The Fourth Kingdom Of Dale

Official Motto: ”Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum” 
Unofficial Motto: "Fearless and free."




The Kingdom of Dale used to be a city-state near the Lonely Mountain, ruled by Lord Girion. Dale was founded around 2590 of the Third Age, as a small town along the River Running. It grew rich by acting as a meeting place between the races of the Northmen, the Dwarves of Erebor and the elves of the Woodland Realm. However, in the year 2770 of the Third Age, the city was lost to the Dragon Smaug, as well as Erebor. It was burned to the ground, and its riches taken by the dragon, who hoarded it in the caverns of the Lonely Mountain. Those who survived fled to the nearby settlement of Esgaroth, Lake-Town. For dozens of decades, Smaug remained inside the Lonely Mountain, and Dale a ruin. In TA 2941, Thorin Oakenshield, the grandson of King Thror of Erebor, travelled with his fellow dwarves, the wizard Gandalf and the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins, to Erebor. They wanted to reclaim the Lonely Mountain and the treasures within from Smaug, and refound the Kingdom of Erebor. However, during the process, they disturbed Smaug, who, believing it was all part of a plan to take the gold inside the mountain devised by the Northmen of Lake-Town, flew out of Erebor to attack Lake-Town. While Lake-Town was burning, Bard, a Descendant of Girion, the former Lord of Dale, killed Smaug with the Black Arrow. The dragon died, but the town was almost all but lost. The survivors sought refuge in Erebor and their former city of Dale. Things took a turn for the worse, however, during the Battle of the Five Armies, when the orcs of Gundabad tried to seize the city of Dale, and the treasure inside Erebor. After a long, hard-fought battle, the Dalish emerged victorious. Their city was taken back, and now they crowned Bard as King of the Second Kingdom of Dale (whether this was second or first is disputed, as there is a debate regarding whether Dale under Lord Girion was a kingdom or city-state).

A hundred years or so later, an emissary of Sauron came to the gates of Erebor, and made parley with King Dain. He was quickly dismissed, and the people of Dale and Erebor had made themselves an enemy of Mordor. When the War of the Ring broke out, an enormous force consisting of hundreds of thousands of Orcs and Easterlings invaded Dale, attacking the lands around Redwater Ford and burning villages. Unprepared and comparatively weak, the Kingdom of Dale withdrew its forces to the capital city of Dale. Here, King Brand, son of King Bain, son of King Bard, gathered his men and fortified the city. But this would not be enough; after a catastrophic siege, the city gates were broken, and Dale was sacked. King Brand of Dale retreated with his people into Erebor, where they and Dain Ironfoot held out for 7 days against the Easterlings. Then, news reached the defenders that Barad-Dur had been destroyed and Sauron defeated, and rumours that an army of Gondorians was coming to their aid. In a desperate final assault, their last stand for freedom, the Dalesmen and Dwarves sallied out of the Lonely Mountain, fighting with a relentless vengeance agains the invaders, driving them back. However King Brand was slain, and Dain was killed as well defending him. But their final stand would make them martyrs, for they had fought and won the North’s freedom.

The Last Stand of the Dalish and Dwarves at the Battle of Dale.

Dale, officially the Fourth Kingdom of Dale, is a sprawling kingdom of men in the north of Middle-Earth. It's borders extend from the Greenwood to the east to the steppes of 'Great Balchothia' to the east and the Dorwinine border at Carnen to the south. The Kingdom's capital is at the titular city of Dale, to the northwestern end of the Kingdom's borders. Dale's largest city is at Esgaroth. It neighbours the Woodland Realm to it's west, Dorwinion to it's southeast, the Dwarves of Erebor to it's immediate north and Rhovanion to the south.

It's population consists of a Dalishmen majority and distinct minority groups include Dorwinhrim, Easterlings and Middle-Men. Dalishmen belong in the Northmen ethno-linguistic group, and speak Dalish, related to Westron.


Settlements and Landmarks:

THE CITY OF DALE: The city of Dale is the spiritual capital of the Fourth Kingdom of Dale. Once the shining jewel of the North, the formerly prosperous city has seen better days. Dale was hit hard by the Bragolmor and the winter that followed, causing it's people to migrate away to the neighbouring cities of Esgaroth and Proudhaven, where the winter did not affect, or further to the central Dalish regions of Ruarden. In the fifth age of Middle-Earth(thus over six-hundred years since the War of the Ring), the city's palace lies in forlorn ruins over the river and half of the city's houses are lightless and empty. Whatever residents still remain within the city are a hardy bunch, accustomed to troubles and none too sociable even to their kinsmen. In a way, Dale's fate has reflected well on the titular Kingdom's fate - with the treasury in debt, feudalism on the rise and the borders unkept, who knows what would happen? Dale is ruled by a Lord Mayor, appointed by the King.

The current Lord Mayor is undecided.

Politically, Dale is staunchly conservative with strong nationalist elements.

