OOC: This article contains both RP and non-RP information. The RP world in which Niflungland exists is an alternate history of Europe, whose points of diversion are the rulership of Brandenburg by Sigismund III, Holy Roman Emperor, and the Scottish victory, rather than defeat, at The Battle of Solway Moss. Furthermore, since Niflungland prevents the rise of Prussia, the von Bismarck family relocates southward, where the Iron Chancellor forges the fate of Austria rather than Prussia.
The Commonwealth of Niflungland (German: Der Gemeinwesen Niflungland) is a proud nation of the Alliance Nordreich. It is renowned for its progeny of great artists, poets, and philosophers, as well as its staples in the spice trade and swineherding. Its head-of-state, Vísir (Leader) Sigurð Óðinnsson rules Niflungland with a firm, but caring hand and is well-loved by his people of all classes, professions, and parentage. He holds residence in the Regnhöll, his palace on the island of Unst in Shetland.
Niflungland has a long history, largely dependent on the house of Niflung (formerly Nibelung), whose various holdings throughout Europe today make up the three segments of the Commonwealth. The first ruler of Niflunga, as it was known for almost 500 years, was Prince-Elector Huldrych von Nibelung, who united the German lands long in his family's possession, the Grand Duchies of Saxony and Brandenburg and the Margravate of Bayreuth with his own inheritance as King of Scotland by means of his grandfather James V of Scotland after the latter's death in Edinburgh in 1562, who allowed the foreign prince to inherit the lands to prevent English (and Protestant) conquest of his nation.
The Commonwealth of Niflungland was born from the overthrow of the most recent dynasty of Niflunga whose leadership nearer and nearer to parliamentary monarchical rule was met with heavy opposition by a large segment of the population of Niflunga. A Swedish-born leader of the German-based Niflungland Reichspartei, Sigurð Angatýrsson, led a revolution that overthrew the decrepit King of Niflunga and replaced him with a new, authoritarian government under his leadership. After his death only a few short months after the establishment of the new government, a young German adherent of Angatýrsson's movement, and the principle philosopher behind the Reichspartei's programme and philosophy assumed the role of Vísir, or Leader, of the newly-formed Commonwealth of Niflungland. The young German assumed the name Sigurð Óðinnsson, in honour of his predecessor and in recognition of the official faith of the Niflungland Reichspartei, Ásatrú.
The High Middle Ages
The history of Niflungland begins in the 11th century AD, with the emergence of the House of Nibelung as a major political force in the Holy Roman Empire. The origins of the family itself is disputed by contemporary scholars, but in the 1035, the first recording of the family as contenders for the throne of Denmark after the death of Canute the Great, their origin was said to be from the very same Burgundian family for whom the famed Nibelungenlied was named. This is now, of course, considered largely to be legend, and the more likely origin is as Danish vassals to Canute who had the fortune of marrying away both daughters and sons to a number of important families due to the tremendous wealth that they suddenly acquired in the early 11th century, wealth that they used to assist Conrad of Speyer as King of the Romans in 1024. An advantageous marriage to the House of Wettin in 1078 was followed ten years later with the acquisition of the Margrave of Meissen, from which this branch of the House of Nibelung would build themselves to be Prince-Electors of Saxony. The other branch of the House of Nibelung did not emerge as a presence in the 12th century in the former Nordmark, what would become Brandenburg. The family would become famous for intrigue against former friends and allies; unlike the Wettin-Nibelung branch, the Brandenburg-Nibelung branch of the family became very close to the court of the Emperor. When the Wittelsbach family was cast from the Electorate of Brandenburg in 1361, the Brandenburg-Nibelungs made especial efforts to cultivate relations with the Emperor, Charles IV, and later his son Wenceslaus. They established a marriage contract with Wenceslaus' brother, Sigismund, later Holy Roman Emperor, and as a result Sigismund's brother-in-law, Klemens, was awarded the Margrave of Brandenburg in 1410 upon the former becoming King of the Romans.
The two branches of the family grew separately and participated in the conflicts of the coming centuries with different levels of involvement. Despite their closeness to the Emperor Sigismund, it was not they but the Wettin-Nibelungs of Saxony who came to the Emperor's aid in suppressing the Hussite Wars of the 1420s and '30s. They would be rewarded with further lands for this, bringing them closer to the political power they held by the 1500s. In 1467, the two branches merged with the marriage of Anne von Brandenburg-Nibelung to Duke Heinrich August von Nibelung, whose sons Friedrich and Johann would become Prince-Electors of Saxony and Brandenburg, respectively, during one of the most trying periods of all Niflungan history.
ReformationzeitThe history of the German Reformation is certainly not an event which requires full recounting; the House of Wettin-Nibelung gave rise to Friedrich the Wise, responsible for protecting Martin Luther and his brothers and nephews in the Ernestine line. These were brought to a swift close with the defeat of a united Saxony against the steadfastly Roman Catholic Brandenburg-Nibelungs in the Schmalkaldic war of 1546-47. The Brandenburg-Nibelungs soon saw their line under Moritz von Nibelung elevated to the Elector of Saxony while his brother, Joachim, ruled Brandenburg as Elector. The two electorates would be merged by this dynastic union when Joachim died in 1552 of fever he had caught during his expedition into Pomerania. His son, Jörgen took the Electorate, but the Duchy itself passed to Moritz until his death, without issue, in 1571. The two Duchies were joined under Jörgen that year, into the Electorate of Nibelungen at the grant of Emperor Maximillian II, who was guaranteed by the merger the vote for his son Rudolf. This followed dealings with Jörgen while he was Elector of Brandenburg with James V of Scotland for the hand of his daughter, Mary. Seeing opportunity for the Nibelung family, Joachim, Jörgen's father, convinced his brother Moritz to assist with the brief war between James and his uncle Henry VIII, who was intent on making Scotland a Protestant territory. He sent 2,000 men to Scotland to assist the successful rout of the paltry force sent by Henry VIII at the battle of The Scottish force under the leadership of Robert, Lord Maxwell, commenced movement into England after the defeat of the English forces, continuing the series of battles that would come to a close in 1575. James signed with Joachim a treaty of marriage that would make Jörgen, or George, High Steward of Scotland with marriage to Mary, and his son, Huldrych, King of Scots.
In Germany, the early half of the 17th century was dominated by the Thirty Years War, which saw the Holy Roman Empire descend into chaos. Huldrych initially took neither side in the conflict, hoping it would pass him and his duchy by. He was, however, given no choice in the matter by Gustav Adolf of Sweden, when the latter invaded and forced war with Nibelungen. Much to the dismay of the Catholic forces who had so readily welcomed the rule of Jörgen as a Catholic force, Huldrych had grown up in Scotland during the age of John Knox and the rise of Presbyterianism. Upon his father's death in 1595, he returned to Germany and declared himself a confirmed Calvinist. He nevertheless remained neutral, hoping that the conflict would pass him by without stirring his Lutheran subjects against his Calvinism. When, in 1530, Gustav II Adolf, invaded the German lands, he forced the alignment of Nibelung with him. Upon their king's death in 1632, the Swedes continued their war but saw sound defeats after Huldrych decided against his forced alliance with the Swedes and aligned himself with the Catholic League. The war continued well into the mid-17th century, closing for the Nibelungens in 1653 with the Treaty of Stettin after an expedition of Nibelungen forces into Swedish land, and a crushing defeat of the Swedes at Öland.
That same year saw the establishment of Cromwell as Lord Protector of England, who had overthrown Huldrych's cousin, Charles I, descent from James V's brother, Arthur Stewart, Duke of Rothesay, whose father James had inherited the throne of England in defiance of Huldrych's claim to the throne, which was give to him in exchange for his promise of assistance in conflict with the House of Pomerania. Huldrych tried to assist his cousin but the kangaroo court erected to kill Charles completed and committed the regicide before a war could be waged. By late 1653, Huldrych had fallen gravely ill, and died the following year. His son, Huldrych, often known as Ulrich II, took the throne as a 16-year-old boy. He was, however, as resolute as his father in his German Calvinism, staunchly opposed to the radical puritans under Cromwell and politically aligned with the Catholic League. He held court in Scotland more than Potsdam, and established a strong armed force on the border with England, to oppose the armed incursion by Cromwell that had begun with a Phyrric Cromwellian victory at the Battle of Dunbar in 1650. Cromwell knew better than to go to full-scale war with a force allied with both the French and the Papacy. He instead concentrated his efforts domestically until his death in 1658. Ulrich II was sternly opposed to Cromwell, but he did admire the structure of the New Model Army, and was swift to begin adopting its style in his own armies, something that helped him when he established forces on the border of England to invade if the Restoration of Charles II was not accepted by the English Parliament following the resignation of Richard Cromwell as Lord Protector.
