In the time before memory an evil king drove our ancestors from the land of Angels. We sailed away seeking a new home in the Land of the Grapes or the Green Land – at worse we would make a home in the Land of Ice. But in any case we would be far from the evil king that had invaded our land, killed our king, and demanded that we be enrolled in his great book of Doom.
In midst of our journey, the álfar appeared and offered our fleet sanctuary in a new land far from any evil kings if we would fight for them against a great evil that they could not hope to defeat without our help. After much debate we agreed and we followed them to the lands of the southern coast of the Middle Sea. We were greeted by old Romans and some of their wizards who promised us help getting settled. They had set up a kingdom to the south of the Lesser Alps as they called the mountains just to the south of what was to be our lands. We exchanged oaths of friendship and aid. Over time the álfar brought other tribes from distant lands. Each group was settled in a different area and for 10 lifetimes we all lived in (mostly) peace.
But then came the Great Death. First it came as rumors of a strange sickness among the álfar and the dwarves but then it appeared among the Kareena and the Chergari. It spread from the far west – it came with Chergari traders who carried Dwarven and Elvin goods from their homelands to the Kareena and from the Kareena it came to our lands. It swept the lands like a wildfire and entire settlements were wiped out in a single week. Each winter it died down for a time but with the spring it came back. Those who survived one year could easily fall the next. Those who worked with magic learned from the dwarves and elves fell in vast numbers while those who avoided magic of any kind were less likely to fall sick. All users of magic were soon driven from our lands.
In the third year of the Great Dying, the Imperial Family was stuck down. No one with a direct claim to the throne that had united the human race for the preceding 10 lifetimes
survived that dark year. The different tribes of humans who had long worked together in peace now turned on each other. Strangers were driven from towns, Kareena – long regarded among the most inoffensive of any of the strange races we met in this new land were blamed for bringing the Great Dying. Some of the tribes of humans drove them out and some enslaved them.
The further south – into the most populated of the human lands, the Great Dying was worse. Many of our people decided to move north of the Middle Sea – to lands unclaimed and little explored. The majority traveled up the Norburne – the great river that comes from the far north and enters into the northwestern end of the Inner Sea. In the 23rd year after the death of the Imperial line, Kenric the Bear led a group of explorers across the Iron Mountains to explore the deep forest. Finding and rooting out several goblinoids tribes, the explorers found rich iron deposits and so named the hills. The richest veins were found on the eastern flanks of the hills. Miners followed and soon an outpost – Austhorp was founded a short distance away to provide food and a place to smelt the ore.
Far removed from the Great Death, our people again prospered and grew strong. The few who had stayed in the south joined us over time and brought tales of a great demonic horde that had been barely defeated by the Paladin Nestor who had forged a temporary peace among the tribes who had started feuding when the last Emperor had died. Sadly the Paladin Nestor had died in the fighting and the tribes resumed their feuds. Another tribe of peoples also came from the south and settled on the other side of the Norburne from our people – the Caddo or Sparti brought with them their Kareena slaves and fearing the Great Death would return we barred all cross river traffic.
As we grew, we expanded eastward away from the Norburne and carved out new settlements that grew into towns. Our only opposition were tribes of primitive orcs and a few giants that we drove ever north and eastward. In the 173rd year after the Imperial Death, they rallied, formed a coalition of tribes and with their giant masters tried to push us back. With the help of some Kareena that had snuck across the Norburne to escape slavery, Jute the Boar led a successful campaign to stop them. Slaying their greatest warrior in personal combat, Jute the Boar forever broke the power of the orc tribes. The largest landholders proclaimed him King and named our lands after him. His descendant Alfred sits on the throne today.
Ever mindful that they brought the Great Death to our people, the Kareena were allowed to form small settlements far from ours and we ignored what they did to ease the suffering of their kin under the lash of the Caddo. We still do not welcome them in our towns and hamlets but nor do we hinder their comings and goings so long as they keep to themselves – even though the Caddo complain from time to time.
