The Queendom of Arethusa
Arethusa is the northern Queendom on the continent of Nereid. One of the oldest countries on Nereid, its history is a rich and powerful one. Arethusa was founded over 500 years ago by the first Queen of Arethusa, Queen Isla. The daughter of a tyrannical king, Isla was a stout believer in Queen Amphitrite. When she was married to her husband, she remained a dutiful wife following the teachings of Amphitrite by supporting her husbands violent and cruel laws. Some say that during her evening prayers in the temple of Poseidon which used to reside in the center of the city she was visited by the Queen of the Ocean. It is said that Amphitrite saw great things in Isla and that her first duties were to her people just as Amphitrite’s first duty was to the Ocean, kings, and husbands were second. Isla was charged with saving her people and becoming Queen ruler. Amphitrite became the patroness of the city after Isla overthrew her dark husband. She sacrificed him to Amphitrite and Poseidon as punishment for his cruelty. She chained him to a rock and sentenced him to death by drowning at High Tide. From that point on, Arethusa was renamed in their patron’s honor, and only women could rule.
For 500 years the throne has been passed down from woman to woman. After the first hundred years, same-sex marriage became possible under the ruling of Queen Loire. Her mother had died in childbirth, but luckily Loire had survived, but for 24 years her father ruled as regent along with the Noble Council. A council of the heads of the Arethusian lord's and lady's families which advised the Queens on matters of religion, trade, politics, and commerce. Loire felt his regency was a betrayal to their patron goddess. She suggested that to avoid the Queen dying from something as trivial as childbirth female consorts would be allowed to be wed so that they could take on the burden of childbearing and raising the heirs.
For the next 400 years, Arethusian Queens took both men and female consorts, using surrogate men and women to help produce their heirs. Some Queens did continue to have children with their male spouses, but even then, female consorts always carried or a surrogate was used. As for titles, only female consorts can become Queen. When women marry the crown princess or queen of the time, they become known as Queen-Consort, regardless of whether they were princesses before marriage. There are no Kings in Arethusa, so men are known as Prince-Consorts upon marriage. Firstborn daughters become Crown Princesses. It’s uncommon for Arethusian Queens to have more than one child unless the firstborn is not a daughter. Many royal siblings are often half-siblings depending on their parentage, and how that can vary. Sons who are born are known as Princes of Arethusa, but they have no claim to the throne, and for years they were often seen as a disgrace or made the Queens look disfavored by Amphitrite. Most Arethusian Princes are married off to other heirs of surrounding countries, often Lycos, Oceanus, they even cross Ocean’s to neighboring continents or they are married off within the Arethusian courts. Unless they marry a royal of another line, children of Arethusian Princes, if they wed a common folk or Lord or Lady of the court, become Duchess’s and Dukes and do not receive a crown title. Same-sex marriage is a common practice all over Nereid, and so many Princes can be married off to other men as well as women.
Arethusa in the last 50 years also outlawed Elven Slavery. Oceanus was the first country to be created as a free state while Queen Triteia inherited the throne to Arethusa and outlawed slavery after her mother’s, Queen Doris, ruling. She believed that if they genuinely served Queen Amphitrite, then her favored people, the elves, should be free to live in the patron city as citizens and not slaves. Queen Triteia, unfortunately, died early into her reign leaving behind her husband Prince-Consort Mariner and her daughter, Crown Princess Joana of Arethusa. Queen Doris was reinstated into power, but she did not overturn her daughter’s law of emancipation. Instead, she preserved any law made by Triteia so that her daughter’s work could never be undone.
Queen Doris has passed on, only a year before Crown Princess Joana’s coronation leaving Prince-Consort Mariner and the council as regent which hasn’t happened in over 400 years. The accession is due any day now what with the passing of Joana’s 24th birthday.
The Eastlands (Erebos)