The Rise of the Kingdom
The eighteenth century saw expansion in the Niflungan German lands, where the Thirty Years War had emptied the state treasury. In 1688, Ulrich II's son Ulrich III inherited the throne of Niflunga. His reign was marked with efforts to rebuilt the treasury as well as convincing the Emperor, Leopold I, to recognise Niflunga as a Kingdom. He accomplished this through an alliance against former allies the French in the War of Spanish Succession. His argument was that, in spite of the German law banning any Kingdom in the Holy Roman Empire except Bohemia, the core of Niflunga was in fact the Kingdom of Scotland, since it was ranked higher than any other state under the reign of the House of Nibelung. Through the alliance with Leopold I, the growth of Niflungan power began a new phase. The alliance with Austrian power was maintained until the War of Austrian Succession during the reign of Ulrich III's son, Jörg I. Once again poised against England in conflict, Jörg shifted his alliances again by invading Austrian-held Silesia from Saxony; while he led his forces to battle in Silesia, his chief general in Scotland, James Francis Edward, whom was the Niflung and French recognised King of England, led the invasion force into England from Scotland. Despite being a Catholic, James enjoyed some popularity in Scotland among both the Presbyterians and Highlanders. As appointed Steward of the Throne in the absence of Jörg (George I of Scotland), he was in charge of the raising of armies there. The war against England was not as successful as the King's ventures into Silesia, which gained a large portion of the province for him from his rival Maria Theresa in Austria.The successful campaigns against Austria would continue for the duration of Jörg's reign, along with a close alliance with the Hohenzollerns, cousins of the Nibelung family that had been installed in the Duchy of Prussia, and had, with Niflungan assistance, successfully Germanised much of the land there. They had formed a close relationship with the Russians, and had, along with the Niflungans, entered a pact to partition the Polish lands in 1762, the first of three partitions, the last of which would spell the end of Poland as an independent entity, though under new leadership and a new name for their nation, the Polish people have once again united under a common banner. While the Hohenzollern's under Friedrich II and then his nephew Friedrich Wilhelm III partitioned the rest of Poland with Russia and Austria, Niflunga turned inward. Jörg I would die in January 1773 and his son, Jörg II came to the throne in a very decisive moment for Niflunga. The English colonies in the Americas were quickly becoming hotbeds of political unrest, offering a stunning opportunity for Niflunga to take advantage of her old rival in a time of trouble. Several Scottish spies were sent to the colonies of Massachusetts Bay, New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania to investigate the situation there. One spy arrived in the small city of Boston in the first week of December, and almost immediately reported a rather childish and amusing but nevertheless meaningful gesture on the part of the colonists, who on December 16 raided a number of trading ships in the harbour and cast their cargo (mostly of tea) into the bay in protest of English taxation laws. Over the next few years, a number of developments convinced Jörg II in his capacity as George II of Scotland to commit funding to the American expedition and sent a cohort of Scottish troops and several German military advisers to the American forces under George Washington in the late 1770s. He soon learned that his allies the French had made similar commitment of funds, but as yet had not committed troops. In a trip to renew the Auld Alliance between the Scots and French in 1777, the Niflungan delegation, in conjunction with some Americans who were present, convinced France to commit troops and recognise the young Republic, and in formal declaration in June of 1778 officially recognising the United States of America by the Kingdom of France and Niflunga, which led to armed conflicts between English and Niflungan forces in Scotland in the early 1780s, finally negotiating a peace with the Treaty of Paris of 1783, which granted Niflunga a short-lived colony in what would become Maine, and official recognition of the United States by England.
The French Wars
Following the French Revolution of 1789, relations between Niflunga and the French soured, leading Niflunga to sign a Treaty of Alliance with England in war against the French throughout the 1790s. In this time, relations with the Americans were further improved with the exchange of 25 million gulden for the purchase of the distant and impractical Maine colony, followed by a Treaty of Alliance that saw the first American soldiers in Europe, sent to Brandenburg-Saxony for military training in the élite Niflungan military academies in Potsdam, Dresden, Stralsund, and Frankfurt-am-Oder, which offered English-language courses and training led by Scots who taught there. Some of these Americans remained in Niflunga, learned German and joined the Amerikanische Zenturien, or “American Centuries”, 100-man miniature armies attached to the Niflungan Army and Navy. So plentiful were the Americans that they became a phenomenon in Saxony, of which one relic remains: the city of Washington, just a few kilometres from Dresden on the Elbe River, is still today an exclusively English-speaking community descent from Americans who moved to Niflunga and stayed.
In the period following the rise of the French Republic, Jörg II did all he could to resist the French armies moving through Germany, and sent forces across the western lands to meet advancing French armies and assist the Austrians, which was largely accomplished, securing Austrian victory Valmy in 1792. After the regicide of Louis XVI by the French rabble, England joined Austria, Russia, Niflunga, Prussia, and several others in forming a European Coalition to crush the rebellion of the French and restore the rightful rulers of the Kingdom of France. The forces won crushing victory after crushing victory for most of the 1790s, until the emergence of a strong French general from Corsica named Napoleon Bonaparte, whose successful invasion of Italy came as a great surprise and a massive blow to Archduke Karl of Austria. Niflunga countered with a major attack at the heart of France herself, laying Paris to siege in 1796 for several months. After the mass-murder of the Vendéens in 1795 and 1796, official orders of “no quarter” had been issued to the Niflungan troops if the city were taken; revenge for the death of the King and the mass-murder of Royalists would be the decimation of Paris herself. It did not, however, come to this, and the siege was lifted with the coming of winter in 1796, but withdrawing Niflungan troops could not be stopped from acts of violence against Frenchmen they encountered as they withdrew to Belgium, killing several thousand and burning every Republican village they encountered to the ground. The black flag was carried before Niflungan troops for the duration of their wars against the French, and created a violent animosity which survived as long as the now collapsed French Republic. With the restoration of the Capetian House, relations have started to repair themselves.
The New DynastyGreat troubles awaited the Niflungan forces with the turn of the 19th century, as Jörg II died without issue in 1800. While great arguments and debates ensued over his successor, Niflunga was forced to drop out of the Second Coalition, formed only a year before. They signed a peace with Napoleon that turned over short-lived conquests in Belgium to France. Meanwhile, long-harboured resentment of Niflungan rule came to a head in Öland, where a popular revolt rose to overthrow the Kingdom of Niflunga's power and establish an independent state. This sped the decision of the new King significantly, and the joint parliaments of Berlin and Edinburgh, meeting together in the City of Wittenberg in August of 1801, appointed a Scotsman, a descendant of James V of Scotland and therefore cousin of the Nibelungen line through Mary Stuart. King Robert I (Robert VI of Scotland), as the young James Robert Stewart styled himself, marked the beginning of a new era of Scottish rather than German rule of Niflunga.
One of the last acts of Jörg II before his death was his conversion, and the conversion of a large segment of the population, to the pre-Christian faith of the ancient Nibelungs, a faith to which they still clung when the House emerged in the 1030s. Meanwhile, the Highlanders seemed more open to the idea of a native faith, and in the Shetland Islands, Hebrides, and Orkey Islands an emergence of a Pictish religion began to emerge. The new King Robert was a lowlander, and hardly of this inclination; nor was he especially interested in seeing the re-emergence of the old religion, something already embraced almost in full by the Reichstag in the German territories, and with especial zeal by the rebels in his Swedish holdings. As an effort to curtail the movement without opening a new religious war in Niflunga, he founded the United Church of Niflunga (Vereinigte Kirche Nibelungen), which brought together all Lutheran, Calvinist, Presbyterian, and Pietist congregations for discussions in 1802. After a great deal of debate and argument, a central church body was formed to govern Christianity in Niflunga, though individual congregations retained autonomy in confession and liturgy, so long as it fell into a jointly reviewed Lutheran and Calvinist Rubric, the former being referred to as the “German Rite”, the latter as the “Scottish Rite”. Roman Catholics, many of whom were the Highlanders who were converting to outright paganism, declined sharply in population. By 1810, they were a paltry .06% of the entire population. The United Church of Niflunga was met with the rise of Jörg's small circle of aristocrats who practised the Old Ways, dubbed the Hochorden der Wotanssöhne (“High Order of the Sons of Odin”) by Jörg and his associates. The Hochorden was quick to reform itself to be a suitable national force to meet the VKN, and in 1804 officially styled itself the Orden der Ritter des Wotansauge (“Order of the Knights of Othin's Eye”). The ORW, as it was popularly known, surged in membership as the only central authority on pagan practise in all of Niflunga. Through efforts largely in spite of the King, the ORW successfully brought the pagans in Öland back under Niflungan governance by convincing them to all become part of the ORW. Reluctantly, the leaders of the rebellion recognised Robert I as King of Niflunga and, as such, Duke of Öland.
