Sothar kesGalen (898-967 AS), also known as King Sothar Hawkwind, Unifier of the Realm, Mistwalker, the King of Yore and Days to Come, The Elder Oak, and the Taloned King was the first ruler of Keledon as a unified kingdom, and indeed was the one responsible for that unification.
King Sothar is remembered as a mighty general, heroic warrior and puissant king. As a legendary figure he provides a
rallying point for Keledoni culture and is the subject of endless songs, tales, and epics. After nearly a thousand years and the rise of so many tales, it is impossible to separate the historical king from the figure of legend, nor has there ever been any desire to. No bard or minstrel worth the name has less than a half dozen pieces concerning the King in his or her repertoire.
The king is also the central figure of a great deal of Druidic lore, which also draws inspiration from tales and wisdom said to be derived from his court.
Early Life and Career Edit
Sothar kesGalen was born into the Hualio (Draeg, 'Hawkwind') clan, whose traditional lands encompassed parts of Kalabarshire and Knights' Rest, in 898 AS. In those days Keledon was no united realm but rather a haphazard and shifting group of smaller kingdoms and territories. War was frequent and broke out at slight offenses. Sothar grew up in a highly militarized climate and was quick to master sword and horse, strategy and tactics. Although not highly placed by birth kesGalen proved to be an adroit commander and was soon in high demand among his kinsmen. He quickly came to enjoy his military victories and tired of devoting himself to purely defensive concerns. Unable to convince his clan's leaders to embark on a campaign of expansion kesGalen chose a mercenary career. However he soon fell foul of Halm the Six-Fisted, leader of a sizable kingdom in the Blackmoors. Despite a desperate series of political maneuvers the feud came to a head in 934 AS; both armies gathered for battle near the modern town of Abred. The battle was costly for both sides but kesGalen was defeated and fled, finding shelter and rest among the Druids in the hidden reaches of Draoi Dale. Knowing that Halm was hunting him ruthlessly, the Druids smuggled kesGalen south through Keledon, then via ship to Capel Derwydd.
Several well-known tales and sagas concerning these days are popular throughout the kingdom. The King and the Oak is particularly popular among soldiers, knights and other fighting men, while Fist for the Six Fisted is a humorous classic.
Among the Druids and ConquestEdit
In secrecy, Sothar hid among the Druids, being one of only a handful of non-Druids ever admitted to the enclave of Capel Derwydd. During his time there he was tutored in many subjects, and learned a great deal of sacred and secret lore. Songs and tales of this time often emphasize how clever the young man was, and often involve aspects of the supernatural, and the kings, queens and warriors from the Land Behind. It was at this time that Sothar decided the entire land would be united as one. He obtained the blessing of the Archdruid of Capel Derwydd.
Sometime around the spring of 939 AS, Sothar returned in secret to the mainland, and the home of his clan. There he found them oppressed in answer to his defeat by Halm, and nearly broken. Immediately he set about reforging them into a fighting force; rearming them; and restoring their pride. Around this time, the fledgling king obtained the blessing of the Archdruids of the Whitestag and Draoi. In 941 Sothar and his army lanced northwards into Culain, quickly capturing and executing Halm and his clansmen. Continuing on, by 943 he had pacified Lothyan, Elbana and the lands south to the sea. Blackfordshire fell in 944. All of Avendur and the Dalelands soon came into his fold as well. In 958 the Marches made peace with the king, and the entire peninsula was united for the first time in its history.
A large part of Sothar's legend revolves around this period. It is said that on the shores of the Woodmere he was blessed by the spirits of the Land Behind, and to this day the coronation rites of the kingdom require the new monarch to journey there. Legends and stories of bravery in battle, and Sothar's Chosen (his elite, closest knights and companions) also feature prominently. The tale of the Hawk's Quest tells of a journey Sothar undertook into the Grey, spending a night there among its people but returning to find six months had passed. The Sword of the Sun is another popular tale, often spun into an allegory, concerning Sothar's successful quest to find a legendary sword, said to make it's bearer a mightier warrior than any other alive.
As a king, Sothar proved to be an able, just and popular ruler. The stability of his rule and law improved the lots of the nobles--ascended from the old clan chieftains--as well as the common people. Sothar implemented a system of common law, extending rights to all the citizens of his kingdom according to their station.
Sothar's reign is remembered as the most prosperous, just and celebrated period in the kingdom's history. On his death, in 967 AS, his son Haledh came to the throne. Since then, all kings of the realm have come from Sothar's line to one degree or another.
Popular Legacy Edit
Sothar is the great and legendary hero of Keledoni folklore. He is said to be entombed under Hawksholme, the great hill on which the royal palace of Keledon sits, but none can now say if this is so. The stone falcons which rings the walls of the city, and which legend says will spring to life one day to defend it, are said to be the spirits of Sothar's Chosen.
The coronation ceremonies of the kingdom owe a great deal to Sothar's legacy. The journey to the Woodmere is not the only ritual repetition of Sothar's actions the new king or queen undertakes. The new king or queen must also travel to the Three Enclaves of the Druids, and gain the blessing of each of the kingdom's Archdruids in turn.
To the common people, King Sothar remains a powerful and mighty figure in lore and belief. He rides across the skies during thunderstorms with the Wild Hunt of the gods and is not dead, but simply sleeping until a dark day when he is needed again. He was kind, just and compassionate and his rule was a golden age.
To the nobility, Sothar was the founder of the kingdom's feudal structure. He was a wise king, who saw how to gain, maintain, and share power. His Chosen were prime examples of noble virtues--honor, loyalty and discipline.
To the Druids, Sothar is an archetypal priest-king, wielding both spiritual and temporal authority. He is a central figure in their lore, and close ties between the monarch and the Druids are rooted in that ancient friendship.