Lord Yathrud Alyredd is a Bennvikan nobleman. He was born Yathrud Apprhodbergen Estrilozor Alyredd at Femilrhaag Castle, near Zikaena, Ustenna in 1465 AU. He was the eldest son of Congressor Dendrigg Alyredd and Congressor Nevanis Alyredd (nee Totaena). This is his story up until the events of Vengeance of Hope.
Although wealthy, with both being members of the Congressate, Yathrud's parents were not considered a major political power. This was largely due to the geographical position of the Alyredd residence. The comparatively small Femilrhaag Castle was close to what was then the Bennvikan border with the Hentani Kingdom, many days ride from the Congressate Hall, which lay far to the north in Kriganheim, where the irregularity of one's presence could weaken their influence.
Nevertheless, Dendrigg and Nevanis Alyredd were both highly influential at a local level, and were popular with the people of southern Ustenna. However, whilst they were never true enemies of the provincial governing family, the House of Tanskeld, the two aristocratic factions could certainly be described as political rivals.
Into this highly competitive environment was born a son, Yathrud. A naturally dashing, handsome, athletic man, he gained quite a reputation with the local women of the province, siring his fair share of bastards.
A maturing in Yathrud's behaviour and social standing came in 1489 AU, by which time he was the head of the Alyredd family and sole custodian of Femilrhaag Castle after the death of his father two years earlier.
This watershed moment was heralded by Prince Lissoll of Bennvika being handed command of a small army mustered to put down a local rebellion that had arisen in western Hertasala under a local peasant known as Nelvae. Among the noble leaders detailed to join up with the army and form Lissoll's general staff was Yathrud, then entirely green and unblooded in battle at twenty-four years of age.
The first notable step in Yathrud's rise to prominence came when he and a contingent of twenty horsemen were sent to capture the small rebel town of Aberaagwyn. Little resistance had been expected, but on their arrival Yathrud and his troops discovered that Rhoffidd, an associate of Nalvae, had come to the town to recruit more soldiers to the rebel cause.
Rhoffidd had clearly been alerted to Yathrud's approach, and the young lord soon found his way blocked by over two hundred armed peasents, standing on the edges of the unwalled town. Yathrud was still certain his unit could overcome the untrained peasents in a fight, but the numbers dictated that he would still likely lose good soldiers with valuable experience. That was something he could not risk.
Instead, he dismounted, threw off his armour, stripped himself bare to the waist, drew his sword and strod out alone towards the peasents, challenging Rhoffidd to a bout of single combat.
'Send forward the champion of this town,' he demanded 'and if you are half the man you posture to be, Rhoffidd, you will make sure that champion is you.'
Rhoffidd stepped forward, all muscle, beard and dreadlocked hair. He too stripped to the waist and draw his sword.
Yet Yathrud, with the conficence of youth, was reputidly unphased, and dispatched his foe to the underworld with flamboyant ease, severing his head. Seeing their leader fall, support for the rebel cause in Aberaagwyn melted away. Yathrud made a speach to them, telling them that if they returned to their homes without delay, they would be spared, and if they aligned themselves with the rebel cause again, no quarter would be given, but if they joined the royal army and pledged their support to the king, they would be richly rewarded. The peasent group heeded his message, and Yathrud returned to Lissoll's main camp the Aberaagwyn threat removed, all his soldiers still alive and fighting fit, a group of defectors to reinforce Lissoll's army, and the head of Rhoffidd, who was later discovered to be Nalvae's brother, carried in his haversack.
The Second Hentani War, Governership of Rildayorda and Marriage into Royalty
Yathrud's stature as a military officer was further established by the outbreak of the Second Hentani War in 1500 AU but, as the saying goes, sometimes it's who you know, not just what you know, and thanks to his exploits during Nalvae's rebellion, Yathrud not only knew Prince Lissoll, but had risen to become one of his closest advisors and confidants.
When the city of Rildayorda fell to Bennvikan control in the autumn of 1501, Lissoll needed to leave a commander he could trust in command of the city while he continued the campaign against the Hentani further east, and so he turned to Yathrud, who was invested as the first governor of Bennvika's newly established province of Bastalf. The provincial border between Bastalf and Ustenna was even adjusted by decree of the crown so that Femilrhaag Castle would be come under Bastalf's provincial administration, to much muttering from members of there House of Tanskeld, despite generous compensation from the royal treasury.
Further honour came to Yathrud only months later, much to the jelousy of the members of the more venerable noble houses, when Lissoll arranged a marriage between his younger sister, Princess Monissaea (born 1470) and Yathrud. At 32, Monissaea had been a widow since the age of 19, when her first husband, Uthrus Gorban, a minor Verusantian noble, had surcumbed to the plague. Escaping the terrible pestilance untouched, Monissaea had returned to Bennvika soon afterwards, immidiately renouncing her Verusantian Estarronic faith and returning to Bennvikanism.
Monissaea's younger half-sister, Turiskia, (born 1482) had already married into another Verusantian noble, Dionius Kazabrus, in 1488 and given birth to a son, Jostan, two years later. All three had survived the pestilance and continued to reside in Bruskannia, Verusantium.
All of these circumstances freed Yathrud and Monissaea to marry after King Bastinian, and of course Princess Monissaea herself, approved Lissoll's proposed plan to use the marriage alliance to bring Yathrud officially into the fold and bind the House of Alyredd fully with the royal House of Alfwyn, making him an uncle to Lissoll's son, Prince Fabrald, and daughter, Princess Silrith.
Yathrud and Monissaea welcomed a son, Bezekarl, in 1503, though no children followed until Monissaea unexpectedly fell pregnant in 1518 at the age of 48. This developement confounded her physicians, as no royal woman in history had been known to be fertile beyond 40. Yet elation soon turned to tragedy as Monissaea died giving birth to a daughter, Yathugarra, leaving Yathrud grief-stricken.
Yet he was far from a broken man, and continues to be a steadfast beacon of strong and just leadership in the province of Bastalf.
Image courtesy of Donald Teel at Unsplash.