Robert went to war with the French in 1805, but was ill-prepared to meet them in battle and saw the first major defeat of Niflungan troops on the continent since the Thirty Years War at Jena in 1806. In November, Napoleon sat at Berlin and issued the Berlin Decrees, establishing his abortive Continental System which forbade the importation of British goods to the continent. This was, of course, something he could not enforce on Niflunga, whose Scottish territories shared a border with Britain, and throughout the duration of the Napoleonic era, Scotsmen became increasingly wealthy through the business of smuggling British goods into Europe by way of Scotland, making the continental system utterly pointless in Europe, but crippling to the French economy. Meanwhile, England prepared with her allies in Austria, Prussia, and Russia to form a new coalition against the French. The next two major Coalition Wars, between 1806 and 1809, Niflunga would remain neutral at the behest of Napoleon, who was in the position to dictate terms to Robert and his son Malcolm V of Scotland (Malcolm I of Niflunga). Robert, already an old man upon his accession, died in 1807 and his 23-year-old son Malcolm took the throne. Malcolm was as steadfast as his father in his Christianity, but he was far more open to German culture and custom, despite his thoroughly Scottish name. He took it upon himself to learn French, Norse, and German in addition to his native Scots; this soon had him dubbed “the People's King”, a name he relished. After Napoleon's expedition into Russia he gained even more popularity by joining the Sixth Coalition against Napoleon, which met the French leader outside of Leipzig in 1813 and saw decisive victory.
The Fall of Napoleon and the Vormärz
After the defeat of Napoleon, Malcolm took a leading role in the move toward nationalisation that Napoleon had begun in France. He did not care for the Napoleonic code of law, but favoured something similar to what had been done in Scotland since the 13th century; a royal parliament which held strongly to the English Common Law, subordinate to but still able to resist a King. He attempted to transplant the Scottish form into the German lands with some success during the rule of Napoleon over much of Europe, but found increasing resistance to the structure after 1813. The world was distracted for a moment in 1815, when Napoleon escaped his prison in Elbe and attempted to bring France under his rule again. At Waterloo, Niflungan forces joined with English forces under Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington and then joined with Prussian and Bavarian forces to drive Napoleon to rout at the same battle under General Gebhard Blücher. King Malcolm was not present but remained on the continent during the battle, in Potsdam at a palace gifted to his father by Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia.
Following Waterloo, France returned to the reign of the Bourbons for a time, and then shattered into several warring states, the first of the Flemish in the north, the Bretons to the northwest, a united Basque nation to the south-west, Italians and Swiss annexations to the southeast, and the only defined “French” nation centred in Paris and under rule of worker's communes. The violence that followed would endure into the next century. While France was at war with herself, the people of Germany were driving for more unity. Under the Austrians' guidance, a German League was formed, styled after Napoleon's Confederation of the Rhine, but incorporating far more. Due to good relations with the Belgians, Niflunga was able to convince the Flems to join as well as the Dutch in a re-made Holy Roman Empire, to replace the ancient structure finally shattered by the French in 1806. The German League was modeled after the Holy Roman Empire in that all the nobles and leaders of the various principalities, duchies, kingdoms, and free cities, met at a Diet regularly to discuss the state of the German nation. The difference was that in addition to this Diet, there was a standing assembly of representatives of the various states held in Nuremberg, which was itself removed from the rule of the Bavarians and made a free city at the suggestion of King Malcolm, observing a similar structure in the United States. This structure stretched from the eastern-most border of Prussia to the western-most border with the Flems, to the southern-most border with the Adriatic and the Swiss Confederation, whom could not be prevailed upon to participate.There was then a period of peace in Europe, with the exception of colonial wars waged by the British against her old rivals in Spain, who was making incursions into Africa now. Niflunga stayed out of the colonial race, now more interested in domestic affairs. In Germany, new thoughts were stirring; a Prussian Jew named Karl Marx published his Manifesto of the Communist Party, co-written with Friedrich Engels in 1848, and almost immediately thereafter, Germany erupted into flame, along with much of the rest of Europe. The overthrow of the Bourbons and the descent of France into factional chaos was a precursor, occurring in 1830. In 1848, German rabble-rousers, shouting slogans both from Marx's work as well as various carry-overs from the French toppling of Charles X eighteen years before, driving against the rule of the German princes in the German League. A group created their own Reichstag in Frankfurt-am-Main, to rival the de jure body in Nuremberg; they were recognised by violent upheavals in several major cities, including Dresden and Berlin. The former went as far as to declare Saxony a free state, subject to the rule of the Frankfurt parliament with its own government independent from Niflunga. One of Niflunga's most famous artists and musicians, Richard Wagner, took active part in the revolution and the government; he fled, along with the other rebels, to Switzerland when news of the Niflungan army intervening reached Dresden. Those who remained behind were taken to Berlin, where they were hanged according to the Scottish method instead of being shot or beheaded, as was the German style. Malcolm's early experiments with learning German culture and working closely with the Germans were long over; he was now enforcing Scottish law on the German people, and creating division within his own Kingdom as a result.
The 1848 revolution was successful, however, in causing the collapse of the Nuremberg Reichstag. All the principalities of Germany turned against the notion of a unifying Reichstag and the Duke of Hesse personally quelled the body in Frankfurt. Nuremberg was thereafter re-annexed to Bavaria, an act which all German princes, as participants in the German league, were obligated to oppose. Malcolm, however, was alone in his opposition; seeing no diplomatic support for his opposition, he moved to outright war against the Bavarians. Austria, which was at the time tied closely with both kingdoms, was kept out of the war by constant appeals by each to support them. The Bavarians were successful, however, in recruiting Baden, Württemberg, and Hesse to their aid, while Niflunga gained alliance from the Prussians, Dutch, and Flems. Hanover, allied with England and consumed by her own affairs, opted out of the conflict, and various small states likewise joined with Hanover as the Unangeschloßte Verein or “non-aligned federation”. With pressure put on the Bavarians on their western borders by the Dutch and Flemish armies, Niflungan troops with their Prussian allies moved from the East into Bavaria, marching as far south as Regensburg, defeating the Bavarian army at the Battle of Hemau in April 1850. The Peace Treaty negotiated with Bavaria following this shattering of their forces allowed them to keep Nuremberg should the northeast of Bavaria, only recently gained by the Bavarians, be ceded to Niflunga. Negotiations continued almost until September, while the Dutch and Flems kept fighting Baden with great success in the West. Finally, an agreement ceding the towns of Bayreuth, Hof, Kronach, and several others to Niflunga, and Nuremberg becoming part of the Kingdom of Bavaria. Flanders and the United Netherlands were awarded portions of Bavarian holdings in the Palatinate, which had been overrun by the end of the year.In December of 1850, Malcolm, now in his 66th year, caught a chill and died. The only heir to the house was his nephew, only 10 years old. Therefore, the Lord Protector, John Moray, Duke of Rothesay, took command of the government. He spent the next eight years doing very little aside from conspiring against the royal house, succeeding in 1857 of having Robert II of Niflunga declared a bastard, and himself taking the throne on the legal basis of the old tradition of the official heir being granted the Dukedom of Rothesay. Johann I of Niflunga (John II of Scotland) took the throne officially in 1858, ending the short-lived Stewart Dynasty of Niflunga and beginning the Moray dynasty. Moray had in the meanwhile arranged for himself a marriage with a Hanoverian princess, Charlotte of Clarence, who had by 1858 bore him a daughter and a son. He had since moved entirely from Scotland to Germany, seeing the divisions created by Malcolm during the last years of his reign. His son was introduced to the ORW, who gained an increased presence in the government under the appeasing Johann. The next few years were dominated by the rise of political sentiment once again for a united Germany; a Niflungan whose family had left Brandenburg for Austria shortly after the defeat of Napoleon, Otto von Bismarck, took the role of Chancellor of Austria in 1862, a year that marked the high point in Niflungan-Austrian relations. Bismarck had succeeded in quelling internal opposition to Austrian rule by the late 1860s and pulled together a coalition he called the Süddeutscher Bund, to face the rising power of the Hannoverian Unangeschloßte Verein. A series of intrigues that led to Austrian annexation of the Danish Schleswig-Holstein province as well as much of Thuringia by 1868 put the Austrian party and the Süddeutscher Bund at the head of German affairs. The heavily Catholic Austria had very little patiences for Protestants, and much less for other religions, saw relations quickly sour between Bismarck's Austria and Niflunga. In 1870, Austria declared all non-Catholics under taxation and declared that the only recognised faith would be the Catholic faith, a measure implemented throughout the Süddeutscher Bund. Shortly thereafter, Niflungan spies intercepted messages from Austrian agents in Denmark hinting and plans for a war with Niflunga. Johann I read the documents aloud before both the Parliament in Scotland and the Reichstag in Berlin, and Niflunga declared war on Austria the next day.
