Rostland was first inhabited by Taldan explorers in the latter half of the Age of Enthronement under the leadership of Baron Sirian First, a hotheaded, impulsive noble forced to emigrate from Taldor after losing one too many duels. After the fledgling colony suffered a number of brutal attacks from bandit lords to the south, First accepted a challenge from the ruling bandit lord in 3035 AR to duel for the future of the burgeoning settlement. Unable to best the bandit king, First paid his wager and disappeared, most assuming he was gone for good, too embarrassed to show his face after the defeat. In 3044 AR, First returned a changed man.
Answering to the name Sirian Aldori, the “Sword Baron” challenged the bandit lord to a rematch and defeated him handily in seconds. He followed this with a standing offer of 100,000 gold pieces as a reward for any who could best him in a battle of blades. None could defeat him, whether through legitimate means or trickery and magic. At first, Aldori refused to teach any of his techniques, but he eventually capitulated and began to train a select group of swordsmen under certain stipulations. These conditions ensured that each student swore to change their name to Aldori, never teach their techniques to any outside the Aldori swordpact and were sworn to uphold a secret pact of honor.
These swordsmen became known as the Aldori swordlords. They ruled Rostland for generations, each as prickly and impulsive as the order's founder.
The Aldori Sworldlords ruled for over a thousand years – and spread their domains out to the Lake Rykal in the west and Skywatch in the north. Their lands were delineated by the three towns of Stetven, Restov and Skywatch. To the north Surtova, the Pirate Kings and their vassels ruled the coastal area. The Orlovsky, technically independent, relied on the Surtova for trade, and were heavily beholden to the Pirate Kings.
At this time the sword pact ruled supreme, Noble families used to send the best of each generation to train as Swordlords - who then returned to rule their families. Rather than one ruler the Aldori were independent small rulers, bound together by the sword pact. Some houses were more important than others of course, especially those directly linked to the Sword Baron’s line, but the sword pact ruled. They honed their skills duelling, skirmishing with each other and fighting the bandits to the south and the Issians to the north – and then Choral came …
However, you can still see some Aldori influence along the eastern borders of Brevoy – in the areas where Erastil is seen as a important deity.
In 4499 AR, the armies of Choral the Conqueror swept into Rostland, and despite a strong resistance mustered by the swordlords, the nation fell at the barbarian's hand and at the talons of his red dragon servitors. The most memorable conflict between the Rostlandi and Choral's armies is now known as the Valley of Fire, and somber songs of swordlord Estruan Aldori's defeat remain a popular aspect of folk culture in Brevoy, the River Kingdoms, and Mendev. After annihilating the Rostlandi army, Choral's red dragons turned their attention to Rostland itself, and initiated a brutal onslaught of fire and blood that brought the once-proud nation to its knees. In only a handful of days, the people of Rostland surrendered to their new ruler and his heirs in House Rogarvia.
Many Aldori swordlords fled Rostland under Choral's rule, establishing a strong presence in the city of Mivon to the south, amid the River Kingdoms. Others fled to the Free City of Restov in the far south of Brevoy. The Aldori stronghold of Skywatch maintained the resistance even after the rest of Rostland had fallen, but even this seat of independent Aldori power was reduced to ashes by Choral and his dragons, eventually to be rebuilt by House Rogarvia.
Over the 200(or so) years since Choral Conquest of Brevoy the Aldori have had to change.
Those who went to Mivon, perhaps, bear most similarity to those prickly, impulsive ancestors who ruled Rostland. They still maintain The Sword Pact, although they add the Aldori to their House name, rather than adopt it completely. However, they keep the skills and the techniques within their own houses and it is said that there are as many Duelling styles in Mivon as there are Aldori Houses.
The Aldori who stayed in Brevoy were forced to adapt. Most made their way East, and rebuilt their domains in East Rostland. Many moved to Restov and went into business, others tried to stay where they were and brazen it out - but those to the west were lost. The Aldori and the swordpact went underground. Few kept the Aldori name, although families and lineages were known, and many practiced their skills in private.
One exception was House Khavortorov, who retained their lands by forging a relationship with Choral and his ruling house. For 200 years, they served as his mercenaries in conjunction with House Ventus, the Rogavian’s go-to house of sorcerors. Now they have started to extend their influence, and have started to build bridges with the other two Aldori factions.
Once Choral had conquered the land that was to become Brevoy, he claimed the central area, the remains of Stetven and Lake Reykal for himself – and those Aldori who lived in the west moved away. While some followed the route to Mivon and the city dwellers made their way to Restov, others moved east and started to rebuild the farms and settlements that Choral had destroyed. They stayed low-key, building slowly, not flaunting their Aldori past – but maintained their culture in a quieter, less obvious ways. However most of East Rostland is populated with Aldori, or Aldori supporting families. When the Rogavia disappeared, and Surtova came to the throne, the East Rostland Aldori brought out their duelling swords again and started to declare their allegiance to the Aldori ideals. Many started to send their children to the Aldori Academy, rather than relying on private tuition and the Aldori started to become visible again.
Of course, those furthest away from New Stetven are the loudest in their support – those closer to the metropolis tend to be a quieter and less ostentatious. It is these eastern Aldori who are Lady Jamandi’s strongest supporters.
There may be a few Aldori supporters in West Rostland, but if they are there, they are keeping a very low profile. South Rostland is in a difficult position. Surtova to the West, Bandits to the South, House Khavortorov to the North, East Rostland and Restov to the east. There is some Aldori support, but most are more concerned with keeping their own families and lands intact.
Restov is seen as the spiritual home of the Aldori, and Aldori make up a sizeable proportion of the population - but they aren't in the majority. the town is run by business oriented families who are keen to maintain their position in the world, keep their fortunes and not upset the king. After all, their only real trade route for their grain is the overland trade route to New Stetven - and new Steven is their main customer ….
While Lady Jamandi is First Swordlord and serves on the city council, she doesn't control the city and its policies. She is influential, but she is still bound by the city's laws and council decisions.
The sword pact was broken (or at least severely damaged) after the Valley of Fire. The three groups went their own ways and each group applied a different version of the Sword Pact.
In Mivon, the Aldori houses restricted training to their members, and just about all of them have some basic Aldori Duelling Sword Training. Aldori is added to the house name for all members. ie Yitis-Aldori
House Khavortorov, train most of their members in the Aldori Duelling sword - but many don't progress to a high level and none take the Aldori name. Or if they do, they keep that fact to themselves.
In Restov & Rostland - the Sword Pact went underground - and the Aldori name was reserved for individuals who achieved SwordLord status. So some members of House Blain would be called Aldori-Blain, others would just be called Blain. Most houses that support the Aldori have a few members who have taken the Aldori-Surname version. Some Houses don't have any Aldori trained members - but are still 'Spiritual Aldori'. While a few houses put a large portion of their youngsters through full Aldori training.
Few of those who train in the Aldori style become a fully fledged Swordlord and, while there are more who get close (Fighters) there are many who don't (warriors). These lesser Aldori form the basis of Aldori mercenary units, city guards and other similar functions.