Continental Excursions; Lotharingia

One of the most heavily populated and consistently bothersome countries in the Wenigzustand is the kingdom of Lotharingia. The title itself is deceptive as the land has no king and hasn’t had such a ruler in a number of decades. What Lotharingia does have, however, is an abundance of red dragons, fallen knights, and what can best be described as a “staunch love of the profane.” There isn’t any other of the little states more active in foiling the plans of the Council of Schönbrunn and meddling in the affairs of their neighbors for ill-intent than Lotharingia. From time to time they go on the warpath and strike out in all directions against every one of their neighbors. To say they are universally despised is a wondrous understatement. In the south they border Wientäler,  to the west lies Oublier, to the east and southeast is Söldnerland, to the north and northeast is Sachsen, and to the northwest are the coastal provinces of the halflings and gnomes known collectively as the Kleine Provinzen. This is a lot of people to all despise Lotharingia and yet not one of them or any of them combined have been able to shake off the chaotic tyranny of Lotharingia.

One of the primary reasons for this lack of coordination is that the states neighboring Lotharingia don’t particularly care for each other. Their mutual hatred of Lotharingia not withstanding they have precious few reasons to cooperate with each other on anything. This coupled with the military strength of the fallen knights that effectively rule this large state make their opponents uniquely vulnerable. Invaders have to be wary of upsetting the dragons that dwell in the mountains of Lotharingia while dodging the heavily armed and sadistically destructive armies of the lords that govern the lowlands. These fallen knights, as they are often referred, were once paladins and cavaliers of untarnished virtue. But the Church in Lotharingia became corrupted by some unknown evil and soon the knights became infected with the same horrifying influence. One by one the more noble of the knights either fled or succumbed to darker inclinations, transforming their thriving baronies into havens of malevolence and degradation. Bound together more as organized criminals than anything else the four major knight’s lodges have divided up Lotharingia between them. The four lodges are known as the Knighthawks, Bloodborne, Shadow Doom, and Cursed Iron. All are bound by corrupted versions of their original oaths and while backstabbing isn’t unheard of among them they do reserve the worst of their fury for enemies outside of Lotharingia.

The primary language of Lotharingia is a variant of Geldenspeak that seems even harsher to the ear than the original. A small section of western Lotharingia has a better than average chance of understanding Fanolanian but that chance still remains quite small. The mighty Rheggen River flows all the way through the country from south to north. Limited commercial contact with Wientäler and the  Kleine Provinzen takes place due to this river traffic and the fallen knights take their share to guarantee safe passage.

One last takeaway for anyone travelling through the Wenigzustand; never trust any clergymen bound to the Church of Lotharingia. They must be considered to have been wholly corrupted, no matter how virtuous they might seem to be, and will always use their illusions of goodness and compassion to trap the unwary. Rumors persist that foul ceremonies overflowing with heathen blasphemy flourish in this dreadful place. Human sacrifices are even said to take place on unholy days in open mockery to the true Church and its teachings. It is always best to not even approach Lotharingia unless one is determined to fight that evil which flourishes therein.