ESGAROTH: The township of Esgaroth was formerly a humble fishing settlement on the shores of the Long Lake, known for housing refugees from Dale and other regions of Rhovanion after the disastrous assault on Erebor by Smaug in the late Third Age. Thanks to the rapid influx of immigrants from Dale during the Bragolmor, the town has expanded into a thriving and vibrant city housing the cream of the crop of the Kingdom - Intelligentsia, Bourgeoisie and Aristocrats all call the town on stilts home now. In recent years, Esgaroth has grown to such an extent that even the Royal Court of Dale has moved to Esgaroth, securing it's place as the nucleus of prestige amongst all the mannish regions of the north. The city is ruled by a 'Master', an autocrat who serves the role of Steward in the municipality.

The current Master is Bjarkmar, a native of Esgaroth.

Politically, Esgaroth is mostly progressive, placing an emphasis on ideas and commerce.

BARDHAVEN: Bardhaven is a city straddling the confluence of the rivers Celduin and Carnen on the edge of Southeastern Dale proper. It presides over the territories surrounding it, a regional division typically referred to as 'Greater Ilanin.' The city was founded not long after Dale and Esgaroth were repopulated in the late Third Age, being built upon the site of an old fishing village after the Second Kingdom's rapid expansion into the region. It's old roots as the gathering place of multiple tribes remain in the city, with traditions such as the monthly Pochlat festival and it's local cuisine being notable examples. Bardhaven's people are a patchwork of ethnicities, encompassing eastern middlemen, swarthy men(Easterlings), northmen, dorwinhrim and even dwarves contributing to the city's cultural heritage; as such, the city's architectural style and general aesthetic owes itself to multiple distinct elements unseen in more homogenous parts of Dale. A city of merchants and guilds, Bardhaven is known especially for it's position between the lucrative trade routes of Dale, Dorwinion and even farther away to Rhûdel, allowing it's economy to preserve itself even after the Bragolmor. It retains a sense of Golden Age glory, a façade that the storied inhabitants of the city are all too willing to maintain... although recent political strife in Dorwinion and the growing ambitions of Rhûdel as a regional power may yet change this. Bardhaven is ruled by a council of Regenten, who elects a Stadtholder every ten years.

The current Stadtholder is Sigurd Barding.

Politically, Bardhaven is mostly progressive with conservative cultural elements.


Economy

Dale's economy is a tarnished one indeed; it's once-burgeoning rise was abruptly halted by the Dalish-Rhûnic War of the late Fourth Age, particularly after Dorwinion began imposing embargoes on Dale under pressure from the Wainriders. Issues were compounded during the Bragolmor, as with the rest of Middle-Earth, and the lack of food gradually caused it's prices to rise quickly, which was not a favourable condition for Dale's primarily merchant-based economy. Two-hundred years after the Bragolmor, the Dalish economy has stabilised itself under the steady rule of King Bard III, Autocrat of Dale, and is experiencing a slow but sure growth for the first time in decades.

Dale's main imports are wine from Dorwinion, equipment and metal articles from Erebor and livestock from the eastern fringes of the Kingdom. The Dalishmen were known for exporting large surpluses of food, particularly potatoes, prior to the Winter, but now prefer to export wood, textiles, ores and other utility-based materiel owing to the food shortage of contemporary times.

Dale's main trade partners are Dorwinion, Rhûdel, the Woodland Realm and Erebor. They have an ancient trade pact with Erebor, and formerly with Dorwinion and the Woodland Realm.

Culture

While most of Dale comprises of Northman ethnic groups, the myriad local customs of different tribal and clan loyalties remain in place, a legacy inherited from the lack of a homogenous national identity until well into the Fourth Age. The Dalish can be grouped into several rough denominations across the Kingdom, some of which may have connections outside the Kingdom proper:

Bardings - Bardings live in the north of Dale and are the most well-known of the Dalish ethnicities, their aesthetic and customs encompassing what is typically perceived as 'Dalish'. They are skilled workers, shrewd merchants and wealthy aristocrats, and maintain a highly cosmopolitan lifestyle and mindset. They are given to both the arts and sciences, and are somewhat eloquent and well-mannered. Bardings are also known to be very skilled archers and serve in such a role in the army.

Rhovanine Middlemen - The Middlemen of Rhovanion are mainly refugees from central Rhovanion who fled from the Shadow's influence during the late third age to early fourth age, or otherwise the indigenous inhabitants of Dale's central territories. They are largely farmers, hunters and warriors, blunt in their ways of speech, hardy, and practical.

Poltzen: The Poltzen are a offshoot of the Middlemen, but contain a potent mixture of Northman and Easterling blood. They populate the lands around the Jarldom of Eastmarch, especially in the region by the redwater known as Great Poltzen - that is, the hinterland of Ankorien Poltzen. They are largely farmers, warriors and fishermen, and are grim but brawny.