War with Austria turned from Niflunga's greatest victory into one of her most crushing defeats after her initial allies in Hanover abandoned her. The Prussian forces took and held much of Austrian Galatia, which weakened the blow somewhat, but the end result was a terrible defeat for Niflunga and her allies. Austria gained the province of Alsace-Lorraine from the Flems, who had recently conquered it from the Parisian commune, while half of Niflunga's Franconian holdings had to be ceded back to Bavaria. The Treaty of Nuremberg of 1871 also saw the proclamation of a German Empire answerable to Vienna, of which Prussia and Niflunga were made a part, as well as Holland, Luxemburg, and the newly won Danish provinces. Though the individual states kept much autonomy, the official borders of the Austrian Empire now stretched from almost the end of the Danube river to the North Sea, an empire the likes of which had not been seen since the 16th century. Franz Josef of Austria was crowned Franz Josef, Emperor of Germany on 18 January 1871. Bismarck's cunning also convinced the Emperor and the rest of the cabinet to convert the various subdivisions of the former Austrian Empire into autonomous states similar to those in Germany. The Kingdoms of Hungary, Bohemia, and the Grand Duchies of Moravia and Croatia were officially recognised as part of the Greater Empire in the following years, as Bismarck tore apart Austria's old system in favour of a new, streamlined structure.
Fin de siècle
With the closing of the 19th century, the creation of a united and powerful central Europe had been realised, with holdings throughout what would become known geographically as Nordland. Johann was far from well-pleased with the notion of a united German state, since it weakened his own position in the region and of his alliances. He was, however, sympathetic to the democratic cause of the Frankfurt Reichstag, and began moving his own kingdom in that direction. His first action toward this end was the devolution of power to the German Reichstag, Scottish Parliament, and Ölander Althing. Upon his death in 1873, his son, Johann II of Niflunga, continued this movement toward more liberal government in Niflunga. Throughout the latter half of the 19th century, movements were made toward the final drafting of a Niflungan Constitution, which was finally issued in 1888 by a joint meeting of members of the Reichstag, Parliament, and Althing in Johann's chosen capital of Edinburgh, the first time an official capital of Niflunga had been named. This stirred a great deal of resentment from German and Swedish nationalists who favoured Berlin or Dresden as the capital, resentment which would continue to grow as the world moved toward war.
Otto von Bismarck died in 1898, leaving the highly conservative Franz Josef I in control of an Empire which sprawled the European continent from quite nearly the delta of the Danube River in the East to Niflunga's Scottish holdings in the West. For the first time since Charles V, the Habsburgs ruled over an Empire upon which the sun never set. Niflunga played a crucial part in the structure of this empire, with Niflungan representatives leading the movement toward a liberal structure resembling the Frankfurt German Federation of 1848. Franz Josef, even more than Bismarck, was heavily resistant to such ideas, which brought Johann II and Franz Josef I into heated conflict. Several princes in the north, formerly of Hanover's Unangeschloßte Verein, joined Niflunga in a push against the conservatism of the Emperor. Johann knew historically what brought the strongest sense of offence to the Austrians: religious unrest.Niflunga's population in the German lands had long been moving toward the teachings of the ORW, and in Öland the last Lutheran church closed its door for lack of funds and membership in 1876. In Scotland, the movement was much slower, but the highlanders had abandoned their allegiance to Rome even by 1848. The movement to unite all Christians under a common church was still strong, but they were fighting a losing battle: the 1882 census showed 64% of Niflungans were either full or observing members of the ORW, while only 30% were registered members of the VKN. Johann II himself was not necessarily a believer in either tradition, settling more readily for Enlightenment scepticism. He did, however, know the power the ORW could wield if put in the right position. While Bismarck was alive, there could be no move in this direction, for Johann knew full well he could not outwit the Iron Chancellor, as he had come to be called. Instead, he waited until 1900 to announce that the Orden der Ritter des Wotansauge would begin receiving state funds upon his application for membership, ushering in what he called “a new age of renewed faith in the old ways”. The ORW was suspicious of the highly liberal young king, but were happy to finally receive the recognition heretofore reserved by conservative Christian rulers.
Franz Josef was infuriated with open heathenry in his largest vassal and demanded a renunciation of the ORW, declaring, anachronistically, a crusade against the capital of the ORW in Fichtelberg, Franconia, slightly north-east of Bayreuth. This followed on the heels of the First Vatican Council, convoked in 1868 by Pope Pius IX, ushering in a new age of conservatism in the Roman Catholic Church. Pius IX recognised the Crusade and invited other Christian rulers to join. The call largely fell on deaf ears, since the idea of an actual armed crusade hardly appealed to even the most devout Catholic rulers in 1900, but the papal recognition nevertheless encouraged Johann to back down from his political manoeuvre, and in exchange for ending the crusade promised political recognition of the VKN as well, causing a surge in membership of that body. The ORW maintained its numbers, however, and the surge proved short-lived as more and more people abandoned the Christian churches, where they found a lack of real belief or morality, in favour of the ultra-conservative, nationalistic, and heavily ritualistic ORW. 1902 marked a high point in ORW power, when they announced a week-long Sigrblót festival beginning on May Day and held in every major city in Niflunga. Edinburgh and Glasgow were the only two major cities which saw little celebration of the festival, which culminated in a torch-light march through the streets on the night of 8 May, which concluded with the meeting at a constructed shrine grove outside of each city where verses of the Hávamál were read and the Nine Sacred Degrees of the Order were ritually reinstated with the elevation of a new Grand Master and Ninth Degree Knights of the Order.
Johann, despite being a member in name, largely ignored the celebrations and on the first of May was conspicuously on a diplomatic visit to the Vatican. The new Grand Master of the ORW, however, was Johann's son Karl Wilhelm, who had accepted the title at his father's orders, unbeknownst to the ORW, who saw in him the solid supporter that his father was not. In public, the father and son feigned dislike for one another, the elder in a position to please the emperor, while guaranteeing his dynasty by maintaining his son's popularity with the people. As more and more power was given away to the National Parliament in Edinburgh, the actual role of the king was more a matter of popularity anyway. Johann announced the “Dawn of the New Age” in a speech given before the people in Edinburgh, declaring that the time had come for an age of popular sovereignty and the shattering of old bonds on trade, freedom of expression, and civic participation, opening massive popular elections on the first day of the next year.
Things continued in this way as Niflunga's economy fluctuated violently as a result of the new liberal measures and many of the people, heavily influenced by the ORW, saw a massive decline in family life and moral consistency in the elected politicians as well as society as a whole. Unrest was surging throughout the rest of the Empire as well, and in 1914 the conservative Emperor was killed by a bomb in Sarajevo, on his visit to all the major cities of the Empire, that was to take all year. The murder created chaos in the Empire, as liberal Archduke Franz Ferdinand came to power to almost immediately be couped by his nephew Karl Franz, who assumed the name Karl VIII, declaring a continuity with the Holy Roman Emperor Karl VII of the 1740s. He received the blessing of the Pope for his coronation and declared as his first act the reinstatement of the Imperial Electors and the Roman Empire. He became hugely popular among conservative circles in Niflunga, both Christian and Ásatru for this motion, and immediately the enemy of every liberal power on the continent. He blamed socialists for his great-uncle's death, and moved for punishment by banishing all communists, socialists, and similar groups from the German Empire. This led to strong opposition internationally from left-wing nations including Italy, Spain, England, and several small French states. In late 1914 he signed an agreement with Czar Nicholas to curb liberalism and socialism in favour of conservative autocracy, known as the Treaty of the Crowns. His competition with England's navy came to a head soon thereafter, and for reasons which to this day remain unclear, war was declared by the Parisian Communards and their French allies on the German Empire, which was followed by the declaration of alliance between the Dutch and Flemish and the French League; when German troops marched on Holland and Wallonia, England declared war, opening the Great War that would rage for the next four years.
