Tertiary Month, Year 878 since the Foundation of Gavinium:
As there are many subjects of foreign princes who question and marvel at our laws and customs, the chronicler has resolved to write for the recording of facts some of the history and laws of our people. This chronicler will narrate only the relevant events of our ancient past and those excerpts of the laws of the Principality of Gavinium, as shall be deemed necessary to clarify any misunderstanding on the part of the surrounding nations.
It is, of course, widely known that said principality was once the County of Gavinum. After much expansion, bloodshed, and social dissension during the Great Interregnum of the years 223 through 234, most of the branches of the ancient dynasty which governed our country were annihilated. It was a horrific slaughter, which rent the dominion asunder. There was no sovereign acknowledged or accepted by the nation, and the tumult caused many a baron to regard himself as having no liege.
The Terrible Decade and Year ended when the lady Sophia, eldest of the surviving offspring of the old ruling house, reunified the great city and its lands as her own domain. Though she had seen the destruction and calamity of the age in her youth, she was already thirty years old when she at last restored the peace. She it was who concluded the final parley which ended the violence of that era.
Said lady became Countess upon the ratification of the truce, although at the price of granting concessions demanded by her most obstinate detractors. Yet the aforementioned foes, once having yielded to her rule, soon ceased to despise her, for the lady was wise and brave. Indeed, there were many suitors for her hand, even before the first year of her reign was at an end.
It was true that most of these men were already inclined to seek a marriage to the renowned Countess, given the prospect of attaining the sovereignty for themselves. Even so, there were several barons who found her virtues an added incentive to pursue her favor in such a fashion. Such was the contention over this matter, exacerbated by her famous beauty, that the noble lady feared a renewal of the civil strife for this reason.
In the cause of public order and the surety of the succession through conception of an heir, the good Countess decreed the Edict of Royal Matrimony in the second year of her reign. The former laws and customs against the practice of familial marriage were abolished, so that the lady Sophia could wed her virile brother the lord Maximian, whom she perhaps loved more than he requited her.
Though this created much anxiety and discontent with those envious of the new Count's good fortune, it quelled any doubts about the legitimacy of Sophia's rule. Those who were concerned for reasons of tradition were soon persuaded that the circumstances made such reforms necessary.
If there were any disputes between the Countess and the eldest of her five siblings, this marriage was sufficiently pleasing to him that it soothed his resentment. Given his sister's age, it also calmed her fears that she would not find a husband and bear a child without provoking a continuation of the strife that had plagued her people. She also deemed it a relief not to have cause for mistrusting the motives of those who courted her.
So it happened that the thirty-one year old Countess gave her hand in marriage to her twenty-five year old brother, who had never thought to take a bride before. Thus did both secure their progeny, and by this means preserve their family and rule. From that day forward, the Count and Countess reigned in tandem, though the Countess held the superior power of rank.
Despite the peace that therefore filled the land, there were many worries that the time of their sovereign's fertility would soon diminish and deprive the realm of an heir in spite of their precautions. Because of this danger, which also terrified the Countess who had spent most of her youth in the service of the commonweal, she assented to the Count's desire to wed the remaining women of the family as well as herself.
It was further in the interests of the Crown that she also consented to her husband's admonition to take their twenty-year old brother Gerard as a secondary mate. Maximian was known to favor this proposition as a means to quench any possible jealousy on the part of his much esteemed elder sister and senior wife. He further believed that a union of this sort would increase the prospects of new issue and another generation of the royal family.
This precedent and act of plural incest within the dynasty happened in the fourth year since Sophia's accession. It was authorized through the Edict of Family Fidelity, which rumor purported to be the counsel of the lord Gerard. He was supposed to have declared that he could share the bodies of his sisters with his brother and each other, but none other, due to his greedy nature.
.... There is more of this story ...