man with little to bind the aristocracy to him besides his family name.