East Bardings - While part of the Barding ethnicity in blood, East Bardings are vastly different in culture. They have always been a minority(however tough) in their home regions and make a living raiding and sacking. They populate the easternmost regions of Dale proper, particularly the northern Redwater, and live by tight-knit clan identities. They maintain that wealth is taken, not earned, and thus comprise almost entirely of Dale's most capable warrior élite. The notorious Ironguard were of East Barding descent, along with Jarl Björn Ubbing and his father, Jarl Ubba. They are straightforward but honourable, and are famed throughout the Kingdom for being vigorous and strong.

Haveners - Residents of the area around and within Bardhaven. They are not strictly an ethnicity by blood, but share a common evolved culture and identify themselves strongly as Haveners as such. Haveners are merchants, artisans and craftsmen, and are opportunists with excellent business sense. They are known throughout the Kingdom and without for being troublesome to haggle with, and they never miss even the most worn of Standards(currency).

Lakemen - Inhabitants of Esgaroth. They are highly distinct from the Bardings around them, although a good portion of them actually claim descend from Bardings prior to Smaug's assault on Erebor. Notable examples of Lakemen include the legendary King Bard I 'The Bowman' of Dale, although he was a direct descendant from the Dale-Lord Girion*. The lakemen are proud merchants, fishermen and shipmakers, with a cosmopolitan and pragmatic mindset.

*Girion and Bard were both 'Bardings' by the modern description of the term, but as the term was not coined in those days there is no recognised connection between ancestors of Bard I and the 'Bardings' we know today. The Barding ethnicity is not to be confused with the Barding family, who are the ruling family of Dale. The Royal Family does not claim specific ancestry, though experts agree that they are Bardings by virtue of customs and to placate the Barding majority.

ADMINISTRATION AND POLICIES

GOVERNMENT AND PARLIAMENT:

THE KING:The King is the leader of the Fourth Kingdom of Dale, ruling over many Northman people-groups, from the Dalesmen and Lake-Men of Esgaroth to the clans of Rhovanion, the tribes of the Redwater and the farmers of North Dorwinion. He is elected by the Altinget (the Dalish Royal Parliament), and serves indefinitely until he abdicates or is removed from office through a vote of no confidence. To attain this role, you first must have the requirements here:

Current King: De Jure - Bard III Barding

De Facto - Bard III Barding

THE CHANCELLORS: The Chancellors are part of the Inner Chamber, a body of the government which is made up of the King and his 2 Chancellors. The Chancellors are free citizens elected by the Dalish Royal Parliament every 3 months; there are no other requirements. Chancellors can be removed from power only if they abdicate or the entire Inner Chamber is removed through a vote of no confidence.

Current Chancellors: - [Position Defunct]

Jarl: The Jarl/Earl rules over a province in Dale. To attain this, you must have at least +700 Dale alignment, be a member of the Dalish Royal Parliament, and be selected. The Earl is granted almost complete control of projects inside his province, as long as it does not break the law or cause devastating effects to the land and people. The Earl is required to own a major settlement, it's constituent fief and two other counties.

Current Earls: Björn Ubbing of Eastmarch

Chief: A Chief rules over an Earldom, which is typically half of a province. To get this role, you must have +500 Dale alignment, own a county, pledge to Dale or be a member of the Dalish Royal Parliament and also be selected by the King or Chancellor. An Earl is allowed to appoint a chief if he/she requires a county of theirs to be administrated independently.

Current Chiefs: [???]

Thane: You must own property, have +300 Dale alignment, also pledge to Dale or be a member of the Dalish Royal Parliament to have this role. If the King/local Earl is satisfied, you will be made a Thane.

Churls/Karls: Ordinary citizens of Dale. You must have +10 alignment or above to become a Karl. Karls are afforded all the common citizenship rights of the Dalish citizen, but cannot participate in the decision-making process on the official level.

OTHER ROLES AND RANKS:

CROWN PRINCE: The closest, eldest descendant of Lord Girion and the Barding dynasty.

Current Crown Prince: Fineas Barding (Simsonmp)

MASTER OF LAKE-TOWN: The master of the city of Esgaroth. Serves as a Steward of the city and presides over all functions unless overridden by Royal authority.

MARSHAL: Commander of the Dalish Royal Army. Staff of office is a mace.

Requirements: Citizenship, +1000 Dale alignment, pledge, own a fort/camp or a recognised castle, recommendation from Parliament and Royal Army.

Current Field Marshal:

CAPTAINS: Captains preside over squadrons and are subordinate to the Marshal. They are directly appointed by the Marshal.

Requirements: Citizenship, +500 Dale alignment, pledge, recommendation from the Marshal

DRENGR/SOLDAT: The Drengr or Soldat(depending on regional terminology) are the rank-and-file of the Dalish Army. They are recruited/conscripted for war and other military/policing duties.

