Under shade of olive trees, they said no one could tame Jericho. In the flats and marches, they said Kairihen could never be bested. In the hills and forests of the north, they said Illion could never be humbled. Now they say I cannot be stopped. And soon, they will say nothing. I am Barbossa Hohenstaufen. I am Emperor.
Barbossa Hohenstaufen, Holy Emperor of Ghillodahn
A Magisters's brotherBarbossa Hohenstaufen is the brother of Roebert Hohenstaufen, the once Grand Magister and Lord Marshall of Ghillodan. His uncle is the Checkered Lion, Gilbert Hohenstaufen. The Hohenstaufen seat is set at HighVictory, a well fortified keep and town overlooking the golden gulf in Ghillodahn.
The Commandante Lord
Roebert Hohenstaufen, Barbossa's elder brother, was first in the line of succession to take the Magisterial Crown of Ghillodahn upon their father Baldwyn Hohenstaufen's death in (70, 3C). As the brothers' uncle had already been named lord of HighVictory, Barbossa had no lands or holdings left to him. Barbossa was frustrated by his lack of positions. He did poorly as under-steward in the capitol of Illion. He did far better when named as Commandante of the Illioner Guardsmen. Barbossa was appalled by how poorly equipped and situated the Illioner guards were. Most of the ready fighting men and women had all been withdrawn from the city to marshall at the rumors of the brewing Hustalen rebellion. Barbossa outfitted the Illioner guards with longsword, dirk, and buckler, to better protect the Capitol. Additionally, he gave them plumed helmets to distinguish them in crowds. The Illion guardsmen wore them with pride and to this day are referred to as, the Plume Guard. Barbossa spent much time at inns and brothels with his Plume Guard and friend, Sur Marq Hayford. They began publicly making mock of many lords and ladies of the court. Barbossa eschewed the company of women, but instead surrounded himself with soldiers and was rumored to prefer their company. In little time at all, Roebert demanded his brother take a wife, the hand of the young lady Misa Thealavandron of Kairihen. In insolence to his brother, Barbossa instead purchased a commission to the Commandante College of War in Prague, where his duties forbade him from leaving the fortress city. There he gained high honors and many awards leading soldiers in the blight. He became well known there and earned a household name as the Rogue Lord. Afterward, he commanded the Knights of the Long March in the Hustalen rebellion where he earned respect and love from his men for his unflinching courage and charisma. During the battle of Soddom hill, Barbossa was struck in the head by a Hustalen spear. Afterward, he was beset by fits of black rage and nonsensical outbursts. Among the number of the Knights of the Long March was Sur Richard Lathandre, a minor lordling from Taer. Richard began to look up to Lord Commandante Barbossa for his incredible intellectual grasp of tactics and strategy. After the conflict, Roebert was waiting. Having himself, already wed the Lady Protector of Bondhome, Micah Essen, years earlier, Roebert demanded that Barbossa wed to secure alliances of the crown house with other Lord Protectors across Ghillodahn. Barbossa wanted nothing less however, and refused to be used as a bargaining ship for improved relations between the crown and protectorates. In the (75, 3C) of the third cycle Barbossa took ship with a galley looking for trade in AnchorHaven. Barbossa would sell his sword as well as his perfect military mind to many Barons of the Reaches in the coming years.
Barbossa would return to his homeland of Ghillodahn years later, but not as a decorated war hero, rather, a self crowned Emperor of the Hohenstaufen government in exile, and a traitor.
Wars in the Reaches
Barbossa Hohenstaufen gained much renown in the reaches by putting down multiple outlaw bands and engaging in minor wars, rebellions, and conflicts. He served as commander to many private armies of local Barons and rulers. Such was his magnetism and open handedness, that many soldiers and anointed knights followed him for glory and gold. He always kept a pelorite cleric near him to aid him with his sudden black moods and falling sickness. Over the course of his adventures, Barbossa formed the Varangian guard. The Varangians were composed of Barbossa's most loyal men and knights. They served as his personal bodyguard and are famous for the rifled muskets they carry and the battles they have won. The Captain of the Varangians is Sur Marq Hayford, one of Barbossa's many friends. Barbossa, like many others, was horrified by the destruction and death wrought in the War of the Open Graves. Even more so, did he gain a respect for the clerics and paladins who were instrumental in the turning back of the undead horde. Barbossa was quoted as saying:
I had not put such stock in the religions of men when the study of war was but fire and sword. The godly men whom I have seen fight, however, have made faith tangible, and that faith has the strength to set such fires and substitute any steel.As Barbossa's power and influence grew, so did his appetite for more. Barbossa continued to procure small pieces of land and other holdings, not only for himself, but also to reward the knights and soldiers who were under his command. In the 79th year of the third cycle, Barbossa's beloved brother went missing touring the city of Prague's defenses. Lamenting the loss of Roebert, Barbossa prepared return home to claim the Magisterial Crown and Golden Throne for himself. But just days later, Barbossa and his commanders received word that his sister in law, Lady Micah Essen, had claimed the the crown in Barbossa's absence. The magi of Taer, well aware of Micah's loathing for them and her Hustalen sympathies, quickly raised Bianca Lathandre, Roebert's second cousin, as an additional claimant. Bianca married Lord Tempus Thealavandron creating a powerful southern alliance. [The other numerous and extensive repercussions of Roebert's death can be read in Ghillodahn (79, 3C)] As much of the illioner army was in prague at the time, Thealavandron and Kairihenan forces had no trouble seizing Illion and placing Bianca on the throne. Sensing the chaos within the magistrate, Lord Protector Oakheart and Lord Protecter Balthazar claimed independence for their southern protectorates. Barbossa watched with interest at the fracturing and disunity that was quickly overcoming Ghillodahn. In the 80th year of the third cycle, Lord Barbossa Hohenstaufen crowned himself Emperor of Ghillodahn claiming his ancestral rites. He called all holy men to flock to his banner to defend his birthright against Kairihenan and Hustalen Heathens. For the promise of gold and glory, many of the Reach's knights and holy men answered Barbossa's call. Barbossa began marshaling his forces at the fortress city of WestWatch, at the invitation of Baroness Apocrypha Reyavik. Apocrypha Reyavik helped Barbossa establish his Guards in Gold organization to serve as a countermeasure to the Kairihenan Urban Ranger Regiments. The Guards in Gold were trained to be espionage experts. The Guards in Gold are not nearly as well trained or funded as the Urban Ranger Regiments. Spencer Roth, an old spymaster at Ildat volunteered to lead the Guards in Gold. Spencer reformed the Guard and gave them the gold cloaks they wear with pride today.