The war went quite well for the German Empire until American involvement in 1916 began to break down supplies and trade, assisting the English embargo against Karl's Empire. The French, however, quickly succumbed to the German advance, and by Christmas 1916, the Habsburg Netherlands were once again a province of the new Holy Roman Empire. Paris was put under siege, but a massive trench line prevented further advance as American and English troops flooded into the French territories. Despite massive military victories, however, liberal dissent at home was growing and the Anglo-American blockade severely hurt supplies and morale at home. By 1918, the Germans were pushed completely out of the Low Countries, and were left without their only ally after Russia fell into revolutionary chaos in 1917. Various non-German nations rose in revolt as well, as the Croats, Hungarians, Serbs, Bosnians, Slovaks, and Czechs revolted against Karl's harsh rule. That same year, the short-lived rebirth of the Holy Roman Empire collapsed as Johann II declared a separate peace with the English, essentially tearing the German constitution to shreds and encouraging the revolt of all non-German ethnicities, which divided the map of Europe into even smaller segments. The peace treaties signed after the war were quite varied; some very harsh, some lenient, some being mere formalities. It was not long after the collapse of the Empire and the declaration of Ragnarök by the ORW that Johann found himself in trouble.
The Rise of the NRP
The Niflungland Reichspartei was formed before the outbreak of the Great War in response to Liberal measures being undertaken by Johann II, founded by the Master of the ORW in Öland. The man's name has been lost to history, but his assumed name as a member of the ORW survives with great honour: Sigurð Angatýrsson. Angatýrsson is believed to have come from Sweden, and spoke both the Norse language as well as German, in which he spoke most fluently and powerfully. His movement was a strong anti-liberal, anti-communist, anti-socialist party associated with both the ORW and the Emperor, drawing support from all corners of Niflunga's conservative circles. The programme of the party was laid out in 1910, two years after its foundation, specifically aimed at folk-nationalism, imperial power, aristocratic rule, and economic autarky. This meant a suspension of parliamentary bodies and the concentration of power in a council of men centred initially around a new King, but after the war this changed to simply an elevated dictator.
For the duration of the war, Angatýrsson and his supporters found themselves in and out of prison for disruption and sedition. Over the four years, seventeen members of the NRP were sent to the gallows, and more than two hundred were imprisoned. Public sentiment, however, began to turn in favour of the small revolutionary party as things began to turn against the Empire in the war, and after the utter collapse of the Empire at the end of the war, the ORW declared the Ragnarök was upon the world, as cities were devoured in flames of revolution. During the chaos, the Kingdom of Niflunga lost control of the German and Swedish lands, which united under the power of Angatýrsson, who was freed from Spandau prison awaiting his death by the revolutionaries. He quickly found himself in a situation of immense influence; while he appealed to the rabble with powerful speeches and massive rallies held in cooperation with the ORW, he disdained the masses, favouring the rule of the ORW, or an aristocratic structure resembling the Order, over the people who were unable to rule themselves. His personal attitudes and erudition gained from years of reading both before and during his prison sentences appealed to one young Hanoverian who had moved to Bayreuth in the late stages of the Great War. The young philosopher was of strong aristocratic bent of mind, a proponent of a pessimistic interpretation of the future, a massive decline in social life and structures. He was close friends with a certain professor whom he had met in Hamburg and with whom he kept in close contact after the latter's move to Munich. Unlike Angatýrsson, this young philosopher's name was well known in the early days of the movement, but has since disappeared from records in favour of his assumed name upon being elevated to the ninth degree of the ORW, Sigurð Óðinnsson.
Óðinnsson was largely responsible, working closely with Angatýrsson, in formulating the NRP's programme and philosophy. After the collapse of the empire, both men worked to recruit members of the newly formed Freikorps that littered all of Germany, formed of former Imperial Corps of soldiers now without leadership or a united government to follow, roaming the country leaving dead communists and, sadly, unfortunate victims of circumstance in their wake. Only three months after his escape from prison, Angatýrsson had united every Freikorps in Niflunga under his command, an army fully half the size of the Niflungan force that had fought on the Western Front. With them, he declared a new constitution for the Commonwealth of Niflungland (Gemeinwesen Niflungland), now having a fully armed and organised army and a small, but capable navy. Angatýrsson himself adopted the title from Old Norse Vísir, or “Leader”. The Niflungan Revolution soon transformed into the Niflungan Civil War, as John III of Scotland raised an army to take back his German and Swedish lands and landed in Pomerania only fifteen days after the declaration of Angatýrsson's constitution. He was defeated and captured at the Battle of Lindow at the hands of his son Karl Wilhelm; his last communication with the parliament in Scotland was to illegitimate Karl Wilhelm as his heir, thus making his nephew Malcolm, Duke of Argyll, heir apparent to the throne, which he assumed upon his father's abdication in prison that very month.
Angatýrsson, however, was quite intent that the old monarchy had become base and decrepit, and the time of the old Kings was over, in favour of a new aristocracy and a new order in Niflunga. While Malcolm VI of Scotland (Malcolm II of Niflunga as a pretender) rallied more troops to attempt to take back Öland before a landing on German soil, Angatýrsson prepared his own landing. Using personal connexions in Flanders, he had readied a massive fleet in Ghent; he had negotiated with Öland to allow for a landing there, where he knew Malcolm would strike to give himself a base of operations in the Baltic. Malcolm was unaware of the movements in Flanders and Holland, now united in a single United Netherlands after the collapse of Habsburg power there. On May Day, there was a massive parade in the standing capital of Niflungland in Leipzig, at which Óðinnsson gave a speech detailing the NRP's internal plans for Niflungland, and Angatýrsson and his troops departed from Ghent.
The Reichsarmee of Niflungland under Angatýrsson's command landed at Irvine in the early morning hours of May 2. A force almost 200,000 strong made its way to Glasgow, catching the garrison there completely off-guard, subduing the city completely by that night. The news of the capture of Glasgow came to Malcom VI as he had just landed on the island of Öland and was engaged in battle with the Swedes there. Angatýrsson was quick to gather all members of the ORW in Scotland to his side, when he announced outside of the City Chambers that Niflungland would once again be complete. News reached the Highlanders of Aberdeen and the Hebrides as well as the Norse Scots of the Orkney and Shetland Islands, who rose in revolt against the rule of Malcolm. By May 22, Edinburgh was under siege from the north and the south-west. The modest forces left loyal to Malcolm quickly fell to the superior numbers of both Scots and Germans loyal to the new government. On that day, Angatýrsson addressed all of Niflungland and the National Parliament in Edinburgh, declaring victory over Malcolm Moray, who went into immediate exile. His father, John, was released from prison but stripped of his honours, ranks, and titles, and forced to live the rest of his life as a private citizen under the name John Murray in Inverness.
Angatýrsson as Vísir of Niflungland ushered in a new era for the nation, an era of self-determinism, isolationism, and economic stabilisation. The first act of the new Vísir upon the closure of the Niflungan Civil War that had raged for the past three years was the establishment of defined capitals for the Commonwealth. He knew that to move all government to Germany would likely throw the Scots into revolt, but he could not risk betraying his own movement by keeping the seat of government in Edinburgh. Instead, he looked to the effective rule of South Africa, in which each of the major provinces was given a capital to smooth differences over where the capital should be. He established Edinburgh as the central legislative capital, where the National Parliament had traditionally met, and established the judicial capital where the Hochgericht, administered by the ORW, held court in Leipzig. For the executive branch, it was determined that since all executive power was not merely held but manifested in the person of the Vísir, wherever he kept residence would be the executive capital of Niflungland.
Angatýrsson established his executive capital in the mountains of Franconia, in the festival town of his favourite composer, Bayreuth. After conversations with the Wagner family for two years, he finally convinced Siegfried Wagner to convert his father's home into a national museum. His own home was built not far away, a massive quaint but nevertheless massive building which could be used for government meetings but was also a simple and sufficient home for the Vísir. During his rule, the effective law-making capability of the legislative body was curbed significantly in favour of a joint domination of government by the Vísir and the High Court of the ORW. Karl Wilhelm remained Grand Master of the ORW, taking a German form of his name von Mörre, and was allowed to maintain his title as Grand Duke of Brandenburg, Saxony, and Pomerania, Duke of Öland, Rothesay, and Argyll, Margrave of Thuringia, etc. He and Angatýrsson worked very closely together on building the New Aristocracy of Niflungland, centred on the ORW. The VKN lost government funding, but survived on the generous donations of old Christian families. By the sixth year of Angatýrsson's rule, it had shrunk to a paltry 19 per cent of the population against 79 per cent who were members of some branch of the ORW. The remaining 2% were either Roman Catholic or non-believers, a segment of the population which Vísir Angatýrsson, Großmeister Karl Wilhelm, and Hochbischoff Günther von Lütwitz all attempted either to eliminate or convert, with some success.