Requirements: Citizenship, +100 Dale alignment

Citizenship and Law

  • All new players who join Dale will have a 3 day “Trial Period” (72 hours). In this period they are free to come and go as they please, and are not completely subject to Dalish laws. They are also allowed to ask plenty of questions, and will still receive food.
  • After these 3 days, they will be sworn in as a citizen of the Kingdom of Dale, and are completely subject to the Dalish Laws. This means they may NOT leave the faction without permission from either the King, Chancellor or Housemaster; otherwise there will be penalties, and there citizenship will be revoked on return (explained further in the page). They also enjoy support from the Dalish welfare system, and protection from the Royal Army (although whether this is successful cannot be guaranteed).
  • The citizen must swear an oath, and also take a small quiz. The results of this test may not be final, however. The quiz will test them on general competence such as familiarity with the mod, knowledge of the Dalish government and laws, and history.
  • For every citizen, a small house is also reserved for them in the capital, in case they need somewhere to stay safe when they don't have a base.

Laws of Dale.

1: Laws Regarding Rights

  1. Every Dalish citizen should be allowed to feel safe in their own home/base from their fellow Dalishmen.
  2. A Dalish citizen cannot be punished or searched for a crime without substantial evidence or a warrant, unless it is an executive order given by the Inner Chamber and relayed by the Athala Rangers.
  3. A Dalish citizen should not feel or be exploited by their fellow citizens; for everything s/he gives, something must be given in return, unless s/he insists, or it is a punishment given by the Inner Chamber or Royal Parliament.
  4. A Dalish citizen is free to take from the warehouse.
  5. A Dalish citizen is granted free passage through the Kingdom of Dale, unless an area has been explicitly closed off to the public.
  6. Merchants of all races are allowed free passage through the Kingdom of Dale, with the exception of orcs and oddment collectors.
  7. All free citizens of Dale have the right to run for public office in the Altinget.

2: Laws Concerning Crime

  1. A Dalish citizen may not kill another Dalish citizen without a good reason. If a murder occurs, the murderer will be forced to return all loot from the killed citizen, and may himself be killed or banished.
  2. A Dalish citizen may not steal from another Dalish citizen. Stealing is the act of taking things from another citizen who did not give permission, or does not want those items to be taken, and not giving them back, for personal gain. The thief will be forced to return all loot, and may be fined or banished.
  3. Griefing is strictly forbidden. This is the practice of causing damage to another citizen's base or home without their permission.
  4. If you have attained citizenship, leaving the faction of Dale without permission is strictly forbidden; it is desertion, and as such a form of treason. If a citizen leaves the faction of Dale without permission, they can still appeal, but if this is rejected, they may be hunted down if their intentions towards Dale are bad.
  5. A Dalish citizen may not team up with players from another faction to raid or cause harm to a fellow citizen. This is heavily forbidden, and is a serious crime.
  6. Killing or damaging players and their property outside the Dale faction with intent of causing harm is strictly forbidden, unless a good reason is given (such as self-defence), or a warrant has been given.

If a crime has been committed, the criminal will be admitted to a hearing in the Dalish Royal Court, which at the moment is a section of the Dalish Royal Parliament. They will be punished according to popular vote, and the decision of the King, Chancellor and/or Housemaster, who act as judges. Punishments include being forced to return stolen items, extensive forced work periods, banishment, eviction from their property, and execution. While the Dalish Royal Court must pass through a vote and proper trial in order to give a punishment - which must be supplemented by a written warrant from the overseeing judge (King, Chancellor or Housemaster) - orders from the Inner Chamber are executive, and cannot be argued with, and will be carried out swiftly.

3: Laws Concerning Travel

  1. Oddment collectors, however, have been known to smuggle illegal goods into Dale such as "suspicious meat", and should be reported to Watchmen or searched.
  2. Orc or evil faction players visiting Dale must present a valid travel pass, unless a parliament official trusts them and allows them in.
  3. At the moment, Rhudel, Haradrim, Dunlending and Free Folk players are granted free passage through Dale unless they are killing or griefing.

4: Laws Concerning Materials and Property

  1. Food and water will be provided free of charge to all Yeomen and citizens of Dale in need, unless the times are extremely hard; which is unlikely, due to the farms at Westerheim.
  2. For 3 months, a player is obliged to give 25% of all resources they gather, which can be spared - if you have to build a home, don't give us your wood - to a public warehouse in Dale city. After this period is over, if a higher-ranking Dalish citizen tells you to get resources for the warehouse, you may keep 50% of it; the rest goes to the warehouse.
  3. Players are welcome to take as much as they need from the warehouse, as long as it's within moderation.
  4. All bases, homes, settlements, etc. built by a citizen must be claimed with the Third Kingdom of Dale fellowship getting access to the claims, unless a special reason is given.

5: Laws Concerning Power

UNDERGOING REVISION IN ACCORDANCE TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE FOURTH KINGDOM OF DALE

6: Leaving the Faction

  1. If you are a Citizen of Dale, in order to leave the faction you have to receive permission from either the King, Chancellor or Housemaster. Whether or not your citizenship is revoked on return can be discussed. Yeomen however come and go as they please.
  2. If you are a Citizen and leave Dale without receiving permission first, you have 3 days to obtain permission or return. After that period of time, if you have not received permission and wish to return, your citizenship will be revoked.

