Back in May 2023 I published the first version of my look at Shield Lands before the war, with its provinces, and some of its heraldry. That first version had half of the heraldry missing, here comes an update that includes heraldry for all the provinces plus some corrections. I'm also including some other relevant shields in this post.
Shield Lands is a realm on the frontier, and has been even more so in the past. The intricacies of heraldic design and the vanity if the nobles houses of the Aerdy heartlands was often far away and only given a token of recognition. This gives local conditions and traditions of old Flan and new upstarts a chance to place their mark on the symbols used. Then came the troubled times with Horned Society and Iuz and their take over of most of the Shield Lands. That latest invaders are not the focus of this post. I have covered Iuz in a previous post, and working on an update on the Horned Lands and Iuz coming soon.
Earldom of Walworth
The oldest part of the future Shield Lands, with heraldry that reflects its position between the core lands of the Great Kingdom and the vice-royalty of Ferron in the west. Its back colors are the blue of the Great Kingdom to the right an the red of Ferron to the left, upheld by the white walls of Admundfort and decorated by a chain to really convey the message. Initially it had an Aerdy Star at the top, which first disappeared in the 200's CY when Ferrond broke off from the Great Kingdom.
Later after the formal creation of the Shield Lands a white banner at the top featuring the tower of Critwall was added, and it is the version still in use.
Earldom of Critwall
The constructions on top of the mesa have always been the center of Critwall, and the massive keep and the Bastion of Faith can be seen for miles around so it is kind of natural for Critwall to have a keep as its symbol right from the start. Is predecessor Shelemek most likely had one of many different symbols throughout its history but none of them have survived well enough to be known by todays heraldic experts. There are symbols in the lava tubes under Niahu Hill, but no agreement on whether they were the symbol of Shelemek or not. The place is not really accessible for the less daring, and I will go into the nature of the caverns under Critwall and its dangers in a future blog post.
The oldest shield of used by the early Aerdy conquered Critwall was a variant of the Walworth shield featuring a white tower above the protective wall of the Walworth's in Admundfort. The tower carries the Aerdy Star as well.
In the 200's black malachite was added to the main keep, both imported and locally sourced. This was to follow the latest fashions of Rauxes and show that even in the outer provinces things followed Rauxes. The Aerdy Star was enlarged and the background colors removed. This was an up and coming city with ambition and confidence.
After the formation of the Shield Lands and the breakup of the Great Kingdom, the outlook had to change and the heraldry changed with it. The red and white of the order of the Shield was made the base colors, but the black tower was kept as the lone symbol, and soon the new heraldry was adopted as the symbol of the new Shield Lands as a whole. The Aerdy star was no more part of the symbology of the lands of the shield.
Earldom of The Sentry
Scragholme have keep a low profile in the history of the Shield Lands, and its heraldry have been the same since the Bright Sentry was constructed in the early days of Aerdy settlement. It was both literary and figuratively a beacon for the locals and its been guiding sea fearers on the Nyr Dyv for centuries, which makes it a natural fit for a shield.
Earldom of Southkeep
Southkeep became an ally of Critwall early and added the back tower above a Great Kingdom blue water for its shield. the Dyv cat was added later when the an Earl became fond of the shore line fishing little feline and ordered a cute cat to be added to the heraldry. Southkeep had a very troubled history both during Halmadar the Cruel's insurrection and later under the Horned Society and Iuzian occupations.
In 598 CY it was liberated and an original shield is again proudly decorating the keep with its cat.
County of Gensal
Gensal was most known for its orchards and the cider that was produced there. The legend has it (at least if you asked people in Gensal) that is was the red color of the best Gensal apples that made it onto the red of the order. So of course the symbol of the county had to be an apple tree with ripe red apples. To make sure the tree and its fruit stood out as best as possible, the background had to be white, so the banner behind the tower at the top was to be made red instead of the usual white to make a more balanced shield.
After Iuz takeover Gensal is now the base of Glushnag who's horde operates under a banner that has combined the horns of the society and the bony visage of Iuz.
County of Lardon
In the early days of settling the county the Lardon shield used the Aerdy Star at the top, the Walworth colors and a goat head on a white background.
After the creation of the Shield Lands the lardon shield changed a bit to a mainly white design with a black goat, the Walworth colors and a small white band at the top with the Critwall tower. After the Count Lardon's treason in 585 CY, the saying is that its only the goat that should be on it.
Goats and sheep are a main part of the economy of the county, its being hillier and harsher that what is the norm for most the the Shield Lands, making it ill suited for most things except goat and sheep grazing.