Under Angatýrsson's leadership, Niflungland saw a religious resurgence that the Vísir matched with building projects throughout the Commonwealth, including a massive temple complex in the centre of Berlin in the Tiergarten, comprised, as was traditional, of massive groves of trees and huge stone and marble structures made to resemble Germanic long-houses with a slight classical influence. For his part, however, Angatýrsson rarely left Bayreuth, but nevertheless was active in public life by regularly hosting, in conjunction with the Wagner family to whom he had grown close, the annual Bayreuth Festivals. It was under Angatýrsson's leadership that Niflungland earned its reputation as a centre for artists and the arts. He also saw to it that the old castles of the Scottish lordly families be restored to their former glory, as well as actively encouraging the clan structure of the Highlands, which left the Scots well-pleased with his rule. So well pleased, in fact, that by the eighth year of his rule the House of Commons in the Niflungan Parliament had been completely dissolved, shrinking the governing body even more to just the House of Lords.
After an effective and prosperous ten-year rule of his newly-created commonwealth, the ageing Angatýrsson took severely ill and went to his grave in the dead of winter, leaving the control of Niflungland in the hands of his chief deputy, the young philosopher of the Niflungland Reichspartei, Sigurð Óðinnsson.
The Commonwealth of Niflungland spans the space of the original Kingdom of Niflunga, which is divided into three principle segments, the largest of which is the core of the Commonwealth in the eastern German lands at 125,839 km2 (48,586.70 sq mi); second to this are the Commonwealth's holdings in Scotland, which totals at 78,772 km2 (30,414 sq mi); finally, the small holdings in Scandinavia, in Kalmar-Öland, a total of 11,171 km2 (4,313.1 sq mi). These three distinct and distant lands are bordered by a number of other territories, including Sweden in the north, Great Britain south of Scotland, and the core land by Germany territories to the west, various Polish duchies and provinces to the east, and Bohemia and Bavaria to the south. Maritime borders include Eire to the west and Norway to the east of the Scottish lands, and Sweden across the Baltic from Pomerania.
Aside from Öland, which is the largest island in Niflungland, there are three principal archipelagos under Niflungan administration: the Hebrides, which include 36 inhabited islands, the Orkney Islands, of which 20 are inhabited, and the Shetland Islands, of which 16 are inhabited, and two of which are owned exclusively by the Niflungan government, the primary island being Unst, home of Regnhöll, the home of Niflungland's Vísir, Sigurð Óðinnsson.
The highest mountain in Niflungland's Scottish holdings is Ben Nevis (Beinn Nibheis in Scots Gaelic), standing at 1,344m (4,409 ft) located in the south-west Highlands. In the German lands, the Schneekoppe stands the highest at 1,602m (5,256 ft) in the eastern Sudetenland. Kalmar-Öland has no major mountain peaks.
Spanning such a broad area, the climate of Niflungland is nevertheless almost entirely Temperate, specifically Oceanic. Typically, winters are very cold and summers very warm, with extended periods of rainfall in Scotland year-round, but often extended dry periods in Brandenburg-Saxony. Temperatures in southern Scotland and Brandenburg-Saxony in the summer can often exceed 30°C (86°F) and in the winter plummet well below freezing. In the northern-most reaches, Winters are often extended and rainfall dominates the summer season.
Weather and climate across Niflunga is monitored by the National Niflungan Meteorological Organisation or National Wetterdienst Niflungland as it is known in the German and Swedish lands.
Niflungland is divided into three principal “Homelands” (Heimaten in German): Scotland (Schottland), Kalmar-Öland, and Nibelungenland. These three Homelands are further divided into several regions, each according to the Homeland. Scotland is divided into 12 traditional regions, and further into 73 districts and cities. Nibelugenland is divided into 10 Länder (“lands”) and 5 Freistädte (“free cities”), then into 30 Kreise (“districts”). Kalmar-Öland are two Landskap (“provinces”), Kalmar and Öland, which themselves are subdivided into five Län (“fiefs”).
Regions of Scotland (Schottland)
Länder of Nibelungenland
Landskap of Kalmar-Öland
The national government of the Commonwealth of Niflungland is an Aristocratic Dictatorship focused in the power of the Vísir Sigurð Óðinnsson and the Orden der Ritter des Wotansauge. The Nibelungen Reichspartei (“Niflunga Empire Party”) merged with its Scottish sister, The Social Lordship Party to form The National Aristocratic Party of Niflungland (Nationalaristokratische Partei Niflungland- NAPN) during the Civil War. The Party, however, had much more power in the military, academia, and nobility than in the parliament. This shaped the direction the Party moved in over time, and the eventual formation of government under Angatýrsson.
The government is constructed of four branches; the Judicial, Military, Legislature, and Executive. The Judicial branch, formerly dominated by the Royal Appellate, was replaced by the Hochgericht des ORW, given the power by Vísir Angatýrsson to sit both in appellate and in trial.
The Legislature for the duration of Moray dynasty was invested in a National Parliament that granted the power to make laws and to which the judiciary and, to an extent, even the king were answerable. This body was replaced by the NAPN Oberrat (“High Diet”), a gathering of the nobility of Niflungland in three Estates: the High Nobility, the Low Nobility, and the Clergy. Of the final estate, only those clergy recognised by the government of the Commonwealth are allowed membership; therefore, only bishops of the Vereinigkirche Nibelungen (whose name was changed in Scotland to the “United Christian Church of Niflungland”) and Ritterführer (“Knights Ewart”) of the ORW. The first two estates are derived largely from existing noble supporters of the NAPN; however, the new constitution invested the power of ennoblement to the Vísir, who may elevate a maximum of three men every year to Noble status at the recommendation of the ORW or Althing.
The Military constitutes a separate branch of government in Niflungland, answerable to the military branch of the ORW, the Wotansöhne, or “Sons of Othin”, answerable to the Kommandantmeister of the ORW, who presides over the Jarlsthing, or “Council of Chieftains”, which handles all legislation with regards to the military, and communicates its needs and demands directly to the Vísir and Grand Master of the ORW, without discussion with either the High Court or the Althing.
Finally, the Executive branch is invested in two offices: the Grand Master of the ORW and the Vísir. The Grand Master is responsible for the Judiciary and the Third Estate of the Althing, while the Vísir handles the Second and First Estates of the Althing and, jointly with the Grandmaster, the Military. Individual responsibilities are dependant on the organisations which each office heads; in the case of the Grand Master, all ORW affairs as well as the spiritual well-being of Niflungans fall to him, and all legislation regarding religion is handled by Letters Patent issued by the Grand Master, which no body or person can supersede, veto, cancel, or usurp except the Grand Master himself. The Vísir is head of NAPN, and therefore deals with all political questions and legislation regarding the people. He has jurisdiction over all affairs not the responsibility of the Grand Master.
Der Orden der Ritter des Wotansauge
- Main article: ORW
The Order of the Knights of the Eye of Othin is the principle organisation, aside from the NAPN, that handles all government affairs. It is not an exaggeration to say that understanding the ORW is crucial to understanding the government structure of Niflungland. On the Winter Soltice in 1781, a small gathering of Dukes, Princes, and Margraves gathered in the crypt of the ruined cloister in the village of Lehnin in Brandenburg, the only secret meeting-place they could find safely. The group of twenty-one men styled themselves “Hochorden der Söhne Wotans”. Their purpose was the re-awakening and reorganisation of the pre-Christian religion of their ancestors. Many had studied Runic inscriptions throughout Europe, and had visited the ruins and historical remains of rune-stones and picture-stones in Götland, Sweden and Öland. Their initial symbol, the Valknut, was adopted as the Order grew, rivalling other large ceremonial organisations such as the Order of Free and Accepted Masons. By 1790, the King had heard of the organisation and was intrigued. He had spies infiltrate the Order to find a secret meeting place, and attended incognito in 1791. The meeting place he had been led to was in the Fichtelgebirge, the famous Teufelstisch (“devil's table”), a natural rock formation in the midst of the forest of the Fichtegebirge. Here he is said to have had a conversion experience that so overwhelmed him that he converted himself publicly to the Old Ways in 1795. The Order by this time had become known as the Hochorden der Wotansöhne, and had expanded membership into full and observing members, allowing a massive conversion between 1795 and 1798. By the time of King Jörg's death in 1800, fully 30% of the population had left Christianity and become at least observing members of the Order.
- See also: ORW#History
The Order is structured to this day according to the Rule of Hákon as was laid down in 1808, named for Hákon Vilhjálmursson, the assumed name of Heinrich Amsel, son of Wilhelm Amsel, one of the founders of the Hochorden in 1781. The Rule organised the ORW into a distinct structure, headed by the Großmeister (Grand Master), elected by the Generalkapital (General Council) of the Order upon the death or removal of his predecessor. Below him are three Hochmeisters (High Masters), each with a specific title and office.