N.B: If you have broken a law as a citizen of Dale, and then fled the faction afterwards, you will still be punished for your crime if it is possible for judiciary elements to reach you.

The Dalish Royal Parliament

UNDERGOING REVISION IN ACCORDANCE TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE FOURTH KINGDOM OF DALE

The only requirement needed for a player to become a member of the Dalish Royal Parliament is to be a free citizen of Dale.

 

Dale in the Fifth Age:

Although it was further removed from the eruption of Mount Doom during the Bragolmor, Dale suffered terribly from the harsh winters and drastic drop in temperatures which followed. Many settlements became disfunctionate, and thousands of troops left the Royal Army to support their families and communities instead. Crop failures and famines resulted in entire villages being left deserted, while cities could barely support their urban population. Unsatisfied by the capital's ability to do anything, due to the Kingdom's infrastructure being turned into seas of mud and ice and thus unusable, many regions seceded from the Third Kingdom with barely any resistance. This included not only Vinburg, Dalish Rhun and northern Rhovanion, but also Redwater and Bardhaven.

When the Andrhiw ended and the Fifth Age began, the first priority of the Dalish was to re-establish their government and reclaim their lost territories. A constitution was written by the Altinget, and Fineas Barding - at the mere age of 14 - was elected as King-to-be, due to him being the closest in blood to Lord Girion and the previous king, Hope II. Around this time, the previous motto of "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum" was also beginning to be replaced by "Fearless and Free", due to the new upstart and more liberal spirit sweeping through the Fourth Kingdom.

Dale attempted to unite with Dorwinion into a single union controlling Rhovanion. However, disputes over which type of government to adapt with neither side able to concede in front of the other and rapid changes of mind led to the attempt failing. Basilinna Elbereth of Dorwinion, who was effectively leader of the Union (sources disagree; some say she had earned the position by being the only option available and showing initiative, others say she was only made leader because of a deal with Fineas Barding and her own ego), announced that with her powers she would disband the Union. Shortly afterwards, it was heard that the forces of Gondor and Mordor had joined together.

With events around them getting stranger and stranger, with most of the wizards abandoning their allegiances to the Free Folk and falling under the yoke of Sauron, the Kingdom of Dale stagnated for a short while. A massive drive to reconquer its territory lost from the Bragolmor, frequently harassed by orc raids, exhausted Dale's workforce and logistics.

In contemporary times, Dale has gradually devolved into a highly decentralised political entity where the King, while still maintaining control over the country, cannot exercise his powers as extensively as before. The last vestiges of Tankrid's legalist policies faded away before a new order in the Kingdom, spearheaded by - somewhat ironically - the newer generations of Dalishmen born purely after the Bragolmor, bringing new ideas once perceived as 'barbaric' in practice. Traditional easterner cultural practices, such as the policy of raiding, local ranking systems and vernacular architectural styles have swept east, taking the urban old guard by storm.

Nowadays, Dale's identity is in question; it is now a far cry from the Dale of old, which the wistful and melancholic Old Guard dub the 'Golden Age', but it's steady strides into the future are praised and vilified in fair measure.

Dale: Fourth Age History

Not much is known about Dale during the 4th Age, save for the fact that at one point the Kingdom of Dale lost its king, and any semblance of organised centralised government disappeared with him. This period has been dubbed by some scholars as the Dalish Dark Ages, though others have used the same term to refer to the time when the dragon Smaug lay sleeping in the golden halls of Erebor. At this point Dale was near total anarchy. In this era, numerous settlements such as duchies, earldoms and principalities began competing with each other, 2 notable factions being that of Winterfell, led by RobbStark and the quickly growing Ankorien Poltzen of Redwater. Earl Tankrid, who originally came from Central Rhovanion, fought against the warlords and tribes in Eastern Dale, and united them into the Earldom of Redwater.  

However, much to the surprise of everybody, a small town on the banks of the River Running grew to be the richest of them all, with their prince Hope becoming the King of Dale at the mere age of 16, thanks to outside support and his wealth. Hope’s coronation was welcomed and embraced by the people of Dale, until he got Dale annexed by the Khazadul dwarven empire a few weeks later. It was also at this time that Tankrid Ogh-Feandghainess first arrived in Poltzen, becoming its ruling earl. For many months, Tankrid and King Hope planned a rebellion against Khazadul, secretly building armies and making strategies. But before Hope could make his first move, the Khazadul Empire collapsed in on itself, with Dale becoming a sovereign nation once more. 

After the Barding Dynasty disappeared, Dale descended into a period of factionalism and anarchy, particularly Eastern Dale, where wars between clans and nobles were frequent.