In 395, Duke Edwin Garth assumed control of the Duchy of Garth when his father died of a mysterious illness and thus began a long history of conflict between the Jutelands and the Duchy of Gareth. By any measure, Edwin Garth was an evil man. He not so secretly paid orcs and goblinoids to raid lands near his and then offered protection – at the price of heavy taxes. 30 years ago, he approached the Earl of Thyrefeld with this offer. Randolf the Wolf refused and sent word to the other Earls that he feared invasion. A year later, a large orcish and goblinoids army appeared and was surprised to find our fyrd waiting for them. Led by Harold the Harefoot, father of Alfred our current king, we routed the orcs and goblins. As our army chased the fleeing humanoids, many settlements in the Duchy of Gareth begged our protection from their lord. Crying invasion, Edwin Garth rallied the other Dukes to fight off an ‘unprovoked attack.’ In 406, the two armies drew up for battle, our fyrd had been joined by many who had suffered under Edwin Garth’s rule. As the two armies prepared for battle, the Paladin Bernard Galeshin, newly anointed ruler of that land, rode out to meet with Harold the Harefoot to see if a peaceful alternative could be found. After an hour of listening to our side of the story, the Paladin returned to the Ducal Alliance armies. In a meeting with all the Dukes, the Paladin ruled that Duke Edwin Gareth the Elder was in the wrong and that no aid was due to him under the treaties that bound the Dukes together. 8 of the 11 Dukes left the field. Unable to fight both our fyrd and his own former subjects, Edwin Garth the Elder retired without fighting.
For the next 17 years, until he died under mysterious circumstances, Duke Edwin Garth used every trick he could to reclaim his lands. When he died, his son, Edwin the Younger took over. He quickly made amends to all his father wronged and seemed to be a good ruler. He courted Aedilberg, the only child and daughter of Earl Sigbert, lord of Thyrefeld. They were married in the Spring of 424. With the marriage, Edwin the Younger reestablished control over all lands that his father had lost and had claim to the Earldom of Thyrefeld should Sigbert not have any other heirs. Six months later, brigands killed Sigbert while he was traveling to Defford to visit family. A very pregnant Aedilberg mourned her father and some say that it was that mourning that doomed her and her child in birth. Edwin the Younger is now deemed the Duke of Garth and Earl of Thyrefeld.
Seven years ago, in the Spring of 425, a large goblinoids army appeared out of the lands between Thyrefeld and Defford. They marched north avoiding the settlements seeming to be heading for Lake Penellyn and the heartland of the Jutelands. A band of adventurers discovered the army and brought word in time for King Alfred to rally the fyrd. As the armies drew closer together outside the ruins of a border fort from the time of the Emperors, a third army appeared from the east. When it was discovered that it was an army of hobgoblins we feared the worst. Emessaries from the hobgoblins offered to help us rather than their goblin cousins if we would recognize their claim to lands far to the south and east. Seeing that the claimed lands are far from our nearest settlement and seeing no harm in the idea, King Alfred agreed provided the details waited until after the goblin army was defeated.
The battle was short and decisive. While our shield wall acted as an anvil, the hobgoblins heavy infantry, armed with dwarven weapons and armor, acted as a hammer. The goblins were routed in a couple of hours. Many of the goblins slain were found to possess coins from the Duchy of Gareth. But there remains no evidence of any other proof that Edwin the Younger has adopted his father’s habits. After the treaty of recognition was signed, the hobgoblins marched east and south – and while we’ve seen increased goblin and hobgoblin activity in the south and east, it is nothing more than those who have fled the new hobgoblin kingdom rather than submit to its “king” – we’ve had no contact with the hobgoblins since. Likewise, in the seven years since the battle, there has been no hostile actions from Gareth.
Today, 432 years after the death of the last Emperor, Jute’s Lands, often just called Juteland, have twelve major towns, each ruled over by an earl and his council of thanes. Each earldom is largely independent paying minor taxes to the King to maintain a small professional army that is stationed in Defford to keep an eye on Gareth - lest the son be more like the father that he acts.