County of Axeport
Axeport was one of the earliest places along the coast to be settled. It was a convenient distance between Alhaster and Critwall, which meant it played an important rule in the Great Kingdom effort to settle, or conquer, the Shield Lands. for the first few century it was a port to dump settlers and it maintained a garrison of troops loyal to someone else and didn't develop local governing. It was also not under the Walworth's banner, so in the beginning Axeport flew a red banner with the Aerdy Star over blue waves. A simple design that was kept until the founding of the Shield Lands.
The heraldry for the newly formed County of Axeport became a white shield with the Critwall tower over the blue waves, giving it both continuity and a clear message of allegiance.
Other towns in Axeport County where large enough to develop their own shields, Delard and Auldet. there might be others but I haven't developed more at this point.
Delard have a shield that clearly show its allegiance to both the Shield Lands and Axeport but changed out the left side to a blue with two fishes. This symbolizes the fishing done in both Nyr Dyv and up the Sanstin River.
This was a bustling little town in its prime and they had ambitions and pride enough to fly their own banner. In truth they mainly got away with it due to distance from Axeport and it was a recreational area for some fancy folks from Critwall, so they could use it unpunished.
The design is a standard red and white of Shield Lands, with a small black tower in the upper part showing allegiance. A set of wildflowers are the centerpiece, symbolizing the rich meadows surrounding Auldet that are the reason Auldet is renowned for its wild meadow honey.
The saying is that the reason the center of the middle flower is blue is that the Count of Axeport once asked where is the blue of Axeport, and someone quickly whispered that it is in the center, in the most beautiful flower. The Count was, according the the people of Auldet, pleased enough and the shield has been used since, until the Horned Society invasion. Auldet has then fallen into obscurity under a brutal occupation.
County of Jondo
The area a bit north of the Nyr Dyv coast seemed to be of little interest to the settling Aerdy, the land had meager agricultural value and was mostly seen as a transit area to reach further inland. Its population was small even before the Aerdy arrival, and most of them semi settled flan herders of peaceful disposition. This led to Jondo retaining much more of a flan character, with an economy based on meat and wool for export and cater for transports north and south.
A feature of the area that is of significance is a forest of usk trees in a low laying area between the rivers. An old symbol of the usk tree, on top of a full red often used by the old flan and Great Kingdom blue.
County of Docamald
The heraldry of Docamald relates to Jondo's in a way. It lays claim to the fame of the usk forests that Jondo has the lions share of also extends into Docamald. Not wanting to use the old flan tree symbol opted early on for a usk fruit symbol instead.
How the shield looked like before the 200's, when this shield seem to have been designed since it uses the black Critwall tower, no one seem to know. No known shields with an older design seems to have survived, and even records of the early days of the county are vague at best. The people and lords of Docamald seems to have managed to keep a dull existence.
The shield uses the dark red color used in some of the older designs which might be a carry over from a previous older design.
Earldom of Battledown
An early Aerdy settlement that didn't grew into a large town of a city, but it had a both tumultuous and glory filled early years. According to legend, Battledown heraldry stems from the two brothers who vowed to stay and fight when a large group of raiders attacked the keep in its early days. With super human courage and great skill and ample help from Heironeous, the two brother's dedicated the rest of their life to lives to defend the keep in Heironeous honor. The legend says that they still stood strong at sunrise holding up their swords, which is what the heraldry symbolize. The symbolic walls are extra high as well. The background is the Great Kingdom blue.
County of Deleven
Deleven heraldry are rumored to hail from first Aerdy leader of the area, who according to legend came from the Celadon and had a smitten of elven ancestry. The black unicorn stems from these early days and have been the county's symbol ever since. A tradition with outdoors men well suited to survive by themselves are still part of the tradition for counts from Deleven.
Principality of Alhaster
Alhaster begun early on during the westward expansion of the Aerdy, and was settled around -150 CY. It was seen as the next step west from Radigast City that was already well established.
The first heraldry adopted by the emergent city was a design based on the black used by the early Great Kingdom under Nasran, and with five gold coins at the bottom symbolizing trade and prosperity. the top part has a sword, a portcullis and a spear symbolizing honor, defense and military prowess.
In pristine condition. The only shield of this variant known are an old rusty one on display in the stronghold of Prince Zeech.
Later on in the 100's the growing city adopted a new variant with a lower part in the new Great Kingdom Blue. This shield was used until Alhaster leaves the Shield Lands in 577 CY.