After Dale became independent from the dwarves, what became known as the Golden Age of Proudhaven began. The Gilnea family became the royal house of Dale, claiming their bloodline from the famed Bard of Esgaroth himself. During this period the caste system was solidified, with the ranks of Barding, Bogatyr and Earl being founded. The Dalish Royal Council was also founded, a group of the kingdom’s nobles who discussed important matters of state with the king.The Proudhaven Royal Guard became one of, if not the best, military units in all of Dale, renowned for their loyalty to protect the Gilnea family and also their extravagant uniforms. Dale made plans for the future, to expand their lands and grow rich, always wary of their neighbours. However, things made a turn for the worse, when Hope tried to secure an alliance with Angmar. This outraged the public, and what made it worse was that Hope was said to have been killed in a duel with Emperor Hexnethor of Gondor; though it is stated they never found the body. Tankrid was appointed as regent, who using what little time he had ruling the country to try and smooth over diplomatic relationships, and also supported the Beornings and Woodmen in their expansion in the wilderland. In a letter before his presumed death, Hope wrote:

“If my plans don't work for Dale as they should, I will abdicate the throne and hand it over to someone more fit to lead; if it works, I will pay everyone I betrayed what I owe them, and promote a new era of peace for the northmen and even then, I may abdicate just to pay for my betrayal with my own blood and name a successor to be the next king of Dale. With time I may forgive myself for my betrayal on the other free people, and let it be known that everything the young King Finn Hope Dalian Gilnea did, he did for Dale, against his own ideals, to protect the land and people he cared about. And in the end, he may have sacrificed his life and future for them. He knows his current path is not the correct one, but neither are the others he could see, lost within the jungle that is politics, spirit torn apart by decisions that a young boy should't take. His path was always blurred but now its seems even blinding, it’s times like this he wishes a better leader was there, to lead him away from the darkness of the night and lead him home. His, my, life is wasted, seeming the end is near, I will make this my final decision as a king and go into the life of a mere human in a world full of things a boy should stay clear of, who will lead after me I don't know yet, it will be someone I trust to lead Dale to prosperity, the thing I never achieved and may they be the right one. To victory and Dalish future!”

Then, Anduin, the cousin of Hope, became King of Dale. The Gilnea family were once again in control, and Anduin, being much rasher and more aggressive than his cousin, believing Hope’s kindness and timidity were a mistake to be learned from, immediately began drawing plans for military campaigns, and began securing and breaking military alliances. He was famous for rejecting a battalion of longbowmen Tankrid offered to him during the Arnor-Angmar war, and again during the Arnor-Gondor war, which Arnor lost, breaking up into numerous small states. Having soured relations with both the Woodland Realm and Gondor, Anduin ordered to build a wall around Mirkwood, and to place an embargo on all trade goods from the elves. But he forgot the wrath of Gondor. Emperor Amandil, angry at Dale’s role during the Arnor-Gondor war, annexed the Kingdom of Dale under the New Númenorean Empire, at which Anduin promptly abdicated. With no other members of the Gilnea family to take the spot, Anduin appointed Tankrid, who had planned a long time for this moment, to finally become King of Dale. 

Tankrid’s first move as the new king of Dale was to negotiate a deal with Gondor, resulting in Dale finally becoming independent once again. And it would remain so for a long time. Tankrid was wise and careful in his diplomatic dealings, though always remembering the military side of him. He drafted tactics for effective deployment of longbowmen in the field, and also signals for infantry and cavalry units. Although traditionally enemies, a non-aggression pact was formed between the Kingdoms of Dale and Rhudel, beginning moderately peaceful relations, and for a while even collaboration in an attempt to unite Rhovanion and Rhun into an empire. Then, tragedy struck. The Gilnea family home burnt down, with only 1 family member confirmed to have survived; that being Princess Madeleine, who had a certain bias against Gondor and towards the DLE. But she made no move to pursue a position of leadership, and went to the land of the Half-Trolls in the south, leaving the job of ruling Dale to Tankrid. Tankrid also reformed the Dalish caste system, introducing the new ranks of Hetman, Patrician, and later Governor. The king employed many builders, who built for him the Girionsburg Dome, and many forts across the land. New names emerged among the list of Earldoms and settlements; Ruarden, Westerheim and Mac Coghadhainn. The last of the names just listed was a new addition to the Kingdom of Dale, with Tankrid colonising a chunk of Rhovanion with a hillfort and several small outposts. Dale also grew rich, from selling gold and iron to many countries across Middle-Earth. Many new nobles were chosen, more knighted, and more citizens added to the workforce. The Kingdom of Dale soon joined the Forodrim Ardhim, a coalition of the Free Peoples of Middle-Earth who bowed to neither the White Tree or the Red Eye. 

It should be noted that under Tankrid, Dale also had its first democratic vote, where a majority vote was passed stating that all Dalish citizens would serve a certain period of compulsory work for the state, also being recruited into the now flourishing Dalish Royal Army and/or its specialised units. While the Dalish Royal Army grew in size and organisation, with standardised equipment and uniforms, along with specialised units such as cavalry, scouts and engineers, the Earldom of Westerheim became Dale’s main agricultural sector, the produce of its harvests appearing on the dinner plates in many households. Redwater became known for its excellent engineers, who were skilled in the art of siege craft, while the massive forges churned out weapons and armour, both for sale and use by the Royal Army. The city of Bardhaven also flourished, with the construction of many ships, with the shipbuilders and merchants of Dale excited as the government secured a deal with Dorwinion, resulting in them receiving the northern tip of Dorwinion, and by extension sea access. 