During the Illioner occupation of the city of Skaldergate, the Lord Captains, Dreonn Swann, Arthur Lavelle, and Brennic Confresi, departed Skaldergate harbor with their fleets to avoid seizure of the Grand Skaldergate Navy by Magisterial forces. At Baroness Apocrypha's behest, the three homeless Lord Captains joined Emperor Barbossa in the Northern Reach. Emperor Barbossa eagerly promised to liberate Skaldergate from the Illioner army occupying it. The three Lord Captains named Lathandre a usurper and declared for Emperor Barbossa, then and there.
Battle of the Charzenes
In the 80th year of the third cycle, Baroness Atwood rallied a coalition of barons to challenge Barbossa's right to marshal his armies in the Northern Reach. The baroness played a part in a convoluted plot to kidnap her own husband, a Ghillioner Lord named Braeden Dufrond. This plot was put on chiefly by Barbossa's Guards in Gold, chiefly, Galadir Detruvius, Margaret Davies, and Milo Suttecliffe. Atwood received relatively nothing from her participation. Atwood felt cheated by Emperor Barbossa and his imperial agents. In an effort to save face at the suspicious kidnapping of her husband, she rallied many banners and northern reach soldiers, nearly 26,000 levies and men at arms. Baroness Atwood knew nothing of the numbers commanded by the self proclaimed emperor Barbossa. The baroness also knew little and less of command, but was shrewd enough to pass the command of her forces to Baron Richter Von Schtoiben, a somewhat competent military man, though an indulger in vain glory. Schtoiben arrayed his soldiers in battle formations with their backs to the River Charzenes. Atwood and her baronial coalition demanded the release of Lord Dufrond who was still in captivity. Emperor Barbossa was in no hurry to give up a prized captive son of a Kairihenan lord. Nor was he willing to appease the Northern Reachers. As such, he deployed a portion of his force numbering 12,000, composed of heavy infantries, medium infantries, and gunmen. In reserve he kept 30,000 armored knights, heavy cavalry, and mounted gunmen. On Skaldergate warships were another 8000 marines and sailors. Within the city was another 30,000 assorted skirmishers, cavalry, and heavy infantries. Barbossa also arranged a vanguard of 2000 with 1200 being his special Varangian guards, and 800 being heavily armored knights and heavy cavalry. Leading the van was Sur Marq Hayford. Leading the reserves was Baroness Apocrypha Reyavik. Emperor Barbossa commanded his lead force of heavy infantries and gun lines. Lord Captain Brennic Confresi protected West Watch Bay against amphibious attacks with his marines but did not see any fighting during the conflict. Baroness Atwood desired only to give a good show of attempting to retrieve her husband from captivity to deflect suspicion from her hand in the kidnapping. She had no intention of giving battle to Barbossa. Baron Schtoiben and other baronial coalition members had other ideas. Foolishly, he considered the chance to put low the great Barbossa Hohenstaufen too appealing to pass up. Seeing that he had a numerical advantage upon Barbossa's main force of heavy infantries and gun men. He marched his men from the river to send the emperor fleeing back to the city. Upon seeing Shtoiben's approach Barbossa implemented mixed infantry tactics to intersperse bill and pikemen throughout his gun lines. Baron Shtoiben charged his men across the marsh expecting the outnumbered Imperial force to flee. Instead the imperials began a withering cascade of fire from muskets and canister shot thrown from behind their lines. The rank by rank fire of the imperial gunmen inflicted stinging casualties upon the coalition army. Baron Shtoiben's knights charged through the heavy fire onto the awaiting pikes of imperial heavy infantry. The coalition soldiers quickly routed from the field. Barbossa was content with this victory, and despite the characteristic fierce Hohenstaufen anger awakened in him, did not pursue the coalition forces. His second in command, Baroness Apocrypha committed her reserves and ran down much of the coalition forces using lance and cavalry sword. Apocrypha's knights took nearly 5000 prisoners. Barbossa was truly enraged by Apocrypha's excessive military action. He did not reprimand her fore he knew that it was only at her invitation that he was able to marshal his imperial forces at Apocrypha's lands of WestWatch, not only that, she had provided massive amounts of funding to equip his soldiers. Instead he felt quite wroth. Apocrypha ordered the executions of the soldiers taken prisoner. Whatever soldiers attempted to resist the execution by force were recruited into Apocrypha's own army. She claimed that those who fought to live had distinguished themselves as the wolves among the sheep. The rest were put to the sword.