This design is based one a shield from this website: [Principality of Redhand - Alhaster (https://sites.google.com/site/principalityofredhand/redhand/alhaster) I have no name and way of contact the designer. But my maps are used on the site so I feel I dare to use his/her work as a base. I like the design. If anyone knows who is behind the site please tell me, so I can reach out and give proper credit.
Earldom of Reyneld
The shield design is more than a bit of an enigma despite being in use for nearly 500 years. It seems to first appear in the 100's when the region was taken over by Aerdy men who was beginning to organize it. Its colors are clearly Aerdy, but the stiped designs origins are unknown.
It is one of the few shields that survived the occupation of the Shield Lands. Brutal warriors from the Bandit Kingdoms now rule this area with an iron fist, but the shield is still in some use.
This is an Living Greyhawk design.
County of Ringland
Ringland is one of the biggest Flan ringed settlements still in use and that is depicted on the shield. The settlement has three large keeps with a ring around it, and all of it dug out of a hill. The three towers are now in the form of the typical Shield Land sort, but originally they were part of an intricate main symbol on the old shield.
On the top portion of this flan shield was boar placed to symbolize both strength and as a homage to the main pray of the hunters in old Ringland. Another interpretation of the main symbol is that is was a form of hunting device, but the opinions vary.
Very few shields exist from this time, but the few that does look worn and need an expert to decipher them.
Rule over Ringland shifted more slowly and peaceful to Aerdy in the 100's and a new shield was adopted sometime in the late 100's that was influenced by the old design.
A new wild boar is prancing on a hill with three towers in the background. The at the time Aerdy fashionable black forms the background. The shields at the frontier lands around this time was not painted by skilled artist using high quality pigments, so they looked rather dull even in their time
The few shields that still exists from these early days look rather decrepit.
Later on after the formation of the Shield Land, a new design was made. It is based on the red and white of the order, and the towers are now of Critwall fame but still three, The wild boar is still there in the center in black now to keep the colors down to Shields Lands red, white, black.
County of Nairen
These lands was at first governed from Ringland , a tradition taken over from Flan times. When it became its own province it was with a ruling couple with the knight hailing from Ringland and his wife a daughter from Deleven. So their new heraldry reflected this by using the Ringland boar on a green background with the common white board and Critwall tower at the top.
County of Torkeep
This was a wild frontier until the late in the 100's when determined efforts to conquer the lands east of the Ritensa to create a defendable border against the numerous threats coming from the Horned Lands. one of the knights was Cauld Torkeep who's accomplishments made him the first lord of these lands and the builder of the keep that still bares his name.
Later on a descendent of his, Franz Torkeep was part the group that managed to bring back the Crook of Rao. As a reward for that achievement, he got the honor of having a large part of land split away from Critwall, Gensal and Delcomben to form the new County of Torkeep.
The new county's shield was of course showing of the Count's accomplishments with a golden crook, the deep red to give it old flare and the white with the tower to prominently show off its allegiance.
Earldom of Delcomben
Once a castled village acting as an outpost watching the lands of the Hierarchs. Things where rather primitive for a long time so in order to appear impressive they put two towers rather than one on their shield. People who visit Delcomben have a hard time finding even one tower of significance, the depicted towers are the two guarding the main gate. The colors are the Shield Lands red and white.
County of Olenak
Olenak has kept more of its old flan cultural characteristics than most other areas of the Shield Lands and that is reflected in its heraldry as well, and it has changed very little over the last 700 years.
The shield has for as long as anyone knows been a symbol that probably is a reference to the old ringed settlement of Olenak. Very little still exist of it today but the symbol has persisted for centuries. Below is what it would have looked like in its prime before the Aerdy arriving.
The few old shields existing of this type look a lot worse of course.
The early Aerdy must have liked it because they adopted it, old Aerdy style heater shields have been found using the the same design.
And here is what they looked like back in their time.
After the creation of the Shield Lands a white band at the top with a tower symbol was added and have been in use up until the war.
Most of the ones you find out there are in a bad state, below you can see what they look like in a better state.
County of Harryn
The story behind the County of Harryn are short by Shield Lands standards. It took well into the 300's CY before Harryn was established, the population needed to be large and permanent enough to support it.
The heraldry design is rumored to have come to be almost by accident. Legend has it that early on in the construction of the Harryn keep most of its troops came from Deleven who had people to spare to prop up the rear of the Veng front. These men wore green armbands for identification and someone just started using it on the shields as well, and when it was time to create a crest for the county a green line was what it had been recognized by. So a simple green line was kept and it still used on white with the ubiquitous tower at the top.