But the Gilnea family was not completely gone yet. Tankrid received a letter, bearing the seal of Hope, who it turned out had fled into Far Harad. Although Hope lay dead, slain by a Mumakil, it turned out he had a son and daughter, who soon showed up at the gates of Ankorien Poltzen, Tankrid’s city. Hope was given a state funeral, while Tom, his son, was given the lands of Proudhaven, which had fallen into disrepair. However, Earl Tom went to the work of reconstructing the city with enthusiasm, the young man earning valuable combat and diplomatic experience while fighting alongside Anardil of Gondor during a Wainrider raid on Redwater Ford. 

This became known as the Golden Age of Girionsburg, during which Tankrid encouraged the development of architecture and the arts, planning many universities and guilds, while also strengthening and expanding the Dalish Royal Army. King Tankrid was the first non-hereditary king of Dale, and also the longest reigning one so far. He renamed the Dalish Royal Council to the Dalish Royal Parliament, its headquarters in Girionsburg, as the kingdom became more democratic in its internal affairs. The role of Housemaster (Hausmeister) was created, who would act as a magistrate and administrator of relations between the Earldoms and Hetmanships of Dale. Dale had come a long way from its humble origins as a backwater ruled by a boy king. With Yule drawing near, Tankrid invited nobles and ambassadors from all over the world to celebrate the winter festivities. When the snows finally thawed, Tankrid received a boom in Dale’s population, but this was not to last long. 

The people of Esgaroth, once the original Bardings of Dale, slowly began turning to the dark side, under the corruption of Mordor. Jarl Tom of Esgaroth, seeing this, demanded secession from the Kingdom of Dale, and despite much bickering, arms races, and even a couple skirmishes between “dark” Esgarothian fishermen and a nearby Royal Army garrison, the land would still not be granted independence. Seeing no other way, Tom had told his people, and those of Proudhaven, to pack their things, and they began the great migration down to their new home they had chosen on the southern marches of Rhudel.  

Aside from the succession of Jarl Tom from Dale, the spring also saw the designing of Vinburg, the capital of the Dalish special administrative region in Dorwinion, along with the construction of the Bardhaven House of the Admiralty.  

However, suddenly Dale fell upon grave times. When King Tankrid Ogh-Feandghainess was out hunting he fell unconscious off his horse, and started sweating profusely. Elven medicine was able to bring him back to life, but only as a shadow of his former self. He could hardly walk and knew in his heart of hearts he would not sit upon the throne of Dale again. He understood his weakness, and to the great dismay of the citizens of Dale he announced his abdication. For many weeks Dale was in a limbo phase, with no clear successor to the the great king. And so Tankrid took it upon himself to choose the successor. Otrick Barenfeur, a descendent of Beorn, who was the saviour of Dale during the terrible battle of the Five Armies, was chosen. He was the current governor of Westerheim; the most western state of Dale. And so an era of greatness came to an end and a new chapter of Dale was beginning.

Following the rise of the Red Party, the dominant political party in the Kingdom of Dorwinion which advocated to secede from the Forodrim Ardhim and instead join the Kingdom of Dale in an empire, Dale began having disagreements with the FA, especially with their leader, Legolas. However, a deal was struck just in time to avoid the hot-headed elven king launching a full scale invasion of Dale, especially since the northmen had just recently sided with Durin's Folk, whom Legolas hated with a burning passion. Major work began on the city of Girionsburg, and work also began on rebuilding and renovating old Dalish castles, many of which were brought to ruin during the Easterling invasion in 3019 of the Third Age.

Halfway through the 2nd year of King Otrick's reign, the region of North Dorwinion, known by the Dalish as Vinburg, was given in exchange for Dalish holdings in Central Rhovanion by King Brasus of the Kingdom of Dorwinion. A charismatic and prominent leader among the Red Party, Lord Tostor was chosen as Prince Tostor of Vinburg, and preparations quickly began to build the new capital.

During the 3rd year of King Otrick's reign, a famine spread across Southern Dale. Resources were scarce, and many became idle, sick, and more died. The winter was harsh and unrelenting; ice could be seen flowing downriver as far as Bardhaven. However, when the spring came, those who survived the famine were stronger, and more determined to live and flourish. These attributes would be important when nomadic tribes from the Palisor raided Dale's colonies across the Redwater, capturing forts and farming villages while they were still under construction. Earl Tankrid of Redwater went forward in one last battle, and defeated the Easterlings, forcing them to withdraw. 