The first and highest is the Ordenskanzler (Chancellor of the Order), who serves as religious deputy to the Grand Master and heads the religious wing of the ORW. Beneath him are three Landmeisters (Regional Chiefs)—who serve essentially as the counterparts to Catholic Archbishops—who, in turn, have beneath them a number of Landkomturen (Provincial Commanders), who oversee all legal and religious issues in the Order in specific province for which they are responsible. Below these are the Komturen (District Commanders), who are responsible for individual bailiwicks and all of the goðar (“priests”) in them and specifically deal with theological questions, with the ability to ordain new goðar, remove a goði from his ordination, hold ceremonies, and direct the local komturei, or “Commandry” of their district, dealing with local finances and record-keeping of the ORW. The lowest rung below the Ordenskanzler are the goðar themselves, the priests of the ORW's faith, who are ranked typically as 9th degree Ritter, (Knights). All Ritter below the 9th degree are regular members of district chapters.
The second Hochmeister is the Ordensmarschall (Marshall of the Order), who oversees the military wing of the ORW, the Wotanssöhne, who are today attached to the Niflungan military, but were once merely a small armed militia attached to the ORW. The ranks have developed over time, but the basic structure of Ordensmarschall – Rittermarschalls (Knight-Marshal) – Genosseritter (Knight Companion) still basically remains, and despite an increase in official militarisation, all members of the Wotanssöhne, regardless of rank, are Genosseritter of the ORW.
The final Hochmesiter is in charge of all internal functions of the ORW itself on a massive, nation-wide level, the Ordenskomtur. He oversees the actions of the three interior departments of the ORW: Großtrappier (Record-keeper), Großtreßler (Treasurer), and Großspitler (Archivist). These offices are typically held by the three Kommandantmeisters (Commandant Masters) of the Order.
The Generalkapitel of the ORW is comprised of all ranking members (i.e. above the rank of Fahrenritter), and is responsible for the election of a new Grand Master when the sitting Grand Master dies or is removed from his office by the veto power of all nine members of the Hochgericht (High Court), comprised of the three High Masters, three Commanding Masters, and three Regional Chiefs. The Chancellor of the Order leads the High Court of the Order as Chief Justice.
In addition to the Order's offices and titles, there are a division of ranks laid forth by the Rule of Hákon, arranged thus:
Grand Master (Großmeister)
High Master (Hochmeister)
Knight Warden- 3 degrees (Wächterritter)
Knight Companion- 18 degrees (Genosseritter)
Knight Errant- 9 degrees (Fahrenderritter)
Knight Ewart- 9 degrees (Ritterführer)
Knight- 9 degrees (Ritter)
Each of these has a place in the ORW in terms of rank. The first three are fairly straightforward, the Grand Master being both a title and rank, having no degrees, the High Masters, likewise having no degrees specific to them, and the Commandant-Masters likewise. The degrees of a basic Knight carry through straight to the Grand Master, who is legally a 33rd degree Knight of the Order, followed by High Masters, who are 32nd degree, Commandant-Masters who are 31st degree, and so on. In addition to this general degree, however, there are specific degrees which run parallel. There are 3 degrees of Wächteritter, or Knight Wardens, who by 3rd degree are eligible to be chosen by the Chancellor as Landmeisters. This is followed by 9 degrees of Fahrendritter, or Knight Errant, who from 6th degree and above are eligible to be made Landkomturen, and also 9 degrees of Ritterführer, the Knight Ewarts, who by 3rd degree may be made Komturen. Only a 9th degree Knight or higher, however, can be ordained a Goði to serve as a priest and intercessor in local communities. All members are 1st degree Ritter, or Knights of the Order, except for Observing Members, who maintain a status of membership without dues paid or without rights to conduct Blót, or sacrifice.
The structure of the ORW may be visualised thus:
To be completed...
StateThe national government of the People’s Realm of Niflungland is an Military Dictatorship based around the power of Vísir Óðinnsson and his Niflungland Volkspartei, the sole party of the State. The Vísir himself holds veto powers over the legislature of Niflungland, the Oberrat (High Diet), which gathers once weekly in the Thinghaus, located in central Regnhöll, opposite the famous Festspielhaus commissioned by the Kingdom of Niflunga’s most popular composer by the same architect responsible for the Oberrat. The Oberrat is made up of eighteen ministers appointed by the Vísir and approved by both the existing Oberrat as well and the High Council of the ORW. The Ministerführer, or "Leading Minister" is elected from amongst the Oberrat, obviously with input from the Vísir himself (at present the Ministerführer is His Excellency Þórrolf Sigurðsson, son of the Vísir). After him, the Oberkommando der Volkreichswehr (High Command of the Grand Armed Forces) or OGW, are the three most powerful men in the Oberrat; the Grand Marshals of the Reichsheer, Kriegsmarine, and Luftwaffe are followed by the Reichsministries of War, Agriculture, Mining and Industry, Education, Culture and the Arts, Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, Faith and Religion, Internal Affairs, Justice, Foreign Affairs, Communications and Railways, Finance, and Currency and Vexillology. These eighteen men are joined by the acting Supreme Judiciary (Hochgericht), which is the nine-man High Council of the ORW. Both bodies are answerable to the Vísir absolutely, since he holds veto power and acts as Supreme Judge in cases of High Treason and other major offences against the nation of Niflungland. He is recognised as a strong and extremely effective leader, but even great men need aid, and these two bodies act as the principle advisors to the Vísir's Executive Decrees, the primary (though not only) form of law in Niflungland.
ConstitutionA Constitution of Niflungland, itself issued by Executive Decree, does exist and sets forth the boundaries within which Executive Decrees may be made by Óðinnsson's successors, especially his son and heir-apparent, Thorrolf Sigurðsson, who shares Óðinnsson's popularity amongst the general populous but lacks his focus in military affairs and efficiency. The Constitution was put into effect to replace the Constitution of the former Kingdom of Niflunga, which allowed for a unicameral house of legislature elected by the people from the nobility of the Kingdom. Loath to see the nation in the hands of decadent, and for the most part self-serving nobles, a young politician founded a new "Volkspartei", a "People's Party". This young politician, distinguished and gifted in oratory, was Sigurð Angatyrsson, mentor to Vísir Óðinnsson, who at that time was director of the Schutztruppen, the paramilitary wing of the ‘’Niflunganational Volkspartei’’. After several years of brawling in the streets, mass rallies, firey speeches, and organising clandestine assassinations of top nobles, Angatyrsson led a successful coup against the government of König Luitpold XIX and established the Niflunga State, abolishing all opposition parties and declaring a totalitarian state to create order in the wake of the Kingdom’s fall. His work would continue until his own assassination at the hands of communist infiltrators in the NNVP. Óðinnsson, seeing smoke, started looking for the fire, and commenced the great purge of the party. Hand-picked by Angatyrsson, he was destined to take the position of “Vísir”, or “Leader”, created by Angatyrsson. When he did, he did not surrender his control of the ‘’Schutztruppen’’ and immediately began a purge of the NNVP which ultimate would result in a complete refounding of the party by those loyal to Óðinnsson as the ‘’Niflungland Volkische Partei’’ (Niflungland National Party).
Under Óðinnsson, as under Angatyrsson, Niflungland had its government thinned down and nobility removed from all forms of public office, and all government positions filled by Executive appointment and approval by the offices connected to the Reichministry of Internal Affairs working in conjunction with the Reichministries of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda and Faith and Religion, clearing all employees of Internal Affairs for their loyalty to Niflungland and the official designated national religion (an important note: there is no "State" religion of Niflungland, since the State serves the faith, not the other way around.) This system keeps a full one-tenth of the population of Niflungland employed directly by the State, not counting the military forces.
The new Constitution was meant to slim down the government but maintain its complete control over life in the Reich. The five-article constitution was also amended by two Executive Charters which made the ORW a permanent figure in government and the ‘’Vísirstaat’’ an irreplaceable form of government and declaring that only males could hold the position of Vísir. These charters in addition to the rather brief document laid the ground work for what was in its essence a 30-man government: eighteen Councilmen of the Oberrat, the Vísir, nine Judges of the Hochgericht, as well as the three Hochmeisters (High Masters- answerable to the Grand Master, Óðinnsson himself) of the ORW. The dominating figures, however, are defined and powerful: Vísir Óðinnsson as Großmeister des ORW is both Head of State and Chief Justice, and Þórrolf Sigurðsson as Ministerführer is a singularly powerful Head of Government, and while answerable to his father rarely makes decisions which Óðinnsson himself would not have made.
