Duchy of Ardennes


Long ago, the vast and majestic forest known as Arduenna Silva was the domain of the goddess Arduinna, a huntress similar to Diana, who was pictured as riding a boar and wielding a hunter’s knife. She was worshiped for her protective and healing powers. When the region was evangelized by St. Walfroy, and later St. Remaclus, all pagan sanctuaries and sites dedicated to Arduinna were destroyed, exorcized or converted. The borders of the duchy of Ardennes are roughly drawn in the west by the Meuse river, in the south by the line along the Semois via Arlon to Trier, in the east along the ancient Roman road leading from Trier to Cologne, and in the north from the city of Dinant to the castle of Franchimont and from there to the eastward Roman crossroads at Dahlem.

The main feature of the Ardennes’ geography is its steep rocky hills, almost entirely covered by an immense primeval forest like a green ocean of trees. The uninhabited wood with its numerous subterranean caves makes the Ardennes the perfect place not only for hermits and monks, but also for outlaws. Many relatively small streams run through the Ardennes’ heartlands. Most of these can easily be forded in summer when they are not very deep, though their rocky beds and treacherous currents can be dangerous.

The word Ardennes itself is said to mean Bitter Woods and, indeed, this inhospitable and dark forest is an enchanted place containing many rocks and ravines, hilly pine wastes of charcoal makers, “a place of horror and solitary isolation which abounds with wild beasts.” Apart from the occasional bears, boars, wolves and other wild animals, travelers may have to face faeries (the woods between La Roche and Bastogne are known as Fays Forest), nutons (a local variant of dwarfs) and other such marvelous creatures like the luring will-o-wisps, hungry giants or, like Aubery the Burgundian, even a forest lion or a lonely dragon.


Noble Houses of the Ardennes

The duchy of the Ardennes is ruled by Duke Thierry. His vast domain is divided into five counties: Arlon, Bastogne, Bouillon, La Roche and Salm. Duke Thierry is the Count of Bastogne, and the four remaining counties are governed by Count Galeran of Arlon, Count Aymon of Bouillon, Count Hugo of La Roche, and Count Widogast of Salm. The duke’s military power extends to the surrounding abbeys of Stavelot-Malmédy, Prüm, and Saint Hubert. Even though these rich ecclesiastical domains are politically independent—called immunities—they serve under the duke’s banner in times of war. The spiritual power over the Ardennes is wielded by the very influential prince-bishop of Liege.

The House of Ardennes

The two most notable families of the Ardennes are the House of Ardennes and the House of Clermont (the latter is also known as the House of Aigremont). Their common ancestor was the illustrious Doon of Mayence. Other members of this powerful clan include King Godfrid of Denmark, Gerard of Roussillon, Count Ganelon of Mayence, Duke Sevin of Bordeaux, and Archbishop Turpin. Its seat of power is the town of Bastogne.

The House of Clermont

The families of Thierry’s uncles Aymon, Bevis and Doon of Rethel, are considered a separate and independent House. These three Ardennes lords consider their Ardennes domains as allods. Its seat of power is the Castle of Bouillon on the far side of the Forest of Remacle.

Due to past bad blood, the descendants of the House of Clermont are bitter rivals with members of the House of Baldwin.

The House of La Roche

A minor house founded by Doon of La Roche, Count of Cologne. Its seat of power is Castle La Roche.

The House of Baldwin

A minor house founded by Sir Baldwin of Bastogne. Sir Baldwin and his descendants have ever served the House of Ardennes faithfully.

Family Attitudes

Charlemagne 11
Church 10
Commoners 4

Duchy of Ardennes

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