Work soon began on urbanising the capital city of Dale, transforming it from a ramshackle walled town to a proper metropolis. Hope II was also elected as King of Dale after King Otrick abdicated, due to fears about his old age. Around this time, Madeleine Gilnea was captured, and tried for high treason in the city of Dale. She would be sentenced to hard labour in the coal mines for her crimes. At this time also, an assassination attempt was carried out on Tankrid, but the assassin missed his shot and was arrested. Madeleine Gilnea and Amalie Gilnea, her granddaughter, tried to escape while they were being escorted to the coal mines, but were recaptured. Hope gave an executive order to have Madeleine hanged.  

In 430 of the Fourth Age, a force of orcs attacked Dale's colonies in Rhovanion. An army of auxiliaries was quickly formed, made up of locals and colonists, and were trained to ambush and fight the orcs by the Rangers.  

In 432, a messenger was sent by King Hope II to the East Bight, seeking to convince the Woodmen to join the soon to be Dalish Commonwealth. However, the messenger never returned, and was presumed to have been killed. With the expansion of Dol Guldur, it was decided that it was necessary to deny them any further territory in the region, so the Dalish Royal Parliament decided to annex the East Bight. The Dalish Royal Army was sent into the East Bight with a declaration of war against the Woodmen. There was, however, heavy resistance. The Woodmen hid in the forests of their land, ambushing Dalish units and wiping out entire companies at times. However, in the end the Dalish managed to wipe out the Woodmen by shear numbers alone, and conquered the entirety of the East Bight by 435 of the Third Age.  

Watching the recent international events unfolding around it with careful interest, the Dalish government grew paranoid of invasion, due to the recent alliance between Gondor and the forces of Mordor, along with the alleged increasing aggressiveness of the dwarves. It was decreed that a series of "super" forts would be built along the border in an attempt to repel invasion. Additionally, the Dalish Royal Army began to hold annual military exercises, so that they would be able to gain combat experience, and improve their tactics and skills.  

With the dissolution of the ERE, negotiations began between Dorwinion and Dale. However these were cut short, with the rise of the Greater Rhunic Empire, headed by the Easterlings of Rhudel and the Wainriders. Around 445 of the Fourth Age, Dale received an invitation to join this new superpower, however it was rejected under the pretext that Dale had to maintain their neutrality and had plans to unite into their own Commonwealth with Dorwinion. Negotiations came crashing and burning down, and Dorwinion was swiftly forced to join the Greater Rhunic Empire under threat of immediate invasion. This served as a wake-up call for the Third Kingdom of Dale, which had to steel itself once again for an unjust invasion by foreign aggressors.  

The same night that he delivered a speech denouncing the Wainriders and announcing that total war was imminent, Chancellor Tankrid died of a heart attack and was promptly cremated. With grief and sorrow mixed with fury and rage at the Greater Rhunic Empire's threats and actions, thousands of Dalishmen turned out onto the streets in the coming days carrying flaming brands, rioting and demanding for total war and mobilisation against the "Evil Forces of Foreign Aggression". As war drew nearer and nearer, hundreds of young men enlisted as Dalish Royal Army officials commissioned recruitment articles in bulletins and turned their fury into an enthusiasm to work and fight to defend the fatherland and liberty. A few years passed before the invasion finally came; by that time a handful of border forts had been put together, along with the armoury of the nation expanded and strengthened greatly. By that time King Hope II had also lost his title due to a legal dispute, and Dale was effectively run by the new Chancellor, Gunter Kunnelsorf. Dale allied with the FA once more, and received their support when Étila, the Wainrider leader, launched his invasion through Eryn Caran with his Avari supporters. In 451, Dalish-FA forces engaged the Greater Rhunic Empire's armies in North Dorwinion, and succeeded in forcing them to retreat after a long battle made up of numerous forays and withdrawals from both sides. With the invaders pushed back past the border, Dale was able to rest for a moment; Kunnelsorf carried out Tankrid's plans to expand the city of Dale. Soon the old, dilapidated houses barely standing from the days of the War of the Ring were replaced by large, new and tall townhouses, designed to improve the standard of living in the city and get rid of the cramped conditions which much of the capital's rapidly increasing population had been forced to live in for generations.

 

TRIVIA:

.The "Dalish Cross" was a symbol used by Tankrid and the Dalish Royal Army to this day as an emblem of the army. It was used during Tankrid's southern campaigns, when it was too difficult and time consuming for the uniform-makers to sew the national crest of Bard's Bow and Black Arrow onto surcoats and banners; so a white cross was used instead, which was eventually called the Dalish Cross. It is meant to represent the Northern Star.

.Tankrid was not Dalish. He was a refugee from Central Rhovanion.

. While the Dalish are known for their use of honeycomb coloured brick, in Eastern Dale, red brick is used more common, as it is cheaper and also reflects local culture and traditions (as they live along the Redwater).

. HM Toymakers' Dalish Crackers cost $10 each, no refunds.

. Dalesmen, the original inhabitants of Dale, could communicate with birds such as ravens and thrushes. In fact it was a thrush which told Bard the Bowman where the dragon Smaug's weak spot was, allowing him to kill the monster. However, this skill has slowly been lost over the centuries, although some people still bear its gift.

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