Provincial government in Niflungland is much heftier and more involved than the slim national government laid out in the constitution. Each province has a Reichsgouverneur, appointed by Executive Charter, and a Konsul, elected from the provincial congresses. These congresses vary in size from Province to Province, depending on the way districts are divided and how those districts choose representatives. In the capital city of Regnhöll, for example, districts are divided according to annual income, and each district (called Steuerbezirk(e), literally "tax district(s)") is afforded a number of representatives according to how much (and how little) financial power they have in the city. As a result, the poorest district in Regnhöll, the Südmainkreis, has five representatives, while the richest, Wahnfriedstadt, has only one. Altogether the fourteen Steuerbezirke produce a tiny forty-eight man Congress, though the cities population of 10,490 is by far the largest in all of Niflungland. Meanwhile, Neu-Burgund-Provinz in the south of Niflungland uses a Wahlkreis ("voting ring") system, where each village and township is given a number of representatives based on population. With twenty-seven Wahlkreise in Neu-Burgund, their elections produce a one-hundred-eight man Congress. There is no worry about over-representation on a national scale, however, since the Reichsgouverneure answer to the Vísir himself and the Konsule trouble themselves only with domestic issues with direct bearing on the Province. In addition to all of the various Konsule and Congresses, there are specific committees and ministries for each given issue within a Province and the Konsul acts as a sort of lesser Ministerführer for the Reichsgouverneur, who is official Head of State for each Provincial government. Each Province then has specialised ministries, but all seven provinces have the same basic foundation: Department of the Konsul, Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Faith and Religion, Ministry of State Relations, and Ministry of Revenue. The Department of the Konsul is obviously overseen by the Konsul and acts as a Ministerführer, the Ministry of Trade handles inter-provincial financial transactions and answers to the Reichsministry of Communications and Railways, the Ministry of Faith and Religion is occupied by a Wächterritter des ORW, or "Knight Warden of the ORW", answerable to the Hochmeisters, the Ministry of State Relations answers to the Reichsministry of the Internal Affairs, and the Ministry of Revenue answers to the Reichsministry of Finance.
The official religion of the Grand Realm of Niflungland is Norse, in German Altgötterglaube-- "Faith in the Ancient Gods", or "Faith in the Æsir". The religion is overseen by a loosely centralised, Folkish Order, mentioned above, Der Orden der Ritter des Wotansauge. The ORW, as it is often abbreviated, is a sprawling massive Order that incorporates all clergy in the entire nation. It is a ranked Holy Order, made in reaction to the Orders of Christianity that existed in Niflungland before the Englightenment of Wulfstan I, who returned the entire nation to the heathen ways of old upon the foundation of the Kingdom of Niflunga four hundred years ago, after becoming disgusted at the carnage of the religious wars. His small, but extremely efficient army, held off attack after attack of several incursions into his territory, until he was able to rally an army around him from around the known world in a massive March against the Christian capital, which reduced the Papal seat of Christianity to a smouldering ruin. Like their barbarian ancestors, the Niflungan forces carried off countless valuables that would come to decorate the then-capital of Fichtelburg, located high in the Fichtelgebirge. Here stood the so-called Teufelstisch ("devil's table"), to which Wulfstan had been drawn to as a boy, and which he made a national monument as Donarsstuhl- "Thor's Seat". Wulfstan here gathered his closest compatriots in apostasy from the Christian lie and formed the Hochorden der Wotanssöhne- "High Order of the Sons of Odin". The Order would remain the core of a later Order to be founded by Wulfstan's son, Hildebrand II, known as Hildebrand der Schreckliche ("the Terrible") outside Niflungland and Hildebrand der Eindrucksvolle ("the Overwhelming") within Niflungland. This would be the ORW in its original form. Hildebrand took the name from an experience he had as a young man witnessing a murder of ravens picking apart the corpse of an old wolf. He sat and observed as two huge ravens swooped down and scattered the others, one pushing the others away as the other grabbed the left eye, which like the other had been untouched to that point, ripped it cleanly from the socket and flew away. Hildebrand, taught by his father from translations of the old stories of the Gods, took it as a sign of blessing from the fickle but powerful chief of the Gods, Wotan, and immediately set forth to devote himself to the Chief Wizard and War-god. He founded the ORW to be a fully ranked Knightly Order in blatant imitation of its counterparts like the Teutonic Knights and the Knights Templar.
The Ranks established by Hildebrand are still upheld (though Óðinnsson represents the first non-royal ever to be titled "Grand Master" of the Order):
Grand Master (Großmeister)
High Master (Hochmeister)
Commanding Master (Kommandmeister)
Knight Warden (Wächterritter)
Knight Companion (Genosseritter)
Knight Errant (Fahrenderritter)
Knight Ewart (Ritterführer)
Each level of the order has specific roles to play in Niflungan society, and because of Angatyrsson and Óðinnsson, both firm believers, has become a permeating force. The Grand Master, for many years the Königreichminister of Religious Affairs, is the head of the order and directed only religious activity within the Kingdom of Niflunga. After the collapse, many citizens sought order and security from the ORW, being the only major organisation to retain its organisation and power. Óðinnsson recognised this and based the organisation of his government on the Order, and for his service to the Order the acting Grand Master, Johann von List, stepped down from his post and submitted that Óðinnsson be his replacement. Thereafter the first High Master of the Order was assigned the new role of Reichsminister of Faith and Religions, the second tended to the activity within the Order, and the third directed the Orders relations with other organisations in Niflungland.
The former Second-in-Command, the Commanding Master of the Order, was given a new role as the Commander of the military wing of the Order, a resurrected version of the Hochorden der Wotanssöhne. Immediately below him were the Genosseritter. These are the largest segment of the Order outside the low-level Knights and Goðar (priests, typically town mayors). They make up the entirety of the military wing of the Order (Reichswehr Militäreinheit "Wotanssöhne"). These are elite troops in Niflungland, absolutely loyal to the Vísir and religiously devoted to the nation and its Gods, for whom Óðinnsson as Großmeister des ORW is representative as the ‘’Seher und Sprecher der Altgötter’’- "Seer and Speaker of the Ancient Gods". They are attached to the regular army as a specialised branch, themselves numbering so large they constitute fully one-fifth of the entire Volksreichswehr. Their uniforms are specially designed as well as their ranks. Unlike the rest of the army, their uniforms are black, with a gold lining for higher ranks and silver lining for lower ranks. Their emblem is the symbol of Justice and Righteousness, the Tyr rune, which they wear on their upper right arms. Besides this, the symbol of death, the skull, a symbol of Odin's power over death, graces their caps. To the people, they are a symbol of nationalism and receive many contributions which keep their organisation running (as an Order, they do not receive State funds, and have taken a vow of poverty, devoting all their own personal wealth to their Order.) They are commanded by the Kommandmeister des Ordens, Rittermarschall Dietrich Faust. The ranks of the Detachment were devised by Faust himself and follow the Order:
|Rank in HWS||Equivalent in Regular Army||English|
|Rittermarschall des Reichs/Kommandmeister des Ordens||No equivalent||Knight-Marshal|
|Degen||Hauptfeldwebel||Sargent, First Class|
|Unterdegen||Feldwebel||Sargent, Second Class|
|Ritter-Grenadier||Gefreiter||Private, First Class|
|Grenadier||Schütze||Private, Second Class|
The other major branch of the Order is the civilian religious branch of the Order. These answer to the Second Hochmeister of the Order, and begin with the Wächteritter, who oversee the Provincial Ministries of Religion, followed by the Fahrenerritter, the "Knights Errant", who are essentially judges to act as neutral parties if any divisions should arise in local communities which the Goði cannot diffuse. In seminaries, they often serve as instructors of Theology. They are followed immediately by the Ritterführer, the Knight Ewarts, who answer to the Third Hochmeister and oversee large districts containing several villages and towns, handling the Order's relations with the local people, in case problems should arise in the community between the people and the organisation of the Order. All Goðar go to the Ritterführer in case of questions of doctrine. The Ritterführer are also in charge of the dissemination of doctrinal changes to local Goðar in case there are new prophecies seen amongst those Fahrenerritter given the gift of prophecy. The Goði, the lowest rank, were formerly local priests, now mayors of the villages or towns which they oversee. They live entirely on the charity of the local community, instead of being paid by the State as those above them, and if they fail to live up to leadership of the people, they will be removed by the people in a hearing overseen by a Knight Errant and Knight Ewart. The Knight Errant then consults the Second Hochmeister regarding the installation of a new Goði, invariably chosen from the local community, to attend seminary briefly and return to the local jurisdiction. During the three months he spends submitting to the rigours of seminary training, the locality is directly overseen by the Knight Ewart responsible for that district.
More to come!