County of Shepkote
Like its neighbor Harryn, Shepkote is on the younger side when it comes to Shield Lands provinces. It was created when the there was enough people to fill the gaps between Delcomben and Law's Forge. At this time the Critwall tower was an already well established symbol. No one bothered to come up with something complicated, a blue bottom symbolizing the blue of the Ritensa and top white with a large tower to make allegiance abundantly clear.
County of the Forge
Was established in the very late 290's as a part of creating the order of the Shield and Shield Lands itself. Its heraldry reflects this. It was the red and white like shield of the order, in the center are a combination of the runes friendly and honor to represent the aspirations and goals of the new realm.
County of Weslan
Weslan was for along time only a keep that provided a safe haven for the many herders threatened by marauding bandits from the north or west. There where many of these old flan hillforts that got modernized and upgraded i the early years of the Shields Lands establishment, and Weslands location turned it into a hub of north central Shield Lands. The tall keep had sturdy defenses and a sizable presence of Heironeous knights of the Shield so Weslan adopted heraldry a modified version of the Critwall tower on a silver metal background.
After the Iuz invasion a mockery of the old shield was adopted by Vayne who know control a large potion of former Shield Lands from it.
County of Stahzer
Stahzer started out its life as an important guard post along the Great Northern Aerdy Road that stretched from Urnst to the Ritensa River. As it grew to become a border town on the Great Kingdoms northern frontier in central Flanaess heraldry was developed to show its significance and standing.
It had the base red of Ferrond with a golden row of runes taken from the locals meaning home hearth and safety. It was topped with the Great Kingdom blue and the Aerdy Sun. The example above shows one of the few aged shields still in existence from so long ago. The blue have turned mostly corroded green and it is tarnished, but still have a bit of the flare of the then vibrant and expanding Great Kingdom.
After the formation of the Shield Lands the heraldry was updated to reflect this, but the bottom colors and runes stayed.
Stahzer today is a staging point for Iuz presence and control, and a wall is being raised to protect the the empire's core lands from incursions across the open grasslands. The new heraldry depicts the horrors of the Old One's deeds with a wall, bleeding skulls and fiendish creatures guarding it.
Earldom of Bolam
Alongside Stazer, Bolam is one of the most frontier provinces of he Shield Lands bordering The Great Effluvial Swamp and the White Plume Mountain.
The heraldry adopted by the first earl was an attempt to capture the role of frontier guardian. A vigilant golden eagle protects the Walworth colors above a white wall. The design has been in use until the war.
The unfortunate Baronet of Mukos settled here and for a while until overrun by meenlocks. He managed to develop a crest for his Shield Lands estate. He created a variant of the Bolam crest, but with half the back being Greyhawk black and a string of chains. The chains having a triple meaning, being both a reference to Greyhawk and a symbol of him being a chain in the defense of his new realm, it is also a homage to the Walworth use of the chains.
Halmadar the Cruel
His insurrection is infamous in Shield Lands history. He didn't adopt a formal crest and have it used by his troops, they weren't that organized. Halmadar didn't care for his mob, he wanted to be seen and feared so he used shield that, as far as we know, was unique. It was an Aerdy standard heater shield but with elaborate Vecna symbology on it.
After the defeat of Halmadar, his shield was taken to Critwall and according to rumors it is on private display in a room in the Commanders Residence along with other trophies gotten over centuries of hostilities.
A settlement older than the shield Lands, that has eked out an existence in the conflict rift between the more organized lands
to the south and east of the Ritensa, and the more wild lands to the north and west. It was the goal of the Great Kingdom to capture it and turn it into a staging point along the Northern Aerdy Road and a base to go west from the Ritensa.
The ambitions of the Aerdy where not enough to conquer it from the unruly, chaotic and disparate but determined group of defenders. By the time the Great Kingdom's ambitions had reached this far the fear of them had enough time to row to untruly proportions. This mean that the defenders where gathered from near and far of every linage and creed, able to bullied into service.
For a long time the situation fluctuated between conflict and tenuous trade. The lords that run the place where often greedier than they where hungry for power, so for a long time the Delve was know for its rather hopeful shield.
After the Iuz takeover there is no doubt about the intentions, the bridge is now a fortified ditch with Mok'slyk guarding it.
You can download a zip file with all these shields here (569MB): https://annabmeyer.com/Downloads/Shield%20Lands/Shield%20Land%20Herladry.zip
and the Shield Lands Province map here: https://annabmeyer.com/Downloads/Shield%20Lands/Shield%20Lands%20576CY%20Province%20Map%20-%203.jpg