The Long Regency

The Long Regency

The Long Regency (1030-1061) took place over the reign of three kings, all named Willem. Willem II was married young to the daughter of the King of Wallis, Amaria. Long a strange one, Willem II would regularly roam the streets and alleys of Rhondisfarne at night, sleeping all day, and utterly uninterested in the running of his kingdom. Days before his son’s first nameday, Willem II officially abdicated and absconded to a nearby monastery to spend the rest of his days in quiet contemplation. The infant Willem III was crowned in the midst of one of the more violent and chaotic time periods of Agrainian history. His mother, the Dowager Queen Amaria, led the Regency, at odds with the Earl of Rhondisfarne, Edwin, brother to the now-abdicated Willem. Their power struggle over the next sixteen years included the use of spies, assassins, and false flag attacks. It was a time of intrigue, the golden age of espionage. As Willem III grew closer to his age of majority, the two factions attempted to persuade his point of view. The strain between his mother and uncle proved too much and young Willem found solace in drink and brothel-house workers. In the months before his sixteenth nameday, Willem’s mistress found that she was with child. Though illegitimate, the child would be heir to the throne if Willem had no other trueborn offspring. It is not known whether the Dowager Queen or the Earl knew of the illegitimate heir, but Willem III would die days after the child was born and just days before his sixteenth nameday, when he would have thrown off the reins of regency and become King in his own right. The girl and child, Agatha and Willem, were accepted into the Castle at Rhondisfarne, a continuation of the status quo between the Queen’s faction and the Earl’s faction. The second stage of the Long Regency began.

Agatha, as the Queen Mother, was a pawn in the long game between the Dowager Queen and the Earl of Rhondisfarne. She took special care to never appear to be anything more than a helpless girl forced into a brothel at an early age, lest she fall victim to the same end as the young King Willem III. Tightly navigating the constantly shifting political landscape, Agatha lived long enough to see her son crowned King, as Willem IV, and outliving both the Earl and the Dowager Queen. Willem IV, called Willem the Bastard behind his back, began a long campaign of reform, particularly where the peasantry was concerned. He signed the Accords of 1068 that created the Crowners, lowborn servants of the Crown that maintained law and order in the lands of the Kingdom. They investigated murders and collected taxes from both the peasantry and nobleborn alike. This was widely unpopular, yet Willem IV ruled with an iron fist, stamping out any and all dissent. His system of Crowners connected the kingdom in ways it had never done before.

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